I really like being alone. I know you can’t really be alone in Nigeria. You have flies and mosquitoes, ants and lizards, running here and there around you. But then, any day, better these than some human beings, especially those who can’t shut their mouths.
You sit on a rock or a chair in the park, the one you are visiting just to please your bucket list, trying to enjoy some peace and quiet. Next thing, you hear a hello in your ear, and you believe many things but the mosquitoes don’t talk. You open your eyes, pause your music and look up to see a funny looking nwoke mmadu. His hair cut is funny, like his barber has a mild case of parkinsons disease and forgot to mention. Anyway, you ignore the hair and look at the face.
Hi, I’m…’ he mentions his english name which you instantly forget because you are not even paying attention. You want to know know why he is disturbing your time out with the lizards and flies.
‘I usually see you around…..’ hold up nwoke m. You lie! You lie indeed! Who do you usually see around? Why are you lying? I just came to this town for law school and I’m at this park for the first time to strike it off my bucket list. Uncle with the funny looking hair, but why?
It is usually at this point he tries to call you Asa, because you are so igbo, it is written on your forehead. ‘Nne, what’s your name?’ You are at a loss. Maybe you should just lie so that he can go away. Or pretend to be dumb. ‘Ngozichukwunedumnwayombenile‘
‘What?’ He gasps. Aah, now you are ready to fight. Did you gasp when he said his borrowed name from a culture he does not understand? Did you open your eyes wide, like he was speaking spanish? But, he just called you Asa, Nne… No, you won’t go into that, so you just repeat your name.
‘Oh, Ngozi….’ Uncle with the funny looking hair, Please, do not be a source of vexation. Did I shorten your borrowed english name which has no relationship with your station in life? Pls, do not reduce the value of my name. Thanks.
With the look on your face, you think he would say his concluding remarks and vamoose but no, he wants to know if he can sit down. Chei! Uncle with the funny looking hair, which part of the frown on my face do you not understand? Do I have to say it in words that… Oh yes, I do! ‘No, please. I would like to be alone.’
So with that, you put your soul music back on. The lizards and ants have missed you. How dare you, ignore them to speak with nwoke mmadu with the funny english name? You are sorry. You apologize. Uncle sees you muttering to yourself and finally says ‘catch you later.’
He leaves and all is well again. The mosquitoes are happy. Okwu agwu.