I woke up to five missed calls on my phone. I had felt, rather than heard its insistent buzz deep within lalaland but sheer tiredness had kept me from waking up. Instead, the phone’s chirpy ringtone somehow ended up blending itself in with the background to some weird dream I promptly forgot on waking.
Of the five missed calls, three were from my mother, one from my father’s phone and one from a private number. This has more or less become her standard M.O. – when she feels I am intentionally refusing to answer her phone calls that is. That she’d called five times suggested it was important, so I groaned inwardly, punched in the numbers for my calling card and made the phone call to Nigeria.
The full repertoire of grunted, fairly redundant greetings done, she proceeded to the core of the reason why she’d called.
“So ‘Seni, I hear you young people now find wives on facebook”
“Mummy”, I reply in best son voice, “where did you hear that from? Facebook is just a website for staying in touch with old friends”
“That’s not what I heard” she replies before she launches into a ten minute tale. Some distant friend of the family, who I had met two or three times at most, who is now retired had scrapped his savings together and sent his son abroad to study at one of my former Universities. Post graduation, he’d found a job in London and was doing quite well by all accounts until he found a wife “off Facebook” my mother insists and got married to her.
A year later, he’d lost his job, it turned out she had been a fraud of sorts (she’d lied about where she worked amongst all other things), and he was back in Nigeria trying to find a job. Somewhere in between talk of having visited some medicine man in an attempt to suss out the cause of his misfortune and all the other ‘spiritual’ sleuthing a traditional Nigerian does..
My mother’s point – important enough for her to try to call me five times in quick succession – was that one wrong move such as finding a wife off face was dangerous. And I needed to be warned/ have my ear pulled to remind me… When it had all wrapped up and the telephone conversation had ended. I sighed and returned to whatever remnants of sleep I could eke out.
It was only 8.30am