It turns out that she is fretting about the number of guests who will be descending on our humble abode for XMAS. See as a Muslim, XMAS for me is all about eating orishrishi, yanfu yanfu and the same goes for my family as we celebrate with our Xtian friends. So Iyawo has proposed that we get a few close friends and family round for some nourishment and good times. I had accidentally mentioned this to my sister and this is when the palaver started.
Ring, ring. Hello.
Sister :Toks you know that your second cousin's, sister's brother's aunt that you have not seen in years?.
Me: erm yesss????
Sister: Well she is coming to your house on XMAS.
Me: okayyyyy. But it is just her right? She will not be bringing her husband and children and that her cousin that always causes trouble?
Sister: Of course not. Don't be silly. She will not bring the cousin that causes the trouble. ...its the other one. Bye
Me: Hello?? hello??
Stranger (but related in some way or other): Uncle T. How show? So what time should we be there tomorrow? Aunty K said like in the afternoon but I wanted to be sure sha.
Me: We who? Is it not just you? (whoever you are)
Stranger (but related in some way or other): Uncle T. Very funny. See you tomorrow.
So it was that I started to sensitise Iyawo to the possibility that just maybe there might be more than ten people coming over. Then I dropped hints about twenty. Dark mutterings about thirty. Coughed out fifty just to over exaggerate. Needless to say after having planned a meal for a dozen. Iyawo was a bit stressed about the imminent arrival of four. This necessitated several emergency trips to Shoprite. I can honestly say that what I was seeing in her eyes that evening was definitely not love. I have seen thatlook before. On CSI. On Crime & Investigations. On Sky News. But definitely not on XMAS eve.
Naturally yours truly slept like a baby that night. Peaceful are the innocent. Abi no be so?
Come XMAS day the place was like Grand Central station or Cele bus stop at closing time. At one point I banned the guards from ringing the bell any further. Just bring them in. Oh Iyawo was in such a state. Counting left over chicken pieces and cornering me at every opportunity to ask exactly how many branches there were in the Toksie family tree. Food was evaporating off the table like no man's business. (Note to anonymous - we had rice, fish, lasagne, chicken, beef, small chops etc. - Naija stylie). Me I just took the serene view that when food finishes, it finishes. How for do? But Iyawo likes her organisation oh. Things have to be just so. She even stressed the chap doing the cooking so much that when she told him that he could have a drink she came back later to six empty bottles of Star beer (and a much more relaxed chef).
And still they kept coming. From the main cooking we then moved on to throwing the sausages that were left in the freezer on to the barbeque. Another pot of rice hit the stove. Another glass of wine hit the back of Iyawo's throat. Another dagger in my heart (thanks God it was only metaphorical). This was a good time to escape outside with awon boys. These are the Muslims who drink and smoke (but out of sight of Mama Toks obviously). Champagne was uncorked and gist began. This is where we were till 11.30 when the last guests finally departed. Forcefully. If I might say so myself.
By this stage I was well over the limit having consumed a small glass of champagne and a drop of Baileys on the same day. Talk about living dangerously.For me this was really pushing the boat out. My yearly alcohol intake in one go. Iyawo looked at me with a new found respect (at least one of the four Iyawos that I was seeing at this stage anyway) My eyes were not the only thing that were rolling. I was lilting from side to side. It had been a great night.
Iyawo was adamant the next day that she would prefer XMAS abroad next year. Or at a friend's house. Any friend. As a matter of fact they could be perfect strangers as far as she was concerned.