My neighbour has a dog. I am not one of those people who like dogs. I don’t like cats either. But if I had to chose between both animals I would do a dog. This is not to say I like my neighbour’s dog. I don’t. when I moved in a few months back, I went to meet my neighbour. She is a young woman I gauged to be in her mid thirties. She is kind of scattered, if you know what I mean. You know, the arty creative kind of scattered. Hair all over the place, clothes rumpled, not in a disgusting sort of way but in the way that suggests to you that wearing ironed clothes is not top priority to her.
So, like I said, I went to knock on her door, hoping she would keep her furry friend far away from me.
She opened the door and thankfully, the furry friend, who in a matter of minutes I came to discover was no friend to her but her first born child. Yep!
She has a son, five or six, white like snow with hair like spun gold…when oyibo fine, dem fine…
But it was the other child I got introduced to…the one who barked as soon as I put my black face through the door
That’s how I got introduced to Teddy
“Oh, teddy, teddy,” I cooed as my new neighbour called out to her child to come greet the new neighbour, being me. Don’t lose track. We are neighbour, se you get?
Anyway, thankfully, Teddy ignored her. The white furry animal sat squat on the sofa. It turned its face away from me and the mother at the door and licked her furry lips the way animals, dogs especially are wont to.
I pretended as if I wanted to say hello for real to the animal.
“Come on Teddy, be a good girl…” my neighbour called out to her child and the spoilt brat, true to type, just turned its head…
“Oh wait, Teddy is a girl?” I was surprised, who ever named a girl dog a boy dog’s name? hummn, but which one be my own?
“Yes, come on girl, come say hello”
I just smiled the smile you give to errant Nigerian children. The one that says, “I am tolerating you because of yo from sounding you because your mother is here, do that when she isn’t around and you will be smacked hard.”
I was still standing in the frontage of my neighbour with the dog for a child when the other door opened. It is another neighbour…that one has a cat!
Ha, shior, keep that cat away from me, o
Her cat a ginger was fat like a small dog. The type they wear clothes on and carrying around like a handbag…yeah, that very one.
Hello, I said, putting on my most sonorous voice, “I am you new neighbour…”
Good thing I didn’t even extend my hand because it would have been left hanging…neighbour with the fat ginger cat just waka comot…
ki lo ro lu e?
I stood there looking back at the neighbour with a dog for a child and she just smiled and shook her head and silently withdrew into her flat!
Ha, ejoo yin ko, it is not your fault. It is me that carried myself to come and greet you ni. As I went back into my flat, I began to swear at the animals…
“Let that fat cat come near me…wo, the way i will shoo it off, hehn…I would scream so hard, it will runaway!
That’s the best I can do. That cat scares me. I know what can happen to cats like tat in naija.
You can’t even shoo animals away so loudly here, they will challenge your humanity.
Anyway, why is this cold so cold…kilode?
Well, I left the warm comfort of naija to come and sell market here, na here I dey
Signed: Journal of a Nigerian looking for what is not lost!
Culled from the Diary of an away naija