Tag Archives: african stories

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

A woman’s dream – Part 1

This story was inspired by a colleague. We had a discussion and she imagined that it would make a good story. This two-part story is dedicated to her.

————

Adetutu walked out of Energy Communications with her employment letter. She smiled and heaved a sigh of relief. Who would have thought at her age and little experience, she would be considered for employment as a Human Resources Officer? She walked to the car park and eased into the owner’s corner of her car.

“Where are we going ma?” Monday, her driver asked.

“Home.”

She wanted to share the good news with Chief face to face. She believed that a phone call will not suffice. She knew he would be proud of her; even though he had initially kicked against her search for employment.

—–

Adetutu had a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and was serving as a Youth Corp member in a law firm when she met Chief Olatunde Ara. He had come to see her boss who was a partner in the law firm. It was love at first sight for Chief as he spotted her manning the reception desk. He wasted no time in making his intentions known after three visits to her office. Adetutu had initially turned down Chief’s advances until the day she was summoned by her boss into his office.

“Tutu, I will go straight to the point and not mince words. I understand if you want to keep things very professional but Chief has asked me to help him talk to you. Sincerely, since Chief lost his wife three years ago, I have never seen his face light up at the sight of another woman. I think you should reconsider your stance and give him a chance.”

Adetutu took a deep breath.

“You don’t have to give me an answer. This is Chief’s card.” Her boss said handing over a complimentary card to her. “Give him a call once you make up your mind. I only hope your response will be favourable for Chief’s sake.”

Adetutu thanked her boss and left his office. She pondered over their discussion for the rest of the day. She reckoned Chief would be in his forties while she was just twenty-two. Was she ready to have a relationship with a man old enough to be her father?

——

Two days later, Adetutu called Chief and agreed to his proposition but with a condition that she did not want to be rushed. She wanted them to take the relationship at her own pace. Chief had been so excited. The next day, Adetutu met a bouquet of red roses and a box of chocolates on her desk.

Chief sent his driver daily to pick her up for lunch dates with him. She however, made sure she was back in the office before her lunch break was over as she did not want to take her boss or her job for granted. Chief told her about his late wife and how she had died after an ectopic pregnancy. It had been the first time she had been pregnant in their seven years of marriage; she had therefore refused to see a doctor even though she kept having pains. Both mother and child were lost.

 

Less than two years later, Adetutu became Chief’s wife. Exactly nine months after, Omowunmi was born. Less than eighteen months after, Adetutu gave birth to a set of twin boys. Chief convinced Adetutu that there was no point going back to work. She had her hands full already with three young kids and after much persuasion, Adetutu agreed. Chief opened a boutique for his wife and also paid her a monthly salary.

——

One evening, as Adetutu retired to bed in her husband’s arms, she propped herself up and looked at him. “Chief, I want to go back to school.”

Chief looked at her and laughed.

“I’m serious Chief.”

Chief’s countenance changed as he looked at his wife of seventeen years.  “What do you need the certificate for?”

“I want to go back to work.”

“Ahn…ahn, go back to work ke? At what age?”

“I am not yet forty-five. I can still get a job.”

Chief sat up straight. “What exactly do you need the job for?”

Adetutu smiled as she scooted closer to her husband. “The kids are grown and in the University already. I want to do something for myself. I feel unfulfilled.”

“I don’t understand. Your boutique is doing well. You have even expanded your business and have a spa and a salon, so what other fulfillment could you be looking for?” Chief asked in confusion.

“Please Chief, I just need your approval.”

Chief sighed as he nodded his head.

——

The next day, Adetutu registered as a professional student with a Human Resource Institute and began taking lectures almost immediately. In two years, she passed the exams in all the stages and Chief was proud of her as he stood beside her like a rock of Gibraltar during her induction. Adetutu went ahead to register as a professional student of a Management Institute and Chief thought she had lost it.

“You just finished one and you are starting another, Tutu.” Chief looked at her with unbelief.

Adetutu smiled. “Well Chief, I have the time. I can as well make the best use of it.”

“Does your daughter know you are doing all these courses?”

Adetutu shrugged. “Omowunmi is living her life, mummy too can live hers.” She responded.

——

In less than two years, she was done and inducted into the Institute. Omowunmi, who had just graduated from the university, attended her mother’s induction. Both father and daughter beamed with smiles at Adetutu’s achievements.

Adetutu, immediately began her search for a job.  She looked up job websites and purchased the daily newspapers looking out for vacancies. She knew it was not going to be a walk in the park considering her age but she kept her hopes high.

Her prayers were eventually answered with Energy Communications. As the driver took her home, she threw her head back and smiled. She heard the familiar ring tone she used for her daughter and rummaged her bag for her phone.

“Mummy.” Omowunmi spoke on the other end.

“Yes darling. How was your interview?”

Omowunmi sighed.

“What is the problem dear?”

“I wasn’t given the position I wanted. I was told someone else was better qualified.” Omowunmi hissed.

“Oh my! I’m so sorry darling, but you were offered another position?” Adetutu asked.

“Yes, mummy. I was offered the position of a customer relations officer.”

“I think you should take it.”

“But mummy that is not what I applied for?”

“What position did you apply for?” Adetutu asked as she adjusted herself.

“I applied for the position of a human resources officer. That is what I studied in school, mum. Why should I be given the position of a customer relations officer? I refused to accept the offer. They asked me to get back to them if I decided to change my mind but sincerely mum, I doubt I would.”

“Hmm…” Adetutu hummed. “Which organization is this?”

“Energy Communications.”

“What?” Adetutu screamed.

“Mum, are you okay?” Omowunmi panicked.

“Erm…erm…I’m fine. Are you on your way home?”

“Mum? What is wrong?”

“Nothing….nothing. Are you on your way home?” Adetutu stammered.

“Yes, I am just about driving out of the company premises.”

“Okay. Come home, we would talk about it when you get home.”

“Mummy, what is wrong?” Omowunmi asked; unconvinced with her mother’s responses.

“Just come home.” Adetutu said with a tone of finality.

….To be continued.

——–

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

Oshodi – For the brave-hearted only

During the era of the old Oshodi, I remember driving home from work one evening. It was about 7:30p.m. I had just driven out of Mafoluku area and turned into Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway when my car decided to die right at Bolade bus-stop on the fast lane.

Not now, I sighed. I knew what the problem was, I just needed to wait it out. My windows were always wound up almost to the top with a little space for air to come in; can’t be caught napping in Oshodi. All doors were always locked. If the central lock does not work, I take my time to lock all doors individually.

As I sat in the car, I looked into my rear view mirror intermittently and stayed conscious of my environment. Cars zoomed past as I waited for the engine to cool off. A few minutes into my wait, an area boy came towards the car and stood beside me. He tapped on my door. “Open the bonnet make I help you check am.” He said in his croaky voice.

“Thank you.” I replied through the wound-up window but I refused to pull the lever to open the bonnet. I ain’t letting any area boy touch my car at this time of the night; I said to myself (especially as I was sure of what the problem was).

Soon, another area boy appeared by my right. He tried to open the passenger door and realized it was locked. “Open the door, make we help you push am comot for road.” I looked to the left and to the right; an area boy on each side. I began to pray in my heart that the engine would cool off on time. There were no street lights and the only source of light was from cars passing by.

“Open this door, ah…ahn, abi you want make I break your side mirror?” The guy by the driver’s side said as he tried to open my door.

I turned the ignition and the engine roared to life all of a sudden. The guy beside me realizing what had just happened made an attempt to pull my side mirror. I swerved the car to his side, he jumped back and I immediately swerved to the right towards the other guy before zooming off. As the car screeched and raised some dust in the air, I drove off heaving a sigh of relief and saying a silent thank you to God.

Oshodi – A place in Lagos where your courage is tested.

——

Photo Credit: https://www.adromeda.com.ng

Fufu war

The closing prayer was said. The Amen was followed by students ducking under the table. Wrapped mounds of fufu began to fly in all directions. The culprits would raise their heads, fire a mound of fufu like an arrow and duck immediately. Anyone standing or not crouched under the table received a striking stab of fufu. The fufus were usually cold and hard and the strikes from one was indeed painful. Other students who refused to be part of the chaos ran out of the dining hall crouching.

The dining hall was built like a huge warehouse with awning windows and louvers situated at about 20 feet high. In the ensuing chaos, a junior student who had just joined the school some months before ran out of the dining hall with his plate in his hands. A mound of fufu struck the louvers above him and glass pieces came crashing down. The broken louver struck the boy on his calf and blood gushed out like an open tap.

The screams and cries of the hurt boy and other students who were escaping the dining chaos broke the fufu war immediately. Students rushed to carry the boy back into the dining while some went into first-aid mode immediately. A white T-shirt was torn and the boy’s leg was bound to stop the bleeding before he was rushed to the hospital by the principal.

 

The boy’s mother was contacted. She hurriedly went to see her injured son at the hospital and came to the school in anger. As she saw one of the housemaster’s, she rushed towards him and grabbed him by his shirt’s collar.

“Do you know how many months I carried this boy in my womb? Ë fé p’ömö fún mi?” (You want to kill my child). She screamed at the housemaster who was struggling to free himself from the woman’s hold.

“I carried him for thirty months. Do you know what I went through?” She continued in her rant.

The woman was held back by other housemasters who intervened and calmed her down. Two things however happened after; the fufu war came to an end and the junior student received a nickname “Omópénú”.

——

Photo Credit: https://www.cdkitchen.com

The Choice of Freedom

Bisola looked at her husband of thirteen years with confusion clearly written on her face. “Was he serious about what he just said?” She thought. “Where had she missed it?” “Was this a result of something going on that she had been blind to?” So many questions that begged for answers.

Ikechukwu walked out of the house and slammed the door behind him. Bisola looked on unable to stop him. Her husband’s statements had torn her and she wondered what she was supposed to do.

******

Ten years ago, Ikechukwu and Bisola had a registry wedding followed by a small reception for close family and friends. It was an agreement between both of them to cut out the unnecessary expenses associated with large weddings and save for their future and that of their kids. They had both prevailed on both families to agree to their decision. It had been difficult for Ikechukwu’s family to accept as he was the first son of the family but he had been adamant. His family insinuated that Bisola was the one manipulating  him do a small wedding. He however explained to them that Bisola’s father also wanted a large wedding but after consultations, her father had agreed to what he proposed. He therefore, told them if his proposed father-in-law could agree; they had no choice but to consent as well.

Ikechukwu worked as a top executive in a commercial bank while Bisola was a sales executive in a pharmaceutical company. In four years, Bisola gave birth to three boys in quick succession. Ikechukwu asked her to take a break from work so that she could give their kids undivided attention. He said he did not like the idea of maids taking care of his kids. Bisola agreed and resigned her job to take care of the home.

However, Bisola knew that she couldn’t sit at home and do nothing while tending to her kids. She therefore, wrote professional exams and acquired entrepreneurial skills. She started bead-making from the money she had saved over time and soon, she became sought after by all and sundry because of her penchant for durable products.

 

Everything was going well for the family of five until last year when Ikechukwu lost his job at the bank as a result of a mass restructuring programme. Ikechukwu became depressed. Bisola tried to cheer her husband up by asking him to invest their joint savings in a business. Bisola advised that they invest in a poultry business which would bring steady income but Ikechukwu wanted more. He couldn’t wait for a gradual increase in their profits. This caused a friction between them as Bisola was skeptical about the business he wanted to invest in.

 

After many weeks of friction in their marriage, Bisola agreed reluctantly and signed the cheque authorizing Ikechukwu to withdraw eighty percent of their savings. In four weeks, Ikechukwu realized he had been scammed and their whole savings of about ten years went down the drain. Bisola was devastated. Their last son had just gained admission into the secondary school. Their upkeep at home had been solely from her bead-making business which had expanded over time.

 

Just when everything seemed to be going downhill, Bisola received a call from an old friend. Her friend told her that a marketing manager was needed in her organization. The company was a pharmaceutical company of repute and she asked Bisola to forward her CV to her. Bisola immediately brushed up her CV and sent it to her friend by email. She hoped and prayed for the much needed break.

Two weeks later, Bisola was invited for an interview and in a month, she received a letter of appointment with a decent salary and an official car. She got home to share the good news with her husband. She had intimated him about the call and had carried him along but she noticed he had been indifferent.

 

Bisola looked at the letter of appointment opened on her laptop. Ikechukwu couldn’t be serious about her having to choose between the job and him. She had listened to him when he asked her to resign her job years ago to take care of the kids. The kids were in boarding house and the last one was going to join them in September. “Why was he being selfish?” She thought. She understood that his inability to provide for them like he used to was depressing for him but now that she had an opportunity to assist financially, why was he giving her an option of choosing between him and a job.

Bisola put her hand on her head as she contemplated on what to do. No, she wasn’t going to reject the offer. She would plead with her husband when he returned to listen to the voice of reason. She prayed in her heart that his ego would not stand in the way.

——

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

Behind the wheels

I love to drive (well, when the roads are free and not pothole ridden). Anytime someone drives in a way that lacks decorum and I hear “na woman” or “na only woman go drive like that”; I always feel slighted. I am like “what do you mean?” “Is it only women that drive that way?” When we eventually sight the driver and it happens to be a man, I usually feel vindicated.

However, in the last few weeks, I have had course to see a number of women drive without decorum. Women refusing to let others pass through even when they can see that the road they intend to navigate is blocked. In one instance, a woman parked her car right in the middle of the street and left it to only God knows where. Drivers going in and out of the street could not do so and a number of them cursed and even attempted to deflate her tyres.

The men also have their fair share of lack of decorum while driving as this attitude is not restricted to the women alone. For men, it is more of an “ego” thing. Most feel that if they let the other driver have his way, they would be seen as “not man enough”. Therefore, you see handsome men behind the steering struggling with themselves or with a danfo driver. Most times, such situations result in a “you don hit my car” later on; which could have been avoided by a “let my people go” attitude.

One thing I have however noticed is that staff bus drivers (mostly men) have this unspoken brotherly code even when they have never met each other.  I am yet to see a staff bus driver struggling with another staff bus driver over right of way. Sometimes, you see a driver “flash” another staff bus driver to take a position ahead of him.

It cannot be that the staff bus drivers are scared of losing their jobs. I would expect that to also apply to drivers of private vehicles as well. But these private drivers are also known to drive recklessly especially when their bosses are not in the car to caution them.

So what makes the difference? Why are most staff bus drivers sane behind the wheels? Why do most men and women who drive do so aggressively as if there is a contest on the road?

I really do wonder.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.allowme.ng

One Last Chance

Lekan took one last look round his room. The room had one window opening. A tattered wrapper which was torn in so many places was used as a cover from the prying eyes of neighbours. A kerosene stove stood on the left side of the room but it was obvious that it had not been in use for a long time. A pair of trousers, four shirts and two ties hung on the wall above a flat mattress which looked more like a pieces of foam cut together. He should have returned the ties to Wale by now; he thought. He was sure Wale would come get it later; that is if he decided to. He shrugged.

A brown bucket with a broken handle was placed beside the door. A bar soap lay inside a native sponge in the bucket. The green soap was both a bathing and a washing soap.

He sighed as he looked at the small ziploc bag for medication in his hands. Ten white tablets sat in it, waiting to be consumed. He had borrowed some money from his neighbour and told him he would return it at the end of the month. With the look his neighbour gave him, he knew the man did not believe him; but he did not care because he knew everything was ending today.

 

He had told the man at the chemist that he could not sleep well. He avoided the pharmacy. They would ask too many questions. The chemist gave him the ten tablets and told him to take one every day for the next two weeks.  He opened the medical bag and poured all the  ten tablets into his hand. If only the man knew his intention, he thought as he took a deep breath.

He took out the sachet of whiskey he had kept under his mattress and looked at it. He had never taken alcohol before and he wondered how this would taste. He used his teeth to tear it open, threw all the tablets into his mouth and poured the drink down his throat. He grimaced as he swallowed. He downed a cup of water to help push the contents down.

Now, he only needed to lie down and wait.

******

Wale had this sudden urge to open Lekan’s email account. Lekan had opened it at a business centre after their graduation from the university seven years ago. He used it to send his resume to various organizations but none had called him for a test or an interview. Lekan had given him the email and password to help him check his emails from time to time in case a job offer came up. He had told him he could not afford to waste money that could be used for food at a business centre.

Wale wondered why Lekan was so unlucky. He was one of the best graduating students in the Business Administration department but life had been unfair to him. He was an orphan without siblings. He had lost his mother at birth. An aunt who had decided to take care of him after the loss of his father at the age of twelve had treated him like a slave. He had to hawk everyday to be able to eat. His aunt refused to send him to school; so he used the proceeds from his hawking to get a secondary education.

He secured admission into the University and the struggle continued. Most times, he worked through the nights at various times as a security guard, a bartender and a washman just to get a University education. He had hoped to get a good job immediately after graduation with his good grades but that eluded him as well. He had to continue doing odd jobs just to keep body and soul together. He had asked to borrow a tie from Wale whenever he wanted to write bank tests or attend interviews but Wale had decided to give him two.

Wale felt pity for him. He wasn’t one of the best in the department and he remembered meeting Lekan on so many occasions for tutorials. He had however secured a job with one of the top banks in the country immediately after they completed their National Youth Service. He had also assisted in submitting Lekan’s resume to the bank but he never got called for a test.

He knew his bank was in need of customer service agents and tellers from time to time and he had discussed the opportunity with his boss numerous times. His boss had however, refused to give Lekan a chance. He told Wale that he needed experienced hands. He felt unhappy because he knew his friend was already tending towards depression. He had paid him a visit last weekend and he could see dejection written boldly on his face.

 

He logged into Lekan’s yahoo account and the first email that stared at him was an invitation from a recruitment company asking him to visit Wale’s bank to sign a letter for a contract job as a teller. His monthly package was also stated and he was given a month to either accept or reject the offer. Wale could not believe his eyes. He did not even know that the customer service and teller jobs in his bank had been contracted out. He was so happy that he immediately put a call to Lekan. The phone rang out a number of times without response. He wondered why Lekan wasn’t picking up his calls. He looked at his wrist watch. It read 4:30p.m. In thirty minutes, he should be done for the day.

At 5:15p.m, Wale walked out of the bank. He contemplated whether to go home and change before going to Lekan’s house. He was famished and he needed to rest. He had prepared some jollof rice for himself last night and he was already dreaming about eating it with a cold bottle of coke. He put a call to Lekan again and the phone kept ringing. He eased into his blue Toyota Corolla and drove out of his office. In an hour, he was seated in front of his TV with a plate of jollof rice, chicken and a bottle of coke. He called Lekan’s phone again without success.

At 8:30p.m, Wale woke up with a start. He hadn’t realized that he had dozed off after the meal. He picked up the remote beside him and switched off the TV. He remembered he had been trying to reach Lekan and he put a call to him again. Lekan’s phone was switched off. He hissed as he thought about going to bed. He was about to go to his room when he had a strange feeling. He stopped suddenly in his tracks. He picked up his wallet and car keys, locked his door in a hurry and ran out of the house. He drove for the next forty-five minutes like a mad man as other drivers spewed expletives at him. “Oh God, oh God, let it not be what I am thinking.” He prayed as he drove.

******

Lekan had seen the first call from Wale. He wondered why Wale was calling him and he had ignored the call. When the calls became persistent, he tried to pick it up but he was already dizzy. He decided to let it ring. He didn’t need anyone’s pity right now. He wanted to go peacefully.

 

Wale burst into Lekan’s room at 9:20p.m. Lekan had not made an attempt to lock the door. Wale saw his friend lying on the mattress with a satchet of whiskey beside him. He instantly knew there was trouble as he was aware that Lekan never drank.

“Lekan, Lekan, Lekan.” He shouted shaking his friend. Lekan was still and Wale began to panic. He put his thumb under his friend’s nostrils to check if he was still breathing. He felt a faint wisp of air. He ran out of the room to seek help and bumped into the man that Lekan had borrowed money from.

“Oga, take it easy nau, haba!” The man said.

“Please help me, please.” Wale pleaded.

“Wetin?” The man sneered.

“Help me carry my friend to the car.”

“Your friend? Who be your friend? Wetin do am wey he no fit waka by himself?”

“Please just help me.” Wale begged.

“Abeg comot.” The man said pushing Wale away.

“Oh God, oh God, Lekan, please don’t die.” Wale said almost at the point of tears.

The man turned back and looked at Wale. “That jobless Lekan nah your friend? He borrow money from my hand. I go make sure say I collect my money at the end of the month.”

“He is about to die, please help me.”

“Die ke? Abeg, I need my money oh. Make e no die yet. Where he dey?”

Wale pointed towards Lekan’s room and the man rushed towards the room with Wale at his heels. The man helped Wale drag Lekan into the car. Wale sped to the nearest hospital with prayers on his lips.

******

The doctor came out of Lekan’s room an hour later with a grim face. Wale rushed towards the doctor as he asked about his friend.

“Doctor, how is he? What is wrong?”

The doctor took a deep breath. “The blood sample taken shows a high dose of a sleeping drug. There was also alcohol in his blood which is a deadly combination.”

“What does that mean doctor? Will he be fine?”

“Let’s take it one day at a time.” The doctor replied.

“I don’t understand, doctor. He is alive, right?”

“For now, but he is in a coma. Let us hope he survives it.”

Wale put his hands on his head in lamentation. “Oh God, why didn’t I get there earlier?”

“Don’t punish yourself unnecessarily.” The doctor said as he patted Wale on the back.

“Ah doctor, you won’t understand.”

The doctor gave Wale a sad smile as he walked to his office.

******

Wale kept going to the hospital every day after work. About eight days later, Lekan came out of the coma. He was a bit disoriented and had no idea of where he was or what happened to him. The doctor ran some more tests on him and referred him to see a psychologist.

“Your friend is fine and can go home now.” The doctor told Wale some days later. “He is definitely lucky. Some cases like this don’t end well. Please ensure he sees the psychologist.”

Wale nodded his answer.

 

As Wale drove Lekan to his apartment, he said a silent thanks to God for keeping his friend alive. He was going to keep an eye on him going forward. He had prepared the guest room in his apartment for his friend. Life had given both of them a second chance and he was going to try his best to make sure he did not fail this time.

——–

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

Forest living

I attended a secondary school that was surrounded by thick forests on three sides with no fences. The fourth side which was the school gate had farmlands opposite the school . The school was a natural habitat for rats, snakes (mambas and pythons), scorpions, beetles, crickets, millipedes, centipedes, soldier ants and termites.

I remember the day I was almost bitten by a scorpion. I was walking towards the back of the hostel after dinner with my friends to go shot-put. It was dark and I was carrying a lantern with me. As we were gisting and heading towards our mission, for some strange reason, I decided to take a step back. I turned the lantern towards the ground and right in front of me, where I was just about to place my feet was a scorpion with its sting facing up. I was terrified.

A black snake also fell on my shoulder in another incident. I even remember a student doing his morning duty of sweeping the administrative block when he felt a huge stone fall on his head. He assumed a friend was playing pranks and looked up but saw no one. Another look at the ground revealed that a snake had been the culprit.

A room mate packed her clothes which she had dried on the grass outside the hostel and carried a snake with the clothes. If I ever had any intention of drying my clothes on the grass; which I never did because of beetles and crickets, the incident that evening in my room ended such thought.

A senior boy once killed a large python and carried it on his shoulders like it was an award. A green snake which I assumed was a mamba slithered out of the field right in front of my friends and I when we were going for an afternoon prep.

Rats had a party running around in my hostel and also eating students feet. This happened mostly to students who went to bed with dirty feet. Students took joy in killing them but they gave the rodents a slow and tortuous death. The rats were caught and their tails were burnt in a lantern. Next, students put their whiskers into the lantern. It was funny hearing the cries of a rat. Trust me, their cries warned all other rats to stay away and for the next few weeks, we saw no rats in the hostel.

At night, after lights out, we often heard the cries of foxes in the forest. Their barks and cries were so loud on some days that we almost felt like they were right behind our room.

Different students had encounters with soldier ants and termites as they walked into their long armies. I learnt early to always look on the ground while walking to avoid becoming a victim.

A classmate had a weird liking for millipedes and she picked them up every time she saw one and caressed them like a baby……ewwww.

I look back today and I still wonder; how did we survive living in the midst of all these?

——
Photo Credit: http://www.canstock.com

Pregnant Imaginations

The pregnant lady sitting in the swivel chair at the salon section shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

The manicurist attending to my nails looked at her. “Aunty, you want water?”

“No, thank you.” The lady replied.

“Are you okay?” The manicurist asked; concern written on her face.

The pregnant lady smiled and shifted again; probably trying to find a comfortable position. “Yes, I am fine. Thank you.”

I looked at the pregnant lady and weird ideas for a story just flew into my head. I grinned as my imagination went on overdrive.

I imagined the lady drove to the salon herself.

I imagined this being her first pregnancy and being a little anxious and naive.

I imagined her water breaking while she sat there and going into panic mode immediately.

I imagined me telling her to calm down while I asked for her car keys.

I imagined the whole salon suddenly going abuzz with the salon attendants running helter-skelter wondering what to do and how to help.

I imagined the lady puffing and panting as tears streamed down her cheeks.

I imagined myself driving with crazy speed to the hospital where she was registered (after getting the information from her).

I imagined one of the salon attendants calling her husband through her phone and explaining the situation to him.

I imagined us (myself and one of the salon attendants) waiting patiently in the hospital (after she had been taken into the labour ward) till the arrival of her husband.

I imagined her husband arriving at the hospital with worry lines deeply etched on his forehead.

I imagined her husband calling me hours later that his wife had been delivered of a baby.

I smiled and shook my head as my mind ran different thoughts.

I guess this is one of the reasons I call my mind a creative machine 😄

——

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