SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Once upon a time, I lived in a part of Lagos where friendships were strong and we all knew each other. Then we grew up. One day, we gathered, about ten of us, friends just chatting and talking, then lulu walked through the door. She was in her mid-to-late twenties and she had a young fellow in tow. What first struck us all about her were her good looks. She was beautiful by all standards, well-proportioned and could haver stopped a tsunami dead in its tracks. There was a hush as she came in, a kind of awe as we assessed her. She was about 5' 7", very fair, full lips, full everything (if you get my meaning), she wasn't fat or thin and had gorgeous hair. She was graceful and had knowing eyes that made it clear she didn't intend to do anything with you about her knowing. We looked at her hands, looked at her feet, surreptiously inspected her from the front, from the back, sideways and then we all began what boys and men spend all their lives doing... trying to impress the female sex.
Only one of us knew her a bit, as she had once stayed with him for a few days. lulu stayed out of town, no one knew where, and would reappear in Lagos and stay for indefinite periods. The relationship between her and our friend who knew her was strictly platonic as she soon showed when another one of us in a drunken fit drenched her (lulu) and her former host with beer, in a bid to declare them in a relationship. The drunken sod wasn't entirely to blame. The former host had tried to impress us with hints of something between him and lulu but that was soon laid to rest when lulu spat fire after the beer-splashing.
So, we all began to seek ways to make positive impressions on lulu over the next few days. We paid attention to her every need, just hung about the area at night, former boys in the 'hood, gathering to chat after work. See, I have met many girls, incredible-looking ones, lulu was in the top 3%. She was vivacious and didn't seem to have any particular line of work but dressed like a top-line model.
The really skilled ones amongst us in creating good impressions also sought to impress her younger brother who hung with her. He was as good looking as she was in a manly way, said he was 18 and was in the Nigerian Defence Academy. A trainee soldier. He looked young and fit. We bought stuff for him, food, drinks etc and when brother and sister could no longer stay where they were, another of our friends who still stayed in a house that was up for sale invited lulu and her brother to stay with him. He slept upstairs while lulu and her brother slept on a mattress in the empty living room downstairs.
This arrangement lasted a few days but I had to travel and soon pushed lulu to the back of my mind.
When I returned months later, I asked about lulu from my relative who had made friends with her younger brother, being about the same age with him. He sat on the kerb and laughed a long while, then with tears streaming down his face he told me the end of the story.
Apparently, lulu's younger brother had not been in the Nigerian Defence Academy. He was 15 years old then and was in secondary school.(The quick ones are picking up the scent now) He also wasn't her brother. She had posed as his aunt and had him released from school for some family meeting and had then absconded to Lagos with him where they could make love in peace.
What ruined her well-executed plan was the fact that the boy's parents went visiting their son (It was before the days of GSM in NIgeria)and the boy's Navy Officer father was informed that another 'aunt' had sought his release from the school. They had traced him to Lagos and to my friend's "For Sale" house and had arrested lulu and my friend and carried the under-aged blighter back to school.
I recalled the Defence Academy anecdotes the twerp used to tell us (we all fell for his stories) and how we'd all accepted the scenario. I could laugh at our foolishness though and even yelled a hello to lulu one day I drove past her (as she sat in a taxi) in Ikoyi traffic.
One thing I've learnt- Things aren't always what they seem.