My premiere boxing lesson was beyond intense. Thirty minutes had just gone by in no time at all. The unmistakably loud rumble of my stomach announced to the outside world that it was chow time. Taking off the black Everlast boxing gloves slowly, clenching and unclenching my fists, as the muscles were aching. The wraps were still intact but now smelt faintly of sweat. Downing an entire bottle of water to quench my thirst, I glided out of the gym after a quick fist bump to Rehia.

Getting into the car with the woody transfer board was extremely tough to do as my whole body seemed to be throbbing.

“Where are we off to now?” Kewve asked politely.

“Utopia. I need some food in my belly ASAP”, I replied in a matter-of-fact tone.

The restaurant was a fifteen minute ride away. We pulled up into the smooth driveway and disembarked. The wooden double doors opened up to a classic and understated foyer.

Suddenly, a jolt of electricity went through my hands as I lunged forward unexpectedly. Looking down, I was a little confused by what I saw. “What is this random mini-step doing in the middle of the entrance?”, I asked because it meant popping a small wheelie to get through the doors. At this point however, nothing was going to stop me charging through to get my grub on.

A massive smile from the waiter, Seun was a small consolation prize and a pleasant way to start off.

Straight ahead, there was a bar with an assortment of alcoholic beverages stacked neatly row by row. Turning a sharp right, the booths were a massive step higher than the tables and chairs. Unfortunately, I decided without a shadow of a doubt that that would be my destination.

“How are we going to go about this?” “What’s the best way to get up there?” Kevwe pointed towards the seats.

“I think we should recruit some assistance from the waiting staff”. “We need a couple of Hercules’ to get us over the hump”.

Gesturing over to Seun with a wave and a grin, I parked in front of the step awaiting help from the waiting attendants.

Funso grabbed the front bar of the wheelchair frame while Seun positioned himself at the back. I slid my hands down and backwards on either side to ensure that Seun did not make the grave error of lifting the chair by the backrest.

“At the count of three, please lift in perfect unison”. “Ready? Alright! 1, 2, 3 and we’re off”.

A couple of minutes after settling into the cushy, scarlet pleather seats, I requested a menu although I already had a seafood dish in mind. Perusing the fish section, the grilled prawns with fries and hot pepper sauce was definitely the way to go.

Whilst Seun was furiously scribbling away in his notepad; looking around, I decided to give Utopia a three out of five for their accessibility efforts. The mini-step at the front door was a bit of a nuisance, hindering a smooth ride into the brasserie. Plus it meant I had to be pushed through or pulled in which was a state of dependency that could be avoided. Furthermore, the gigantic step that cordoned off the booth area was a grave and unnecessary faux pas on their part. I couldn’t really be expected to get up from the wheelchair and the confusion on the waiter’s face when I asked for a ramp was priceless. The thought hadn’t even occurred to the owner and manager.

When Seun sauntered over with the sweet-smelling tray of deliciousness, I sent up a silent prayer for I was famished. Humming to myself, I was thankful for the good eats.

Silently thinking to myself, Utopia, you’ve done it again, whilst hastily munching away at the tasty grilled prawns, I began to fantasize about tomorrow’s trip to Lagos City Hall. What would that space have in store for little old moi? Let’s hope for the best shall we.

Efena Otobo