Realizing I needed a memoir to document my queer experiences wasn’t instantaneous. I’ll say it’s born from a hunger for diversity in the African queer narrative I read. Being bisexual is not a survival lifestyle for me. Neither is it a freaky Friday escapade with a boyfriend and olosho. Nor is it a way of getting comfortable with being a lesbian. Although the available narratives don’t ascribe to these annoying, societal assumptions. But my stories are mine.
I feel it’s a further reflection of how I, myself am a blend of complimentary, unsuspecting differences. Many bold queer women are inspiring love, acceptance and diversity across the African continent. I just want to share my thoughts, erotic adventures and experiences. If it informs, inspires or arouses you. Then that’s a plus.
Oh! Did you think this would be an essay on why I’m queer? I’m so much more than illicit texts and online comments. Zaza is my life memoir and I’d love you to enjoy m|
The click-click-tap of my typing pauses. My left fingers leave the black keyboard. They wrap around my ringing phone. The plain, black, thumb ring, gem encrusted index and pinkie fingers knuckle rings musically tap it’s Eko-bridge, my plate number, yellow tricycle artistically drawn case, raising it. The blinking screen shows Chi Richards and below it; Emergency Contact, Food Entrepreneur. Seeing this makes me smile then swipe left, forgiving the interruption.
‘Hey Boo?’ my soft voice inquires.
‘Heyy you! Quick one, what do you rub on your vajayjay tears?’ Chi asks in a usual breezy tone. The question stuns me for a nanosecond. You’d think it’s an inquiry into the weather at Opebi.
‘Vajayjay tears?’ I repeat to get clarification as I lean back onto the cylindrical rungs of the clear, plastic chair that looks like an ice sculpture.
‘Yeah, you told me once. Shea butter, coconut or olive oil, I’m unsure. Tears from rigorous sex Zaza.’ the breezy tone sounds silky. Warming my cheeks with a blush.
‘Chi, who calls someone in the middle of the day while they’re sorting their lives out to ask such questions!’
‘Someone who is a BEST FRIEND’, a sweet response sings in my small ear.
‘Probable! probable Bestie.’
‘Look Shea butter is slow. Coconut or olive oil? Which oil heals tears faster o?’ his silky Nigerian accent has a hint of impatience so I stop teasing.
‘Actually olive oil, just rub it on the tear and it works. But shea butter works fast for me. Coconut oil is a natural lubricant.’ I say while pulling a clomp of brown kinky coils from my nape bun. If Chi was here my right matte lemon finger nails would get smacked. Hand-in-hair syndrome has been my 6 years long, naturalista struggle. Continuing I inquire, ‘I’m curious,who tore something?’ Then wiggle my filled-in eyebrows.
‘Uhn, I did. Before you start preaching. It was that new guy. He was so intense and yes attentive to my pain.’
‘Chinedu Richards! First of all I don’t preach. Secondly, of course shea butter would be slower for a butt tear. Dude! Pele. Wait, intense eh? Gist me o.’ Concern and intrigue filters through my voice as I rest my left elbow on the cool, silver, balcony railing.
‘Zaza I will but later. I have some boxes to give these delivery babes. They just arrived. Gtg. Love you babe.’ His hurried tone makes me smile and blow three kisses.
‘Oh by the way guess who had 600 page visits in two days? I did! It’s amazing the effects of implementing She Leads Africa’s social media marketing training email series. I got numerous orders and follows also. I’m running out of the Naija Party Jollof scent.’ Interrupting Chi I exclaim, ‘I hope you kept the batch I want to give as wedding souvenirs!’ I sit up then burrow my gold, glittering toes deeper in my grey fur balcony slides.
‘I got you babe. I kept your box aside, immediately you paid. I need to go.’ he insists. ‘Congrats on your increased instagram engagement. Watch out for my post today. It’s taking about tips for buying air-fresheners that match one’s decoration theme.’ I rush talk to the silence.
‘K, bye!’ our call ends with me smiling.
• • •
I remember meeting Chi during NYSC. We didn’t click immediately. But after a series of random interactions and whatsapp status viewing we got closer. He was surprised I had began blogging since my fine-art polytechnic days. Also impressed I’d began an interior decoration business after some trainings before gaining a BS.c admission. It was nice befriending a bold, supportive man with beautiful skin. I was shocked someone could study perfumery. With both of us having business trainings we had being queer and creative in common.
Utilising his lessons from his parents catering services and a research team. He released what would change the Nigerian air-freshener and perfume industry forever. Naija Aroma, sells scents that capture our Nigerian food aromas. Want your car to smell like you’re hiding a pack of Party jollof rice under your seat? Or your office to smell like yummy, hot dodo or chilled zobo? That’s why I’m happy my batch is safe. After initial difficulty getting investors and nation-wide recognition. It’s delightful seeing Naija Aroma join international innovative companies.
A blurry site icon comes into focus as I snap out of my reverie. It’s my blog icon making me guilty. I left it’s drafts for Evernote. I navigate the mouse to click on the icon. My dashboard fills the screen. Rubbing the small, black patch on the keyboard like a lover’s clit, I click preview. After proofreading Tips: Buying Home Air-Freshners. I close the preview smiling at my site icon. Its a picture of the dark brown work table in my study. The space in the middle with the blog name is framed with minature sculptures and wooden figurines, small yelow-orange flowers sticking a recycled glass pot, a pair of my father’s vintage glasses, mint green pens, a custom ankara notebook, split and full agbalumo and littered black velvet awin fruits. I remove my eyes from Zaza’s Decorations & Collectibles hovering above a mishapened head figurine on the right angle of layered sofa fabrics beside a tiny glass saucer with milky orange agbalumo halves.
Lemon flies over black keyboard, as I type a conclusion of the post. Health concerns, home decor themes and prices, are great considerations when buying air-fresheners. You want to buy an air-freshener that not only smells good. But is dispensed from chic recyclable containers. After all, you don’t want to find out cheap air fresheners are a contributory cause of lung cancer later in life. How your house smells is as important as your customised throw pillows and family portraits. Don’t forget to keep the air freshners away from children and pets. Especially if you buy those gel ones shaped as fruits and sweets by AirEat. Scintillating scents from Naija Aroma are dispensed from artsy sculptures. It’s what makes them premium scents. Keep them high away from disturbing jolts or fingers.
When you order from any of the linked companies, money from my 5% discount code is donated to Lagos Food Bank. Use the discount code, ZAZA fellow enthusiast! Don’t forget to tag me pictures of your beautiful air fresheners.
May your day be decorated with goodness.
After saving and previewing I click publish then view the post. Satisfied with how images from my study and brand account of referred companies add visual inspiration to the post. I smile as a comment pops up. You write about simple daily objects beautifully, RoseP17 comments. ‘My genuine gratitude’ is what I type back. I’d already shared a shorter version of this post on my Instagram. It’s the caption of a shot of my library shelves with a minature metal Olopo pot, newly released novels from Parresia and Farafina publishers and a small bowl of purple pears. The native pears are actually pear-scented gel AirEat air-fresheners. The pot is the container of Naija Aroma’s best selling Naija Party Jollof scent.
I sigh and look out the balcony. I push the laptop towards the middle of the clear plastic table. Notification zings ring out from my phone as I eat yellow yoghurt through my full lips. Beams of sunlight hit the table’s circular edge and does a glitter rainbow dance. Breeze brings cool air, conversations in Yoruba and honking traffic noise. I feel at peace. If I could, Laide would be mine but instead she sent me her wedding invite and aso-ebi. She said her relationship with Jimi wasn’t too serious. Why did she bother sparing my feelings? After all my flirting, support, fantasies and money spent at the food festival. I don’t get the girl. My pearl-white teeth chew currants and broken almonds in the yoghurt. After I get out of my white, strappy bodysuit and into the bathtub. I’d finish my notes on reasons why. Or so I promise my sad heart.
•Reasons Why is a ZAZA entry. ZAZA is a heartfelt queer memoir of self love, sensuality, erotic sex and romance.