Stranded in Abuja

Jay and Tariq enjoying breakfast in Abuja, April 2010

Jay and Tariq enjoying breakfast in Abuja, April 2010

Jay was stranded in Abuja because of the ash cloud preventing all flights from taking off. I was secretly delighted as it meant the team was there throughout my own trip and we were able to pile through our work and have some fun.

Jay and I went to see all 3 of Chidi’s plays staged in Abuja, the first events of their kind and truly astonishingly good experiences. Unbeknown to me, Akim had told everyone that it was my birthday and Jay along with all the Nigerians co-conspired in the very public celebration – not my style at all but undeniably moving.

My birthday evening was particularly memorable as it rained heavily and Tariq, Jay and I decided to go to Wakkis to have a curry. We arrived soaked, had a bit to drink and as is the way when conversing with Tariq discussed the philosophy of perfume and why there is no such thing as coincidence. I have little recollection of the conversation except that Jay and I sitting opposite each other would gasp, giggle and gaze in amazement at Tariq’s unique swooping of thoughts and ideas.

That was the feature of the trip, going for evening walks with Jay and hearing him describe how one day he would like to return to academia, and listening carefully as he very gently described a future of love with the woman of his dreams.

Karen Merkel