Other people’s business

His phone rang twice. He tapped the green button on the screen and lifted the phone to his left ear. He spoke quickly in a language I did not understand.

A few minutes later, he dropped the phone on his laps. He looked into thin air like someone in a trance. He hit his right hand on his laps, then raised it to his chin. He sighed.

The phone rang again. He answered the call; speaking the same language again. Maybe it was the same caller, I assumed.

He ended the call and the previous gestures followed. Hitting the lap, shaking the leg and lost in thought.

Our conversations had never been more than “Good morning, good afternoon or good evening.”

Should I ask him if he was okay? Should I ask if there was a problem? Would he feel I should be minding my business? Would he feel I was poke-nosing into his private matters?

I decided to keep my mouth shut.

If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?

——
Photo Credit: https://www.news.com.au

Two Hearts

“Eko Idumota, Eko Idumota!!! Mi ò ní change o, wölé pèlú change ë. I no get change, I dey talk my own now oh.”

Adeola froze when she heard the voice. She was on her way to the market to buy black clothes for her mother. Her mother had never liked the colour black as she associated it with death.

Growing up, Adeola had been warned many times by her mother against wearing black. Her mother was of the belief that the colour was a bad omen and attracted evil. She and her mum always had a running battle over this, as Adeola loved the colour black. She sometimes dressed in all black while she was in the university and was unbothered by the strange looks she sometimes got.

Her mother who never wore black was now forced to wear it. Her husband’s body was lying cold in the mortuary and tradition expected that she was garbed in the colour black.

******

“Aunty, comot for road if you no dey go make another person enter my moto jo. Eko Idumota!!!” The voice boomed above the other voices shouting their various destinations. A passenger trying to get into the bus shoved Adeola to the side and she turned.

Their eyes met. Shock registered boldly on their faces and they stared at each other.

“Eko….” He stopped mid-sentence; his eyes locked on hers. The bus was about moving and she flagged it to stop.

“O n wölé.” The conductor shouted and the bus halted.

Adeola entered the bus as she continued to stare at the conductor.

The conductor was speechless as he also couldn’t take his eyes off Adeola.

“Bèrè sí gba owó mí o.” The driver shouted at the conductor.

The conductor began to collect the fares from the passengers. Adeola stretched a two hundred note to him but he refused to collect it.

“Collect your money, Deolu.” Adeola said.

Deolu ignored her as he turned his back to her.

“Deolu!” Adeola called out again.

Deolu burst out into tears. He began to wipe off his tears with his hands, embarrassed by his sudden breakdown in the presence of strangers.

“Ahn…ahn, wetin happen?” One of the passengers sitting beside Adeola asked.

“Wetin you tell am wey he dey cry?” Another asked.

Another passenger looked at Adeola and looked at the conductor. She opened her mouth wide and exclaimed. “Olúwa ò.”

“Wetin dey happen for dia? Kí ló dé?” The driver shouted. He took his eyes off the road briefly. “S’ó ò lè sòrò ni? Mo ní kí n ló sëlè níbè yën?”

“Driver, take am easy oh. You no look the face of your conductor and this girl.” Another passenger said.

“Wetin do dia face wey I go dey look am?”

“E be like dem be family?”

“So how that one take consine me?” The driver snorted. “Me I no get family too?”

“Driver, ó wà o.” Adeola said. She turned to Deolu. “Daddy is dead, you can come home now. The burial is next Thursday.”

Deolu shook his head as his tears flowed freely down his cheeks.

Adeola touched her twin brother’s shoulders as she made an attempt to alight from the bus. “Please come home. Maami’s heart has been broken since you left. Don’t let her die without knowing you are still alive. Please!” Adeola pleaded.

Deolu nodded as his sister alighted and watched the bus zoom off  to its destination.

——
Photo Credit: https://www.vectorstock.com

Birthday Thanksgiving

It is a few days to my birthday and I have been thinking of the blessings received in the last one year. Haven’t we been told to count our blessings one by one?

I am grateful for life. Have you tried putting an alarm clock beside a dead body?

I am grateful for family. We are all complete.

I am grateful for a sane mind; those insane did not wish for their situation.

I am grateful for my career. I may not be where I want to be but I am definitely not where I used to be.

I am grateful for my fashion business and my blog. He gave the gifts and talents; I am only a channel.

I am grateful because I asked of the Lord and He heard my prayers.

All my prayers have not been answered but I would be ungrateful not to say thank you for those that have been answered.

******
As I step into another year of my life in a few days, I see a brighter future ahead.

I see my status changing.

I see better days ahead.

I see a glory greater than the former.

I am indebted to this great God.

——–
Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Pursuit of Happiness

Kemi had a frown on her face as everyone smiled at the photographer. Her mum looked at her briefly and nudged her. “Smile. The pictures have to look perfect.”

As Kemi opened her mouth to respond, she saw her father’s face and immediately dropped the idea. She faked a smile and looked at the photographer her dad had paid to cover her graduation.

*****

Ten minutes earlier, her father had told her to start preparing to go for her PhD. She was sick and tired of being controlled by her father but she could not bring herself to stand up to him.

Her father was the reason why she had studied Mechanical Engineering for her first degree. He was also the reason why she was graduating today with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. She had discussed with her mother the previous night about following her passion which was creating art but she had been told that her father must not hear of it.

She was reminded by her mother that her father had said his two children must be inventors in the field of engineering.

“Mummy, if you are after inventions, I will be an inventor as I create art.”

“Gbé ënu ë sóhùn jàre. Kí lo mò.” (Keep your mouth shut. What do you know?) Your father wants the best for you and your brother.

“And what if his best is not good enough for me, mum?”

“Kemi, of all the things to think of; it is colouring, when you are not a baby.  Whatever your father says is final. I want to go to bed. Tomorrow is your graduation.” Kemi’s mother had concluded.

*****

Kemi felt disgusted as she thought about her discussion with her mum and her father’s PhD proposition. The thought of spending about four years doing her PhD when she could be following her passion upset her. The thought of not being allowed to be independent in her decisions at almost twenty-five annoyed her.

As she lay on her bed later that evening, she began to detest herself. She began to hate her parents and her life began to lose meaning to her.

Will Kemi eventually decide to stand up to her father and pursue her own happiness?

Do you have a similar story to share? Please use the comments section below.

——

Photo Credit: https://www.healthbeatblog.org

Nigeria at 58

Just like the eyes cannot see without a body

The hand is also useless unattached to the body

I look forward to a nation filled with peace

A nation where the citizens understand that our cultural and religious differences make each one of us important

None lesser or greater than the other

I look forward to a nation where greed and strife become history

A nation where our leaders understand that leadership means service

Above all, I hope for a better Nigeria

A Nigeria where the citizens can proudly proclaim their love for their nation

A Nigeria where dreams come true

——–

Photo Credit: http://www.punchng.com

Are we mentally aware?

“Aunty, I took care of your car while you were away”. The man said.

I looked at him briefly and ignored him.

“You have a nice car and you are very pretty.”

I tapped the unlock button on the car remote once and eased in. I locked the door and started the car.

“Aunty I just need hundred naira.” He said through the wound-up window. “Please Aunty….” He kept saying as I drove off.

*****

This is the fourth time this well spoken man probably in his late 40s or early 50s would be accosting me. He walks the length and breadth of the popular streets in Surulere every day. The first time he accosted me, I did not realize he had a problem. As I eased into the marwa that was to take me to my destination at about 6:15a.m, he walked up to me and complimented my hair. I had packed it all up and it fell like the leaves of a palm tree around my head.

“Aunty, I like the way you packed your hair. It makes you look like an African beauty.”

“Thank you.” I had replied as I looked away and hoped the marwa would fill up on time so we could move. I was already running late and not in the mood for any chit-chat with anyone early in the morning.

“I just need hundred naira, please.” He had asked.

It was at that point I actually looked at him. A tall, well spoken man begging for hundred naira early in the morning. I was confused.

Thankfully, the marwa filled up and the driver eased in and drove off.

 

The second encounter with him was in the afternoon. I was walking with my son. As we attempted to cross the road, he looked at my son and smiled at him.

“How are you? Hope you are taking care of mummy.”

“I am fine, thank you.” My son replied.

I immediately recognized him and I held tightly to my son as we crossed the road.

“Aunty, please I need just hundred naira.”

 

On my third encounter with him, I had stopped to buy suya from my regular customer. He walked up to me and said; “I thought you had a baby on your back. I didn’t realize it was your knapsack.”

He started with his compliments as usual and kept talking. I ignored him and faced my business. He asked for hundred naira and when he realized I wasn’t looking at him, he walked away.

The guy selling suya to me smiled and I asked if he knew him.

“Yes, I know am well well. He dey waka everywhere dey ask for hundred naira.”

“Ahn…ahn…” I lamented.

“I hear say na this street im papa house dey. Dem say after im papa die, na so he kolo.”

“Wow!!!” I exclaimed. “He no get family?”

“Dem say im brother just leave am for house. I hear say he don travel comot.”

I paid for my suya, thanked the guy and walked away.

 

Whether the story about his father dying, his brother travelling out and leaving him alone is true or not, I have no idea. But one thing is sure, the man needs help and it seems like he has been left to his fate.

—–

Photo Credit: http://www.chinalawandpolicy.com

The troubled N100 note

“I cannot collect this 100 naira. Please change it for me.” The lady said.

“I no get another one.”

“Please change it. No one will collect it from me.”

“I say I no get another one. Dem go collect am no worry. Wón ti cancel 100 naira, kò sí mó ní ta.” (The 100 naira has been cancelled. It is no longer available). The marwa driver said to the lady impatiently.

The lady refused to budge as she pointed the dirty, torn and cello-taped 100 naira to the driver.

“Aunty, no waste my time nau. Abeg, get down make I dey go. Mo ní wón ti cancel 100 naira.” (I said they have cancelled the 100 naira). He repeated.

I looked at the lady refusing to collect the money and the other passenger (a lady also) seated beside her. The three of us burst out into laughter as if on cue. The elderly man seated gingerly beside the driver smiled. “Ta ló sö fún ë pé wón cancel e?” (Who told you it has been cancelled). He asked as he looked at him.

Kò sí n ta mó.” (It is no longer available). The driver replied.

Wön ò cancel è. Wön kò ò print è mó ni.” (It has not been cancelled. They have only stopped printing it).

“Aunty ë jò ó, ë jé, owó ni.” (Aunty, please eat it. It is money).

The other lady passenger and I looked at the lady still holding the money. We both had smirks on our faces.

“Oya give me 500, make I give you 600.” The driver eventually said.

The lady opened her bag, pulled out a 500 naira note and was given three 200 naira notes in return.

She eased out of the marwa and we continued our journey with the elderly man laughing at the driver as he repeated his statement about eating the money.

****

In recent times, with the unavailability of clean 100 naira notes, I have also had to avoid buying things that would make me receive the note. Most of the notes in circulation are in a sorry state and you begin to wonder as there are so many insinuations about the note.

Does anyone still have clean and new 100 naira notes in their possession? Do well to share 😉

—–

Photo Credit: http://www.naijaquest.com

Where is our rest?

I almost forgot today is Monday and I have to write. Today is one of those days that I am just too tired to think of something to blog about. I don’t have any story to tell and I am not in the mood to share any true life experiences.

What I really want to do is sleep. I’m on vacation….yayy….so I have all the time. Unfortunately no! I wish I really did.

Even when you are on vacation in your 8 – 5 (I don’t resume at 9, so it can’t be 9 – 5), if you manage a side hustle, the vacation period is when you put in your all into the side business. For some, it is the time to fulfill their dreams of acquiring a skill. For others, it is when they travel out and shop for the whole world.

So do we actually go on vacation to rest?

Right now, so many things are fighting for my attention – family commitments, side business, exams around the corner, finishing a story I have been writing since the beginning of the year, spending time to achieve one of my dreams, struggling to keep up with reading my novels and finding time to sleep in all of these.

I really need to find my rest.

——
Photo Credit: http://www.healthtastesgood.co

A hair’s breadth

Emeka woke up with a start. He pulled the blinds in his room apart and looked outside. The day was bright. He cursed under his breath as he sat up. He picked up his phone which lay on the headboard and looked at it. The time read 6.45a.m. He hissed. It was too late to try rushing to meet up. Even if he could fly to the airport right now, he would not make it. He thought about the amount he had to pay for a no-show and he hissed again. He stood up from his bed and cursed.

He remembered setting his phone alarm to 5.00a.m last night. His luggage was already packed and he had put it beside the door. He could not fathom how sleep had decided to play a fast one on him.

He walked to the bathroom. As he plastered toothpaste on his brush, he picked up the remote control on the bathroom shelf and switched on the TV in the living room. A newscaster was reading the news and Emeka noticed “Breaking news” in caps scrolling behind her. He increased the volume of the TV as he continued to brush.

“…… the Enugu bound plane carrying about 93 passengers crashed a few minutes after take off and…..” Emeka spat out the paste in his mouth as he moved closer to the TV with his brush in his hand. His vision blurred and the images on the TV danced before him. He felt something wet on his left foot and he looked down and realized his mouth had been agape. He ignored the paste on his foot and put his two hands on his head.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God!” He cried out.

Image result for near death images man shutterstock

——
Photo Credit: https://www.sciencealert.com

A woman’s dream – Part 2

Adetutu pondered over her daughter’s conversation over and over. How had they missed this conversation? Omowunmi had been excited when she got invited for a written test with the unnamed organization. She had received a congratulatory email and had moved on to the next stage; the interview sessions. Adetutu had been aware of each interview session and she had prayed for her daughter but not once had she thought about asking which organization she had been visiting. Probably because she was also engrossed in her own search for employment, it had never occurred to her to ask.

Omowunmi had said she was denied the post of a human resources officer because another candidate was more qualified. With two professional certifications in her kitty, the organization was right. Omowunmi had studied Human Resource Management in a private university and had graduated with a Second Class upper. Chief and Adetutu had been overjoyed and he had rewarded his daughter with a brand new car as a graduation gift.

She got posted to a consulting firm for her National Youth Service where she worked as a customer relations officer. She had just concluded the service program when she told her mother she had been invited to write a test for an organization. Omowunmi had refused her father’s offer to work in his plastic manufacturing company. He could not understand her refusal. Every attempt to convince his daughter had been rejected and he concluded that she took after her mother’s strong will.

******

As the driver drove into the expansive compound of Chief Ara’s residence, Adetutu’s eagerness to talk to her husband grew. She eased out of the car and walked briskly into the house. At this time of the day, she knew exactly where to find her husband and she made a beeline for the study. She opened the door gently and peeped in. Chief was engrossed on his laptop and did not hear her walk in. She hugged him from behind and kissed his cheek.

“My darling.” Chief said; his eyes twinkling.

“How has your day been?” Adetutu asked smiling.

“It just got better.”

“Chief, we need to talk.”

Chief noticed Adetutu’s seriousness and stood up from his study table. He walked towards the couch and tapped the seat beside him.

“What is this about?”

Adetutu took a deep breath. “I got the offer.” She said sitting down.

“Wow!!! That calls for a celebration.” Chief said standing up. “You almost scared me. I thought there was…”

“Chief, please sit down.” Adetutu said interrupting her husband.

Chief stood still and looked at his wife. “There is more to this offer, right?”

Adetutu nodded.

“I hope they are not posting you out of Lagos. You know I won’t allow you go. Our agreement was that any job you get must be in Lagos and…”

“Chief!!!”  Adetutu stressed. “This is about Omowunmi.”

Chief sat down gently. “And what about my daughter?”

“She was denied the position she applied for and was offered the post of a customer relations officer.”

Chief looked confused. “Okay? Isn’t that the job she was doing as a youth corper?”

Adetutu nodded.

“So, how is that a problem? The company obviously sees that she is experienced in that terrain and decided to offer her employment in that department. I don’t see any wrong there.”

“Chief, I just signed my employment letter for the job she was applying for.”

Chief’s jaw dropped. “I don’t understand.”

“We both applied to the same organization without knowing.”

“But how? And how and when did you find out?”

“Sincerely, I also don’t understand. I found out on my way home when she called me and mentioned that the organization told her someone else was better qualified and offered her the customer relations role. She refused the offer. She said because that was not what she applied for.”

Chief burst out laughing and Adetutu looked at him in annoyance.

“Chief, this is not funny. You know how your daughter is when she wants something.”

Chief grinned. “I’m sure you know she got that from you. Do you know how you are when you want something? She didn’t pick this dogged attitude from the streets, my darling wife.” Chief said stroking her chin.

“What do we do? I’m confused and she is on her way home as we speak.”

“My advice is that if the company has no policy against family members working in the same organization, she should go ahead and take the offer. She is already experienced in customer relations, I don’t see why she should refuse the offer simply because she studied human resources.

Adetutu sighed as she heard the honk of her daughter’s car. She stood up and walked to the window.

“But I’m surprised the organization did not notice your surnames.”

Adetutu pulled the window blinds apart. “Your daughter uses your first name as her surname. Have you forgotten?”

“Oh true.” Chief said as he walked up to her. “I remember she is Omowunmi Olatunde and my darling wife is Adetutu Tunde-Ara.” He said as he planted a kiss on her lips.

***

Omowunmi walked in and saw her parents in an embrace with locked lips. “Erm…I can come back.” She said when they both looked at her.

“It’s fine Mowunmi. We were actually waiting for you.” Chief responded as he held his wife by the waist and led her to the couch.

“Mummy actually got me scared when I talked to her about an hour ago. What is the problem?”

“Come here darling.” Chief stretched his hand and his daughter walked over and took it. Chief pulled her to sit beside him; his wife on his right and his daughter on his left. “You both know how precious you are to me.” He said looking to his left and to his right.

The two women nodded.

“And you both know I want the best for you and the boys.”

The two women nodded.

Chief looked at his daughter. “Your mum told me about your offer. You are experienced in that department, I think you should accept the offer.”

“But daddy that was not what I applied for.”

“Your mother was offered the position you applied for.” Chief said looking straight into his daughter’s eyes.

“What?” Omowunmi exclaimed as she stood up. “Mum?” She looked at her mother with unbelieving eyes.

Her mother nodded.

“Why mum? Why didn’t you tell me you were applying for a job? And even if you wanted one, why Energy Communications and not daddy’s company? And to top it all, you went for my position?” Omowunmi asked in annoyance.

“Mowunmi, I discussed my job applications with your father. I never knew we both applied to the same organization. Yes, you told me about your tests and interviews but I was so engrossed in my own job search, I never asked for the organization you were applying to.”

“This is so unfair. What do you need a job for? Daddy has always provided for you. It is not like you need the extra money. Does the company even realize they gave a rich man’s wife a job?”

“Omowunmi!” Chief said calling his daughter to order. “You realize your statement to your mother is unfair. She stopped working to take care of you and your brothers. I gave her my blessings when she started writing her professional exams. I believe she deserves the job.”

“And what about me, daddy? Is it that my feelings don’t matter? You don’t think I deserve the job?” Omowunmi cried.

“Mowunmi, if you were a perfect fit for the job, do you think the organization would have denied you? Do you realize that the organization was probably impressed with your performance and decided to give you an alternative offer in a department where you have experience. My dear, I own a company and I can tell you authoritatively that most organizations would not do that. Once a slot is filled, that is the end. Every other candidate is let go.”

“So you just expect me to go and accept the other position?”

“You don’t have to. The position I offered you in my company still stands.” Chief said matter-of-factly.

Omowunmi harrumphed. “I will call the organization and accept the offer.”

Chief looked at his wife who had been quiet all along. “I think you also need to inform the organization about the family ties. This will help them decide on what to do.”

Adetutu nodded.

“I believe your mother deserves to be congratulated.” Chief said as he looked at his daughter.

Omowunmi took a deep breath as she walked towards her mother. She bent down and hugged her. “Congratulations mum. I’m sorry about what I said.”

Adetutu took her daughter’s face in her hands as she smiled with tears in her eyes. “I love you Omowunmi. Don’t ever forget that.”

***

Energy Communications had a policy against family members working in the same department and branch. Omowunmi was posted to manage the Ikeja branch of the office while Adetutu was retained at the head office in Victoria Island.

The End!

——
Photo Credit: https://www.financialfreedominspiration.com