Tag Archives: short stories

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

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

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

Identity Disaster

Mr. Olaiya’s jaw dropped as he looked at the lady standing before him. She was dressed in a skimpy dress that barely covered her thighs. The man holding her by the waist was wearing a white jalabia and the expression on his face was irritation.

“Moriamo, you deny me your father?”

Chief looked at Stella and also at the strange man. “Mr. man, she say she no know you. What is your problem? You are constituting a nuisance and I fit call the police.”

Ah! Moriamo, èmi bàbá ë. Ayé mi!” (Moriamo, I am your father). The man exclaimed.

“Chief, let’s go. I don’t know this man and he is embarrassing me.” Stella said.

Ah! Ah! Sèbí, mo sín gbéré sí ë láyà ní ìkókó. Jë ki n ri? (I made an incision on your chest as a baby. Let me see it).

“What is he saying?” Chief asked as he looked at Stella.

“I don’t know Chief. I don’t understand what he is saying. Please, let’s go.” Stella said as she pulled Chief away from the scene. The strange man was beginning to garner a few stares.

Chief and Stella left Mr. Olaiya whose hand was on his head in lamentation.

********

The next day, Chief and Stella flew back into Nigeria. Stella convinced Chief that she wanted to cut short her vacation as her encounter with the strange man had made her homesick. She wanted to go home to see her mother and also visit her dead father’s grave; she told him.

 

Immediately they arrived into the country, Stella took a cab to see her mother in Akute. As the cab took her to her destination, she kept thinking about the encounter she had in the United States. She shook her head to dispel her thoughts as she approached her house.

Stella eased out of the cab, paid the driver and took out her hand luggage from the boot. A woman stood outside an unpainted bungalow throwing corn grains at some chickens. She stopped when she saw Stella walking towards her.

“Ëkáàsán màámi.” (Good afternoon my mother). Stella said as she knelt down.

Moriamo, ökö mi. Káàbò.” (Welcome, my husband).

Báwo ni ilé-ìwé?” (How is school?)

Adúpé mà.” (Thank God).

Bàámi nkó?” (What about my father?)

Jë ka wö inú ilé náá, ògiri l’étí.” (Let us go inside. The walls have ears).

Moriamo dragged her hand luggage into the small living room and put it by the side. As she sat down on the single couch, she looked eagerly at her mother.

Bàbá ë ti lö fa gbùrù ní ilú òyinbó.” (Your father has travelled abroad to hustle).

Moriamo bent her head as she thought of her encounter with her father. She knew he was her father. A man knew his children but how was she supposed to explain her business in the U.S? How was she supposed to explain that she had told Chief she was bored in school and wanted to go on vacation? She had had no choice but to deny knowing him. He was right that she had been given an incision on her chest as a child. When she kept falling ill, her father had taken her to visit a herbalist who had give her the incision and her bout of sicknesses had ceased immediately.

As she went to bed that night, she decided the United States was no longer a country to visit.

——–

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

Stages of Life

Lara saw her best friend on TV and smiled. Yemi was anchoring a game show and she was good at it. Lara remembered how close they were in secondary school. They had been best friends and other students had envied their relationship. A few friends had even tried to come in-between them by telling tales but they had seen beyond the envy and jealousy and stuck together.

Lara went on to study Chemistry at the University of Lagos while Yemi had studied Mass Communication in a University in South Africa. They had tried to keep up their friendship through phone calls and text messages but after a while, Yemi became unreachable. All efforts made by Lara ended fruitlessly and she concluded that Yemi must have changed her number. She had also tried to search for Yemi through Facebook but that had also been unsuccessful.

 

*****

Ten years after graduation from secondary school, Lara watched her friend on TV and was proud of her. Watching her now, she realized the reason why she hadn’t been able to find her on Facebook. Yemi had dropped her first name and was now identified by her second name, Joyce. She did a quick search on Facebook with the new name and found her. She immediately sent her a friend request.

 

A week passed and Lara was yet to get an acceptance from her friend. She decided to send her a message. She was however shocked when she got a rejection to her friend request and a response to her message. The message read; “I have moved on from teenage friendships. Get a life.”

Lara must have read the message a thousand times. She wondered what could have come over her friend. Had she written something that resulted in such a response? She went back to read her message to Yemi again. She had congratulated her friend on the TV programme and told her she was doing a good job. She had also mentioned how she had searched for her for so long; not realizing she had dropped her first name. She had asked her to keep in touch.

As Lara deleted the message, she made a mental note to move on and forget she ever had a friend named Yemi.

—–

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com
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A chance to live

“Mummy, let us run away.” Chiamaka cried as she held on to her mother’s legs.

Even though she was just six years old, she was tired of the situation she and her mother found themselves in. The past twelve months had been traumatic for both of them. “Mummy.” Chiamaka said as she shook her mother.

*****

Kelechi rang the doorbell. Tope rushed to open the door and smiled. “Welcome darling.” She said as she hugged him. Kelechi refused to hug her back and she stepped back to look at him. “Is something wrong?”

Kelechi ignored her as he walked into the living room of their two bedroom flat and slumped into the couch. Tope looked on as she wondered what the problem could be. She walked into the living room and sat beside her husband. “Kelechi, what is the problem?” She asked.

“Please just leave me alone.”

“Ah…ah, Kelechi. How can I leave you alone when you are looking this way? Tell me please. Did something happen in the office?”

“Woman, I said leave me alone.” Kelechi snapped.

“Okay, okay.” Tope said standing up. “Are you ready to eat now?”

Kelechi nodded a response.

Tope dished the food and put it on the table. She called her husband to have his meal and left to clean up the kitchen.

*****

The next day, Tope woke up at 6:00a.m as usual. She had her bath, woke her daughter, Chiamaka and got her prepared for school. At 7:00a.m, Chiamaka asked her mum. “Where is daddy? He hasn’t come out of the room. Isn’t he taking me to school today?”

Tope looked at the clock on the wall. Kelechi should have been out of the room by now, dressed for work and ready to drop their daughter off at school on the way to his office.

She went back into the bedroom and saw Kelechi still sleeping. She sat on the bed and tapped him. “Darling, you are late for work and Chiamaka is almost ready for school.”

“I am not going to work today.” Kelechi said as he turned his back to her.

“But you did not tell me you are going on leave. We always planned for it together for Chiamaka’s school vacation period.”

Kelechi turned to look at Tope. “Look Tope, can you please leave me alone?”

Tope’s jaw dropped as she looked at her husband. “What is going on?” She thought. She took a deep breath. “Your daughter is ready for school.”

“I am not taking her to school today.”

“Kelechi, what is the meaning of all this? I have been asking you since yesterday what the problem is and you have refused to say anything?”

Kelechi stood up from the bed all of a sudden. “You want to know, abi? I have been sacked. Sacked, do you hear me? Sacked?”

*****

The next twelve months, Tope had done her best to take care of the family. She paid their daughter’s school fees, provided for the home and made sure they lacked nothing. She was a school teacher in a private secondary school. Her salary was not fantastic but she managed whatever she received and prayed that Kelechi would get another job to relieve her of the financial strain.

Kelechi went out every evening and came back home drunk. Initially, Tope complained and each time she did, she got beaten. She was reminded that the fact that she took care of the home did not make her the head of the house. When Tope got tired of being beaten, she stopped complaining. She left the door unlocked every evening for Kelechi to come in whenever he decided to.

*****

Tope had been so tired when she got back from work that she forgot to leave the door unlocked. Kelechi rang the bell so many times before Tope opened it. As she did, dozens of slaps landed on her face.

“So you have the guts to lock me outside now, ehn?” Kelechi shouted breathlessly as he continued to pummel her face.

Tope screamed but the more she struggled, the more kicks and slaps she got. When Kelechi was done, he walked into their bedroom breathing hard and slumped on the bed. In a few minutes, he began to snore loudly.

Tope sat on the floor as she cried. She was tired of getting beaten every time. Everything she did or said was used against her. She thought of leaving but what would people say. What would her friends say? What would her family say? What would her church members say? All these questions bothered her.

She crawled into her daughter’s bed and folded into a foetal position as she cried to sleep. Chiamaka woke up at about 6:00am and saw her mother lying beside her. There were bruises all over her face and body. Chiamaka burst into tears.

“Mummy, wake up and let us run away.” Chiamaka said as she tapped her mother. “Mummy, wake up.” She cried.

Chiamaka stood up from her bed and opened the door of her room. She could hear her father snoring loudly from the bedroom opposite hers. She walked to the main door and opened it. She stepped out and banged on the door of the flat opposite theirs.

 

Kola walked to the door groggily. He opened the door and was shocked to see Chiamaka standing before him. She was still in her “Dora the explorer” pyjamas. Kola bent down and looked at her. “Chiamaka, what are you doing outside at this time of the morning? Where is your mummy and why are you crying?”

Chiamaka wiped her cheeks with her hands. “I have been waking my mummy up so that we can run away but she is not answering me.”

Kola took a deep breath. He understood what Chiamaka was talking about. He had talked to Kelechi once about it but Kelechi had told him to mind his business. He even told him that his inability to mind his business was the reason why he was still single.

“Let us go and see your mummy.” Kola said as he held Chiamaka’s hands.

Chiamaka led him into the house and into her room. Kola was shocked when he saw Tope. He lifted her up and carried her out of the house. He placed her gently in the backseat of his car while Chiamaka eased in and sat beside her mother.

“Are you taking us far away from this house?” Chiamaka asked Kola as he eased into the car.

“Chi, your mother needs to see a doctor first.”

“Okay sir. But we don’t want to come back here and I don’t want my daddy to know where we are.”

Kola sighed. “Okay Chi.”

 

A week later, Tope was discharged from the hospital. Kola took her straight to her parents house. Her parents welcomed her back with open arms. They hugged Chiamaka with tears in their eyes. They were grateful to her for saving their daughter’s life.

——-
Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com

Close shave

Adetutu looked at the clock on her dashboard. It read 9:30p.m. The cars before her slowed down and red tail lights flashed all the way down. She sighed.  She wasn’t expecting traffic on the bridge at this time of the night. She was tired and hungry. What she really longed for right now was to zap into her bed; clothes and all. She was not even sure her mouth could do the job of chewing anything.

She was in this state of lethargy when she noticed strange movements around her. Two young men were walking in between the car lanes; one on her right and another on her far left; two lanes away from her. The one on her right was walking up the bridge while the other moved swiftly in between lanes towards her rear.

Adetutu looked around her and considered it unusual. There were hawkers milling around but these men were not carrying anything to signify that they were hawking. The man on her right went to the car adjacent hers and knocked on the driver’s window. Adetutu’s senses awoke and she immediately tapped her central lock. It was quite dark and she was not sure whether she actually saw a pistol pointed at the driver in the red Toyota Carina ahead or not. The driver’s window was wound down and Adetutu saw a shaky hand with a mobile phone in it. There was a ring with a massive stone on one of the fingers and it glistered in the dark. Adetutu reckoned the driver had to be a woman.

The driver of the Toyota Carina handed over her phone to the man. Adetutu looked to her right. There was a black Toyota Highlander beside her. She saw that a man was behind the wheels. This was happening right in front of him and he wasn’t making any attempt to stop the robbery. Adetutu noticed he was even trying to maneuver his way to the right. She wished she was behind the Toyota Carina because she would have bumped into the car intentionally. She wasn’t sure if the car in front of her was driven by a man or a woman but whoever was behind the wheels was also trying to divert to the left. Was this how everyone was going to leave the lady to her fate? She thought.

The movement of cars trying to save themselves opened up traffic a bit. Adetutu noticed that the lady in the Toyota Carina was about to hand over her handbag to the thief. She slammed on her accelerator and diverted to her right. She hit the Toyota Highlander from the rear and headed straight for the Toyota Carina. The thief saw her too late. Adetutu brushed the Toyota Carina, careful not to cause too much damage before diverting back to the left and speeding off.

She looked in her rear-view mirror and saw the man in the Toyota Highlander getting out of his car. She also noticed that passersby had gathered and were looking at the ground while someone was handing over a handbag back to the woman in the Toyota Carina.

As she sped away, she took a deep breath and hoped she had saved the day.

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

Death wish

The aroma of Tolu’s food wafted out of her kitchen into the nostrils of the other students in the block. It was a block of six flats occupied by students of the University of Lagos. While some students stayed on campus, some preferred to have a home away from home. They rented apartments outside which were close to the school campus.

Tolu heard the knock on her door as she prepared to settle down to consume the bowl of semovita and ilá àsèpò that she had just cooked. She knew who was at the door. There was no need asking. She ignored the knocks.

As she put each chunk of semo into her mouth, the intensity of the knocks increased. She got upset and walked to the kitchen to wash her hands. The persistent knocking continued as she strolled towards the door and opened it.

“Haba Tolu, why didn’t you open the door on time nau?” Feyi asked as her eyes searched round the room like a thief looking for something to steal.

“Ahn…ahn, so you are eating without me now? No wonder.” Feyi continued as she walked to the kitchen, washed her hands and settled down before the bowl of food. She dipped her hand in and began to cut the semo in large chunks, swallowing them in quick succession.

Tolu looked at her without a word.

 

The next day, Tolu walked into Feyi’s flat without knocking. She knew the door was always open during the day.  It was locked only at night. Tolu cleared her throat to announce her presence. Feyi, who was lying down on the floor reading a novel looked up.

“Wassup?” Feyi asked as she dropped her novel on the floor.

“Nothing much. I came to pick up a few things.” Tolu said as she walked towards the kitchen.

“Ehen! You did not keep anything here.” Feyi replied as she stood up and followed Tolu.

Tolu had come with three big polythene bags. She opened the kitchen cabinet and started to empty everything she saw into the polythene bags. Garri, rice, beans, spaghetti, curry, thyme, maggi etc.

“Ahn…ahn…what are you doing nau?” Feyi shouted.

“I am packing the foodstuff we would need for the month.”

“What is the meaning of this?”

Tolu stopped and looked at her. “Pick one. I pack the foodstuffs we would need and you can continue coming to eat your lunch in my place or I poison the meal, so you can die and leave me in peace.”

Feyi’s jaw dropped. “Haba! It hasn’t come to this nau. You should have just told me that you don’t need my company during lunch.”

Tolu burst out into hysterical laughter.

“What is funny? Please just drop my foodstuffs. I won’t come to your flat again.”

“No ma. This is to replace everything you have eaten in the last one month. You can decide not to come again from today.” Tolu said as she began to walk towards the door.

Feyi stood in front of the door and tried to stop her from going out.

“Feyi, don’t try me. You know me from way back in secondary school and you know that I can redesign your face if I get upset.”

Feyi frowned as she moved away from the door. Tolu was known as “mama fighter” in secondary school. Feyi watched helplessly as Tolu strolled out of her apartment with all the foodstuff in her kitchen cabinet in the polythene bags.

As Feyi locked the door to her flat, she decided she did not want to die yet. It was better to stay away than get poisoned.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.familydoctor.org

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.

——

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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.

——–

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