Two red-letter days in my life – the day I met her and the day I lost her.
“Her” is Morenike, or Nike as she is fondly known, the love of my life whom I lost on the day my appointment with Exxon Mobil was terminated.
Perhaps you are thinking she died.
She didn’t die but I think her feelings did.
She didn’t leave me either; she just lost the personality I married.
As much as I wanted the world to end in 2012, it was 2013, and it was a cool October morning in Lagos. I had woken up with spirits high or like they say, I got up on the right side of the bed. But then that would have placed Nike on the left side and trust me that’s not where you want my fire breathing dragon of a wife to wake up.
She didn’t disappoint me because as usual, her rantings woke the neighbours. However, I’m sure I surprised her. For a reply I cheerfully showcased my whistling aptitude, this time taking it on Black Eyed Peas “I got a feeling” song.
I took my bath amid her rants. My upbeat attitude took another gear as I polished my greatly fatigued suede shoe, determined to resuscitate its sparkle and brushing it in synchronization with the tempo of the song I was humming.
Nike stood beside me, akimbo. She had been waiting for my follow-up rants but they never came, well, at least not that morning.
“Jide, tell me you’ve finally lost it!” she inquired in a tone that did well to convey both sincere and sardonic concern for my mental health.
I didn’t blame her.
I mean who would blame her for thinking my pauperized condition had finally lobotomized me?
A man like me should have no reasons to wake up cheerful or even wake up at all.
My thirty year old self was grossly underachieving, but I won’t bother about that, not today, not ever! Yes! things were beginning to look up. Although it seemed most times that as much as things did “look up”, they never went up. However, this time I was pretty positive.
In reply to Nike’s harangue, I had planted kisses on both her cheeks and her astonishment only showed that intimacy was becoming obsolete in my home. A final look in the mirror told me I was ready, armed to the teeth in a suit jacket hanging over a white shirt and pink tie.
My dazzling smile did not disappoint and occasionally revealed my perfect dentition.
I picked up the file containing my curriculum vitae and ran straight into Eko, Lagos, the city of bright lights, sharp guys and desperate girls but not without Nike throwing a “knock ‘em dead honey” remark at me, still recovering from the high my peck gave her.
I checked my phone to get an idea of the time, although confidently strapped to my hand was a gold Christian Dior wristwatch. The only reason I hadn’t sold it or exchanged it for beers at the pub is because it was Morenike’s present to me on my twenty-eighth birthday.
If by some juju (voodoo) she presumes I no longer have it, I was sure she would literally nag me to death and bear the loss of my watch on my tombstone. Then again, although the battery had stopped working a long time ago, it was always there, faithfully strapped to my left hand.
Molues aren’t the most comfortable means of commuting in Lagos but next to trekking, they were the cheapest means of transport. So, low-income earners like us (more like “no-income earners”) try to pretend that the overcrowding didn’t bother us too much or that the stench from the unwashed shirt of the dude next to us didn’t infiltrate our nostrils. I had pretended in the past, but not today…today I didn’t care.
When I finally got to the location, I had to double check the address on the card to ensure I was in the right place. To an extent, I had expected Yomi’s office complex to be grand, but somehow I just wasn’t ready for the level of grandeur that smacked me in the face.
Who is Yomi? You must be wondering.
Yomi is an old classmate of mine whom I met during a recent KCOBA meeting. KCOBA is an acronym for King’s College Old Boys Association. The almost dateless school in question, established by missionaries in the sixties, had produced a lot of notable individuals among which was my very own personal guy, Yomi Badmus, CEO of Yomitech.
The Yomitech Group is an I.C.T giant, boasting of clientele such as the federal government and many foreign nationals.
Yomi had offered me a job, well, not really. His exact words were “I’m going to look into your case”, spoken with a very moneyed accent and complemented with his business card and a scheduled meeting for this morning.
It was no surprise that when I got there he hadn’t resumed. After all, it was only thirty minutes or so past eight. As I sat in the waiting room, I busied myself with the giant plasma television that was hung on the wall exactly opposite the chairs and Africa Magic, the movie channel, somehow made time fly.
People passed and so did the hours. It was easy to relax there, thanks to the very sound air-conditioning and Italian leather chairs that were so comfortable, I didn’t know when I dozed off.
Something suddenly jolted me out of dreamland. I opened my eyes to find a smartly dressed lady in her twenties a few inches from my face, and immediately traced the interference to her. I was cross, but blamed myself for falling asleep, in Yomitech’s reception of all places.
“Can we be of help to you sir?” she said in forced politeness with an unforgettable queer look on her face.
As I slowly made my way to reality, the image became clearer and I found out I was surrounded. Aside the lady, two gentlemen were standing behind her bearing a look that gave away their occupation as security guards
Again I brought out my phone to check the time.
To my shock, it was already nearing 4pm.
“Sir, can I be of any help to you?” She asked again, cutting through my thoughts and disturbing my internal demeanor.
“Errrr, I came to see your oga.”
“Sir, oga is not in the country.”
The words flew carelessly and hit me like a scud missile.
To say I was shocked would not describe it, perhaps the heart attack I had been scared of for some time now was beginning to manifest itself .
“b… b… but we have an appointment, I mean I saw him yesterday”, I stammered.
I was beginning to look stupid and I knew it from the way they all looked at me. In addition, I knew they were getting impatient with me.
“Sir, he left for Dubai this morning, it is his annual leave”
“Sir, you may have to leave the premise”
Yomi hadn’t changed a bit, the sly son of a *prosperous woman*!
I loosened my tie.
I didn’t feel good about myself anymore.
Somehow it had become difficult to tell the difference between job hunting and unicorn hunting.
In my fuzziness this morning, I had forgot to introduce myself.
My name is Jide David Kayode and I’m headed home to tell my darling wife, Nike Kayode what she terms “an old story” again. I have failed to pin down a job and I’m going to ask her in Nollywood movie parlance “where’s my food?”. And yes, I suspect she’ll kill me…
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We will return to you same time next week
Image Credit: Wedding Wire