I think I need to go back to Nigeria, or at least visit a new country in Africa soon. Like, there’s a restlessness in my bones that I just can’t quite place… I actually miss feeling that tidal wave heat that smacks against your skin like the calloused palms of an old aunty wrapping her hands too tightly around your waist, in her eagerness to greet you.
I miss the jolt and shudders of Arik Air plane wheels bouncing against a hot and dusty runway track; the smirk that forms on your lips as you remember the heavy sounds of spontaneous applause that heralded the finale of your safe landing; hands that cracked together with fervour, as if to echo in collective praise, the sounds of a turbulence passed over, that they are thankful the heavens did not permit.
I miss the car raising bumps from potholes previously promised to be filled by the previous year’s national budget – thumps that would have my childhood lungs screaming “Jangolova, epo moto!!”, with a stomach queasy from the feelings of dizzied ecstasy.
I miss smelling the sweet-tangy-fizz of carbonated and processed citrus as she stares at you – waiting – for you to finish the clear glass bottle of Fanta you hold pressed for too long against parched and famished lips – impatient – so she can carry on with her day; bright eyes appear from the bundle of ankara print pressed softly onto her back, their now peering eyes, curious, at the disturbance of their cocooned sleep.
I miss the booming noise of Lagos that quickly filters into the background of your dreams whilst you sleep, in sometimes hot and airless, sometimes cool and air-conditioned vehicles. The general furor of the marketplace that hums around you, of grinding generators and revving engines, urgent calls to “buy butter-bread!” – the daily buzz of hustle – of people using machines, unlike here, where we teach people to be used by, and then too soon become them.
I miss the heavy heartbeat drums of a season’s worth of raindrops, like Sango unleashed and pounding, reaffirming themselves onto the body of both corrugated iron and tiled brick roofs alike, whilst within wearied bodies drift on.
And sometimes, on early mornings such as these, watching a pitiful grey light stream in through the interstices of my curtain windows… I miss my grandma; though here I know no plane, only fond memories, could ever carry me to where she now rests.
– Princess Peace