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“Strictly Confidential: Part 1” — A Short Series by Favour Chukwuemeka

Dairy food made Dabira sick; does it still? Walking slowly through the supermarket, I’m trying to picture a welcoming traditional dish in my mind, and then procure the ingredients with the shopping basket in my hand. I walk from stall to stall, and back to the stall I just left, uncertain about the choices in my basket.

Cooking had never been my forte, however, I’m willing to make something special for Dabira. Even if it means leaving work earlier on grounds of an ’emegency’ translated into shopping for groceries at the supermarket.

For these things, my mother would have gone to the local market located some minutes’ drive away from here. Hell, there’s no way I’m walking into a dirt-infested market with abokis hovering around me and staining my costly suit. Not to talk of those Igbo boys sizing me up and quoting triple the price of everything I purchase. Let the supermarket rob me of a few coins. At least, if Dabira gets a stomach upset, I’ll be sure that it’s not from food poisoning.

Dabira. How does she look now?

As I drive home, I picture her physique; the worthy endowments on her chest that drove me crazy each time. Thank God I’d been so busy at office, else, my eyes would’ve been transfixed on her photos. Photos that seem to appear everywhere I turn to: Facebook, Instagram and even a portrait on my office table.

Would she still want me?

A foreboding grips me anytime this question launches out in my mind, spreading diverse emotions across my soul. About the same time, I’d cloak my fears with the sweet memories of our fearless moments together. How intense and gripping these images still are, after so long.

Twelve years.

I drum my fingers on the steering wheel trying to count twelve. Amsterdam should have changed her. She traveled a lot, so I try to imagine my Dabira; a compendium of mixed races and religion. Her bio suggested that she’s human; I’m guessing that’s the new-found religion of ‘been to’ Nigerians now.

At the house, Kamil helps me take my stuff inside, his eyes heavy from an afternoon nap and shocked that I’m back early. I wave him off and run upstairs for a change of clothes. YouTube is about to help save my name in this cooking business. And I’m prepared to burn the house down if I have to.

Not in literal terms, though.

Would she still love efo? How about this processed pounded yam? I quit thinking about it too much. Because if I stretch into worry, I might be tempted to order dinner. I start washing everything protein and season it between pauses and plays and repeats on my iPad.

The magic happens some fifty minutes later, with a little more salt than required. And just when I’m about to replace the apron on its hanger, the doorbell rang.

I check the door hole. After few deep breaths, I open to usher in the one woman that still gives me butterflies. My woman. My sister.

Read Part 2.

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