Every Princess has good Hair

I would stand in the front of the mirror and hate what I saw. A dark face, round nose and wide lips framed by lots of woolly hair. Mum said I was a princess. So I spent years looking for a someone like me to show up on the telly.
No-one did.
Then I started wishing I looked like Susan. Can you imagine that? She had big blue eyes like the doll I had when I was a baby and like a baby she could open and close her eyes and make whining noises which most boys seemed to like listening to. She had long blonde hair which she liked to flick in everyone’s face so I got my black cardigan, stuck it on my head and swished my head around until I felt a bit sick.
Mum saw me and laughed.
Dizzy, I tore the stupid thing off my head. “I wish I had long hair like yours”.
She smiled. “You look lovely. Why do you think people go on holidays? So they can look just like you…”
I wasn’t convinced. Nobody stared at you when you had a tan that faded by autumn. I was a little ‘coloured girl’ every day of the year.
I kept on searching and one evening I saw the Supremes on ‘Top of the Pops.’ They were beautiful, sophisticated and could sing.
They looked different but it was a good different.
My hair was short and grew in clumps (because Mum couldn’t do a thing with it) it grew wild like the back of our neighbours garden. I had to wait for Mothers fortnightly visits with The Comb. This iron implement was used to coax my curls into lying smoothly across my scalp but as they couldn’t betray their heritage, they would stand up at a degree of approximately 90 degrees every time.
It wasn’t fair. After all Mother wore a wig like the Supremes which meant that she did not have to go through all this pain to look like a Princess.

The Declaration – excerpt from Love’s Persuasion out 15 December.

Ada is furious at Tony's behaviour. She wishes she never let herself imagine that he had feelings for her.
Ada is furious at Tony’s behaviour. She wishes she never let herself imagine that he had feelings for her.

Ada’s lips tightened as she held tightly on to the TV remote. She noticed that Liz’s attention seemed to be fixed on the window which looked out over the street.

“Ada, look outside.”

“What is it now?”

“Ada, come here,” Liz urged. “You won’t believe who has just parked across the road.”

She joined Liz at the window. They looked out and saw Tony Okoli getting out of his Jeep. He locked the doors and walked quickly across the road. Despite her annoyance Ada couldn’t help noticing how the blue African print shirt he wore emphasized the broadness of his shoulders and the muscles on his arms.

“The man fine o.” Liz exclaimed. “God don butter your bread.”

“What does this guy want now eh?” Ada pushed past her and went to the door. “I will tell him to leave me alone. I’m not in the mood for all his nonsense.”

Liz ran after her.

“Ada…don’t start shouting at the man. Remember he is still your Oga. You still want a job o.”

Ada marched down the passage and saw Tony standing in front of the house greeting her neighbours in passable Yoruba. Was there no end to this man’s abilities? She thought sarcastically.

“Good evening, Ada,” he said. He looked at her like a little boy who was expecting a telling off.

Gini? What do you want?”

“Ada, can we talk inside, please?”

“I don’t see what we have to talk about,” she said. “You made that clear the last time.”

“Things have changed a little since then. That’s why I want to talk to you.”

She folded her hands over her chest and glared at him. “What makes you think I really want to hear anything you have to say?”

“I will stand out here until you listen to me,” Tony said. He looked uncomfortable, but resolute.

“How you have the guts to stand there and…..”

A neighbour who was enjoying watching the whole exchange decided to add her advise.  “Ada. Listen to the man.”

“She does have a point,” said Tony, hopefully. Ignoring him, Ada turned to the woman.

“I hear you, Ma,” she said politely, but made no move to invite Tony in. “Say what you have to say here. I’m not going anywhere alone with you.”

Arabirin, take the man into your room and be hospitable – get him some minerals or something – instead of standing on the street,” added the old woman who sold fried yam in front of the house. “Do you want the world to hear your business?”

Ada felt a sharp nudge from behind and realised it was Liz, looking at her as if she had committed some crime. She could feel the eyes of the landlady and her other neighbours boring into her and realised that her landlady and flat mate would hound her for life if she didn’t listen to Tony.

She shrugged. “Ok, follow me.”

Liz smiled and announced rather loudly that she was going down the road to buy something – and that she would be some time.

Ada turned to go back into the house and Tony followed.

She was conscious of how small her room was as she as she opened the door. Now that he stood inside, everything looked smaller. Even the guest bathroom in his house was bigger than her room. She saw him wipe away the sweat from his brow.  She could have switched on the fan, but didn’t. She took perverse pleasure in watching him suffer.

“Did you tell your fiancée that you are here?” she asked acidly.“Look, let me tell you something –I have heard stories about rich playboys who are looking for ‘bush meat’ to pick their teeth with after they’ve had their main meal and if you think that I’m that desperate you can take your money and–”

“ADA!” He spoke firmly, interrupting her speech then he stepped forward and took her hands. “I’m sorry for what I did. I’m sorry for what I said, but I’m not sorry for feeling the way I do about you – and before you bring up Gloria again, it’s over. We are both in love with other people.”

In love? Ada stared at him, feeling the fight dissolving out of her. “I don’t understand.  I thought ….”

The Girl who loved too much – continued


Chris was a funny guy. We had gone to University together and dated briefly. It hadn’t worked out but I had introduced him to Sandra – the love of his life with whom he had 2 beautiful children. Sadly he lost Sandra to cancer and was widowed 7 years into the marriage.
It was a funny thing. Chris fancied Betty and Betty liked and respected Chris. They worked in the same office. Now where things could go after that I wasn’t too sure but it was worth a try. Anything was worth a try. Betty was a sweet sensitive girl who loved kids and Chris was a now a middle – aged workaholic with two confused hurting children below the age of 7. His heart was in the right place and for a man who had been through quite a few things in life, he had still remained his sense of humour, optimism and sense of fun. I liked that. I felt that Betty needed someone who did not take life too seriously, loved children and wanted more.
What I wasn’t too sure of was whether Chris fit into the ideal man image that her parents had embedded into her subsconscious.
They wanted a young professional who spoke Twi and knew the culture – I didn’t know how they would cope with a tall, fair English gentleman with two children who didn’t speak any other language but English and whose only contact with Africa had been a package holiday to Egypt in his teens.
How would it all turn out. I guess we would find out after my get together.