“It’s just a wedding, no big deal. “ He shrugged

It was hard trying not to show my shock as this guy just waved something so vital aside.

“Should I drive you home?”

Conversation over? Okay!

“Nope. I’ll take the streetcar.” I was watching out, to see if the car was on its way, when he held my wrist.

“You should get the RocketMan app on your phone.”

It was so awkward already. I couldn’t look at him. He sef was not ashamed, and there was not a lick of emotion on his face. This one will kill you way before you have an idea of his intentions.

I wanted to ask for his fiancée, when the wedding was? Why he showed lack of interest? But the car was coming and worse, it was packed out.

I nodded curtly, just as he did and crossed over to get in. Words were superfluous.

Christmas was rather boring. Even though it was just flurries, it was very cold. Everyone complained of the possibility of it being colder than last year. I had to soak myself into work, as Boxing Day was ‘time-and-a-half’. I didn’t like the job and truly hoped for something better in the New Year, but compared to other international students, I was more than grateful I got something to pay my bills. I also needed my mind fairly occupied, to save me from thinking of him.

I was at the Starbucks on Yonge & Dundas a week after, when I saw him again. In fact the moment he walked in, something just drew my eyes to the door. I had been working on an assignment and seeing him just made me dash under the table to fix up my laptop charger. I kept pulling and pushing the cord until I was certain he had walked past. So you can imagine how stupid I looked, when I resumed position only to find him standing beside the table.

“That took an impossibly long time. I was beginning to come check on you under there.”

He sat opposite me; the lady on the other side moved her books to create space for him. She was stifling a smile.

“Hey. What are you doing here? Stalking?”

“Yeah, indeed. He got up, unzipped his jacket. I’ve not heard from you in a while. Hope all is well?”

I nodded, regretting immediately why I looked at him. That chiseled jaw was way too tempting. Let’s not even go near his lips.

It was getting busy in the store and I watched him follow the line with his eyes.

“Go on.” I encouraged him

“Sure. Have a happy new year.” He outstretched his hand so I just had to get up and hug him. It was just a hug, very brief, until he whispered ‘call me.’

I met Ibukun at the school cafeteria. She was just blowing Yoruba on the phone; talking about how busy it has been with schoolwork and how she has not received some money as promised. We hit it on right away. She was doing a diploma in Digital & Visual Communications and was a really bright chap. Same age, similar goals, single-like me. She actually followed me home that day. She was one of those who hadn’t quite explored African stores in Toronto, making her bank on bread, pasta and rice. If I wasn’t living in a shared apartment, she would have slept over.

I had cold feet stepping into the hall. Bolaji had sent a text short notice, about a performance two days to the event. He said it didn’t quite require any serious practice. If my calculation was right, it was still a week to his wedding. I would be mortified to get there to discover it was actually his ‘own’ wedding.

It wasn’t.

The groom was Nigerian with the bride from Dominican Republic. She had done her homework, mastering all the necessary dance-steps and she was really killing it. She also took to me and followed every move Bolaji and I did. It was a beautiful event and I had no idea what to do with myself after our bit, even though I recognized some familiar faces– his friends. He had transferred my fee to me earlier in the day; so technically, there was no reason to stay. He must have noticed my discomfort so he walked up to my table. The food was great, but I didn’t quote have the appetite, in fact half the time, I was busy chatting with Ibukun. She was very paranoid about Nigerians, especially men. She had shared her experience on dating one who said she was disrespectful and acting as if she’s no longer Nigerian.

“Hey… escape plan?”

He had changed his shirt. He really was a very attractive man and clothes really agreed with him. I also loved the dimple that drilled into his cheeks every time he giggled. From his fingers, he wasn’t married— at least not yet.

“Yeah. I’ve got work to do.”

“Is school on, already?”

“Nope, next week.” I got up, saying my byes to his friends at the table, who looked prepared to gossip after I left.

A section of the building led to Bay subway station, so I found myself looking around lost.

“Which way are you going?”


“You want me to help you out?”

I stopped. I’m not sure why he was grinning. “It’s okay. I will find…”

“Is there a reason, you’ve been cold lately? Is there something you want to say? Any reason why you suddenly can’t make eye contact?” Even though his questions were direct and simple, I wanted to slap the smirk off his lips. I wanted to just walk away and never see him again.

Instead, “No. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Okay, then… there might be another performance coming soon.”

Your wedding? I was this close to blurting it out.

“I hope I have the opportunity to give you a proper heads-up.”

“Sure. Just let me know.”

And there, he was spreading his arms out again. I stepped in uncomfortably, counting–one Mississippi, two Mississippi… and on the third, he touched my nape, pulled my ear close to his warm lips and whispered, “Love you.”

And he walked away, he walked back in leaving me standing in the reception confused.

“I know them, trust me. That’s how they operate.” Her gestures were hilarious.

I was beginning to regret telling Ibukun about what had happened, as she got unnecessarily dramatic and funny. “Ehi, I swear this guy is a joke. He just wants someone on one side to be flexing with, while married to another.”

“He is about to get married!!!” I shrieked as if confirming to myself.

“What haven’t we seen? Was it not one who asked me to accompany him to pay for a hall in Yaba? I had no idea the hall was for his wedding!”

“That is just sick.”

“Exactly. Abeg leave this guy to find his level o. He smells trouble. But you like him?”

“I’m just weirdly attracted to him.”

I got no text or calls from him and I couldn’t stop stalking him on WhatsApp, to check when last he was online. He had not changed display pictures, his Instagram had no wedding pictures, and all the notable gossip blog carried no story on him. I didn’t even know where his supposed wife was from. I was dying for information. I even Googled him a couple of times, but got no gist.

I had just got home from school and was hungry and tired. I usually did my cooking during the weekends and dished them into Tupperwear containers in the fridge. I knew what I was going to eat and just needed to heat it up. I didn’t want to go through the rigor of frying dodo, as it just somehow woke the taste buds of my housemates. I had dropped my bags in the living room, hoping to just heat up my food and not have any real reasons to come downstairs again for the night. My phone rang just as I was about eating. It was even low on charge but I picked it.

First it was quiet until I yelled ‘hello’. I didn’t like the format and was hoping I had terrified the telemarketer calling to do a survey.

“Hello” Her voice was sharp. And this was no telemarketer. Congrats o! You have successfully convinced him to call off the wedding, abi? Well done. Ah!!!! You… you!!!


I picked the spoon and scooped two spoons of rice first, hoping food in my belly will help me understand what just happened.

She blames me for this?

He called off the wedding?

Hold up… Aunty Bodunrin had my number?

© Oyster Finney

Happy New Year family.


Posted by on January 1, 2017 in Uncategorized




“Would you come home with me?” He said the moment he parked in front of my house. He didn’t cut the engine.

“When?” I frowned. Nothing can stop me from devouring this rice tonight.

“No, not tonight. Just inviting you.” He looked at my building. “Doesn’t look like anyone is home. You’re sure it’s okay?” I nodded, grabbing the paper-bag of food from the back seat.

He got out as well, following closely behind. My landlord had obviously forgotten to put more salt on the floor to avoid accidents. He had also forgotten to shovel the snow pathway.

“This is dangerous, be care…” he hadn’t finished saying it before I slipped, but he caught me. It was just on the final step before the porch.

“Wow! You all should do something about this.” He sounded angry.

“Thanks,” I nodded, recovering from the fall and the ‘many’ awkwardness that arose. I wasn’t even sure where I put my keys, but I still tried my jacket pockets, my fingers were shaking. He had followed me to the door and was hovering, which was making me uncomfortable. Was I not supposed to be the one inviting him in?

The door wasn’t locked, which meant Henry was home he was the one who never turned the lock after entering.

“I want to kiss you.”

“Nope.” I shook my head. Announcing it was the spoiler. People do things spontaneously.

He smiled. “Because I asked abi?”

“Who told you to?” I lifted my left brow

“I see. Well that aside, would you help me…”

I turned back to him and he kissed me this time. Honestly? I was confused at first. No sparks flying about. He sef appeared too gentle, like he believed I’ll push him away in any minute and then it was taking longer so I stepped aside, and then inside. “Good night. I closed the door.

Sonia, my new ‘jamo’ friend in school said some company was interviewing for customer service reps for their night shift. The pay was $12/hr so we went. We were asked basic questions and were told to expect something, so recently, we’ve been checking on ourselves on whether or not anyone has heard anything. I was broke and the need to pay rent and all other bills, monthly was still strange to me. Bolaji had called the day after the kiss. It was either me or I felt he sounded sheepish. You know that way you suddenly begin to feel your dignity has reduced? Okay. So I decided to face front. There was so much happening in school, in class. I was getting good grades but that devil tying my tongue down refused to release it, so it was tough speaking and connecting in class. Sometimes, I tried starting up the conversation but even I knew I sounded weird when I still found it strange talking about the weather. Ah!

And there was the confusion with people and their attitude. The one who give you a beautiful smile today and looks past you the next day. I still don’t get their jokes either so I stayed in my lane.

I needed action. I absolutely loved meetups but I didn’t drink which made it awkward. Will I be going to a bar because of Coke? I needed activity and Craigslist was a mess. The kind of things one reads there ehn #lipssealed.

Perhaps this was why I took Bolaji up when he invited me for dinner, two days after. Sonia and I didn’t get called back and I spent a quarter of an hour convincing her it had nothing to do with our race, because seriously, I didn’t want to be one of those bitter people always using that as their go-to.

First Bolaji tells me to take a cab and that he’ll pay. What? I am capable of paying my own bills. Or maybe not. Of course I didn’t take a cab. I tried that once and my eyes never left the meter after every round figure. I couldn’t do that again.

After locating his house on the map, I set out. The house was fine sha, from what I saw. I wasn’t expecting much. When you’ve been alone for a long time, any company is good company, so long as you both have a basic understanding and are on the same level of discussion like ‘change-’ back home and the new government, the latest songs, and then some moves too. He had said he was an OAP for a while back home when he went on a long holiday. He was ideally my kind but…

Next station- Degrassi, Degrassi Street…

That’s me. It was still cold and I’m sure he was expecting me. Sometimes I hated the streetcars because of its excessive stops but it was also the quickest thing to take.

So I walked into First street and located him. Yes that was the house. Before I could press on the bell, the door opened. He was smiling, poking his head out to look for the cab. He looked confused but I kept a straight face. Then he invited me in. There was noise coming in from upstairs so I knew we weren’t home alone. That felt a bit odd. He took off my coat and I took off my snow-soiled boots and lay them close to the door. He still wore some excitement as he led me into the living room. Real gorgeous house. I didn’t like it though. Everything was in place. Too arranged. Even the curtains had gators. This is not the kind of place one can misbehave. One needed to act responsibly here else one will knock things over. Good food smelled from the kitchen. Strong smell of oporoko. Like efo-riro.

“Would you please help me set the table?”


He said nothing about the sounds from upstairs. At a corner of the dining room were about six wrapped gifts in shiny turquoise paper.

He made rice. Not sure what kind but it smelled really good. The efo looked berrrd too, there was another bowl of broccoli and baby carrots. I didn’t even know I was this hungry. And there was soft, nicely-diced, fried plantain. My absolute weakness. I set for two but he added another. Oh!

The clatter came from down the stairs some minutes later and honestly, I didn’t understand the pounding of my heart.

She wore one of these stretchy dresses and her wig was a bit weird- big and curly. She looked mid-40s, like all these people struggling to seem young.

“Hellooooo.” She gave that sing-song tone that insecure people used to prove some point in their heads.

“Hello..” I smiled. Not sure whether to use ma. Aunty Bodunrin looked like her a lot. I spied at Bolaji, hoping to see the same tension on his face as was on it the other day with his sister. He was calm.

“Mum, that’s my friend Ehi.”

Friend? Hold on… Mum

“Good evening ma.” I said more appropriately.

She smiled again. “Hello Ehi. Please sit.” I did.


So we ate. Silence. Then afterwards she tried to make small talk on how I found the country so far, somehow hinting on when and how I met her son. No bad blood.

Twice he passed his phone to me showing me some dance videos. We were stacking the dishwasher when the doorbell rang again.

It was Aunty Bodunrin.

The shocked look she gave upon seeing me was a bit dramatic. Like it was unbelievable. She dropped the gifts she had come with alongside the others, all wrapped in the same paper. Then she scraped what rice was left in the pot and sorted herself. She made no contact with her brother. They passed by each other trying not to even touch. I was confused. I caught his mum looking at me and I looked away fast. It was time to go o. The tension had risen so high and the aunty was avoiding my face too. I thought I heard Bolaji sigh in exasperation when she dropped the plate in the sink and walked away, then she went off to scrutinize the gifts, went out and back in with more. She held like three boxes and her car keys. One of the boxes was almost tipping over so I went to help. If you see the look she gave me. It was more of shock than rude, but she still let me. So I helped her drop them. Exactly four minutes later, I picked my bag and they all got the drift. He got up too. His mum remained nice, cordial, his sister managed a smile and I couldn’t go out fast enough. In fact I wore my coat outside.

“Thanks so much for coming.” He held my hands, turning me to him and you could just tell by his eyes.

“Thanks?” I punched him awkwardly on the shoulder. “Thank you. I enjoyed the meal.”

He laughed. “I can still manage to ruffle stuff up.”

“What’s with the gifts?” I tapped my bus pass, confirming it was still in my pocket.

“The gifts? They are mine. I’m getting married next month.”

© Oyster Finney


Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Uncategorized


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“Hello” I spat into the receiver. I’m not sure the number registered in my head before I picked it. I mistakenly left the volume on and mehn was it loud!!!
“Hey” Are you asleep already? I just wanted to check on you.”
It was Bolaji.
I wanted to curse. Oh! So he wasn’t going to let another four weeks run by.
I pulled the duvet away. Geez! I was sweating. The heater was probably turned on too high. I groped, reaching for the knob on the vent and shut it, then I looked at the screen.
It wasn’t so late. I came in early from school, had a quick meal and slept. I had given my mum the time difference because she was the one always calling at odd hours.
“Hello?” He inquired.
“Yeah hi… What does he expect me to say after the last awkward moment?” Surprised he called this early.
“I hear we’re being snowed in tomorrow.”
I was up fully, opening my laptop. Wow!
“Check the school site. School should be closed.”
“Thank you Lord,” didn’t know I said it out loud. I had an assignment due that I hadn’t finished.
My student page opened and confirmed the news. The weather report had the warning signs in red and I found myself sinking deeper into my duvet.
“So will you be home tomorrow?”
“Is this your way of inviting yourself?”
“Am I? Invited?”
Uncomfortable silence.
“Well I hope the ice flurries don’t get bad towards evening. I was going to take you out.”
Is this how to ask?
“You want to rephrase that?”
I heard him chuckle. “Can I take you out tomorrow evening? You did say you Thursdays is lecture-free.”
I rolled my eyes. “Yeap.” I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. Yes I found him really attractive and smart, but abeg I wasn’t prepared for the drama.
“Where? Are you picking me? It’s rather cold to meet up…”
“Of course I will dear.”

It didn’t feel awkward when he gave me his signature look/smile just as I got into his car, parked in front of my house.
Now I had two reasons to exhale. It was still biting cold. “Hey you.”
“You smell good.”
“Yeah.” He tapped the ignition and turned the car.
“Where are we going? I’m hungry”
I know just the right place. “Do you go to Eaton Centre?” I nodded. “Do you like shopping?”
“You know anyone who doesn’t?”
Another smile. Yet another silent moment.
The driving was a little uncomfortable, trying not to get his sedan stuck on the roads.
“Are you working yet?” he turned to ask
I didn’t want this polite conversation. I just wanted to ask what the deal is with he and his sister.
“I got somewhere, some condo close to home.”
“Oh yeah? As?”
I nod. “Still speculating.”
“Take it. It’s just a part time thing right? At least it would pay some bills. Or did you come fully loaded?”

“What kind of food do you like?” He asked as we got into the mall
“We’ll see.” I assured him
Then he caught my right hand with his left and my eyes crawled up to the joining and then his eyes. Nothing. He just stared.
“Your hands are cold.” He touched it with more purpose. Then with our hands still intertwined, he put it in his pocket and smiled.

The food was good. Like really, really good. We had actually walked the entire food court and he had asked that I trust him on it. I had the three piece- the fried rice, curry chicken sauce, side salad and the coconut shrimp. It was so yummy, so freaking good. He had a fettuccini Bolognese with the same salad and sauce.
“I’m glad you like it.”
He must have noticed how I wolfed it down. I was definitely going to get an extra pack to store at home to eat tomorrow, I calculated. And it wasn’t that expensive. Of course he paid!
“So before you ask, Bodun is my older sister and we really don’t get along.” His eyes bore into mine, trying to suss out what I was thinking. I didn’t look away when I said…
“I wasn’t going to ask.” I nodded
“Okay.” He looked away. I wasn’t sure if he was disappointed or relieved. I sat back in my chair and scoped him well. He had like a scar right above his left brow, making it look like there was some partition there. His eyes were what I found most interesting. They were deep and absorbing. They definitely held lots of stories that I was determined not to be interested in. But he truly was good looking, appreciated little gestures like taking off my coat and hanging them. When he took off his though, I loved the pristine white shirt he wore beneath his jumper. Bolaji was just a fine boy. Whichever way you look at him. His lips were another interesting feature. Pinky-orangy. And from the way he gently bit them, he had to know I was looking at him and was feeling uncomfortable.
“Thanks. Was really good. Can you excuse me for a bit?”

“You got more?
I nodded guiltily.
He smiled. “Do you want to go home or can I take you elsewhere. We were riding back up the escalator and maybe because he was a step higher and he was looking down at me, I just didn’t like the vibes I was getting around him. He was making me too aware of myself. He was a bit tactile too, touching my shoulders, my arms, my neck. The mall was warm enough, but I was freezing beneath his touch. Then he pulled me in just as we passed ALDO. I raised my brow. What?
“You need one of these hats you know. I know your hair is so beautiful and all but you need your head warm. Colour?”
I was putting up a face until he fit a nice, warm, soft, grey cap on my head. Okay so I smiled looking at the mirror and then he bought a small purse.
“You like it?”
I tried to study his face. Nothing. Then I nodded.

The ride back was a little bit more fun as he gave me gist after gist about life here. He was brought here when he was five, totally avoided everything relating to his family and just talked about himself like some space ship had dropped him unconsciously in Toronto. He was funny. His experiences made me laugh. Sometimes I related with the gist, other times I didn’t even hear what he said really well. He was in Naija a year ago, Abuja, for a friend’s wedding. He spoke more of the friend, than he had ever even attempted to of his family. He was pretty complicated. Bolaji lived in The Beaches. Well maybe he didn’t mean it, but I just felt he was a little bit showy. He was quick to state the fact that ploughing the snow on the drive way has been hectic.
His words…
“When I lived in a condo, it was easier, not my direct business but having your own place, you’re responsible for your own driveway.”
I tried not to get slightly irritated.
“What do you do? For work?”
“I was working in investment banking until last year. I’m focusing on my thing now. Can we have a drink there?” He was parking and pointing at a dark looking restaurant, we took the escalator inside and waited to be seated. I ordered an orange juice, he ordered something I didn’t quite catch the name. They asked if he wanted the 5 or 7. When they sha brought it, it was red wine in one of those measuring things that looked like the burette in the chemistry lab Yetunde broke back in secondary school. The waitress turned it into his glass. He drank.

He was looking at me even more intently now. Like every sip of the wine renewed his courage. Next came his hands, which lifted and held mine from the table.
“You have no idea…” He whispered. “You totally don’t.”

© Oyster Finney


Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,




Four whole weeks.

That’s how long it took him to get back. Haba! After the show outside, we had both gone in and moved on to different aisles. The shop was very Nigerian, made me feel at home. It also reminded me of ‘Club House’, the most popular store we bought stuff in our area in Lugbe.

I almost screamed with joy when I saw familiar products. See cabin biscuits, Aboniki, Robb, even Alabukun. Oh my God! See as simple things like Tiger razor blade made me grin like an idiot. I grabbed a packet of plantain chips and fondled it lovingly. Then I saw the beans that brought me to the store, I was contemplating on how many kgs to take when he touched my shoulder.

“Are you done?” he was smiling.

I nodded, picked the 5kg packet and followed him to the cash point.

You know all those women in Lagos market? The ones who sit in ‘owner’s corner’ of a shop and have sales girls flocking around them? Yeah. She was at the cash point. She looked young, her eyebrow, a tad dramatic, but she was smiling at me, at least before she noticed Bolaji.

And here, it is everybody pay for your goods o. Ehen!

“Can I go before you? I’m in a bit of a hurry.” He didn’t spare the lady a proper glance. He dropped his stuff on the counter and she calculated it quickly. There was something a bit tense, but I looked away.

“Can I have your number?” he whispered

I thought I heard the lady sigh.

“Sure.” I gave him

She says to call her ‘Aunty Bodunrin’, making the ‘aunty’ very pronounced as if she feared I’d call her by name. She looked like someone old enough to be my mum but if it’s aunty she wants, will call her.

She also cut across like those aunties that will like gossip because she was winking at me asking who Bolaji right after he had gone. She wanted to know more. Whether he was in my school, if I lived close and if I will patronize her store again.

Okay so now he called.

“Sorry I got all busy and tied up.”

“Oh that’s okay, it’s been crazy busy on my end too.” My course mates have put ‘crazy’ in my mouth

“I was going to invite you for an event.”

Ehen! Somebody cancelled abi?

“I’m blinded with all sorts of course work right now.”

“Actually it’s something you can earn some extra…”

“Abeg sign me in…” I blurted

He laughed.

“It’s dance o. Like we did the other day, but it’s at a wedding. I’m trying to do some entertaining thingie at the event. It’s my cousin’s wedding.”

“Ah.. Ermm…” I stuttered. I’ll go to a wedding and now be dancing. Wedding that it’s not me that is doing.

“It’s a bit strange. I’m not that daring. Something obviously got into me the other day.”

“Come on! I’m the one organizing and the pay is good.”

“Oya tell me about it.”

The after-party made sense and it was so reliving to hear language that I was used to flying around. It was actually a condo and we were using the party room. It was a typical Naija party and even though there were a few oyibos here and there. It was our own. Cute couple.

Bolaji, who even though was a professional dancer, said no training was required. He had sent a few videos to me on the songs and some steps, I could try out. It was simple o, but I looked stupid practicing it on my own, but the money was good. We had also Skyped once and it wasn’t that much of a disaster.

But getting here and seeing it all again made me want to bail, but I had spent the deposit and was actually looking forward to the balance. I hadn’t even seen dance master. I also looked odd dressed in the suit he had provided, with the matching hats.

So the event unfolded and not too long after, he called me to meet him. He looked absolutely divine in his suit, and even though I was wearing the exact same thing, it fit him more.

So we started with a slow one, I had my cap properly covering my face, I knew how these things became objects of blogs and candidates of YouTube and my mother can ‘jam’ them.

But how will I now let this man steal the show? There was no weird movement of lifting each other or even dancing seductively. It was more of two children trying to do ‘best dancer’. The DJ, whoever it was, was so on point, mixing from old school to the latest jamz. People were taking pictures, recording, my cap was no longer even on my head again. We had to stop, so we didn’t steal the show from the newly-weds, and then there was that look Bolaji gave me. I smiled.

“You almost beat me you know.”

“Almost?” I guffawed. He reminded me of Eldee- the musician, had the same butty face, just not as chubby.

Later he took me over to some table where every one wouldn’t stop pulling me close for a hug. I felt a bit sweaty and wasn’t up for close contacts. Lots of compliments flew around the table, many of them giving me more ratings than he but he smiled. He still had that look on his face.

A minute later he said. “If only you people will tell her the truth.”

Everyone laughed. “Bros this thing is paining you o.” Yejide said

“You have met your match naw. Accept defeat.” Tare, one of the guys patted him on the shoulder and we laughed.

“Ah! Ehi how are you?”

“Aunty Bodunrin?” I was shocked to see her. She was so gorgeously dressed.

That moment, something happened at the table. Yejide and Kemi, stood up first. Bayo and Tare went next and it was just us. Bolaji sat upright first and then spread his feet apart, so that his back was somewhat bent in tension.

Aunty Bodunrin dragged the closest chair to me. “How are you jare?”

‘Would you give us some privacy Bodun?”

I looked from one to the other, and was starting to get up.

“Sit down jare my dear.” She tapped my arm gently. She didn’t look like she wanted to cause trouble, But Bolaji looked really angry.

“Will you come back again to the store?” she said that to further anger him.

I nodded like a mumu.

Before she left, Bolaji was up in a shot. “Let’s go Ehi.”

See as this woman came to spoil the fun we were having.

We went outside the condo and he walked me to the busstop. It was extremely cold. “Should I call a cab?” He squeezed what felt like my balance into my hands and I quickly collected it.

“No, I’ve got my bus pass.”


“Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” I offered

“My sister is a big pest.”

“Oh she…”

The streetcar was approaching. He was quiet. As it dragged closer, I waited for him to say something, anything, but his lips were shut tightly. The car had stopped now and there was a small queue building up, he was still beside me. Let this woman move quickly and let me enter jare.

“Thanks Ehi. Thanks a lot.”

I just turned to him, showed the driver my pass and got in.

Mscheww… I didn’t even know what was making angry sef.

I guess it’s another four weeks… or maybe more…or maybe not.


Pix by Huffington Post


Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Ankara Press: Q&A with Publisher Bibi Bakare-Yusuf

Ankara Press: Q&A with Publisher Bibi Bakare-Yusuf

AnkAnkara Press logoara Press is a new romance imprint published by Nigerian publishing house Cassava Republic Press. The imprint launched on 15th December 2014 with six new titles, set in locations in Nigeria, South Africa and the UK. AiW author Emma Shercliff and publisher Bibi Bakare-Yusuf discuss the process of creating romance for the African market. _1page-dividerES: Bibi, could you tell me a little about the Ankara Press imprint, and specifically about how it was conceived and why you thought it was important to launch a romance list?

BBY: Two reasons. Firstly, I felt that our ideas about African literature needed to be more diverse. Every time we think about African literature we think about literary fiction. We don’t think of African literature in terms of genre fiction. Yet genre fiction is the mainstay of many publishing houses all over the world. It’s curious to me why, in African publishing…

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Posted by on January 16, 2015 in Uncategorized




I honestly don’t know why my parents decided I go for my Masters immediately. After spending a quality amount of their savings on Babcock education already. It’s not as if I wasn’t serious. But let small breeze blow after graduation naw. My younger sister is writing WAEC, it’s her own life my parents should be planning not trying all possible ways of pushing me out of the country.

I don’t even know anybody in Canada. With the way my dad was calling all the names of the schools sef, you’ll think he has lived there before. I chose York University abeg. The M.Sc. Computer Science made some sense so I applied even when I knew my application was late. Tire, my course mate in Babcock had applied two months earlier. I did not argue with my father. He’s been shouting Abuja is not safe anymore; that me I should sha be going. He linked me up with BCIE and then I submitted.

Long story short, I saw myself going for medicals. In another week, I got my visa and exactly five days after, I left for Toronto. The speed at which my father bundled me out of Nigeria ehn, you’ll think the EFCC were on my tail. I was in a strange county six weeks before school resumed. I was in shock. Mumu like me, I took airport taxi to Holiday Inn and slept away that very uncomfortable, long flight. Hmmm… then after converting how much I was spending, I sought for the cheapest Bed & Breakfast, calculated two days there before finding an accommodation on Kijiji. In two days, I checked six apartments, paid for the closest one to school and moved.

And they say Toronto is the heart of Canada? I was bored out of my eyes. I drank more coffee than I ever did and had the calculator app on standby on my phone. Nobody can use sense for me here. On that my street, I’m the only coloured girl. Many neighbours whose smiles didn’t quite reach their eyes greeted me every morning. Housemates were from Indian and Bangladesh… the smell of garlic has almost killed oooo!

School resumed, same story. I stood out clearly. Later I concluded not to be bothered jare. Then at the school cafeteria, I’ll see somebody that looks like a typical Tope or Chioma, but when the person talks, omo, nowhere close to Naija o. I have been in this strange city for three months, yet nothing. I needed a friend. I had to stop calling home at every opportunity. I was starting to feel depressed.

Who will buy the African print accessories I make when everybody is ‘minding their business’? How will I market my goods? Then I ran out of beans. And the thing they sealed inside that bag in the Chinese store on Danforth was like polished stone, even though it looked like oloyin beans. I sha searched for African stores online and the closest one was at Islington in Etobicoke. That far! Ehn, shebi it’s the same TTC pass. So I took off at about 2pm. So so Google maps; checking and rechecking. This cardinal point thing is confusing jor, I hissed. It was really cold and my coat was not doing so much help. I was sha struggling to search for the store without looking too much of a JJC when I heard it. I stopped in shock and widened my eyes, then I listened again. Abi I’m hearing double?

I’m not sure what possessed me, but woe betide the person that stops me. I moved closer to where the beat was coming from, the music hadn’t started but the instrumentals… who born me not to recognize it. It was ‘Gat me High’- May D…


Everything else happened in a haze. It didn’t matter that I slung my bag to one side, moved close to the shop on the very busy Islington Avenue and started dancing. I was apparently running mad in Canada. If anything happens, I don’t mind, I will dance this one. I wasn’t even much of a dancer o. My eyes watered with happiness and even though a small crowd was forming and people passing were smiling, I took the matter so seriously until a young, cool guy with a straight face whom I thought was about getting into the shop stood beside me and joined. Issalie!!! This had to be a naija boy, leave story. He had all of May D’s steps and later we were more or less performing the video. The song drew to a finish and both of us burst into laughter. After the encouraging whistles and smiles and winks, he hugged me.

“You’re Nigerian?” he inquired

“You’re still asking?”

He laughed. See fine Naija boy. Smart looking. The stamp of Canada Goose on his jacket caught my eye. Oh!

My name is Ehi and this is how I met Bolaji.

Happy New Year in advance people.



Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Uncategorized


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A Tailormade Romance

Phoenix Advertising Agency rising star Tishe is looking forward to her first date with the sharply-dressed Adnan. But she is horrified when she finds out that he is a tailor from Mushin.  She vows that there will be no second date…ever.

But then, they share a goodnight kiss, igniting more desire in Tishe than she cares to admit. They embark on a whirlwind romance as she struggles to reconcile her disapproval for Adnan’s profession with her burning desire for him.

Adnan is unwavering in his commitment to Tishe, planning romantic getaways and introducing her to his family. But can love cut across social class? Will Tishe give Adnan a second chance? Find out in this racy romance.

– See more at:


Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


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