Gelês are evil. They should be banned from our sociéty. Period.
Now, don’t just jump and start saying things in your mind like “what kind of nonsense conclusion is that? How can geles be evil? Etc ” . At least wait to hear my side of the story.
It all began with the “hot” slap Mama gave me when i was 12 years old. By hot slap, i mean the kind that leaves you speechless, not because you lack words, of course I, Femi cannot lack words and i am not bragging. I only knew i was speechless because as i opened my mouth to cry, i heard nothing. I really tried to force the sound but concluded after several failed attempts that my vocal cords must be damaged. Thankfully, the damage was only temporal because after 3 minutes there was a restoration of an unrecognizable high pitched, hiccupy voice from my throat. It was on that day, June 20,at about 9am that i knew that there was something called the “destiny-changing” slap. Now don’t ask me what i did as if it is not what i am about to tell you.
It was her usual Sunday ritual to stand in front of the mirror for God knows how long, sweating profusely, loosening and retying her gelê because she had asked me if it was fine and i complained about one side looking a little out of place. Of course I didn’t expect her to lose everything to start from scratch just because an *olodo boy like me says it is somehow, i mean what do i know about this gelê thing sef other than my hatred for women who go out of their way to construct something the size of a smoked fish basket, only to come and sit in front of you at your own best friend’s mum’s birthday party until you cannot even see anything except the partial view of an old man’s rumpled shirt beside where Jumoke’s beautiful head had been positioned. It is also on days like this that Papa would storm in angrily after waiting for what seemed like eternity for Mama to come out so they go to wherever it was they said they were going.
Actually, on the day of this slap i am telling you about, Papa had just come in with his eye red (from anger) and a very visible patch of sweat around the armpit of his white agbada. He had been ready for over an hour and now he just looked pathetic. He shouted something about Mama being the cause of all his lateness and resultant disappointments in life. Mama angrily loosened her gelê that was almost perfect and shouted back an angry what do you mean?, how do i make you late, when last did any of such even happen… Eh? Tell me? . I know i should have walked out, but no, i stood there like a fly caught in the middle of satisfying poop. I turned to Papa as he tried desperately to recount past situations to no avail.How could he not remember?
See, i was only trying to help really, i wanted to make Papa proud, to see him smile at me from the doorway where he stood now. And although his teeth was brown, the brownness would be diluted by the surrounding shadow cast by the heap of old clothes behind the broken door.
So i cleared my throat and said “Mama, have you forgotten you made Papa late for the naming ceremony of Iya Idris last child and last Monday, for my open day and for Mama Kamoru’s mid…”I would have continued but for the dead silence that was now too obvious. Anyway, that was when the destiny-changing slap hit me. Now tell me, tell me what i did wrong. Just tell me. The worst of all was that Papa just stood there in silence like a log of wood.
It is not like the slap is still paining me, something that happened over 15 years ago. It is just that some times i sit and remember the dead silence that came before the slap, how i should have known and run away from the room but no, i stood there rooted to the ground… Same way i am still standing here in front of the congregation counting seconds until Bunmi walks in.
I can sense that feeling all around me and i know that i should run out but no, i am still here thinking about how this was all messed up. How i had run into Bunmi at Banji’s wedding and i am not lying it was the gelê and the way it looked on her that made my heart stop. It was her gelê,not the way she carried herself laughing so heartily at one of the other bride’s maid. See, she is not even fine like that o, she is actually very annoying when you get to know her but i don’t even understand how like a cow that doesn’t think i went to break up my 5 year relationship with Jumoke. Jumoke who shared my hatred for gelê and preferred English attires. Now, as if that is not enough, i am now about to sentence myself to a life with a gelê tying woman who would probably slap my son one day out of frustration.
There is noise, let me stop this thought that i am thinking. Everyone gets up, they say the bride is matching in.
I look up, it is her, my Bunmi.
I readjust my suit and sigh deeply. It was not the gelê, it was her.
*Olodo – considered dull