I heard about a certain lemon and ginger drink that would help me breathe better, I've had respiratory issues for a long time, and I was willing to try anything that'd help me live a better life.
I searched high and low for lemons, my mum was of the opinion that since it wasn't lemon season I wouldn't find them. "Why don't you use limes instead" she said, she'd even gone to Mushin market to find them for me but she didn't find any. The recipe called for lemons and not lime, I wasn't going to use any substitute, I wasn't taking chances.
A few minutes later, the woman in the opposite stall came out and asked what I wanted. "Lemons and ginger" was my reply, the lemons went for fifty naira each and I bought a thousand naira worth and two hundred naira worth of ginger. She asked what I wanted to use this "huge" amount of lemons and ginger for. I was momentarily irritated, why can't nigerians mind their business? Why is that we have little understanding of the concept of privacy? On the spot I decide to tell her something else, a story with the drama she's seeking.
"My belle too big" I tell her, "I wan reduce am". She eyes me long and hard, a measured, considering glance from head to toe. "You don marry?" She asks, I shake my head in reply. "Your boyfriend dey complain?" I nod slowly and smile in my mind, I don't even have a boyfriend. She shakes her head but says nothing. We wrap up our transaction, she tells me it's her sister's shop and I'll get a bigger discount when I come for more lemons, with a wry smile on my face I leave her shop.
"Fine girl, fine girl" I hear someone shout, I was already seventy or so metres away. Could it be me? I turn around just in case and see her beckoning on me. I walk back to her stall. "So you know say you be fine girl" she asks in slightly mocking tones. I smile and wait for her to tell me why she called me. "I no put the ginger" she says. I smile in appreciation, my house is quite far the market and discovering that I forgot the ginger when I get home wouldn't have been funny. "Thank you Ma" I say with another smile. As I turn to leave, she taps me and says "you be fine girl, in fact you be beautiful girl. If your boyfriend no appreciate your beauty, leave am waka, you go get another one like this (she snapped her fingers). Smiling sheepishly, I thank her again and find my way home.
You see, I'd been told a lot of times that I'm beautiful. This was the first time I ever believed it.