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Diary of a Nigerian Single Mum: Valentine’s Day – Love Comes in all Forms

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Dear Diary,

Day 11

I was in a very foul mood earlier today! No nothing has happened. Well that’s actually the problem isn’t it? Nothing has happened! I’m ranting? Yes, well you’re my diary and that gives me the right to rant. What has ticked me off you say? Oh well nothing important really. Except that it was St Valentine’s Day and I was all alone surrounded by kids and dirty diapers. No flowers or chocolates, no musicians serenading me with beautiful love songs outside my door. No surprise presents, no kisses or warm embraces, or candle-lit dinner. Just me in my bedroom with screaming kids. Yes, I’ve told you about my kids.

Oh, and frogs! Did I mention the frogs? They were at their loudest today. I never used to mind them before but now they’re beginning to annoy me. No wonder the French eat them. Sad thing I’m not French. I would have had them for lunch and lit some candles from Iya Mulika’s shop. But lighting candles alone in my bedroom with roasted frogs is not romantic, it’s downright “jujuish.” All I would need to complete the picture would be red face paint and some drawings of skeletons on my walls and calabashes with blood in them.

I wouldn’t do very well as a juju priestess anyway. I’d be too kind for the profession. I’m sure I’d just keep dashing people spiritual money and cars until the gods sack me from my job. I won’t be able to kill anyone either, or at least kill them for real. I’d just keep killing them and waking them up, just so I can see their relations scream and run away when they get up in the morgue or at their funerals. Just for laughs of course.

Anyway, so I decided to go to chicken deli for some solo lunch and a cold drink. I fancied some wine but since I didn’t have any, I settled for a bottle of Malt. For the special occasion of course. Guess who was at the table across from my special chair. It was the lady that got booted out of my seat some time ago. She was sitting with a young man, laughing out loud at something he had just said in Yoruba. It was my turn to eye her dramatically not because she offended me or anything. It was more of jealousy because she had company and I had none. I noticed they were wearing outfits made from the same material. The “asoebi” obviously meant that they were married. They seemed happy. I gave her some more eyeing for that reason.

I looked down at my usually interesting plate of moimoi. All around me there were pieces of chicken on everyone else’s plate. My moimoi seemed to be mocking me and my malt drink was determined to finish too quickly. My straw made an embarrassing sound as if to let everyone know I had drunk the last drop just in case I kept acting like the can had something in it. My happily married, asoebi-wearing sworn enemy heard the sound and turned around. I was going to eye her again but my eyelids hurt from going up and down at such a rapid speed. So I just let it slide.

There were couples everywhere and looking around, the loneliness hit me like a ton of bricks. I longed for someone to laugh out loud with. I picked up my phone and called Kristof. The call rang out. He didn’t pick up. I began to imagine him out on a boat with a long legged blue-eyed Slovenian model. I imagined she would be laughing out loud at something he had just said as they looked into each other’s eyes. Since I didn’t have a name for this make-believe model, I cursed all the Slovenian girls and all the ladies in Europe as a whole. I damned them to hell for their straight legs, naturally long hair and variety of eye colours.

I decided to go back home as the happy environment made me suddenly nauseous. So I got up from my chair and took a motorcycle home. My mom had made dinner. The kids were happy to see me and the apartment felt welcoming. I smiled at my kids and gave them a big fat squeeze, then I gave my mother a kiss on her cheek. She giggled like a little school girl.

I was grateful for their love. It never took a day off and it never counted my offences. Suddenly I felt like the luckiest woman on the planet. With new found gratitude in my heart, I dished myself a large plate of homemade Valentine’s day jollof rice. it had taken my leaving the apartment in search of what I didn’t have, to make me long for all that I already had. My mom made a joke and I laughed out loud. Who said wishes don’t come true?

Namaste!

Margaret Onoh

Peggy is the founder of Ponder Works Publications. She is an author, ghostwriter and content writer. When she doesn’t have her writing cap on, she is a full-time mother and to two young children and a self-acclaimed super chef!

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