Funke Samuel pulled apart the curtains of her daughter’s room letting in streams of sunlight. As they splashed across the room, Shalewa groaned. “Oh mum, I’m still sleeping.”
“Sleeping and talking?”
“Mum!!! I still want to sleep. I’m not yet through.” Shalewa murmured.
“Yes, you are darling.” her mother replied. “You need to get up right now, take a bath and get dressed.”
“What’s the occasion?” Shalewa mumbled; buried under her pillow as she tried to guard her eyes from the sun beams now hitting her in the face.
“Someone very important is coming to see your dad today and your dad wants to introduce you to him. So will you take that pillow off your head and get up?” Her mother ordered standing akimbo obviously waiting for her to do as she had bided.
“But mum….” Shalewa began to protest as she threw away the pillow in annoyance.
“Don’t mum me dear, just do what I ask, okay?” She interrupted; kissing her daughter on the forehead. “I need to get dressed as well.”
Shalewa was an epitome of beauty and brains. She had just concluded her doctorate degree two months ago and her father, Bayo Samuel had been so proud of her that he had invited guests to their home to celebrate her graduation. Even though Shalewa had kicked against it, her father had told her; “As my only child, I have the right to celebrate you whenever I desire.”
“Dad, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a graduation party. I just feel that in another six months, I would be thirty. Don’t you think we should wait till then so that I can have a two-in-one party?” She had asked.
“You are free to organize your birthday party as you wish. The graduation party is my call and I would have it.” Her dad had concluded.
She knew she could never win an argument with her dad so she decided to let it go. Besides, she was tired of being reminded of how they had tried to have more children and the trauma that ensued before they were advised by the family doctor to stop because of the health risks.
As a result of her sole child status to the Samuels, she always got anything she wanted. She attended the best schools and was never denied anything. She was labeled a spoilt child in her university days but deep down in her heart, she knew she wasn’t.
Even though Shalewa had everything she wanted, one thing eluded her – A truthful relationship. She had been unfortunate in her relationships with men as they all seemed to desire her for one thing; her father’s wealth. It was a known fact that Bayo Samuel was one of the wealthiest men in the country. He had started his business from scratch and had grown it into an empire. All Bayo Samuel’s investments were registered in Shalewa’s name. He owed it to his only child and he made up his mind that she would never suffer or lack anything.
Shalewa stood up from her bed as she stretched lazily. She walked towards the bedside window and looked at the birds flying in the sky without any care in the world. How she wished she could also be without worries. It had become a norm for her mother, Funke Samuel to remind her of her age. “Omoshalewa mi (my Omoshalewa), you know how much I love and adore you. You are my sunshine. Anytime I look at you, I am reminded that I am truly blessed by God. Omoshalewa mi, when would you give me more joy? The years are counting and your biological clock is ticking daily. You are all I have got. When would I carry my grand-children and rock them in my arms?” She would lament.
Shalewa had gotten tired of her mother’s lamentation. “But I try, don’t I?” She spoke to no one. But she hadn’t tried enough according to her parents. There had been Ayodeji and Ibrahim before she met Emeka. Emeka was the last guy she dated. He had left no stone unturned in warming himself towards her father.
“Hmm…Emeka.” She soliloquized. Emeka was tall, handsome and had a great body. He had a caramel coloured skin and it was obvious he paid attention to caring for his body. His smile could lighten any heart and he had his ways with the ladies. A lot of them wilted at his presence and everywhere he went, he never failed to garner admiring stares. The paparazzi could not have enough of Emeka and Shalewa. They fell over each other to take shots of them. They were the perfect couple. Their pictures were always splashed on the pages of soft-sell magazines and everything they did was captured. They had met during a mutual friend’s house party and they had hit it immediately. He was soft-spoken and her friends had envied her relationship with him. Emeka could have been any lady’s dream man.
“Emeka, why weren’t you just what I desired in a man.” Shalewa said as she pulled the curtains back and leaned on the wall. It had taken just three months for their relationship to crash like a pack of badly arranged cards. Emeka could not help being obsessed with her father’s businesses. The questions regarding his businesses were never-ending. At first, Shalewa had thought Emeka was only being caring by wanting to know all the details. After a while, he would get grumpy anytime she refused to give him more information about the businesses. He would tell her that she was hiding details from him because she did not love him. Shalewa was confused at first about his behaviour. She had never given him any reason to doubt her love for him. She then wondered how her refusal to divulge information concerning her father’s businesses could amount to a non-love relationship.
The final straw with Emeka’s theatrics had happened on one of their numerous dinner dates. She had been lazing at home, after a long night of studying when Emeka called her to have dinner with him. She was tired but Emeka had convinced her that she needed to give herself some time off studies and loosen up. She grudgingly got dressed and Emeka picked her up at 7.00pm.
They drove to one of the classy restaurants which was a few minutes’ drive from her house. Their dinner had been going on well until Emeka mentioned that he was meant to be a co-signatory to all her father’s accounts. She looked at him like he had suddenly grown horns on his head.
“Is this supposed to be some kind of joke, Emeka?” Shalewa had asked him.
“Do I look like one to make jokes? As your fiancé and husband-to-be, I think I have a right to be a co-signatory to all his accounts.” Emeka had answered confidently with a hand on his chest.
“Don’t you think we should even get married first before you start asking for all these privileges?”
“Why? We are engaged, aren’t we?” Emeka asked as he searched her face for an answer.
“I can’t remember you proposing. Or does three months of dating automatically amount to an engagement?” Shalewa retorted irritably. It was too much for her to bear. She had had enough of his manipulative gimmicks and she wasn’t ready to fall for any today. If they had to call it quits, then so be it.
“But…but, I thought we were engaged?” Emeka stammered trying to regain his confident posture. She should understand they were engaged. Or what else was he meant to do? They had both met each other’s parents and had gotten the blessings to all parties concerned. His parents were professors lecturing in two different universities in the country and Shalewa’s love for education had endeared her to them. They had hoped their first son would tow their path but Emeka had other plans. Immediately after his first degree, he had worked for a few years before setting up his haulage business. His business wasn’t doing badly and he could boast of a few employees.
Emeka knew he should have proposed to Shalewa with an engagement ring but there hadn’t been any time to go shop for one. Besides, she probably would have said it is not up to her taste considering the expensive jewelries she adorns daily. I know I have never bought her a gift throughout our three month dating period. But how could I? She is an expensive lady and I don’t think I can afford her taste right now. That’s the reason why I want to know all about her father’s businesses and be a co-signatory so that I could at least add a little from her father’s to whatever I have to get her good gifts. Why is she being difficult? He thought still waiting for an answer to his question.
“What would I call Emeka? A gold digger? I still can’t believe he asked to be a co-signatory to my father’s accounts. Who does he think I am? His ticket to wealth? Shalewa looked at him with anger. “I’m so pissed right now. I have never received a gift from him, not even a scarf. Or is that also beyond his pocket? When we go out for dinners which are by the way always his idea, he would smile sheepishly and ask; “Would you pay for our meal, honey. I’m out of cash at the moment”. Gosh, he’s forever out of cash but never runs out of a desire for a dinner. I thought I had met my heartbeat but right now…no…I think I made a mistake meeting him. Just very typical of the rest. They are only after my father’s wealth.
When would I meet my own man? She lamented internally. A man who would not be bothered about my name or my father’s. A man who would love me for me and not my father’s wealth. A man who would not see me as his ticket to wealth. Hmmm…I hope I do find that man. “What was his question again?” She thought. I can’t even remember right now and I don’t think I want to. I’m through with him. Without saying a word, Shalewa picked up her handbag and stood up to leave.
“Where are you going? We are still talking.” Emeka whispered trying not to attract the attention of the other diners.
“I am done talking and I’m going home. Does that answer your question?” She said not minding the stares she was beginning to attract.
“Keep your voice down. You are causing a scene.” Emeka struggled to say, holding her hand and trying to make her sit down.
“Don’t touch me. Don’t call me and I don’t ever want to see you.” She said, snatching her hand from him and choking as she tried to fight back the tears that were threatening to spill. She did not want him to see her cry. No, not for him. She left the restaurant hurriedly, leaving a lot of diners who were watching spell bound.
Emeka looked round and saw so many people looking in his direction. He faked a smile and struggled to give an explanation; “She sometimes gets very emotional.” He said rising up and thinking of how best to leave without creating further confusion. On sighting the waiter coming towards him, he cursed under his breath. Shalewa had left without paying. He paused for the waiter to get to him, checked the payment sheet and pulled out some notes from his wallet. “Keep the change.” He said trying to feel confident. Right now, he just wanted to get out and get some fresh air.
Emeka walked out of the restaurant with his head high but deep down, he was deflated.
The story continues……
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