, ,

It is Sallah (again!), and I drool as I look into the open gate of the house opposite my own. Several huge rams are losing their lives, faster than the ones still alive can comprehend. Like they didn’t know this day would come. But nothing prepares you for your own death, just as nothing could have  prepared me for the fact that, come Sallah, I would be watching the festivities from across the street, even when the party, complete with plastic chairs and tables has spilled onto the entrance to my own house.

I watch in anger.

Why did Funke Akindele go and get divorced?

I had big plans for me and Funke, let me tell you.

It began one morning about five months ago. I was walking up my street with my ‘son’ when he pointed at a jet black SUV that had just raced past.

“Who?” I asked without interest.

“That’s Jennifer,” he said, looking over his shoulder at the receding car.

I looked too. “Jennifer, as in Jenifa?” I asked with some surprise.

“Yes,” He said, glad to be privy to this juicy bit of information that seemed to interest me so much. He went on to explain to me that the house directly opposite my own was owned by Funke Akindele’s “husband’s mother.”

There and then, I had an epiphany. I would be her stylist/designer!

I started to waylay Funke. I would take a stroll at odd times; hide in corners, pretending to listen to music; wander near the fence of the ugly monstrosity of a three-storey house owned by her mother-in-law; and generally carried out a host of other such clandestine acts. I even got the cobbler on my street to call me, once he spotted her. I promised to pay for the service.

My lookout finally paid off. I ‘ran into’ Funke one morning. As she stepped out of her car, there I was smiling at her, extending my hand. She took it instinctively, reacting to the smile.

“Have we met?” she asked, smiling back.

“We just did,” I said, like a smart-ass. “My name is Pearl.” A beat. “I am your new stylist/designer.”

She looked flustered. “But I have a stylist.” She said.

“Who? Lilian? Pssst,” I said. Listen, your style is wack. That means your stylist is wack. I know Ohimai Atafo is a great designer, but your wedding dress was wack.

She regarded me with shock. She sputtered, spluttered, and spat. “Who the fuck do you think you are,” she said.

“Oh I’m sorry,” I quipped, not looking sorry at all. “But I am a stranger, and you can be sure I will tell you the truth. Ask some friends who can be honest with you, if you don’t believe me.” I slipped my card into her unyielding fingers and skipped away before she could say more.

The next day, I got a call. It was Funke. I dropped the phone and danced a jig, and picked it up in time to hear her frantic “hello…hello, can you hear me?”

“I can hear you,” I answered pseudo-calmly. We made an appointment to meet the next week.

The next day, social media caught fire with news of Kehinde divorcing Funke. On facebook!

My heart bled for my new friend Funke. I tried to reach her but she had already changed her number. She never came on our street again. She never called. There went my Nollywood connection. For this, the gods must judge Kehinde.

 Why didn’t he divorce her, or she him, after we were, you know, firmly conjoined?

Speaking of Kehinde, let me quickly, first confirm, then refute things he said.

Kehinde claimed that he was building Funke a house. I hear Funke denied this. Well, she is lying. I would know, since every day, I look at the house through my room window and weep over the close superstar friend I will never have. They were building a house a stone’s throw from mine, which is how come she came around every few days; driving like a maniac down the narrow street and scaring children and chickens alike. And if he wasn’t the one building, surely, she would continue with building her house, even after the ‘divorce?’

Then the other thing. Kehinde, in response to some article, someplace, maintained that he was NOT a tout. Hear him “They wrote that I am a tout. From what you are seeing here, do I look like a tout or garage boy?”

Well, I am not saying that he is a tout, and I am not saying that he is not a tout. But let me tell you a quick story.

A few weeks ago, I was home, working. I had music plugged into my ears and was singing along. I stopped briefly to answer a phone call; and noise from the street filtered in – loud, angry, brawly voices wafting up to me. I quickly plugged my headphones back in and lost interest.

Moments later, my ‘son’ (again), came up, panting with excitement. The story unravelled. Obviously, Kehinde is a member of a twin set, and in the family is another twin set. An altercation concerning one of their properties had occurred, and in the tussle that followed, the two sets of twins had turned on each other, and to the shocked dismay of their mother, and fervid delight of disinterested onlookers, who made half-hearted efforts to stop the fight, the street was enthralled with a display such as I reckon had not been seen in a long time.

I screamed at James, “I am a blogger and stories like this pay the bill. How could you not call me?” I raced down, camera in hand. All I met was a dispersing crowd, drying blotches of blood with its attendant metallic smell, and broken bottles. No story. But I had a good laugh when I read the piece about not being a tout. I guess it is (read the next three words in your best British accent) perfectly normal behaviour for grown gentlemen to come to blows with their siblings, to a cheering crowd.

But I digress.

The whole point of this blog post is that this being Sallah, Funke Akindele’s former mother-in-law is having her annual Sallah fest. As I passed by and watched the preparations in progress, I was forcibly reminded of one more thing I’d lost. Shebi if Funke didn’t go and divorce, she and I would be strolling in, hand in hand, given pride of place, and my cult status on my street would rise to unimaginable proportions. . .


Oh and by the way, all the parts I italicized happened only in my head. But I swear, that was the plan.

Happy Eid-el-Kabir.