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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Balenciaga

Okay. I admit it I’m out of my element. Not in the fish out of water way but more like goldfish swimming with the tilapias. I mean take that woman for instance I’m sure her patent Balenciaga bag costs more than my annual salary and to me my pay’s not that shabby, to her it’s a bag, probably one of a closet full. So you could ask what I was doing at the same party with Miss Balenciaga. I was asking myself the exact same thing.

I was born and grew up mostly in P-Town (that’s what the trendy kids call Port Harcourt now) but I migrated to the west after I was done with primary school and I’ve been in love with Lagos ever since. I mean my entire life is here, my confusing boyfriend whom I love despite the fact that I seem to want to break up with him every two days, my best friends (frankly I have about 10 of them) and all my fave places, like Takwa Bay, The Palms, Silverbird Galleria and oh Nando’s. I mean I love P-Town or rather I love my family which is rooted in P-Town but Lagos has grown on me.

You have to love Lagos, whether you’re the quiet type or the one the bouncers know by name, it’s a town that takes care of everybody.

So back to the Balenciaga party, I mean ok I’m fresh out of medical school, doing my housemanship with a leading private clinic and still so excited I’m scrawling Dr. Yvette Greene on every scrap of paper. Yeah that’s my name Yvette. Apparently I was conceived in Paris, the most romantic city in the world, by the way being conceived in a place doesn’t make you a citizen and frankly that’s unfair. I would make a nice Parisian, rolling my r’s and saying “bon” all the time. Okay back to the point, I tend to roll off tangent at times. I hate being called Yvette so everyone calls me Vee. I share a flat (when I say flat I mean a small cramped one bedroom in Lekki) with my friend Nissah. The good news is it comes absolutely free, Nissah’s uncle lives in the main building and she works with him so the flat comes as a perk with the low paying job, even though her uncle is as rich as Oprah! Okay maybe i tend to exaggerate a bit, but you get the point. So it’s Saturday and the lady of the house is attending some kid’s first birthday party and she asks if Nissah and I would like to tag along. I say ok, I’ve got nothing better to do. Besides there’s no light and we dare not put on the generator, Uncle D probably measures the diesel level with a tape rule. Nissah and I barely cook and its mid-month so the fridge is empty. The prospect of free food has us moving in fast forward. I throw on a top I wore the previous day, on top of faded jeans. Nissah digs in her wardrobe for something nicer and advices me to do the same.

“Nissah it’s a child’s first birthday not a presidential gala.” I’d said as she threw on a new sundress. Now standing there in the back garden of a sprawling estate in VGC I wish I’d listened to her. Everybody looks so chic, that’s everyone but me. Nissah tosses her new weave and smiles like a movie star, her two year old cousin expertly balanced on her hip. I realize just then that I seem to have fallen quite by accident into the world of the Lagos socialites.
“Hello” a tiny woman trills enthusiastically as she walks over to us. Nissah’s aunt smiles as they hug and kiss the air at their chicks. I have never understood why they do that.
“Milli! You look great. I can’t believe Mercedes is already one.” Nissah’s aunt said. Mercedes? I could never seem to understand why people gave their kids names like that. The poor thing would probably grow up into a Mercedes, big, imposing and high-maintenance. Whatever happened to the good old traditional names? (Yeah, I’m one to talk)
“The little things grow so fast” the petite Milli says with a dismissive wave of the hand, “is this your sister?” she asks looking at Nissah with an appraising smile. I’m used to the reactions people get around my friend. She’s tall, dark-skinned and curvy with a heart-shaped pretty face. Nissah is stunning. That’s the word. Frankly I have no problem with the fact that I pale beside her. I’ve grown into my skin and the realization that I’m some guy’s type at least.
“Oh, this is Nissah, Dede’s niece. She’s a stockbroker.”
“Good afternoon” Nissah says with a wide smile. I wonder if the sides of her face ache.
“She’s a pretty one.” Milli says, “Deji’s brother is just in from Singapore, we should seat them together.”
I shift awkwardly from one foot to the other feeling completely ignored, I mean I seem to have faded into thin air, even Nissah seems to have forgotten I’m there. Well actually I have faded in my grey top and washed jeans. Everyone else is in brightly coloured tops and dresses with huge designer bags. I walk behind them silently as Milli, the hostess, leads us to a table. The children are in the middle of the garden playing a game and Nissah’s cousins run off to join them. I and Nissah settle down while her aunt does the rounds. “Did you see Tunji Coker?” Nissah whispers fiercely.
“Who?” I’m rather distracted, wondering which of the three buffet tables I should attack first.
“Tunji Coker, Dextron Consult. True Love’s bachelor of the month.”
“Really?” I’m not that interested. My stomach is growling loudly. Actually almost everyone looks familiar, in that you-know-me-but-don’t-know-me way. “let’s get something to eat.” I say and Nissah gives me her ‘are u crazy’ look.
“What? It’s a buffet.”
“Vee we just got here. We don’t want to look like we’ve been starved. Give it ten minutes.”
“okay” I mutter crossly “but if my stomach starts to growl loudly you cant pretend you don’t know me.” She laughs.

We get to find out that the party is for the third child of Milli Oderinde who is married to the first son of Justice Oderinde, the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Nissah is so excited to learn that. She studied law but was posted to a capital management company for her youth service. I’m more surprised to learn that Milli has had 3 kids with that body. She’s a size 6. A thirty something year old size 6. I’m 23 and I wear a 12, on my good days a 10. I hate her instantly. More so even when she comes to our table to make sure we’re all fine and completely ignores me. I’m a doctor, I want to scream. I’m important too. I don’t have to heft around a Mui Mui or Lulu Guiness bag to be noticed.

To be continued.........


Rene said...


Buttercup said...

Read this on your other blog. Off to read part 2..

Original Mgbeke said...

First time here and I love it!

Neo said...

thank you! coma gain! (punjab style)