I am a writer, a customer care rep, a business administrator, a lover of life and a successful single lady who sees every child as hers.
The long awaited day was here, and I didn’t need to be woken up because the noise coming from the sitting room was enough alarm rings.
I dragged myself from my bed, went to the rest room to brush my teeth. Came out some minuets later, put on my robe and headed for the sitting room where third world war was going on.
You are just a stupid boy! Grandpa Ogaga shouted at dad. He turned to grandma and asked. Treasure, are you sure this is my son or you had him for one Yoruba man? Because he is acting and talking like a chicken.
Osen please! Don’t ask mother that crazy question again! What’s the meaning of that?
What is, what is the meaning of that? Are you asking me? Why not ask yourself what’s the meaning of this stupid act you are putting on!
I am a grown man, and I can choose to do whatever I want to do with my life!
Not under my watch! Grandpa Ogaga shouted back.
What’s going on here. I asked as I made an entrance straight over to my dad, placing my hand around waist. Grandpa and grandma were fully dressed up. It’s like they just slept over for the night so as to have this quick discussion before leaving for work.
Anytime I see this girl, she reminds me of that ugly looking gold digger that brought my family into this mess.
Treasure! Grandma spoke up. Don’t say such things to Ufoma.
But it’s the truth! Grandpa defended himself. Why didn’t he choose the one that will not die when giving birth, instead he went for the weak hungry girl that doesn’t have enough blood for herself not to talk for a baby growing in her womb.
You can insult my birth mother for all I care, but don’t rub it on father okay. I talked back at grandpa.
So you now have mouth to talk? He asked me. Oghene! Look at this eni go ochi nana!
Osen please watch it. Don’t call my daughter a criminal. What did she steal from you?
She stole you from us! Look at you, you don’t even have any regard for your parents again because of this ugly black thing.
Efe my son. Grandma spoke up. All I and your father are saying is that you get married. And the girl we found for you is a wife material. Why not just meet her? She comes from a good family and even schooled abroad. She works in an insurance company.
And she is very beautiful! Grandpa added. Not like that ugly little gold digger you keep destroying yourself over.
I haven’t told you this before. Father said. But I think its high time you knew. I cannot get married okay.
What’s that suppose to mean? Grandma asked getting up from the chair she was sitting.
Before Ufoma died, I made a promise to her the day before she gave birth, that I won’t marry anyone else except her.
So? Grandpa asked. Are you the one that told her to die when giving birth?
We talked at length that faithful day. She complained of weakness and was saying strange things like she may not be able to bear the child. And she felt sad that she will leave me behind. So that day I made a promise to her that if anything should ever happen, I would remain unmarried till I die.
Uvwe nana! Mama Efe, did you just hear what your son said?
You mean our son? Grandma corrected him.
No o! This fowl can’t be my son. Thank God I have other children elsewhere. So this is how I would have been disappointed for life. God you are truly faithful.
Please don’t call God for that your adulterous life! Grandma fired back at him. Efe, I don’t understand the rubbish you just said o. Oghene vworo dovweme!
Oni what is it you don’t understand? I love Ufoma, I can’t live with any other woman! It’s my fault she died! She was so young and she pleaded with me to wait till we grow up but I was just a spoilt pron kid. I messed up her life and it led to her death. I can’t begin to live my life and forget everything about her.
Who is asking you to forget her my son. All I and your father have been saying; is that you give Ufoma siblings. Its more like you are having children on behalf of the late Ufoma.
Eh! You and who said that one? Grandpa asked. You better not paint anything here. What we are saying is, stop loving a dead woman! Put an end to this; the dead and the living love game. Choose one! Do you want to be alive or dead? Stop being alive and dead at the same time. Is that too much for you to do? Okay since you love the late Ufoma so much, consider her as first wife. Marry the second wife na and have children. Why are you not like me? You are not acting like an Urhobo man. What is all this nonsense that you promised one dead woman you will marry her? Are promises made to the dead still binding?
You don’t seem to understand what I am saying. Father went on. I can’t get married!
You can’t get married but you can sleep around? Grandma asked father.
He is champion in that area! Grandpa said with a loud laugh. Okay you can’t get married, then impregnate one girl and let her born for you.
God forbid! Grandma exclaimed. How many illegitimate children will he continue to have? Whoever has cursed me and my womb that I shall only have illegitimate grand children will not go down to the grave in peace. Since you have decided to disgrace me and the family in which you come from, continue! But just have this in mind, that if you should bring any other illegitimate child to this family, I will disown you! And as for you Ufoma, I thought you were on my side? Didn’t I tell you to speak to your father regarding this matter?
Grandma I did. But he doesn’t want to get married so why should I disturb his peace of mind? He is my father and I shall always remain Ufoma Ogaga, Efe Ogaga's daughter! And I shall always stand on my father’s side. If he still loves my birth mother, so what? Let him be.
Treasure, omevewe guo no ovwe dia gaga. I need you to be strong. I told you coming here was completely a waste of time but you still dragged me here. This your son Efe is not a full human being anymore. For him to be in love with a dead woman, he has been cursed. That useless Ufoma Ejiata has succeeded in ruining my son. Please let’s take our leave now, I have important business meetings to attend to. I am Ogaga the second! I don’t go on fruitless journeys.
Osen, Oni try and understand me please. Its not the way you are taking it. Omevwe chereguo! I am not ready. Father broke down in tears but that didn’t stop his parents from leaving. They left without looking back and I was left alone to console my father. I had never seen father cry, it was my first time and it was heartbreaking.
It took a while before father got himself, and I had to hurriedly dress for work and promised to close on time to be with him.
I got to the office quite late and I was told I had a guest waiting for me in my office. Really? Could it be Thomas? Probably that’s why he didn’t call me last night as promised? He just wanted to surprise me. As I hurried my steps to my office, my heart was racing. I hadn’t seen Thomas in years, and I really wondered how he looked now. I was hoping he will look a little better than before since he was old enough now to take better care of himself. What would I say to him first? Should I hug him? Call him darling or just be normal. I didn’t know what I was feeling. Could this be love?
Suddenly the third floor where my office was located looked like it was on the tenth floor. I realized for the first time that the elevator was really slow, as others have been complaining.
Finally I got to third floor, and I saw Edirin walking towards me.
Hey babes. I heard from the receptionist that I have a visitor.
Yes you do. And he has been waiting for an hour thirty minutes. Why did you choose to come to work late today?
A lot happened at home. Will gist you later.
Okay just be nice to him. She winked and let me move on.
Him? So it’s a him? Wow it’s my Thomas! As I walked into my office, I saw a smiling face that did not look familiar at all staring at me from the couch that's adjacent to my desk.
Hi. He got up and extended his hand for a handshake.
I reluctantly accepted still wondering what he was doing here and who he is. He took my hand and planted a kiss on the back of my palm.
I am Stanley Ojewe. He said still smiling.
Stanley Ojewe? Edirin Ojewe's brother? I asked.
Yes I am he.
There was everything about him. His fragrance, his charisma, his smile, his huge palms, his sweet looking pink lips, perfect low cut, clean shaved, with exquisite eyes and that perfect height, manly built and damn his skin was just like sunlight.
Are you Urhobo? I didn’t know when that question escaped my mouth.
He laughed before he answered. My God, his laughter again was like sound of music.
I always have to answer that question every time I call my surname. Yes I am. I was told I look exactly like my great grand mother. She was English.
Okay that explains it. I gave a half laugh. Damn this guy fine die! No he can’t love me. Its not possible! Grandpa always said I am dark and ugly, so can this very handsome looking man even want me for a wife? I thought to myself.
I am sorry I bumped into your office this way, but you know how Edirin is, I dropped her over and she dragged me here and vowed I wouldn’t leave until I meet you.
Oh that naughty girl. I laughed. Sorry for the trouble.
Oh no! Its worth every bit. He assured me.
Worth every bit? Does he like me? I wondered. What can I offer you? I finally asked him.
Oh nothing dear, in fact I am really running late for a meeting, Oderochana ede ofa. Let me have your number, so I can call you up and sometime later for a hang out.
Okay that’s fine.
We exchanged numbers and he gave me a peck on my cheek and took his leave.
I was frozen for some minuets after he left. He was the hottest guy I have ever met! But I didn’t just trust him. He is so good looking to be true.
Edirin entered my office smiling. I told you he is a damn fine man! She winked
I must confess he is. I almost passed out. I teased along.
And he held you in his arms to keep you on your feet. She added laughing.
Bad girl! Please at least you will let me work now since I have finally met your extremely fine brother.
Of course your highness. She took a bow and left.
Oh this girl is just a clown.
But why haven’t Thomas called me yet? I remembered him. Should I give him a call? No I won’t. It’s too early to give in. But Thomas has proved his love for me so many times, it won’t be fair on my part if I can’t call to find out how he is doing. Yes that’s true I need to call him. I concluded. I picked up my phone and was about to call Thomas, right about then Imoh interrupted me.
Ufoma, you are delaying this thing o!
Who is this one? You can’t even knock before entering and you did not even say a greeting, what’s all this rubbish.
Call it whatever, I need your answer today. Are you ready to know what to say concerning the fake media adverts?
You must be mad! In fact to hell with you! You know what Imoh, go ahead and give Mr Adeleke the 2.5million he is requesting for and get the hell out of my sight. We never had this discussion and from henceforth carry your load!
Is that what you have to say concerning this issue?
Yes Imoh that is what I have to say. I stood my grounds.
Okay watch your back!
Is that a threat? Are you threatening me? Eni go ochi nana!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. With that he walked out.
You better don’t come here again! I shouted behind him. What rubbish! Look at this short calabar man o! Na me Urhobo girl he wan threaten? Nonsense. Let me make my call abeg.
I took my phone and dialed Thomas' line, it rang twice before it was picked.
Yes please who are you?
I Ufoma, where is Thomas? This isn’t Thomas’ voice.
Yes I am not Thomas.
Please where is he? And what are you doing with his phone?
My name is Ovie, and I am a friend of his. Are you the Ufoma Ogaga he has been talking about?
Oh my God! What a sad life. I don’t know how to tell you this but I just feel you should be strong for what I am about to tell you.
What is it? I asked sounding afraid.
Please take heart, we lost Thomas yesterday. On his way from work he was involved in a very bad motor accident that claimed his life.
What! I screamed. No that can’t be! We spoke over the phone yesterday afternoon.
Ufoma I am so sorry! What can I say? He was really in love with you. Infact when he got your number from your friend Ini when he visited Lagos two weeks ago briefly, he had to really brace himself up before calling you. He was so afraid of you rejecting him again. Even after he spoke to you yesterday, he called me to let me know. He sounded so excited and full of life, only for him to die in a car accident some hours later.
What are you saying. I asked crying as hot tears rolled down my cheeks. What do you mean my Thomas is dead?
Ufoma I am still in shock myself. So sorry for your loss. Please take care. I will keep in touch as to when he will be buried.
Okay. Please I need to get myself together.
Its okay. Chomayotor . Take your time.
I managed to end the call. Dropped my phone on the floor and crawled under my desk to have a good cry. My world was turning apart. I am the most unfortunate woman ever to walk this earth, in fact I am a curse! I am good for nothing.
Surprisingly, no one knocked on my door throughout and I was left alone in my misery. No one knew what I was going through and I preferred the isolation.
When it was some minuets to 2pm, I walked quietly to HR and I requested for one month leave. From there I took the elevator to ground floor, headed for my car, started the engine and zoomed off.
On arriving home, my phone rang and the caller was Edirin. Am sure she must have noticed my absence or rumors had gone out from HR's office that I requested for a month leave and left looking moody. Edirin was a good friend, but I wasn’t in the mood to talk.
I used my spare key because I didn’t want to disturb dad. I never knew I was in for a shocker.
I opened the door to find him and his little mistress lying on the long couch with a bedspread over them.
Excuse me! I alerted them of my presence.
Oh Ufoma! Dad was the first to wake up. Why are you back so soon?
What is going on here? I demanded.
What do you mean dear?
Which one is what do I mean dear? Dad what have you done with this little girl again! Small girl wey you fit born. Don’t you know I and this girl are age mates. Thank God your cloths are still on.
Ufoma, are you back? Lillian asked me getting up from the couch.
Father, is this why you don’t want to get married? So you can be fornicating up and down?
Common Ufoma I didn’t do anything with her.
It’s a lie! Lillian shouted. What wrong if we did something? Why are you hiding the truth from her?
Are you alright? Father asked her. Will you shut up and go to the room!
No dad she is not going to any room. Tell her to leave this house this minute and never return!
You heard my daughter. Father said to Lillian. Please leave.
What! Efe me? Me your love? She asked crying.
Yes I said leave! You heard my daughter.
Okay I will leave, no problem. But when you need me, am not far away, just a phone call away.
Seriously! I lamented. So a man can disgrace you this way and you still want him to call you? What have women turned into?
Immediately Lillian took her leave, father held my hand and walked me to the couch.
Ufoma calm down na, why you dey vex like this?
Daddy you said you love my birth mother so much, and that’s why you can’t get married. Do you really think this is the kind of life she would want you to live? Fornicating here and there? Have you ever thought of how this life of yours is affecting me? The way you use peoples daughter, is the same way they will use yours too.
Common don’t say that! How dare they touch my African queen.
Dad I am not joking!
Ufoma to be sincere I didn’t do anything with that girl. I was very moody when she came in and she met me lying on this couch. It wasn’t up to thirty minutes before you entered. She just joined me and that’s how we slept off.
Dad Thomas is dead! I said bursting into tears. I collapsed in his arms.
Thomas? Baby who is Thomas? The only Thomas I know is the one in the bible; the doubting Thomas.
I explained everything to father in tears. And as usual he was there to console me and give me all the energy I needed to pull through. Efe was a man full of faults, but when it came to me, he was perfect. I could never have asked for another father, I love him and his imperfections with my whole heart.
It was truly a tough period for me. I actually thought I was going to die. I even blamed myself for Thomas’ death and everyday I keep asking myself; diee ye eguono? What is love.
© 2020 Jade George Anibor