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Madu watched his wife prepare for work the next morning, he
sat on the bed and watched her get ready.
“I’ll see if I get a head way on my job search today.” He
said. “By the way, who were you speaking with last night?”
“None of your business.” Stella replied.

“I’ve taken your insults for so long, and I won’t have you
disrespect me in my house.” Madu said, raising his voice.
“Your house? The house you hardly pay rent for? The house I
practically foot all its bills?” Stella fired at him.
“That doesn’t give you the right to insult me or disrespect me.” He said.
“Have I insulted you? When did I insult you? You’re prying
into my business and I’m not having it. Can’t I have my space? My friend on
vacation from the United States called me because she’s six hours behind
time there and all of a sudden, I get queried?”
“I…I’m not querying you, if you had given me this answer last night, I would have slept better.” He said.
She didn’t reply, instead she bent to wear her shoes, Madu
stared at her rounded bottom and said.
“It’s been long since we made love…”
“That’s far from my mind now….Kamsi’s teacher called me
yesterday at work, she said the school is introducing a new class and it’s
gymnastics. It’s twenty thousand naira for the class and I have to figure out
how to get the money for it.”
“Gymnastics? I had no idea that the school added a new
class…” He said.
“The school has different classes, from swimming lessons, to
mandarin classes, it’s just that we had to opt out of most of the classes because
of money.” Stella said.
“Well…I hope they have qualified swimming instructors, I
don’t want my baby to drown all in the name of swimming classes.”
Stella straightened up and turned to look at him.
“You see?” She said raising her hands in the air.
“What do I see?” Madu asked.
“You are becoming more archaic by the day! All my colleagues
children attend bigger schools than my daughter’s and their kids learn all
these things. Last year, Kamsi came with me for the office end of the year
party and I was so ashamed that she couldn’t even speak phonetics like the
other kids.” Stella said.
“Wait…so, you’re comparing yourself to your colleagues?” He
asked. “What happened to contentment?”
“You want me to be contented with this?” She asked gesturing
to the small room they shared. “You are more stupid than I thought.”
“Don’t you dare insult me, the fact that I’m stating the
obvious doesn’t mean I’m stupid.”
“I’m late for work, I’ll see you in the evening.” Stella
said and picking up her bag, she stormed out of the room.
Madu stared at the door as she slammed it shut.
********
Anita was at her desk going through some paper work when her
phone rang, she couldn’t believe the caller ID that appeared on the screen.
“Madu! This is not true! Whaaaaaat?” She screamed.
“Hello Anita, it’s been so long.” He said over the phone.
“Yea…it’s been ages. The last time we saw was when your aunt
kicked me out of your house. How’s that witch by the way?” Anita asked.
“She’s no witch and she’s fine.” Madu said over the phone.
“Haba…it’s been donkey years, it’s almost ten years since we
saw last right?”
“Yes, ten years is a long time…” He said.
“How…did you get my number?” She asked.
“It has always been on my phone, I never deleted it.” He said.
“This is truly a surprise…wow!” Anita said. “I have your number stored on my phone too.”
“Well, I just decided to holler at you…like you said, it’s
been long.”
“Are you free for lunch? Where are you?” She asked.
“Ipaja…” He replied.
“Can we meet at the mall at Ikeja for lunch? That’s if it’s convenient
by you…we really need to catch up.”
“Yes…sure we can. What time?”
“Let’s say one pm…”
“I’ll be there.” Madu said.
“Cool.” She replied and hung up.
As soon as she hung up, she stared at her phone and laughed.
*******
Madu had readied himself to go on his job hunt and had just called
his former company HR to see if there was any severance pay in view for the
laid off workers when he had stumbled on Anita’s contact.
Anita was his longtime friend and they had met each other at
the university. His aunt had never approved of her because to her, she was very
forward and too pushy. In actual fact, Anita was a go-getter. Even after losing
her father at a young age and being left with a mother who didn’t have much to
cater for her kids except her small business of selling vegetables, Anita had
single-handedly trained herself in school, in fact back then, she also
provided him with enough money to buy his text books.
They had met on a sunny afternoon in class, Anita was a year
ahead in school but she was resitting the course so, she had asked to be
directed to the course representative which was Madu. Madu, being his typical
down to earth self and who never really paid attention to his looks stared at
the very pretty girl who had come to ask for his help. She had begged to be his
friend so that he could help tutor her on the course and also help mark her
attendance even when she didn’t show up in class but he’d refused.
The next day, she had delivered a brand new phone to his room with
a note that read; ‘please help me. Anita’, he had looked for her all round
campus to return the phone to no avail, the day after that, she delivered two
shirts and three trousers in his perfect size to his hostel. This has to stop,
he’d thought as he spent the whole day searching for her once again to return the gifts.
On the third day, she sent to his hostel room, brand new books and handouts
that he didn’t have because he had no money to buy them. This time, he was
determined to find her and finally traced her to a hostel off-campus. The
hostel was known as the ‘Queen’s Lodge’ it was the best hostel off campus and it bore close resemblance to a sorority house.
On getting there with his friend Ade whom he had begged to
accompany him, they were greeted by the beauty of the hostel. The grasses inside the compound was well mowed, the flowers offered sweet scent and the hostel building shone like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. When they knocked
at her door and she opened it, the cool air conditioned breeze from her room made them
realize that they had been suffering all the while. They stepped into her mini
apartment and it felt like paradise.
“Hello Madu, I see you’ve accepted my request.” She had said
to him.
He opened his mouth to speak as he desperately wanted to
tell her to come and take her belongings at his hostel but she opened the
fridge and brought out two chilled cans of malt. Since Madu stepped into the
university, he had never drank coke talk more of malt as his pocket never
allowed him bask in such luxury.
“What do you want to eat? I can make chips and I have roasted
chicken, I could just warm it up.” She’d said.
Madu and Ade had nodded like lizards as she went to work in
the kitchen and soon, the aroma of sweet food assailed their nostrils. By the
time she was out with the food and placed it before them, all they could do was
stare. It was like God had sent an angel down from heaven with Manna in her hands.
“So, what do I owe this visit?” She’d asked.
You should have seen Madu and Ade stammer as though they
were dragged in by a trailer.
“We…I…we…err….just…err…wanted to see…err…where…our new…course mate…lived.”
Madu said and Ade nodded.
By the time they finished the meal, the deal was signed and
sealed. Madu became Anita’s school dictionary while Anita became his food
market and bank account.
In a few hours it was eleven am and since he knew he had to
trek half the way, take a bus, and go through traffic before getting to the
mall, he hurried out of his house. As soon as he locked the door and stepped
out, he heard his name.
“Madu…”
He turned to see who was addressing him. It was Brenda’ his
neighbour’s wife and this time she was clad in a clingy tank top and a very
mini jeans skirt.
“Good…morning.” He greeted.
“My bulb suddenly burst and I need someone to help me fix it
quickly. Can you come?” She asked in a pleading voice.
“I am off to a meeting…” Madu said.
“It’s not going to take long na…it’s just to change bulb. What’s
difficult in that?” She asked.
Madu looked at her, he could tell she wasn’t wearing a bra
because her breasts moved around the fabric like sheep without a Shepard.
“I have to go…” He said and turning on his heels he
practically raced through the gate. He dispelled unwanted thoughts from his
head. On a normal day, he’d not even be moved by Brenda’s breasts but today,
after a long night of lying awake and thinking of sex with his wife, his mind
was playing tricks with him and knowing Brenda, the bulb wasn’t the only thing
she needed to be worked on, in that house of hers.
He arrived at the mall at exactly one pm and when he got
there, he hung around for thirty minutes before her call came in.
“I’m at the mall.” He said.
“Meet me at the restaurant at the front. I’m there.” Anita
said.
When Madu walked into the restaurant, he did a double take.
The Anita he knew was beautiful, the woman seated at a table and smiling at
him was drop dead gorgeous. As soon as he walked up to her, she stood up and stretched
out her arms to give him a hug. Madu wished he had bought a perfume, she smelt
heavenly.
“Oh my goodness! Madu! My God! It’s been forever!” She said
with an accent he hadn’t heard over the phone.
They both sat down and stared at each other.
“Yes, it’s been years…how have you been? You don’t look bad
at all…”
Anita giggled and signaled to a waiter who rushed to their
table as though chased by some kind of wild animals.
“Can I have lemon water please and can I see your menu?” She
asked the waiter.
The waiter placed the menu before her and she said.
“What would you like to drink, dear?” She asked Madu.
“A coke please…” He said quickly.
The waiter nodded and scampered off.
“When you called me I was like, where in the world did you
emerge from? Tell me everything that has been happening to you. I want to hear
it all.” She said with a smile.
“Well, life has been pretty much…good.” He said.
“So, what do you do for a living? You really came out with a
good result you know, you should have snagged a very good company by now.”
Anita said.
“Well, I tried my best but you know how work comes, it’s all
grace and favour.” He said. “So what do you do? Where do you work?”
“Well, I own my company, I manufacture products and I sell, I also run some other businesses.”
“You what? Own your company?” He asked.
“Why do you sound so surprised? I wasn’t brilliant in school
but I’m a business genius. I wonder why we are asked to go to school at all,
many things I’m doing now came from my intuition and I could have done them as
an illiterate. Well, I have my MBA from the university of Leicester so, I guess
that’s a plus.” She smiled.
“What? You’ve traveled abroad?”
“Why do you make it sound like an achievement? Going abroad
is not a big deal, the people there are like you and I and they live their
lives as normally as we do.” She said.
“Wow!” He said.
The waiter came with the drinks and Anita opened the menu.
“I’ll have the Shrimp rice with croaker fish, I want sauce
too and please make it spicy.” She said to the waiter. “Madu, make your choice.”
“I’ll have the same as she’s having.” Madu said.
Anita took in Madu’s appearance, from his hair to his shoes.
She was highly disappointed, she remembered the first day she set eyes on Madu,
she had told her friend ‘this is my husband’. Madu was tall, handsome and very
well built, and back then, she swooned over him even though she wasn’t interested in abandoning her money
sources in a bid to chase after a broke guy. Madu had not really been interested in her for anything more than
helping her scale through her grades but she had carefully roped him in and
they started having sex.
Anita never dated Madu, infact, she never dated anyone, all she did was have
men for different reasons, she had those for cash, another set for travels, and
Madu for grades, and that was how her life went.
Now, staring at his appearance made her cringe, his hair
looked dusty as though there was a trailer load of lice in its depths, his
shirt was washed-out and not even ironed, his trousers were flabby and worn out,
and his shoes, she couldn’t believe he could step out of the house in those
pair of boots which bore close resemblance to that of an under paid construction
worker.
“So, tell me…how’s life in general?” She asked.
“Well, I’m happily married with a daughter.” He said.
“Oh really? That’s so cute…do you have a picture?” Anita
asked with a smile.
Madu brought out his wallet and retrieved a small passport
photograph. He handed it over to her.
“She’s a stunner! She has your face…and your smile,” Anita said with a
smile.
“That’s what everyone says…” Madu said and collected the
picture from Anita.
“So, tell me, how’s work? How’s the pay? Are you living
well?”
Madu smiled ruefully and shook his head.
“I was fired yesterday…”
“What? Where you given a notice of some sort?”
“No, unfortunately…” He said.
“That’s so cruel, you should sue.”
“In a country like this? It’s not going to work.” He said
and paused. “This might sound forward, seeing that we just met after a long time but I stumbled on your contacts and
decided to give you a buzz. I’m not asking for your help but if you decide to
help me with a job, maybe at your company, I won’t mind.”
Anita looked at him thoughtfully and after a while she smiled.
“Our food has arrived, let’s dig in.” She said as she
sighted the waiter coming over to their table with the food.
They both dug in and while they were eating, Anita’s phone
rang and she answered the calls while eating, she gave out orders and directions
to those who seemed to be her staff. As soon as they were done eating, she
said.
“You’re in luck. I have a vacancy for a personal assistant.
The pay is one hundred and fifty thousand naira, that’s if you’re interested.”
The mention of one hundred and fifty thousand naira seemed
to Madu as though it was one million naira. He almost whopped in joy.
“Are you serious? I am very interested….” Madu said in joy.
“Then, why waste anymore time…you begin work tomorrow.” She
said.
Madu’s eyes widened in surprise and disbelief at his luck.
Anita stood up from the chair and he did the same.
“I’ll drop you off if you’re going my way. Where are you
headed?”
“Ipaja…” He said.
“Hmmm…I’m headed towards the GRA, that’s where my office is
located.” She opened her purse and brought out some money and handed it to him.
“Here’s for your transport.”
“What? I can’t accept this, you gave me a job, you…I just
can’t.” He said.
“You’re too modest Madu. Have you forgotten so easily how I
got you to tutor me back then in school? I can never accept a NO.”
Madu took the money and smiled at her in gratitude.
“I appreciate this…thank you…God bless you.” He said.
“I’ll be expecting you tomorrow at nine am sharp, here’s my
company card.” She handed him a card. “You shouldn’t miss it, it’s along the
road and please, when you’re coming, wear your best. I can’t introduce you to
my staff in over-sized trousers and faded shirt.” She said and walked away.
Madu watched her leave as her words sank in.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Chai! May poverty not make us walk into a trap. Something tells me Anita has plans aside PA job for Madu……I really hope i'm wrong. Madu's daughter should not suffer o!

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