by Leke Alder

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Chapter 2
Ever met a family with a knack for reproducing beauty? I have. Some families are genetically wired to reproduce comeliness, sister after sister, each a variety of a thematic aesthetic, like the R&B vocal group of the 1970s, Sister Sledge. I’m talking about the Osagie* family. That family demonstrated a sequential capacity for reproducing beauts. There were two girls in the family. The two girls were Adesuwa and Abele*. Their beauty dominated the testosterone laden thoughts of all the boys on my father’s street.

That street had interesting characters, the most notable of which was Mr. Okpara, a building contractor with expansive gestures. He was a stark illiterate who could neither read nor write; but you’ll never know, not from appearances. Mr. Okpara was always impeccably dressed in a suit and a tie. He surprisingly had good taste, looked suave. But his illiteracy compelled him to pronounce Schweppes Bitter Lemon, “Shu-wep Botoboto”. And I’m not making that up. He was also fond of hurling accusations at those who “wounded” his sand, meaning anyone who drove over his sand supply. Two houses from Mr. Okpara was the Osagie household.

We were all in junior secondary school at this time, me and all the other children. We were all born about the same time, like our parents got a court summons to reproduce us. Life would later disperse all of us.

Adesuwa was a chocolate brown beauty with the nose of a Greek goddess. Her younger sister was a budgeoning beauty too. She was filled with baby fat and innocense.

Fast forward twenty years and I met a friend, a bonafide member of our street generation. I had lost touch with everyone. This was my opportunity to catch up. How’s Adesuwa, I asked. The reply was regretful and sad. Adesuwa was dead. She died in university. I felt mentally immobilised. Adesuwa dead? How?!

Like every young man I was unfamiliar with the notion of death. The grim reaper is hardly in the consciousness of the young. I assumed like most young people that death demands we all queue up, the older in front, the oldest consumed. But death runs a random algorithm. There’s no logical procession into Hades.

The story was, and this is the story: Adesuwa and another young woman had gotten into a contest over a man with a red sports car. That’s the identity of the man – a man with a red sports car. The other girl took things rather seriously, approached a witch doctor and ran Adesuwa mad. She was locked up in her father’s flat, chained like a demoniacally possessed, her father seeking to prevent his beloved daughter from roaming the streets of Lagos naked. He didn’t want her talking to invisible beings on the highways and byways.

Adesuwa never made it out of compassionate custody. She died in confinement. (A cold chill ran through me as I typed that). May life be kind to us.

When you hear stories like this you suddenly understand why life is described as nasty, brutish and short. Adesuwa, the beautiful Adesuwa, was despatched to the other side over a man with a red car, her dark complexion a sharp contrasting silhouette against the loud screaming colour of a useless car.

*Names have been altered to protect memories

[The Book of Nonsense is a notebook of life’s observations – contradictions that make no sense. These are true stories. The book is entirely written on my phone. I write what I like and publish the chapters when I feel like. ©️ Copyright Leke Alder 2023]

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