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Thursday, October 25, 2018

It's A Love Story (8)



My name is Margaret Alozie, and this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story. I came back in search of redemption, but I ended up in a dungeon. The whole place smells of sweat, shit, urine and blood. I am used to this exposure already. 

Four months in this dump can get any being unhinged. My desire was the bait and my desperation was the line that pulled me by the neck, to the place where I am. I was guided by ignorance through this path. If only I had done things a bit differently.

Where I am, the light is dim all day long; I can only merely tell if it is night or day by sounds and smell around me. The room is dim because the walls are so high and there is only very little opening in it. The opening is a little square in the wall with four vertical iron bars just a little longer than my arm.

 The wall of the room is so high that the sun needs to climb to get in. The rays trickle into the room in tiny details, like unending chains of yellow droplets.

As I sit here on the bare, cold floor, I reminisce on the moments that led to me being here. I remember Martha and our plans. The plans we made to get my Tony back, and make Seun pay for all she did to both of us.

***
After the plane landed in Lagos we parted ways, but not before we exchanged contacts; house address and e-mail mostly, and then I left for home. At home it was just my mum around; Juliet, my younger sister was not on vacation yet so she was still in school. 

She was due to return in about two weeks. I had really missed her and I could not wait to see her. I had decided to go see her in school that weekend, after my first meeting with Martha. My mum put together a little welcome home party for me. The house was filled with plenty people that I did not know. 

Not like I expected anything less, I mean, a party organised by my mum? It was the last thing I wanted. I just wanted to rest and prepare for my mission ahead. To find Cindy and get Tony back.

I was up and about early the next day. I had to set myself up properly in Nigeria; get a new phone and network provider too, and other things I had to take care of. I had to also scout for a new place to locate my outfit that I started back in London. 

Martha promised to help me with that. It was the main reason we were meeting that day. We agreed to meet by 1pm in one of the eateries along Bode Thomas in Surulere. Martha was already waiting by the time I got there. She seemed to have been there quite a while. They were two empty bottles on the table she was at. It seemed like she had been with someone before I got there. I did not bother her about that, it did not seem necessary.

We sat and talked for quite a while. She told me that Lagos Island was where all the hot spots were, and if I wanted my clientele to consist of the rich and glamorous, and if I wanted to make a lot of profit, I had to locate my outfit there. 

Then we talked about Seun and Tony. She gave me full gist on them. She said they were getting married in four months. I screamed when I heard that. It meant I had only a short while to work my magic.

Then we revisited our plan, her plan mostly. She told me that if I wanted to get Tony back, then I had to get Seun out of the way for good. I did not quite understand what she meant by that, “for good”. Then she explained to me that the two of them had gotten so close and it would be difficult for Tony to leave her for anyone.

Not even me. Seun had him by the balls. She was his life support, the air that he took in. Without Seun, Tony only had enough money to be broke. Seun was the key to his wealth and position in the financial industry.

 Martha made it clear to me that, no man would leave all that Tony was gaining from Seun, to go back to someone who dumped him three years ago and ran off, after receiving a few pieces of silver.

She was right on that one.

After that, what was left was how best to execute Martha’s plan. “You have to get rid of her”, Martha said. I looked at her face from across the table as she said those words.

 I had not gotten rid of anyone before, so I did not know how to go about that. I asked her to give me some time to think about things. I needed to focus on establishing myself in Lagos first of all. I asked her for a month to really make up my mind.

 She reminded me that Tony and Seun would be getting married in a couple of months, and so I needed to work fast.

“Three weeks,” she said finally. “You must be ready in three weeks, that is, if you still want my help. Otherwise, be ready to catch the bouquet when Seun throws it at her wedding. And you can kiss Tony goodbye forever.”

I reluctantly agreed. I did not think too much about why she was in such a hurry to have me get rid of Seun.

I had done a lot of background work on the Nigerian fashion market before I left London. My feasibility study was complete and so was my market penetration strategy. I just needed a physical space to set up, and then I could start recruiting and open for business in a month. That was my plan. Martha helped me get a suitable place somewhere in Victoria Island. That reassured me of her loyalty. But I never saw past her actions...


 Watch out for the concluding part of this story coming soon!


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