How to get a life

New YorkNew York

 

 

 

Annabel had gone to the States and come back with this book called “Get out there and get yourself a life.” She had insisted she read it.  Despite her hatred of self-help books and their self righteous advice that only seemed to work for the writers she had gone through it and decided it needed another title- “Get out there and get yourself a man.”

 

The writer Kim Bradley thingy … something double barrelled who had been a high flyer in the stock exchange had met Mr Right – a brilliant neurosurgeon; decided that the cut throat world of the New York Stock Exchange had lost its attraction,  got married and lived in some gigantic house somewhere in Boston. Sounded like one of those irritating afternoon TV films made in the eighties.

 

Anyway when Kim had turned 36 her mother had been diagnosed with something serious and had said don’t let me die without seeing you happily married.  This had been enough to stop Kim from sitting down and waiting for Mr Right to come to her. She decided to get off her derriere and go track him down.

 

She had accomplished this by drawing a list of all the places where men liked to hang out or where they just could be found. She would list the American example and had helpfully included the English equivalent just to increase the transatlantic appeal of the book to other singletons across the pond. –

 

  1. Train stations/Greyhound buses/ Public Transport/London Underground
  2. Churches
  3. Supermarkets/Retail outlets/The Mall
  4. Hospitals
  5. The Jailhouse/The Police Station/Fire Station/Army Barracks
  6. Sports events i.e.- Softball/ Basketball/Football stadium
  7. Sorority Events/ Alumni Events for Universities i.e. – Association of Lawyers/Doctors/Engineer yearly balls
  8. The School/Cookie mornings/PTA Events
  9. The Library/Internet Café
  10. Bars/The Pub/Discos/Raves/Restaurants
  11. Theatres/Cinema Houses
  12. Self –help seminars/ Business world/Seminars/
  13. Banks
  14. Car Shows

 

By the time she got to 14 I was in tears. Of laughter.

 

“Ooh…number 5 looks promising.  All we need to do is to hang outside the police station down the road and look for any of the old Bill to emerge and go up and say to any fit officer….Excuse me…but I’m really lost and I need you to show me the way…

 

Annabel looked hurt.|” I should have known you will turn the whole thing into a joke….look do you like spending every Friday night at home watching Friends?

 

I thought long and hard. “Its better than hanging outside ….|”I snatched the book and read the list again in a mock American accent…”Train stations, churches, the Mall, hospitals, the jailhouse….Wow…my mum will like that …looking for men in the jailhouse…I can see shades of Jailhouse rock in there girl…..

 

Annabel’s lips were a thin red line.

 

Or whatever.  According to her mother she was too choosy or not doing enough to make herself look presentable.  Short of asking the next eligible male she saw on the street to marry her she didn’t know what else she was supposed to do.

 

She was 39 and she should be anxious about her ever advancing biological clock, the fact that she had been single for the past 15 months and that in the past few years she had only had one date which had ended in disaster – he had forgotten his wallet at home (or so he claimed) and his phone kept ringing during the date.

 

Not good.

 

“I’m out of here.”

 

“Enjoy the party.”

 

“I did invite you but you have to be such a party pooper!”

 

“It’s Friday. I want to sit down with my hair tied up in a scarf, in my old baggy dressing gown and eat lots of ice –cream while I watch footie.”

 

“You are such a stereotype.” Annabel walked off. “Except for the football.”

 

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Excerpt from Love’s Persuasion – OUT TODAY on www.ankarapress.com

It all started with a kiss….

Tony arrived to pick her up at 8pm. She came out wearing a simple sleeveless knee-length dress made of brown African print material patterned with green leaves. A green belt and matching heels gave her some added height. Her braids were plaited high on her forehead which gave her eyes a slanted mysterious look and large gold hoop earrings drooped from her ears.

I like. Very much, he thought to himself. Maybe too much.

“Good evening, Ada,” he said as she got into the car. “You look nice. “That wasn’t what he wanted to say, though.

Ada, you look drop dead gorgeous. Actually quite, alluring.

His eyes lingered on her for a minute more. Was her waist really that tiny? He couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to see if he could put his hands around her to find out.

Then he looked up. She was looking at him curiously.

“How was your day?”

His face assumed its usual easy friendly tone. “Brilliant.” He put the key in the ignition and they were off.

When they arrived, the exhibition hall was packed with people; some standing alone, others in groups discussing the paintings. As it was a corporate affair, most of them were smartly dressed in suits and dresses and the rest were artist types – jeans, T-shirts and dreadlocks. Some stewards in white shirts and black trousers served soft drinks and canapés.

There were charcoal drawings, pencil drawings and oil paintings on display. Some were abstract and others brought to life everyday scenes; a busy market, a snapshot of Lagos during rush hour, two kids playing in a stream, some women dressed in white garments having a church service on a busy beach.

They strolled through the exhibition halls, discussing the merits of different works. They stopped for a while to listen to a lecturer who spoke in knowledgeable tones telling the visitors about the artists and their works.

“I would like to buy a piece for my sitting room. It looks so bare,” Tony said as they walked. “But I know nothing about African art, you see. I have some ideas, but I’m not sure, so I need someone with taste to guide me.”

“What about that one?” Ada asked nodding towards an oil painting of a bustling market scene.

“It’s nice,” Tony said, shrugging. “I can see it in my study.”

“I like the way the light is falling on the people’s faces.” She pointed at one of the people in the scene, a little girl selling oranges under the shade of a tree. Her face seemed bathed in joy as she sat eating one. “It’s got character,” Ada said, “But it’s also got a Hundred thousand naira price tag.”

That settled it for him. “I’ll get it.”

“It’s a good choice.” Ada murmured. Her mind was doing some quick calculations. She couldn’t help it. 100K was several months’ salary for her. It was the down payment on a nice car, or several months’ rent. All for one picture! Whoever said having money didn’t make life easier…

“Are you hungry? Tony asked after he had finished negotiating with the gallery owner and the picture had been wrapped up and handed over. “I know I am.”

“Yes…” she wasn’t sure how to respond.

“We can go for dinner at mine.”

She stared at him.

“Dinner…”

“Yes, dinner. Then you can have a look at my collection as well.”

“Collection?”

“Of diamonds and rare stones.”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“My books,” he said laughing. “They are more precious to me than gold or jewels. I have a whole study of them – wall to wall. I don’t mind lending you a few, if you like.”

She nodded and pushed aside the voice of experience and common sense.

Go to http://www.ankarapress.com to get your copy and find out what happens next

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