Wedding bells…

I wake up to the insistent whine of my cell phone. I try to let it ring, hoping that whoever it is will leave a voice mail but when the call ends there is only a respite of a couple of minutes before the next call comes in. I drag myself to my desk and pick up the phone on the third ring, it is my mother.

– Oohjay how are you, she asks.

I mumble something about being fine, and it being a little early to chit chat. Perhaps she senses my irritation, because unusually she cuts to the chase.

– Kuti’s getting married in two weeks, are you aware? What are your plans?

Kuti is the cousin who was closer than a brother. We’d shared a room since he came to live with us when I was 8 or 9. Alongside my kid brother, we had all our illicit football games together, played table soccer leagues with bottle tops and swapped girl stories. More importantly to my mother, he was the most visible one of her progeny who had refused to get married, well into his late thirties. He turned thirty-seven this year.

– I have no plans ma, I answer.

I have a couple of projects wrapping up at the end of April so I won’t be able to get two weeks off to travel to Nigeria. Plus getting a ticket at two weeks notice would burn a huge hole in my finances, which are barely limping along at the moment in any case.

– Okay o, she replies in a tone of voice that clearly is not satisfied. Keep me in the loop whatever you eventually decide.

We make some more small talk and then she signs off. It is only 5.44am. Sigh.

Father Issues…

On the 4th ring, someone answers the phone. The voice is distant, seemingly attenuated by all the miles of cabling and ether between me and the recipient. There is a certain sleepy quality to the voice too, as though I have woken them up from the depths of an afternoon nap. Its late afternoon in that part of the world, that time of day when the oppressive heat and the lack of activity on a Sunday afternoon combine to lull one into a dreamy haze.

Father answers the phone. He and I have not exactly seen eye to eye for a few years now. Not since that September morning in 2008 when I packed my bags, quit my job at a Fortune 500 company and headed back to full time studies. Thankfully time’s attrition has worn the walls we’d built up between ourselves down but the¬†reticence¬†between us is still there – sometimes seething, sometimes manifesting in monosyllabic exchanges that give the lie to our semblance of civil conversation.

Today is one of those days for the monosyllables. I want it over with as soon as possible.