written by @dj_fleau
The HR manager was a short, fair lady, with no sense of humour or fashion either. Her fashion statement was a disaster, as a matter of fact Seyi had joked once that the lady in her former life must have being a supplier of attires for masquerades considering the kind of make-up and clothing items she wore all in the name of fashion. The only great thing about this woman was her hair. Despite her disastrous sense of fashion her hair always looked good, bouncy, and shiny. Just by one look you could tell she spent hours brushing the hair. I imagined her sitting in front of the mirror every morning before work combing and oiling her hair for hours.
“Good morning ma” I greeted her as I walked in.
She pointed to the seat in front of her motioning for me to have a seat. I wondered what this meeting was about. I had been in my best character all year as a matter of fact I was hoping to win the employee of the year award considering my performance this year. I hope this wasn’t about my coming late this morning. It was my first time resuming late and doing anything that could warrant a query.
I sat there quietly watching her type on her laptop. For a second, I thought maybe she was typing my query and wanted me to get it on the spot perhaps she wanted to serve it as “e dey hot” like Seyi would have said.
She finally looked up from her laptop and apologized for making me wait before proceeding to say why she called me.
Apparently the company needed me to be in Accra today as there was the need for me to attend an impromptu meeting the next day by 7am. I thought to myself what kind of bad luck was this? I had issues to attend to and really was not in the mood for a trip at a time like this.
“Miss Temi, I am sorry you have to travel on a short notice but this meeting came to us unplanned. The trip would be for 2days and you would be traveling alone but make sure you see the branch manager before leaving. Please try to be at the airport early” she said while giving me what looked like a printed copy of my flight itinerary. I looked at the paper she had given me, my flight was scheduled for 6pm.
I headed for the branch manager’s office. I was hoping my meeting with him would be brief as this would give me time to stop by Lanre’s office seeing that I might not be able to see him tonight anymore.
The meeting took forever as the branch manager chose to explain what was on every document he was handing over to me as if I couldn’t read them myself. The man went on and on about how important this meeting was to the growth of our company and how he expected me to be in my best behaivour as if I had a bad behaviour before. He however didn’t fail to show his lack of agreement with the fact that I was the one who was appointed to attend this meeting, left to him I won’t be the one on the plane to Ghana, as if I wanted to be on the plane myself. The meeting took almost 2 hours.
Finally he stopped talking and wished me luck, like he even meant it. I went straight to Seyi’s office to inform her of my trip. She wished me safe journey and then asked me to bring her some materials from the Woodin store. I told her I would try.
I called Lanre but he didn’t pick my call. I knew he won’t pick the call but there was no harm in trying. It was going to take me about 40 minutes to get to Lanre’s office. I thought about visiting him, but on a second thought I figured it might be a bad idea to take our personal business to his office.
I didn’t want to leave things this way. The silence was killing me, I called him again still no response. I drove to his office and parked in front of the building but didn’t get out of the car. I thought to myself what if I went up and wasn’t allowed to see him, or what if he left an instruction that I wasn’t allowed to see him same way he left a strict instruction with his secretary not to ever allow his ex-girlfriend into his office. What if he already gave the same instructions too for me or what if he screamed at me the same way he screamed at me the night I told him I was a virgin.
I typed a text that said “babe, please call me, I am on my way to Accra for an official assignment but I would roam my line in case you want to call me, I love you please babe call me, reply me , just talk to me, I am sorry” I sent him the text and silently wished he would reply.
I drove home, it was already 4:00pm by the time I got home. I packed a few clothes and left a note for Bola to inform her of my trip. It was about 5:10pm when I got to the airport. I proceeded to the check in point. I saw someone familiar on the line I wasn’t sure if it was the same person. I guess it was just another look alike. I looked at my phone again to see if Lanre had replied me, but there was no response. I had just occupied my seat on the flight and was trying to fasten my seat belt when I heard someone call my name. I looked up and saw a familiar face
She was standing there in her slender shape all wrapped in a bright coloured Ankara. She had always been an activist for African prints
“Oh my God Nkechi “ I screamed as I jumped out of my seat to give her a hug before looking back in embarrassment to the faces of other people on the flight who by now where wondering what all that scream was about.
I held on to her while asking what seemed like a lot of questions. She was confused on which one of my questions to answer first.
I pulled her into my seat and moved over to the unoccupied seat beside her. I was really excited to see her. The last time I saw her was at her wedding 3 years ago after which she moved to Ghana with her husband who then just got a transfer to head one of his company’s branch office in Ghana. Apparently she had come in to Lagos for her brother’s wedding and was on her way back home.
“Hmm sorry, but I think you are on my seat” that was the voice of the young man who’s seat I was occupying
“Oh, I know I’m sorry but can you take my friend’s seat if that’s okay with you?” I asked
“31 E “ Nkechi added
He wanted to argue but I could tell he knew there was no need for that. He smiled and said “its okay”
“Thank you” I said
“That man is nice look at the way he just gave in to us” She said
“I guess so” I said with no interest
“My dear you look so good” She said
I smiled and replied with “na God ooo”
“How is Seyi now?” She asked
“Oh that girl! she’s fine ooo still the same girl she hasn’t changed one bit.”
I asked her about her marriage. She spoke about it with so much delight like someone who just won the lottery. She stopped talking about herself and with a joking tone she asked “Madam, when are we coming to eat your wedding rice?”
“My dear, looking at my present situation “e go tey small oo” I replied
She asked what that was about I told her about Lanre, about what Bola said and finally what Seyi said. She laughed and said “that Seyi girl still dey craze” after which she finally looked at me and said
“My dear when it comes to your body you are free to do with it as you please. It’s your decision and it’s not a matter that requires public approval or disapproval. It’s not like you are going to win a trophy for being a virgin or get stoned for not being one. I mean if we were to be judged for our sexual actions people like Bimbo should have been crucified by now and shouldn’t even be having a good marriage and living a beautiful life despite all her atrocities.”
She was right about Bimbo. The girl was the school’s prostitute that year, at one point we thought she was on a mission to win the Guinness world record for sleeping with more men than anyone in the world. The girl slept with every and anything, it made one wonder if she was conducting an experiment or carrying out a project on the sexual performances of different males. Even Seyi who was almost on the same level with her thought the girl was cursed to be a nympho by some witches. What annoyed us most about this young lady was how unashamed she was about this act, she spoke about it like it was a norm and as if she was doing a favour to men who asked her to sleep with them.
It wasn’t until our 3rd year she had come into the room one day saying “omo I don hit gold mine”. Apparently she had met a so-called Alhaji who had said he would take care of her if she agreed to sleep with only him henceforth and no other man. Although she agreed to it but we all knew this was a task that was going to be almost impossible for our friend to achieve. It was after this the yeye girl had said “Men!! I have been wasting my talent all this time offering freelance sex when I could have been earning proper money for my skills”.
It was then she started charging for her “so called skills”. We really didn’t know much about her background as she hardly spoke about her home or family and seeing the life she had chosen to live we really didn’t think it was necessary to ask about her background.
2 years after graduation the same girl had called us up saying she was getting married. We all thought she was marrying her Alhaji and had even joked about the fact that she was going to be his 20th wife. But she surprised us with her groom to be, a very fine young man who had just relocated back to Nigeria from the United States. He was so much in love with her and no-one could even imagine why he loved a lady like Bimbo.
They however had gotten married and no one even bothered to ask her what happened to her Alhaji. The last time I saw her was at her child’s naming ceremony looking all elegant. One would never have thought that a lady who chose to live a loose life that way could end up in such a wonderful marriage. Seyi had even joked about the uselessness of being a good girl and sticking to one man and still risk ending up with a douchebag as a husband when we all can be like Bimbo and end up with a sweet heart for a husband. According to her it was a 50-50 situation and life after all was about taking risks.
Nkechi looked at me and said “I personally admire the courage of any woman who decides to remain a virgin, it could be an herculean task especially in Lagos. I married my husband as a virgin as a matter of fact we both were virgins”.
I laughed and said “are you serious? your wedding night must have been a confusion night”
She looked at me as if in agreement before saying “My dear you don’t want to know the last of it. My husband and I had no clue on what exactly to do that night. I had read so many books on what to do that night but my dear when the real time came to put those books to action I had no idea on what to do and Emeka wasn’t even helping matters with his continuous asking of unnecessary questions like is this where I am supposed to put it? Are you comfortable like this? He kept asking me questions like I was meant to know the answers. At the end we had to stop trying before we break or rupture something.
I was laughing out really loud with tears rolling down my cheeks as I listened to her story.
“My dear that night was not funny at all. At one point I went into the bathroom to cry and I think Emeka called his best friend to ask for help. I thought it was meant to be a natural ability atleast that’s what I was told during my marriage counseling in church, but you see at the end I have no regrets, yes it took us some trial and errors to get a hang of it but the beautiful thing is we shared the whole experience together, I lost nothing but rather I gained more respect from my husband, in essence its really your decision and your body. But it’s a beautiful thing to try out especially when it is with the right person or the right man like in my case” she said
I was still laughing at the whole story and by now was wiping tears off my face. Atleast someone had made me laugh today. I looked at my friend looking all grown, the same young and shy lady I had met in university, a lady Seyi described as prude, everyone was a killjoy to her anyway. Although she met Emeka in secondary school but only started dating him after our first year. She was his first girlfriend and he was her first boyfriend. Seyi thought their relationship was boring and childish but we all knew she wished for what they had. I imagined all the nonsense Seyi would have said afterwards if I told her this story.
Our plane finally landed at the Kotoka international airport. Nkechi asked how I was going to get to my hotel and if I needed a ride. I told her my client was going to come get me. We scheduled dinner for the next day at her home, something I was really looking forward.
The young man who’s seat I took on the plane walked up to Nkechi and I and with a smile he said “where are you ladies heading to? I could drop you off”
“Well you don’t have to our cars would be here soon” Nkechi replied
“Okay in that case how about I take you two ladies out for lunch tomorrow” he said
She looked at me and I could tell she was about to curse him out the same way she had cursed out our class president in year 3 while he was trying to toast her knowing fully well that she had a boyfriend. I quickly stepped in and told him it won’t be needed.
He joked about us reciprocating his kindness for letting us have his seat as if he paid for our seats. By now I could see Nkechi rolling her eyes she had hissed almost 3 times already. I smiled at him and thanked him once again for switching seats with us and wished him a wonderful evening before walking away.
He tried to say something but Nkechi and I were already walking away so fast
“You get time oo” that was nkechi
“I didn’t want to be rude now” I said
“Yeye man untop say hin give us seat he wan toast us both now abi” she said
I saw a placard that had my name on it just like my branch manager had said it would be. I hugged Nkechi and gave her my Nigerian number since I was roaming the number. She promised to call me later. I followed the man who had my name on the placard. He took my bag and walked swiftly in front of me he didn’t say much other than to greet me and ask how my flight was. I thought he was too cold for someone who was meant to be a host. He opened the back seat door for me to get in before proceeding to the boot to drop my bag.
I could tell someone was in front side of the passenger’s seat although I couldn’t really see the face. I figured he had to be our escort.
I closed the door of the car and greeted the man in the front seat.
He turned and with a smile he answered
Oh my GOD this had got to be a joke what was he doing here. He looked at me knowing the effect of what his presence had caused. The driver got into the car and started the car unaware of what just happened. I was about to have the longest 2days of my life.
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