The Television Show ( 2)

Like every typical Nigerian child, Jolomi grew up associating cigarettes with hooliganism and irresponsibility. But when he arrived in France, he saw that smoking was a fashion statement rather than a rebellious act.

He observed that it was an activity enjoyed by responsible-looking people, business men, teenagers, and celebrities.

And even his chain-smoking significant other, Claudine was not left out. The bed, the sofas and sometimes even their baby’s toys smelt of cigarette smoke. It was Claudine’s signature in the house.

Three years ago, when Jolomi ate pounded yam and banga soup at an African restaurant in Chateau Rouge, Paris, he did not know that it would be his last African meal. His marriage to Claudine had introduced him to an array of French cuisine he could not understand.

He knew he had lost a lot of weight since their marriage- all those vegetables, vegetables and more vegetables seemed to be doing him no good, but how could he complain? After all you’re supposed to “do like the Romans when in Rome”…and also eat like them.

Even, Claudine’s show of affection in public seemed to concern him. When he first arrived in France and saw teenagers kissing on the street, Jolomi was quick to condemn such “despicable” act. But today, he had to cope with Claudine snuggles in public places, and pretend to enjoy them.

Since his marriage to Claudine, Jolomi found himself getting lost in his thoughts, asking himself for how long he would keep up with the fa├žade. How long will he cope with these differences? How long can a human being pretend?

He knew he had to keep up the act to prove to his parents that his marriage could work even without their support; he knew he had to keep up the act to prove to Patrice that he had the capacity to hold on to a gorgeous lady.

And he knew he had to prove to Claudine that when he said he loved her despite all the opposition from family, he meant it. But still, how long will he keep up this appearance? Is love stronger than culture?

On his third wedding anniversary, things got weird. His friend, Patrice, brought a 'special gift' for Claudine and him. This special gift was an invitation to take part in a popular television show for couples.

In this show, couples were asked questions about how well they know each other, and the winning couple carts away €1 million.

The way Patrice got the ticket for this show no one knew, but for someone who claimed to know all the important people in France including top producers of national television shows, no one dared to ask further.

To be continued

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