I Want No AM in My Sevens


I was on my bed on a cold Autumn morning in Stavanger Norway at exactly 7:00am, trying to figure out where my life was heading to when a friend of mine in faraway Lagos Nigeria buzzed me via Facebook Messenger asking if I knew where Isolo Local Government office was; a place that happens to be in Lagos Nigeria. I mean, was I the right person Kayo should have asked? I laughed because I assumed he was joking - one of those means to get someone's attention. And so I replied with a laughing emoji and enquired about his welfare, but he asked me again about the location of Isolo LG office. Once more, I suspected he wanted to mess around with me a bit, and so I replied with a laughing emoji again and ignored him while I replied other people's messages with the intention of getting back to him so we can play this little game of his. I saw more messages about Isolo LG office pop in from him as I chatted with other people, and then I wondered why someone will be so dogmatic about playing an unnecessary game. I needed to carry out a research on a project I was working on and so I got carried away and forgot to reply Kayo. Later that day at 3:34pm, I went through my phone and saw that Kayo wasn't joking after all.


"Joy you need to reply me now, I have an interview in Isolo LG building at 8:00am.
...I tot I had the right address
...It turns out I don't
...I'm at the wrong venue
...I know u not in Nigeria but you're the only person I know who has lived in Isolo LGA.
...Every oda person I ask around don't seem to know where it is
...I uninstalled Google maps on my phone trying to free storage and can't install it now. Don't have enough data for that
...Can't ask Google now
...Joy?
...Joy?
...You there?
...I can see you're online
...Come on J..."


Numb was how I felt. I just didn't know what to do. As I buzzed him on Messenger to enquire about his rigmarole, I prayed and hoped he was able to find his way to the place. Kayo read all of my numerous messages without replying. I called him severally on his phone with no response. The following morning at 7.00am, Emeka buzzed me on Messenger and narrated how sad and pissed Kayo was for missing the interview.


"He blames you for this Joy
...You should have replied him"

I felt insensate - I couldn't feel my face with my hands.

"I feel so sorry and terrible Emeka
...I wish I replied Kayo
...But how would I have really helped him find his way to the venue through the phone?
...He didn't even know where he was
...It's not as if we were in virtual reality"

"It doesn't matter Joy.
...Your response could have probably helped or not helped but your silence made you the villain
...I do not mean to throw stones at you but Kayo is really hurt
...He describes this as 'friends not being there for you when you really need them'.

"Emeka I honestly thought he was trying to be funny that morning, maybe trying to play a prank on me"

"Joy what do you mean?
...Prank?
...Who plays a prank at 7:00am?
...Are you even serious?
...You know what?
...Be good to yourself
...Take care"


Who truly pulls a prank off at 7:00am? I wouldn't say I don't like life lessons, but this one? I so hate! I've been feeling horrible about myself up till now and I'm not sure of what human flaw to blame this on. The problem now is that I read every message of every Tom, Dick and Harry; replying to most of them, most of which are very unimportant and extremely time wasting. One ordeal with Kayo has turned me into a read-and-reply junkie. And when I decide not to read or reply anyone's messages, all of The Kayo Episode come rushing back to me like a constipated bowel stool, and the thought of being a villain in someone else's life series saps breath out of me; causing my heart to skip a beat. Truth is...I need help.


On this beautiful Wednesday, as I narrate this story, Khalid buzzed me on messenger at 7:01am, begging me to make him a pot of Nigerian locust beans stew ASAP. I'd normally like to ignore this but I'm afraid that if he falls sick of ulcer, everyone will bury their fingers in my forehead. The confusing thing now is that my friend Oyin thinks this Kayo episode is actually a prank.


"J girl think like d script writer that u are. This Kayo palava is definitely scripted
...So you really believe dat there was no one around to give him directions?
...Even if that's the case, you also believe he had no GPS on his phone?
...And of all of the apps to uninstall it was Google maps? Not those stupid game apps on his phone?
...And what is he freeing storage for on a phone of 256GB?
...Or is it not iPhone 7 plus he still uses?
...All nah lie
...BIG and LOUD lie!
...Get your brain to work and stop feeling terrible about this whole nonsense!"



One thing is for sure - my 7:00AMs will never be the same.

Sensually Worshipping

Image credit: http://upliftconnect.com
I once met a lady who unfurled my eyes to the over-doings of righteousness. You would have presumed she had more love for God than He lavished upon her. It's wearisome to fathom how such people muddle through their lives with self-made religious masks veiling mucho sinful faces. When did it become profane to discuss sexual urges and passions with fellow worshippers? Am I to deny my sexual awareness so as to appear pious? Am I supposed to spurn words that create sexual imageries from flowing out my mouth even though sexual thoughts roam my mind occasionally knowing fully well that my heavenly father sees my heart? How can I be more pietistic than God Himself? Was it not Him who embedded sexual properties in the beings He created? You say to me, "Sexual conversations can precipitate sexual impurities; fornication and the rest". But have you pondered on the possibility that avoiding and concealing such conversations can lead to even more unpleasant situations? And I always thought a problem shared was half solved. Not discussing concupiscence is a terrible idea. It's with whom we discuss it that matters; those who feed our inner man. I certainly can't be more righteous than my heavenly father. If He created me with sexual properties, it appears just right to discuss it --- with the right people. Do not ask me to choose between my consciousness as a worshipper and as a sensual being. I choose both.

Random Thought

He was bending. He was trying to make the screen suitable for his view so that the screen did not reflect the sunlight into his eyes. He forgot to adjust the screen in a way that would be suitable for his sight when he was finally seated. The light still got into his eyes and he had spent a decade achieving the former.

P.S: If you don't understand. Ask someone to explain. Or ask me.

       If you don't understand because you didn't use any of the listed aids, it is certainly not my fault.
       Love you anyways.

Mangoes and Men


"Throw all mangoes away", Nne screamed. Nne is our mother. Nne is mother in Igbo. Our mother is Yoruba but she prefers to be called mother in Igbo. "It reminds me of my first love", she always says. "He was an Igbo man". And then I wonder how she expects father to feel knowing she's in love with a dead man. Yes, mum's first love died a long time ago; when she was 26.

"Throw every mango in this house away. I don't want to perceive it" Nne screamed and shouted this time.

Me: Nne I want to eat these mangoes. Tunde too.

Nne: Mo ma gba e le ti o. No mangoes in this house, I said!

Me: For how long are we going to be on Mango strike?

Nne: Forever.

At night, daddy comes home with a polythene bag of mangoes. 10 mangoes. Everyone is shocked. He takes a knife and slices each mango, all by himself. Nne is sleeping in her bedroom.

Dad: Tonight, we feast on mangoes. Anyone who does not partake of this communion will get no favours from me.

Me: What of mum?

Dad: It doesn't matter how she feels about mangoes. Let's eat.

Lara is my elder sister. She's the first child. She's 23. Just finished serving our father's land after completing a B.A. program in Obafemi Awolowo University. She has never had a boyfriend. Mum always said "Lara will not get married until she's at least 27". Nobody knew why. Not even Lara. And when Lara asked why, Nne always replied with "You don't need mangoes just yet". That night, everyone ate mangoes except Lara. She was disgusted.

Lara: I'm going to wake Nne up.

Everyone silently screamed "No".

Lara: You know how she feels about mangoes.

Me: But nobody understands why. And she won't say. For how long are we going to stay without eating mangoes? Maybe you should convince her to tell us the mango-story.

Lara: Maybe daddy knows.

Everyone turns to stare at dad for a breakthrough answer like dogs waiting to play fetch.

Dad: I can't. She should tell the story herself. I prefer not to think about it.

Lara: Please dad. This mango story is eating me up.

After 2 minutes of silence...

Dad: Your mother initially wanted to get married to an Igbo man. Her parents said "Never". They didn't want an Igbo man in the family. She swore never to marry another man if it wasn't Ugo.

Tunde: Is this Igbo man her first love she keeps talking about?

I and Lara angrily shouted "Of course" simultaneously.

Lara: No more silly questions Tunde. Use your common sense.

Dad: And then one day, Ugo fell sick and died.

Tunde: Who killed him?

Lara: He was sick, Tunde!

Tunde: But was it a spiritual attack?

Lara: Shut up! What you mean spiritual attack? You thinking grandparents killed him?

Tunde: How old was he when he died dad?

Dad: 29

Tunde: What kind of sickness was it?

Dad: Nobody really knows. There were no specifics. The last thing he complained about was a stomach upset.

Tunde: How come you know this much about Ugo? Mum told you?

Dad: No. Her sister did.

Tunde: Auntie Fola?

Lara: Another stupid question. She has just one sister, Tunde!

Tunde: When did her sister tell you this?

Dad: Few weeks before our wedding

Tunde: You mean mum never opened about this to you?

Lara: Apparently she didn't, Tunde.

Dad: She only spoke once about it. And the only thing she said was "I once had a boyfriend whom I loved dearly. He was Igbo."

Tunde: How did you meet mum?

Dad: Through our parents

Lara: It was an arranged marriage?

Tunde: Apparently, Lara. It was arranged.

Lara: Shut up now!

Lara hates clap-backs. But she sure knows how to dish it out to others.

Dad: It wasn't exactly arranged. Well, if it was arranged, we certainly didn't know about it. Our parents only introduced us to each other and we seemed to like each other.

Tunde: I still don't get. What has this got to do with mangoes?

Dad: On one of the special days my parents went visiting your mum's parents, they took along with them a sack of mangoes, along with some other food items. Your mum was angry and infuriated. She asked me why my parents came with so much mangoes. I told her it was because they chose to. Plus, they had so much of it back in their home town.

There was silence for two minutes. Dead silence.

Tunde: That still does not explain her hatred for mangoes. Did she hate you back then?

Me: Doesn't make any sense.

Dad: The day Ugo died, your mum was with him. They were in Ugo's house. Your auntie Fola said that day was a happy day for your mum. Your mum was going to visit Ugo. Her mum gave her a bowl and said, "Give this to your husband". She was surprised and happy. She thought her parents had finally accepted Ugo.

Lara: Mum went to visit Ugo in his house and she won't let me have male friends come over?😢

Tunde: I actually thought you've been enjoying your no-boyfriend life.

Lara: You really need to shut up Tunde.

Lara's eyes are wet. I can't remember the last time I saw her cry. This must really hurt her. She's probably thinking about those cute guys she could have dated and maybe kissed. She's so obedient. Annoyingly obedient. She listens to everything, well, nearly everything our parents say. I feel like laughing out loud right now. But I don't want any of Lara's clap-backs. I'll laugh in my belly.

Dad: Ugo wasn't living alone Lara. He lived with his parents.

Lara: Most of my male friends live with their parents too, yet, I can't visit them. This is totally unfair.

Tunde: Go on dad. Please.

Dad: The last thing Ugo ate before he died were mangoes. And that was what your mum's mother had sliced and packed up inside the bowl she sent to Ugo.

Another silence. This time, 2½ minutes.

Tunde: So mum thinks grandma killed Ugo?

Lara: I see why we never really visit her parents.

Dad: Not only does your mum think grandma killed Ugo, Ugo's family thinks your mum killed Ugo.

Another silence. 3 minutes this time.

Tunde: It's a terrible thing she had to go through.

Lara: But did grandma really kill him? I mean, was it the mango that killed him?

Dad: At this point, I say no more. Clear up this place. Leave no traces of Mangoes.

Dad stands up and goes into his room. Three of us stare at each other, alarmed. Things will never be the same. I wish I didn't listen to this mango-story.

Tunde: Isn't it funny that dad came home this night with mangoes too? And sliced them just as grandma had sliced them for Ugo?

Lara: You're becoming a psycho! Now you think your own father will poison you!

Tunde: You can never have mangoes Lara. Until you're at least 27.

Lara: Tunde? Can't you see this isn't funny?

Tunde: If you have mangoes, Nne will know. She will perceive it. Tell every MAN to GO.

Me: Mum needs to talk about this and let it go.

Lara: She needs to. It's too heavy a burden for her to bear alone. She won't even talk to her husband about it. Sad.

Tunde: Why did dad still marry Nne if he knew she was that traumatized and in love with a dead man?

Lara: Don't make it sound that way. Never say "in love with a dead man" again. It's creepy.

Tunde: But it's true. You see the problem? Everyone is hiding from the truth.

Me: Maybe dad had faith in her. He possibly believed Nne would get over Ugo.

Tunde: Well, here they are. She's still in love with a dead man.

Lara: You really need to stop saying that.

Tunde: It's the truth Lara.

Lara: You can't be so sure.

Tunde: Why does she make us call her Nne instead of mum, or even mama? Why? She's in love with a dead man.

Tunde shouted. He is angry.

Tunde: She's paying homage to a dead man who is not her husband. And dad has to live that. How many men will tolerate such from their wives? Dad is still married to her because he loves her. I see it in his eyes when he looks at her. But she never sees it. She prefers to lose the love of a man who is alive and gain that of a dead man. How pleasant!

Lara: Calm down now. You're getting all tensed up.

Tunde: I'm angry. I'm angry that our parents cannot have a normally relationship. And it's not even dad's fault. Why did Nne marry him if she was still very much into the dead man?

Lara cannot say anything this time. Tunde has always been a daddy's boy. He loves Nne too, of course. But Nne is often gloomy. Her sadness is eating deep into everyone.

Tunde: How can Nne be unhappy for so long? She's rubbing it on all of us. I can hardly have a normal conversation with her or even make her laugh. I may sound selfish and one-sided right now, but I feel sorry for dad. He has to live an unhappy life because his wife won't burry the hatchet.

Lara: But part of her sorrows is that everyone suspects the mangoes poisoned him. You should understand that.

Tunde: What if it wasn't the mangoes?

Lara: We don't know yet. Daddy did not say.

Tunde: Tomorrow, I'll ask Nne to talk about this mango-story. And she has to. I'm tired of living in family shadows.

Now I wish I didn't listen to this mango-story. I feel sick. Like I've been poisoned. My mind has been poisoned. My thought-process has been corrupted by this mango-virus. I can never think of grandma as I always have. I'm never eating anything a girl gives to me. Even if it isn't mango. I'm not even sure I want to ever eat mangoes again.

With the Shoot




Pam:    Focus on the flash Nneka. Focus on the flash.
Nneka: I doubt if I'd notice the lights.
Pam:    Then you'll miss the positives. You need to be bright and happy. Otherwise, this whole thing will be a waste.
Nneka: It's supposed to come from within.  I can't fake a smile.
Pam:     You're the one in-charge of your within, not them.
Nneka:  I can't.
Pam:    They don't know what's within you and they don't care. JUST DO IT.
Nneka: You're getting louder and attracting attention.
Pam:    Then make this work. Imagine Ahmed. Pretend as though he's the one behind the camera.
Nneka: You're such a liar. Your life is a lie, Pam.
Pam:    That's how we survive, honey. This life became a lie the day skin shades became black and white. I save my emotions for those who care. These people don't care about you. So why try to let them see you bitter?
Nneka: I just can't pretend to feel alright. See what they did to him. They took everything from him and threw him away like a rotten egg. They deceived him.
Pam:    Learn from his mistakes then. These people expect you to be sad and wary. And then maybe they'll capitalise on your weakness too. But you must show that you're strong. When you pose for the picture, focus on the flash and smile at the light it shines upon you. When you're done with the shoot, keep that smile. You don't have to share your happiness and your strengths with the haters. Rather, suppress them with it. Your sadness is their ambition. Don't give it to them.
Nneka: They've seen me bitter for too long. They've been succeeding.
Photo credit: https://www.udemy.com/
Pam:    Let them fail this time. And forever. Now smile. Smile Nneka. Focus on the flash. And give hope to this studio.

I've Started Thinking Bullshit Again...Lord Save My Mind.

When people make mistakes and say "I wish I could take back the hand of time", I grow fish pimples. If you could take back the hand of time, you'd probably change your Birth date and go back to be born in the time when people died because they made common mistakes or you'd give your father a contraceptive on the day of your conception so that nobody knows who the hell you are. Forget about manipulating time and make some more mistakes.

The fact that you've been through worse does not make the bad become good. Don't feel too good about the shit in your life. If it's bad, it's bad.

Even if I stole wings, I would not fly. Flights are for cowards and witches. Maybe birds.

Even the spirit-filled sister who seems to speak only heavenly language, needs a man who would not speak heavenly language to her on the bed. Eroticism is a necessity.

Daddy's Hot-ice

"Koko, your bowels will dance azonto today", my sister teases me as I get to the gate of our house. "Why?", I ask. "Even the gods cannot say", she laughs. As I open the door, my brother shouts "Koko go back". My father immediately carries me and puts me on the dinning chair. He brings out a piece of paper. It is his bank account statement.

Dad: Koko, read.

I read. I look up at him. His gaze is fixed on me.

Dad: Look at the paper again and tell me how much I transfered to your mother's account on Wednesday.

I'm trying to think of all the movies I've seen. To see which one has a scene like this.

Me:  Thirty thousand naira.
Dad: Do you know what the money is meant for?

I said "No" even though I know. He smiles.

Dad: I am trying to be a good father, providing so that my family does not know lack or starve.

He points to a board that's hanging on the wall. He created it and placed it there himself.

Dad: What is that board for?
Me:  To indicate absence.

My father came up with a rule that anyone who is not going to be available for breakfast, lunch and supper, has to indicate their absence on the board so that meals are not prepared for them. I hate to admit this but, my father is half insane. Who does that? I have asked most of my friends if they have such policies in their homes, perhaps, they know someone who does. But "No" is forever the answer.

Dad: Were you in the house for breakfast?
Me:  No
Dad: Did you indicate?
Me:  No
Dad: Were you in for lunch?
Me:  No
Dad: Did you indicate?
Me:  I forgot...
Dad: Direct answers only, please.
Me:  No
Dad: Were you in for supper?
Me:  It's still evening.
Dad: Oh yes! That's true. What time is it now?
Me:  Few minutes past eight.
Dad: What time of the day is dinner in this house?
Me:  I don't think there should be a stipulated time for meals, dad.
Dad: Koko?
Me:  Yes dad
Dad: Direct answers only.
Me:  6:30pm
Dad: Good
Me:  But what I went out to do is important.
Dad: Is it a job that puts money on this table?
Me:  No
Dad: Does it have anything to do with your school work?
Me:  Somehow
Dad: Answer the question!
Me:  No
Dad: Then I don't care. How old are you?
Me:  Fifteen
Dad: What's a boy of your age doing outside by 8:00 pm?
Me:  I and my friends were...
Dad: Shut up! I've heard it a thousand times and it still makes no sense.

He walks into the kitchen and comes out with a tray of three dishes.

Dad: Your breakfast, lunch and dinner served at once. Tell me about some other person who gets this kind of treat? Especially from their father...
Me:  No one. Except me.

My eyes are filled with tears. This is not the first time this is happening and I usually wake up in the middle of the night to fully occupy the toilet.

Dad: Then you my son, must be very special. Eat and be merry.

It was jollof rice with fried fish, beans porridge and fried plantain, baked potatoes with scrambled chicken. This is the only time when food terrorises me. I had eaten fufu and vegetable soup at my friend's place. My mother came in from the bedroom. Her eyes carried pity for me.

Mum: Honey please don't punish him this much. Let him have just one of the meals.
Dad:   Koko! Eat! Now!

He sits still like a mannequin, watching me eat in pain. My body is numb. I can't feel my hands. I can't feel my body. Am I still alive? My brother comes out of the room with a mattress. He will not share the room with me this night. It's going to be a vigil that will fill the room with farts.

Mum: Eddy, this must stop. You cannot continue to force him to eat this much.
Dad:  Well, I am the one whose money feeds this family.
Mum: You asked me to stop working. I was a career conscious woman. And you, Eddy, begged me to stop so I can take care of my children.
Dad:  Our children! Our children!
Mum: No! My children!

It's a grave yard now. Mum's eyes are wet. Dad is obviously confused. And I am the reason for all these.

Dad:  Are you going to pick a quarrel with me now for instilling discipline in my son?
Mum: He's working on a science project with his friends. I have seen what they do and I am proud of my son. I do not agree that he comes home late but I've begged you never to punish him this way. When I wake up tomorrow morning, I'll go back to my career. No one is going to punish my children because I don't contribute to their feeding.

She walks away. I hate the way dad punishes me but I'm not sure I agree with mum. Isn't she being too sentimental? Women! I love the way she loves me though.

Dad: Koko...

That's the nicest way I've ever heard him call my name.

Dad: Stop eating. You are the author of this problem and you have to finish it. I don't want your mother quarreling with me.
Me:  I have to finish my science project.
Dad: Are you negotiating with me?
Me:  I just want to continue with my project, without over-feeding myself.

He looks at me like a sad Bingo as he walks away. I love my mum, but most of all, I love the way he loves her.

Dear Future Hubby

I don't know if I know you already or if I'm yet to meet you. I just want you to know that my heart and my thoughts are yours. I will love you in spite of anything. I know that I'll be everything that you've always prayed for and you'll be everything that I've always prayed for. I've been building myself up for you so that I can be your best friend and the best wife the world has ever known. I pray for you everyday that God blesses the works of your hands and crowns your effort. I know He's doing that right now. I've heard terrible stories about marriage but I know that you and I are going to be extraordinary and we will be role models for others.

I cannot wait to look you in the eyes with my eyes beaming with passion and love. I know we'll have our differences but our differences will become our greatest strengths. The world will envy us. I know. And we'll have beautiful children. Glorious children. Dynamic children. Extraordinary children booming with intelligence. We would love each other so much that our children will be disgusted by it.
I want to grow old with you.

Dear Future Hubby...I'm waiting for you. I'll love you as though that's the only thing I'm gonna do.

Your Loving Future Wifey

Father and Sun

I came in. I knew it was going to be war.

Me:  Good evening sir.
Dad: Why are you just coming home?

He's never happy. I stared. I stared so deeply. At nothing. Only at the picture in my head. The picture of what would become of me when this conversation was over.

Dad: Have you become dumb? Or is it deaf?
Me:  I hurried home as soon as I could.
Dad: Óti daran léni.
Me:  But daddy, I'm not late. Look, it's still bright.
Dad: Where is the sun?
Me:  Uhn?
Dad: If you say that again...where is the sun?
Me:  It's outside.
Dad: Are you sure?
Me:  I saw it on my way in.
Dad: Go out. Look for it. And then come in to call me as soon as you find it. 2 minutes only.

I'm outside now. Looking for the sun. It's not here. But I saw it on my way in. The sun has gone home too early. I told my dad the sun had left. He made me ride a motionless motorcycle with no motorcycle.

Dad: The galaxy is your destination.

I was to find the sun and beg it to follow me home so that daddy could release me. He told me to hurry. Well, I'm still riding. My legs are shaking. I'm drowning in my body liquid. I have still not found the sun. Even when the sun eventually rises, nothing would change. The only sun my father knows is my mother's eyes and it died the day her eyes never opened again. Her eyes never opened again the day I came into this world. That's why he calls me Onwa. "It is the moon that causes the earth to be sunless. You could have been rain or oxygen or helium. But you chose to be the moon", he always says to me. How am I supposed to bring that Sun back? Mother...if I had your golden eyes, father might be at peace...I pray he finds another sun.

Father and Sun

I came in. I knew it was going to be war. Me:   Good evening sir. Dad: Why are you just coming home? He's never happy. I s...