I must have checked my wrist watch half a dozen times over the course of the last ten minutes; willing time to fly faster. How I wished I could miraculously teleport myself from Chicago to Maryland, skip the almost two hours flight in-between. I sat at the departure lounge at O’hare and willed my mind to be steady and busied myself on the phone: returning emails, reading interesting anecdotes and generally snooping on other people’s timeline on Facebook. I felt him sit beside me, but apart from taking a sneak peek at his glossy loafers I returned my attention to my phone.
My phone rang, it was my spouse. We spoke for a couple of minutes in Yoruba. When I was done, I heard him clear his throat to get my attention.I looked up. His complexion the palette of raisins- a deep mahogany brown. He was clean shaven, and just a couple of inches taller than yours truly. His teeth a bright white that would have cost a tidy sum from his dentist. His arms were nicely toned. Now, please don’t judge me for taking into details the features of another man; being happily married does not make me blind. ‘Lookery’ is not a sin. Anyway, he heard me speaking the language of my birth and turns out his mother is Yoruba, his dad from the West Indies. Mohamid he said his name was. As luck would have it, he was on the same plane and yes, seat was next to mine. I was anxious about traveling by air, if I could make my trip by train I would have. Unfortunately, I had only two days to spend with my friend and if I had taken the option of the train-it would have been to get to her home and just turn around and leave.
Our flight was for yet another hour. He told me about himself. He was twenty nine. Unmarried. The first of two children. His parents were retired and living a life of leisure in the Bahamas. His younger brother was in the army. He had served two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. That would explain the nicely toned physique. He has never visited Africa but was a lover of Afro beat music, pioneered by Fela Kuti. He asked me so many questions about Fela and his eyes lit up like diamonds when I told him I once saw him while riding shot gun with a friend back in the early nineties. I wasn’t a fan but have grown to find the African beats synonymous with his music bearable having pledged my undying love to a man who loved his music. He was standing on the balcony, wearing a pair of dark colored briefs only. His gaunt torso bare, his hair unruly and pinched between his fore finger and his thumb was the thickest joint I had ever seen. He was surrounded by a mob of people both at the balcony and the ground floor. And the air was rent with constant chants of ‘Abami eda’. And with that little story, my status before him was quickly upgraded.
I resisted the urge to lie to him; to tell him I had visited the Shrine and had seen Fela close up,or that, I had smelt the air all dredged up with the burnt musk of weed. No, that was not my style. I told him the truth. I had never visited the Shrine. Never seen him close up and up until I met my spouse who has an eclectic taste in music which included Fela, I had never paid much attention to the musical maestro. I did,however, by default had found him engaging as I grew older. His lyrics rings true even till now, sadly. The political system of Nigeria is worse now than over thirty years ago when he coined the lyrics of I.T.T(International Thief Thief). And I have found, depending on whether I have had a shot of Irish cream or not after my dinner, the loud and brassy beats of Egypt 80 actually sound melodious and more than tolerable.
As the plane taxied and gained momentum, I felt bile rise to my mouth from my stomach.I tasted the residue of my lunch:eba and ogbono soup at the back of my throat. I gagged, thinking I would vomit. He immediately noticed and gestured for the flight attendant’s attention. When she was slow in responding, he gently guided my head between my knees and rubbed between my shoulders. Even in that uncomfortable few minutes, I was mentally going through my Rolodex. This one would make a good husband for a single friend. Kind, attentive and good looking-which of course, we all look for. The third of the three by no means the most important but lets be honest, packaging sells the worst product; at least for the first try. When my stomach settled and I fell into a drug induced slumber, I felt the sand man visit with the back ground lyrics of Fela’s Lady.
I asked Mohamid if he had any plans to settle down and start a family. He responded the affirmative. He said he hasn’t been lucky in that segment of his life. I mentally did another check. I will definitely be acting the match maker very soon.