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Twenty Ways I Thought I Died. Part Two. Chapter Four.

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.

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Oni what brought you to my house so early this morning? I haven’t even brushed my teeth and you are already making trouble with me? Na only me get mama?
Omevwe aye urhobo, I cannot seat back and see my only son waste his life away. So you better begin to do something about this situation on ground. Your father has sent me to talk sense to you before he arrives.
Arrives? Is he on his way here? No no please omevwe ke se ufuoma uvwewime? Can’t I have peace! Why would Osen think of coming to discuss marriage with me if you hadn’t put it in his heart?
And why won’t I put it in his heart? Aren’t you tired of the reckless life you are living? From one whore to the other? The only decent girl you have ever had is the late Ufoma, but my son this has to end. You cannot be married to a dead woman, you have to move on with your life.
Oni ufoma is still alive to me in our daughter. As long as my daughter is alive, her mother is also alive. Can’t you see the resemblance?
Are you now drunk? Or you need me to land you slap? Can you marry your daughter?
I cannot but she can bear children for me. Her children are my grandchildren. So what’s he difference?
Efe! Efe! Ona ni dey?
What is what is the meaning of this? Oni diee omevwe ke rue it ne na? Biko let me just live my life.
Grandma what’s all this noise you and father are making? You disturbed my report, today is Saturday I need to tidy up some stuff online.
Ufoma Oghene kevwe ebruwiyo. God bless you for coming out. Your father wants to disgrace us! Didn’t you talk to him like I told you?
Grandma if its about his promiscuous life, then am out of it. Like father like son. So what do you expect grandma?
You women have decided to kill me today right? It will not work. Just because I have had just few failed relationships, you call me names; Biko merevwe, thank you! I am heading for my room.
Efe! Do not walk out on me! Just because you are now a grown man doesn’t mean you can’t listen to me. Efe you have killed me o!
Grandma please don’t stress yourself about that old man my father. Let’s talk about me. I need to get married, I will go crazy if I don’t. I am twenty three and you are here bothering about my overgrown father.
Oh my precious granddaughter forgive me. I was going to come to that aspect but I just wanted to deal with your father first. How are you my dear, come lets sit and chat.
Mama how else can I be? Omevwe omote owho. How can you expect a single woman to be happy at this age?
Oh my jewel, please don’t be so hard on yourself. Diee omevwe ke rue ti ne na? Tell me what I can do Ufoma?
Is there anyone of your friends sons you can hook me up with?
And you think I haven’t thought of this? I have! But children of these days, especially boys are too notoriously. Their sons are like your father, so how can I introduce you to them?
Grandma now had tears in her eyes, and I began to regret ever disturbing her with this. She was soo worried that her only child and grand child may never live the kind of life she wished for us. Should I tell her about the discussion I and Ini had? No. I decided. Let me just go ahead with my plan. And that was a mistake.

Two days ago I was hanging out with a guy I met on my street. We had always said hi to each other but that was it. He was a very responsible guy, or so I thought. I never saw him with any lady, was always early from work, meaning he never went drinking from work as most men did. He was a Christian and had a nice neat look always.
Charles I don’t know how to say this, in fact I haven’t said this to any guy before, but I just feel there comes a time in a girl's life that she just has to take a bold step.
Wow you are the first girl asking me out. I feel so honored. What have I done to deserve this?
Let’s say God brought us together. I said and smiled charmingly as I sipped my bottle of malt.
After some silence he said: baby I like you. In fact I want to marry you.
Wow so quick? I asked. What made you reach that conclusion?
You are a strong woman. I want to be with a woman that loves me this much and has the strength you do.
Awww thanks honey. I responded.
Wow honey, I like the sound of that. What’s your bride price like? I hope its not expensive? You are urhobo right?
Omevwe omote urhobo. And yes its not expensive.
What was the first thing you said?
I said yes I am an urhobo woman. You are from delta state, Asaba right?
Yes I am. O baby am so happy you found me.
Awww same here honey.
We were moving so fast and nothing in my mind felt wrong. Everything felt as if it was God's plan. As we ate the chicken pepper soup I ordered, I was already planning a grand wedding in mind.
Five weeks later we were inseparable! Always going on long walks, always going outings, going shopping and I was always doing the spending. But gosh Charles was very caring and romantic. He could call hundred times a day, text me romantic messages, and call me sweet names. I felt like a queen! A real queen. But why was I only doing the spending? I found out that my Charles didn’t have a job, he was always going to the towns library to read good books to self educate himself. He had learned salesmanship and was still developing himself. He lived in his older sister’s apartment, and she had relocated outside the country. So its quite understandable that he was low in cash. Everything felt right and just perfect. He was 6feets tall, light in complexion, very handsome and very neat. I have never been to his home but he talks about how he cleans his apartment, washed regularly, bath twice, brush his teeth twice and have up to seven white cloths. He comes out always looking very neat from his nails to his hair cut and with a good fragrance. My Charles was all I needed.
Father never knew I was seeing someone because he too was busy seeing someone at the time. One morning, Lillian his new girl came over to prepare different kinds of dishes.

My Charles and I

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Good morning Ufoma, how was your night? I have prepared toast bread and malt tea for breakfast. She said all together in one breath.
Nice. Was all I could say.
To impress me, she continued. I have made vegetable soup already, and will make stew and egusi later. Will store all in the freezer. She said smiling like a kid.
Lilian was from Benue state, very pretty and very light in complexion. Surprisingly, my mother is the only dark girl my father had fell for or even dated. He calls my mother his dark girl, his African queen, one and only. I knew he would never love any woman like he did her, the rest are just to feel a desire. But there was something different about Lilian amongst others. We are age mates. That irritated me. Father is still young, I get it. He was fifteen when he got my mom pregnant, and that makes him thirty nine now. Handsome and successful, and the heir the grandpa Ogaga’s empire.
Ufoma, mevwe eguono whewe. She said happily.
You love me? I asked laughing halfheartedly.
Yes. I learned that in urhobo for weeks. I really want to learn the language so I can speak it with you. You know I will be your step mother soon.
Step mother? I asked disgustedly. Do you really want to marry a man as old as my father? You know you and I are both age mates right?
Age is but a number. Efe takes good care of me in every way! I would rather be with him than those small boys that won’t give you a dime but request from you.
Really? And you think my father is going to marry you? For real?
More of a yes than one of those small boys who ask girls for feeding money. Let me go serve my husband his food. With that, she walked straight pass me like a little witch

Wow husband? I clapped my hands with my mouth. I think she said that to irritate me. What will I not hear in this house from father. Oghene!
I went ahead and had the breakfast prepared by Lillian and then got dressed and took my cloths to the laundry man for ironing. Work was beginning tomorrow and I had a lot of catching up with my colleagues. Ella never admitted to sleeping with Mr Adeleke. And Mr Adeleke had pictures of them but was still enjoying the romance, so he told imoh to play along that he knew nothing. Imoh in turn told me to act like I knew nothing too. So we all knew unbeknownst to Ella. Since then, I never talked to her about my romantic life either, although there wasn’t much to gist. But at this moment, a funny feeling told me to make aware my new adventure to Ella because she was more of a sharp babe than Ini, even though she too was naïve and timid. I could not wait for tomorrow to begin so I could share.

On my way out, I did a quick stop at my Charles apartment. I don’t know why but my mind just told me too. I did not tell him I was coming over. It was the first time I made an attempt to go into his flat because I was just being meticulous in avoiding neighborhood gossip since we both lived so close to each other. On the same street to be more precised.
I met a young man in the compound washing the gutters, I perceived he was the cleaner. So I asked for Mr Charles's apartment and he said there was no Mr Charles living here.
I wondered what he was saying for some seconds, then went ahead to say:
Maybe he answers another name at home, but I don’t know him with any other name but Charles.
Charles? He asked. How he be? Describe am.
He is very tall, handsome, light in complexion. Infact I was beginning go on and on but was stopped when I saw my Charles, no Charles emerge from the security man's quarters.
Charles! I called out. He looked so dirty and stunned with a bowl of whatever he was drinking like a hungry idiot, staring at me like he never met me before.
Haba Chinedu na you be Charles? Who give you that better name na? The other guy said laughing. Na my brother be this. He lamented looking at me. Although no be the same papa. He come Lagos come write WAEC so he dey stay with me small.
Chidebere e don do na. He stopped him from reveling more.
No wait, let him keep on speaking! I fired back. At that point, I had forgotten about all the lessons I had learned about being naïve and timid for men. I was raging like a ruthless lioness. You dey write WAEC? I said in pigin.
Honey its not like that….
I cut him short with a loud slap. The disgusting thing he was eating in his plate fell off. How old are you? I asked.
Aunty abeg take am easy o, make people no gather. His so called brother tried to calm me down. Na small pikin abeg forgive am. He just dey clock seventeen.
Haaaa! I flung my bag on the ground. You’ve gat to be kidding me! I exclaimed.
Madam abeg no shout. He collect your something? his brother asked.
When I did not respond, he turned to Charles immediately. Chinedu wetin you collect from her! Who she be?
Na my babe. He said.
If you call that babe again I will land you better slap eh, you no go remember anything again when you enter WAEC hall. I screamed as I heard his brother Chidebere laughing loudly.
Chinedu wetin you talk? Babe? You well? Me sef wey don know this aunty no fit do that kin mistake call am babe. You drink? He asked him.
Aunty abeg make I help Chinedu talk the matter here. Na my small boy for village. He just big tall. His mama and paper don separate. So I just dey help the mama with this small boy as she bin relate to my mother in some kind of way. He come write WAEC as I don register him for some private school. Na lesson you dey see him dey go every time, na inside this security house we dey live together, as I be security man. He then paused to swallow the Saliva gathered in his mouth, and continued. I be don see am bring some kind of chopping’s and goodies to the house with money, he tell me say na people he help do test for class give am. I no know say na sugar mummy o!
Who is sugar mummy! Who is sugar mummy! I asked him angrily.
Charles or Chinedu as I now learnt could not even say a word. How could he? when he is just a small boy. I have been so desperate and stupid! I had just started noticing him some months back and I just concluded he was the brother to the lady I knew had relocated to England. And he just got the words out of my mouth. The lady had told me her brother would be taking over her flat, so I assumed he was the one. And this little kid is just too clever for his age. In a bid to keep our relationship away from neighborhood gossip, I covered my eyes and ears to truth I could easily have gotten access to. What a mess!
My joy was that it was on a Sunday. Everyone had gone for service. I even had to bribe Chidebere with twenty thousand naira to keep this just between us, which he vowed to keep with his life as he jumped up and down curdling his twenty thousand naira.

I just drove back to the house and went straight to my room. I have never been so ashamed of my life before as of now. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. See what Onyeka and Bisi's love has caused me. I just wanted to die! I couldn’t even cry. I was so angry that I laughed at my foolishness.
Father heard my laughter, as it was loud and full of misery. He knocked at my door and entered without be asking him too.
I didn’t ask you in. I sobbed.
Your tears did. What’s happening my African queen?
Did you tell that thing downstairs that you will marry her?
Common give me some credit dear, you and I know she is more than a thing. I always pick hot babes. He teased.
Am serious Osen.
Ufoma, do you think I can get married after what I did to your mother?
It was her choice dad. Stop blaming yourself. You have suffered already.
As for the lady down stairs, I haven’t slept with her and I don’t intend to. She likes me a lot, and I make her do chores for us and in return I help her with funds.
Is that all to it? I asked curious.
Of course.
Then why is she having thoughts of becoming your wife?
Every lady has such thoughts dear. It is a natural phenomenon. So tell me, which idiot made you cry tonight.
Ha! I lamented. I wish it was more of a heartbreak. This is worst.
Try me. Father winked.
As I went on to relate all to father, I watched him closely to see that disappointment, or pity for me but I saw non. When I was done, he went for the door.
Are you leaving? Without saying a word?
Yes. I will be back. I just want to go warn the Mr Elijah's boys. You know he had some teenage sons, I need to warm them of a desperate hooker here. He teased.
Father was a very funny man and he took life with so much fun and that made him so endearing. He joked about a lot of things, but never with his business.
How could you tease me like that? I threw him a pillow.
He caught it and came towards me. Let me curdle you to sleep. He kissed my forehead and said: mevwe eguono whewe.
I love you too daddy so much. But you must promise me one thing.
Anything my princess.
That you will get married eventually to a loving woman not all this things carry.
I promise I will settle down after you have to a wonderful loving man, not all this seventeen year old you carry.
Dad!
We both laughed as I fell asleep in his arms thanking God I survived this ordeal. I know I will need to heal, it was a great shameful deceitful blow.
My counts; the tenth way I had thought I had died.

Stupid Charles.

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© 2020 Jade George Anibor

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