I wake up, and I look at the time.
I smile. I am thirty years old, and I don’t feel any different. I just feel blessed.
I think of some people who were born with me and are dead, I think of my family who, though I think take me for granted, I know love me.
I think of my mother who believes there’s prestige in a woman being married, and so wants me to get that prestige by getting married.
I think of the love God has shown me, and though I only see the money, I am not unaware of the message imbedded in the gifts; He loves me and would provide for my needs in ways I may not imagine.
I realise I am counting my blessings and I smile again. What a change!
I feel so lazy to get off the bed, but I don’t feel bad about it. I gaze at the ceiling at the rotating fan, and smile at the thought that PHCN left the power this long so I could begin my day with power.
Still smiling, my mind drifts until I fall back asleep.
I wake up by 11am, and I am still smiling.
I sit up on the bed and stare at my feet for a long while.
I’m thirty years old. There are a thousand and one things I wish I have accomplished, but I am happy. I am living, I am healthy, and I still have my smile.
I believe that my smile is a special gift from God to me.
After a long while of looking at my feet and thinking of nothing in particular, except for the acknowledgement of the fact that I am blessed, I get on my knees.
I kneel down and try to pray, but I find out that I can’t say anything. I’m only overwhelmed with knowledge of the grace given me. I kneel for long and I realise that I am in tears.
When the pain in my knees becomes pressing, and I find out I still have no words, I simply say ‘Thank you’.
I say it over and over again, until another bout of tears began.
I am still saying thank you as a mantra when there’s a knock on my door. I ended the prayer and go to the door.
It’s my mother.
‘Happy birthday,” she says.
“Thank you Ma,” I reply.
She goes ahead to bless me, and I keep saying ‘Amen’ over and over.
Done, she asks me how I plan to celebrate, and I tell her of my plan to cook some good food. She does her dance of excitement and I laugh.
I count another blessing; I just made my mother dance in excitement. I head back to my hole to get prepared to go to the market when my phone rings. It was an unknown number.
“Hello,” I say, receiving the call.
I expected a familiar voice to say happy birthday, but the voice, which is nothing familiar asks for the best way to get to my house form his location, saying he was supposed to deliver a cake to me.
He speaks Yoruba, and without being aware of my action, I fall into Yoruba, giving him directions. After the call ends, it dawns on me, what I heard; I have a cake.
Who could have done it?
I can’t begin calling people to ask, and so I wait for the call which will tell me he was at my house.
I get dressed and wait, telling my mother about the call. She is also excited, as though it’s also her birthday.
I get the call, and on the first glance, I know who the cake is from. It is red and yellow, and on it are the words,
“Happy Birthday, Bestie. We are growing old.”
I am close to tears again, but this time I rein it in, and walk boldly back to my flat with my 12 inches cake.
I am admiring the cake, and almost dancing, as I wait for my mother to come and see my cake, when someone knocks on the door.
I am not expecting any visitor, and so I am with a little frown when I go to get the door.
I am pleasantly surprised to see my sister, Ngozi, there.
“Happy birthday,” she says.
“Thank you!” I say, hugging her as she comes in.
Her eyes fall on the cake, but she shows no surprise, which makes me surprise.
“Why are you frowning?” she asks instead as she drags some bags in with her.
I shake my head at her. Of the three girls, I am the least prone to having a heavy luggage, Ngozi is the most prone.
“Nothing, I was wondering who was knocking. Where did you carry load from?” I ask.
She says nothing, just sits down and moves to empty the bags. It takes a while for me to see that she brought food.
“Happy birthday again,” she says.
Jollof rice, turkey and salad, in coolers, and a carton of juice; the whole nine yards!
I look at her with the question in my eyes; “how come?”
I knew she was kind, but I also knew she couldn’t afford it. I mean, she brought the party to me!
“Samson,” she says, simply.
“Samson?” I ask.
Samson is my best friend.
“Hope you like the cake?” She asks
I nod as everything falls into place. His constant checking up on me, asking for her number, asking for my favourite colours, trying to make me not spend the money cooking; he had it all planned and I had no idea the whole time.
I sit on the other side of the parlour and look at my party food.
Only one question runs through my mind, “What did I do to deserve this?”
I am numb, and speechless as I keep looking at the preparation. My sister who cooked, and brought to me, Samson who gave the money, my mother blessing me; it is too much.
For the second time today, I am overwhelmed and I allow the tears flow, doing nothing to stop it.
I call on my mother, and she is surprised that a man whom I say I have no romantic relationship with could do this for me.
Smiling at her suspicious look, I go to my hole to call my best friend.
“Thank you,” I say immediately he picks.
“What are you thanking me for? I am supposed to be apologising for not calling yet,”
“Ngozi brought the food, and I saw the cake.”
“Already? She is fast o!”
“What did I do to deserve you?” I ask him, ignoring his attempt at modesty. “You are my best friend, and you have proven it again, may God bless you immensely. May He answer your prayers, may He replenish, in Jesus name, Amen,”
“Amen,” he replied
“Thank you,” I say again.
“You are welcome. The cake fine?”
“Yes o. I love it.”
“Good. Oya go and enjoy. Happy birthday.” He says and quickly ends the call before I can thank him again.
I smile and head to the parlour where I serve my mother and sister, cake and food. I’m too excited to eat, but considering it’s my party, I make sure I eat.
Then I take some to my hairdresser and then to my brother’s office.
It’s my thirtieth birthday which I dreaded, and I can’t believe it turned out to be my best birthday ever.
I am so excited, I am mellow, but I drink it all in; the sights, the sounds, the thoughts.
I am thirty years old, and the world did not end.
I am very happy to be growing older, with friends and family trying to make me happy.
As I go through my facebook wishes, my eyes fall on a course for digital marketing, and I know what I want to do.
It would take a bulk of my money, but the course will be a starting point for my new beginning, and with writing for my friend’s blog, I will try and sustain myself.
I am growing older, and it is about time I acted it.
It is time to take action.
I click on the button, applying for the course even as the voices shout, “No, the money will finish!”
I smile as I make the payment, thanking God I left some money in my account.
‘I hear a voice tell me I am stupid, and a part of me agrees with it, but I need to achieve great things, and so I have to attempt great things
As a voice hiss at my philosophical thoughts, I smile.
I may be getting older, and making challenging decisions, but I will always have my voices with me, sometimes speaking wisdom, sometimes not, and sometime simply being themselves.
I am thirty years old. I ready for the next lap of my life’s journey, and I just took a huge step with this enrolment.
I can’t wait to see what life has to offer.
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