Advertisements

Posts Tagged With: excerpts

When emailing goes awry: An excerpt from ‘Lessons in Love’

lessons in love 2

I go back to my inbox, and attach my manuscript.

I type:

Dear incomparable Tara Olu-Browne, you’ve done it again, and Mr. Jimi Akintaylor can just go ahead and kiss your lovely ass for a job well done.

I click send to email the doc to myself.

“There! All done!” I whisper lovingly to my laptop. Wow! Do I feel euphoric.

I start typing again, and I’m still on my first word when my euphoria dissipates and a dark feeling gnaws and spreads in the pit of my stomach; and no, it has nothing to do with Lara George’s song coming to an end.

It hits me!

Heck! What have I just done?

I frantically open my inbox. My email addressed to me isn’t there. Oh no!  Who did I just send that email to?

Oh no!

I open my sent folder and my hands fly to my mouth, but the gasp of horror still manages to escape.  I plead for mother earth to open up and literally swallow me. Right on the very top of the sent folder is my email, and it’s addressed to Jimi Akintaylor!

“Tara, are you okay?”

I turn stunned eyes to Mummy who apparently heard my cry of distress from her bedroom and came running.

She stares at me and shakes my shoulders. “Talk to me Tara. Are you okay?”

I turn my head in the direction of the laptop and her eyes follow my lead. She quickly scans the words on the screen.

“Tara, did you type that?” She is practically yelling. “To him?”

My head feels heavy.  Please can I die now?

“Why?”

Because I thought I was emailing myself. But I can’t reply Mummy right now. I’m too stunned to speak.

“Utter inanity!” Mummy yells.

I’ve become a little girl again. I bite my fingers.

“If they’re doing you, should you do yourself?” Gone is intellectual Mummy. Her alter ego, a superstitious, Yoruba woman who isn’t always far away now replaces her.

Nitori Oloun! Tara. Tara. Tara. How many times did I call you?” And my mother bursts into a flurry of Yoruba where she blames herself, blames me, and finally blames my dead father for my latest blunder. Before I know it, Tolani and the twins are in the living room, clustered around our dining table and reading the missive I’ve sent to poor Jimi.

Kiss your lovely ass?” Tolani whispers, and in my shocked state, I manage to register my sisters’ dismayed expressions. Mummy hasn’t stopped her blame exercise by the way.

“I thought I was emailing myself,” I finally say in a small voice. Oh why, oh why do I always end up in embarrassing situations like these?

“I didn’t know I’d pressed the reply button to his last email.”

“Well, you’ve sure given the man something to think about tonight,” Tolani mutters under her breath so Mummy doesn’t hear.

“Oh. My. God,” Tumi says, and suddenly, she bursts into  her all- thundering, bellowing laughter, taking all of us by surprise. I glare at her, but she ignores me. “I can just imagine the look on his face when he reads your email.”

And I don’t know why this is funny, but the rest of my family apparently thinks it is because they all erupt in howls, well, with the exception of Mummy who is still wondering aloud if someone in my father’s village is controlling me via black magic to go on a self-sabotage rampage.

“Just send an email back to him and let him know it was a mistake,” Temi- as ever, the voice of reason – says.  She has recovered somewhat from the mirth. Her brows knit together with concern.

I stare helplessly at my hands. “What will I say?”

“Dear Jimi,” she says and I begin to type. “Please kindly disregard the last email I just sent you. It was  accidentally emailed- ”

Accidentally emailed? I stare up at her.

She cocks her head to the side and gives me a sardonic look. “Do you have a better explanation in mind?”

I mutter “No.” For being my younger sister, she’s such a bossy, little thing sometimes. I do a finger signal for her to continue.

“- and I sincerely apologize for any negative mind-set I might have caused by it. Thank you for your kind understanding. Sincerely, Tara Olu-Browne.”

I click send and bite my index fingernail frenetically.

“Don’t worry,” Tolani’s deep voice pipes up. “Let’s go to sleep. Chances are, he’s asleep too. He probably won’t read both emails until tomorrow morning.”

As if on cue, a ping noise emanates from my laptop. My eyes widen at the sound, but it’s not just me. It’s the rest of my family.

It’s an email. From Jimi!

With a pounding heart, I open it.

Tara, no negative mind-set here. I quite enjoyed your synopsis, and the first two chapters of Lagos Blues. Can’t wait to read the rest of the MS. Keep up the good work.

J. Akintaylor.

President, Akintaylor Enterprises.

“Well?” I hear mummy  whisper behind me, and I’m now aware that I’ve been holding my breath. Mummy has read the email too and appears calmer.

I grunt out my relieved sigh, as does my three sisters.

“No negative mind-set,” I murmur, and briefly, I wonder what that means. I’m not sure if it’s the huge amount of relief I suddenly feel, or maybe it’s the residue of mortification that still haunts my brain, but I find myself resting my head on the table, and as I do, the strangest emotion overtakes me and I erupt in the loudest, most primitive laughter I’ve ever expressed in my life.

Advertisements
Categories: My Stories, Reflections | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

Looking like Cinderella: An excerpt from Omo Mummy.

 1985

“…and they lived happily ever after.” Mummy closes the book, smiles, and kisses me on the forehead.

Tito – my sister, she’s six-  is snoring beside me on our bed.  She fell asleep – a long time ago – when mummy opened the book to read Cinderella’s story.  Mummy always says Tito is too tomboyish to enjoy stories from a good book. Ruffian – that’s what she calls Tito. Mummy is very happy that I love to read, just like she does. She says she used to be a teacher before I was born.  Mummy says she stopped teaching when she married Daddy and started to have babies. So, she likes it when I read. Mummy doesn’t mind what I read, so long as I read. She’s always happy every time I tell her I want a book for a present. Mummy likes to read to me too. Tonight, she’s very happy to read to me because Tito and I are travelling again tomorrow. Tito and I travel outside the country a lot because Mummy and Daddy are very rich. That’s what Aunt Dokun – Dad’s sister –says. But this time, we are travelling for good…we are going to be in a new school. A boarding  school for girls. Somewhere in London. It’s supposed to be the best school for young girls and Mummy and Daddy always want Tito and I to have the best. They say there aren’t many good schools in Nigeria anymore because there’s too much erhm…bribery and ehrm corruption and that ehrm…the leaders don’t care too much about education. They are very worried about the new president. Babaginda – I think that’s his name. It’s a long name. Daddy says he fears this new president will make Nigeria worse.

Mummy and Daddy –  they call us Adunni.  Daddy says it means My Delight. Mummy also likes to say that I’m her dead mother who came back to life. Yetunde…that’s my other name. But Daddy doesn’t like it when mummy calls me Yetunde. Daddy says it’s super – ehrm – superstitious? to say someone is their dead mother come back to life. So Mummy only calls me Yetunde when Dad isn’t looking.

“Did you enjoy the story?” Mummy asks.

I nod. I’ve heard Cinderella’s story many many times. I never get tired of  it.  I sigh because I’m happy. Very very happy. I love Cinderella’s story. It’s my best story of all. I like her pictures  in the book too. Cinderella has white skin and long hair. Her eyes are blue. I have black skin and my hair is not that long. It’s black and it hurts a lot when the hairdresser is fixing it. My eyes are black too. But it says in my passport that I have brown eyes. And I have glasses. Everybody in my class thinks I’m smart because I have glasses.  My white teacher, Mrs. Herbert  – she looks like Cinderella, but she’s old – always tells Mummy and Daddy that I’m an intelligent Nigerian girl. She says I’ll be a professor one day. I don’t know about that. I don’t think I want to be a professor. I think I’d like to be Cinderella.

But it’s going to be hard for me to look like Cinderella. Look at her hair. Look at mine. I have attachment in my hair to help it twist into braids. Bob Marley – that’s what Mummy calls it. Bob Marley style. Tito and I, we always have Bob Marley style on our heads. It takes forever for the hair dresser to get it done, but once she’s done, we always look pretty. I know we look pretty because Daddy smiles and says, “Adunni mi.”

“Mummy, when I grow up, I’m going to be very pretty like Cinderella. Then,  I will fall in love, get married and  live happily ever after.”

Mummy frowns. “Ehn?”

I repeat myself.

“Kofoworola, you are very pretty now. I don’t want you to be like Cinderella. I want you to be Kofo. Besides, no talk of falling in love yet. You are a little girl. Just eight. You need to face your studies and then, you’ll go to a good university and when you finish university, you will marry a good man.”

I nod. But I’m confused. Why doesn’t Mummy want me to be like Cinderella? She’s pretty. Prettier than me.

“Mummy?”

“Yes Kofo?”

“Why don’t you want me to be like Cinderella? She’s very pretty and she lived happily ever after.”

Mummy shakes her head slowly and stares at me. “Oloun e ma gbami.

What?

“I think I’ve made a mistake.”

What mistake?

Mummy smiles a little. I think she can read the question in my eyes. She shakes her head. “Kofo, I want to tell you a story that’s even better than Cinderella’s story. It’s a story my own mother told me when I was a little girl.. It’s a Yoruba story about a girl. Her name is called Adunni too. She was just like you.”

I sit up immediately. Mummy has never told me a Yoruba story before. “Is there a book? With pictures?”

Mummy smiles sadly “No. Not that I know of. May be one day.  I’ve heard rumors that there will be a television show on NTA soon that will show Nigerian stories like Adunni’s. If it’s true, I’d like to name it  ‘Tales by moonlight’.”

I smile. Tales by moonlight. I like the sound of it..

“But for now, it’s not in a book and it’s not on TV. So, it’s an  alo.’

Alo? It’s an odd word.

Mummy grins. She likes it when I’m confused. Because it means I’ll be curious. And curious in mummy’s eyes is a good thing.

“Alo means folklore…. Or a story in Yoruba. And when I say, ‘Alo o’, You’ll say ‘Alo’. Okay?”

I nod.

“Alo o.”

“Alo,” I reply.

“A long time ago, there lived a girl called Adunni. She was very beautiful. She had lovely skin like yours, Kofo.”

I giggle. “Did she wear glasses?”

Mummy smirks. “No. She didn’t wear glasses because they didn’t have glasses back then.”

I giggle again.

Mummy wags an admonishing finger at me. “And don’t interrupt me in the middle of an alo. It’s not good.”

I stop giggling and sit still.

“Adunni lived with her wicked step mother. One day, Adunni’s step mother sent her to a forest that was far away to go and fetch some water. Adunni fetched the water but got lost on her way home. So she began to sing a song, asking for help from Olodumare, the god of their village.  Now, there was a prince passing by. He wore purple aso-oke  and had many servants. He heard Adunni singing in the forest and he loved her voice. So he sent his servants to go and fetch Adunni. When Adunni saw the servants, she got scared and wanted to run away but the servants told her not to be scared; that the prince had heard her beautiful voice and wanted to make her his wife. So the servants brought Adunni to the prince. The prince was happy because Adunni was just as beautiful as her voice. So, he married her and on her wedding day, he gave her a purple aso-oke, just like his own to wear. And they lived happily ever after.”

I sigh. “That was a beautiful story, Mummy. I like alo.”

Mummy’s smile is very big.  She looks really happy with herself.  She rises from the side of my bed. Tito snores loudly.

“Good night, Kofo,” Mummy says. She gives Tito a quick glance. “Sweet dreams.”

Sweet dreams too Mummy, I say in my heart. I close my eyes and fall asleep.

Read more about Kofo right here.

Categories: My Stories | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: