Christmas Without You…

by Ikhide R. Ikheloa

Christmas 2011. Sexism isn’t all that bad. Sometimes one is a beneficiary of it, just like reverse racism. Christmas 2011, my lover decided to flee our coop for a wedding in sun-filled, peaceful no-bombs Abuja, Nigeria. Right now, she is cowering under a bed in a secret location praying for her flight to come to take her to war-torn Washington DC. Well, when she broke the news of her trip to us as a family, the kids took the news very well. Actually, not quite. They shrieked in panicked unison, “DADDY! DADDY!!! Mom is leaving!!!! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO FOR XMAS?” This was a slight problem since I don’t celebrate Christmas; too commercial, etc. Our kids and my lover celebrate Christmas. It is an important part of our life.

I do look forward to Christmas because I always get new clothes. I did not want my lover to go to idyllic Abuja because I knew that the Christmas holidays would not be the same without her. I would miss her a lot; our spiritual leader and head of the household. I worried about what Christmas would look and feel like without her. I was not alone. I kept getting calls from her concerned friends, wondering how I would cope, cook, etc. Someone helpfully suggested that I should go to a fast food restaurant on Christmas eve and buy food for the celebration. Our kids are allergic to McDonalds on Christmas Day.

I am actually a good cook, if I must say so myself. On Christmas day, I cooked turkey (it was a huge success, very moist turkey), jollof rice the way my mama taught me (Maggi cube, salt, atarodo, tomatoes and native fowl; the fewer the ingredients, the more money was available to my mom to buy shoes, aso-ebi, etc.), macaroni and cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. You all would have been proud of me.

Unbeknown to me, our children had put out an SOS to ALL our friends BEGGING them to cook Christmas dinner the way their mom cooks it. Wow. On Christmas day, come and see drama, all these beautiful ladies ringing our doorbell bringing platters of food. I swear we had at least three well-fed turkeys, the equivalent of three well fed goats, one entire cow, etc. The men followed behind sheepishly bringing with them my favorite red wines from Chile’s earth. Somehow, our family friends believed my kids when they assured them that life without my lover at Christmas would be well, hell. My people, on Christmas day enh, every one of our four kids had a turkey leg to him or herself. They are grinning and asking me “Daddy, this is fun, can mummy go to Abuja every Christmas????” I just put her next trip to Abuja on layaway. And ah, yes, Chile makes great wines. Happy holidays, people. I wish you all the best in the new year. And may Lufthansa deliver my lover from the bombs of Abuja… Pray for Nigeria…