Excited because I caught up with a long lost friend today.
The best part of re-connecting is that we actually chatted. I mean, we caught up until our chats became separated by yesterday and today. And then she had to go to bed. So we’ll catch up later. Much better than the one who accepts (or sends you) a friend request and then doesn’t respond to a follow up message. And then you wonder if perhaps they do not sign in often but they do because their wall is peppered with hourly tid-bits and comments. Anyway I digress. During the course of our conversation Funmi mentioned the name of a town that I have not been to in well over 10 years. At that point I realised I have a memory for every place I’ve been to. A bit like child number 3 who has a narrative for just about every word he says. I guess he gets that from me, I have a story behind every outfit I own, many times when complimented on a dress, I start at the very beginning.
Stratford Thanks to a kind family, I lived in Stratford for about a year when I first arrived from Nigeria. But the main memory I have is of the day I went swimming. I had this friend who wanted to date me. I come from the school of thought that belives in playing hard to get, yet I wanted to impress him. So when he asked how I spent my afternoons after school I told him I usually went swimming. He asked if he could come along the following Thursday, I wanted to show off some more so I said ‘sure’. Trouble is I couldn’t swim. Enter dear friend Eva. I grabbed hold of her and informed her that somehow, anyhow, I must learn how to swim by Thursday. Day after day we trekked to the swimming baths in order not to bring a disgrace upon my good family name!
Highbury My cousin lives there. Safety and security come to mind when I think of Highbury. My big cousin always was (and still is) a welcoming face. She loves to cook and entertain and so we have a feast whenever we go there. I remember standing at the bus-stop by the butcher’s waiting for bus 4 or 19. I didn’t mind at all as the butcher was just like the ones you read about in fairytales- fat, jolly and wearing a white stained apron. Next to him was the cobblers. Again like the ones we used to read about, particularly because where I come from they are not called cobblers but shoemakers. 20 years later, the butcher and cobbler are still there, same sign, nothing’s changed. That’s security, un-moved by time.
Elephant and Castle I hate that place. Sorry if you live there but I actually loathe the place. I have memories of dear friend Tinuke and I in our student days, living a student’s less-than-cushy life. Plus it took me a while to realise that the station actually had a shopping centre in it or vice-versa which was unbelievable dinghy, I thought it was an indoor market- then again maybe that’s what it was. Either way I still don’t like it.
Cricklewood Many fond memories here. My uncle and aunt’s home and I loved living there. One day someone parked in front of the drive-in, Tinuke promptly told him to move his car as he was blocking our drive- not that we had a car. He refused. That night we both made eba (starchy, sticky African staple meal which hardens on exposure to air) and plastered it all over his windscreen then we stuck a note-” See, we told you not to park here!” I am cracking up as I write this! The next morning the oyinbo man came out and as Tinuke walked across the road, he tried to run her over, we burst out laughing! He was lucky it was a slightly damp night, the plan was to have had the eba harden by morning.
There are so many memories, some unbelievably embarrassing with a major cringe factor! Who knows, I might muster up the courage to share some day. Like the day I walked in on uncle Ade…
Thanks so much for reading, do come back.