The beep of the phone woke me up. I rubbed my palms against my eyes and I picked up the phone from the bedside table, “Hello.”
“Hello. This is Viola Davis from The Guardian. I-”, the voice on the phone rapped.
Doesn’t The Guardian own a clock? “Look at the time, Viola. I-”
“I am so sorry for any inconvenience. It’s time zone really. I didn’t check.”, the voice waited for a response and when she saw she was getting none she continued, “your recent blogpost on the racism issue faced in America has been of an interest to us. You know with Donald Trump recently sworn in as President and the fact that many African-American are unsure of his next steps.”
“So what would you like me to do for you?”, I said impatiently. All I want is to get off this call.
“We’d like you to write some articles on that area. We’re doing a complete projection of what America is to be like in this current Administration and your blogpost proves that you have an authoritative say in your own aspect.”
“But you do realize that I am not a citizen of US. I don’t think I do have any authoritative say on anything.”
“Yes, you do. You have thousands of readers and well, critics, who read what you offer them. You’re an inspiration to many others. I’ll be personally glad if you’d do this.”
I laughed. “I don’t have any choice. Do I?”
“Thank you. Remember, it has to be an exclusive. You’ll not be able to post the same content on your blog.”
Jeez. I need to sleep. “Yes. I really need to go now.”
Then, she hung up. I tried to go back to sleep but it was no use. I’ve been having sleepless nights recently. I can’t believe that it was just six months ago I asked Kendall to help me create the blog. The first few months was a big failure. Most people had advised me to stop blogging about racism. It was an old topic, most of them said. I knew what they said was true but I wasn’t writing to be popular. I knew I was writing for a particular voice, a particular soul, who needs inspiration. I was willing to write to give inspiration to such person.
However, the popularity began when I started the cover the 2016 US presidential elections. I was supporting Hillary Clinton but I ensured my blog was neutral. I believe people needs to act on their own beliefs, after all that’s the essence of democracy. I noticed many people visiting the blog after I had posted this:
THE US ELECTION TO A FOREIGNER
Back in my home country, America is praised to be the World’s greatest country where everything supposedly works perfectly. I have lived a short period of time in the country but long enough to identify its flaws.
I have discussed racism as one key flaw of this great nation. The world had thought America had defeated this problem when an African-American became president. But racism came alive in full force in this election. I see a country where the citizens are xenophobes. The racism is still alive in the American blood. No matter what, an American will always judge based on colour.
Another thing an American will always judge based on is gender. Although, gender inequality is a problem faced everywhere in the world, but America has always boast of having a community of people with equal rights. There is no favouritism based on gender, but I have failed to see this in such absolute terms.
Another thing is Islamophobia. To a Nigerian like me, I feel my country is even more at peace with the Muslims than America, even though Nigeria has suffered many terrorist attacks. I see a country full of people who are afraid and even hates the Muslims. They have forgotten that not all Muslims are terrorists.
I would not be surprised if Donald Trump wins the election on Tuesday, November 8th. He has calculated, like a true politician and businessman, what he needs to win the election. He used issues like racism, and terrorism to win the hearts of Americans. And in the presidential debate, he interrupted the opponent, Hilary Clinton several times. He showed exactly what he feels. ‘A woman should learn not to argue with a man.’ During this election, he proved that America still faces these issues and it would be better for us all to reflect on them regardless of what happens on Tuesday.
I was surprised when I saw different comments coming. I had thought it would end up like most of my previous posts, but I was surprised the next day to see that that post already has 100+ hits and about 30 comments. Well, that was an all-time best for me.
I continued writing and my blog grew in popularity. Each time I walk down to a coffee shop, I meet a fan who would either praise or criticize my work. There was a particular day a woman spilled her coffee at me and said, “Watch your way! Stupid rhesus!”
I was taken aback and said, “Excuse me?”
“You heard me damn right. I wonder who gave you the authority to write about our country. Go back to your poor country and leave us alone”, she rapped angrily.
Then, I knew that not everybody loves what I write. The woman I encountered earlier had taken umbrage at my work. But I did not care. Instead, I started to write more on Africa. I travelled to various parts of the continent and wrote about the diverse cultures of the people. I also travelled to Australia and Europe and I wrote some articles on the arts of Da Vinci, Raphael and so on. I encountered different problems when I want to write on art and there was just one person who could help me with that. Rasaq. I was faced with a difficult situation. It would be awkward for me to contact him after the years of silence.
I eventually contacted him. He was a different storm. His voice on the phone was rough and definitely not Rasaq-like. “Hello? Who’s this?”, he had said when he picked up the phone.
“This… This is a mistake”, I replied.
“Halema?”, he paused for effect, “I’ve missed you. I thought something had happened to you. I tried all I could to find you. You have no idea of what has happened. A lot has happened since we last saw.”
“What… What are you talking about?”
“My father’s company has been investigated by EFCC and we lost. EFCC claimed my father was a corrupt man who had succeeded in embezzling the government’s money which he used to set up the company”, he said in a forced tone, “I really hate to bring this upon you Halema. How have you been? Where are you? Why decide to contact me now?”
I understood that since the time Muhammadu Buhari became President of Nigeria, the EFCC, which is an anti-corruption organization, had been fully active. Every naira had been questioned and the people who are found to have embezzled the government’s money have been prosecuted. I believe it would be an effective means of fighting corruption in the country. However, what happened to Rasaq struck me like a truck.
“I’m so sorry to hear about the company. I haven’t been in Nigeria. I’m in the US now. And I was about to ask you for some advice on a matter that interests you. But that can wait.”
“Oh, I hope you’ve been enjoying the States.”, he remarked.
“Yes, I have. I have been writing a blog. It’s really a big thing for me, but it’s no deal really. I’ll forward the link to your email.”
“Halema, I’m so sorry for all I have caused you in the past. I’d do anything for you to just forgive me. Recent events have taught me a lesson.”
“Oh, I’ve forgiven you a long time ago, Rasaq”, I said and replied, “I really have to go now.”
The ping of the alarm drew my mind to the present. I have been daydreaming. I fired up my laptop and went into the bathroom to have a bath. It’s time to face the day’s problems.
I got five new emails. Two from The Guardian, one from my long-time friend Phil, and two from my sister. What?
The Guardian can wait. I opened the email from my sister quickly and I read.
Mom’s dead! Come quickly.
Even though I had grown indifferent to my parents – they had sold me at birth, at this moment, I knew blood is thicker than water. I quickly called my boyfriend, Mick.
He picked up at the second dial, “Hey babe”
“I have to go to Nigeria immediately”, I said quickly.
“What? Hope nothing is wrong?”, he said. His British accent is one of the many things that drew him to me. He was born in Oxford, England and he grew up there. However, he was a person who loved adventure and so he has been moving from one country to the other. He had lived in Ireland and Scotland before moving to the United States.
“That is the problem. My mother is dead.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Do you mind me following you?”
“No. Actually, I want you to be there with me. That’s why I called”, I said.
“Great. So when do we leave?”
I went to the kitchen to prepare coffee for myself. While drinking I let my mind slip into another memory lane. This time the memory is not of Rasaq or my blogging life. It’s about Mick. He’s the most wonderful person in the world with a unique sense of humour. He’s intelligent, cute, tall, and before I forget, he has a lovely accent. I consider myself lucky to have someone like him.
We had travelled round the USA together once. We went to the lovely Princeton with its organic life, the country-like Texas, the wonderful Los Angeles and the best of all, New York. New York struck me as very similar to London. But whereas London has a calm atmosphere, New York has a dangerous one. New York seems to be a place where everybody had different lives. It was lively, energetic and challenging simultaneously. The peripatetic life of some people in the city appals me, though. It was at New York that Mick and I first had sex. I remember that rainy night as if it happened yesterday.
We were returning from an exploration of the city when the sky turned grey. The cool breeze made my goose bumps rise. I shivered and I was enjoying it. Mick turned to me and he landed a trail of soft kisses on my face. He then moved to my lips. He kissed me and I returned the kiss. The rain started falling but we didn’t care. He continued his trail of kisses to my neck and I giggled. The rain fell heavily and I was gasping. Then he carried me in his arms like newlyweds and we went to the room we had rented in New York.
We continued our amorous affair immediately we got inside. I haven’t had such a good time in a long time. He tore off his clothes and I did the same. He carried me to the bed and he continued his trail of kisses. Every nerve in me ignited. They have surely missed this. Then he tore off my pants exposing my naked self to him. He then sexed me orally. I served him a hell of a blow job, as he later described it.
Then came the real thing. He thrusted himself into me and he began the up and down cycle. In and out. In and out. I met him with every thrust. To every action, an equal and opposite reaction. He dipped further into me and I was closing in on my consciousness. He rotated and he out and in again. And then again. And then again. My whole body was combusting. I finally exploded in a very delicious orgasm.
We later had quarrel. It was an unprotected sex. His argument was that it was a spur of the moment thing and I told him he should always be prepared.
I shook my head and my mind came to the present. How could I be thinking of such when my mother just recently died?
I called my best friend, Julia. “Hey, Julia.”
“Hi. What’s up?”, she said.
“I have to go to Nigeria today. My mom died.”
“I’m so sorry, Halema”, she offered. She started to cheer me up by telling me some stories and I told her I was fine. “Are you sure? Are you just saying that because that’s what everybody says?”
She also has the ability to read one’s thoughts. “I will be gone for a month or two. “
“Ok.”, she said and I visualize her nodding her head like she does whenever she says ‘Ok’. Julia wouldn’t know what it means to lose a mother. Her mother was a prostitute, who had abandoned her near an orphanage. She grew up in the orphanage, and the nuns and other orphans became her family till she was able to support herself. She never stopped visiting the orphanage. She was grateful. It was because of them she was truly alive. She was also grateful to her mother for not aborting her when she could.
“If you need anything, I’ll be here for you.”, she said. Julia is always genuinely ready to offer her help. That is a very wonderful quality she’s got.
“Thank you”, I replied and I hung up.
Mick came to my apartment around 10am. He had prepared everything needed and he was ready to comfort me. And he did. We had a very hot sex before we left for the airport. My inner scolded me for my behaviour. Your mother died. You’re having bodily pleasures.
We boarded the 12 o’ clock flight to Lagos, Nigeria and I was ready, ready to face my family after a long time.