The “Oladeji” sounded like ‘Holla Day Gee’. Popo steps next to her, gives me a hug and introduces her as his wife. Hmmmmm,so this is the wife they always said he had: his second wife in this country, and third in his life.
She smelt of garlic. She’s not obese but she’s fatter than fat. Her tummy and her boobs were on the same level. She was a robust bundle of joy!
Her 5′ 10″ height makes her look huge, compared to my 5’7″ height. I still wonder whose height I have, as my mum and Popo are tall. If she were slimmer, I’m not sure if she would have been pretty. Trust me, she had a very cute face nonetheless, with a very small, always pouting, red lips. Unfortunately for me, I don’t know where she’s from. I’m yet to get to the point where I see foreigners and can tell if they are American, Europeans or Hispanic. In my mind, all of them are oyinbo!
I’m not sure how long the hug was for because of all the plenty thoughts that had raced my mind. When she let me go, from that squeeze (because that ain’t no hug), I gave Popo a side hug. ‘Twas too awkward for him too, I guess. We headed to the parking lot and got into a Pontiac Vibe cross over. Sophie (Popo’s wife) did the driving. I sat quietly in the back, answering her numerous questions and comments, on how much I would love my new life, although I struggled with her accent. Then she said her children were anxious to meet me.
I never thought of that. How dumb of me not to have thought they had children. I hated this awkward feeling that’s already swamping me. We got to the house and settled in. The house isn’t big. In short, all the houses I saw weren’t big. Many were terrace houses, with cars parked on the street, average of 3 rooms, and small carpet grass behind the house. I know modesty is good, but this felt like constriction to me. In Otunba’s compound, you would have a party of 300 guests comfortably, if the cars are parked outside. Sophie explained that she’d moved her things to Popo’s room, so that’s my new room. She showed me, and asked if I wanted anything.
‘For now, I just need a long sleep’ I replied. And I slept. And slept. And had all manner of weird dreams. When I woke up, 4 eyes were looking at me. I closed my eyes, telling myself the dream wasn’t over. Until I heard their voices, then I realized it was no dream.
‘Hey Urla, I’m Emma, and here’s my sister Julia. Do you mind if we hug you? Mum asked us to’ said one of them. I replied in affirmative as I stood up to hug the 2 girls, at the same time, like a family reunion hug and told them to call me DJ instead. They took me downstairs to have dinner (which according to me is lunch, because it was almost 6pm). And as usual, I didn’t know the names of the food I had. It all just looked familiar. Each swallow was hard, but I had to form. Later that evening, Popo came and had some talks with me. Told me I’d need to start some courses, so as to get into grad school and also work part time. He asked about my mum, and everything possible. The days rolled by. And they became weeks.
I started taking some college courses, and learning a little Dutch language. Damn, that stuff was hard and to make it worse, the teacher was one mean looking woman. I thought oyinbo teachers were always smoking hot? Why is this one so different? The city wasn’t so much fun, but night life was lit!
Netherlands is a sin city. A sexual sin city. Prostitution is legal. Red light districts were everywhere. And it’s cheap. But I can’t imagine myself, fully bred Lagos boy paying for sex. With the abundance of babes at home. No way!
However, that light that is always at the end of the tunnel showed up. On a fine day, I was riding my bicycle (yes o, from a variety of cars in Nigeria to bicycle; it wasn’t a far distance though) from class to the house when I came across a branch of a Nigerian church! Yes, a popular Nigerian church. This became a lifesaver for me. Over the next few weeks, I became an ardent churchgoer and to make it better, I offered to join the choir. And I think that’s where I got it wrong.
You see, I can’t sing to save myself. Even someone offering to dash me money would hear my voice and change his mind. On the day of my mini audition, I listened to myself again in the bathroom and it did sound good. I mean, whose voice isn’t good when in the bathroom. Fast forward to my audition. I was asked to sing a song by Frank Edwards, but this choirmaster had no idea I had zero clues as to whom that was. Mo sorry gan, but I didn’t know who Frank Edwards was. So we switched to a popular song by Kirk Franklin (my case would be pathetic if I didn’t know him), and my embarrassment started. My voice kept hanging or going off key (even though I didn’t know what that even meant) and the conclusion was my voice had no class or category. So my voice didn’t match with alto, soprano, base or tenor. I had no clue on how to react to that, but the choirmaster concluded that I’d use my own microphone, stand-alone and sing nonetheless. I’d take it, I said!
Down the line, I saw there was this pretty girl in the church, who goes by the name Tishe. She was an usher, very dark, with the whitest, and best dentition ever. My crush on her started the first day I saw her. Pretty wouldn’t describe her, especially after considering these melanin gang on Instagram. But she was more than ‘just there’. Maybe the naive look and the easy demeanor did it for me. The real gist is that she had a twin, Temi, who was also in the choir, and Temi had a huge crush on me- it was very obvious too. Temi had a sexier body, but not sexy enough to choose her over Tishe. And more importantly, she was just there, facially.
I wasn’t ready to wash my dirty linens in church, so I didn’t chase Tishe, neither did I give Temi a chance. I would make her comments sound very plain and basic, and I guess that drove in the point, and led to the beginning of my trouble in the choir.
Questions like ‘who disconnected the microphone’, ‘who’s voice is going off-key’, ‘who should go and get the crew lunch’ would have Temi pointing at me. She pushed every blame, lapse or responsibility at me, and I got the message. So I buckled my shoes to leave the choir. Just then, I remembered I could play the talking drum that JD got for me during my last birthday. So I offered to play for the church at a fee, and they obliged. This was very rewarding, financially and also by leaving the choir and Aunty Temi’s shenanigans!
You see how much of a lifesaver JD can be? You then expect me to leave her for one twitter girl? Naah! I was talking to her the night I got my first €100 pay from the church, and subtly telling her how sweet she is. You know, as a strong man, we aren’t predisposed to reeling out feelings and emotions. The conversation was going smooth until I heard creaky sounds of a bed. It got louder, and it was hitting the thin wall of my room. I told JD to hold on, as I put my ears closer to the wall. Oh no! It’s not what I’m thinking! I’ve left the stage of thinking! It’s what I’m hearing. Popo and Sophie were having night action. It would have been easy to let it go, I mean, couples have sex. But no, I couldn’t. Sophie’s noise or ringtone wouldn’t let the thought slide by. Oh my! She’s quite noisy and controlling. I fear they would break the wall. I managed to move to the other side of the room, and mimicked everything I heard to JD. She laughed so hard and we kept catching up.
In the morning, it looked like I was seeing someone else other than Sophie. When she hugged me, I couldn’t but have my mind race again. However, she’s been the sweetest person ever. She either is a fabulous pretender or has a blissful soul. At some point, I wondered if she wanted something else from me, sef. There was nothing I ever wanted from Popo that she didn’t ensure I got, and her small gifts were unending: be it socks, headphones, customized pen, and paying my monthly phone bills. Having a long and decent conversation is quite hard, but we natter a lot on different things.
Weeks in Netherlands grew into 7 months and JD said we had to have that talk! Man I was scared! Did she find someone else? Is she tired of waiting? Gosh! I knew it! It has to be that guy at her office!! JD is trying to leave me!!
Edited by: Felicia Akanmu
Continue the story to part 7 here