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Excerpt from “A Biography: How Tourism Saved My Marriage”

By Nneka Isaac Moses

It was my very first time on a movie set. They cast Isaac as my boyfriend in the movie. So, we were both in a room and we were asked to open the door once we heard the Director say “Action”. Standing at one corner of the room, I had my script in hand trying to revise my lines diligently. I was a bit nervous, as it was my first attempt at acting. Then all of a sudden; Isaac grabbed me and kissed me so hard that he sucked both my lips into his mouth, as if he was going to eat me up instantly! I struggled out of his grip, and without a second thought I gave him a hot slap on his left cheek then stormed out of the room.


A few days after the movie shoot, he came to my house seeking forgiveness and wanting to make-up for his unruly behavior. Although I had forgiven him, he insisted on a date with me.
He said, “If you are really sure you have forgiven me, then you should allow me take you out for dinner that’s all I ask … nothing more.” So, to get him off my back, I accepted the dinner date, cancelled the hang out with my friends Ngozi Ezekwe (now a pastor’s wife, Mrs. Ufodike) and her cousin Uzoma – they both lived on Elose Street, close to my Boutique at Surulere. You know, once you announce to your friends that you can’t hang out with them because you have a date with a guy, you owe them the whole details of the date.

I fantasized about where Isaac would take me to for this all-important dinner date. Since he did not ask me where I would like to go, I decided to let him surprise me; after all, it was just a one off date.
We got off the taxi at Shitta Housing Estate in Surulere and he walked into a Bukka. I stood outside waiting in confusion. I was thinking, is this our destination? Or perhaps he just wants to pick up something? No sane man would take a decent girl like me to a Bukka … on a first date. No. He will do no such thing! “Nne” he called out, “Come now … Baby come inside o, their food is very good. They even have turkey. You will like it” and I was like, … what! He is actually talking to me?


I felt everyone in the Bukka was staring at me. I was dressed for a dinner date for Christ’s sake! And this guy brought me to a local Bukka? I surveyed the environment. I saw the normal everyday people like two mechanics enjoying their food; a guy that looked like a bus conductor and his girlfriend, who had her groundnut tray placed safely beside her as she snuggled close to her guy while licking her fingers and enjoying her bowl of hot amala with gbegiri and ewedu soup. The very beefy guy at the corner was eating so greedily that anger welled up inside me. Now that I reflect on it, I think I was angry because I accepted the dinner date. I felt so offended, but I didn’t want to cause a scene. I couldn’t sef, even if I wanted to. As I walked close to my date, he picked a rubber bowl-like plate from a basket that stocked it. He looked at me, with a charming boyish smile, and said “Nne pick a plate”. I instinctively obeyed without a word. I picked a plate and stood in line behind him, seriously reviewing my life’s journey and relationships.


I made a mistake. I should have told him where I wanted to go for dinner. Or at least, I should have asked him where he was taking me. In all my years in Lagos, even while growing up, I have never eaten Amala or ewedu, gbegiri etc. As an Igbo girl from across the River Niger, I am very used to Ofe Onugbo, Ora soup, Egusi, Okazi, etc., in fact I also enjoy Afang and Edikainkong.
I allowed this guy to put me on the spot. Dressed for a dinner date at Eko Hotel, I found myself at Amala Shitta joint. Looking forward to a buffet and quiet time by the poolside of one of Nigeria’s best hotels, I ended up standing in line with agberos, mechanics, street hawkers and bus conductors, with a rubber plate in my hand waiting to be served by a rude looking Iya loje. Ha! Nneka, your status has really dropped.


After that date, I made up my mind never to see him again!

 

To pre-order “A Biography: How Tourism Saved My Marriage” by Nneka Isaac Moses,
Email: [email protected] or Call/WhatsApp: +234 818 600 2000

For publishing rights in Sub-Saharan Africa or the Diaspora, email: [email protected]

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Olili Onwa Isaa

Goge Africa’s Amb. Isaac and Nneka Moses, Inducted into Yoruba Youth Assembly Hall of Fame