a picture of moyo okediji working at the akodi orisa

When a man is talking.

“When a man is talking, the woman must shut up,” the young bricklayer was yelling. His colleague confirmed, “Yes, this is man to man talk. You need to keep quiet and let us settle this matter.”

My jaw was hanging in disbelief. I’ve been away too long from Nigeria. Nobody spoke to and about women like this when I was growing up. Now these young men drooling blasphemous vomit, where did they drop from? Am I hearing these statements, or am I dreaming? Is it just my imagination, or what?

I held on firmly to my crutches to confirm I was awake. It was for real. These people are truly in front of me and they are saying these things, I realized.

The bricklayer moved near my friend, and squeezed all the space from her, with his pointed fingers almost poking her in the eyes. “Nobody asked you to interrupt our conversation, woman,” he said. “I have a wife at home and she knows better than to talk when men are trying to iron out a serious matter!”

I am good when my head is cool. But it takes little to get my kettle boiling. Now they had blown my fuses and my boiling radiator had exploded. I tasted the fire in my tongue, before spitting out my words, letter by letter.

“You need to get the shit out of my land before something deadly descends upon you,” I yelled at them. “How dare you come to my property and start talking to my woman like that!”

They both saw that this limping old man with crutches was now on full fire. “You don’t get out now, I’m calling the police,” I spat out at them. “And I’ll pay the police enough graft to put you away for a long time without option of bail.”

They all rapidly fled from the premises. My friend called the guy who sold the land to us. He arrived and set things straight. The bricklayer and his colleagues were sent by our neighbors to build a wall around their premises. They did not know the boundary, and wanted to improvise. My friend saw them building something on our land and called my attention.

Na im katakata come scatter o. And they are blaming it on the only woman standing in our group of grown-up men.

Long story short, what is the definition of a man? Anybody who has a penis? It doesn’t have to come with any common sense?

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