OYINBO CLERK 1
AUTHOR/WRITER: AJANI OYINDAMOLA (Left Handed Poet)
I remembered that morning Baami showed me the picture of my lover in Lagos, he flashed his yellow teeth at me as I clinged to the paper like it will fly away into the forest.
“Err! Apinke! That is Alao, the son of oga teacher, the one that taught omo iya ologi and Mr. Oyinbo, That is his son!”, He said smiling to me.
He wore a white pair of short with a white shirt with a suspenders with well-polished black shoes to fit in the picture.
“He is not here in our village, he is in the big city, working with British men so he will become big man with Volkswagen and you will travel to port novo with him”.
“Ah! Baami, thank you o! I will flaunt myself at the men of Okitipupa, wear konkonka heels and sway my hips like wife of Alakowe, and my lips redder than epo pupa, with my Simbi hair with rubber wool, and tarlic white powder”.
I bragged to Baami that morning as my shoulders went up under the long skirt and white top. Ah! Emi. Anybody that ask me that where is my husband? I will brag and say, uhn!! My husband is in Lagos, that water filled land working as clerk with Oyinbo for post office.
I went to FIRST GRAMMER SCHOOL where I taught Yoruba to Form 2, and form 5. My walking steps changed as I decided to Buga any teacher in that school. I will eye them and say; “DON’T insult me at all!! We are not mate! My husband is in Lagos, picking money from the ground”. I stopped eating the popular Amala and Gbegiri and spend my hard earned money on Uncle Ben long grain rice. Ahh! Emi, iyawo clerk, working with Oyinbo”. ********************************
The following week, uncle Popo the letter man knocked our door, pecking his long ostrich neck into our house.. He dropped the letter off as I made a mental dance in my head, Ah! My lover sent another letter to me, I cuddled and kissed the white paper with post stamp on it. I tore it open, dancing around in the kokoka I refused to peel off my feet again. Then I read. Dear love,
My love is wider than the lagoon in Lagos and your love moves around my stomach like uncle pepper drink. I thank my father and mother star and the God Oyinbo are serving here for the day baba mi sent your picture, My love for you is more than a thousand stars in the black sky, in fact sweeter than the bread sold at Leventies road, I’m learning to drive Madam car in the city so I can come and carry you away, together to the big city. But see! I’m going to war, oyinbo people need able men to fight. I don’t know when I will be coming back because they said we are going to fight German people. Bad side and British people. Good side. But if I don’t come back, will you wait for me?
My sweet kalikali robo chinchin
My heart broke at the end of each sentence as tears leaked down my face, Alao is leaving the big city to ilu Oyinbo “united states” I kissed back the letter and hid it under my spring metal bed as I reminisced on the words Alao wrote to me.
I waited and wait,
Wore oyinbo clothes and acted like oyinbo. I knew all the news coming from the abroad, people came to me for marital dispute resolution because my Husband is in the white man county.
Years ran into years and minutes grew into decades. If only Alao will knock on the door of my father’s hut or send me a letter. I’m still waiting for my husband from the city