Her eyes flicker open to the sunrise and the smooth sound of Nigerian jazz. She stretches slowly before her gear finds her lithe body; faster jazz tucked into her armband. The cracked streets of her city do not stop her strong, speedy strides. In under an hour she finishes her regular punishing kilometres of running, before the push-ups and pullups and planking, and finally, more stretching.
“Thank you!” she says to the face-towel and the warm lemony water bearer waiting at home. Her gear gives way to her nakedness upstairs as the jazz morphs into rap. She bobs and weaves in the shower, sluicing her skin of the sweat and oils accumulated, before stepping out and massaging more oils into her damp skin. She raps out loud. There are no neighbours.
Her first outfit of the day is ready and waiting. The olive dress that accentuates her waist and the dusky tones of her skin; her comfy designer shoes, and the 1B curly wig that finally arrived last night that she’s been dying to try on. She puts on her make up expertly, half glancing at the mirror. Smacking her lips, she turns off the rap music and heads downstairs.
Breakfast is ice cream with raspberries, her new favourite fruit once agbalumϙ season disgracefully made its exit. “Thank you,” she says to the car driver/door opener as she slides in gracefully, briefcase and handbag in hand. Work moves quickly, when you love what you do. Nnewi wasn’t built in a day. Stress still comes with the territory though, so she is relieved when she gets to the spa.
They know how she likes it. Straight to the sauna to remove the month-old toxins her stressors have gifted her. She’s due a hammam too. Her facial happens with her mani-pedi, she’s running late for a date. Her second outfit of the day matches her mood, a free-flowing sparkly jumpsuit. Makeup feels like a chore in the moment, so she does without it. If anyone can’t see her beauty, their eye is paining them.
“Thank you!” she says to the waiter. She has been looking forward to this all day. The house special is pounded yam and ofe nsala. The Igbo highlife from the live band has her body grooving. And her date, the mirror in front of her, is smiling just as hard as she is. She savours every morsel of her meal and gives her compliments to the chef.
Her last outfit of the day is the most uncomplicated. She takes off her jumpsuit and hangs it up, puts on her jazz, lets her hair out, and puts on her favourite silk scarf. Her body looks goddess-like in the moonlight. It has been a glorious day. She grabs her phone and makes a midnight call while sliding naked into bed. “Did you have a good Valentine’s Day?” the most perfect voice asks.
She smiles. “Yes, my darling love. Thank you.”
“…But let there be spaces in your togetherness…” – Khalil Gibran