Everyone needs a Café they call home.

Abigail Ibinabo Iyowuna
4 min readSep 12, 2023

When I first moved to Lagos, I went café hunting, so I could find another place to replace Marley and Blue. You know, another place where the barista knows me by name, knows my favourite thing(s) on the menu and even my favourite people; Another café that I could call home. It was futile. I gave up within two months of trying. For you see, Marley and Blue hold parts of me within her walls.

Ft Ubong, The magic making mac, and Jenga.

Marley and Blue is the place where Destiny and I went on our first date -the one where she fell in love with me, and I with her, the place we go to when both our lives are falling apart, and we need to find comfort in the shared mishap. It is the place where I learned to have hard conversations, and where I found out that knowing the rules of chess doesn’t equate to knowing how to play. Within her walls, Ubong and I laid the foundations of this bond that’ll last our lifetime, he taught me to play Monopoly here. This, my friends, is my conniving capitalist origin story. Sigh. It’s the place where Destiny, Kevwe and I played this game of twister that made us consider taking exercise seriously.

The making of Abby the conniving capitalist.

Marley and Blue is also the place I took Irene to on our first date and said to her, “I bring people here when I want them to fall in love with me”. She fell in love with me and I with her because I finally saw, Irene. Here, I spent what I feared might be the last time in a while where I’d have Charity, Dateme, Jojo, Nengi and Omi, all in the same room with me. I made them all play charades with a stack of cards that I had memorized from playing practically every two weeks, so I was on a winning streak. It’s the place I gave myself the name “Wild Abby”, because I attended my first solo event there, and went on a spree of even more solo events afterwards.

From Left to Right — Dateme, Nengi, Charity, Abby, Jojo and Omi.

Marley and Blue has all of this and even more weaved into her full-length windows that allow sunlight to beam in from every angle and the murals that grace her walls. It’s in the covering of that sofa right by the staircase that allows you to sink freely into it like it had been waiting for you to come home — the one that became my absolute favourite place to sit. I think that the memories and the love that has been built within her walls are tucked into that book that sits just beside the flower vase on the coffee table. Believe me when I say that tendrils of the plants that line the ceilings have the conversations of platonic and romantic lovers wrapped around them, and tucked for safekeeping. The art hung around the room? They have listening ears too. Oh, I cannot imagine the laughter that would come erupting from underneath the cushions of the chairs arranged by what I have called “The board game corner”. On the high stools and wooden tables, stories that would change the world have been written, deals that put food on the table have been made, and there lies plants that take in all of the CO2 alongside all the hate that we don’t need in the world. Most of the plants have gotten dried up from trying to save us all. And on the wooden counter that has the Marley and Blue logo, the barista thinks he’s just making coffee, but what he’s really doing is running the engine room for this place that I now call home. I think it’s the scent of the freshly brewed coffee that comes bursting into your nostrils immediately after you open the doors that have (had) me opening the doors again and again.

Oh, I was a fool to think that I could replace this. Do you know the irony of things? I only started drinking coffee after I moved to Lagos.

--

--

Abigail Ibinabo Iyowuna

Improving my writing skills by writing consistently(ish) on medium.