Requiem for a dream
The man said her Prince Charming would come soon and she’ll be happy forever. What was taking him so long?
After forty, everything starts to go downhill. Breasts surrender to gravity, toned arms and legs succumb to flab, and as for the abdomen; don't get me started on how it takes two girdles, one on top of the other, to maintain any semblance of flatness.
This was me looking at myself in the mirror on the morning of my fortieth birthday, wondering how I went from Miss Unilag to that Aunty living down the street.
I know how other women wear their flab with pride. It being evidence of being pounded in the bed by a sweaty husband every other night and having borne rambunctious little children. What did I, Sade, have to show for my flab? Zero, nada, zilch. No husband, no kids. I had gone from having four guys to choose from, to having two, to having one sure Aristo with potential for second wife, to having no one.
The worst part about all this- other people. I'm sure if I was the lone inhabitant of an island, I could live out the rest of my days in lonely, unassuming bliss, but of course, in my current predicament, other people always had their say. From my mother, who said it was because I didn't pray enough, to my best friend who alluded to my hot temper, to other friends who claimed I was attracted to the wrong sort. There was also the paranoia that naturally came with my situation. There was a friend I could almost swear uploaded photos of her husband and twins on Facebook just after I shared something on my timeline.
People made you feel like you were not doing anything about your situation. How many people could I tell that I had bookmarked the Ten-places-to-meet-your-husband-in-Lagos article on Bella Naija and showed up at all ten, including the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge at 6 am?
The worst critics were the retards that said: "There is always that one guy for you, most times you just can't recognize him for who he is". They were just waiting for me to admit that no one had propositioned me in two years.
Thank God I had money and a profitable business. At least I had something to show for my forty years, that and diabetes, but like all women, I wanted the trifecta; husband, kids, and money.
My driver Mufu, the tribal-marked OND holder from the wrong side of town, flashed me to come down. He drove me to and from the shop every day. His thick Yoruba accent was a constant source of amusement for me, and he didn't mind that I laughed when he said 'epp' instead of help.
"Today we are going to Mushin first, " I announced to Mufu.
I was heading to eleven on the Bella list, the one suggestion they forgot to add- spiritual epp. This was my birthday gift to myself, not a Birkin like last year. Birkins are cold sleep companions, I would know. This year I was taking the advice of my formerly 40-and-single friend now married. She swore by this Alfa. He led her to her husband. We drove quickly to Mushin.
The Alfa's place wasn't at all what I expected. No pungent smell of incense; DSTV in the waiting room showing ELTv and not Africa Magic Yoruba; and a good-looking, young, perfumed Alfa.
"I'm from Toyin. I came here because…"
"I know why you are here," he cut me off, "but I need you to answer one question first. What has ears but cannot hear?"
I looked at the dude; what a joker. "A deaf man, of course. He has ears but he can't hear." The Alfa smiled. "You came here to ask me if you are going to be alone for the rest of your life or if you will find love. The question I ask you is if you find love, will you recognize it?"
"There are two great loves in a person's life," he pontificated, "The love of your life and your one true love. The love of your life will climb a mountain, swim a river, and meet you at the point of a great need, but if you are not careful, you will not see him when he comes. Your one true love you will only find after you have lost the love of your life.”
I thought about my great need- a Range Sport. The love of my life must be one loaded guy! "How will I find them?" I asked, "I need a sign."
"You do not need a sign to find the love of your life. He will show himself to you before midnight today," said the Alfa as he stood up to leave.
"Wait! What about my one true love? How do I find him too, just in case?"
The Alfa smiled. "A birthmark just behind the right ear."
The Alfa left, and I walked out to the car. On my way, I became dizzy. Hypoglycemia. Mufu rushed towards me, "I need a drink Mufu". Mufu opened the car, carried me in and put on the AC. He left and got back two minutes later with a Sprite. Reliable Mufu, but he was now dirty and smelly.
I gulped the drink in less than a minute and felt my blood sugar stabilize. I looked at Mufu. "Mufu you are a pig, so dirty, making my car smell, can't you take a bath and buy deodorant, with all the money I pay you, gosh!" Mufu was quiet for the rest of the journey home, but I didn't care, I was too busy thinking about my tall, dark stallion of a man holding the keys to a white Range sport. "Mufu why are you so quiet?" He continued to ignore me.
I slapped the back of his head. Mufu turned around with a murderous look in his eyes, but he turned back and continued driving. When we got home, he handed me the car keys instead of taking them home with him so he could wash the car in the morning before I woke up.
"Won't you take the keys home?"
"No," he said gravely. "Good night Ma."
Mufu got into the two-bedroom apartment he shared with his mother and sister. He sat down on the bed in his room and decided he wouldn't show up for work in the morning.
He could have taken the long way round to get the Sprite, but he knew Madam could die if she didn't get sugar. He had climbed a mountain of refuse and swam through the lake of filthy water to get it for her, but what did he get in return? A slap on the head.
In an ideal world, he would know how to pronounce hypoglycemia so it didn't sound like 'Applecemia', Madam would love him and he would take care of her every day for the rest of her life but this was not an ideal world he thought as he drifted off to sleep.
Sade, too, was drifting off to sleep in her large, soft bed. It was midnight, and she had not met the love of her life, but thank God her one true love was still out there.
She would look behind the ear of every single man she met, she wouldn't give up on love, she would find a man that would love her for her, warts and all.
She scratched the back of her right ear as she slept off, touching the tiny birthmark she would never see.
Abidemi Abudu is an avid reader and part-time writer of short stories.