Twenty Ways I Thought I Died. Part Two. Chapter Fourteen
Chapter 14. Part 2
Sir I am not comfortable with this approach you are taking for a business you had called me for.
I have told you not to call me sir. Aren’t you Urhobo? I am your brother. Call me Smart, that’s my name.
Mr Smart please can you just be professional? I came here for a wallpaper job not for you to ask me out. Why are you embarrassing and harassing me?
Ufoma what’s embarrassing in what I am telling you? I like you. Common girl loosen up!
Look I want to take my leave now. Please pay up and let me settle my boy so we can leave.
Aren’t you installing the other wallpaper again? I thought we agreed I get two more rolls to complete it.
That was what I told you earlier on in my quotation but you didn’t listen to me. Five rolls is what you need to cover this space but you insisted on buying just two.
Okay I am sorry. I will give you money for the other three rolls. But you have to agree to date me. Just spend the night with me and I will so spoil you.
Mr Smart! Please don’t get me angry. Just balance up for the work I have done and let me take my leave for Christ sake!
Do you think I am a small boy? See I have dollars! Real ones. I have sponsored a lot of people abroad and I have trailers working for me. What’s the harm in what I am saying? I want to marry you Ufoma, I love you.
Okay I have heard. Pay me for my job first. I tried tricking him.
Okay you are right, so your boy can go home while we talk about the other three rolls. Do you like fish? I can call someone to prepare fish for us.
Okay. That will be nice.
That’s my baby! He smiled and got up from the chair he sat like a slot.
Okay let me drive to the ATM to get the money, as I don’t have enough cash with me. You don’t mind waiting for me here while I go with your boy right? At least he can go from there. He smiled as he stood facing me.
No I would prefer I pay him myself, after all you don’t know how much I want to give him from the money.
Oh yes that’s right. Okay then let’s go downstairs and ride over.
He was really glad I was staying over, according to him. He just looked like one useless cow with his protruding stomach and ugly eyes. His hands were bleached, and his nails were so dirty. His apartment was an old one, and he was the only tenant occupying the building.
I was recommended to Mr Smart by a neighbour who heard I was now into home decorating. I started small with selling of wallpapers and installation. Smart was my sixth customer who wanted not just to buy the wallpapers but also to install. Jamiu was my installer and he always did a great job.
As I sat next to Mr Smart in the front sit of the car, I was terribly annoyed but just trying to control myself and provide good customer service. This is what I have come to face sometimes when marketing my business; Ogaga Décor Masters. Painter will toast me, bricklayer will toast me, gate man will toast me, landlord will toast me, all the customers want to toast me. It was very frustrating!
We arrived at the ATM past 7pm and everywhere was already getting dark. Mr Smart got out to use the ATM but came back to the car almost immediately.
Ufoma I forgot my ATM card o!
You forgot what? I asked annoyingly forgetting all about customer service.
Babe abeg no vex, let’s drive back to the house to get it. I mistakenly took my ID card thinking it was my ATM card.
This man is just a fool. I said to myself. I had to give myself customer service speech again, to stay calm. It happens sometimes, don’t beat yourself too much. I told him.
You are so sweet girl! Sorry for the inconveniences okay? Don’t worry I will add up to your tip tonight. He smiled like the fool he is.
He drove really fast because before 8pm we were already at the house. He went in quickly and got his ATM card and headed for the car again.
I am really sorry Ufoma my love for the inconveniences. Please don’t be annoyed. He said as we drove off.
Its okay. Just drive fast to the ATM.
I will my queen. Jamiu hope you are fine? He asked my boy.
I am sir.
Okay so please bear in mind that your madam will call you tomorrow to install the wallpapers okay.
Okay sir. I hope you like the one installed on your TV wall sir?
Yes I do. You did a great job and I am really impressed, so don’t worry Ufoma, I will give you jobs and make you the biggest home decorator on the island.
Its okay Mr Smart. I replied.
I was beginning to get impatient, and was really losing it. What does this ugly fool think I am? I don’t blame the idiot of a man who is thinking so highly of himself. If not that my business just started, I would have just left the money for this idiot.
We got to the ATM and the money was paid. I gave Jamiu his balance and he went his way happily without caring about what I was about to face. But I was now free as a bird to give this thoughtless Smart a piece of my anger.
OK Mr Smart, it was nice doing business with you. I made it sound like good riddance to bad rubbish.
So how far? Are we not heading home. He asked stupidly.
I am but I don’t know about you. I said bluntly.
Ufoma are we not going home together? He asked so concerned like he was a decent man.
And why would I follow you home this night? Isn’t it tomorrow you are installing the other wallpapers? I asked ignorantly.
But why are you talking like this na? Haven’t we agreed on it?
Yes we have. And I remember vividly mentioning we would come over tomorrow for your job.
Ufoma I am a nice man, and we are from the same place. Why are you treating me this way? Omote oyoyoviwi.
I don’t understand what you are saying sir? Didn’t I do a good job for you? How am I treating you?
Ufoma you are a big girl and I am aware you know what I am talking about.
Why is it that, anytime men like you use the term big girl then it is for something immoral? Does being a big girl mean you should know immoral terms? I asked rudely.
See you no fit tell me say you never meet man before, so I don’t know what all these pretense is about. He said angrily and continued. See I love you like tomorrow no dey! Me I am a nice guy, so nice that even when I dey with Ashawo I still dey treat them like normal girls so tey, they no wan leave me. How many men dey pet ashawo? But me I dey do am. I dey even play love with them to make them feel like a somebody. If you see these girls I am talking about; correct beautiful girls with clean white skin. If you see them sef, you go bow. I know say you fine o, but bring down yourself, no take yourself too highly.
Are you done? I asked him.
If you no follow me home tonight, then no more wallpaper job in my house.
Really? I laughed so hard in shock. Wetin concern me? So you will leave your TV wall looking like that? With half wallpaper on one side?
Yes. You don’t know me o! Is it my house? I can park anytime. I just wanted to patronize you.
You are really a stupid goat on heat. I told him out rightly.
Are you insulting me? He asked getting angry.
Do you want me to slap you? Because that’s the next thing I will do if you don’t get your disgusting self out of my sight.
Okay don’t worry, you will pay for this. He got into his car and drove off.
I got a cab that night to get home, and I was so annoyed and tired when I got into the house. The stupid man had wasted my time and made me reach home almost 9pm.
Father was the one who opened the front door for me, and gave me a long look before shifting to the other side for me to get in.
Ufoma where are you coming from? You never use to keep late nights.
Do you want me to leave you and your family? Because I will gladly do.
Ufoma do you want to kill me? He asked.
Kill you? After you already killed me? How is it possible then?
Ufoma. He said going on his kneels. I am so sorry. Please dear its almost a year now and you haven’t forgiven me.
The only reason why I still stay in this house is because Stanley asked me to.
God bless Stanley for me. Father replied.
I am very tired, I need to go to bed.
My African queen, please can you just allow me grow your business? I don’t like the way you are struggling, and I don’t like the shop you using for an office either. What will people say? That Efe Ogaga couldn’t give his only daughter a tastefully furnished office and good business background? He said still on his kneels.
So it bothers you that I am struggling financially and you do not care that I am struggling emotionally? You are bothered about my office and what people will say. Have you ever bothered about what people will say when they find out my father got married to the sister of the lady my guy dumped me for? Do you know of how Adesuwa never ceases to taunt me? Have you thought about how I am processing all these? Have you Efe.
Do you want me to divorce her? He asked.
Look at that! I laughed. So you are already tired of using her, you are now looking for an excuse to get a new woman? And you want to use me as an excuse. Story for the gods! Efe, you die there o! You will remain in this so called Union of yours and I will see the end of it. Be rest assured it won’t come from me. I will never do anything to make you both separate.
With that I left father kneeling like a reckless teenager by the door, while I confidently headed for my room.
I was at the time also running for my masters degree. It wasn’t easy combining school and business, but it was worth the distraction. Stanley was right, I needed to get my Ufoma back to what I use to be.
I didn’t have any job at the moment apart from the one I did today, but I still had to go to the shop tomorrow. Like Stanley always said; you never know when you will get a potential customer, so its best you make your goods available to the public always.
I prepared to retire to bed after having my facial scrub. I check my phone for messages or missed calls since it was a while I checked due to the stress Mr Smart put me through.
I saw five missed calls from Stanley and two messages from David. Stanley hardly sent messages, while David was very good at that and hardly called. In the text message, David was so worried about me. He mentioned not hearing from me for a while and encouraged we hang out for old times sake.
I didn’t bother calling Stanley back, as I was annoyed with him. I couldn’t pick one offense he actually made, but I just felt angry at him always and I felt it was because I had come to love him too much for us to be just friends.
He had really used this period to support my business. He had helped me with the idea, helped me implement it, and help me through this tough period of mine. He was always there physically and trying every avenue to make me happy, but still he called me friend. I don’t know how long he was waiting for me to heal before he asks me out. He was just too gently manly annoying.
I slept off like the animal slot that night. My sleep was free from dreams and I loved it. I had been having so many dreams of I and Stanley lately and it irritated me. I was glad tonight was different.
Combining business and school wasn’t easy at all. I had promised myself I would read tonight but failed to.
I began my masters degree July last year and was supposed to round up by November this year. Getting a masters in Mass communication was a dream come true and I had Stanley to thank for that.
My finals were approaching, and I was soon going to clock twenty eight. Single at twenty eight was not a blessing to me and I was feeling depressed, confused and unloved even though I had two cute bachelors as friends.
I managed to scale through that night only to be awoken by a bang on my door the next day.
Who the hell is that this early morning? I asked very annoyed.
Ufoma! Please come out I need your help.
Isoken? Is that you?
Yes dear please come out, its like junior isn’t breathing. She cried as she talked.
Junior? Who is Junior I asked her.
Ufoma please I don’t have time for all this, its Junior your brother na. Which Junior will I be talking about again.
Can you imagine? Is it I you are screaming like that to? You don’t have time for my questions right? Then stay there crying. You are telling me of Junior, look there is no Junior in this house! There is no Junior Efe Ogaga you hear me! So just get lost and don’t disturb my peace.
Ufoma please, you know I can’t drive and I have serious phobia for driving. Please let’s drive him to the hospital.
What about the child’s father? I asked still lying on my bed.
Your father has gone out. He left quite early this morning, and you know the driver is on leave. Please Ufoma help me. You know I have never done you any wrong but my sister did. Please don’t punish I and my innocent child for my sister’s wrong I beg of you. I have never hurt you or look down on you since I came to this house as your father's wife, so please Ufoma forgive me and help me. She pleaded.
You and your stupid son should get lost! I shouted. Who cares if you don’t like me? Do I need your love for anything? You and that bastard son of yours can die for all I care.
Immediately I said this words, I heard her footsteps heading for downstairs. I didn’t care where she was going to, or what was even going to happen afterwards, I was too angry with the world to care.
As I was trying to go back to sleep some more, my phone rang. And the caller was Stanley.
Hello dear. Came his rich voice that tickles my ears and cause butterflies in my stomach.
Good morning Stanley. I greeted.
Hope I did not wake you?
No you did not, was already awake
Any jobs today?
Not really. Jamiu will just open the shop as usual and I will meet him later on.
Okay dear. I called you severely yesterday evening but you didn’t respond.
Sorry about that, I had a bad day yesterday.
Really! What happened? He asked honestly concerned.
Nothing really, just a bad customer trying hard to irritate me. I was too upset to hear my phone ring and too tired to call back after I saw your missed calls.
Oh okay dear. Its alright. Well I was calling to let you know I was called to duty yesterday to porthacourt.
Oh yea. So when will you return? I asked sounding nonchalantly.
I can’t say for now, but I promise to keep you posted.
Please stay safe and take care of you for me alright?
And that was how the call ended. No I love you, I miss you and I can’t wait to be with you again. Are handsome guys this boring? Or is it just this silly sea guy? I wondered.
As I was lost in thoughts on my relationship with Stanley, my phone rang again and it was Jamiu.
He called to let me know his aunt who nursed him from birth just died and he was asked to come down immediately since she had no children of her own other than Jamiu she raised. He pleaded to take just the day off as she would be buried the same day being Muslims.
I felt sympathy for him, but that meant I had to do the whole work today alone. I dragged myself out of bed and went to shower. I had completely forgotten about Isoken and her child until I got down to the kitchen to look for breakfast.
Normally she would have prepared me toast bread and tea just to please me. I would eat and walk out like the food prepared itself. I was happy annoying her every possible way, but the stupid woman just decided to be happy always to annoy me more.
I got to the kitchen and there was no breakfast, no sight of her or her ugly looking crying baby. Father said the child looked like him, but anytime I saw the child, he looked like Satan. I was full of hate that I didn’t feel like myself.
I quickly prepared myself a cup of tea and toast. While I sipped my tea, I wonder what had become of her and her son. Was he dead now? Well I hoped he was and father better not accuse me of anything. After all he wasn’t expecting me to be that woman’s driver, nor her baby’s nurse.
I picked up my handbag I had dropped on the dining table chair to prepare myself something to eat. I was on the move to my office, Ogaga Décor masters when my phone rang again, and this time it was father.
Hello dad, did you miss me that much that you had to call this early?
What says your time?
Why? You lost your wrist watch? I asked rudely.
Its some minutes pass 11am. I want you to do something for me?
What’s that I asked wondering if Isoken hadn’t called him.
I want you to go to coffin street in Lagos island now and pick a nice coffin alright.
Excuse me? I asked.
What’s excuse me? He mimicked. Isn’t this what you wanted? It has happened, so its your turn to buy the parting gift. After all it was a wish come true.
What are you saying? I asked harshly. At that point I didn’t even know how to react and I was just trying to comprehend things and suddenly I was wishing this wasn’t true.
Why are you silent? I have good news for you.
Osen please don’t break my heart more than you have.
Break your heart? He laughed. Ufoma you don’t have a heart. You are completely heartless! But guess what? I think God still answers your prayers more than mine. You know, all these while I have been praying and wishing that you could just love Isoken, but no! God chose to hear your prayers instead of mine.
Dad please stop it. Please stop this you are killing me, my heart is getting weak.
Don’t worry dear! My one and only African queen Ufoma Ogaga, Efe Ogaga’s daughter. I am beginning to feel that your mother was sent to ruin my life, and since she couldn’t she left you to take over her ordeal. My father was right all along! How could I have fallen so deep for a devil? How?
Father stop it! Stop it now you are seriously breaking my heart. I am sorry, I am completely sorry. You don’t know how I have been feeling, and what I have been going through. At least now you know what it is to feel the pain I have been feeling. I justified my actions.
Pain? Pain you say? Ufoma please what pain are you talking about because I just can’t understand this pain that you have been campaigning all round. The last time I remember, you turned down Gideon’s proposal! He moved on and went back to his ex he had left for you! You turned him down and left him brokenhearted! Adesuwa healed his broken heart and therefore, he promised never to leave her again. You then came back trying to force yourself on him again but this time around, Adesuwa fought for what was hers, and Isoken her sister only came to warn you of how destructive Adesuwa’s anger can be, and pleaded you back off to stay safe. So please what did this two women Adesuwa and the late Isoken ever do you? Father asked angrily in tears.
Late? Who is late? What do you mean the late Isoken? I asked as I slumped to the floor.
You are such a great actress! Wow you amaze me my daughter. Are you crying for Isoken? Common everyone knows you should be rejoicing now.
Father please talk to me! What do you mean the late Isoken? I ignored his sarcasm.
Isoken got involved in a car accident this morning. She was rushed to the hospital and I was immediately contacted. I ran down there like a mad man, and I watched her battle for her life. She gave up twenty minutes after I got there in her night wear. Thankfully, nothing much happened to Junior because he was well placed in his car seat. Right now he has a very high fever, but the doctors say he will be fine. What I don’t understand is why Isoken would drive when she knows she can’t? From the look of things she was rushing Junior to the hospital, but why did she drive! Ufoma did Isoken ask you for help to drive her to the hospital because I know the driver is on leave.
No father she didn’t. I lied, then continued. As a matter of fact I am not in the house right now. I left home immediately after you left. And I saw Isoken cleaning up the kitchen where you ate. In fact I don’t know what to say, this is just to unbelievable for me to comprehend.
Where are you now? He asked crying.
Father please don’t cry, you will just break my heart more. I am with David, we stopped somewhere for breakfast. Please hold on dad, will be with you soon. Which hospital are you?
When I dropped the call, my head started spinning for alibi’s. First I needed to call David, and plan things out. I was certain he would help me because I sensed deep down that he was a trickish man.
I then thought of how I was going to leave the house without the gate man seeing me. I tiptoed to the gate, waited to hear movement from the gate man’s house but didn’t hear anything. I opened the gate hook gently and got out. I walked as fast as I could like someone whose feet was in a hurry to badness, and didn’t have a plan to execute it.
Twenty Ways I Thought I Died, Part One can be found here among my articles.
© 2020 Jade George Anibor