Conversations { on Nature Vs Nurture, Trauma & Self Fulfilling Prophecies } in Waterloo.

{ Fictional Stories about Factual Food Reviews }

“Huh?! Babes, which one be this now? No real malt deh for shelf abi?”
“You this girl? Apart from your noise, what did you bring sef?”
“I tink sey you talk sey, nah your mama bring loot for London abi?”
“Hmm, take am! Long throat!” Chidi shoved, tossing a newspaper wrapped parcel across the couch to her mate.
“Why would you bring me that? You know I’m a vegan?!”
“No. You’re a beg Faridah. You season your vegetables with Jumbo Chicken Stock?! What the actual hell, babes?”
“Bruv I’m A Nigerian Vegan and I’m sorry but I need seasoned food?!”
“You mean you want to eat vegetable based dishes that taste like Jollof rice?”
“If that definition makes you feel better then sure. Don’t hate the player babe. Urgh just let me be man?! I just can’t with all the meat, I cannot fully function on a meat based diet!”
“So all your life what have you been doing? Just take it man, my mum brought it straight from Abuja this weekend. Anyway sha suit yourself.”
“Chidi please, you wouldn’t understand.”She said, glancing at the dusty spicy sticks of Suya her friend was gnawing on. “I’m not eating that, what else did you bring?”
“Okay, take Abacha then, I made this one fresh, now now, and no more complaints I beg, If you don’t want it leave it for there me sha?!”she warned.

Chidinma was the backbone of their relationship, nurturing and strong enough for the two of them and many more. She refrained from externalising her emotions and kept her troubles secret, protected. Faridah’s, on the other hand left much to be desired, whether she liked to admit it or not, interpersonally she was emotionally unstable.
Two weeks prior she had waited until the very last minute to buy her graduation robe, and sulked for a week about possibly not attending the ceremony.

“It’s all fake, I didn’t even want to study fucking Law?! What am I gonna do with my life now? I may as well give this certificate as a gift to my parents. They wanted it not me!?”she wailed to her friend via Skype. She graduated 1st class with distinctions, she was good at doing as she was told, following the rules and conforming to social standards.

She figured from a very young age, that if she carefully recited and practised things that were seen as good she would get far in life, with little to no hassle. During winter nights and summer days, she kissed and never told. She cooked, cleaned and helped her single mother take care of her younger siblings and during spring afternoons she cleaned her room for the boyfriends she would never sleep with. She kept them in conversations for hours dissecting their nature, assessing them to see whether or not it would be safe enough to possibly participate in mistakes with them. As often as they fell into friend zones of unrequited love, she improved and updated her standards and relational requirements for the opposite sex, whilst maintaining an air of mystery and sexual provocation.
As her mother worked double shifts to pay off the mortgage debts she was left with after the divorce, she often returned home, tired, vexatious, and irritable. Thank youscame by sparingly and most times, at times where one would expect them as mere signs of gratitude, they were non existent, verbally and emotionally.

“Yes Ma! No Ma!”was their usual mode of conversation, a good child in danger of mistepping the emotional boundary her dad had broken when he left them for his secretary many years ago.
“You Igbo people and your food stuffs, I can’t lie, the variations are there sha. This Abacha is tasty mehn!?”
“Lick am well! You know I added small small crayfish and then ground peanuts for extra texture?!”
“Mad girl! You want to poison me?”
“Ahhh I beg!!? Ms Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Herbivore, Carnivore, many names, but you’ll still sit here with that your one useless mouth and swallow my food? Ndi iberibe! Foolish girl!?” she spliced, followed up by a long and deep stare into Faridah’s soul, inserting her authority and whipping her into place like a ruthless mother, much like her own; interfering with a personality trait she would often associate with her father.Moments like these would shift her perspective quite drastically, allowing her to emotionally and psychologically evolve into a more nuanced individual.
A fly on the wall waited patiently, as though on witnessing their exchanges, was easily persuaded to believe that these girls were enemies rather than friends, and on careful observation decided to stay and watch in confusion, missing the greatest opportunity to ambush the discarded slices of raw plantain by the sink.

Switching and shifting over the lines of abuse and nurturance she brought the conversation into a space of healing and observation.
“Anyway, my newly graduated babes! Now that we have gotten past the mourning stage of the ceremonial process, we can officially celebrate you properly! Akua is still on her way with some more Jollof and the rest of the food, but enjoy this one small while we wait.”
“Thanks.”she sulked. “Who else is coming? I don’t want to have anxiety, so just need to prepare myself before hand.”
“Which anxiety, you?! Fari Fari!? The social butterfly?” she dismissed whilst dishing up a small plate of rice.
“Chidi stop playing.”
“Haha! Fine girl!! Look, I invited Kwaku and Rotimi, also Daniel, Ayo, Luke, Charlie, and all the girls.”
“You think you’re so slick innit?”
“Look mate?! Hahaha!” she slipped,“You said you liked Rotimi the last I checked, you’re both Yoruba, then Charlie your English bae and Daniel your favourite lightie!”
“Why are you mad though? Just enjoy yourself and act calm when they come it’s not that deep.”
“But it’s not you who has to manage them all when they come it’s me? Why can’t you respect that? You love to force me into situations I’m not comfortable with. You’re just like my mum sometimes man. How the hell are we even friends?”
“RidiRadah, you’re a graduate now, next thing on the line is boyfriends, then marriage and kids, you better start now to figure it out because I wont always be there to save you?!” The cry had fallen on deaf ears, but quite clearly Chidinma had misunderstood.
Faridah was a careful girl around men, Chidinma on the other hand had a past time as bright and as fair as her aunties described her skin tone. She seemed to believe that what she felt was best, was best for everyone, and rarely checked twice to see if she was correct. It was her beauty that distracted others from the call to responsibility for her actions. As often as she played cupid to please her subconscious desire to draw attention towards herself, she failed in acknowledging the way in which she climbed above her friend’s self esteem in the process.

“Gini mere? What’s the issue though on a serious note?”
“I have agency you know?”
“Oh god, come and see grammar?!”
“No, but like as an individual, I have the ability to make my own choices, especially with the things I’ve experienced, I think I’d be best at making my own decisions when it comes to men?”
“Why the hell do you always have to overanalyse shit? Always adding psychology here and there?!”
“Seriously Chidi?”she forced herself to question, rhetorically but with enough space for her friend to check herself.
“If it’s not about dark skin this and feminism that, it’s about your daddy issues or whatever?!”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll figure it out when they come innit.”
“No? Finish up now, you always like to leave open ended statements, everyday is a guessing game with you this girl?! Kai!?”
“Well shut the hell up and listen then?!”she cautioned, silencing them both into a violent staring contest.
“Ndo, oh? It’s calm. I get it, I just want you to know, that you are not your mum and Rotimi is actually not your dad?!”
“Yeah… that’s definitely not what I was getting at. But okay…?”
“No, I remember you once said, you don’t want to run from your issues with colourism, into the arms of a light skinned guy. You also don’t want to run from your issue with blackness, into the arms of a white guy. So now Rotimi?! You guys gel so well. What’s the issue now?”
“It’s not quite as simple as that, and you’re taking what I said out of context and minimising my feelings to suit your own narrative of me…“
“Heyyyy! Lawyer!! Come and see! You graduated from the correct course! Big girl!”she teased.
“See, you will never really understand, but I would actually appreciate it if you respected my feelings right now.”

“Alright. I’m sorry. Come.”Holding the plate of Jollof and a dishing spoon in one hand, she reached out to Faridah, welcoming an embrace.
Her chubby caramel flushed arms wrapped around her friend’s slim pecan coloured stature, like a vertically stood slice of Baklava.
She wept. “It’s just, I remember the day he left, and the years heading towards that day. I remember watching them grow apart and the disdain in his eyes towards her?!”she choked “The way he would use me to go against her and then turn around and say I’m just like her as though it was a bad thing, and not speak to me for months on end?!”
“Ndooo. It’s okay.”
“No it’s not okay!? It really isn’t. I have those memories imprinted in my soul and I’ve observed them to the point where I know them better than they claim to know themselves?”she paused to intellectualise and site her references. “Like a Fruedian fate. You know, you hate something that you’ve learnt to understand, so much you internalise that coding and become it.”Chidinma rolled her eyes above her friend’s head.
Faridah stepped back to make space for her explanations, leaving her pal confused at the speed in which her tears could dry up. “Sometimes, you think you understand something so well because you studied it, but in practise you’re a big joke. You think I could actually practise law like an actual lawyer? I’m running away from the things I really want, just to please everyone else?!”

Chidimna stepped ever so carefully towards the stove to occupy herself as the other delved deeper into an outward monologue of her revelations.
“I wasted time vicariously nurturing other peoples desires when I could have been seeing to my own. I know I am my own person but I need the space and time to develop into that without outward interference.”
“Eh but that’s what your childhood was for, your parents took care of you then. Now you have to do the rest.”
“No?! They were busy fighting each other!?”
“Okayy! I’m sorry!”
“It’s not about sorry, it’s about fact. It’s not about me being right. It’s about what might be right for the particular situation, and I know that Rotimi is not right for me, neither are the rest of them.”
“Wow?! How did we get here from there?”
“Is something actually missing from that your skull?! Fine babe, no brain. Abi?!”
“And now you’re going to turn on me because you can’t get your way nko?”
“Let leave this here man.” Inhaling deeply,“I don’t mean to loose my temper, I just..”
“Isn’t that the way you described the way your dad did to you?”
“I know, I know, I don’t mean it! So you do get what I mean then?”
“I don’t know about all that, I just know that you have to have more self control. Here, taste this fish I made, it’s not too spicy, you’ll like it…”she deflected.
“Can I taste that malt?”

“Hmmm, Yeah go on then. It’s actually 50p at Tesco, used to be 25p, then when I began buying by the dozen they increased the price?! Theifs!”
“Can we sit down?” Faridah solicited, hoping to continue the previous dialogue. “Is this my plate?” her tone had gone from that of a well-versed intellect to a needy infant.
“Well that’s actually mine but you can have that one. You want plantain?”
“Yes please. Thank you.”
“Look, Faz, I know I don’t tell you enough, but I actually love and admire you very much. You’re like a sister to me. You have qualities I wish I could add to my own. I’m a babe sha! But with yours on top that’s definitely babe central.” It was unclear what her point was. “Don’t hold yourself back from life. If I could walk in your shoes for even just a day, the amount of guys that I could have crawling at my feet for marriage?! A very healthy selection! Chai!?”she swatted at the unassuming fly preoccupied by the moist plantain skins by the sink.
“So when you’re done milking me you’ll just abandon me abi?”
“Here we go?! It’s a joke man calm down.”It was in that moment that she noticed that her friend was much like her father.
“If you’d learn to assess your thoughts before you spoke then it’d be easier to deal with you. Then I wouldn’t be as surprised that I’m surprised by your actions. I’d cope better after you were done with me.”
“Story story! Is it not compliments you’re fishing for or? Eat that your fish I begi!”
“Is it just you or Igbo girls in general, that just think the world revolves around them?”
“You’re a hater! Lawyerrrrr! Next caseeeeeee!” she dismissed.“Come let’s watch Queen’s Court on Youtube while we eat!”

As they positioned themselves for comfort there was a struggled twisting noise coming through the keyhole in the front door.
“Heyyyy, etesen?!”
“I was just about to text you to see where you are! This mood hogger is draining the atmosphere!”
“And look at this late comer?! What did you even bring, that your Ghanaian Jollof?!”Faridah mocked.
“Indeed, that which will always be badder than yours?!”
“Ohhh clapp back!! Cannot fault you on that! I hear no lies, and I have tasted the truth!!” Chidinma attested.
“Hmm, You’re a somebody in Jesus name!”Akua claimed, dismissing the regularly over done debate, placing the plaid raffia shopping tote down and elegantly high-fiving her friend. Others had come and gone but this Ghanaian came to stay.
“An extra portion of Tsofi for you…”she winked.
“Oya, oya, oya, girls let’s start getting this place ready, biko nno.”Chidimna demanded.
“Ah beg! What do you mean my friend?!”Faridah barked.
“Mepakyew wae, Ekom de me.” Akua pleaded.
“Okay fine”she complied hesitantly, “Let’s just chop our own small, and then and quickly get ourselves ready. It’s not a thing where our guests will be arriving as we’re decorating, mba mba mba. I don’t need that.”
“Ah ah, Chidinma chill down?! Is it not the three of us here, we have a couple of hours left, we’ll manage. Calm down?” Faridah bargained.

The mood transitioned swiftly as Akua returned from a once around the AMP system, pointing to her friend playfully.
“Baby oya mek we do, paradise nah me and you, baby one plus one nah you, only when you chop I chew!” she sang along as Praiz and Sarkodie began to blare through the speakers.


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