Help!

****

I’m going to try really hard to make you all feel the fear I felt on the morning of the 27th day of April 2013.

Enjoy.

****

drowning

I’ve never had a near death experience before. And to many, drowning in the 4 feet part of a hotel swimming pool is really too funny a way to die. PS – I’m 5ft6inches.

My friends and I were on a mini-vacation out of town. It was also another friend’s wedding. Killing two stones with one bird… sorry, two birds with one stone. As soon as I learnt there was a pool in the hotel we would be staying in, I got super-excited (you know, having never been in a swimming pool in my entire 20-something years of existence. Please don’t judge me.)

That morning, I changed into my swim wear and dragged my friends to the pool. There was 6 of us and a lifeguard. I entered the pool and sticking to the shallow part, I tried unsuccessfully to at least float. Then I became frustrated. Like, what is there in floating? Simple float, I cannot do. Whenever I removed my feet from the floor of the pool, and released my hold on the wall, I sank.

As if a switch went off in my head, I took a few steps back, made enough space in front of me, and I dove. Big mistake. As soon as my body hit the water, my senses returned. Unfortunately, it was a little too late. I went right into the water. Now I was hysterical, because no matter how hard I tried to get my feet back on the pool floor, I failed. In between 1) struggling to get my head out of the water, 2) finding my footing, 3) trying to get to the entrance of the pool which is its shallowest part and 4) drinking a good amount of chlorinated water, I am almost certain I screamed for help at least twice, but my friends who were standing right there claimed I didn’t say a word. I dove in face forward but somewhere along the line of struggle, I was on my back doing semi-back-strokes and drowning.

Then I realized the water had started taking me to the deep end of the pool. That was when the real fear set in. Is this how I’m going to die? Can’t these people f*#king see that I’m drowning? And where the hell is that lifeguard? Somebody help me!!!

It wasn’t until my hair net fell off from my head that they realized I was in trouble. But before they could do anything about it, my semi-backstrokes and I made it out, to the entrance of the pool.

All of this happened in less than a minute.

I got out of the pool, throwing up water, coughing like my life depended on it, my nose and eyes hurting like mad.

They started laughing. And I joined them.

****

Did I succeed? 😀

****

Of Cars And Their Troubles…

A-D-A! I heard o! That you’re now a bigz girlz! Only you! Working class! Driving your own car sef! Babes, please when will you start to remember us in this your paradise na?! *white noise*

Fashi the “Working class” part. A lot of you reading this (thanks for stopping to read by-the-way :D) belong to the “working class”. You’ll agree with me that more often than not, it sounds more luxurious than it really is. Let’s be honest, being a mere ‘salary-earner’ in the Lagos Metropolis (especially when you’re new to the whole “working class” thing) most times, just doesn’t cut it.

For the sake of my car’s feelings (yes, she does have feelings) I won’t say anything not-nice about her. She’s a darling. My partner in crime. My ever present help. My wife etc etc.

I’ll just share some of my top stressful car-palava-moments. LOL!

Enjoy. 😀

3:

Driving along Ozumba Mbadiwe Expressway Lekki. The last 2 traffic light stops have been green. This must be some kind of good omen. I’m approaching 1004 bus stop. My speed is somewhere between 80 and 100 km per hour. The lights at 1004 bus stop go from green to amber.

“Ada, you can make it” I said to myself. The 3 seconds the amber light would be on for, is more than enough time to speed past. Instead of slowing down, I increase my speed. As I step on the gas, the lights go from amber to red. Holy sh!t. What-the-?! The light practically jumped from amber to red without the usual delay. I am the first person before the light and I am torn between beating the traffic light then possibly having those LASTMA-leeches (please forgive me if your dad is a LASTMA official. Your dad is not a leech.) on my ass, and slowing down from 80km per hour to a halt, less than 50 meters before the crossing. Sweet baby Jesus. I hit the brakes. Hard. I come screeching to a halt just at the crossing. Good Lord. My Savior is alive.

Then I hear a very loud screeching sound behind me – the sound of the tyres of a very fast moving vehicle, struggling to come to a halt – the same kinda sound my tyres made.

(((GBOOOOOOMMMM!!!))). My car lurches forward and I find myself in the middle of the road crossing. My seat belts are the only reason my face (and many other body parts I guess) is still in one piece today.

As soon as I ascertain I’m alright, I step out of my car (in slow motion), still in a bit of shock. All I can think of is “My bumper must be finished.”

PS – You should’ve seen the hood of the car that hit mine. Total disaster.

2:

Three Weeks Later…

I’m driving on the same gaddemm Ozumba Mbadiwe Expressway. I’m approaching the same gadforsaken traffic light at that 1004 bus stop. This time around, all the traffic lights are out of service. I mean, they are not working and traffic is being controlled by those blood sucking LASTMA peeps. (Please forgive me if your dad is a LASTMA official. Your dad is not a blood sucking creature.)

Now a couple of things happened a few minutes before I got to that traffic light. I partly witnessed an accident.

I am on Alfred Rewane road Ikoyi. A biker speeds past me. I almost forget I am driving, because I am lost in thought admiring this power bike. The guy disappears around a bend up front. 2 minutes later, after I come round the bend and drive for about 300 meters, I see the young man and his crushed bike under a water tanker at a cross road. My guess? He didn’t see the tanker in good time and was going too fast to stop his bike in time. If not for his helmet, his brains would have been all over the tarred road. He is unconscious as he is  dragged out from under the vehicle, with blood gushing out of his mouth. I am shaken. I mean, I was admiring that bike 2 minutes ago!

Back to the present.

So I am a little absent minded. The car in front of me is an SUV, so apart from the back of the car, I can’t see nada. I can’t see the traffic warden raising his hands and asking us to halt (thanks to the non-functional traffic lights). Thanks to my absent minded-ness, I do not also realize in time that the SUV in front of me has slowed down. And thanks to the human being that owns the SUV, his brake lights are not working. So no brake lights, no traffic lights, I can’t see the warden, I’m absent minded… I do not realize that I’m supposed to be slowing to a halt. I keep going at my 50km per hour and the SUV guy is really just right in front of me.

When I finally awaken from my reverie, I’m a little too late. I go hard on the brakes like never before and I hit the SUV just a little bit. This right here is the definition of Deja vu. Same spot, same kind of accident. Only right now, the roles are reversed.

It goes without saying that I stopped going through that Ozumba Mbadiwe Expressway till about 4 months later, after I overcame my phobia for traffic lights.

1.

Heheheee.. This one is funny.

Its a Friday morning. Its raining HEAVILY. I have to get to work. I’m lucky I have a car. Heheheeee.

I get in my car, feeling very happy with myself.

The going is good and sweet until I turn into Lekki Phase One from the 3rd gate.

If you are familiar with that area, you’ll agree with me that the flood that area experiences is really something to write abroad about. Last year during the rainy season, it was a terrible ordeal. That reminds me, the rainy season is here. Prepare yourselves.

As I drive into Phase One, I’m momentarily confused as to whether I’m in Lekki Phase one, or I’m on the shores of Elegushi beach. The water level is pretty high. And by experience my car does not do well with water.

I’m now torn between the options of finding high ground somewhere around and parking my car or plunging into that mini-river. I contemplate for a bit and I forge ahead. Big mistake.

My car does not last 5 minutes before it stalls and goes off. Wonderful.

It is still raining heavily. The car refuses to start. I open the door and try to come out.  The water level is just a little below my knees. No exaggeration. I sit inside it for a while wondering what to do. Meanwhile, the car is already flooded. đŸ˜„

There’s a young man by the roadside. I remove my pumps, roll up my jeans and together with this young man I push my car out of the water to dry ground. I part with some money too. Oh, and the rain communed with me properly.

(At this point in my life, I’m thinking some pedestrians are better off than I am. Lmao!)

A friend happens to be driving by. She’s on her way to drop her kids at school. Ah, my savior is indeed alive!

I get in her car and she drops me at my office.

By 12 noon,  I walk back to where my car is parked. I get in, start it and drive away.

Loool!

Goes without saying: As far as this car is concerned, the fear of water is the beginning of my peace of mind.

****

Trust me when I say that there’s a lot more where these came from. But hey, who wants to hear all that boring sh!t anyway? Toodles! 😀

 

A Twist In The Tale…

***

Hey everyone! I’m here again. Thank God for Oby whom the Lord used to pursue the spirit of laziness away from my doorstep. So, thank you Oby! And thank you everyone for taking some time out to read this piece! I hope you enjoy it!

PS: This is the 3rd Part in the Series. Part 1 – Not Really Sure… https://etana007.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/not-really-sure/ and Part 2 – Tale Snippet – A Girl Who Loved To Dance… https://etana007.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/tale-snippet-a-girl-who-loved-to-dance/

***

“No, no, no…. You must plie, before the leap. That way, its much easier and you gain more height and distance.”

“Chase, remember, you lift from the midriff. Denise, you must balance your weight while in the air, else whatever happened to London bridge will repeat itself.”

Tj was my teacher, Chase my partner. Apparently,  they both created that lovely routine. Devils. They had to have it all.

The audition was tomorrow. I was practically working my ass off to get every single thing right. It was beginning to tell on me. I caught myself dozing in a meeting yesterday. Embarrassing stuff.

“Okay guys, take 10 (minutes), we’ll have one last run and that’ll be it for today.”

I tried to catch my breath. I was sweating profusely and that in  itself was becoming a problem when it came to the parts of the routine that had lifts and holds.

I was thinking. The past 2 days had been grueling. But I enjoyed every tiny bit of it. Chase was a total darling. Always the helpful, supportive partner. I couldn’t believe my luck. From afar I actually concluded he was a snob. At dance class, he always kept to himself. And it was easy for him to do that as he was always getting everything right.

Class was always like…

“Chase, Amy, you guys came up with a choreography for Carol night, yes? Come and teach the class.”

“No, that’s not the way a saute arabesque is done. Chase come show the class”

“Helen, you missed a step. Its a triple spin before you go into fourth position. Chase, show her how to do it.”

The name Chase was probably the most reoccurring word in our instructors’ vocabulary. I wondered if  they had Chasyndrome or something. (eyes rolling)

But he was really very sweet in person and it didn’t even seem like any of that got to his head. I was just happy to be rehearsing with him and even if I didn’t get Amy’s part, it wouldn’t really matter much. Spending those few days, doing something I loved passionately with someone (well, people) I admired, was already a lot for me.

That night, as Chase walked me to my bus stop, we talked about the audition.

“Let’s assume I wasn’t auditioning for Amy’s position.. How’s she by the way?’

“She’s doing okay. I went to visit her yesterday after rehearsals. She’s healing nicely. She won’t stop wailing about having to miss out on all the fun. Hahahaaa! But i think she needs the break.”

“That’s nice. So, as I was saying… If I wasn’t auditioning, who would you have wanted as your partner for the dance?”

“Errr… Nicole. Annie is good, but she’s heavy. With the lifts in this routine, naaah…”

I burst out laughing.

“Denise! Be nice!” I pulled a straight face. I didn’t like Annie. I knew Nicole would prove competition.

“Chase, none of the other girls have asked to rehearse with you? I’m just wondering how they want to just dance with you on that day if they’ve not rehearsed with you at least once. I know other guys know the routine too, but still…”

“Yes, I’ve thought that too. At the audition, they’ll perform with the guys they rehearsed with and the person who’s finally chosen will rehearse with me, for the workshop.”

We had reached my bus stop. We said our goodbyes, and he wished me luck for tomorrow. I sure needed it.

***

Hahaa. Y’all thought I’d be putting you in suspense again, aye? Fear not. Its going to be a long read, but the series ends today! 😀

***

We took our positions and the music came on. For three minutes, I wasn’t me. I was someone else, I swear. All I knew was, after the music ended, there was applause. And then there was silence. I looked at Chase as helped me off the ground. His smile seemed to say “We did it!”

***

All other 5 performances were done, and the judges (our instructors) had to deliberate for some time. I was seated in the crowd, between Chase and Tj. Yes, Tj was there too.

As I got back to my seat after my performance, He whispered , “You were amazing.”

I beamed. “Quit patronizing me!”

“I swear, I patronize you not. I caught it all on tape!”

“No you didn’t!” I was almost jumping out of my seat! ” I wanna see!”

“Shhhhhh… The next performance is about to start. I need to get them all. We’ll review them back at the studio”

“Ok, ok, ok…” I could have been the happiest child on earth.

William, our chief instructor stood up

“What we saw today was very impressive. I am particularly happy with the competition you all put up here. Something good has come out of Amy’s misfortune; we saw people display talents in a light we’ve never seen before.” Denise? This has to be your first audition in-house for a major part in a performance, Yes? Yes. Shannon, Zia you both have never taken on a duet before, have you? It has always been group choreography. This is really good stuff and I want to say we are glad you took up the challenge. We are now more aware of your capabilities and though there is only one position available tonight, there will be many more opportunities for you to showcase your talents. Good job everyone.”

Candice, his assistant began to announce the results. “We have a winner people! Congratulations Denise!”

What? I didn’t hear that right… Chase turned and hugged me so tight. As he released me, Tj turned my head and kissed me. I was confused.

Candy (as we fondly called her) continued “Denise, we were amazed at what we saw here today. You are one of our newest members, yet you could almost have passed for a principal dancer. Wow. Chase, you must have done a lot to bring out that kind of performance. Well done. We saw you both move together, and the other 5 dancers couldn’t convince us to separate you two. Now, y’all owe us 101% of what we saw here today, at the workshop.

Good night everyone!”

It was a lot to take in… I got the part. I was going to dance with Chase. At the big workshop! Tj kissed me. What does that mean?

Everyone has started leaving the auditorium. As I got up to leave, Candy motioned for me to come to her.

“Meet us outside.” Chase said. They had come in Tj’s car.

Candy and I talked for about a minute. She just wanted me to know she would be in charge of our costumes and I would have to arrange to have my measurements taken. (I’d never needed a costume before, this being my first performance and all)

I happily clattered towards the exit of the hall.

“What was all that about?! How could you kiss her?!” Chase sounded really mad. I’d never seen him like that.

“C’mon Chase, calm down! It was just a friggin’ kiss!”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?! Who do you think you are going about hurting my feelings that way?! Its bad enough that I have to keep us a secret! Then you go flirting with my friends in my very presence and you expect me to be calm about it?! I have never for once given you reason to doubt how I feel about you! I have literally given up everything just to be with you! And this? This is what I get? This is how you treat me? No Tj, I can’t…”

Tj kissed him.

Whaaaaaaat?! Nooooooooo!! Eeeeewwwww!! Urrrrghhhh!!

I stepped back into the hall, out of sight. What the hell did my eyes just behold?

***

Hahahahaa! Yes! We have come to the end of  our story. Denise’s crushes were gay! Loool! I have to thank Dantte for that perfect twist. He brought it up in a conversation we had a long time ago after I had freshly written “Not Really Sure…” At that point, I didn’t even know how best to continue the story. Totally forgot about the gay twist until after I published Part 2, then it hit me! – Chase now has a perfect gay partner! Lol!

So, Denise found out they were gay. Did she continue with the workshop and all? I have no idea. My name is not Denise. None of my alters answer Denise either. So, we do not know who Denise is, or what became of her and her gay crushes.

We just hope you had a good time reading this our struggle of a story.

Until next time,

Etana 🙂

Tale Snippet – ‘A Girl Who Loved To Dance’

***

Yeah, yeah. I know I said I’d continue the next day. But you know how it is…work + writers’ block + laziness is a killer combination. So I’m back with the sequel to the first part of my story. Thanks for stopping to read, and I hope you enjoy it!

PS: If this is your very first visit to Etana’s corner, or you somehow missed the prequel to this one, I strongly suggest you read it first. “Not Really Sure…” that’s the title. Two posts before this one. Toodles!

***

dance-clip-art

Ding! The elevator doors popped open at the 6th floor and I alighted. Bolero Studios. (the ‘r’ in ‘Bolero’ is pronounced kinda the same way the r in ‘Les Miserables’ is pronounced. #goFigure). As I pushed open the sliding doors and walked in,  I realized I had been holding my breath. I’m not entirely sure for how long.

3 girls and 2 guys lay flat on their backs, arms spread out, with both legs pressed together in the air, perpendicular to the floor, feet flat out. They had great lines. They must have been modern contemporary dance students getting ready for a class by doing the prep exercise routines. Soft music was playing in the background. Besides that, everywhere was quiet. I looked around, there was no sign of Chase.

Pause. Rewind. 3 days before.

I will not go into the details of that very happy dream  I had. I will not. All I will say is this, I didn’t want to wake up from it. Throughout the next day, I kept checking my phone for a reply from Chase. 10 am. Nothing. 11:30 am. Nothing. 2:40 pm. Nothing. *sigh* I switched off my phone and threw it in my bag.  Then I managed to get through the rest of my day. So much for the sweet dreams I had the night before. As you might have guessed, I was having a bad day already and the stress of work didn’t make it any easier.

I got home that evening and fell into bed, fully clothed. The stress at work and the disappointment of not hearing from Chase had done me in. I fell asleep listening to Hillsong United’s He Has Overcome on repeat ( I particularly love their rendition of it at their Live show in Miami last year).

Thanks to my highly irregular sleep pattern, I was awake by 1 am. I quickly showered and changed into something comfortable. 30 minutes later and I was still awake. The phone. I had totally forgotten about it. I fished it out of my bag and switched it on. Beep beep. 3 new messages. And one was from Chase!

“Hey Denise! I do know you. And no, you’re not ‘too late’ (whatever that means). I too have a couple of loose ends to tie up as regards the Stay routine, and funny enough, you’re the only person that has asked to rehearse with me. Meet me at Bolero studios the day after tomorrow at 6:30pm and let’s see watchyu got. (Let me know if this time isn’t convenient for you. Also, let me know if you need directions) Ciao.”

Wow. I let out my breath. Didn’t even realize I was holding it in. I’m going to actually rehearse. With Chase. I screamed! Sheesh Denise! I totally forgot it was almost 2 am. Kai! Who knew how many of the neighbors I’d woken up. Oh well, they can like to indulge the happiest girl in the estate. I mean, its not every night I get to scream like this (Hold that thought. Forever. Thanks. Moving on.)

Fast forward, to the present.

I watched as the dancers executed the moves, synchronizing with one another and with the soft music in the background. I think it was Hillsong’s Aftermath playing, can’t really recall. I looked at my watch. 6:15pm. I still had 15 minutes, so I quietly backed into one corner and continued to watch them.

…Yes, I agree. The workshop lasts for 3 days… Yes, I will be very involved… No, it can’t wait…. Yes… First week of September is fine. I’ll be in touch. Thank you ma’am.”

Chase emerged from what appeared to be an office. As soon as I saw him, I started playing with my phone. As he concluded the phone call, he walked up to me. I looked up. There was the gorgeous smile. I smiled back and said hello.

“Hey you. So sorry” he said while pointing towards the very busy dancers, “but Tj  had to postpone his dance-class this afternoon. I totally forgot it would clash with our arrangement until about an hour ago.”

I later gathered that Tj was Chase’s best friend/mentor and together, they ran the studio.

“This isn’t a major class though and in about 30 minutes, they’ll be done. Can we start by 7 pm? Or do you have a curfew?” There, that smile again. The way he made everything feel…alright. *sigh*

For some reason, words just took a little vacation on me at that point in time. I managed a shy smile and a nod.

He looked at me with feigned misunderstanding and an arched eyebrow, “Nod as in, you do have a curfew, or nod as in 7 pm is fine?”

I chuckled. “7 pm is fine.” Thank God, the words were back.

“Would you like some water while you wait?”

“Yes, please.”

He disappeared into his office and was back with a glass of water.

I thanked him.

As he left, he pointed to the far left end of the dance hall, “In case you need it, the bathroom is that way.”

So thoughtful. I thanked him again.

I resumed playing with my phone. The dancers had just finished their prep routine, and had begun ‘falling into formation’.

Then someone else stepped out of the office into the dance hall.

Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious. || Holy. Mary. Mother. Of. All. Things. Sacred. || Sweet. Baby. Jesus. || Someone. Slay. Me. Now.

“Hey guys, chop,chop, let’s get to it.”

He walked to the  back of the room and inserted a CD in the deck.

“We know the routine. Tim, Haley, Janette. You go first. Amber, Peter, you join up in the second verse.  Let’s make this quick. And neat. I want fluidity. I want to see your lines and I want energy.”

A lot was happening and through all of it, all I could think was “…And I thought Chase was hot.”

***

Hahahaaaa… I am amazed at the turn of events. Honestly, after Part 1, I didn’t even plan to bring in any other major character besides Chase. I totally made Tj up halfway into this 2nd part, about 30 minutes ago. Hey, don’t give me that look! I wanna see how this ends as much as you do. 😉

Until next time (and I really hope its not too far in the future),

Jenn.

***

On This Hair Matter…

***

Oestrogen Alert! Please stay away from this the write-ups in this category if you’re allergic to large amounts of oestrogen all at once! Yes, contrary to what some of you might think, I can be girly too! ^_^

***

Hi Everyone!

My mum once told me that as a kid I had very healthy full, long hair. I found this really hard to believe. First off, by the time I was old enough to understand what it meant to have long, full hair,  I had already started wearing my hair short. Unfortunately I don’t remember much about the hair before that. Second, when I finally started growing my hair again after secondary school, I didn’t even grow it out beyond a couple of weeks (maybe 6 or 8) before I hit it with relaxers! 😩 If only I knew then what I know now. So basically, le natural hair was never even given the chance to flourish. Poor thing.

Funny, how it means so much to me now to have healthy hair when there are all sorts of things I could do to cover it up, weaves, braids, hair extensions… But no. I find that the real deal is actually important to me. I was *indicates with thumb and index finger* this close to cutting my hair at the end of last year. But then I realized I could actually transition from the light, weak, (not-so-full), relaxer-damaged hair that is mine, to complete natural (hopefully healthy) hair.

Transitioning just means taking time to grow out your natural hair and resisting the urge to re-touch!  At first, I though that not having to retouch my hair for like forever (maybe) wouldn’t be easy, but then I thought again of ALL my hair-retouch sessions in the salon (ACTUALLY a time-to-cry-and-whimper-in-pain-session, PS- I’ve tried all sorts of relaxers, kits, even poured powder in my hair, to no avail) and I realized I’d be glad never to have to go through any of that again. Also, I have really, REALLY soft hair. I think that’s the reason its always breaking off too easily in the first place. After re-touching, everything becomes extra soft and weak. So I’m hoping handling my natural hair won’t be too much of an uphill task.

I don’t really know if I’ll be posting pictures of my hair and its progress during this journey to the world of natural hair… on my blog, but I should have a couple of them on instagram. Username – etana007.

I’m also hoping to get tips from a couple of people I know who have successfully transitioned (or completely shaved everything off at some point…) People like Naza (@thegraceseeker), Yolanda (@miss_zannie) who also blogs at zannyzane.blogspot.com and one other lady – Princess Roberts (whose contact info, I’m still trying to get a hold of, lol!). I gave the idea of going natural my very first thought after I met Princess. There’s also this Natural Hair Care blog I’ve found out (among many others) – realhaircareafrica.wordpress.com Great stuff on there too.

Its been roughly 2 months since the last time I retouched this hair that is mine and I really can’t wait for the days to go by faster. Finally I’m excited about/looking forward to something (Ahdonbilivit!).

Until Later,

Chloe.