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Thursday, September 27, 2018

It's A Love Story (5)

Once upon a time, when stories still began with ‘once upon a time’, my mother told me of a lady who set out looking for gold for a husband, and then she ended up missing the silver lining in the one guy who truly loved her.

Now I remember that story every time I lay my head down to sleep. I think about how it happened that someone would sacrifice happiness for next to nothing. 

My elder brother also told me, “Never leave a place you are having fun to a place you think you will have more fun”.

I wonder why I ended up going against everything my brother taught me. Sometimes I feel it’s my stubbornness and incorrigibility that killed him. 

And I also think sometimes that it was his death that killed my father and makes my mum hate me so much. Nedu was our father’s favourite till he died, and maybe even afterwards considering that they are perhaps together in heaven. 

Nedu died when I was fourteen years old. I was in S.S.2 then. I was home for the mid-term break. Doctor said he died of a bad heart. “Bad heart?!” My father was puzzled and he could not understand how a child so smart and gifted and good in every aspect would have a bad heart.

 “You see Mr. Alozie, the lining around your son’s heart was very thin and weak. Those things are not easy to detect, some people never know about it till they are dead. 

Some others get to know before then, but even so, there would still be hardly anything that can be done to fix the heart. The best we can do is buy more time for such people with diet and control”, that was what the doctor told my father.

My father found it hard bearing the loss of his first child, his only son. He died a year later in a car accident. He was drunk and was speeding down the third-mainland bridge on his way back from work. 

He lost control and could not stop the vehicle from running into the trailer ahead of him when he did realize it. He never made it to the hospital.

A lot of things changed after that. My father did not leave a will and so his people- brothers and the rest of the family, came and took away most of what my father left behind. 

They only let me finish from my secondary school where the school fees for a term was N150,000 because I was in my last year there. My sister had to go to another school that paid much less because they said they would not pay for her to finish from that school.

My mum is a strong lady but she always liked to have someone to blame for all her misfortunes. She blamed me because she felt I was not as smart and productive as my brother was. 

She simply blamed me for being a lady basically. Traditionally, the ladies don’t get any share of her father’s property, except that which is given to her by her brother(s). My brother was dead and so my father’s family took possession of almost everything.

The money we received from my father’s people reduced with time and my mum did not like the fact that we had to go to them to ask for money and things that belonged to us. 

She dreamt of a breakthrough and I just wanted to make her happy. I wanted her to see that I could be better than the son that she loved but lost.

When Seun came to my house that evening with her offer, a lot of calculations were done in record time in my head.

 I saw my opportunity to make my mum love me again like she used to when Nedu was around. I used to be her favourite then, or so I thought, until Nedu died and everything changed.

I accepted the offer hoping that there would be other men out there, even better than Tony. I was mistaken. I miss Tony and I want him back.

 To be continued

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

It's A Love Story (4)

Sometimes I think he’s in the trees, just hiding, waiting to come out. If there’s anything I want most, it is that I wake up the next morning and find it was all just a dream; that none of it ever happened. 

That Seun never came to my house that evening; that I was not hungry when I was, that Saturday when we met Seun; that we never even met her anywhere and our paths never crossed.

After our experience at the eatery, it was about two weeks later that Tony saw her again. She came to the branch where he worked; she came to open an account for her eatery. 

She said it was the least she could do to make up for the embarrassment at her eatery. I should have seen beyond that act and noticed that she specifically asked for Tony to be the account officer. 

She lodged a sum of N20 million in the account. That was close to half of the target set for Tony by his branch. He was excited and he could not wait to break the news to me. He came by my house that evening so excited and full of smiles.

“I’m gonna break even soon," he said.

“Calm down Tony, tell me what happened.”

“You remember Seun?”

“Seun? Who’ s that?”

“C’ mon, you remember Seun from the eatery a few weeks back…”

“O, Seun, the minister’s daughter.”


 “So, what about her?”

“Well, she came around today at the office.”

“I see. What did she want?”

“To change my life baby!” he said with all the excitement in his being.

There, that was the sign, but I did not see it. That was the point I started drifting, but I did not feel it. I just let things slip by gradually. 

The account officer stunt was just a ploy by Seun to have reasons to contact and spend time with Tony and not give away her ulterior motives until that point when she would not need to.

 Well, I guess it worked after all. There were dinners and parties, meetings and hook-ups.

“All of this is just to make more contacts Maggie. I’ m doing this for us," he always said. I should have believed him after I asked him about his relationship with Seun, and he replied, “It’ s just business baby, seriously.”

It took me a while, after I got to London to realise why Seun- a lady who had everything to get any man she wanted- was so desperate to have Tony, even when she knew that we were together.

 I guess you never really know what you have got until you lose it. Tony is the most adorable man I have known yet. He loved me deeply and I threw it all away for a few pieces of silver. 

I betrayed our love and I did it without having to battle myself. But would you blame me much? How many ladies can stand their man getting so close to another lady who is definitely more equipped (if you know what I mean) than they are? I did what I did and nothing can change that, I only hope I have not strayed too far from redemption.

To be continued

Sunday, September 09, 2018

It's A Love Story (3)

Anger widened over his black, sweat-dripping face. “How long must we wait before we get our meals, until hell freezes over?!” he asked as calmly as he could. 

The lady over the counter just stared back at him, not knowing how to respond to his legitimate complaints. We had been at the eatery for about forty-five minutes, and still we had not been served our meals. 

We could have easily gone somewhere else to have lunch that Saturday afternoon, but Tony had already paid for the meal that we were yet to eat. It was how they operated there, customers paid before they ate, and we understood that, I mean, that’s how it was done in other over-the-counter kind of eateries.

Tony was losing his patience with the lady over the counter, who tried to fake a smile as she said “Your meal will be ready shortly Sir; we are processing a lot of orders from other tables too”. 

Tony looked behind him and did a quick count of the tables that were occupied in the eatery. Of course her excuse was inappropriate as there were only four tables occupied and two of them had already received their orders of snacks and drinks that were readily available and on display at the sales point.

 We later discovered that they were out of the dish  we had ordered for, but instead of letting us know about the situation, they collected payment and kept us waiting till cocks grew teeth for them to prepare the meal we had ordered for.

“I want a refund,” Tony said to the lady over the counter.

 “Please wait…” she implored. 

“I am not waiting one minute longer here, give me my money back,!” he cut her off before she could finish her statement.
“I’m sorry but I am not permitted to do that, Sir!”

“Young lady, don’t try my patience. I’ve been very calm with you all along, but don’t push it okay. Give me my money back!”

“Please understand, it’s company policy.”
At this point I sensed things were ready to blow out ot of control

 I got up from from the table where I had been all along watching things play out. I walked up to him, grabbed him by the hand and said: “It’s okay honey, lets go.”

“No way Maggie, I’m not leaving here without my money.” 

He turned back to face the lady over the counter and said, “I want to see the manager in charge of this place.”

“But Sir, that won’t be necessary.”
“Don’t tell me what is or what isn’t necessary! I want to see your manager!”

I wish we had left at this point. Tony and I. We, perhaps, would still be together now. But we did not leave and we are not together right now.

The manager obviously heard Tony demanding to see who was in charge. Tony was really pissed off and was raising his voice at the lady over the counter.

 I had not seen him like that before, this was surely a first. I’m sure if he had not come along with me, he would have walked out of the eatery without asking for a refund or the food.

 He was such a gentleman and did not like unnecessary confrontation. But that day at the eatery was different. 

He knew I was really hungry and trust Tony to do everything to make me comfortable. He did not have much cash on him left at that point. He had spent so much at the boutique where he bought some really beautiful clothes for me.

A door opened at the left side behind the counter and a young lady walked out. She looked very beautiful in her black skirt suit and high heeled shoes. 

She did not have much make-up on yet she was very attractive. She was about my height and had black hair that rested on her shoulders. “What’s the problem Angela?” she asked the lady over the counter.

“Everything is the problem, everything. From your company’s service delivery to your customer relations,” Tony cut in.

“Would you mind coming into my office so we could straighten things out?” she said. I noticed how Tony seemed to calm down as soon as we stepped into her office but I did not take that seriously.

 “My name is Seun and I own this place. Please sit down.” 

We talked for a while and we realised that she was the daughter to the Minister of Agriculture. The eatery was just one of her several business outfits that she was in charge of.

 She was in Lagos for the weekend and she decided to come check up on her eatery. After chatting for a while, we left there with several take away packs and her contact details. 

Tony was particularly excited about this, he understood how the encounter would improve his business chances. He worked in the marketing department of a bank and needed as many political contacts as possible, so that they could help him meet the target set for him by his bank.

That was how she came into our lives. How was I to know that that was just the beginning of the end of Tony and I...

To be continued

Saturday, September 01, 2018

It's A Love Story (2)

Should I be thankful to Seun for giving me this new life or should I hate her for taking Tony away from me? I may never find an answer to this question. I like my life right now. 

Why not? I am studying business administration in one of the most prestigious schools on earth. I earn much more than what many graduates in Nigeria earn, even as an undergraduate. What can I say, my life is just sweet.

But that’s all that it is- just sweet. Perhaps it could’ve been more, maybe it still can, my God I want it to be more. Surely, I like the parties, the clubs, the girls night-outs, the shopping and all the other things that come with my status now. 

But I want much more. Maybe I don’t deserve it, may be I do, but it doesn’t cost anything to desire it.

Like hell I miss Tony. So many times I’ve thought of picking up the phone to call him, I still have his number on speed dial even though he’s changed his number twice. I’ve been keeping an eye or two on him since I left. I always never have enough courage to call him. What would I say?

He probably thinks I’m dead. Maybe I am, the way I feel right now I probably am dead. It was cruel the way I left him. He did not deserve to be treated that way. He was a great guy, nice, caring and always very sweet. He never forgot my birthday nor anyone else’s in my family. 

He took me out on weekends and took me shopping severally. He even bought me my first laptop. I remember very vividly. It was valentine’s day and I was feeling very unlike myself, getting all cranky and touchy. 

He sent me his usual rise and shine text message by 7 a.m, ending it with words I knew he meant, ‘I love you’. I did not reply. He called me a few hours later and I did not spare him from my misdemeanor. I so wanted to be mad with him even when he did nothing wrong. I guess I disliked the fact that he was such a great guy. I wanted him to err a little, he didn’t have to be so perfect.

That evening, after I had turned down his invitation to dinner, a parcel came in for me. I knew immediately it was from him, but I was not expecting it. ‘A parcel for Miss Maggie’, I heard the mail man’s voice from the living room where I was seated watching my favourite TV program. I had calmed down by then, so I received the parcel from my younger sister. ‘Here, this just came in for you’, she said.
‘Thanks dear’, I replied.
‘It’s quite heavy, she continued, ‘What’s inside?’
‘I don’t know’.
‘It’s from Tony right?’
‘Yes, I think so’.
‘Well then, go ahead, open it’. I tore at the beautiful paper wrap that covered a big rectangular box. ‘It’s a laptop!’ I exclaimed with much joy. My phone rang before I was even done unpacking the content of the parcel. It was Tony. ‘I hope you like it’, he said.
‘Yes I do. I love it and I love you too. Thank you’.

That was three years ago. I have changed laptop twice since then, but I still remember how I cherished the one he got for me then. It really meant a lot to me then.

I’ve been away for two years now and I have had enough time to consider many things. My choices and my actions most especially. I now see that it was all my fault. I am not talking about taking Seun’s offer, no, I’m talking about the day she came into our lives and tore us apart.

 To be continued

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