“She just sat in a corner, oblivious of the fact that she was being admired. She was beautiful, with her pretty blue fitted skirt, her lovely red lips, her sweet white camisole and a cute black jacket. She seemed to be lost in thought, but yet looking as innocent as her simple black handbag and her flat black shoes. Nothing else ran through my mind, other than how a lady could be so effortlessly attractive without even knowing it. She was seated on an orange seat at the beautifully set up bus stop at PAVLENKO street, I was in a moving bus, headed for KUBANSKAYA market to buy foodstuff. There was nothing I could do other than admire and wonder”. Obi said to Okeoma who seems now to be the only link between Obi and reality.
My apartment cannot, will not, must not harbor the lamentations a half-man! Okeoma replied. If you want to lament, go back to your hostel room and do so not here.
What do you mean by “a half-man” said Obi whose face by now has lost all glow and smile at the thought that he has been insulted by Okeoma. Yes a half-man that is what you are, or do you prefer I call you a woman? Would that suffice? Nonsense! Okeoma retorted. Who sees a beautiful woman these days and waits for the “holy spirit” to minister to her to come to him, my brother, right from the time of Apostle John the Kingdom of God has been suffering violence o, you better join #teamviolence and claim what you have set your eyes upon, I need not tell you how the guys here operate. Go and make contact at least then we can start from there. My father once told me that “if I don’t go after what I want, I would never get it” hence I have come to go after any and everything I have ever really wanted, ‘Nke ana eme, ka anyi na eme osiso, na oge adiro zi” (Let us hurry and wrap this up before we run out of time). Who knows, this girl might actually like you too.Obi was not the lest perturbed, he was still angry that Okeoma called him a half-man so Okeoma’s lecture and feigned concern about him was not going to throw him off-balance, he had to make a come back. “You know, you are the half man in the movie ” Two and half-men” right? Nwude! Obi said with a little satisfaction, he had wanted something more hurtful to Okeoma, because the short fair man seems to have come to terms with people taunting him because of his height.
The men were having such a nice time until Obi squeaked like a mouse, a friend of mine promised to help me fix my laptop by 7 pm, it’s past 8 pm already, I need to run now and find him. Can’t you call him or something, I mean does he not have a phone?Okeoma asked cynically. Well if he did don’t you think I should have gotten a call by 7 pm? Or don’t you think I would be on the phone now calling him? His phone was stolen, Obi replied on his way out Okeoma bid him farewell and called him a half-man again this time jokingly, Obi still does not appreciate it, he responded too, “Nwude”.
At cafe “Princessa” the next day, the welcome scent of coffee hangs in the air, beckons to Obi’s tired legs to come take a rest for a short while. A metallic table reflects the rays of the sun, making Obi’s eyes shut themselves before he became a blind man. As he sat, he was surrounded by mountains of plastic and paper bags probably from people who had gone shopping but came down to “Princessa” to rest. They, like him are probably taking a break from spending money they should have kept for something more important, but what the heck, money was made to be spent. Obi thought, The sun has heated the chair and it feels comforting and a little bit warm, the cool summer wind helped. He look around for a waitress; the need for something cool is now paramount in his mind.She moved unsteadily over in a mini skirt and a blue top that leaves almost nothing to imagination. Her heels were so improper and inappropriate for someone who will be on their feet all day, but she had the knowledge they make her legs look attractive or so she thought. Obi took solace in the fact that her feet will be aching later, as his are now. A fake smile escapes her face. She had too much make up on for a white woman, I thought heavy make up was for the African women who think that their white counterparts are more beautiful than they are, Obi said unconsciously and I doubt she can even remember the original color of her hair, brown? black? She pulled a pencil from her breast pocket and went through the list of questions she obviously asked every customer in the native Russian language that ever visited the café. “чай или кофе”. tea or coffee. Obi looked up like he has been stung by a bee.”onye ala ogbete” (a mad person) he said to her softly, as hot as it is, you are asking tea or coffee, just bring hot water already, nonsense. кола пожалуйста.(Cola please) Obi placed his order and sighed deeply. Birds flew in from every corner, hoping for crumbs to feast on. The pavements are covered with noisy,pecking pigeons.The children ran at them, throwing crumbs and attracting more birds. Obi thought, “the birds here obviously lack respect. In Nigeria before you even look at any bird, it would take off. The fear for its life is real, but nothing threatens the ones here, you even struggle with them to gain right of way.
Obi sat down patiently waiting for his coke to arrive, allowing himself to be distracted by the noise around him, then his phone rang and brought him back to reality, after 3 minute call in Russian language; a language that Obi had mastered over time, his cola arrived. Just as he was about to open, he heard the a voice from behind him, a voice that even if he was dead, he would recognize; Urenna’s voice. He turned back immediately to behold his “queen”
“With such mastery of the Russian language, one could easily be convinced that you were born here” she said. This is a golden opportunity, one he has been worked hard for, luck favors the prepared mind they said, this was his time to actively engage Ure. A million thoughts and responses ran through Obi’s mind, he filtered and took out the best “With beauty such as yours, one could argue you were sent from heaven”. Were you? Obi asked smiling. A boyish-look escapes his face. You could said that she replied, they both let out tension filled smiles, like they were scared to smile. Obi took the initiative walked up to her and introduced himself;
Settling into her table he said “hi my name is Obi, but if you love hardwork, call me Obiajulu” they started laughing, Ure laughed the most. Obi was lost. What was funny about his name? so he asked. No, it’s not you my dear, back home we had a gate-man who bears the same name as you she replied, still laughing. I am Urenna by the way she said with an outstretched arm initiating a handshake. then they started talking like they have met before, soon they were talking family, then National issues. Their thoughts were almost aligned and the flow was too good. Has she been this good or is she “forming” for him. A term Nigerians have included in their vocabulary to describe people who appear fake. Well forget thoughts, fate has given you this girl in a platter of gold why not savor the moment. In his mind Obi named her “LA PRINCESSA” not after the Spanish frigate or corvette built at the Spanish Navy base at San Blas and launched in 1778 but because he had met her for the real first time at the cafe “PRINCESSA”
Obi was in wonderland like Alice right now, he felt like calling Okeoma, it was an OBI and URE time..
OPENING DESCRIPTION CREDT: TOCHUKWU NNAMONU (teeceecounsel.wordpress.com)
PHOTO CREDIT: DOTUN AYODEJI (dotunsblog.com).