Monday, September 21

17

Something Bigger Than Love 2 - 4

FOUR


 

Uchechi was bent over the boiling pot, waving the raffia fan vigorously across the fire and back when Obinna walked into the compound.

White smoke curled round the kitchen.

From the veranda, Ugochi sighted Obinna and ran to hug him.

Uchechi came out of the kitchen with teary eyes. ‘Nnaa, you come?’


‘Good afternoon, mama,’ Obinna greeted.

‘Afternoon.’

‘Nne, why are you in the kitchen when Ugochi is here?’

Uchechi made a guttural kum sound. ‘Do you count this one as a human being too?’ she said, waving.

Obinna turned to look at Ugochi.

A big frown was on Ugochi’s face. ‘Don’t mind Mama o, she is the one that insisted she will cook herself.’

‘Why won’t I insist?’ Uchechi returned sharply. ‘If we take as much salt as we did last night again, Onochie and I will reach Health Centre.’

Obinna started to laugh.

Ugochi hissed and stormed off into the house.

‘Please university should do and end, let me have my real daughter back, this one with me here I cannot tell where she came out from.’

Obinna continued to smile. He understood that situation where continued presence creates devaluation while absence heightens appreciation.

‘What of Papa?’ he asked.

‘Meeting,’ Uchechi said. ‘Since they made him chairman, it is now from one meeting to the other.’

‘Ok.’

Ogom kwanu?’ Uchechi asked. ‘How is my in-law?’

‘Mama is fine. She said since you two will meet at the church in the evening that there is no need coming with me.’

Uchechi sighed. ‘That women’s meeting, who is even sure I’ll go.’

Obinna put his hand in his pocket and brought out two N500 notes and a piece of paper.

He extended the money first. ‘Mama, take.’

‘What is that?’ A sudden frown came over Uchechi’s face. ‘Put that back into your pocket fast!’

Obinna was staring.

‘You are giving me money after all you have passed through, put that away osiso!’

‘Mama, please take.’

Uchechi turned glaring eyes up at him. ‘Obinna, I said put that back into your pocket!’

Finally Obinna obeyed.

‘You will give me money, inu,’ Uchechi said, ‘you are my son-in-law, but it is not now.’

Obinna nodded.

He extended the piece of paper.

‘What is that one?’

‘My number, keep it for Ada.’

‘Okay.’

Uchechi collected it. She made to untie the end of her wrapper but stopped. ‘No, I will put it in my purse instead before I wash it like I now do my money every day.’

‘Okay, mama. Dalu, I’ll be leaving now.’

‘When is your journey?’

‘Tomorrow?’

Echi nkea?’

‘Yes.’

Ije oma nwam—safe journey, my son.’

‘Thank you, mama.’

***

Ada continued to check her purse; there was nothing else.

All the money she could find had come to N3800.

She waved down a bike man.

‘Please is there a guest house around here?’ she asked when the motorcycle came to a halt in her front.

‘Yes,’ the bike man answered. ‘There is one in Boladale, another one in Bello Street.’

‘Please do you know how much they charge per night?’

The man looked thoughtful and then shook his head. ‘I no dey sure, but e no go pass N10,000.’

‘Eh, how much?’

‘10,000.’

‘Please do you know if banks will still be open at this time?’

The man turned to check his phone—a small white and blue Nokia device. He shook his head. ‘After five, no. You no get ATM?’

‘No.’

The man started his motorcycle and zoomed off before she could say another word.

Adaku did not understand the reason behind the reaction.

She waved down another. ‘How much to the nearest Fidelity Bank around here,’ she asked.

‘Pay N100.’

’50.’

‘Enter.’

The bike man stopped at the end of the street and pointed to his right. ‘The bank is there.’

The security man in white in green uniform told her the bank has closed.

‘Please can I just enter?’ she begged.

The man ignored her and turned away.

‘Please, sir.’

‘Madam, I know you are looking for what I will say now so that you will go and tell them that I’m rude, but it won’t work. Banks everywhere close by 4. Go and come back tomorrow.’

He turned away again.

Ada waited, staring. After it became obvious he wasn’t going to turn to look at her again, she turned and walked away.

She stood outside the bank for long, fighting the urge to cry.

Finally she opened her purse and brought out her phone.

She dialled Felix.

He sounded teasingly amused at first. ‘You are stranded, how possible?’

After she said ‘Seriously, I am’ in corresponding voice, he turned quiet for a while and then asked, ‘Where exactly in Lagos are you?’

Adaku looked round; the city was darkening. People were now dark-tinged figures hurrying to and fro.

‘I don’t really know but I believe this is still Oshodi,’ she said.

Felix was quiet again.

‘Hello?’ Ada said.

‘Hello?’

‘My elder brother stays in Gbagada and it is not too far from Oshodi, but—’ Felix broke off again.

Ada waited. After some time and she got nothing still, she called, ‘Felix? Felix, are you there?’

‘Yes, yes,’ he said. ‘Sorry, I was thinking. If you have enough money, can you find a cheap hotel nearby and pass the night then start coming back to school in the morning?’

‘I don’t have enough money and all the banks are closed.’

‘Shit!’

Ada waited again. ‘Felix?’

‘I’m here,’ Felix returned.

But he was still slow to speak.

‘Felix, if only you can just call your brother and tell him your friend is stranded...’

‘Of course, thought of that already.’

‘Okay, so?’

He was quiet again.

‘Hello?’

‘Well, you see, he is kind of a bit eccentric, not sure you’d like him.’

‘Felix, tell me you are joking! Here am I in the middle of a bizarre city looking very scared and you are considering if I would like your brother or not. What I need is a place to sleep and not a man to marry!’

‘Okay, fine, I will call him. Describe where you are for me.’

When Felix called back some minutes after to say he’s spoken with his brother and that he’d call her any minute, Ada sighed in relief.

Soon her phone was ringing and the number was new.

The phone to her ear, she said, ‘Hello, good evening.’

‘Evening, young lady,’ returned a deep male voice. ‘Feliciano said you are a good friend of his and that sadly, you’ve become stranded in Africa’s most boisterous.’

She was not really, but she feigned amused. ‘Yes, I am, sir,’ she said.

‘Oh, I can sense your anxiety from your voice,’ the voice said. ‘When you get here, you gonne be needing a mild anxiolytic, nothing a hot cup of coffee cannot effectively handle, that is ruling out the possibility of anxiety neurosis, agoraphobia or any related condition.’

‘What?’

‘Oh, never mind, never mind, just stay put where you are and I’d come get you, okay?’

‘Okay, thank you very much.’

‘You welcome. Is it okay if I call you lady?’

‘Eh?’

‘Oh sorry, you obviously too reactive at this time to be effectively perceptive. Don’t worry, I’d drive out right away to save the damsel in distress, okay?’

‘Ok.’

‘By the way, in case Feliciano El Chico, failed to mention to you, I am a medical doctor, used to be practising but now no longer, so you are in safe hands.’

‘Okay.’

Adaku’s okay was slow and shallow; she now was beginning to understand what Felix had meant by eccentric.

17 comments:

  1. Feliciano el chico??? Chaiiiiii.....Adaku don suffer dis night ooo... Well, i hope she'll b safe.

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  2. Hmmmm! I sense danger for Ada!! Going to spend the night in the house of a man who isn't related to her,a strange man in Nigeria,i hope he doesn't sexually molest her oooo.

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  3. this is a moral lesson to us , look b4 u leap, dont go to a place uninformed, be sure

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  4. This should be Honorable Patrick's brother! Eccentric is the word.

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  5. Serious Agwu is worrying that Felix's brother! Let's see how it pans out. Obinna's helper also stays in Gbagada!

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    1. Tot I was d only one that noticed that twist. Waiting impatiently to see how this turns out

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  6. Lol. I hope she'll be safe.

    Pamscrib.blogspot.com

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  7. Omg pls ad be safe inugo! Thank goodness it's just fiction!.*relief sigh*

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  8. I hope obinna will understand Ada wen dey finally meet in gbadaga

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  9. Hope the guy won't try nonsense with ada o. this one he keep blowing big grammar.

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  10. Hmm, hope this brother wont molest our Ada? How can she even travel without enough money on her, na wa for her jare.

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  11. the guy Don read book too much sote he Dey scoint, this is grade 1 madness,, lol

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  12. Let Ada just be safe, this Mr Grammar eh

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  13. Grammar tinz on point. Love the word agoraphobia

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  14. Eccentric does not even begin to describe this Felix's brother. Nice twist.

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