“Yes, and a bottle of your best red wine. Thank you.”
This is me, ordering a bottle of red wine in this five-star hotel located in Accra. My plan for the night was to drink and drink some more. I wasn’t much of a drunk; at least one can tell from the club episode of Mr. Oga and me. However, on certain days I find myself taking shelter in alcohol. I simply envelope myself in its intoxication and forget how I started with the first sip. This night, I was going to get drunk and sleep off. Mr. Oga didn’t need us until 1.00pm. If there would be any hangover, it should have passed by then.
“Room service will be with you in 2 minutes.” The receptionist at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra said.
The hotel is the most beautiful ever – well next to Edwardian Radisson hotel, London or maybe not. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind so I really couldn’t judge. There were three rooms in the wing where we were lodged. I picked up the phone and dialled Daniel’s number.
“Hi Daniel, it’s Shalewa.”
“Hey babe, how was the trip?”
“Fine. Just thought I should let you know we have arrived. Wanna turn in now.”
“What? Day is still young bozo!”
I smiled at his attempt to cheer me up. “Tired.”
“Hmm! You sound really down. I really wish you didn’t have to go on this trip.”
“It’s fine; I really need this getaway.”
“I can reach you on this number?”
“Yes you can, I’ll call you again.”
“I’ll call before you do, Shalewa, if you are ready to talk; I will be here waiting patiently.”
I heard a knock on the door and got up to answer it. It was room service with my dinner and wine. I gave the young man a tip (for my mind, I form ‘mamas’). He thanked me and left.
I was surprised Lydia had not come to disturb me. I opened the covered plate and threw a piece of shrimp into my mouth. I chewed away to the bathroom and turned on the heater. Thoughts of grandma and mum’s discussion crept into my head once again. I stood under the shower and allowed the water run down my body. I was there for over 10 minutes and water had mixed up; I tasted salt in the water. I couldn’t stop crying. No more sobbing, I said to myself. I turned the shower off and wiped my body clean with a white towel the hotel had provided. I wore my lacy bra and matching pant just to make myself happy. I hadn’t worn them in a while; it was the last thing my father had bought me. Funny!
We were in a mall in England when I saw this red and black lace lingerie staring at me. I stood in front of it and looked at the price tag: £50. I turned back sadly and ranted about why it wasn’t on sales. Long story brought to an abrupt end, my sweet father paid for it. End of story.
Now I’m here in this beautiful hotel, wearing this £50 lingerie with my silk robe, about to open this bottle of wine and drink myself to sleep. Maybe I’ll dream; I’ll dream about my father.
I popped open the wine, poured some of it into my glass, toasted to an unfair life and began to drink. Half way down, I began to feel really tipsy. The room felt hot all of a sudden. I took off my robe and switched on the air-condition. Just then, somebody knocked the door and I got up to open it. My robe! I glanced at it and just strode on to open the door in my lingerie. There was no one. I stepped out into the passage and looked around. I was about to go in when the door shut itself. Ok, I must be drunk hehehehehe! I’m wearing my favourite lingerie, only my lingerie and I just locked myself out. It must be the wine, the door can’t be locked. I pushed. It was still locked.
Even though I was tipsy, I knew the implication of running around naked. Think! Think! Think! I began to poke myself back to reality. The only option was to knock on Lydia’s door and call the hotel from there. So I walked to Lydia’s door and knocked.
“Lydia! Lydia! Open up.”
I could not shout, I couldn’t risk Mr. Oga coming out. I sighed with relief as I heard the door open.
“Oh thank God. I locked myself out.”
I looked up to look at Lydia as I attempted to run past her into the room, only to discover that it wasn’t Lydia. Breaking news: I am one of those ‘intelligent stupid’ people that cannot tell their right from their left. I must have knocked on the wrong door.
“Oh my God!” I jumped on the bed and took cover under the duvet.
He couldn’t talk. He just had his hands opened and was staring at me like he had seen a ghost.
“Shalewa, are you drunk? You are half..” He shut the door quickly.
“I am tipsy, not drunk..” I stammered. “I thought this was Lydia’s room.” I cleared my throat and continued “Ehm, I locked myself out.”
He walked into the bathroom and came back with a robe. He left it on the bed and turned around. Perfect gentleman. Ideas! Ideas!! I was tipsy enough to be silly but I fought the devil. I stood up and lost my balance, I was on the floor before I could call my ‘oriki’.
“Oh my God, are you alright? You must be really tipsy.” Femi screamed as he rushed to lift me up. I started to cry.
“Are you hurt?”
I answered with more tears. At a point I think I was wailing. Femi rocked me like a baby. When i finally talked, I heard myself pouring out everything I should have told Daniel.
“Mama Shalewa isn’t my mother. She is not my mother. I have called her mother for 26 years of my life and she is not my mother.”
“What are you mumbling about?” Femi asked quietly.
I looked at his cute face with tears streaming down my eyes. “I have known only one mother since I was born and just yesterday, I found out she isn’t my mother. I think she was my nanny and I think she isn’t legally married to my dad; and I think that is why the lawyer is holding on to my dad’s will.”
“Wow!!! How did you find out?” He asked as he helped me wear the robe and carried me to the bed. I felt loved. I think I smiled. I think I did.
“I was eavesdropping”, I whispered.
He smiled. “This is a serious discussion, so I’m going to let you sleep and tomorrow, when you are in the right frame of mind, we will talk, ok?”
I nodded my head.
“I have to get to the reception to see to getting your door open, I’ll be back.”
I think he kissed my forehead or maybe I’m just tipsy.
I didn’t know when he got back; neither did I know how I happened to wake up in my hotel room the next morning.
It’s Tuesday morning and I just told Mr. Oga my secret. Mr. Oga had seen me in my sexiest lingerie, once tipsy, twice embarrassed.
I was trying to get over yesterday’s ‘non-rendezvous’ when I heard a knock. I got up to answer and was expecting a quality hangover; luckily, there was none.
“Who is it?”
My heart stopped.
Omoshalewa Benson: Tales of a Lagos babe is written by Tobilola ‘Bella’ Agoro (@tobiagoro)
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