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#instastory: Do You See?

When I look at this stealth adventurer, treasured tales traveller, bookstagram prop, bookshelf space thief–I wonder if you see what I see.

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I see me finally dropping the sword of action on many areas of my life. The sword I’ve held poised above certain insecurities and action steps the past fortnight.
Do you see the Pirate’s eye? It draws my grandmother’s single breast and left flat surgical stitched cheat to sight. My diva whose fighting breast cancer and is slowly completing the cycle of life.
When I look at the credits of this imagined short film we are read-watching. The credits! The tiny words on orange behind the minion? I think of months ago..before I was cut off from your ‘hey beautiful’ texts.
You might just gaze at this yellow adventuress and just see my humoured disinterest frozen confusingly on an orange beach of memories. Granules of crystalized pleasure and pain from past lovers calling back.
So do you see?

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#instastory:EVERYWHERE?!

I read small white-biege pages on yellow danfos amidst the sunny Lagos bustle. Not even the jolts of an okada can tear my eyes away from devouring ebooks on my @okadabooks app. My fingers hold down a novel’s open spine hoping salt or palm oil won’t scar the characters while red stew boils behind me in the kitchen. When standing on a lengthy atm queue of stout, lean, brown, black bodies–I pull out and continue the day’s poetry collection from my handbag. The @rovingheights book mark protects my spoon before I launch it into the depths of a glass jar of hazelnut chocolate spread, when reading African literature. Heck, my bookstagram is filled with quirky book photos. The imaginary lives, world and adventures of unforgettable characters enclosed in a book can always be seen next to me.

Even in the shower. I can’t just leave the exposed world crafted by the tiny black words of another creative. So don’t judge. Am I the only one who carries my new books everywhere?

#instastory: Cassava Flakes of Literature

His fat thumb tapped the erase icon repeatedly. He looked at the snap and typed ‘Those who drank garri with me then will eat with me now’. Immediately he posted it messages rang in. Who had cooked such a feast? What type of chocolate wasn’t on that cake? The questions were followed by lustfully emojis. His chubby cheeks curved into a smile. As he started another video to capture his bestie popping champagne. She paused pouring the pink liquid and started screaming, when Hakeem opened the large red box filled with 24 novels from her Christmas book wish list. Garri for Breakfast, Selected Poems was the first on the right stack. The uploaded snap with views increasing. A dope bestfriend deserves cassava flakes of literature sprinkled on her birthday gifts.

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#Instastory: Sunday Lunch

Obiageli didn’t want a cliche Sunday lunch. She had made a list of ingredients—onions, small tin of sweet corn, green pepper, carrots, frozen turkey laps, Know chicken seasoning cubes, sausages, a bunch of yellow and black streaked plaintains, Gino curry and thyme. Other ingredients for her fried rice recipe, she purchased from memory. Being Easter Sunday she had an admirer and dear friends to cook for, a small lunch party. Her sister eyes were buried in the pages of the Linda Lael Miller western romance novel like sauce stuck at the bottom of a pot of rice. “Go and buy the turkey, one kilo. Chioma!” Obiageli said through the creaking brown door she held slightly open. “Okay, I’ll dress up and go.” Chioma responded without closing the novel or looking at her. *** Finally the front door closed behind her sister who walked on clutching crisp one thousand naira notes. Several minutes went by as she diced a large onion and five plantains humming to Mayorkun’s verse on Don’t Mind blaring in the kitchen. The queen part of ‘One of my Slay Queen’ was cut off with the start of her ringtone.
“There was no turkey. Just Orobo chicken laps. Should I buy the nine hundred naira own?” Was the question that replied her hello. A deafening pause assisted her thoughts. When asked what she’d cook for Easter Sunday Lunch Party. She hadn’t wanted rice and chicken. Yet it seems the Sunday lunch powers have her at the last minute making just that! “Yes, buy that. Thank you’,she answered as the end tone beeped.
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FROM THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT: Mid Semester  

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For the past two weeks one reoccurring action step was ‘read the Company Law mid-semester test topics’. The reason Law of Business Association is called Company Law by students is still unknown to me.I did accomplish these tasks. Depriving myself of the comfort and intrigue literature provided, I studied. My eyes digested juidical precedents, memorised doctrines and principles of company law, interesting cases names and facts, noted history and progress of company law in Nigeria. I attended lectures competitvely sitting on the first lecture row with other eager female coursemates. My white cotton shirt was crisp, clean, bright and beautiful especially on Tuesdays, Wednesays  and Thursdays. I listened to the learned scholar with his varying shades of grey suits to couldn’t cover his pregnancy. Then made photocopies of materials to study later at night.  Other first row occupiers and I discussed our various understanding of the importance of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, corporate personality and powers of the organs of a company. I continued preparing for the upcoming mid-semester test. During the weekends I stayed indoors having turned down dates from enchanting admirers. The closest I got to pleasure reading was from a few legal academic articles published in the Faculty’s Book of Reading. The book bound enlightening articles on theoriticial and practical operation of various areas of law. I was amoured with its papers as they exposed the bright minds of ignored faculty academic staff.

The day of the test finally arrived. After spending three hours from the crack of dawn revising, I drove away from my apartment armed with my pencil case. The pencil case had a black biro, spare pens and a red one to write out cases and statutory provisions. I had steered the sleek grey Toyota on the Lasu-Iba expressway to join the moving mid morning traffic beforeI remembered.  I slightly tapped pressure on the brake with my small right feet in a black flat shoe. I remember I forgot to take two full scalp sheets. You could never be sure when the test giver would require we have our own answer sheet. Apprehension rolled off my furrowed brows and I eased the presure off the brake unto the clutch.  I had decided to leave my cozy, peach walled apartment two hours to the stated test time. On arriving to the faculty and its tall buildings, trees and loitering students, I made a relieving discovery. The test was thirty minutes before the 12noon I was told. Mischevious coursemates or misinformation, I couldn’t say. With my coursemates both were almost the same.

Fifteen minutes after the stipulated commencement time I scribbled my matriculation number on the signed answer sheet our lecturer brought. All my revision, disscussions, studying, highlighting payed off. I answerd a stipulated question analysing the provisions of Comapines and Allied Matters Act on the Memorandum of Association, the Ultra Vires Doctrine and its exceptions. After black inked words crawled to form my conclusion the test ended with a loud order. ‘Pens up!’

After accomplishig action steps that bring me closer to achieving goals I usually reward myself. My slightly folded tummy had rumbled with hunger thrice as I scribbled the position of statutory provisions on acts outside the powers of a company. Amala and Ewedu! Singed my mind. Maybe with some Gbegiri and Titus fish. A quick mental calculation of the naira contents of my leather wallet assured me I could afford my lunch. One Word, DELICIOUS! That is the only word that described the hot meal I carefully spoon through my glossed full lips. Manoeuvring the yellow gbegiri, brown amala, deep orangish fish-ponmo stew immersed in red palm oil. I succeeded in not leaving a damaging drop of oil on my white shirt. My satisfied pace slowed in comparison to my hungry gait some minutes ago.

Later in the day searched for some piece of fiction or literature in the Novels folder of ebooks on my laptop. My eyes were tired of paperback novels stacked at the edge of my brown sofa. I found Jeffery Archer’s infamous best selling novel, Kane and Abel  and so began the enjoyment of my second reward. An impressive lengthly novel that chronicled the lives of two men; William Kane and Abel Rosnovski. Immediately seduced with the plot that spanned decades across Eastern Europe and the New World, America. The highlights and horrors of history. A crash course on stock trading, hotel management, investing and banking. These I analysed with my little knowledge of Law of Business Associations. How zeal and hunger influence career paths. Love, friendship, family, honour and enemity. Comedy and fate. These all made me unable to exit  the ebook and sleep. 11pm to 1am, looking at the page number I read on. 3am, excitement from the interesting plot kept sleep at bay. My brown doe eyes were glued to the ebook till almost 5am! Resuming my reading some hours later I watched how a misunderstanding, pride, fate, smarts and determination push both men to their zenith and down falls.

‘Old age and fear of death allows for sudden change of the heart.’

This quote  stuck with me as the novel’s unbelievably satisfying plot came to an end. I learnt a few valuable lessons and a lot about the World Wars, America’s Boom and Great Depression, fashion and political history of those eras. Reading the book made me wonder what decisions I could insightfully take today. Just at the seeming end of an educational career and professional milestone, my LL.B. Decisions that will shape my career and future relations or even wealth. My rewards were from my first two loves: food and reading. Though tired I am still truly satisfied. My new action steps will accommodate a study schedule for my project research and the upcoming first semester exams of my final year. The other weeks after mid semester are promising as a lack of time has eased into an abundance.