Monday, 20 June 2022

Auntim Jane...She always begins with ‘hmmm, look at you.’

You take. You take. You take from yourself till there is nothing left to listen to when you retire to your bed at night. You give yourself too little time to sleep or feel or be because when you were little you conjured the voice of a Nigerian aunty in your head. I called mine Auntim Jane. Auntim Jane always compares me with everyone that passes by. I go to bed in the evening and she reminds me that my mates are still at work trying to make ends meet. I’m at a relative’s wedding, Autim Jane reminds that the groom was my classmate and that the bride calls me uncle. You’d think she would stop there. She is right there next to me on my birthday, blowing cold breeze in my ear and telling me how all my mates are becoming either husbands, fathers or billionaires. Why should I get out out of bed, it is not like anything that I do will amount to anything, plus it is a Saturday and I’m exhausted from working late and trying to catch the last train back to Johannesburg? But no, Auntim Jane will quote ‘a little sleep, a little slumber and poverty comes knocking’. Auntim Jane likes the sound of her voice. I like the sound of her voice too. She always begins with ‘hmmm, look at you.’ Auntim Jane is probably Igbo, but she has that common Nigerian fusion of British and American accent infused with Igbo words. I conjured her smell too. She smells like freshly ironed damask with the musk still trying to settle in. She also smells like peppered chicken from a Nigerian wedding. She does not touch me. It is not in her nature to, but she makes sure she makes eye contact, while she speaks of how fortunate and brilliant everyone is and how more stupid I am becoming. The day I was called to bar, she was there in my room with her red gele. ‘Is it not your mates that had first class. Do they have two heads?’. The day I got my masters degree, she was in the stall next to mine in the rest room eavesdropping as I cried my eyeballs out because my parents were not there with me. She told me, ‘hurry up, they about to start’. After every break up, she is right there in my room handing me tissues as she outlines everything that I did wrong in the relationship, while simultaneously helping me select potential hookups from apps. She is very gifted, she knows how to pick them. Auntim Jane likes to fill the room with her voice. She likes to fill my head with her echo. She tells me to be home early just because. And when I’m home, she knits her thickness around me. She tells me to study more. Auntim Jane is drawn to books, she thinks that there is always something interesting in them, or that someone new has figured an interesting way to say something old. She is not always right, but by the time I realise it, I have wasted another few months not living.
Photo sourced from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etrpj4I8uoA

Auntim Jane...She always begins with ‘hmmm, look at you.’

You take. You take. You take from yourself till there is nothing left to listen to when you retire to your bed at night. You give yourself t...