“Who is going to this neighborhood meeting today? They start by 9.00 am oh” Tokunbo shouted as he walked down the stairs. The neighborhood meeting was a meeting of residents of the estate, both tenants and house owners which took place every third Saturday of the month and it was mandatory to attend. Ways to develop the estate, add improvements, talk security and basically how to move forward as a small community were discussed. So far only him and Matthew had attended since they had moved in.
Tokunbo walked into the living room to see Justin and Matthew battling on the game console. Shaking his head he walked into the kitchen and the girls had gathered around suspiciously and were deep in conversation. He knew no one was going to go. This house responsibility was beginning to weigh on him. Being an adult wasn’t all it was cut out to be. He walked to his room and changed into a jeans and a T-shirt and headed out to the neighborhood meeting.
“Wow, so that’s what happened” Priscilla said sadly. Maryam had just finished gisting her and Kevwe what had happened the previous day.
Maryam sat quietly. She had never been one who liked drama, yes a little mystery, a little uniqueness in a person but not this. She didn’t know if she could deal with this baggage. After Ayomide had dropped the bomb on her yesterday she was shocked. But turned to listen. He had begged her and they had taken a drive to a house, all through the drive the little girl was making conversations with Ayomide making him laugh as he replied her. Once at the house Ayomide had stepped down, and took the two girls into the house, he came back and started the car, as he was about to put it in gear and take off she had to say something.
“What the hell is going on Ayomide?” Maryam had shouted. “You tell me let’s go somewhere quiet, you now bring me here and I don’t know where those girls are now and you are about to take off again.” She had a very confused look on her face.
“Maryam please don’t panic. I would never hurt you. Had to drop the girls at my sister’s so we could have some time alone… to talk” he added when he saw her eye brow go up. “Please just let’s go somewhere we can sit and talk”.
Maryam said nothing and he drove on past Utako and after crossing the bridge that lead to Life Camp, turned to the road that was opposite the newly constructed Shoprite Mall, the large river separating them. He parked near the river and turned off the engine. Maryam had passed this place a number of times but had never been so close to the water before. It was a beautiful view. Ayomide came down and gestured to her to do same.
She stepped out to meet the warm Abuja evening breeze. The car’s AC was definitely working as she had to take a moment to adjust to the different temperature. She went to the front of the car where Ayomide was leaning on looking ahead. She folded her hands and waited. It seemed like forever.
“I was young, foolish. I came from a family where my brothers were chronic flirts. My dad was well to do so we had most of what we wanted. We were blessed with good looks so combined with the money we got most girls we wanted. I was a typical player. So when I met Jessica she was just another conquest” Ayomide said with a bitter-sweet smile on his face. He kept quiet for a bit deep in thought.
“I didn’t calculate that my carelessness will catch up with me you know” he said with a stupid expression. “at a point you just don’t care anymore. Well it did, Jessica got pregnant and she swore never to terminate. I was in my final year at the University and confused. My mom found out and that just sealed my fate even more for she forbade us to terminate the pregnancy. I resented myself, in turn resenting everyone else around me which unfortunately drove Jessica and I apart.”
Maryam stood quietly listening. She had no words. Ayomide never looked at her. It was like he was in a world of his own.
“Jessica had decided to go abroad after the baby came. Her parents hated me for everything and didn’t want me to be part of their daughter’s life. They wanted her to give the baby up for adoption. But she died during delivery. Their hate knew no bounds after that and it poured out on the innocent child”. Maryam looked up to see tears rolling down Ayomide’s eyes.
“They dropped her at my parents’ house telling my mom that they have dropped the curse I brought upon them” Ayomide said. “It has been four long years now. I have brought her up best I can, I still dread the day I tell her how it all happened”. Ayomide turned slowly and looked at Maryam.
“I haven’t been in a relationship since then, not even a fling. But when I saw you …..” He shook his head, “I wanted to tell you but I didn’t even know if I had a shot and then on Vals I was called on my way to pick you that she had been vomiting and it was bad I didn’t have a choice”.
“Ayo…” Maryam started.
“No Maryam please. I was going to tell you. Please you need to understand that no one drops something like this on first notice. Please” Ayomide pleaded. His look shocked Maryam. Guys like him could never be this humble.
“Can you please take me home? I need time to process this” Maryam said. Ayomide nodded and they got back into the car. This was another thing she didn’t get about him. He hardly argued, he seemed calm in every situation, especially situations that had ‘panic’ written all over them. She had got home and gone straight to bed.
“Question now is, what are you going to do?” Kevwe brought her out of her thoughts. She looked up at her friend blank.
“You wanna date a baby daddy? With all his baggage?” Kevwe teased.
“Not funny Kevwe” Maryam said.
“Common girl. The dude has explained. Am not saying marry him but give it a shot. Na sin to get pikin?” Kevwe said, Priscilla and Maryam looked at her, “no now seriously? Why stigmatize? Don’t be stupid but give it a try girl”.
“My dear honestly I don’t know oh” Priscilla said concerned, “putting myself in your shoes I would be confused too. But we have your back”.
Maryam smiled. That was a bit consoling. She would think on it some more. Justin walked in.
“Hey Kevwe, your boyfriend dey look for you” he said as he went to the fridge to get a bottle of Pepsi.
“Justin what’s your own now? Which kin joke be that one now?” Kevwe said. She didn’t like the fact Justin would joke knowing she and Kenny were fighting.
“Oya na dey there” Justin said casually and walked away. Curiosity got the better of the girls and they followed him to the living room. To their surprise they saw Kenny playing passionately with Matthew.
“Nice one dude. Didn’t know you play so well” Justin hailed Kenny who laughed.
“Guy e don tey” Kenny said. He was totally engrossed he didn’t see the girls walk in.
“Kenny!!!” Kevwe called out. Kenny quickly dropped the control pad and got up.
“Hey” he said embarrassed. Kevwe folded her hands and stood waiting. “Babes I am sorry about my outburst. Please can we go somewhere and talk, please” Kenny said. Kevwe was surprised but walked out of the house with him.
“Na wa oh” Priscilla exclaimed. “Yesterday it was Maryam they took ‘somewhere’ to talk, today. It is Kevwe’s turn. If nobody comes tomorrow to carry me I will be pissed.”
Even Maryam had to laugh.
“Where are the guys?” Kevwe asked as she walked into the living room. Priscilla was doing an assignment at the dinning and Maryam was trying to finish her novel on the three setter.
“Out, something about going to watch match at that guy’s house. What’s his face?” Maryam said thinking hard “ehen, Otims”. Kevwe laughed.
“Which one is ‘what’s his face? No be what is his name again?”
“I use that for people I don’t like” Maryam said dropping her book. “So how far now?”
Kevwe had been out all morning and was just getting back. So the girls had not heard anything about her and Kenny.
“This one you are just coming back, did he carry you to the water side too?” Maryam teased.
“I am suspecting all these guys. Sometimes I feel they hold meetings and discuss on best ways to get out of trouble with their girlfriends” Kevwe said sitting down. Priscilla had closed her books and was already beside Maryam, aproko antennas on red alert.
“What happened?” she asked eagerly.
“He first took me to one Lebanese fancy looking resort called Tak Estate somewhere in Life Camp. Had all these old missionary kind of houses, nice pool and damn their food make sense. Need to take my boss there let us steal secrets” Kevwe said reminiscing.
“Girl focus” Maryam snapped her fingers in front of Kevwe.
“Oh, sorry. Ehen he now bought breakfast and we talked” Kevwe said. “He apologized, said he was jealous because I had been talking about Justin so much of late. That it just got to him”.
“Wait na why una fight?” Maryam asked. It just dawned on her that they had never really talked about Kevwe’s fight due to her own drama. “You this yeye girl, you blame the poor guy? You actually have been talking about Justin a lot of late”.
“Abeggi” Kevwe gave Maryam, the ‘talk-to-the-hand’ sign “na why him go dey rake the grab me? If not for Matthew he would have hit me fa” Kevwe said defensively.
“Don’t exaggerate joh” Maryam said.
“She was shaking when she came oh. I didn’t want to say anything” Priscilla said.
“Thank you better person” Kevwe said “anyways I told him saying sorry didn’t cut it. The fights have been too regular. Told him to give me some time”.
“Haaaa, Kevwe” Maryam exclaimed “after chopping breakfast on his head”.
“And then? You no waste Ayomide’s fuel?” Kevwe retorted. The three of them laughed.
“You two are lucky. At least you have someone to post and waste their resources” Priscilla said.
“Haba Pris don’t be like that” Maryam said kindly.
“Abeg no pity her” Kevwe said “Make she leave those books and live a little she no gree. In fact we must find you boyfriend“. Maryam and Priscilla laughed and Maryam nodded in agreement. Being with friends always made things easy.
“But I don’t understand guys oh. The same guy Kenny was jealous of, is the one he was playing game with this morning” Kevwe said marvelled.
“I think that is the only thing I envy about guys. Their beef doesn’t last long except it is really bad. We girls can keep grudge over finger nail breaking” Priscilla said.
Just then Tokunbo walked in.
“Hey Toks” Maryam greeted.
“Una don make up?” Kevwe asked surprised.
“Move joh Kevwe” Tokunbo said smiling. “How are you girls doing?”
“They are both keeping their boyfriends and boyfriends-to-be on high tension while they make up their minds and me am looking for who I will put on high tension” Priscilla said.
“AMEBO!!!” Both Kevwe and Maryam said laughing.
“Where that yeye boy?” Kevwe asked referring to Justin.
“Still watching match. Got a call from my boss, need to get to the office” Tokunbo replied.
“On a Saturday?” Maryam asked.
“I don’t understand the woman oh. This is the third time she is doing this. Always me and two other associates” Tokunbo said, “meanwhile gist dey from neighborhood meeting. Security has been an issue. Two robberies this last month, one was on a Sunday when the family was in church sef”.
“Haaaaa, we are in trouble” Kevwe exclaimed.
“Aah, how?” Tokunbo asked.
“When una no go chase that yeye Musa. Who leaves duty post to go and call his aged father to rescue him, our house is porous now” Kevwe said.
“Haba Kevwe let it go” Maryam laughed “Matthew and Toks cautioned him and he has been of good behaviour ever since. See him clearing the compound and even washing Matthew’s car”.
“Why you come dey talk like say Matthew no dey sort am?” Kevwe said.
“Let us just be alert please” Tokunbo said and ran upstairs to change.
He had always admired his boss Mr. Coker, at 35 he was one of the young successful Lawyers in Abuja and arguably in the country. He was glad to be working at the chambers Coker & Smith, in which he was the Managing partner. Tokunbo had thrived at the pressure thrown at him as a young associate. He always envisioned himself as the next Harvy Specter, a character from his favorite series ‘Suits’ and who better to be trained by if not the formidable Mr Coker. He had just arrived the chambers building and walked in to the office. Expecting to find his fellow colleges, he was surprised to see only his supervisor Miss Joelyn, a woman in her late thirties with a fetish for too much make-up in the office on a call. She signalled to him to give her a moment so he went to his desk to wait.
After four minutes she called out of her office. He got up and walked in.
“Hi Joelyn” he greeted pleasantly. Company policy had placed everyone on first name basis. It was uncomfortable but he got used to it.
“Tokunbo” she called his name in an unusual way.”how are you?”
“I’m great. Thought the guys would be here by now” he had said taking a seat. He had wasted time coming down so he thought his colleges would have arrived.
“No Tokunbo, the others would not be joining us today, we would be working alone” Ms Joelyn said and winked at Tokunbo.
Muyiwa blogs at htttp://abluntnigerian.wordpress.com
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