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Some things in life happen that return calm to troubled waters. These things return ease to unease and bring a hopeful kind of feeling when things seem not to be moving the way we want. They bring a fresh breath of air and a needed sense of redirection. These same things just give one a sort of much needed distraction from the issues one face, some of which are avoidable.
Before I start all the motivational crap, let me whisper to you that Best Girl sneaked right back through the channel I expected to reconnect with her when I was not even watching or looking. I am the one who is virtually married to my smart phone, always chatting, reading, sending and receiving mails, playing games, and doing virtually everything on it. The first chat I had with her however revealed that we were not on the same page in that regard. She claimed not to “really like the strenuous exercise of typing, especially on a phone”. That did not sound or look good, at least to me.
The problems with Queen and the lull in business had affected me so much that I did not give Best Girl the attention I really thought I would give her whenever we got the opportunity to reconnect. I was engaged with just the major activity of getting my business back on track. I dedicated all of myself to that so much so I forgot about my woman issue. Despite that, she had enough in her tank to always initiate the conversations. Of course the nights were not pleasant because whenever I was alone, I stared at the ceiling, counting both horizontally and vertically as if the solution to my disturbances lay there.
For all of my efforts at sanity and attempt to stay chaste, Femi was always lurking in the shadows like the serpent that deceived Mother Eve. He arranged forbidden fruits to bite and taste, and I gladly did the biting and tasting. There were hangouts and outings, and I followed just to forget my worries. He noticed the shine was off my face at different times and asked what the problem was each time. I just told him it was work related, leaving matters of the heart out of the equation.
Sam’s workload was reduced so he had started joining the clan on his way from work. He was more or less my present hope as the partnership with him was starting to generate small income. I knew I could get some quid from him despite the fact that we had to still save the earnings to increase the capital base. It was on one of the evenings that the whole clan knew what was wrong. It was that evening that Queen was demystified. I hate what alcohol does to the system, a few bottles and the usually calm Sam was singing like the ibaka bird. You see why I call the big head an idiot?
He had called me severally and I had not answered. I was seated with them physically but my mind had sailed far away. My thoughts were a raging storm – business, work, life, love, Queen. They all came at the same time, heavy tidal waves attempting to drown my soul.
“Dot, you don forget your ears for that your ashawo village wey you dey patronize ehn?”
It was the silly Farouk that tapped me to bring me out of my reverie. I must have been hearing their voices without being with them. I looked at Farouk and he pointed to Sam.
“Wetin?”, I replied keeping a straight face.
“Emm-You-Emm-You na hin you be”
“Your papa na mumu”, I retorted. “Wetin bring this abuse nah?”
“Nor be here you dey when I don call you taya?”
“I didn’t hear ni nah. Is that why you are running your bacteria infested mouth calling me mumu when you are the senior mumu here, and the fat bald headed man wey sire you be the most senior ode”.
I went in really hard and I knew it because Sam went silent, looking at me from the corner of his eyes. If I would yab any member of the clan, I never wanted it to be Sam but he bit more than he could chew forgetting how caustic the tongue of someone who grew in the ancient city of Ibadan can be. Femi and Farouk got into fits of laughter.
“Don’t I just love it when the two of you are against one another?”, Farouk said with tears in his eyes. I looked at him and smiled. He did not know what was coming next. My worries were almost forgotten as I had taken on the role of the chief abuser for the evening.
“Wetin be your own? You won’t shut that trap under your nose abi?”, he continued laughing.
“Rook, please fix me one fish make I help you yab the married kid”. I was teasing the fool and he was smiling sheepishly while Sam ignored me, pinging away.
“Na only fish? A bottle of your fav nko?”
“Add am join. You don dey get sense o Rook”
Femi finally found his voice after laughing hysterically at the way I took Sam down.
“Na una fight go bad pass. This one that you have suddenly become jolly good fellows”. He was referring to the rare togetherness between me and Farouk. We all laughed as Farouk made the order for the barbecued cat fish and drink. I stood as if remote-controlled.
“Oh ye gods who hold sway at the Meeting Point, hear my supplications and put to shame the fool who thinks he can come between me and Samo because of a thousand naira fish and drink. Let his sense open wide enough to see the big picture and his epic failure”.
Sam burst into his own fit of laughter as Farouk’s look changed from amusement to the exact opposite. I did not however know I struck the wrong nerve in Sam when I spoke earlier. He hardly allowed me to sit before getting up to say his own prayer.
“Living gods of The Meeting Point, I beseech thee in thine awesomeness, that thou shalt touch the nincompoop I used as my best man”. Farouk burst into laughter, the fool always rejoiced when I was down. Femi joined in and those on the adjoining tables also joined, laughing like deranged people who had overdose of laughing gas. Sam waited for the laughter to subside before resuming – “ye gods of The Meeting Point, let the Best Boy use his head and take the gift of the Best Girl you have given him. Let him not stay stuck with Miss Trouble, the one whose royal name is of no value to the commoner”.
I sat rooted to the same spot while I was the butt of their jokes for the first time in a long while. I took it in my stride but the wind was out of my sail already. While they were making jest of me, Queen pinged.
The witches that were after me made sure my blackberry battery went low when Best Girl’s chat message came in. I would have called her immediately but there was no way because my big head had not thought of having her give me her phone number since we started chatting steadily. For someone who said she was not really friends with her phone, getting to chat for long hours would be an accomplishment.
Queen had buzzed me before I left The Meeting Point with the clan but the jokes and jest I was subjected to because of her made me refuse to read her message. However, Best Girl’s message came in after Queen’s. I made to reply only for my phone to give me the “battery too low for radio use” message.
Only Sam knew I was getting my daily dose of attention from the Best Girl and that was why in his semi-drunken state, he laid my love issues bare for the world to feast on. It was his sure way of taking his pound of flesh from me. I always told him and the rest that with me, yabis had no boundary. While I would not go on to expose issues, I would take anyone down with the way I would say what I had to say. Sam and Farouk on the other hand fought dirty, saying what they should not so as to score cheap points. Blame not the two young men who are stuck with the brain of five year olds, it gave them a sense of victory
Memories of the interesting evening came to a grinding halt same way my car did as I hooted for the security guy to open the gate. As if under a spell, I picked my blackberry and ran into my flat to plug it in before remembering that I left my car unlocked with my computer and a few other valuables inside. I dashed out again to gather the gadgets and cash in the vehicle and while making my way in the almighty electricity people took ‘their’ light. The next option was to switch on the generator but before then, my laptop would be a very good power bank. I was not going to let the chance to pay more attention to the Best Girl in our chat pass just like that.
It pained me to be the butt of crazy jokes at The Meeting Point and I vowed to do better with the other women, either with physical or with virtual presence. To start with of course was the game I had in my hands but was not really looking at, Cynthia the Best Girl. I had been given the chance to do as I deem fit with myself as the ‘Queen of the manor’ had gone on exile and only pinged to “just check on you” in the last few weeks.
Hitting my knee cap on the door frame and having the files I was carrying spill its contents on the tiled floor was better than having my laptop and tablet drop on the hard floor. I honestly would have shelved everything that night to go for deliverance in any Church if either gadget had fallen down because that would have confirmed that Queen had sent her fellow witches to haunt me unto destruction.
I plugged the phone to the laptop and powered it on. My blackberry’s LED started the on-off-on-off blinking, draining the charge from the laptop to itself, slowly but steadily. While that was on, I went into the kitchen to make myself a quick fix of oats, to go with groundnuts. Something light after all I had at The Meeting Point. At that point I missed Queen again because I would at least have had something to warm in my refrigerator. I was however not going to beg her, definitely not now.
Settling with my warm mug of oats and groundnut in a ceramic plate, electricity was restored. I switched on the fan giving me some breeze and the pay TV showing an old football game, I powered on my blackberry and responded to the Best Girl.
“Hello pretty J”
“Thought you were avoiding me”
“Haba! Why wld u think that way??? I’ll be crazy to pass up the chance to chat with my Best Girl who despite not being friends with her fone has hollered. Rare chance many won’t get J ”
“Hmmmmm. Best Boy can just chyk somebody sha!!!. I was wondering ni cos you haven’t been quite chatty for someone who says he’s a super chatter”
“You better don’t mind me. I haven’t bn settled ni o”
“What’s goin on with you? You good?”
“Sure, sure. Office matters, darzall”
“Office matters alone? Talk to Mama”
“Loooooooolz. *looks under my Chair* Wherz the Mama”
“Me nah. You think I’m not qualified”
“Me think? As long as a woman wears her diapers monthly and has fat swellings in front, she’s a Mama truly”
“You ehn! Which one be monthly diapers again”
The chat was interesting, and I was already starting to multi task, checking my twitter timeline when my phone vibrated with an annoying PING!
I checked to see that it was Queen, and I tried to converse as normal as possible. She knew I hated that PING! but would do it on purpose severally. I carried on the chats with the two and some others. Life was good, worries forgotten.
“I should take your digits so that I can call you one of these days”, I hit the ENTER button and typed the second message “When are we seeing? Been a while, you know”.
Both messages landed on the wrong phones, and I would have rented Farouk to slap sense back into me. I choose Farouk because I never want to see him gloat over me but I knew my crass display of carelessness meant he won that right. Knowing there were explanations to make, I got up to a take a glass of water from the dispenser.
Why in God’s name did you have to make that kind of stupid mistake for God’s sake
My subconscious tore into me as I walked back, thinking of a way out of the fresh problem I just created for myself