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She was doing fine. He liked it. He liked women who were different. He liked her. He was very sure of it.

“Hello”, he said

“Hi,”  she replied

“Do I know you from anyway or somewhere?”

She gave him a stern look and sighed. That was the line they all used. Some would even say, “wow!, you look so much like my ex girlfriend,” like it had something to do with anything.

“Sorry, I don’t think we have met.”

She turned her eyes immediately, searching for what she wasn’t sure of.

He didn’t it like it. She was supposed to be different, he thought. That was the attitude all girls pulled. They would walk away, without hearing what you had to say.

He moved fast to catch up with her.

“Please, don’t walk away so fast. I shouldn’t have said that. Ok I’m Jef. He stretched out his right hand.”

She didn’t look pleased. She was sure he was one of them. He acted so much like them. He had their face. They all wore diamond earrings, fake or real and they always had an American or British accent—the fake one.

“Look, I’m busy. If you would excuse me, I need to be somewhere.” She left.

That was it. She was like every other black girl he had walked up to in Lagos. They were all the same. Girls that could care less about Literature. He felt irritated. Shai had warned him about talking to black women in events like these. They all  carried that same ego. He wished girls he met were like his favorite female blogger, girls with strong admiration for literature. He scanned the room for a few seconds. A lot of light-skinned girls were there. He didn’t like them. He took a glass of champagne from a waiter and found himself a new seat away from the crowd. He has not been lucky tonight. He has never been.

She dabbed the powder on her left cheeks for the second time. There was a pimple there, and it wouldn’t hide itself. She looked a little bit disappointed. It took her two weeks to come up with the perfect presentation for the event. It wasn’t just for the money. Or maybe the money was part of it, but she needed a man. That was the major reason. She needed a man who admired women who read. A man who didn’t like Brazilian hair and the rest. A man who would praise her for using big grammars in her speech. That was the man she needed.

Olu assured her two weeks ago in London that the men who came for book launches in Lagos were her match. “Just bombard them with your grammar and keep the accent alive, 20 of your match would line up waiting,” he’d said. Her match was definitely not a guy with diamond stud and scary tattoos.

For a moment, she wished she knew the ghost writer, whose stories she published on her blog. The male characters in his stories were her perfect match. The ghost writer was her match.

It was 7pm. Her driver would be here soon. She looked herself up in the mirror, took a sip from her glass of vodka and left for her cheque.

“You were very good ma’m. The organizers are paying you double,” he handed her the cheque.

“I’m very grateful Mr. Kola. I hope to work with your agency again.”

She shook his hand and made to leave.

“Oh wait Miss, I would like you to meet one of our newly signed talents. His stories are something you would like to put on your blog.”

She waited. After all, he had paid her double. It would be rude to turn down his request.

“Alright, let’s meet him.”

He was on his 6th glass, after which he was going to leave. He couldn’t wait to send his story about the night to Ella. He felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Jeffrey, meet Miss Oruoella”

He smiled. She reluctantly shook his hand and glanced at his diamond ear ring to make sure it was truly fake before leaving.

The night had gone well, he thought. He was going to write about it, and he was going to send it to Ella. She would love the story and later publish it on her blog.

 

 

************

Post image by Simon Harrod via Flickr

About the Author:

Portrait - MaduI am Madufor Eveiah Ifunanya. I have a very strong admiration for African literature. I believe that a fundamental shift in ones thinking attitude is a step in unlocking one of the doors to a perfect Concept (Creativity). My dream is to be able to inspire lots of African children through Literature.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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