I have just been told that Monday, my childhood boyfriend passed on in South Africa earlier this month. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ll know I’ve often written about him. Here’s how I’ll always remember Monday.
We had just moved to Shogunle, and fortunately, the public tap had just been constructed. Right by the public tap was Salisu, the Mallam who retailed candy, biscuits and some provisions. Salisu had strategically placed himself in the middle of the T-Junction of our street.
There was no way he would be missed. That day, I was standing by Salisu‘s stall, picking “baba Dudu” (local candy) from the thread Salisu had knotted them in. As I stood there undecided as to where to cut the candy from: top or bottom, two lanky boys appeared behind me.
One of them snatched the whole thread of baba dudu from where it hung and dipped his hand in his pocket to pay Salisu. I was flabbergasted! How rude! Who did this boy think he was?! I turned around, snatched the thread of baba Dudu from him and stared him down. “I got here first.”
I said. I couldn’t meet his eye, he was quite tall so I stretched my neck and tried as much as possible not to back down. “Salisu who be this?” His partner in crime said. I wanted to see who that was but my neck had begun to ache, I was standing on my toes, those had begun to hurt too. I stood my ground even as I saw his confused expression settle into a smile. “Who’s laughing with this one?” I thought to myself. Then he did the most annoying thing, placed both of his hands on my shoulder and pressed down, forcing me to back down and stand properly On my feet.
“We can share now. I’m not fighting with you”. He said. I still didn’t trust him until he paid for the whole thread of baba Dudu then he said to me, “Oya cut for me and take your own”. I remember I counted four, cut the candy off the thread and handed over the remaining to him. He bounced off with his friend while I made the short walk home in wonder. My house was a building with four flats.
All flats never locked their doors to the kids. Except Mama Tutu’s flat, they were the richest in the compound, so we had to knock before entering their house. It was too much of an inconvenience so us kids rarely visited Tutu and her brothers. They weren’t allowed to go out too much as well. I digress… As soon as I got to my compound, I walked straight into Baba Ngozi’s flat and found my friend Onyinye. I handed over two pops of baba Dudu to her and immediately asked her “I just met a boy who looks like Kanu Nwankwo. He’s so…” “Monday.” Onyinye interjected, “He’s tall now. Was he wearing white canvas?” She asked.
I nodded. “Punk?” She placed her palm a little high above her head to describe the punk hair cut. I nodded again. “Tell me everything”. We sat by the dining and I told her everything. I also told her I wanted to see him again. Onyinye suggested we knock over a bucket of water at the backyard so we would be asked to go fetch another at the public tap. I agreed with her that sense would not be her undoing in life. Onyinye stepped out, knocked over a bucket of water and I screamed “Onyinye you no dey look road? Ehn?!”
As predicted, Mama Ngozi screamed at her daughter “before I open my eyes and close it, if you don’t go and fetch that water back, Onyinye! Onyinye! Onyinye!…” Mama Ngozi pulled her right ear, “How many times did I call you?” Before Mama Ngozi dropped her hand from her ear, Onyinye and I had picked up two paint buckets and took off to the public tap. Of course,that wasn’t our destination. We dropped our buckets with Salisu and headed straight to Monday’s house Monday’s house had a very low fence with a big compound behind it. I saw him and some other boys sitting on the fence, his long legs hanging over it. He looked so handsome and he immediately smiled at me when he saw me.
I knew in my heart then we were already dating and in a relationship. He jumped from the fence and walked quickly towards us. “Onyinye you sabi this girl?” Onyinye nodded, smiling at both of us. “What’s your name?” Monday asked me. “Ife”, I responded. And that was the beginning. Monday also helped us carry our bucket of water to our house with the help of his friend, Wale. Until my family moved, we spoke everyday and hung out under the stairs in his house.
Monday was generous, he brought me little things like ripe almond fruits. And when I hawked garri and sugar, he would sometimes force his sister’s friends to buy from me. When I caused trouble at the public tap, Monday would come with his friends to support me. And the day we were both caught writing love letters to each other, Monday told me “It’s okay, don’t cry”. He was so fearless that day, it was as though he didn’t care to have been caught. We were young but I knew for sure Monday was a gentleman. As he turned out to be.
The last time I checked up on him, his Facebook posts were filled with comments of his generosity. RIP MONDAY. You’ll always remain a big part of my childhood.