Matthew smiled in reflection, as he approached the bend to the house after his routine evening walk. He had started this since everyone left for the festive celebrations and had found it both very relaxing and exercising. He usually found it easier to reflect on life’s issues while on this ritual walk of his; sort of a means of clearing his head and making well calculated decisions. The gang was due back tomorrow so he decided to make today’s walk a bit longer as the evening was cool and not full of pedestrian activities, “extra me-time before Justin comes with the Calvary” he smiled at the thought.
His mind went to his place of work. With the just finished monthly evaluation, he knew his branch manager was going to make some great demands for the New Year. He felt sorry for the marketing department of his branch, their targets were going to be raised through the roof. “That twat of a man” he thought as he pondered on his boss at work. Working everyone to the ground but taking all the praise every month, but then, that was how most bosses in private organizations were wired. They got themselves fat bonuses and promotions on the sweat and labor of the junior staff. “We would all reach that position someday”, he concluded. Just then, his thoughts were rudely interrupted by the sound of fast approaching footsteps, accompanied by the shouts of a lousy fellow.
“Oga, oga, oga oga oooooooh” Matthew saw that Musa was the noisy fellow running towards him.
“Musa why the shouting?” He asked.
“Kai oga … Walahi …. Infac …..” Musa was hardly audible with his panting from the short run. He was bent over, trying to catch his breath. His dirty, torn oversized singlet hung on him like tattered gown of rags. His shorts; a pair of jeans which had been cut to shorts, clung to his legs like spandex, causing a slight suffocation of his groins. Kevwe, who had always advocated for them to employ a “swagful” guard, always queried Musa over his appearance, and even went as far as threatening to fire him. Matthew examined him over coolly before addressing him.
“Calm down what is it?” Matthew asked, he couldn’t understand what was wrong with the guard.
“Barawo, thief” Musa finally got the words out. Matthew became alarmed.
As he was about to take off towards the house with nothing to defend himself or use to attack the thief he saw an older man was fighting to hold a young boy. Before he could reach them, the boy kicked free and ran off into the near-by bush.
“Oga Matthew ko?” The older man inquired looking at Musa for confirmation. Musa nodded.
“Oga, that barawo with him broda sun zo gidan ka (that thief and his brother came to your house). Me I try I catch am, ama akwai muscle fa, ni ma, ban a da fawa” (I tried to catch him, but he was strong and i don’t have strength) the older man said rubbing his side as he struggled to explain in English.
“Musa what happened?” Matthew asked. His Hausa was still not good enough to talk to the man.
“Hmmmm Oga, I been dey rest oh… in preparation for night duty now” he quickly added seeing Matthew’s face “na so I hear noise of struggle with main door. I don stand up to come help when I remember say you don waka commot. As I go check I see that dan iska (he pointed in the direction where the boy had taken) and him friend dey struggle to enter house, so quick quick I go call baba na for that chairman house” Musa said proudly.
“Wait, wait, you saw thieves, you didn’t call me, you didn’t alert the other guards, you ran all the way passing at least six houses to call your aged father who should not even be doing this work to come help you?” Matthew was shocked to the bone “and how did they even enter?”
“Errrm oga na through gate oh. But as baba na come, him been dey struggle with them, na so I reason make I go call you too” Musa said in a desperate attempt to come off as heroic.
“So Kevwe calling you a fool was actually an understatement” Matthew looked enraged. “I will deal with you later” turning to the older man he mustered in Hausa” Na gode baba” (thank you baba). The man nodded.
And quickly rushed to the house to check what was missing.
………………………………… ………….. …………………………..
“Wait you are telling me he didn’t go for the thieves, he went to call his father?” Kevwe asked, Justin had been laughing hysterically as Matthew relayed the story to them.
Kevwe who had spent the holidays with her boyfriend came in just when Justin and Tokunbo arrived from Lagos. It was a surprise to the boys when Kevwe said she wasn’t travelling abroad with her family. It wasn’t common knowledge she came from an affluent background, she always tried to be modest about it.
“And he was smiling, proud of himself” Matthew said annoyed.
“We might have to find another guard so they can do shifts” Tokunbo said thoughtfully.
“Who will pay?” Kevwe asked “you want us to hide the fact that Musa is useless abi?”
“Them no steal anything so we should all calm down and be thankful. My own is the new ride. ELDER!!! This new year surprise make sense oh” Justin hailed Matthew. He had noticed the new Toyota Avalon parked in front of the house as he and Tokunbo got in from the airport. He had been nagging to Tokunbo about how it was the first time his flight was paid by him and how his parents were taking this “you are an adult, take responsibility” issue too far; as they dropped off from the cab and walked in all to meet the car.
“After two years of working I needed to help myself” Matthew said modestly.
“Congrats again” Tokunbo said. He was glad to finally stop looking like the only rich kid in the house. “When did Maryam say she would be back?”
“Oh she is in town but our Aunt; the family house she was supposed to stay in; demanded she spend at least a week before coming back” Matthew explained.
“The pain” Justin said. They all went on arranging the house and their things. Priscilla had called Matthew to tell him she would be coming the next day due to some things she had not taken care of yet.
That evening they all sat and after the guys (Matthew inclusive) had spent over 30 minutes flattering Kevwe and her cooking, she decided to prepare coconut rice and sauce for dinner. The guys gladly offered to help, Justin shredding the coconut, Tokunbo looking over the boiling rice and Kevwe handling the sauce.
“Any New Year resolutions anyone?” Matthew asked.
“I plan to be nicer” Kevwe said shyly. Everyone knew she could be a hot head atimes. Justin was smiling happily till she added, “to everyone except Justin and Musa”.
Tokunbo and Matthew guffawed. “How you go compare me with mai guard?” Justin pretended to look hurt.
“I think this year is girlfriend year” Tokunbo said smiling.
“Bro you have been saying that since 400 level. Then you get a girl, then you start all that your man-woman-equality-in-relationship crap and you lose the girl. Get a new resolution na” Justin mocked him.
“Toks, me I will advise you become a monk because I haven’t seen any guy friend-zone girls the way you do” Kevwe added.
“Toks is it that bad?” Matthew asked as he sat on the old deep freezer.
“Don’t mind them oh” Tokunbo said trying to avoid the topic. Matthew noticed and dropped it.
“What of you Justin, what are your new year resolutions?” Matthew asked.
“Elder I have only one. To resolve all the resolutions I didn’t do last year” Justin replied.
“How many did you make last year” Kevwe asked.
“About ten” Justin replied.
“How many are left?” She inquired.
“About ten” Justin burst out laughing and the others joined in all shaking their heads at him.
“What is the point now? Have we finished keeping up with God’s commandments? Abi those ones no do us?” Justin asked.
“The new year resolutions don’t always have to be about being good. It can be about dieting or avoiding foul language or cursing or begging for food” Kevwe replied, throwing a mocking glance at Justin as she said the last bit.
“I personally feel this New Year is going to be filled with drama” Kevwe added, throwing Justin another mocking glance. This time, Justin couldn’t ignore it.
“Kevwe, which levels na? You have been making snide subliminal comments at me since”, he said, his voice a pitch higher than usual.
“Dude, i don’t know why guilty conscience is disturbing you. Was simply adding my quota to the discussion” Kevwe replied coolly.
Tokunbo interjected, “Justin, why would you think she was referring to you?”
“Because she was giving me that evil looks” Justin replied.
“hahhahahahahahahaha”, Kevwe shrieked with laughter. “Thank God say no be just me talk am”.
“Kevwe, you know I am right, you are just being a coward by not admitting it”, Justin fired.
“Heeyysss!!! Don’t you dare talk to me like that” Kevwe hissed. “You want to know the truth, it angers me whenever you talk of hunger. You barely contribute to the finances of this house, no food, electric bills, and security expenses, nothing. Yet na you dey always beckon for food like you run the gig.
“You didn’t just say that”, Justin asked, obviously looking hurt.
Matthew thought it prudent to wade into the matter before it would get too far. Kevwe however shoved him aside, bellowing about how Justin was refusing to take charge of his life and get a job. His sitting around in the house, eating, and just making calls to organizations that he had had interviews was not the proper show of a responsible hard working man looking for a job.
“You should be out there, hustling like the rest of us, but no, you are in here eating the biggest share of the food of the house, and yet contributing nothing”. Now there was major tension in the air, Kevwe was now really raising her voice, obviously from pent up emotions that had been piling up for a while. Tokunbo tried to calm her down, but then she switched her attention to him instead and continued her frantic bickering.
“Toks, na you I been just dey look since ooo. Na you just dey pamper this BOY like say em be pikin . You should ginger him up to be up and doing about this his unemployment thingy, we can’t take care of him forever na. It’s over a year since we all started living together now, and we have all been in charge of everything except him. It is unfair”. Kevwe was panting now from exhaustively expressing her built up anger.
“Kevwe, you have no right to complain about expenses, you have never been asked to pay more than your usual share of the expenses, neither has anyone else been made to pay extra. His share of the expenses has always been covered, so I don’t know why you should go all out insulting him over this matter. Besides, he is trying his best to get a job, making more efforts than you actually know” Tokunbo said totally shocked at Kevwe’s out bust.
“Which insult?” Kevwe retorted. “There is no insult in all I have said, I have only stated the truth, a little too blunt though, but the truth nonetheless.”
Matthew spoke up, “That bluntness is more than just a little. Kevwe, you know how our economy is na, it is quite difficult securing a job these days. It is God that provides, you shouldn’t undermine and belittle Justin like that like he is the cause of his joblessness. It is also not his wish not to contribute to the financial expenses around here”
Justin was brutally beaten, no one had ever insulted him concerning his unemployment like this. He and Kevwe were not exactly best of friends, but he never expected this from her, even with all her Warri ‘gra gra’. He was short of words to use in composing a reply or even a defense for himself, instead he just walked out of the house, feeling downtrodden. Tokunbo tried to follow him, but Justin insisted on being left alone.
“Kevwe, you seriously owe Justin a big apology for this unnecessary show”, Tokunbo said attacking Kevwe for her insensitive attitude towards Justin. Just then, Justin’s phone beeped, as a text message came in.
“Justin forgot his phone behind”, Matthew who was closest to the phone observed. Picking the phone up, he nonchalantly opened the message.
“Toks, you wouldn’t believe it, Kevwe, it is less than thirty minutes after you uttered your hurtful words, and God is making you eat those words right back”, Matthew said with a very big grin plastered on his face.
Tokunbo who wasn’t very used to seeing Matthew smiling, became very curious. “Elder, share the news with us, what is in the text that is making you smile like this?”
Kevwe on the other hand, who had given up on making dinner and was less than interested in anything at the moment, paid little or no attention to Matthew. Matthew continued to smile, very pleased about something good only he knew about, but he was going to share the news anyway.
“Toks, we should go and look for Justin, he just got a message from this company about resuming work in two weeks time and that they would be expecting his letter of acceptance in this week.” Matthew said before leaving the room.
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Muyiwa blogs at htttp://abluntnigerian.wordpress.com
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