Metropole Magazine

Today's Weather: Abuja NG: Partly Cloudy, Day 360|Night 260

02 Oct Written by  Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

Keeping Up Appearances

Two Abuja boys sat in a vehicle somewhere in Ikoyi talking about a cocktail reception they had just attended.

The reception, hosted at a highbrow hotel on Lagos Island, had stars of Nollywood and culture lovers in attendance. A little intimidated by the ostentation on display, one of the boys joked as he plucked a glass of French wine from a wandering tray. ‘Dutch courage,’ he said.

Perhaps he was right to seek this courage at the bottom of a goblet. He spoke excitedly, coherently and without nerves in front of numerous cameras gathered to celebrate the opening of the festival with the screening of a yet-to-be-released film. The film industry and journalists besieged him asking for interviews, exchanging pleasantries, taking pictures. A middle aged writer hugged him and reminded onlookers that they attended same school, provoking laughter. The theme of the night was clear: success has many friends, lovers, and alumni.

The other boy watched, spoke with a few people he had seen on television, took pictures, made notes. A few people asked of his handiwork, trying to figure how he fit into the swanky shindig. He didn’t. But maybe he did since it was by invitation only. He wasn’t so sure, so he smiled, changed the topic, drank more red wine, and grabbed more chicken wings.

The female lead of the film stood a few metres from him. He had liked her portrayal of a foul-mouthed, often poetic, adulterer role so he went to her and offered her marriage. She laughed, asked for a ring, and they discussed her career. Particularly impressive is that it is her first film role.

(A few minutes later he was within earshot when an older Nollywood actress told her to play a ‘good girl’ role in her next project. She thought it won’t be long before Nigerians take the person and character as same. Same night the starlet told a friend the young man from Abuja had offered her marriage, to which her friend clearly without imagination replied, ‘that is how it starts o’. He thought this response funny.)

At the end of the cocktail reception, a leading man in new Nollywood and star in said film offered to take both Abuja boys to their hotel. But he had to walk a female friend to her vehicle first.

This was how they ended up sitting in a vehicle making small talk.

One of them realised he was thirsty. But it was a highbrow area, at night, and so there was no way to obtain water. He stopped talking, perhaps conserving fluid, perhaps tired. Then out of the night, a man, wearing clothes identifying him as clearly not from the cocktail reception, walked past pulling a bag of pure water. It was either a miracle or a Nollywood script, this deus ex machina, and out of instinct said ‘pure water!’ The man stopped, made to turn around when the other Abuja boy said to his friend, ‘abeg no embarrass us for here.’

In this way was the matter settled. The thirsty Abuja boy nodded, understanding the need to keep up appearances, and overriding the thirst reflex.

Half an hour later they reached their hotel, a small, expensive, self-consciously African hotel somewhere in Ikoyi. The non-thirsty Abuja boy was hungry and now the experience of the thirsty one had transferred: room service and fast food restaurants in the area had closed. There’s however an Hausa guy running noodle services. No contest, the hungry implored them to go over and help themselves. There was no Nollywood star in the area and their chauffeur had driven away. They became Abuja boys again, imploring the man in Hausa to make two eggs, two Indomie. The plan, the hungry one said, was to glamourize the place. The thirsty one agreed, perhaps someday the place may be branded with both their names, he thought. Hope sprang eternal.

In this manner was both hunger and thirst satisfied.