A friend of my mom from way back showed up out of the blues. She looked frail and wrinkled and her skin was suffering from the aftermath of years of intense bleaching. I didn't really pay her any mind, she didn't look exciting. You know like those friends that come in nice cars, well dressed, smelling good and you know... the whole well put together woman deal. So i guess, i didn't feel any need to be extra cool with her. I thought she was a burden especially when she opted to accompany mum to the village for one of those elections. As a senior civil servant she was obliged to go to her hometown to vote and make sure others did too. I think it was the 2004 presidential elections.
I was less than thrilled, election and village time was my thing with mummy, i would be the one keeping her company when the meetings were over, it would be the two of us sharing a meal with my uncle who was home too. It would be me the uncles gave money to, now they would have to give her too, probably from my share.
Anyway i didn't pay much attention to her, till one afternoon a day to the election, we sat down together while mum was in on of those meetings with the villagers. She started telling me her story and it was too much to take in. She saw the doubt in my eyes or maybe my thoughts of "kai stop lying" were louder than i thought. She brought out her old ID card and i was thrown off my seat. This bleached out, burned out woman was such a diva in her day, she had the Diana Ross hair and the exotic look. She was a babe and some.
She worked for Nigerian airways back in the day as an air hostess for their international flights, she happened to serve the first class cabin. She told me stories of the men, big names today and how they hit on her, how some parted with one too many dollars on the plane as tip and hotel details attached to the cash of course, and how she actually dated some... This piece of worn lady was once to be married to an ex president... then he got locked up and when he got out and sent for her she told me she sent back to him saying she was only interested in being a first lady, since he was no more president she had lost interest.
I asked my mum later and she confirmed her story. Mum talked about how she was in New-york every other week and always wearing the latest fashion, and how she owned expensive things, the envy of both her friends and foes. Did i mention she left her husband in her days of glamor, mum told me this part, not her. Look at her today...
I was so curious, i asked her if she's seen any of the men since...
she told me she ran into of the famous chiefs and he gave her
some money and asked her to come to get a car...(i wasn't convinced she
was telling the truth) if she still looked like she did in the 80's, i would have seen the logic there, because this guys latest wife is a babe. I guess that's where her lie came in. I think she was living
in her past glory, she started telling stories of BA calling her for a
job interview... she probably was trying to impress me, to look good in
my eyes. The long and short was, she came to mum after all these years to get some cash to renew her passport cos she was going to start a job with BA(all na wash of course). Probably the only way she could ask for cash from one of the women she posed for without feeling ashamed. I felt sorry for her.
Life is so unpredictable, one moment you're at the top of your game, the next you're just another woman, seen as less than the other women.
What happens when the bleaching stops, and the men stop seeing you as appealing, and the superficial life of glory fades? What happens when the fashionable clothes are out of fashion? We need to think of the future even as we go on the instant gratification trips... nothing superficial last forever, not even beauty. Get your act right and put yourself together while you can, don't get to a place where you can only live in your past either in regret or longing... just because you can't stand who you are at the moment.