Thursday, 22 November 2018

What You Can Do to Maintain Your Health

Things really have happened to me. Things beyond ordinary. Things so deadly to imagine. Things so cold and horrible.
My name is Jude. This is my story. Or should i call it a confessional story.
MARCH, 2009
7:49pm
I brushed my teeth for the third time, ran out of the bathroom and grabbed my phone. Slowly i scrolled down to a name saved with “NMEKA 2go” and dialled the number with a happy smile on my face.
Nmeka was my 2go girlfriend. The first real friend i was making from 2go after months of endless chatting. She was paying me a visit that very day, something like a return visit because we first met two weeks ago at her school where we met each other for the first time. Of course the visit i paid her solidified our friendship thus making her take the risk of visiting me for a lovely weekend.
“hello Jude, the bus has dropped me at the park. You can now come and get me” Nmeka’s sweet voice announced as she answered my call. I jumped up with joy before rushing out to pick her up.
____
It wasn’t had locating her at the busy bus station. We hugged each other with joy, seriously the love was there.
“i’m so happy” i whispered to her. She blinked her eyes, saying nothing.
Minutes later we arrived at my lodge which impressed her a lot.
“hmmm your lodge is beautiful. It’s so big ooo. Hmmm you go fear three storey building. How much do you pay here?” she asked with admiration.
We had a wonderful night gisting, joking and playing before finally wrapping up the whole fun with a hot super se.x. She really was so good and sweet. Oh what a delicious girl she was.
“i hope you arn’t decieving me?” she asked with love in her eyes.
“of course not my dear” i answered innocently. She smiled and closed her eyes. We went straight to sleep moments after, Unfortunately i never knew a nightmare was coming.
I woke up at exactly 3:15am the next morning, to see my lovely visitor gasping for breathe.
Before i could understand what was happening, she collasped on the bed. I fearfully stared at my unconscious visitor. Confused, nauesous and lost.

“please don’t do this to me” i pleaded seriously. Tears fell from my eyes, my heart pounded furiously.
The poor girl breathed her last, a very heavy breathe it was before keeping still, leaving me all alone to my fate. All alone and hopeless.
I was left with the choice to tell the truth. A freaking truth which no one would buy.
“no no no” i cried with panick, jumped out of the bed and wore my trouser. My mind was set on going out to seek help. To scream, to cry out loud.
“Perhaps my neighbours could be of assistance” I reasoned with a cold shiver. But on second thought i played down my fears and decided not to seek external help. She wasn’t breathing, she already was freaking gone. I felt her pulse over and over again.
Desperately, i tried breathing into her mouth. I pressed on her chest a hundred times over, but nothing worked. I fell back with fear, while the consequencies of my predicament ran through my head. I was in deep s.hit.
I needed no one to tell me that I only had a little time to think out a good explanation or plan. Time was running out fast. Dawn was quickly approaching.
“d.amn” i exclaimed as my head played back our last moment together. I really was ruined, definitely f----d.
“D--n 2go” i hissed, wondering what must have happened to her.
“perhaps she’s asthmatic or something. Perhaps i woke up too late to save her. Jeez” i cursed, reached for her handbag and searched it for drugs or something similar but found nothing.
Slowly my clock struck 4:10am, i had little time left.
“I have to act fast. I have to move her body” i reasoned with a fearful courage.
“Where will i dump her?, how do i cover my tracks?, did anyone see us together the previous evening?” i wondered as i pulled her down from my bed.
I quickly pulled off her night wear and dressed her up with the clothes she wore from her place. A black jean trouser and a pink top. It truly was the most difficult and irritating task i have ever done in my life.
“what next?” i asked myself as i looked out of my room window. The hostel{lodge} gate was still locked. There wasn’t anyway i could carry her out of the lodge without waking the gateman or seen by early morning weed smokers, {Annoying students who were fond of smoking hemp in front of some hostels]. Moreover the hostel lights were equally on and glaring.
I rubbed my face in desperation. I was living at the top-most floor and so had little or nothing to hope on. It was a do or die affair.
I left my room and took a quiet tour round the lodge. Fortunately no one was outside, which really was a very big relief. I went round the lodge searching for a quiet hidden place i could dump Nmeka’s body. Of course i wasn’t thinking of dumping her outside the lodge because their wasn’t a way i could do it without being seen. I couldn’t ask the gateman to open the gate without arousing suspicion nor scale the fence with such a heavy load. I had to look for a spot within the lodge to dump the body.
Finally an idea quickly struck me. The was a staircase at the extreme end of wing c which was hardly used because the three stairs at the front and middle back of the big hostel was the most preferred by everyone. The staircase was exactly the kind of place i was badly searching for. There wasn’t any bulb underneath it like the other staircases {the bulbs were probably stolen} and so had poor visibilty even in the afternoon. My only fear was that the cleaners who swept the lodge every morning might discover her on time. Perhaps before i could be able to dispose her handbag and other belongings which i intend disposing at a place very far from the lodge later in the morning.
Seriously i never imagined my heart could be as dark as it was that fateful morning, but it got me to realise that the heart of man is very dangerous especially when faced with an unimaginable circumstance.
I quickly inspected the staircase, rushed to my room and carried the poor girl’s body. Discreetly i headed back to the staircase, my heart almost at breaking point.
I quietly carried her to the staircase, my heart beating wildly as i carried the heavy load.
I needed a whole lot of luck to avoid detection. Only a single mistake could destroy everything i had planned.
Luckily i got to my destination without being seen. I calmly dumped and pushed her well underneath the staircase {of the first floor}.
“if things go as planned perhaps it will take a day or two before she’s discovered” i reasoned before another idea came into my head.
I rushed up to my room, grabbed a bucket of water, came down and poured it all over her. I wasn’t a biologist but i felt it could destroy any evidence like my prints which were on her body. Yea it might sound silly but i felt a bit relieved after doing it even though the water quickly spilled out towards the exit door but it wasn’t enough to draw attention.
I grabbed the empty bucket and returned to my room. I knew nobody would investigate a spilled water in a lodge filled with students. Unless of course the cleaners.
As I got to my room, i quickly cleaned up everywhere, packing up all of Nmeka’s things in a big black sack bag including her phone which was the first in the list, but before doing it i first logged into her 2go account{luckily the appilication opened without asking for a password} and deleted everything about me, including my phone numbers and text messages we shared. I knew the police had the means to get me if they were serious but i did everything just as a precaution. I equally washed the bathroom, and changed my bedsheet, made sure everything was in order before sitting down to rest.
I was so terrified and nervous. I needed all the goodluck in the world. I was scared of being caught. My future just stood before me, glaring at my face. I knew i did the worst atrocity by trying to hide the poor girl, but i had no choice than to do it. I wasn’t ready to hang for something i had no hand in.
Nervously i waited for the hostel gate to be opened, the success of my plans depended on it. I had to dispose Nmeka’s things in a place very far away. Precisely in a river.
I cracked my head searching for a good river but couldn’t remember any. In desperation i thought of other alternatives.
“A good bush will do” i concluded as i remembered a very large bush, four hostels behind mine. The bush really was at the end of the street. A yet to be developed plot.
But i was very unsure of the best time to head to the place. I knew there wasn’t a way i could go there without being seen by many students and my movement might draw suspicion due to the sack bag in my possession and if eventually Nmeka’s body is found, tongues may talk and i could be caught. I reasoned.
“The only solution was to head out of the school environs with my load perhaps towards the small mechanic village which was fifty naira bus drop away from my lodge, find a good refuse dump site and dispose everything” .
_____
Luckily her body wasn’t discovered that morning and so by 7:45am, i smashed her phone sim and memory card wrapped the debris in a small nylon before flinging it with the phone back into the sack bag. Soon after i left the lodge with my load and headed towards mechanic village, nervous, shaken but determined.
It was very easy to find a burning refuse dump site when i got there. I quickly disposed everything and headed back to my lodge a bit relieved.
All that was left was to sit and wait for the poor girl to be discovered.
I kept to myself, acting cool and trying hard not to behave in a way that could draw suspicion. It wasn’t easy, i couldn’t eat, sleep nor do anything. I was conscious of everything, plus i began seeing things. Strange weird things.
Perhaps it was my imagination, perhaps it was guilt and fear but i truly wasn’t myself anymore. I didn’t kill the girl but i wronged her spirit. I felt she was everywhere i went, staring at me with her dark eyes.
Then she was discovered…………………… An early monday cry from one of the cleaners ripped the whole lodge apart.
The sharp cry shook the entire lodge, frightening me tremendously. My heart furiously pounded. The day of reckoning finally has arrived.

I waited for few minutes in my room as i tried so hard to compose myself. Just like other students, i had to check out the cause of the cry and noise coming from downstairs. I wished i had travelled, but truly it was very bright of me to stay put in the lodge instead of travelling, because i had to be around in order to follow events and plan ahead. Moreover the hostel was a large one but it never stopped students who lived in it from knowing each other’s habit and as i hardly travelled. Who knows i could be suspected.
Yes i was so scared that i felt every step i took could lead anyone to suspect me even though i was far from being one of the hostel terrors nor cultists who could easily be suspected as the hand behind such a deadly act.
I drank a glass of water before heading out of my room. I slowly headed downstairs, towards where i dumped Nmeka’s body days ago. You can’t imagine how nervous and scared i was as i slowly made my way to that place.
Hundreds of students were already at the staircase when i got there. Students from the neighbouring hostels alike. I greeted some of my neighbours who told me of the terrific dicovery. I pretended to be shocked and forced my way to the front of the crowd.
After a little struggle, i succeeded in getting close to Nmeka’s body which was already pulled out from the staircase. The poor girl was now lying just some steps away from where she was originally dumped, looking pale as ever. I drew a bit close as if i was very concerned.
“do you know her?” a girl quickly asked me. I turned to see almost everyone staring curiously at me. I swallowed hard with tension. My guilty conscience shook me like an earthquake.
“what?” i stammered.
“do you know her?” the hostel president asked, before the girl could repeat her question.
“hell no. That’s exactly what i came to check” i managed to reply, dashing all their hopes.
“nobody knows her. She has no I.d or anything” the girl who asked the first question explained, while i shrugged, saying nothing.
The relief i felt as i heard the girl’s explanation was quite enormous. I really had feared the question was asked with suspicion.
However i still feared the worst was yet to come. I knew there must surely be a scapegoat. A sacrificial lamb who will be blamed for such a horrible crime.
Who will it be??.
The school SUG president soon showed up with the school authorities and the police, quickly dispersing everyone.
“you can now go on with your various activities, we are here to take charge of the situation. Be rest assured that the person behind this outrageous crime will be caught. If you have any information to share please don’t hesitate to bring it to our knowledge. Mind how you talk to the press or better still leave us to do the talking. You are warned” the Dean of students addressed us before we were dispersed.
I returned to my room extremely scared and afraid. I couldn’t imagine what the outcome of their investigation will be.
I didn’t leave my room all through the rest of that day. I simply stayed indoors with my conscience punishing me. I was ready to do anything for my fears to go away.
Nmeka’s body was taken away later in the afternoon. I couldn’t help but peep through my window as an ambulance carried the poor thing away. Yes the time was precisely 3:15pm. I really couldn’t imagine what caused the delay in moving a body discovered very early in the morning.
However some minutes after her body was taken away. A strange kind of dizziness took over my entire body. It was as if my room was spinning round with me in the center. I lost balance and collasped on my bed, breathing heavily while sweat drenched my body.
I couldn’t believe nor understand what was happening. I never experienced such a thing before, but luckily i regained myself some minutes after.
I tried hard to think what could have happened, but just couldn’t figure out anything. Not only was my eyes now seeing things that never was, the rest of my body has equally joined in the game.
Could Nmeka’s spirit be behind this?” i wondered Miserably.
“but i didn’t kill nobody. It was just an accident. I did what i had to do to save face” i kind of spoke aloud before realising myself.
A sharp knock of my door, quickly notified me of a visitor waiting outside.
“was i heard?. Is it the police?” i nervously asked myself as i slugglishly went to my door.
Paul was born into a family of three. His father is a corporate
worker who sets out as early as 5am in the morning only to
return home at 10pm and above.
His mother was a business woman who sells provisions in
wholesale and retails. She also closed as late as 10pm. Paul has two junior sisters who were in KG 2 and primary 4 respectively
while he was in SS2.
Due to lack of parental
monitoring, paul had mingled with the bad guys in his neighbourhood. Every evening after school, he would go to the
neighbourhood to play, the bad guys would send him to buy cigarettes and alcoholic drinks.
Atimes, he would be sent to call a pretty lady passing by.
At ss3, paul had started smoking
indian hemp, his parent tried so many times to correct him but he had turned to a dry fish difficult to bend. Paul had became notorious in the neighbourhood
causing trouble and atrocities. He wrote his first jamb after ss3 at 18 but he failed. he made another 3 attempts at the next 3
consecutive years and still failed.
he was frustrated with his failure and yet, he wouldn’t give up on his bad attitude,.
He was at home one day watching a programme on the
TV station and after the program, a religious program came up.
Paul was captivated by the preacher and followed the preaching bumper to bumper. It got to a point, the preacher made mention that
“you should make a difficult vow with God and be serious with it.
It should be something that will
cost you pain . And tell God that if you can do this particular thing
for me, this is what I will give you/ do for you.”.. Paul got the
message and decided to give it a trial. He promised God to be born again and served him with the whole of his live on campus and beyond if God could give him an
admission the following year. As
luck would have it, paul gained admission to study micro-biology the following year. At the
beginning of his year one. He was finding it difficult to born again due to the high number of pretty chicks who were freshers on campus. They were indeed
tempting and seductive. The way
this girls packaged their assets could make a G.O commit “side- game
At first semester, paul enjoyed life, f----d 3 freshers and clubbed forgetting that he made a promise to God. Towards the
end of first semester, he had a dream seeing an old man in
white gown reminding him of
the promises he made before he got his admission. He woke up and began to cry, he cried and realized he didn’t fulfilled his
promises. The following week, he
joined a fellowship of one of his numerous girlfriends.
At the beginning of second semester, paul became a changed person. He stopped flirting and clubing. He joined bible
study and Prayer units. He was so fervent in the service that he barely missed any of the weekly
programs and activities, you would always see paul at every campus religious gatherings and events.
At 200level, he was made the bible study secretary of his
fellowship. He was so diligent in the stewardship that he was made the president of his
Fellowship at 300level. All through this periods, paul was
binding and casting out demons and doing special miraculous
works. The entire campus could feel it that there was someone named paul.
He graduated from school and went for his NYSC and was
posted to a public secondary school in calabar, that was where trouble started
Bro paul got to NYSC. He was posted to a public secondary
school. he tried to keep and maintain his religious standard
at all cost but temptation started
befalling him. Many of the students would walk pass him flaunting their “ukwus’ and “bobby”. He was trying all his
best to resist the intimate urges and temptations with the power of the holy-spirit in him and it
worked. Three months after his
commencement in the school, another female corper named
eunice was posted to the school.
Eunice was 29years old, a very beautiful and elegant lady. She was naturally pretty and endowed.
Eunice was a rough girl who had flexed and enjoyed her life as a runs girl while on campus and had the determination of
hooking a God fearing guy during service. Weeks after
eunice commencement of her
service to her fatherland at the same PPA with bro paul, they became friends. Eunice studied paul and noticed he was a God
fearing man, without wasting time, she began to form holy just to gain the attention of paul, she
would sing gospel song, read xtian books, she stopped using jewellery and made sure she wore moderate clothes. Bro paul was carried away by the looks and display of Christianity, he was happy that he met a dedicated xtian like him and didn’t bother to involve God into it, he followed his mind and asked eunice out. Without
wasting much time, eunice gave a YES answer after 2 weeks and that started dating.
As time went on, eunice couldn’t
hold on to abstinence has she began to desire for sex in the
relationship. He tried so many means to seduce bro paul but he kept resisting. After long weeks of resistance, bro paul finally fell for it and they have sex after
4months of the relationship.
Bro paul started drowning spiritually into the ocean of
eunice’s touch. Every moment, bro paul would go on his kneels and cry to God for forgiveness, only to fall back on eunice laps weeks later. His prayer and devotion life began to reduce
drastically to the extent that he hardly read bible as
frequently as before. (That is the power of woman I must say,
behind the downfall of most spiritual leaders are women of
easy virtue who knows how to
manipulate them to get what they wanted).
Paul began to struggle with his spiritual life. He began to hear
strange voices and found it difficult to identify the voice of
the holy spirit from that of the devil, one voice will say “paul!
Paul! Paul!!!, leave that woman alone, she is going to destroy you!!!. Then another one will say,
paul! Paul! Paul!!!, he who finds a wife has found a good thing and obtains favour from ME. Do not loose her because she will make a good wife with her cool and
nice attitude!!”. He loved eunice so much because eunice seems
to posses everything he wanted in a woman, the intimate
intercourse was just the problem with this two lover birds. At one moment, they will pray and cry to
God not to indulge in immorality again. At another moment, they
are both back to the bed. “This must be the devil’s trick” bro paul
thought. He decided to take a great risk that involved his life.
After so many failed attempt to flee immorality, he called eunice into his room one evening, he
went on his kneels and told eunice to do the same. He told
her about his decision to finally quit sex until marriage, though
eunice wasn’t feeling
comfortable with the decision, she enjoys sex but she isn’t
ready to loose paul simply because paul is a God fearing man who loves God and also cared for her, eunice believed that she can’t be maltreated by
paul and believed paul will always be there to help in times
of prayers and sacrifices. She
pretended to be cool with the “no more sex” decision with the
mindset that paul would still fall back on her laps.
Paul held her hands, they both closed their eyes and paul started
praying and crying for
forgiveness. After 15 minutes into the prayer, bro paul made a strong vow to God on behalf of the love birds and he said, “oh
lord, any day WE decided to engage in intimate again, may
WE be strike with leprosy and epilepsy instantly!! AMEN”. Eunice was shocked to the extent that her heart almost burst out of her chest, she removed her hands
and stood up, she refused to say Amen to it and she frowned her face and telling paul how she felt bad because she wasn’t
consulted before making the leprosy vow. Paul walked to her, held her and comforted her, he
made her to see reasons for his vows and promised to be there for her in everything. He made
her realised that the delay in sex will hasten his urges for it and will help to fast track his marriage preparations. Eunice
thought for a while, she enjoyed love making but she never
wanted to loose paul due to his God fearing and cool headed
attitude. She agreed with paul and they both resumed to
continue the prayers
Weeks after weeks, months flies, they were struggling with their intimate urges anytime they are
together. They would engage in kissing and romance, but when
they got to love making mood.
Something will strike bro paul’s heart like thunder, reminding him of his pledge and vows, and the urges would die down
immediately. When paul realises that he was only punishing
himself with the romance of a thing. He decided to put and end to every romance and kisses. He decided to remain on holy hugs until they are married. Gradually,
paul was getting back to his spiritual stand. He now prays regularly and also studies his bible. Eunice wasn’t getting
comfortable with paul again, she isn’t getting the pleasure and emotional attention she always
wished for, but she had no choice than to wait and be patient since she isn’t ready to loose paul.
3months to the end of NYSC, eunice impatient grows into
maturity and she decided to seek
comfort in the arms of valentine who happens to be one of her toasters who eventually became
her friend. They began to get
intimate within the twinkle of an eye, eunice began to find
valentine interesting and lively because he would always discuss
and say dirty things she wanted to hear, with time, she reduced her visitation to paul and increased her visitation to
valentine, since paul was more concerned about spiritual
growth and less about emotions and romance, eunice’s attention of hanging out was now on val.
“I will keep paul for marriage and keep val for friendship” eunice
said to herself.
2months to the end of NYSC, eunice and valentine began to
have romance, but each time they were about to move on to
love making, eunice was always scared of the vow she and paul
made together, and she would always cry and resist. She always
wanted to have fun but she wasn’t ready to suffer leprosy
and epilepsy. After several resistances, val decided to get
what he wanted in a hard way.
He drugged eunice’s drink and eunice became weak and went unconscious. Valentine had his
way and made love to eunice.
When eunice became concious, she realised what valentine had
done to her and she began to cry. Valentine tried to comfort her but he got a slap in return as
eunice walked out in tears
Eunice got back to her room, closed up the door and began to
cry, she would check her skin over and over again every minutes hoping to see leprosy on her spotless skin, she switched off her phone and neither paul nor valentine was able to reach her, after hours of crying, she thought of it that it would be better for her to go to paul and
confess her sins maybe paul would be able to pray to God on
her behalf.
The next day in school, Eunice was sad and scared of relating her sins to paul. Paul also was wondering what could have went wrong with eunice
because the sad look was obvious on her face. After closing
for the day, Eunice followed paul to his apartment. On getting
inside, eunice began to cry, paul was worried about what could have happened. He pulled eunice closer and said “whatever it is, please stop crying and tell me about it please. Eunice minimised
her crying after several pleas and
cuddling. She took the boldness to start a conversation. “Paul, you see, ehhhhmm, I don’t know how to say it, ehhhhm” eunice was stammering. “Pls just say it in any way you can please” paul
whispered silently.
” Ehm paul. I know it is not morally and religiously right to
say this, you know, we are humans, though I am religious
but not up to your level, you know………..” Eunice was beating
around the bush.
“Eunice, please just hit the nail at the head”
Paul said.
” Ehm paul, atimes, I used to have this feelings of kissing you, holding you tight, feeling your heartbeat, laying my head on your chest but………………………….”
Eunice began to cry again. Paul pulled her closer, wiped her tears and looked into her eyes. “Eunice my love, don’t speak further, I knew what you wanted to say, I
just don’t want to jump at it.
“Really , eunice was nervous, thinking that holy spirit had
revealed to paul about her lovemaking with val…….”, paul replied ” yes dear, I understand
how you feel, I felt your pain. The truth is that the pain is mutual, I’m not also comfortable here.
Doing all these things you said isn’t a problem to me. But my main problem is that it would give me intimate arousal and
urges which will make us thirsty to have sex. And you still
remembered the vow?”. Eunice nodded.
“So eunice, I just felt it would be better not to perceive the aroma
of the food we can’t eat. I told God to strike us with leprosy and epilepsy any moment we have
intimate intercourse, and I’m not ready to face God’s wrath”.
Eunice’s heart beats faster on hearing about the vows again,
she became restless and asked “you mean when YOU and I
having sex?” Paul replied “Yes”.
She asked again, you mean “YOU and I?”, paul replied again “YES, is there any problem”?. “NO” said
eunice.
She hugged paul and felt relieved inside of her with the thoughts
that since it wasn’t between paul and her, she was save. Paul also cuddled her and promised to be
romantic in a moderate way that
won’t raise any intimate urge.
Eunice returned home with relieve in her heart. She switched
on her phone and saw 15 apology texts from valentine. 3 days later, she forgave val and
they resumed their intimate friendship, val was surprised that
eunice no longer resist him again
whenever its time to make love
“Do you want me to give you a ride?” Dad asked as he came downstairs. There we go again, i knew the peace and quiet had been too perfect to last but thank God we didn’t have to go the through the ‘good morning-good morning routine’. No, thanks, I already called Jake, I replied. “When are you going to get your own car?” He asked. “Maybe when I start earning my salary”, I replied, sipping my coffee. “Jake can’t continue to do everything for you; he has got his own life”, he said, slipping into his Suit. He is not complaining Dad; I replied and carried my briefcase. See you later, I added and walked out. Jake pulled up seconds after I walked out of the house.
“Are you satisfied with ‘the new golden carriage’? Jake asked as rolled down the tinted window with a grin on his face. “It is okay,” I replied. So you call my new ‘beamer’ okay? How many of this have you seen around,” Jake added raising an eyebrow with his “leery eyes” peering from under his dark glasses. Jake and I had been friends from as far back as I could recall, we went to the same schools, even Harvard, Jake bagged a degree in Architecture. He is very artistic and creative, that is my favourite quality in him, apart from his heavy masculine physique and cute face. Jake is the perfect listener. I rant about all my fears and pains to him, and he lends me the listening ear that I require. “Jake please don’t get me started this morning” I replied, ”wow, someone’s pissed, why didn’t you turn up for the party last night?” Jake replied with a queer, choked voice, “unlike you some of us have to go to work’’ I replied shifting my weight from the middle arm-rest, I was angry but not too angry to notice the comfy leather interior of the new BMW X6, Jake is self-employed with really no reason to work, He is the only son of the owner of the biggest construction company in west Africa. Be a good girl, he said as he pulled up in front of Ade-Cole Law Firm. I smiled and hurried off.
Good morning Toni, I said as I walked in. Hello Darlene, she replied smiling. Dare wants to see you in his office, she added quickly. A stream of anger and fatigue flew through my whole body; I immediately left for his office. “Good morning Sir,” I said. The name is Dare, he replied with a grin which he rarely did. We do a first name here, you should have read that in the handbook, he added. Yes Dare, I replied, feeling comfortable. I went through your credentials last night and I must say, it is top class, he said, “thanks”, I replied. He was too engrossed in he’s speech to notice the irony in my voice Does that mean that I get my office? I asked. No, at least not yet, the personal office thing comes when the firm feels that you are certified by all standards to be an office owner, he replied still with the strange and annoying grin. Why then did he call me here? I said to myself inaudibly. “Darlene, I would like you to accompany me to a press conference by 2pm, it is for the firm”, he said. I glanced at my watch. “It won’t take your time and you don’t need to say a thing, in fact, you have nothing to say, you are just going to be a figure there”, he continued. I wore a weird gaze at him. I am actually taking you because I think you are beautiful and would make for a good cover page standing by me, he added, why don’t you just a hire a Model? I asked bluntly. He laughed. Hiring will mean me paying her and I am not interested in paying for a thirty minutes interview. He replied. I wasn’t aware that that was part of our professional agreement…I can check with my colleagues to be certain, I replied, looking uninterested. “Could you really check?” he asked. I frowned at his Sarcasm. Look Darlene, you are my staff and you do what I say, he replied.
Dare forced me to a press conference, God knows what he would do to me next before this week runs out, I complained bitterly to Jake as he drove me home later in the evening. Who is Dare? He asked. My boss, Dare Ade-Cole, I replied. Do I sense a “beauty and the beast story” in the offing? He asked with a sarcastic smile. Yeah yeah…very funny Jake, I replied probably not impressed with one of Jake’s casual Jokes. “The firm operates on a first name basis between the staffs”, I replied. You will be fine babe, you are very strong and you will come out well there, he said.” Do you know why my Dad doesn’t want me at his firm”? I asked, with no provocation. If you work at Williams Firm, people will say that your Dad planted you there, they will disregard your merits, he replied. Jake that is so “flat”, I worked hard for my degree, I replied with a deep breath. Prove it at Ade-Cole and you will see that your father will be dying to have you at his firm, he said. I sighed. Cheer up babe, do you care for chicken? KFC is just right around the corner, he said. Thanks Jake, I replied. What would I do without you? I asked with a smile. Nothing, you couldn’t do anything without me, he replied with a grin.
Do you think that Dare would grant me the opportunity to attend the programme?” I asked Toni waving an invitation card before her. Toni raised her head slightly and took a quick peek at the card. “You will have to see for yourself, you are very new here and a function would be regarded as inappropriate”, she replied. “I have never missed it and I don’t intend to now”, I replied and left for Dare’s office. “Morning Dare” I said. He nodded. “I would like to be excused from work tomorrow”, I said. “Are you feeling ill?” He asked without looking up, his gaze was totally fixed to his laptop, who does he think he is? He should have at least looked at me. “No, but I have a very important function to attend”, I replied. “What function can be more important than your job here”? He asked staring at my hand. At least, he is looking at me now. “It is a service for my mother”, I replied. His look was now very stern. “Is she a clown?” Why would she want a service? He asked, looking irritated. Listen to me, if you go for it, you can kiss your job goodbye, he added and faced his laptop. I flung the card at him in utter disgust, “it is a remembrance service for my late mother, and I quit”! I yelled and walked out.
“Cheer up honey”, Jake said as he wiped my tears. “He called my mother a clown”, I mumbled. That Jerk! “He doesn’t deserve your tears”, he replied. “I don’t want to work here again, take me away from here Jake”, I said. “We would clear your desk tomorrow”, he replied, opening the door for me. I sat in the car feeling awful; Jake smiled at me. Jake’s smile came as a relief, there was something “kind” about his smile. We left for his place. I will get you something to drink; he said and left for his kitchen. I stared at a picture of Jake and I on our graduation from High School. “How could he still keep such a picture?” I thought. I had no idea where mine was, and moreover, I thought the picture looked boring. We were just two youngsters leaving High School and looked quite nervous. I snapped out of my thoughts as he returned with a can of soda. “I want to start my driving lessons this weekend”, I said. “I am not tired of driving you around”, he replied handing me the soda. I know, but I want to be able to drive myself around and not wait on my office stairs for about twenty minutes like I did today, I said. “That was an emergency, if you had called me prior to the time, you know that I would have been there”, he replied. That is the typical Jake Martin-Oje reply. I have to put an end to his “over protectiveness”; although I can’t really say that Jake is over protective. “But I don’t want you running here and there for me”, I said.” Moreover, I don’t like your new ‘beamer’”, I added with a light smile. “What will ever satisfy you”? He asked with a wide smile.
“Brethren, we are gathered here today for the 20th remembrance service of late Mrs Danielle Williams…” I watched the priest go over the formalities. I found it hard to shed a tear, maybe it was because I never really knew her, but as I stare at her grave like the past years, I feel drawn to her. She died on my 1stbirthday, she was trying to bake my cake when she heard me cry, she rushed to me but on her way, she slipped and hit her head and that was the end of my mother and my birthdays. My father never celebrated any of my birthdays and when he told me how she died, I vowed never to have fun on my birthday, anyways, and today is my birthday, my 24th birthday. My mother’s remembrance service has always been held on my birthday, so that was enough for me to feel sad and forget ever having fun. “What is fun by the way without a mother?”
“Happy birthday”, Jake whispered into my ear. I nodded without a smile. Jake always tried to make me happy on my birthdays; he always baked me a cake, which I always dropped at the cemetery after the service. The cemetery was soon empty, Dad and his guests had left, leaving Jake and I and some anonymous figures paying their last respects. I stared at my mother’s grave; my mum would have been 50 if not for her unfortunate death. I dropped the cake and tears flowed down my eyes. That is the part where I always had to shed the tears, it felt special in a sad way to present the cake we never baked on my 1stbirthday. “Would she eat the cake?” I asked Jake with a smile. His amused grin broadens and he put his hand on my shoulder. I faced the grave and dropped a flower. “I am sorry for your loss”, a thick voice said with a musical British accent. I turned round to see Dare Ade-Cole in a tightly fitted black suit; I nodded and faced her grave. “Take the week off, see you on Monday”, he said and walked away. I turned back and watched him leave. “You might need a minute alone” Jake said. “I will be by the car”, he added and left.
“A 24thbirthday needs to be cherished and spent well”, Jake said as he drove. “That rule doesn’t apply to me”, I replied. “Here we go again Darlene, for how long will you allow this to continue?” He asked. I gave no answer to his “rhetorical question”. He obviously knew my answer, why was he asking? “You cry every time on your birthday, I honestly think that you should tell your Dad to change the remembrance date”, he said. “I want the remembrance left on this date”, I replied. He sighed deeply. “I get it”, he said and drove on.
I could hear the sound of slow hip-hop pulsing behind the closed windows of the Beamer as I approached. But Jake killed the music as soon as I reached for the door handle. I slid into the front seat next to Jake and told him to take me home.
“Who was that you were listening to?” I asked him.
“Um, that was Lil Wayne.”
“How to love?”
“That’s right.”
Over the years, I had become knowledgeable in the subtle distinctions, regional and otherwise, in rap and hip-hop. Across the board, most of my friends listened to it. Some of them fashion their life styles from them. I wouldn’t think of being totally tuned to music, especially rap. I reached for the disk rack and chose one at random. I noted the handwritten ‘Dido’ on the disk. I handed the disk over to Jake and he slid it into the dashboard stereo. I didn’t have to tell him to play it at a volume so low that it would amount to little more than background noise. Jake knew I hated noise. I turned my phone on, checked my voice mail and had two unread messages. One from my great aunt, Aunt Sally, she was apologizing for missing my mom’s remembrance service, this is the fifth consecutive time she was missing the service, so I was used to her constant apology messages. The other message was from Mrs Small.
I called Mrs Small back first; I was uninterested in returning Aunt Sally’s message. “Hi Toni”, I said, signalling to Jake to totally kill the music. “Hey Honey, how are you holding up?” she asked. “I have been holding up well for the past twenty four years”, I replied sarcastically. Honestly, why would Toni ask how I have been holding up? My mom has been long dead. “I just thought you might need comfort”, she said sounding a bit defensive. “Oh Toni, where is your sense of humour?” I asked. At this junction, she burst into a mean laughter. “I do not like the sound of your laughter,” I said into the receiver. “Dare came for the service”, I said. “Oh! That’s nice to know”, she replied. “I am happy to know that he at least has one human bone in him,” I said. “And speaking of Dare coming to my mom’s service, how did he get the address?” I asked quickly. “Apart from the fact that you in your rude behaviour flung the card at him, I gave him the address”, she replied. “Did he ask for the address?” I asked smiling impressively. “Yes, he did”, she replied. The line started to break as we spoke and so I had to end my call with Toni.
The traffic heading downtown bottle necked on the third mainland bridge. I spent the time in the car ‘tweeting’ and trying not to think about going back to Ade-Cole and the argument I had with my Dad about resenting him, My Dad was right and that’s what hurts. For a long time, I had been angry with the old man for a lot of reasons. It was something I had thought about changing myself. In a few minutes, we broke free of the bottleneck. I looked out of the window and saw no accident, I saw nobody with a flat Tyre and no high way patrol cruiser parked on the shoulder. I saw nothing to explain the traffic. It was often like that. Freeway traffic in Lagos was as mysterious as the dark side of the moon. It moved and flowed, then stalled, crawled and stopped for no easily explainable reason.
“ Always thought that I would love to live by the sea…” Dido’s lyrics titled straight into my thoughts or rather interrupted my thoughts. I didn’t vision my life to be this complicated, never knew that Lagos could shrink so much that I would have to run into Mr Ex every other day of the week. I tried not to think about work. There are so many assholes to think about and so little time.
Then solid bass blaring from the custom beamer speaker almost sent my head into the window glass, I turned swiftly to look at Jake with my hands covering both ears, I frowned at Jake who seemed to derive so much pleasure from the noise he had created, noticing the swift movement, he turned in my direction.
“What?” he asked with a smile.
Then he noticed the frown and the hand to ear gesture it made, he let the volume down from the media control on the steering wheels. Then he looked back at me and noticed that I hadn’t looked away and still had the frown on, I spotted his fumy smile spreading across his face, showing his white but broken canine.
“That was M.I”, had to play him out loud.
I shrugged and thought, what it was with Ex BHS boys and M.I….he is like a super hero to them. No disrespect to the Lagos superstar, but I wouldn’t even have him on my rack. “Why do you hate M.I so much?” Jake asked as if he read my thoughts. “I have never liked him, even knowing that he is an alumnus of our high school,” I replied coolly applying my lip gloss. “What will you rather have me play?” “Adele?” he asked with a grimace. “More like it”, I replied smiling. “I will not play such music in this royal stereo of mine”, he replied proudly. “And I suppose M.I is royalty?” I asked mockingly. Jake and I were very used to banters, especially on our favourites; we basically didn’t like the same things. I can’t stand M.I, and Jake thinks that Adele is a pathetic musician. When it comes to our choices in Football, I love Chelsea Football Club, and Jake can go on everyday about Arsenal Football Club. To worsen our usual Footie outburst, Jake hates my best footballer, Didier Drogba. Why would anyone hate Didier Drogba? I couldn’t really blame Jake, Drogba is known for “ripping the brakes out of Arsenal’s Car” whenever the London derby arises.
Jake drove on into the night as I remained glued to my smashing new blackberry I had several “pings” to reply and of course, have fun “tweeting”. The journey to my house was taking longer than expected, but I couldn’t be bothered, I was with Jake! I feel very safe with my “big bear” as I love to call Jake. Speaking about Jake’s physique, he had been working out since high school when I had problem with seniors boys coming at me because of the “so-called attitude” they said I posed at them whenever they wanted to go out with me. Jake got into fights in school because of me, I always got on people’s nerves and then I rush to Jake for help, he has always been there, and nothing has changed.
“Here we are”, Jake said as he pulled up. I stared at the very familiar environment, then turned and punched Jake hard on the shoulder. “What are we doing at the galleria?” I asked as I peered out of the tinted glass windows. “We are here to celebrate your first ever birthday and put an end to your annoying birthdays”, he replied turning his phone off. “Jake, my mom’s remembrance service started when I was four years old, so I don’t think it’s that bad, and beside I like hanging with my mom at the cemetery” I replied. “It is horrible you know what?, you’re hanging out with me today and we are having fun even if I have to drag you along screaming and kicking all the way” he said smiling, “Jake, am I crazy?” I said smiling back at him. “No you’re not crazy, and I’m the crazy one in case you forgot”, he replied closing the doors of the car.
Jake walked towards me waving two movie tickets with a big smile on his face,“I got us the last two tickets for Cars”.
“Cars, are you kidding me?”
“The movie is a sell-out and a tip was necessary to get the last two tickets, so let me rephrase your last sentence, Oh thanks a lot Jake, you’re the best ” Jake replied sounding like Minnie mouse.
“I do not sound like that you retard” I replied hitting him on his shoulder. “I bet we’ll be the only adults in the cinema”
And apparently, we were the only adults in the cinema and to worsen matters, Jake got us seats in the midsection of the hall. Making our way to the seats, was like hurdling over the legs of the kids who wouldn’t adjust and let us pass because they were so glued to the screen. Then we finally took a seat beside a grumpy kid who apparently had some problem locating where his mouth was, he had pop corn flying on his shirt, the chairs, Jake’s shoes, but Jake didn’t seem to mind, he actually got a “kind” shove from me when threw his pop corn in my face.
“Now let’s get you home” Jake said as the KFC attendant handed me a bucket of half-wings and some fries. “Not quite”, I replied with my mouth full.
“Then what?”
“The day is still young, it’s just like 8pm and besides, it’s my birthday”
We exchanged the knowing look, “are you thinking what I am thinking?” Jake asked.
I nodded.
“So where is it going to be?; Q-lounge, Koko lounge, Rehab…”
“Club du retard” I replied cutting him off
“And where is that?”
“Ebute-Metta”
“You are joking right” he replied with a raised eye brow.
“Do you know the number of cars that get jacked in that side of town?”
“Just tell me you are joking”
“You chicken, come on its not that bad and beside I have got friends in that side of town, you’ll be just fine”
“Are you sure about this?” Jake asked as he pulled up into a noisy neighbourhood.
“Yes, I just want to have fun, isn’t that what you want?” I asked. “I want you to have fun but we at a pub”, he replied. “Don’t be a silly girl”, I said and jumped out of the car. The local pubs downtown had the best fun loving people. I danced into the night with Jake all around me before I knew it, I knew nothing. What does that mean? I guess I got drunk!
“Morning D”, Jake said handing me a cup of coffee. I had to shield my eyes; at least I knew where I was. Jane’s room always let in too much light early in the morning. By the way, Jane is Jake’s twin.
“Thanks”, I said as I took the cup.
“You went overboard and got drunk last night at the Pub”, he started as he raised the curtains. I sipped the coffee gently. A large smile danced round Jake’s face.
“What?” I asked.
He jumped at me and tickled me hard.
“I had never seen you dance until last night”, he said.
“That was my birthday”, I replied.
“I am so happy to see you happy”, he said.
“Thank you Jake”, I said warmly. He smiled, acknowledging me.
“I owe it to you, if you didn’t help me, I would have never known how to enjoy a birthday”, I added. “Thank you”, I said again and hugged him.
“Time to go home”, he said releasing me.
“Jake, how much did I drink last night?” I asked as we approached the door.
“Somewhere between a lot and too much”
“Hi Jake”, Dad said as we walked in.
“Good morning sir”, he replied.
“Where did you kidnap my girl to yesterday?” He asked.
“We just hung out”, he replied scratching his head.
“Why are you asking him questions Dad when I am right here?” I asked angrily.
“Darlene”, Jake whispered under his breath.
“I just wanted to know because I wanted to have a quiet night with you yesterday for your birthday”, Dad replied.
“Am I supposed to celebrate that”? I asked rudely.
“When are you going to stop resenting me”? He asked.
“I am going to take my leave now”, Jake said excusing himself.
“Why are you so pissed about not getting the job at my firm?” Dad asked.
I scoffed.
“You are working at Ade-Cole, anyone will kill to have that job”, he replied.
“Anyone except me”, I said.
“I will not continue to take your petty insults”, he replied.
“I am not done yet; I want to know why you employed a certain Dora Oluwole in your company as your Personal Assistant”? I asked.
“That is my personal business and why are you digging into my business?” He asked angrily.
“Don’t you think that she is too young for an affair, she is only 22 Dad”, I yelled.
“Why would I date my own daughter?” He asked.
I was shocked!
“Listen Darlene, I wanted to talk to you about it yesterday, I am very sorry”, he said.
I ran upstairs and shut the door angrily.
“Hi”, I heard a thin voice say.
“I am Dora”, she said.
“What”! I yelled. 

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