Yesterday’s Shawarma

Yesterday’s Shawarma

In the soft gleaming night of stars, I thought of you. Your eyes that told a story of sleep, your perfectly manicured fingers, and the unison of the color of the skin that covered your phalanges.


Who am I kidding? What night stars? Baby, this happened in the day time, and it was because I was hungry. I left home at about 5:37 PM to find something to eat at. I craved spicy vegetable pasta, but I knew I wasn’t going to get that at Rozzie’s Grills, but at Shawarma and Grills. I however didn’t have the energy to go to Shawarma and Grills, so I settled for fried rice at Rozzie’s.

5:47 PM, and there you were seated, watching as the washer-man outside rinsed the foam off the body of the car. Many things were running through my mind, including the cold I was feeling in my thighs. If I wasn’t going to get the opportunity to talk to you, I could at least sit here across from you and look at you. I noticed your haircut, and how your beard perfectly fit your face. I could draw you with the digits 6, 4 and 3. I just have to invert the 6. You have an easy face, even though you only let me see it from the side.

Then she walked in, wearing a short dress, which revealed her beautiful legs and the marks on them which imitate the flow of rivers. I liked the colour of her hair, and I liked that she took a seat at the table beside yours. It was almost like you both planned to entertain me. You were both DSTV and I was the viewer. I was having a bisexual crisis. I only have two eyes, goddamn it! How was I supposed to look at you both, sitting at two extremes?

She must have changed her mind about where she was seated, because she turned and called out to me, “Do you mind if I sit with you?”

I swallowed the rice in my mouth. “That’s okay.”

I didn’t understand why she wanted to sit at my table, but I loved it. I hoped to start a conversation with her, maybe even get her phone number. But she was on the phone with someone, and I soon became irritated. What was initially a butterflies-in-the-stomach situation turned sour real quick. Her phone conversation was loud and annoying.

I don’t take phone calls or chat when I am eating. I like to pay attention to joy. It feels like respect, but she didn’t quite get it. I was happy to see her pick up her smoothie and shawarma, and leave.

“Do you mind?”

This time, it was not her asking.

It was you, tray in your hands, and those eyes.

“Oh sure, please sit.” I didn’t understand what was happening. Wasn’t I watching TV anymore? Why was I interacting with the characters in the TV show?

“Are you done with your serviette?” you asked, pointing to the extra serviette beside me.

Apparently someone had spilled rice on my table, but I didn’t see it. I would have liked to use the serviette, but I let you have it, so that you could sit with me. I even gave you my now-empty plate of rice to put the used serviette-and-rice in.

“I can’t let people see me eat shawarma outside,” you said with a chuckle.

I chuckled too, because you were funny.

“How long did it take before your shawarma was served?” This was me trying to keep the conversation going.

“About fifteen,” you said, after taking what looked to me to be a love-bite.

“Oh, that’s too long. They have everything ready. Why can’t they just mix it and heat it quickly?” I said.

“It shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes at least,” he said, then took another bite. “It also doesn’t taste fresh. It tastes like they made it this morning and just microwaved it.”

I saw them make the shawarma, but I had to stand by my man. “Wow. That’s strange. I remember eating stale shawarma at Shawarma and Grills. I haven’t gone back there for shawarma since then. They make very good burgers though.”

“I haven’t been there in a while.” You sipped your coke.

“Oh? Why?”

“I don’t live here.”

“Where do you live?” I was enjoying the conversation, and feeling very curious.

“I live in Abuja.”

“Nice. I live in Abuja too,” I added with barely restrained glee.

“Where in Abuja do you live? I live at Gwarinpa.” There were those eyes again. This time, they imitated a wink.

I wondered why you had to look at me like that after telling me where you live. They looked like you weren’t just saying it, but that you wanted me to know. Like, it was important that I know you live in Gwarinpa.

“I stay at Airport Road. What are you doing in Jos then?”

“I’m visiting my family. My siblings, my folks, all live here, at Rayfield. I’m the only one who lives in Abuja.” You said this while using the extra serviette to clean the ketchup-and-mayo mixture on your lips, and all I could think of was how I could do a better job of cleaning those lips than that damn piece of paper.

“Sir, here’s your shawarma,” the waitress chose that moment to interrupt, appearing beside me and handing me my takeaway.

In that moment, I wanted to unwrap it and start eating, just so we could talk some more. But you just then received a phone call and I knew I had to go. I tried to buy time by going back to the waiters to ask if they’d confirmed receipt of the bank alert.

“Yes sir. We have.”

Never had I wanted a bank transfer transaction to fail so bad. I went back to the table to pick up my phone and tote bag, but you were still on the phone. You were saying, “Zan koma Abuja ranan Tuesday, ama zan dawo.”

I hesitated, not wanting to leave, but the phone call didn’t seem like it’d end anytime soon. So I made to leave, because, how do I explain to you that I wanted you to finish your call, so that I could get your name and/or phone number, without you thinking it weird?

As I left, I said goodbye, and phone still to your ear, you waved goodbye.

On my walk back home, you were all I could think about. The shawarma tasted stale when I eventually ate it. I didn’t enjoy eating it. I wished I had your number so that I could call to tell you about it. I wished I would hear you laugh and say, “I was right.”

Written by Big Bad Judy

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Originally published on So it’s Christmas day and I see a missed call from my aunt. (The same one who prayed for a wife for me in THE PRAYER)


  1. Kiwi
    July 24, 09:19 Reply

    Wow. This made me smile, laugh, laugh some more, and then tear up for what could have been.


  2. Ken
    July 24, 10:34 Reply

    #eyes rolling#

    Don’t u just tired of all this tho. Like perpetual never ending hookups, or the attempt thereof.

    Why can’t someone write about their 10th or 15th year anniversary as a couple?? Good luck with your fantasies tho #sigh

    • MagDiva
      July 25, 09:36 Reply

      Nothing stops you from writing about yours though.

  3. Rexxy
    July 24, 14:49 Reply

    I’m a grown man now ooh…. If I feel like I want your number, I’mma go for it… No time to regret nothing again

  4. Gbolly
    July 24, 15:32 Reply

    I hit you straight
    “Can I have your number”
    If no
    Then geh the fuck!!!!

  5. Lucent Britex
    July 29, 20:31 Reply

    Damn! I miss Jos. I could picture this scene playing out so vividly.

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