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.
It was another year and July was looking at me in the eye. Would I still clock thirty still single? I wondered. I have had enough of David’s excuses and to make it worse, no one in my family was talking to him. Everyone just let him be as if he wasn’t hurting me.
Humans can be so treacherous! I lamented. This family of mine were the ones who were so angry with me the first time David proposed and I turned it down. They said I had lost a good man and I was confused. But here is the same David I had now accepted and was making excuses fixing a wedding date, or me even meeting his people. But none of them were saying anything about it.
It was disheartening to hear father say, I should let David be. He will ask your hand in marriage from I your father when he is ready to do so. You don’t force a man to marry you Ufoma.
Forced? I had asked him. Who is forcing who? You people are making me appear desperate! This is the same David I had turned down and later accepted after two solid years! He proposed by asking me to marry him and I finally accepted. So what’s this I am hearing about me forcing him.
I was so angry that night that I went to bed hungry. The next morning I got a call from Stanley asking that we see to start making our wedding arrangements. He said he would soon be out of base anytime soon and needed to conclude some stuffs with me before then. I told him he was mad and shouldn’t call my line ever again.
How could I start my day with such a call? Stanley was mad, I said to myself. When did he propose for me to accept to marry him? He is just so full of himself, I concluded.
I stepped out of bed and headed for the rest room. I was a master degree holder, and an entrepreneur of Ogaga décor masters. My business had grown over time, as I was really putting into use the ideas Stanley had given me then. I now had five staffs I paid salaries to. Jamiu and Kingsley my installers, Kate and Paul my marketers, and Promise my receptionist. I had rented the next shop by mine that became vacant, and I used that for my office, while the other as my showroom. Business was going on fine, but my emotional life wasn’t.
As I stepped out of the bathroom, I stared at my engagement ring in annoyance. How long will I be engaged. My receptionist who got engaged two months ago was already planning her wedding and here I was, the madam still going around with an engagement ring, with no plans for marriage.
When I got to work that morning, the first thing I saw on my desk was Promise’s wedding invitation. Jesus Christ! What did this girl say or do to the man, to make him hurry up with the wedding like this? I almost began to cry but held myself.
I went ahead with the day’s activities, and clients who brought in big contract’s needed to see me. So I was attending to one after the other when one of them spoke up.
Madam, please I don’t mean to interfere in your private life o, but when is the wedding? We heard you got engaged last year, but you haven’t invited us for rice yet.
I looked at the little man that was talking, and I almost spoke rudely to him, when I remembered he is my biggest catch and with his deals, I had recently bought myself a brand new car through one of his deals, and gave my old one to my marketers.
My friend what can I say o! I went on. My husband to be is a medical doctor and is so busy with studies and work. We keep on looking for the right time but will come up with something soon. Even I too, you know how my business is, I can get so busy and forget I need to plan for a wedding. In fact to be honest, I am even the one delaying the whole thing.
Why should you do something like that? What are his people saying about this? Do you think any man in his right senses will get a beautiful woman like you engaged and will not be quick to hurry it up? His family self will fight him if he delays’s. My friend you are a pride to any family you will enter! If your man were to be my brother, I would have slapped him for delaying.
Well like I said, I went on. Its me that’s delaying the whole thing. But anyways, I will make out time soon and get this over with.
David had turned me into a liar. Just imagine how the lies were just flowing out from my mouth like David had fed me with something strange. Why was I defending him and supporting his loosed ends? Was it out of shame? Then that means I know what he is doing to me isn’t right and I should put a stop to it.
I was about calling David, when I recalled what my customer had told me. He asked what his family was saying about it? So it means if I can get to meet David’s family, they can help me talk sense into him. Is that why he doesn’t want me to meet them? I asked myself. And then I remembered what Ini said last year to me concerning David’s parents. She doesn’t believe they are dead. But why would she say such an outraged thing against him? How can someone’s parents be alive and lie they are dead? No it can’t be but whatever the case, I think its high time I find out about David’s background at his back.
So I called my maternal grandparents instead. And grand ma picked after the fifth ring as usual.
Hello Ufoma. Came her urhobo accent.
Mama, where you for keep phone?
My dear, na the fish o! Dry e no wan dry, and your papa no wan help me cut more wood do fire. My waist dey pain me to dey bend down dey cut wood.
But mama, aunty Ejiro had told you to stop smoking fish! Why do you need to do all that?You have money na! Aunty sends you enough for up keep, and I send you too. If you need more money just ask.
Tor my pikin! No be money make me dey smoke fish o, Na make I busy! All the money you dey send, I never even commot one shilling for inside. Tor wetin I wan use money do?
But this one wey you dey do now, e dey stress you na.
Tor my pikin, this one na wetin oyibo people dey call exercise o.
Well mama, just take care of you for me abeg. Remember say when I born, na you go bath my pikin o.
Yes na! Before who wan bath am? Na me na shuuu! Tor.
Mama, e get one favor I want make you do for me.
Oghene! My pikin don ask me for favor! Papa Ufoma come come, come hear o! Ufoma don ask us for something! God don do am! So I fit do something for my pikin before I die? Tor Oghene biko! Make I put the phone for speaker make your grandpapa follow self hear.
Okay. I laughed. That man David wey I tell you say engage me last year, up till now he never carry me go show his people o!
Shuuu which kin nonsense be that? Papa went on. He dey craze! He wan use you play?
Na the thing I been dey reason so o papa. So I want make una help me trace his people and check them out. Because this man tell me say his parents don die, and na his wicked uncle for Benin raise am.
Talk true? Mama said.
That man dey lie. Papa said and went on. If na wicked uncle raise am, he for don dey rush marry you make the thing pepper them. Wetin cum make am cum dey delay? So you never see any of e people before?
I never see o! Na only him I know o!
Tor. Mama spoke on. That man no know wetin he don enter. No worry we go show am! My pikin Ufoma die because of man. Her daughter, my grand pikin no fit die because of man. Instead, that man go die.
Ufoma my pikin. Papa went on. Give us he name, the place he come from, and the village proper.
Okay papa. Na Benin man.
Benin no far na! Leave matter for me. Just give me the family name and the village proper, I go send boys there go verify that man family wey he dey hide like small fish he wan raise.
And that was how the investigation started. I gave the details over to my grand parents to begin their investigation, while I played cool with David. He had earlier on given me the name of his village and the address of his so called wicked uncle. Only God knows if he was lying, but I risked it. I guess be never thought I would go to such length to fish them out myself.
Talking to my grandparents
Days passed and I had gotten no news from my grandparents. I didn’t want to call them so I don’t put pressure on the elderly people. I just decided to stop asking David about wedding plans anymore, and I gave myself a time limit I would wear his stupid ring. Thirty will not meet me single, I promised myself. It’s either David marries me, or I talk to his family to make him honor the promise he made to me. Like my customer had said, I am a pride to the family that I will get married into, so I was certain they would love me.
It was exactly three weeks and some days when I received a call from my maternal grandfather. He said I should be strong to handle the news he was about to give me, and I must handle the matter with caution.
Ufoma, That man parents never die o! He said.
What! I jumped up from the dining table chair where I sat to have my dinner.
Yes my pikin, them never die. Infact, his family na popular family for Benin o! His papa na big shoe maker. Na all kinds of shoes and bags he dey make. His mama get three saloon for Benin! And get many girls we dey work for am. Them busy well well! But the thing be say, their two don separate. His papa womanizer and he get other children for many places as he get money. While his mama as I hear, leave the papa go follow another man, even born for the man but the man die last year cum leave plenty money for her. People even dey talk say na she kill am.
Jesus Christ! Papa wetin be thing wey you dey talk! Na true?
Yes na. Na our towns youth I send, wey carry this information. The house address he give you, na his uncle true true dey stay there, and na there David take grow as his mama too like waka waka. That one no get pikin and his wife no good, she mistreat David wella when he dey grow. But his parents dey alive o! And his half brothers and sister wey full for everywhere dey too.
Papa migwo sir. Oghene Kevwe ebruvwiyo.
I didn’t bother telling father what I just learned about David as he was too reluctant to do or say anything to him. I held my anger, and waited, in fact longed for the following morning to march to his place.
The next day, I took my bath and didn’t even remember to eat, got into my car, and drove to David house. I knew he was working afternoon duty this week so I was sure to meet him at home.
When I arrived, I knocked his door hard like a crazy woman, but there was no responds. I knocked again and again but no sound was heard from within. I decided to call his phone, but he didn’t pick. So I headed for the hospital where he works.
It took me over an hour to arrive there and my receptionist had already started calling to remind me of the appointments I had today. I told her to handle the situation and I was in the middle of something. She then reminded me I had approved of her closing by 12pm today go prepare for her wedding coming up by weekend and promised to keep the situation friendly and official till I came.
That last reminder added to my grieve and annoyance. I just couldn’t believe that I had gotten myself engaged to the most stupid man in the world! Just look at Promise, that was engaged like yesterday, now getting married by weekend. It was going to be a small wedding though, but at least the man was truthful enough to keep to his words. And here I am engaged to a medical doctor, that works in one of the most reputable hospitals and still there was no sign of a wedding!
With that rage, I marched into the hospital and asked the receptionist for doctor David. She said he should be in his office, that he had come in today because one of his patients was rushed in suddenly.
So I marched to his office, not minding what he was facing at the hospital. I took the lift and got to fourth floor where his office was. I didn’t bother knocking on the door, I just flung it open like I owned it.
Ufoma! He raised his head up from whatever he was writing. What are you doing here? How did you know I came to work this early?
I ignored his questions, and gave him mine. So your parents dey alive? I asked like the typical urhobo babe I am.
Ufoma, I don’t understand you.
If you speak that kind English for me again eh! I go knock your head with this my handbag!
Ufoma calm down wetin I do? He asked.
Oh so you don enter my level? Na now you come. So you get papa for Benin wey dey do shoe, and mama wey get salon, na you cum tell me say dem done die? So your half brothers and sisters full for Benin, and no one you gree show me? You come give me one useless ring, dey speak grammar for me since, say time no dey to go meet them, and besides, dem no like you since you be orphan.
Where you for get this kind of information from? He asked surprised.
David if you no begin talk na, I go scatter this your office, scatter every where for here na, and break your head join if you no begin talk truth now! I screamed like a mad woman.
Ufoma please calm down, please abeg. He said crying. I am so sorry I lied to you.
So I be like girl you fit deceive? Carry one stupid ring give me since last year, come make everybody dey make fun of me, dey call me lord of the rings. Shuuuu so na Ufoma Ogaga you cum disgrace like this! Efe Ogaga pikin! So wetin cum be your plan now? Make I dey sleep with you, cum become your baby mama? Baby mama fire you for where you stand! You smoke before you come this life? Wetin cum give you this mind to take deceive me like this?
Ufoma please no vex for me. I dey ashamed of my parents na wetin make me lie give you. What will you say when you find out about my background? I kept on asking myself.
Make you dey there, dey ask yourself that question. But you see this your crocodile tears, e no fit work for Ufoma. Na your ring be this! I said sliding it off my finger and slamming in on the table and walked out without looking back.
I was deeply satisfied with my move as I got into my car and drove to my office.
I was right on time to relieve Promise of her duty. She was glad I was early, as she walked out happily. Madam please try and be at my wedding tomorrow o. She reminded me for the twentieth time. I will dear, was always my assurance.
Work in the show was much that day, as I sold lots of walls papers and panels. My account was smiling, while my heart was bleeding. Anyways, making money was a good distraction. I tried not to remember July when I was turning thirty and still single. I focused my strength on work and tried to make myself happy to be able to attend Promise's wedding.
I got home that day and had a very hot shower. I was beginning to feel I had fever, so I had pepper soup for dinner. The spices always helped for fever. I didn’t tell father anything that night, I just needed to clear my head for my event tomorrow, then I can break down after then.
I got up early, and fortunately I had no dreams. It was a smooth sleep, maybe because I was so tired.
I brushed my teeth and went down to have another bowl of pepper soup. Father was not yet down, I guessed he must have had a late night. So I went back to my room when I was done, to get dressed for the wedding.
My phone rang and I thought it was Jamiu or some customer. But it was David, the least person I wanted to hear from. I ignored his calls and went ahead to have my bath.
When I came out of the bathroom, my phone was still ringing, and the caller was still David. I decided to pick so he doesn’t drain my battery.
David, you wan kill my battery? I asked without even greeting.
Madam Ufoma its not doctor David, its I nurse Sarah. I am just calling you with his phone.
Oh nurse Sarah, how are you?
Madam I am fine but doctor David isn’t.
Please abeg! If he has sent you to beg me then tell him his approach is useless! He should have at least recharged your line so you could use your phone.
Madam something has happened to doctor. She said crying.
What happened? I asked suddenly becoming very still.
Doctor tried committing suicide last night but was immediately rescued. But he is still in intensive care unit, I just decided to use his phone to let you know.
I didn’t really know what happened to me next, I just remember screaming so loud, and then I saw father rush into my room with his boxers on and held me tightly asking me want happened. I could still hear Sarah's voice over the phone shouting, hello madam, madam, what’s happening? Madam please!
The Author and Eghosa aka Dr David.
© 2020 Jade George Anibor