In a crowded bus coming from Bendel you would see a pretty lady sitting at the back row, face pressed on the window. Her name is Onome. Her facebook profile reads ‘Lady gaga’ while her twitter handle reads something in the lines of ‘fair goddess’ but her complexion says otherwise. She is the colour of burnt yams, a streak of brown here, and then black there.
Onome wants you to believe she is happy. To her, happiness is something you feign till you get it right. She doesn’t want you to think her life is miserable and she wakes each day feeling angry. Far from it, this pretty lady is happy and at control of her life. But is she?
- Her mother calls her once in a week; ‘Onome hope you still remember Isaka? Her child dedication is next week.’ ‘Onome do you know that Mutenda’s wedding colour reminds me of your classmate’s wedding last year?’ ‘Onome, when are you coming home to see the latest. That fat Lady that sells tomato at the square has gotten herself a man’ Onome this- Onome that.
- The landlord of the house she plans to move into soon is on her case ‘I don’t give rooms to single ladies. Especially Ibo girls, they bring in different men’ ‘ooh, you’re not Ibo? All na same’
- Emeka’s Mother is on her neck ‘My son can not marry outside his tribe. Igbo ladies know how to keep their home. All this girls from south south are dogs. Mba, my son will not marry you. Leave him alone!’
- George’s texts to her ‘get me a bag of sweet potatoes when you’re coming here mbok’ ‘I have missed your vegetable soup, don’t forget to come with some’ ‘I tried that beans soup recipe you gave me, it is gross’ all food, food, food and not once about her.
Now on her way to Ijebu ode, she fights back the tears threatening to pour. This should be the last of her tears. Her next would be tears of joy, flowing like the acclaimed fountain of life.
Baba Ilaye’s echoing voice rang so true
‘You see this substance ? All you have to do is put it in his food and he will fall yakata for you. It is a powerful love potion’
And her Mother’s reassurance;
‘no need to feel guilty, a lot of girls are doing it now. If you don’t keep your man with this. Another Lady will use juju on him. So my dear you should be thinking about wedding bells and colours’
But Onome’s thoughts are far removed from wedding colours and bells. The love potion would go into her meals. That was how to keep a man; by first being in love with yourself.