Justin and Magnus were at Ked’s bar nursing drinks. Justin was having some whiskey while Magnus had wine.
“How is Ij?”, Justin asked.
“Hmm. She’s there with her wahala”
“Is she still angry with you?”
“I ain’t got none for 2 months man”
“What! No way!”, Justin set down his drink in shock
“If I tell you what she puts me through, you’ll wonder how come I’m still sane”
“Haba! 2 months is too long. If Shirley tries it for more than 1 week, I will threaten to abandon she and the kids”
“I have begged, knelt down, given her money. I even sent money to her mother and repaired her car that she always complains of. All to no avail”
Justin took a gulp of his drink and wiped his mouth. “This is very serious. Does she want you to fall ill or something? They no dey carry that one play O!”
“The next thing is to report her to her mother but, it seems childish”, Magnus reasoned.
“God knows I have been faithful to her. I have never looked at any other woman. All I wish is that she will work with me. She is so impatient with my progress. Always comparing me to others”
“That’s too bad”
“Do you know I saw a text in her phone from a guy named Chike? He was professing love for her”
“What! Did you confront her?” Justin leaned forward
“No, because, I read her reply in which she told him off. I’m still watching her”
“So she doesn’t know you saw it? ”
Another friend saw them and came over
“What’s up, guys?” he shook hands with them as he sat and then motioned to the waiter
“Eniola, how far?”, Justin asked
“Still hustling, my bro. Still hustling”
” Is that your landlord still disturbing you?”
“After I gave him the letter you wrote, he backed off. Great to have lawyers as friends, huh?”he laughed.
“Any time, man. Glad to be of help”
“How’s the wife?” Magnus asked
“That barren witch? I will soon send her packing”
“Haba! Is she to blame? “, Magnus asked
“Do I know what she did to damage her womb? I already have a daughter with one babe in my mother’s village. She will never find out till I want her to”
“That’s tough”Justin shook his head
“Bro, these girls are bad! They live a rough life, then join the church. You meet them and think they are angels. Look at it now”
“Do you mean there is a medical report showing her to be barren?” Justin asked
“She is on her own. My family has never had such a problem. The men from our town are virile. My grandfather had 14 children. My father had 8. Each of my 2 brothers has 4 children. I don’t know why I should not have my own”, he insisted, finishing his drink and snapping his fingers to request another
“Na wa O” Magnus whistled
“I tell you. Some of these women don’t appreciate what they have”, Justin gave him a meaningful look.
“Until they lose it”, he agreed
Regina was inspecting some new shipment at their warehouse. She was dissatisfied with the store keeper’s handling of the goods and told him so.
“Mr. Felix, you have been with us for 3 years. I expect better. How could these chairs get damaged under your watch?”, she asked.
“Sorry, Madam. I don’t know how it happened”, he apologized.
“I need more than that. The insurance does not cover handling defects. You have incurred us a loss”, she was writing in her notepad.
“Ma, I left Ovie in charge the day it was brought in. My wife was sick and I had to rush home”
“Which hospital was she taken to?”
“We no go hospital. She just took some agbo”
“Alright, who can corroborate your story? Who else saw her ill?”
“Your oldest child is 3 years old!”
“Eh, but, she can talk”, he defended.
“Ovie just began here 3 months ago. Leaving him in charge was unacceptable. Mr. Felix, you should have asked them not to off load till you got back. Was it really an emergency? ”
“Ma, the way she was crying. If you were a mother you will understand how pregnancy is”
“What does that mean?”, she snapped.
“You had better watch your choice of words”, she turned and walked away.
When he thought she was out of hearing range, Felix turned to gossip with another colleague.
“This small girl! Harrassing her father, any how”, he murmured.
“Don’t mind her. That’s why she is not married”, the colleague agreed.
“Who will marry her? Very proud somebody. See how she is querying me for a minor fault. Mtchewww”, he made a hissing sound.
“All these small girls. They get into the right beds and start treating people anyhow. Why won’t she just find a fool to marry her and get her pregnant?”
“Nonsense! Pretending to be “churchy”. These girls are very bad”
Regina stood by, listening to their conversation. When she could bear it no longer, she called out “Mr. Felix, when you are through with gossipping, sign the inventory sheet and send it to me”
The man flushed. “Errmmmm”, he stammered.
“The firm will be deducting the cost of repairing the damages from your salary. I would have borne it but, since I am a proud girl who doesn’t deserve her position, you will have the privilege”, Regina stated calmly.
“Please, ma. I didn’t mean……”
“No, I don’t want to talk to my “father” anyhow. I just hope when your daughter grows up and gets the same kind of judgement, you remember you sowed the seeds” With that she spun on her heel and left.
Though it pained her to hear such malicious talk, Regina was determined to put it all behind her. Afterall, backbiters were designed to remain behind, at the bottom of the food chain. Why did she have to explain that she got to where she was by dint of her hard work and creativity? Regina had a date. Nothing was going to spoil her mood.
A friend had told her of his cousin, a medical doctor, who he felt would suit her. They had spoken on phone severally and though there were no butterflies in her stomach yet, at least, he was well spoken. She had checked out his pictures and he was not bad looking.
As she drove out of the warehouse complex, she thought about what to wear to her 7pm dinner date. Her black dress was too snug and she didn’t want to seem desperate. Miriam felt her red dress aged her. Her print dresses seemed casual. She decided to pop into a boutique during lunch to buy a new dress. This would be her first date in 1 year and she intended to make the most of it.
TO BE CONTINUED
Haba: Exclamation of indignation, surprise, or shock
Na wa o: Exclamation similar to above
We no go hospital : We didn’t go to the hospital
Agbo : Herbal concoction