It was time to leave Grand square, we all got into Chioma’s Bentley (flying Spur, 2014 model). It had tinted glasses, and the interior was custom-made in Italy. It was simply a car made for beauty and glory. Mehn! Everyone, everything and everywhere looked beautiful when seen through the rare view of a Bentley – 2014 model.
We had just driven for about three minutes before it dawned on me that Akinyele was in the car with us. I thought this young man said it was a coincidence? Doesn’t he have plans of his own? Or from it being a coincidence, it’s now a divine arrangement. I was in the front seat, playing with Shirley while keeping a tab on Akinyele, the master chef cum waiter who would not stay away from my family.
As I looked in the rare mirror I saw Akinyele whispering something to Chioma. I quickly raised my voice and asked him – “Akinyele, where can we drop you.”
“It would be better if we drop you and Shirley first, and then I could escort Chioma to the airport,” Akinyele replied.
“Who is we?” I thought to myself. I felt like saying… “Taa mechie onu gi – anu mpama.” But as a Christian, I had to control myself.
“Akinyele!” I said out loud.
“Yes!” Akin answered.
“What is your surname?”
“Why do you ask?”
“I just want to know.”
“Are you related to Tai-Solarin?”
“Yes, he is my grand uncle.”
“O, I see. You are a real son of the Yoruba land, and as such, I’m sure you are very respectful. Akinyele Solarin, we will drop you off first before I come down from this car. That’s final!”
“Is this your car?” Akin replied.
I put on my Killi Wee Nwachukwu face once more, but Chioma seemed unhappy with the way we were going back and forth, tussling and having a war of words. She decided to settle the issue.
“No one goes with me to the Airport. Shirley, I’ll take you home, and unpack your bags – you are staying with granny.”
“Chioma, I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. Forgive me. If you want Akinyele to go with you to the Airport, that would be fine.” I said, hoping she would reconsider her stance.
“I would drop you and Shirley off, and then I would drop Akin off too,” Chioma said, not asking for anyone’s opinion. She had made one that we both were to respect.
“That would be fine by me,” I said, content with my lot. My grimace made Shirley sad, I could tell she would prefer a happy dad to the one I was being at the moment. So, I had to wade through the depths of my emotions and pull out a smile to cheer her up.
The Bentley pulled off at Shendam Close, Emeka Anyaoku Crescent, Area 11. At that point, I had mixed feelings of joy and sadness; of Joy, because that would be my first weekend with my daughter in over 3 years, Of sadness because I wished Chioma was with us. Well, I decided to count my blessings. Stepping off the Bentley, I enjoyed my five minutes of fame. It seemed everyone was waving at me from every direction, or maybe it was just my imagination, but I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger after he had completed one of those commando scenes.
I had lost all interest in Akinyele, and whatever was happening with him. Surprising Shawn was the only thought occupying my mind. Shawn’s school closed by 2:00 pm on Fridays, and I had asked Ndidi to help pick him up. Ndidi was a single mother who lived a few houses away from me. She was tall, dark and still very beautiful, although she was ten years older than I was. Ndidi was an on-air-personality with a top radio station in Lagos before she was offered a Job by the Africa Independent Television, to host her own breakfast show, which had become one of the most positively rated shows on the television network.
“Hello boy!” I replied Shawn, who looked famished as if he had been working all day. But I knew Shawn well enough to know that he must have played half the day. I picked the little man off the floor and gave him a warm embrace.
“Would you like to come in?” I asked Ndidi, who stood at the door with Joan her daughter. Ndidi was 6 feet and usually liked wearing high heels. I really didn’t like her standing close to me, it made me feel shorter than I was. Joan was already taking after her. At 11 years of age, Joan was already 5ft plus, but she didn’t have hazel eyes, and she was not as pretty as her mum.
“No, we would just run off. I should get home to cook, and then wash a few things before the evening church service.”
“That’s true. It’s prayer meeting this evening!” I replied.
I wanted Ndidi to meet Shirley, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for Shawn. So I asked them to come in for a minute so I could show them something I had inside. After insisting for while, Ndidi Obliged, and then she walked in with Joan.
“Go drop your bag in the room,” I said to Shawn with a smile. Shawn’s disposition was always placid, and that characterized everything else he did. So, he quietly walked into the room. Shirley was asleep on the bed, and I knew that Shawn was going to be astonished to see her.
“Daddddddy! Shirley!” Shawn screamed.
“Ndidi was taken aback, and so was Joan. They were both wondering if everything was alright. Shawn came running out screaming… Daddy & Shirley intermittently.
“Who is Shirley?” Asked Ndidi.
“Just give me 2 minutes and I’d introduce you to Shirley.”
“I can’t wait,” Ndidi replied.
I picked Shawn up once more and held him in my arms as we made way for my room.
“Daddy! Shawn!” Shirley screamed. It had been reversed now, as Shirley was the one screaming now. These two little kids were behaving like adults, hugging themselves over and over again.
“Ndidi, this is Shirley, the eight and most beautiful wonder of the world. She is Shawn’s twin sister.”
“Awwww! Are you kidding? You never told me Shawn had a twin sister. She is so cute.”
“Yes, just like her dad,” I replied.
“Go away joor, who told you that you are cute?” Ndidi said.
“E don tey. Been cute since 1942.”
We both laughed and spent the next few minutes chatting with Ndidi and Joan left. But Ndidi had promised to come back that night and to bring some food for Shirley and Shawn when she did. The latter interested me more, ‘cos I wasn’t sure If Shirley could eat what I had in mind to prepare for the entire weekend.
It was a few minutes past 7 pm, it was Etim on the line. It had better be important, I thought to myself because I was only interested in two calls at that moment; the first from Ndidi, the other from Chioma. Ndidi was a top priority ‘cos the kids were getting hungry.
“Ete Ideme!” I greeted Etim in Efik. Etim laughed, knowing that I couldn’t speak any more of his language than that which had been spoken.
“I dey fine. Aunty say mak I call you tell you say if you need anything for little madam, make you call me, I go bring am come.”
“Oga Etim, who be little Madam?”
“Oga, na Shirley!”
“Abeg abeg abeg… don’t add madam to my daughter’s name. Her name is Shirley.”
“Ok Oga, no vex.” “My name is not oga either, it’s Mitchel.”
“Ok, Oga Mitchel.”
“Kai! What will I do with you Etim?” “By the way, what time did you guys get to the airport?”
“Oga, we reach the airport by 2:20 pm o.”
“Why?” I shouted. We had left ten minutes past 12 pm, ordinarily, it shouldn’t have taken Etim more than 30 minutes to get to the airport, after dropping me off at 12:27 pm.
“Oga, nothing happened, just traffic.” I had a hunch that he was lying. So I decided to prove a little, using some psychology on him.
“Mr. Etim… kai! You no be the Etim of before. Before I know say u fit do Abuja to Calabar in 6hrs, and Abuja to Lagos in 5 hours.”
“Oga, u know me very well. You know how I dey drive..”
“What happened, is it the fat?” Mr, Etim got angry, he didn’t like anyone telling him that his fatness was getting in the way of anything he needed to do.
“Oga, no be that man wey dey carry face like person wey never chop. Oga after we dropped you, Madam say make we dey go airport. This man say he wan show madam something o. Na so the man just dey control me, turn left, go right, turn here until we enter one shop where he come buy madam plenty flowers and chocolate. Madam just dey smile dey laugh. I just…” Etim just kept squealing, while I listened with rapt attention. “Na so this man follow madam till we reach airport o. He come carry madam bag till we reach checkpoint for inside the local terminal. When dem don check madam bag, the man come hug, madam…”
“E don do.” I said abruptly, not letting Etim go any further. I had heard enough for one day.
“Oga, I never finish o. ”
“Oga Etim, I will call you if I need anything for little madam. Thank you. Good night!”
I said to Etim and then dropped the call. I suddenly began to feel nauseated after dropping the call. I wanted to hear more of what Mr. Etim had to say, but my heart was already hurting. So, Chyoma wouldn’t let me escort her to the airport, but she would let Akinyele? What was special about Akin? These were the rhetorical questions I had in my heart. Maybe time would answer these questions, but I wasn’t willing to be that patient.
I hurriedly paused the thoughts racing through my mind, and made my way to the front door.
“Y’hello! Have u been waiting for me?” Ndidi said. She was dressed up in Chelsea Fc colors, and had a smile on her face; the kind Mourinho would have had when Chelsea was three goals up within 15mins in the first half of the game. Ndidi held a medium sized cooler with one hand, and a big pack of mixed fruit juice in the other. Joan had a tray in her hands. I could smell goat meat, fried rice, plantain and I was ‘thanking God it was Friday’ – it was party time.
“Can we come in?”
“Please do,” I replied, and then got out of the way so that they could walk past.
“Good evening Aunty Ndidi,” Shawn said, sounding very lively. Shawn and Shirley had been in the living room, watching Monsters University, and fantasizing how they were going to become top scarers like Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan.
“Hello, my sweetheart!” Ndidi replied, walking towards the kitchen, so she could pick up a few plates and spoons.
“Shirley, how ‘re you?” Ndidi asked, opening the cooler to start the dishing.
“I’m fine, thank you!” Shirley replied Ndidi with an accent. The accent was American by the way, and I loved it.
“Hi Ndidi, how was church tonight?” I asked.
“Arghhhhhhh! You missed o uncle Mitchy.” Joan replied.
It must have been great I thought to myself if Joan is answering a question I asked her mother.
It’s 8:15 pm and the plane had just touched down, it was a pleasant flight. The night sky was alive, and so was the fear gripping everyone. Chyoma had arrived Freetown, several hours before her news crew would, which was coming from the united states. Right at the airport, it was easy to sense the apprehension. The Government had campaigned hard to assure the populace that the everything was fine. The death toll was pegged at 42, not many enough deaths to declare it an epidemic. But in many quarters, it was strongly debated that the figures were downplayed so that the tourist industry wouldn’t be hit hard. Some doctors who worked for government hospitals also corroborated the claim that the death figures were far much more than what was on the local news. However, these doctors would only speak anonymously, giving little or no credence to their statements.
“Welcome to Sierra-Leone.” The beautiful lady at the immigration desk said to Chyoma after scrutinizing her American passport.
“Thank you!” Chyoma replied with a smile and then walked away.
First night in another African country, wonder what it’s going to be like.
The airport was still very much busy and was to get busier, as more flights were expected to take off and land too.
While thinking about directions, Chioma realized she hadn’t called the US consulate nor the Nigerian High Commission to get some relevant information she should have gotten.
“What parts of town are crazy, and what parts are safe? I should have found that out before now.” Chioma thought out loud, a little angry at her inexperience. Looking ahead, she saw the big lady she sat beside on the flight from Lagos. Chioma stepped up her pace so she could catch up with her.
“Hello, ma’am!” Chioma said, smiling at the lady who didn’t take but a few seconds to return the smile, a bigger one at that.
“Hello dear!” The lady replied.
“I’m Silvia Mandela Milowangawe”
“You are definitely not Nigerian,” Chioma said while Anticipating a surprising answer too.
“I’m from South Africa.”
“Are you by any means related to Nelson Mandela?”
“Madiba is my mother’s eldest brother.”
“You have got to be kidding,” Chioma said, a little in awe of the moment. It was just a wild guess she had made, nothing more. This was the closest she had come to meeting a Mandela.
“What took you to Nigeria?”
“My husband works with MTN Nigeria, but I’m a diplomat. I work with the South African High Commission here. I went to spend my vacation with my husband in Nigeria.”
“How about you, what brings you here?” Mrs. Milowangawe asked.
“I work for CNN, I’m here to do a story on the on-going viral outbreak.”
“Wow! I knew I had seen you before.” Silvia said.
“I don’t think so, I’m not that popular, this is my first big story.”
Both ladies kept talking and walking towards the exit.
My phone rang just as I walked out the house to go buy some suya. The party couldn’t end without a taste of mallam Shakiru’s suya. His suya was every suya man’s dream suya. I especially wanted Shirley to taste it. I doubted they had such in America. I pulled out the phone from my pocket, expecting the call to be from Chyoma. My true caller app identified the caller as Akinyesco Baddoski. I wondered what kind of foolish name that was. I’ll find out in a minute, I thought to myself.
“Hello Mitchel, how are u?” The male voice on the other end said. The voice sounded familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.
“I’m fine, thanks,” I replied.
“Who am I speaking with please?” I asked. That question was too personal for a stranger to ask me.
Arrggggggghhhh! I almost hissed.
“How may I help you, Akin?” I asked, a little-pissed off.
“You can’t help me o. Do you even have a job? Well, I just wanted to let you know that Chyoma has arrived Sierra-Leone. She has called me twice already. Actually, I wanted to send her greetings to Shirley, and not you.”
“Akin, If you let me lay my-”
The phone went dead. Akin had dropped. Kai! I was vexed. What kind of mood killer is this guy? How did he get my number? -But the thought that hurt me most was that of Chyoma calling him twice, but not calling me once, at least to say she has arrived, or just to speak with Shirley. But whatever the case, tonight was a party night, nothing was going to spoil this weekend. So, I bought the suya and rushed back to the house.
*back in Freetown*
Silvia had invited Chioma to spend the night at her place. For Silvia, it was the first time she had shown such a gesture to a stranger. For Chyoma, it was also a first too. Chyoma ordinarily didn’t accept such an offer. This time, it was different, Silvia and Chioma seemed to connect with each other at first sight. Also, it wasn’t everyday one got an offer to be hosted by someone from the lineage of the great Madiba. Outside the airport was parked a Honda accord 2015 model belonging to the South African high commission. Silvia’s chauffeur was all suited up and standing by one of the doors on the right-hand side of the car.
“Hello, Tarfa,” Silvia said in response to her Chauffeur’s warm reception. Tarfa had been Silvia’s personal driver for almost 4 years, and he was one of the most loyal staff Silvia had worked it. Tarfa opened the door to let in his boss and Chyoma into the car. Both sat in the back seat of the Honda Accord.
“Are you married?” Silvia asked Chyoma.
“I used to be,” Chioma replied hastily.
“Let’s say – I enjoyed it while it lasted, but all good things come to an end.” It was obvious that Chioma didn’t want to talk about this. So, Silvia was sensitive enough to stop prodding. Chioma never liked talking about her divorce from Mitchie, not even with her best of friends, it stirred up so many emotions. The ride was a fun one, and sort of a tour – Silvia had asked Tarfa to take a longer route home, so she could show Chyoma the special places in town. It was usually never a dull moment with Silvia Milowangawe.
Well, neither was it a dull moment with Ndidi and Joan over at my house. It seemed I had even forgotten what Akinyele said over the phone to piss him off. The kids were having fun, and for the first time, I really enjoyed Ndidi’s company. It seemed Joan treated the twins with such love like they were her siblings, and Ndidi seemed to adore me. That was the recipe for a loving family. The party lasted till 10:15 pm, and then Ndidi and Joan left.
It was about the same time that Ndidi and Joan left the house that Chyoma and Silvia got home.
“Have you spoken to anyone in Nigeria?”
“No…. Oh, my!” Chyoma exclaimed.
“My battery was low when I got off the plane, and I was so pre-occupied with settling in and so excited about meeting a Mandela that I forgot to let my ex-know I had arrived.”
Chioma seemed puzzled, still wondering how something that important could have skipped her mind.
“Please, where can I charge my phone battery?” Chioma asked.
“Sweetheart, right now you need to make use of mine. You can charge yours later.” Replied Silvia.
“You are such a darling”
“That’s what everybody says,” Silvia replied cheekily and passed her Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge to Chyoma.
It was almost 10:30 pm and the kids had been tucked into bed. The kids had decided they didn’t want to shower, and I caved into their desire. Afterall, it was supposed to be a weekend made in heaven for them. I was reading a bedtime story to my kids when a call from a foreign number came in. I guessed it was Chioma, so instead of speaking to her, I hurriedly gave the phone to Shirley.
“Hi sweetheart, I guess mum wants to speak to you.”
“Hello! Hello!!” Chioma said, waiting for a reply from the other end.
“Hello, mummy!” Shirley replied.
“Oh my sweetheart, I have missed you like I have been away for a month. How ‘re you?”
“I’m doing fine, mummy. How was your flight?”
“It was lovely. I wish you were here with me, I’m sure you would love Sierra-leone a lot. It’s got a rich cultural heritage and a lot of fun places. Hope your daddy is taking good care of you?”
“Yes. We had a party tonight – me, Shawn, Daddy, Joan and aunty Ndidi.”
“Who is Aunty Ndidi?” Chioma asked. “She is Joan’s mother.” Chioma wanted to ask who Joan was, but she knew Shirley shouldn’t be the one answering those questions, so she decided to ask about Shawn. Shawn was already asleep. I knew that I would be the last on Chioma’s list – so I waited patiently for her to ask for me.
“Can I speak to daddy?” Chioma politely requested of Shirley.
“Sure mom!” Shirley replied before handing me the phone.
“Hello!” I said in a low tone. My voice was cold, and it was very obvious.
“Hey Mitchie, how ‘re u?”
“Couldn’t be better,” I replied Chyoma.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call you as soon as I landed in Freetown. I had a low battery.”
I almost wanted to ask why the battery wasn’t low enough when she spoke to Akin as soon as she arrived. But I decided to keep calm.
“It’s alright. As long as you arrived safely, that’s all that matters to me.”
“You know I’m not good at guesses.”
“I’m staying at the house of a Mandela. Nelson Mandela’s niece to be precise,” Chioma said, sounding so excited.
I guess I would only be that excited If I was staying over at Jose Mourinho’s house. But I was learning a lot of things afresh. Anything that makes a woman excited should make you excited too – that’s an important rule, one that had learned the hard way. So, I shared her moment with her and listened patiently as she told me all about the few hours she had spent in Freetown.
It felt like a hangover, my head kept spinning, but it was 4:00 am already, and I had plenty of work to do on my blog. So, I hit the snooze button, hoping to get extra 15 mins of sleep. It was short, it felt like two minutes. But like Tupac said, “sleep gives a man dreams, but hard work success.” So, I got off the bed and turned my laptop on. I had to post and review a poem or two.
City Of lights.
Come with me to the city of lights Its inhabitants would love to meet you If they see me coming with you.
Let’s dance by the river of life The fishes would love to greet you If they see me dancing with you.
Let’s live forever in Eden
The roses would stay crimson If they see me living with you.
Let’s pass by the milky way,
The stars would shine brighter,
If they see me passing by with you.
And our love would last forever If it finds me forever with you.
Review: I read a lot of poems daily, but this is brilliant. The poet keeps it simple; no ambiguous words or expressions, just a simple expression of how the earth and the entire universe would be happy to see the poet and his true love together. Everything around you and everyone should know when you fall in love. If they don’t, you might need to rekindle your love again. I salute the writer, and I know that every one of us on this blog would be happy to find them in love forever. I’d rate this poem 4.5 stars. I wish you all a love and poetry filled weekend. Salute!
That was the first review for the day. I really felt tired, so I hibernated the laptop and went back to bed.
“…in this proud land we grew up strong/ we were wanted all along/ I was taught to fight, taught to win/ I never thought I could fail. No fight left or so it seems/ I am a man whose dreams have all deserted. I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name/ but no one wants you when you lose/ Don’t give up ‘cos you have friends/ don’t give up you’re not beaten yet/ don’t give up I know you can make it good…”
I had woken up to the beautiful melodious lyrics to Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush’s song – don’t give up, playing from the neighbor’s house. I hadn’t heard that song in a while, but couldn’t forget how much it did to get me through the pain of the divorce from Chyoma. It took me about 30 seconds to decide if I really wanted to get out of bed or just wrap my entire body in the duvet. I chose the latter, but that only lasted for 10 minutes, because Shirley and Shawn were jumping all over my body like it was the playground. I enjoyed it a lot though.
*back in Sierra-leone*
It was 5 am in Freetown, time in Abuja wasn’t as patient, so it was an hour ahead. Chioma hadn’t slept much all night. It was hard to tell whether it was the Joy of the adventure ahead of her or the fun of staying with a Mandela. The CNN camera crew had arrived the country and were already lodged at Swiss Spirit Hotel & Suite in Freetown. Meeting Silvia seemed like divine orchestration, it was paying off in many ways. For one, Silvia was willing to assist her as much as she could. Silvia’s living room was 20 ft long and 15 ft wide. It was simple and classy – a few paintings hung and displayed here and there, a mega sound system lying just below a massive 50 inches Samsung Smart Television. The furniture was Arabian styled, imported from Turkey, along with the Persian rug. The dangling chandelier added to the simple but grandiose look.
Chyoma was propped up on the couch to the east of the parlor, fiddling with her HP CP 1520 Core i5 laptop, surfing the internet, hoping to gather as much information as she could on the outbreak. She hadn’t gotten much from the hours spent searching. It seemed like the government was working overtime to keep things on the low as much as possible.
“Sawubona!” Silvia murmured twice to Chyoma, while walking to the fridge to get a cup of fresh juice.
“What did you mutter just now?” Chioma asked.
“I said sawubona!” Silvia replied, her voice sounding wobbly because the words found it difficult wading through the pool of juice in her mouth to escape through her lips.
“You said Salmonella?” Chioma asked.
Silvia couldn’t keep herself from laughing at Chioma who still had a look of bewilderment.
“It’s pronounced Sawuuubonnnnaa,” Silvia said, letting the words drag so that Chioma gets it this time.
“What does it mean?”
“Good morning in the Zulu language.”
“Okay Zulu princess.”
“Would you like a glass of mixed fruit juice or milk?”
“I’ll have a glass of milk. Thanks!”
“Have you been able to search out useful information?” Silvia asked.
“Nothing really helpful. All the pages linked to this outbreak do not exist any longer, or the sites redirect you to other sites that are designed for phishing.”
“It’s good you are Sherlock Holmes. The truth will be uncovered.” Silvia said to Chioma, and then she picked up the tv remote and sat down to watch the news.
Chioma laughed at the idea of being called Sherlock Holmes, however, she was willing to uncover the truth. At least, that was the essence of Journalism…. to tell it as it is.
I had taken the kids for an early morning walk, and to watch a few minutes of basketball at the makeshift basketball court in front of Shendam close, off Emeka Anyaoku crescent. The court was filled with young talented players trying to replicate the moves they had seen the likes of Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan do on the court. There was this guy who looked like Allen Iverson but played like Shaquille O’Neal – he was quite impressive to watch.
Just when I was about to leave with the kids, I felt a hand tap me on the shoulder.
“Hey!” Ndidi greeted me, giving me a warm handshake.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m watching these young talents play. Just took a walk with the kids.”
“I see. I’m here with Joan, I’m trying to do some cardiovascular exercises.”
“Will you come over with the kids for breakfast?”
You know, I really wanted to form levels and just say no, we’d take care of ourselves, but common sense rebuked me immediately.
“Sure. Why not?”
“Would you like to have Akara or Moi-moi?”
“Can I have both?” I replied.
“Noooooooooooooo!” Ndidi answered with a smile.
“Ok then, I will have Akara, I think the kids would want same too.”
“I have something special for the kids.”
“Wow! I’m getting jealous already. Shouldn’t their father have an even more special dish?”
“I will make your Akara as special as can be.”
Ndidi was really sweet. Maybe I would have given her a chance if Chyoma hadn’t come at this time. Being single for these few years wasn’t easy, especially when you have a little man like Shawn to look after. Shawn was a little Pharisee; when he was out of the house, he was the quietest boy you could meet. But when it was just the two of us, It felt like he was Mark Spencer. But he still was the greatest son any father could wish for.
We were back home in a hurry. My exercise schedule was cut short so that I could get the kids ready for the breakfast trip to Ndidi’s place.
“Shirley, would you like me to bathe you?”
“No dad, I’m a big girl,” Shirley replied.
“How ’bout you Shawn?” I had bathed Shawn almost all his life, but I was quite certain that if Shirley says no, he would also claim to be a big boy and follow suit.
“No dad, I’m a big boy,” Shawn replied.
You see? That’s why I called him the little Pharisee.
The door was opened to us.
“Uncle Mitchie, you are welcome!” Joan said, seemingly happy to have us around.
“Hello, Ndidi!” I called out as we walked into the living room. Ndidi’s taste for beauty was exceptional, and this could be seen all over her house. From the choice of colors to the splendor of the furniture, the puzzling artworks on display, it was really a beautiful house.
“Hello people!” Ndidi said as she walked into the parlor.
“Aunty Ndidi! Aunty Ndidi!!” The kids were all over her. Ndidi apparently loved them and enjoyed their company too.
“Shirley sweetheart, how ‘re you?”
“I’m fineeeee,” Shirley replied, wearing a broad smile.
Ndidi patted Shawn affectionately on the head, and then she blessed me with a smile.
The dining-room table was just adjacent to the living room, and so, Ndidi walked in and beckoned on us to come in. I wasted no time to move in. There was an oval shaped glass dining table in the middle of the room, closely surrounded by chairs made from cane. I liked what I could see on the table; beanballs, moi-moi, fried chicken, and salad. There was also noodles and fried eggs – I assumed those were meant for the kids.
We were all seated in a few seconds. Joan prayed over the meal and then, the plates and spoons began to move around; up and down, in and out. I had never had moi-moi with salad, or akara with salad. Ndidi was a super chef because the taste was heavenly. In between bites and swallows, I would look up, and Ndidi would be staring at me. For the first time in all the years I had known her, I also felt like staring at her too, and probably asking her on a date. Was it the food doing the magic – like some kind of love potion ish? I doubted it. It had just been the fact that for once, I was really getting to know her closely, and she was really beautiful, inside and outside. Maybe I should throw caution to the wind and just ask Ndidi if she would love to have dinner with me tonite at Nouveau, the classy restaurant at Wuse 2. Maybe It wasn’t time for that yet. A big part of me still wanted to have Chyoma back, and that part of me had kept me from dating anyone over the years. It’s best to just enjoy this moment and save the future for the future.
“It’s just 5:30 am, who could it be calling?” Chyoma was awakened by the sound of her buzzing fone. It was her first night sleep since she got to Sierra-leone. Chyoma had checked into Swiss spirit hotel, where the rest of her CNN team had been lodged.
“Hello, good morning!”
“Good morning!” The voice on the other end of the phone said.
“Who I’m speaking with please?” Chioma said, while her eyes were trying to decide if they wanted to stay open or shut.
“Ooooh Akin, how are you?”
“I’m fine my dear.”
“I have missed you,” Akin said.
“That’s nice to hear. But you are just calling me for the first time since I got here.” Chioma responded.
“It’s a long story.”
“You won’t believe that Mitchel came to my office on the evening of the day you traveled, and he attacked me in front, my colleagues. He called me a wife stealer and a useless nobody who is just a gold digger. Finally, to further humiliate me, he seized my phone and said he had to be the first one to hear from you when you arrived, and that when he had spoken to you, he would give me back my phone. I wanted to deal with Mitchie like I would my kid brother, but there were customers everywhere, so I let just make a fool of himself.”
“Mitchie said and did all these?”
“I don’t want to even say some of the other things he did,” Akin replied.
“I’m really sorry he put you through all these. And thank you for not fighting him. You are an honorable man.”
“Thanks, dear,” Akin said.
“So, how is work?” Chioma asked Akin.
“I’m getting ready to leave the house, I’m on a morning shift today.”
“You work on Sundays?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Ok. do have a great day at work.”
“Thank you. Can I call you later today?”
“I’m not sure how the day is going to be. Yet to make a breakthrough on this story. So, I anticipate a very busy day. Maybe you can call me tomorrow morning?”
“Ok, that will be fine. Have a great day dear.” Akin said, and then he hit the red button on his phone.
Part 3 here
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Written by Richard Oti