Should You Say Yes When A Doctor Proposes?

Should you say yes when a doctor proposes?

If you are strong of mind, steely of soul unsettled by blood urine vomit and gore

If stories of pain and hurt make you wish there were ways to help and you could do more

If you are accustomed to Valentines spent on telephone, Christmas spent working, many a lonely night

If you are never tired of hearing about suffering, cancer, Zika, Lassa, Ebola and mosquito bite

If you have experience waiting for things the Patience of Job, the calm of kings

If you know how it feels to hope for cures that may not come

Of you are wealthy enough for two an astute manager, administrator too

If you are contented, at peace, not one who dreams for the moon and sun

If making do with what you have is your strong suit, a hobby of yours

If sacrifice is your middle name and economics your favourite course

If you know how to water visions like palms, day and night though they seem to stall

If you know how to ease away stress and importantly, how to dress!

If you have nursed sick things to health or helped them up from a fall,

If you are a good listener, unmoved by words you do not understand

Then by all means, as the doctor kneels, gladly take their hand.

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Forsaking All Others

 

“Some people can’t forgive infidelity, but you would wouldn’t you? I mean, what is a little unfaithfulness between soul mates?”

I leaned back on the plush pillows savouring my seedless grapes as I admired Eka, my beautiful wife, while waiting for her response. Standing by the windows of our honeymoon suite, she was a picture of poise and perfection. Her honey coloured skin, generous figure and cherubic face turned heads everywhere we went. Everyday, other men told me how lucky I was, as if I didn’t know that already.

Her laughter was shrill, filled with amusement and certainty. “Akan, you will never cheat on me.” And with that, she left the window to her laptop where she shopped, blogged and chatted.

In my entire life, I had never been faithful to a woman. I had never loved a person in exclusion of others, sometimes I liked to think I was polyamorous. At other times I told myself the hard truth: I was a fickle, selfish man ruled by his desires, but such times were rare. I liked to settle for flings, have friends with benefits, be the side-guy to rich women whose husbands were inadequate, roles that offered all of the fun with none of the commitment.

Before Eka, I had just two real girlfriends: Aduke, who left me to marry an eighty year old Canadian man and Nneka whose wedding I stumbled on one Saturday while watching TV. And even during those relationships I had never said no to the occasional roll in the box, moan in the dark, kiss in the hallway.

As an estate manager, I had a lot of time on my hands. Time I spent overseeing housing projects for wealthy clients and chasing women. Most of the projects were successfully delivered but the women were another matter. I didn’t mind though, the game was the game.

When I met Eka, I thought it would be another sexcapade for the history books. She came to see how well her aunt’s house was going, I was to show her around and answer questions, I did much more than that.

“You have made so much progress! Aunty Ima will be so pleased, at this rate she will be able to move in by Christmas,” she said walking through the rooms and inspecting the property. I listened and nodded while she went on about workmen and wiring, all I could think of was how good her hips would look, spread out on my bed.

I asked her on a date and she said yes. Soon we were talking and chatting like we knew each other all our lives. She refused to sleep with me, however. No matter how long or hard I begged. I gave up after a while, my side gigs were still on and I never liked sex with a reluctant partner. It reminded me of necrophillia.

Over time we settled into an easy rhythm of weekend dates, daily phone calls and a never-ending chat. When she proposed to me, I said yes.

We were married in a small intimate ceremony in a little church at Lekki. My parents were late and so were hers so there was no one to stampede our idea with an elaborate African reception party with a football stadium filled with guests.

My guys made fun of me and my new status. Gbenga, my best man, led the taunts; swirling his beer glass in front of his pot-belly, “Akan, you are finished, nothing nice for you,” he said, swaying slightly, “Okro soup, morning noon and night. Even Okro soup snacks.”

The rest of the groomsmen laughed at his vulgar humour but I was annoyed. “At least it is my own Okro soup, I have no fear of Jedi-Jedi and other diseases,” I answered frowning slightly. The retort was a low jab at Gbenga’s recent incurable Gonorreah scare. He’d caught the bug from a one night stand and it had only been susceptible to Imipenem, a crazily expensive antibiotic. My barb hit home and he glowered at me over his drink.

“Leave story!” Taiwo said with a smirk. “This one no fit last two weeks. One week and e go dey find tasting up and down.”

“Haba!” Said Ikenna, “You no try for my guy, this is a changed man, transformed by the power of love and the support of a good woman. I am sure he’ll be faithful for at least three hundred and sixty. Minutes.” And they all burst into fits of belly-shaking laughter.

Listening to laughter ringing in my head, realising how true it was, infuriated me, I left my drink on the centre table and went to find other guests to mingle with, useless groomsmen.

*

 

One of the things that had made me say yes was Eka’s job. She worked as a surveillance engineer for an international oil company on an oil rig. The job paid well and came with six weeks of annual paid vacation but those were asides. What mattered most was the intermittent nature of her job schedule: two weeks on, two weeks off. Fourteen whole days! Where I was free to jump, hop, skip and cartwheel anywhere and anyhow I pleased.

I saw this as a blessing, so when she said I would never cheat on her, I made up my mind to keep things as discrete as possible. I was flawed, no saint, but I didn’t want anyone miserable on my account. I did have a wandering eye but it didn’t mean I should have a callous heart. I also made up my mind to keep all my exploits safe: no rubber, no lover style.

Our honeymoon was a pleasant blur of plush hotels, great food and mediocre sex. Eka was inexperienced and unwilling to experiment. I cursed myself for buying the no premarital sex scam and counted the days to her resumption. Then, finally, it was over. Eka was gone for two weeks and I was free to frolick.

My immediate target was a young lady in the estate I managed who ran a small hair saloon in front and drinks/water business behind her flat. She had dropped out from a Diploma program when her parents could no longer afford fees. She was single, slender, not very pretty, but there was something about the way she greeted me that made me feel wanted, gave me hope. Her name was Peace and she was from Delta state. Not that it mattered really, she could have come from Zamfara, Cameroun even, it wouldn’t have changed much.

The first week, I drove by regularly and stopped to gist a little. I asked how business was doing, I helped with minor repairs around the flat. I bought drinks and let her keep the change.

The next week, I stopped at her place and bought drinks for her and her girl. I drew her outside and she smiled shyly while I asked how she was and what her plans were that evening. She would be going for choir practice, she said, but what about the weekend? Would I be free on Friday? There was a nice, new club she wanted to visit, would I like to come along? Of course I would. We talked a little more before we parted amicably, but not before I had given her some pocket money and she had given me a peck.

The countdown to Friday was on.

I spoke to Eka everyday. I told her how I missed her (this was true, our three-bedroom apartment was as lonely as a graveyard), how I couldn’t wait for her to come back (a lie, I could wait, I had a date), how my efforts to find her a tabby cat were going (pretty bad, there were Bull Dogs, German Shepherds, parrots even, but no cats).

When I got to Peace’s place on Friday she was waiting for me. I could barely recognise her in the skintight electric blue dress and party makeup she had on. She hopped into the passenger seat, handed me a chilled can of Orijin and we zoomed off.

The club was overflowing but we found our way in and got more drinks. We danced a bit and I whispered my plans for the rest of the evening into her ears. She nodded with a faint smile on her lips and I felt a jolt in my loins. Holding her hand, I made my way towards the door.

Halfway there, I heard someone shout “Where you dey carry my woman? Ufuoma, who is this?” Looking up, I saw a muscular man at least half a foot taller than I was blocking the exit. I was still wondering who he was talking to when he grabbed my shirt and lifted me off the ground.

“Abel, stop this now, wetin dey worry you?” Ufuoma/ Peace said clutching the man’s shirt.

“Just shut up! Ufuoma, so this is the man you left me for? I fit just waste am here.” Abel said glaring at me with red eyes.

“Ab, relax, abeg,” Ufuoma said and Abel let go of my shirt. With that he turned around and hoisted Ufuoma on his shoulder, he wanted to march past me, I blocked his path, “Guy, you dey craze?” I asked him.

I woke up spluttering outside in a pool of water with some teenage boys fanning me and dousing me with water. The story came in trickles. Peace’s Uroboho name was Ufuoma, she translated it to the English version when she came to Lagos. Abel and her had left the village together to seek a better future in Lagos. They had been going steady for years, on and off, mostly because Ufuoma wanted him to stop drinking and get a steady job and he wouldn’t hear of it. Ufuoma was eager to move on but Abel wouldn’t let go, he swore she would either marry him stay or single. I was lucky to have fainted after the first punch he gave me. That had satisfied him and he left me alone. The last guy he saw with Ufuoma hadn’t been so fortunate, he lost two teeth and a finger.

Somehow, I made my way home and buried my head in an ice-pack. Two days later, Eka was back.

She took one look at my swollen face and made a clucking sound, “these terrible area boys, sorry my love, let me fix you some peppersoup.” I surrendered myself to her ministrations. Somehow, I got Ufuoma out of my mind. Somehow, two weeks passed and it was time for Eka’s crew change again.

On her way out, she walked up to me, looked at me for a minute, gave me a peck, and made for the door.

“Won’t you ask me to be a good boy?” I said, making a lame attempt at some morbid humour.

Again she laughed, “You can never cheat on me honey, I need to go so I don’t miss my flight.” And with that she walked out of the door.

Since Operation Peace had been a colossal flop, I decided to go for something more straightforward. Picking a girl off the street seemed extreme so I decided to look for a runs girl instead. Someone who traded her pleasures on the side while holding a day job or pursuing an education, they were said to be pricier but worth the effort. A few discrete enquiries and I was given a name and a number

Stella picked once the phone rang. She was happy to hear from me and what do you know, she stayed in Lekki too. We made a date for Wednesday and I ended the call smiling. On Wednesday she called to say she had to cancel, could we move it to Saturday evening? I was upset but I played cool, of course we could. We agreed to meet at a the Prime hotel bar by 6pm. I was seated by 5:30pm.

Nothing prepared me for Stella, she was funny and sexy and intelligent too. She smelled of flowers, vanilla and dreams come true. Her pink shorts showed off her lovely legs in the most lustful way. I began to wonder if I had settled into marriage too soon. I began to wonder if I could ever truly settle for one person at all.

We shared drinks and talked about sports, books and music. She told me she was into business but she wouldn’t say more. I told her I was a farmer and we laughed.

Soon we found our way upstairs to a small but cosy single room. I began to kiss her and she responded eagerly. We undressed each other quickly and I pulled of my boxers. Stella took one look at me and let out a scream. I was shocked and confused, her screams were still ringing in my ears as she hastily pulled on her clothes, grabbed her bag and left me in the room. Naked.

That is when I looked down at myself. There on my pubic region were clusters of large angry-looking boils. I stared at them in disbelief. I had my bath before coming and there hadn’t been a trace of them. My erection disappeared and I slowly wore my clothes. My head was aching. The boils began to hurt.

At the clinic, the doctor listened to my story with a smirk. “Mr Akan James, I have run this clinic for ten years and while I wont say you are lying, the history you have given is highly unlikely. I am placing you on medication for a week. Make sure you abstain during that period. Bring your partners for counselling and testing. Be more careful.” And with that Dr Dosumu saw me out of his office.

Over the next one week the boils cleared. Eka came back and I was in prison again. I served my time with honour: cooking my share of the meals, dressing up for silly parties here and there, reading the books she bought for me. I could sense she wanted me to make some amorous moves towards her but I just couldn’t, she was more of a sister to me at that point but I didn’t want to rock the boat or spoil anything. Sisters are forever, right?

One week into her time off she was called to cover for a colleague. I feigned annoyance while I threw a mini-tantrum, “how dare they call you up after just one week? Don’t they know you have a family now? When are we meant to have time together? How are we meant to have a baby?! I yelled at the top of my lungs and threw my shirt on the rug.

Eka picked it up and walked over to rub my shoulders, “it is okay. It is just for a week honey, I’ll be back in no time.”

I pretended to fuss and fume while she did all she could to placate me. Riding on all the drama we managed to have sex that night but it was still boring and wooden.

When I woke up the next morning Eka was gone. On the fridge was a note:

 

Honey,

Couldn’t wake you, you were so cute asleep.

Your favourite soup is in the freezer.

I’ll call once I arrive.

Love,

Eka

 

Ps: Please don’t try any of that again, for your own safety, I love you.

 

My stomach sank, I sat slowly on the nearest chair and read the note again. Eka knew. Or did she? What was that? And why didn’t she bring it up throughout her stay?

Anger, fear and disbelief swirled in me like a boiling stew. Determined to brush it all aside I tore up the note and made myself a cup of coffee, as hot as hell and as black as midnight and sat back to plan my next move.

Since Eka was due back in a week I didn’t have much time to plan or plot anything elaborate. Girls in the estate were out as were any strange women. Our people say that old firewood burns fast, keeping this in mind, I called one of my previous partners, Halima.

Halima was married but I had often warmed her bed when I was single and her rich husband was away on business trips. Usually, I just had to flash, once she saw my called ID– The Tailor– she would find a way to reach me when all was clear.

I called and waited. Two days no reply from her. Three days, no word still. On the fourth day she called and I picked quickly, giddy with gladness. I froze when I heard a man’s voice, ” Don’t ever call this number again or I will make your balls into testicle suya, your eyes and internal organs into assorted peppersoup. You have been warned.” I dropped the phone gently and held myself trying to quell the shiver in my bones.

Disappointed and miffed, I decided to hangout with my guys. Ikenna was out of town but Gbenga, Taiwo and some of the other groomsmen where around. They had already ordered the first round of drinks, I asked for a Heineken and took a seat. They were discussing the Nigerian police how corrupt they were, how useless the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) had become, how they beat up innocent citizens and targeted young men with beards and tattoos. I nursed my drink in silence, I didn’t have any personal experience with the Nigerian police. It all sounded kind of anecdotal to me. My dealings with the police didn’t go beyond giving them the N200 they asked for when I drove into the estate. Soft work.

The girl serving drinks came with the next round of orders. She smiled at me and winked. I looked away but I could feel myself respond. Gbenga had seen it too. “Ah! Mr A, that one like you oh! How far? I know say by now you don even forget the vows, e no easy!” He exclaimed chucking into his glass.

“Gb, mind yourself,” I replied, my eyes subtly following the girl’s figure as she strutted across the grounds. There were possibilities there, I thought to myself. If only I could get some time with her alone….

My prayers were answered when Gbenga’s phone rang. An emergency in his office–he was needed right away– Taiwo had to follow him because he didn’t drive. After they left, the others began to leave as well, soon it was just I and a free drinker at the table. I left in search of the girl.

She asked me to call her Pepe. And pepper she was. In the next four hours, she took me places I had never been and showed me things I had never seen. It was like being born in heaven, over and over again, like a feast of all your favourite foods cooked to perfection, like being made into a cup, filled to overflowing with pleasure.

After about the seventh round, I managed to find my way back into my car. It was almost midnight, I thought about spending the night with Pepe but the mini- slum she lived in didn’t look too safe and home was just 15 minutes away. Basking in the euphoria of a successful evening, I pressed a little too hard on the accelerator, when I noticed a motorbike crossing the street ahead, it was too late.

Though my Honda Baby Boy was totalled, the bike man was without a scratch. I broke my femur, I had bruises from head to toe but that was the least of it. I felt numb in my waist and later the doctors told me I might never have an erection again.

Eka took time off work and when she saw me in the hospital wrapped like a mummy she held me and whispered “Why honey? Why? Didn’t I tell you not to try?”

The Proposal

He was sure he hadn’t heard right. It couldn’t be. Annabel wasn’t asking him to marry her. By Ja, he barely knew the girl!

He fought to keep his face from frowning. What does a man say in a spot like this? A replay of the girls that had turned him down flickered before his mind’s eye like a cheap movie. He remembered the shame he felt; and the relentless self examination. He’d lie awake at night wondering why they didn’t want him. He would watch the same girls flock to men that were richer, taller, cuter, better. He would replay the scene a million times and the raw gutted feeling would wash over him. He was unwanted, inadequate, unloved.

Now she waited for his response.

“Yes.”

What had he said? It slipped past his lips before he had a chance to pull the words back.

“Emmanuel! Oh my goodness! You are amazing!”

She jumped on him and he inhaled her fresh musky scent. She wasn’t a bad girl. If he played his cards right the next few weeks would be the best ever.

He pulled her closer and kissed her knowing there would be no protest. No games. No “Stop. I am not ready for this”. All the while planning how he would break up with her without risking his life, or ruining hers.

Let’s Make Love

Let’s make love in the morning,
My desk is crammed,
Paperwork
Followed me home
Seamless trail
Of tasks,questions
Challenges and problems.

Let’s kiss later
I have so much
Calling for my attention
Pots and pans
Homework
Has everyone taken
Their cough syrup?

Slowly
That’s how it happens
Till you are suddenly
Left all alone
And there is
Nothing else left,
But empty arms
And the rancid taste
Of regret.

Cupid’s Assistant II

A cool breeze swept through the grounds and Kendara shivered. Her eyes narrowed and she felt a muscle twitching in her thigh. In her mind a voice kept saying:

No, I didn’t hear him right, no…

She remembered the first time they met. She was an intern at the government hospital pharmacy. She had been rounding off her shift when he walked in with his security detail. He waved them off and came over to her.

“Hello pretty lady, do you happen to have anything for a sore throat?” He rasped. She smiled at him.

“Yes sir, I do.” She replied. Darting across the pharmacy she had helped to get him losenges and a pain reliever. “Take one each thrice a day.”

“I will…. What is your name?”

“Kendara, sir.”

“So, are you ‘always rejoicing’? He asked with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

“I do my best.” She has responded, wondering where the exchange was going.

“Good. Then you must be at my birthday party next saturday. Here, this is my card. Write your phone number on my receipt so I can send you a formal IV,” he said.

“Oh no sir. I couldn’t.” She gushed, painfully aware that her supervisor was glaring at her.

“I insist.”

She scribbled something on the receipt as fast as she could. He won’t even remember this she thought. What were old men turning into these days.

“Thank you,” he whispered as he breezed out with two mobile police men behind him.

She had forgotten all about it when a young man walked up to her three days later.

“Are you Kendara?” He asked.

“Yes, I am, how may I help you?” She replied.

“I am Etiebet. My father sent me. Chief Essien. We couldn’t decipher what you wrote. I came to get your number and to give you an invitation to his birthday.”

“Oh. I couldn’t … ” She didn’t know what to say.

” You must.” Etiebet said. “Here’s your IV. Now say your telephone number slowly so I can dial it and be sure it is real.”

She gave him the number. He picked her up for the party. He liked her and wanted to marry her. Things were happening too fast. Eight months they were married. It was a good marriage. Etiebet was all the things she had ever hoped for in a husband. They disgreed sometimes and rubbed each other the wrong way. But it was always brief. And making-up was a passionate renewal of love. Everyday she thanked God for her marriage, her man. Now, that thankfulness was on trial.

Pa Essien seemed oblivious of this as he sat back and folded his arms behind his head.

“I am an old man. 75, most of my mates have gone. Etiebet is my favourite son. My Benjamin. Son of my delight. I wish you would reconsider your ‘trendy’ decision to have two children but I can see your minds are made up.” He smiled and took a sip of wine. “How rude of me, what would you like to drink? Juice, tea, wine or water?”

“I am fine Papa.” Kendara said. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Was the man senile? Who asked his daughter-in-law to go wife hunting for his son? Irritation grated on her nerves like sandpaper on glass. This wasn’t what she had in mind when she drove the twenty odd kilometres to this place. Coming here was a mistake.

She could hear he mother’s voice in her head. “Be careful with your in-laws.” She had said, “they might laugh and smile but no one knows the heart. Remember, you are not form their tribe. Ibibio men don’t treat Annang wives the way Annang men treat their women. Laugh and smile but be careful.”

At the beginning she had been careful. She had avoided visiting her father-in-law and stayed silent gazing at her toes when he visited. Pa Essien would have none of that. He doted on her openly: sending the driver over with the largest , juciest fruits in season, planting herbs around her house by himself, climbing a coconut tree to get her coconut water when she couldn’t keep food down in her first pregnancy. She found herself responding to his affection. Now many people thought he was her father, not Etiebet’s. He called her Akemi. My own. The daughter he never had. Now, this…

“Very funny,” Pa Essien said as he walked over to the mini bar and fetched a bottle of wine from the fridge. At zero percent alcohol, it was grape juice, but everyone called it wine. He got a glass from the rack and came back to sit opposite her.

“I can’t watch my progeny dwindle. If you and Etiebet won’t have anymore children then at least I should have grandchildren from my other sons. I want you to find a wife for Ime.”

Kendara dropped her glass and some of the wine sloshed on the table.

“Ime? Papa tell me you are kidding.”
She said.

“No .” Pa Essien said. “I am dead serious.”

“Ime? The same one that hasn’t been able to keep a job? The one that sold off your Benz? ” Kendara asked her eyes wide with disbelief.

“I am sorry Papa. I can’t do that.” Kendara said. With that she got up and said. “I have to go now. The kids are through with their class.”

“Wait. Hear me out.” Pa Essien replied. “I am going to make it worth your while.”

To be continued.

Cupid’s Assistant I

She drove to her father-in-law’s house deep in thought. Why had he sent for her? Her heart-shaped, beniseed brown face twisted into a scowl. Ugly thoughts assailed her from every direction. Did he want another grandchild? Had she done something wrong? Had his blood pressure soared again?

She eased the sturdy Toyota RAV4 SUV past the gate with a perfunctory nod at Sebastian the gate-man. If her father-in-law, Chief Essien, wanted another grandchild, then he would have to adopt. There was no way she was ever getting pregnant again. Not after the near death experience she had the last time. The memory brought a sad smile to her face. The agony of developing every ailment in the book: hyper emesis, bloating, insomnia and finally gestational diabetes. Through it all she had prayed desperately for a girl; a replica of herself to dress up, make up and confide in. She refused to ask the baby’s sex at ultrasound visits. She was having a baby girl and that was it. Instead she had Duke, another son.

The moments she saw the boy, she felt resentment flip up her chest and chill her heart. Why? Why did she have another boy? Who would wear all the dresses and ribbons she had bought for her daughter? Over the next few days, the feelings of resentment receded. Duke was such a beautiful child. It was as though he knew that he hadn’t been wanted and made up for it by being so cute and well-mannered.

Before marrying, they agreed to have two kids. Her husband, Etiebet, had been particularly sad when he heard they’d had another son. Coming from a family of four boys, he wanted more than anything to have a girl. Sometimes she still saw a faraway look in his eyes when they talked about people having large families they couldn’t care for. He still wanted a baby girl and so did she, but another pregnancy was out of the question. Adoption in Nigeria was such a travesty. Everyday, there were stories in the papers– Baby Factory Busted, Private Clinic Caught In Baby Selling Scam, Teenager Sell Baby For Iphone. The legal government owned facilities were corrupt and inefficient. Thinking of the adoption quagmire gave her shivers.

She got out of the car and Joy, Pa Essien’s cook ran over to embrace her. It was hard to tell how old Joy was but Kendara guessed she was in her mid forties. She felt embarrassed to have an older woman treat her this way. She liked the way a friend put it: in Nigeria, behind every successful young lady there are women older than her calling her aunty. There was no use, best to play along.

“Aunty Welcome!” she said curtseying and smiling.

“Thank you, Joy. Is Papa in? Is he well?” Kendara asked, searching Joy’s face for clues.

“He is fine, Aunty. He said you should meet him at the backyard, by the fish pond.” Joy answered still looking very pleased.

“Thanks, dear. Here, have this for a little treat. I was in such a hurry. I didn’t remember to get you any bread or meat pie.” Kendara said

“Oh, Aunty, God bless you! You are too kind! ” With that she curtseyed again took the money and disappeared into the house.

Kendara strode to the backyard still trying to guess why she was summoned. She passed the main building, a large cream duplex that spoke of old wealth and good taste. Behind the house was a large garden, a playground and a fish farm.

Chief Essien was a retired civil servant and one time commissioner of Agriculture. He had reinvested the money he made while in office and was quite wealthy. He was a widower. His wife had passed on before Kendara and Etiebet were married five years ago. Now he spent his time overseeing his vast farms, resting at home and travelling to the village to settle petty disputes. Anyone could see that he loved nature. His spacious grounds were a buzz of flora and fauna. To her right lay large mango trees spotting swings from their lower branches. Ahead there was a large lawn; it’s grass so well cut it was like a giant green carpet. Flower bushes punctuated the lawn giving it an air of intrigue. During parties, anyone who went policing was bound to catch a young couple or two in various states of misdemeanour.

Chief Essien’s favourite part of the grounds were the fish ponds. They were dug in the ground designed to look as natural as possible. Pa Essien was beside one of the ponds, his ubiquitous glass of red wine in hand. He looked up when he heard her coming and smiled.

“Papa, good afternoon.” Kendara said as she gave him a loose embrace.

He held her to himself. Then let go to study her with obvious interest. “You look lovelier than the last time. How are my grandkids? I hope Etiebet isn’t giving you any trouble. Has he changed that old Rav4 of yours yet?”

Kendara laughed. “Oh Papa! It is a good car. Maybe next year. You know he has his hands full with the company. He is still awaiting payment on the consulting jobs he did for government last month. Also his oil servicing firm is just taking off so we need to stay as liquid as possible.” She kept her voice as gentle as possible, Chief Essien didn’t like being opposed.

Chief made a face. “Nonsense! That’s your husband’s problem. He is always planning and plotting and arranging. Life is to be lived! Anyway enough about him. How are you?”

” I am fine. We are all fine. I would have brought the boys but they had music lessons. Etiebet travelled to Port Harcourt yesterday.”

“Well, come then, let’s find some where to sit.” He led her to a large bamboo hut near the ponds. It was an Efe. Every chief had one. It was a hall outside his home where he received strangers and held meetings.
Chief had improved on the older functional design adding a minibar by the side, tables and fold-able seats, and an over head television. Clearly, he was a man that liked the finer things of life.

They sat down and he dropped his glass. Without preamble he looked up and said

“I want you to find a wife for my son.”

A Maga’s Revenge

Maga, Mumu, Mugu
Those were the names
She called me
As I ran up and down
Doing her bidding,
Picking her bills,
Fulfilling her wishes,
Cakes and juice by noon
Chips and fish by evening
Sharwarma and chicken every weekend.

Driver, Escort, Handyman
Were some of my other titles
As she had me driving from Aja to Palmgrove,
Ferrying her to birthday parties,
To the airport and
The hair saloon,
Market, office, swimming pool
And everywhere in between.

Now, I am free.

In two minutes, I was transformed,
To husband, spouse and lord,
Now she is my cook,
Serves it thrice a day,
Spicy and hot.
She is my cleaner too
Sweeps, mops, cobwebs,
Scrubs, dusts and vacuums
Life is good
I tell you.

Best of all I get it free
No brazillian hair,
No shopping lists,
No cash in hand,
No long thing,
In the shower
On the couch
In the car.
Yes,
Good things come to those who persist.