Two days ago, I arrived at Pulkovo II International Airport at night and slept in Pulkovskaya Hotel near the Moskovskaya Metro Station and, in the morning, moved to Peterhof where my mum lived.
I phone mum before I booked the hotel room and after I left the hotel. In Peterhof I waited at the door after I pressed an alarm. Mum opened the door and received my bag. I followed her inside. She kept the bag on the table and sat on a sofa. A fire place was there. I felt warm.
She asked about the journey. I said I was only black in the midst of thousands whites. She laughed. My eyes turned over a wooden statue of king Jaja of Opobo and a blue English-Russian and Russian-English dictionary on the table. An enlarged picture of Nelson Mandela over the wall africanized the room.
In my uncle’s sitting room in Rio de Janeiro a wooden statue of Nnamdi Azikiwe took the stool top besides the TV, the enlarged pictures of the Nigerian president and his vice were on the wall, and Chimamanda Ngozi’s Half of the Yellow Sun clouded a portion of the center table top.
Mum phoned her bro. she phone her friend.
I said I needed to see her bro. she said he was a plumber, he was a contractor for that matter. He made contracts all his life and hardly stayed close by here—sometimes in Kolpino, Zolenogorsk, Lomonosov and Pavlovsk: sometimes in Kronshtadt, Sestroretsk, Pushkin or even Moscow. He owned big properties in Lagos, Abuja and Johannesburg.
She took me to a white corridor and showed me a room. She opened the door, turned on the light and said, “you can keep your bag here, and you can rest and sleep if you like.” There was a heavy looking blanket on the bed. There was a reading and writing stool with a lamp. She dressed a window curtain. She carried a TV remote from the floor and kept on the pillow.
We returned to the parlor and there was that atmosphere of a foreign woman with her son in Peterhof. The bag was still on the table and I didn’t think of evacuating it now. She sat on a sofa she sat before and appeared relaxed but not too freely as before. As I sat looking at the dictionary cover I guessed she would ask me about dad with whom I sat at the Eco Hotel and the weather was good and promising, just five days ago.
“Your father sends you, I guess.”
“No. But how we wished you return, we really missed you.”
I looked through the window. I saw two white boys playing with toy guns.
“You need to go back.”
“I am obliged. I will go to china.”
“I want to.”
“You have become an eye of your father, it looks like.”
“You are our eye if you return to him. You are the one he needs most.”
“My problem with your father…he’s one of the problems to our country. You can go to china and everywhere you want because he has government money…. They call it nobody’s money, aren’t they?”
The boy shouted shooting a gun.
“Your father sent you but you don’t want to tell….”
Now I had to tell her. After all, I was her kid. “Yes, he told me to beg you to return.”
She smiled, she nodded, and she smiled again as if it was all what she was waiting for. “My sister’s wedding, he said till evening. My mother’s birthday, he said till evening. I asked for money to repair my car, he said till evening. This till, till I don’t understand. I can’t spend my old age this way.”
Her reason was funny. Time was going.
Over lunch, I picked my phone and visited Visitex, Meet Six Skyline, We Together and Side Box where I ever ordered laundry facilities. I loved speaking with customer care and you couldn’t tell which voice was female and which voice was not. An advocate for clean streets and tall buildings and tourists’ influx, I ever talked with the facility manager over the counter. You guys, he said, advocates for tourists’ influx, he said, expect more reasons for Brexit, it cut. How would reasons for Brexit affect my transaction? This is what I called, a hope and then everything turned blured.
Mum was looking at the window and the wall clock was clocking round the circle. Just like the sun. I was watching a dictionary cosmic cover, my stomach telling me something I couldn’t just understand.
Later she dozed on a couch for some minutes. She picked her purse under a couch, looked through the window and stalked out. When she returned she ate cheese. She lied on a couch again, sang A Girl At The Door, the words coming one after the other, clearly, slowly, till evening. She read her diary and listened to herself. She left the couch. She danced, her mouth open, kept her hanky in the handbag and spelled a word equanimity, “e-q-u-a-n-i-m-i-t-y”, she said, pushed a cot aside and stalked to her laptop. When I asked her about the cot, why was it there, she said her brother rented the house with it.
I stood on the street, one white boy watching me from a distance. They soon become two and then three. They wore ash coats on top of sweater. They wore hoods. When I looked at myself from head to toes, I wore the same things. My face was black; theirs white and they were about teenage.
I spent some minutes there and entered the parlor and picked my bag and walked in to my room.
Unhooked the bag parted, I removed my clothes and shoes, a pair of Tim boots I bought in one of the finest shops in Victoria Island. The first day I wore it, I drove to the wine store in Ikoyi and talked with two girls over the counter. The girls looked grave like waitresses who bagged university degrees. “Afraid”, another girl who didn’t see the shoes I wore said, “dogs bark at people who wear Tim boots.” The girls over the counter smiled, disgraced. Even if you put fake memories in my head I thought I wouldn’t alter to hate Tim boots or wearing them. That was the first day I took alcoholic wine. Then came the urgent ordering of Michael Jordan Hardwood Classics Authentic Jersey at $349.99.
I wore white shorts and white singlet. I loved white home wears. In 2010 I forgot my white shorts in Brazil and slapped my forehead like it was the last white shorts on earth. That year, mum offered me white T-shirt worth over $80.00. She sat on a couch and said, Guy give me a bag. But the T-shirt was too expensive in naira. Yesternight I checked T-shirts prices: JT Pescadero T-shirt $34.50, Since 66 Pocket T-shirt $26.00, Full Patch Fill T-shirt $22.00, Mini Patch Ringer T-shirt $32.00, Brunswick T-shirt $32.00.