I was at the supermarket today to pick some groceries as I had a large dinner to prepare tonight. We will be having guests: the Coles will be visiting, and guess what? Mayowa will be coming with them.
I went to the meat section and started selecting: chicken, beef, turkey, venison, and of course my Mum’s favourite croaker fish. Just as I filled my trolley and was pushing away, my eyes caught some red meat in a standing freezer next to where I picked the fish. ‘Assorted’. An inscription wrote. Oops! I love assorted.
I moved towards the freezer, my mind racing through the millions of pepper soup recipes in my head, then I began to check the labels in each section of the freezer through its transparent door. Kidney, liver, intestine, shaki, abodi. Believe me, that was how the last two were written and don’t ask me for their names in English because I don’t think I know too and I didn’t ask them at the supermarket.
Heart. I went for the heart of the cow, it was frozen and fresh that right in the package you could want to just bite it and mulch. Yuck! Right?
I got home and started working. My mum who trusted my culinary skills just left me in the kitchen and busied with setting the house up. Even Shola the house help was tired, the look on her face told me she was wondering if it was the Governor’s family we were hosting. Don’t ask what I prepared. It was a feast.
When it was time to make my assorted meat pepper soup, I brought out my grand recipe to start working on but as if I had seen a ghost, I screamed and stood shocked at the sight of it.
‘‘Omolola, what is that?’’
‘‘Anty Lola, are you OK?’’
My Mum and Shola ran into the kitchen as they heard my voice. Still shocked, I moved away and pointed to the meat.
‘‘Ki le le yi?’” They chorused, shocked as well. Fearless Shola moved to the cow heart and tried to check.
The frozen meat I had bought just about three hours ago had turned black, defrosted and emitting tiny maggots.
Well, Dinner went as planned when the Coles arrived. There was a lot to talk about including my food. My dad and his oldest friend with their wives had so much to share as they had not seen themselves in two years. The Coles had just returned to the country from London. It was a nice evening except that there was no pepper soup. The very kind I had in mind wouldn’t go without a cow heart in it.
Though I have been apologised to and promised a refund by the management of the supermarket, I still felt unhappy. You know why? I had bragged to Mayowa about what a great cook I was but now he didn’t get to eat my pepper soup . As If he hadn’t tasted the other foods.
Just as our parents wanted, Mayowa and I excused ourselves to talk outside the house. We sat on the only swing remaining of my childhood days. It was the only edifice in our vast compound that could match the mood of the night. Swinging slowly and somewhat rhythmically, we started talking.
I have known Mayowa since I was ten, he was thirteen and an only child too but his family had always shuffled between home and London and so we have been apart most of the times. He is tall, dark, well built, handsome with accent a mixture of home and away. He just completed his doctorate degree and now a consultant for a British conglomerate in Nigeria which shows that he might still shuffle the two countries the rest of his life. Well he was everything a girl wants in a man. Did I add that he was a Christian too?
It was the most beautiful night of my life. As the Coles parted, Mayowa and I hugged lovingly and he whispered into my ears that I giggled so hard. The looks on our parents faces told me we were acting out their scripts perfectly. He had asked me officially if I would date him and I had agreed and he promised to pick me up on Tuesday after work for a date which I already was looking forward too.
But as I woke up the next morning, all the emotions that had welled up inside of me from the previous night had turned black, defrosted, maybe not emitting maggots yet, but totally dead. It’s been two weeks since the dinner now and I have not heard from Mayowa neither does he pick my calls.