I wanted to get my afro twisted and I have a particular hairdresser I like to go to for this hairstyle. I was more than relieved when I called her and she confirmed she was available, Fiam! I was already there, I needed to get it done ASAP and get back home to pack for my trip.
Next to the salon, a woman runs a small resturant, some would argue that it’s a buka, but I think it’s a bit above buka standard, so let’s call it a “Busturant”.
The madam running the Busturant has two daughters 6 and 5, very pretty little munchkins, I can’t recall the name of the elder daughter, but the 5 year old, her name is Blessing and she’s …. well, let’s say she’s a handful and leave it at that. She’s always in my hair dresser’s shop trying to do this or that or sneak into conversations.
“Aunty, lemme be giving you the rollers”…
“Aunty, lemme brush the wig for you”….
But she’s always getting sent back to her mother’s shop, because… well, salon gist is not for children, but see this Blessing girl ehn, she’s always back in no time.
This particular evening she walks in as Ope is twisting my hair, while we both watch a movie from my phone. Little blessing goes to the nail polish rack and picks one out, fiddles with it, walks up to where I’m seated, squats down to the floor and taps my foot and when I look down she says with the widest smile
“Aunty let me paint your leg, I know how to paint very well”.
“Nails. You want to paint my nails?”
“Yes aunty, let me paint your nails”.
She’s looking at me with so much enthusiasm that I find it difficult to say no to her.
“Ok darling, you can paint my nails” I say and turn back to my movie.
Moments later, Ope swings my chair the other way, to reach the other side of my big head, so I’m backing the table and mirror now. I throw one leg across the other and a good portion of yellow thigh is exposed as a result but I don’t take notice, I just needed somewhere to place the phone so that I could keep staring at the screen, watching my movie.
I noticed from the corner of my eye that Blessing was fiddling with a hand dryer.
“Blessing!”, I make sure to insert a healthy snap in my voice, kids tend to respond quickly to that.
She dropped it and turned to me with a smile, the kind that kids who know they’re cute and can get away with anything flash around. I tried not to smile back, I really tried but….
Hopefully she’ll start losing her teeth soon, then let’s see how she’ll be conning people with that smile.
I asked her to come sit in front of me, where I could watch whatever she was doing.
She ignored the seat I was pointing to and came to lean against my seat apparently to watch whatever it was I had been watching. “This is even better” I thought, I can be sure she’s not fiddling with anything while I watch my movie.
Shortly, I feel her tiny palm start to rub my thigh and when I look down, she’s looking at me with what I can only refer to as wonder.
“Aunty you’re fresh”
“Your leg, it is so fwesh”… she meant my thigh.
I noticed Opeyemi has paused with my hair. I didn’t know how to respond, she was looking at me with such wonder.
“I’m not as fresh as you now Blessing” I argued.😒😒
“Nooo aunty! You’re very fresh o” she insists as she stretches out her hand to touch my chest, my neck and my shoulder. I was wearing an off-shoulder dress.
“Aunty! Everywhere is fresh, you’re so fresh”. See seems to be marveling at this “discovery” of freshness.
At this point, I too stunned to speak, I don’t know what to do with or say to this little girl so I turn to Ope for help, that is when I notice that she’s sitting on the sofa, clutching her very pregnant belly and trying with very little success to reign in the laughter.
Talkative like me, I was just there, staring at the girl, tongue tied, while she went ahead to inspect my hands.
Just then her mum called and she ran off. I remember thinking “Dear God, when can I have a daughter please?”.
I’ve been thinking about resuming my search for a flat away from this neighborhood, because of the traffic and all. Today it occurred to me that relocating means moving away from Ope’s salon and my friend Blessing and now the traffic doesn’t seem so bad anymore. Abi what is Lagos life without traffic? And where else will I find a salon with a little girl that screams “fresh Aunty!!!” everytime I come around?