Tag Archives: family neglect

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.

—–

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The Fight

Ariike bent her head to cover up the tear that was sliding down her cheek. The receiver of her desk phone all of a sudden became heavy in her hand and came crashing down her desk. She quickly wiped her cheek with the back of her hand just in case her colleagues were attracted to her office by the noise of the crash. Fortunately, most of them had gone for lunch and were yet to return.

She looked around her office and for the moment felt disgusted by all she saw. Plaques and awards lined her desk while some hung on the wall crowding her office. They all attested to the fact that she had always been outstanding on her job. Within six years, she had climbed the ladder from just an ordinary officer to become a most senior executive in the organization. Everywhere, she spoke she was heard. There was no doubt that she had the ears of the management of her organization. But all these meant nothing to her right now.

She had just received a phone call that was going to change the whole course of her life. Their family lawyer; Mr. Akanni had been so apologetic but he was not to blame. She knew that. He was only acting on instructions from her husband, Adisa. She had heard so much about work-life balance from Adisa that it had actually become a song in her heart. “Ariike, we cannot continue like this”. He would say. “You seem to have forgotten that you are first a wife before an employee. Your kids don’t even know you any longer. Kids need their mother most during their teenage years; have you thought about that?” To her, Adisa nagged and nagged. “The kids aren’t complaining and I do my best to provide all they need.” She would say.

She stood up from her chair and walked round her office. Could she actually say she knew what was happening to her kids? She could not remember the last time she had a chat with them. Her weekends were also devoted to her job. Her laptop and her study were always her companion. Household chores were handled by two housekeepers while a chef handled the cooking. She strived so hard to be outstanding at work and she wondered why Adisa seemed to be the only one who never appreciated that.

The dispatch rider who was meant to deliver the divorce papers was on his way; Mr. Akanni had informed her. Her world was crashing round her like a pack of cards and the only place she seemed to find fulfillment was on her job. Was her job worth losing her husband and kids? If work-life balance was not possible on her current job, did wisdom not demand that she drop it for another? Or on the alternative, find a way around it. She knew too well that closing a little early than she did was not in any way going to affect the organization negatively.

The Fight 2

As she was chauffeur-driven home that day, she held on to the divorce papers refusing to open the envelope. Intermittently, she was lost in thought reminiscing on the good times she had shared with Adisa; when her job hadn’t become a clog in the wheel of their marriage and when her kids rallied round her with tales from school. Right there in the confines of her heart, two things were decided. To fight to keep her family and to effectively manage her time at work.

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