Saturday, 30 December 2017

NIMI PETERS – Episode 20

Housekeepers, she recognised very well as chief’s, continually pushed in trolleys upon trolleys upon trolleys filled completely to the brim. Fiyin rushed out as the voices and noise from outside her room seemed to have heightened her curiosity. She walked briskly amidst the young people who greeted her very respectfully on her way to the storeroom where she assumed her mother was.
“What’s going on here, màami?”
Her voice wasn’t yelling but came out higher than she expected it.
“They said chief sent his seasons’ greetings!”
Fiyin folded her right hand into a fist as she was obviously managing to get over the rage. “Which season are we, màami?”
“There is no harm in accepting gifts from a well-meaning and kind-hearted man, Abosede mi. There is absolutely no harm!” Her mother had this invaluable smile lurking around her lower lips as she placed every single carton of groceries in its proper position.
Fiyin gave up trying to talk to the older woman. She was really enjoying this new level of abundance. It was only a day or two ago that chief sent down several types and designs of textiles. The woman was almost in tears because, according to her, she just got in one day much more than the number of clothing she has gotten her entire lifetime put together. In fact, chief was contemplating bringing a car for Deji so as to make it easier for him to go about his academic activities; it was Fiyin that objected to that motion as she already has a car and a driver assigned to her. Chief wasn’t going to come into their lives and turn it into some so called paradise for his selfish reasons.
“We got the gifts, thank you sir!” she typed in the message box of her iphone X and stared at it for so long, as though the message would wipe out with a little lesser stare. Grabbing all her courage together, she tapped the ‘send icon’ and sank into a chair behind her. Doing this would prevent her mother’s usual ‘be thankful’ sermon today.
Of course she was fed up… absolutely!
Picking back her phone, she thought of something. The whole scenario keeps getting her more and more confused day after day, but not as horrible as the torture Nimi’s refusal to communicate with her was putting her through. He had completely withdrawn from her in all sense of the word – completely!
He wouldn’t readily pick up her calls, and as if that’s not enough, he would be talking in ‘one-word’ the few times he picked. At some points she was left in the room wondering where exactly her fault was in all of these sagas her life has been facing. She had queried her heart over and again if she took her friendship with Nimi too far. Perhaps her mother was right! Perhaps Nimi wasn’t that into her as she was into him. He probably was more excited about Joelyn and all the wealth accruing to him just by marrying her. He had refused all attempts at seeing Fiyin whatsoever. Edward told her he had travelled for his sister’s traditional marriage when she mounted pressure on seeing him by force by fire last weekend.
“Hello Fiyinfoluwa…”
She jerked up as Nimi’s voice came calmly through her ears. She didn’t expect him to pick up on first ring. She also didn’t expect such a calm tone. She sat still for many seconds, at loss for words.
*****
Ojima Peters looked dispirited as she poured out tea from the ceramic jug into her husband’s tea cup. The latter kept his attention on her the whole time and was surprised she didn’t even notice anyone looking at her. She drew out the chair beside her husband’s seat and sat down, cupping her jaw in both hands.
“Someone is missing her daughter already?” Achile teased, sipping from his cup.
“Honey, I had this nightmare that’s really getting me worried.”
Achile placed the cup of tea on the table and gave her his full attention.
“It’s about Nimi. It was too scary. I really can’t explain in details as I’ve forgotten most part of it now but it had something to do with his workplace. Honey, I’m so scared right now!”
Achile swallowed. “Like he was relieved of his duties or something?”
Ojima nodded from left to right. “NO. It was heavier than that. It was as though he offended one of the biggest people in the firm or something. You know I don’t even know so much about his workplace but I saw someone make life unbearable for my son in that dream, honey. It was horrible.”
“No one can make life unbearable for a son of God, óyà mĩ. If you get this scared over a nightmare, where then is your faith?” He held up her both hands in his. “We’ll pray about it and cancel all the plots of the enemy against Nimi, his siblings and every one of us for that matter. It may mean anything or anyone else, you know?”
Ojima shut her eyes firmly, almost beginning her own prayer session right there and then.
“Have you called him?”
“He said there was no issue at the office and that I should not worry. He claimed to be very fine. I may just call Ojonugwa much later; he alone can give me a full breakdown of what exactly is going on with them over there. If not, they will see me o.”
Achile chuckled. “No-nonsense-mama! I wish everyone has a proactive mama like you, the world would be a better place.”
“Honey, it’s not funny!” Ojima frowned and Achile readjusted.
“I know God won’t let any harm come near our dwelling place, let alone our children. It’s an unnegotiable covenant, my wife. So relax your mind.”
Ojima sighed deeply.
******
Lauren walked into the office adjourning her studio room. Life couldn’t be less stressful than this; she had everything pertaining to her entire life in this whole house, her work place inclusive. She glanced at her director knowingly and the latter followed her into her office.
“I didn’t properly get to say thank you for the other time.” She sat and motioned the younger lady to a seat just right in front.
“You did, Lauren – getting back on your feet and making greater videos in the past week were more than a million appreciation to me and of course to all of us.”
She’s in her late twenties, young enough to be Lauren’s daughter, everything being equal.
“I have an idea!” Lauren said, sitting up.
The young lady’s eyes brightened.
“Here it is. I realised I have a lot of fans from Nigeria. A whole lot. You remember that particular one I had to counsel personally?” she waited for confirmation before continuing. “Jill, I think we could work this out. A special program… like a seminar, a breakfast program, a dinner gathering, anything that would gather all my viewers in Nigeria under one platform where we get to meet and share.”
Jill stared at her with unbelief. “You want to go to Nigeria?”
Lauren felt the impulse to laugh at the tone her director used. She sounded so unbelievably scared like some strange sect of monsters are bred in that country.
“Are you sure about this, Lauren?” Jill turned real concerned face at her boss, worrying about every single thing worth worrying over.
“Yes Jill. I’m double sure. Let’s get to work. Publicity on the website and all. Most preferred location would be the federal capital, of course. We should have these things ready and me flying down in at most two weeks from now!” She said this on a note of finality.
Jill opened her mouth to protest a little further, but Lauren was no more with her; the latter’s attention has become fixated on the computer in front of her.
*****
Edward got up immediately as Mr Johnson walked into his office. He felt a little scared and uncomfortable. If his memories serves him right, Mr Johnson had never at any point come visiting his office ever since he hired him.
“Good day, sir!”
“Edward Onoja!”
“Yes sir…” Edward replied as fast and as polite as possible.
Mr Johnson offered himself a seat first and cleared his throat.
“You may sit too!” he admonished the Edward who seemed to have been completely lost and intimidated by his presence. Edward managed to sit, even though on the edge of his seat.
“I know you are wondering what I came to do in your office, right?”
Edward let out a non-convincing smile and readjusted uncomfortably in his seat.
“Your bio shows that you are a married man!”
“Yes sir, married with a daughter, sir.”
Mr Johnson smiled, nodding his head to a rhythm he alone could hear.
“You know! I never experienced the love and warmth of a father. I grew up to see my mother with different men at all times. She was a noble woman, no doubt, but I guess that must be her weakness…” He paused as though expecting Edward to comment and the latter looked on anxiously so he just continued. “…she gave me everything I needed in life. Everything, except parental warmth and love. I promised myself I was going to give my kid the best life, with two complete parents, you know – because family is over everything for me. You can never overemphasis the importance and benefits of good parenting in the life of a child, Mr Edward. So I must congratulate your precious daughter!”
Edward wiped perspiration off his face. “Thank you, sir.”
“I’m sure you and your friend, and I think everyone that knows me should know my daughter, Joelyn?” Edward nodded in the affirmative this time. “You see how she behaves sometimes like she doesn’t own a mind of her own or better still, like she forgets the daughter of whom she is? Frankly, I blame myself most times for her predicament. I probably was working so hard at getting her a life that I forgot to cater for her emotional needs.” He grinned in spite of himself now.
Edward was praying underneath his breath. Whatever brought his CEO into his office in broad daylight to describe family was nothing less than a cause for worry for him.
“OK! Over to why I came…” he cleared his throat. “…by the way, your friend Nimi thinks I talk too much anytime I get an opportunity to.”
Edward kept a vacant expression on his face. Who was he to agree or disagree with a statement made between Nimi and his ‘office father’? He dares not.
“I want something extremely low key. If possible get the media out of it but I know that’s almost impossible. However, it would be a high society thing and attendance would be only and strictly based on invitation.”
He felt Edward’s face gazing so intensely at him as though he saw a blue coloured ghost.
“The summary of what I’m saying, Mr Edward, is that I’m here to invite you specially to my wedding which would be in less than a month thereabouts. I may be needing you for some running around ‘cos I know Nimi wouldn’t be available to do anything at this point. Is that clear?” He raised an eyebrow expecting a response from the obviously baffled Edward.
“Is that clear?”
“Yes. Oh …yes.. yes sir.” Edward stammered as Mr Johnson’s last raised voice jerked him back to the office.
****
“It shouldn’t be that bad, right?”
Ojonugwa scoffed. “You think I’m wasting airtime to be lying to you over the phone, huh? Don’t forget it’s international call o!”
That made Nukpe laugh loud. “I didn’t say you were lying nau. I just can’t wrap my head around bro Nimi being all over a girl. How is that girl sef? My brother that president’s daughter was sending mails to just few months ago, asking for dates. Tell me how this girl is!”
She sounded really emphatic and Ojonugwa knew she had a great point. Nimi, for as long as he could tell, has been the one having to deal with several advances from women. Many qualities, starting from his hyper handsome self to the hard currency in his large pockets and much more to the special touch of kindness he had towards the female folks. Many of these ladies eventually take his kind gestures far aboard and Nimi gets in the mess of trying to discontinue whatever such girls must have developed for him over time.
“Big bro is now a shadow of himself, Sis. Common golf o, you know he loves golf like mad, he hasn’t played in a long time. If a girl could drag him to church the Sunday I got back and he’s been faithfully attending church services since then, then I think this one is a good thing! A wife.” He readjusted the side mirror of the car he’s sitting in with the hand not holding the phone.
“I don’t still get it. What is stopping them from taking it deep then?”
Ojonugwa shrugged, “I don’t know sis. Honestly! I feel there is a big obstruction somewhere but I’m yet to find out. I’ll tell you when I do. By the way, I made this new friend finally and he is so cool. He loves rap a lot too!” he winked like she could see him and she only responded with a mild chuckle. “I got to go now, sis. He is heading back now…” he paused and then continued again. “One more thing, thank God we’ll all get to travel out of the country soonest. Better be fast with this white wedding plans there o. All way lead to Norway!”
“Who is inviting you, kiddo? Better face your book there!” She sounded casual with it.
Ojonugwa smiled at Deji who just took his seat beside him in the car.
“Who is inviting me abi? You will soon realise that I’m àtógbà óyà! De there!” he mouthed into the speaker of the phone and ended it, leaving her to laugh away. He glanced at Deji and that was some sort of communication for him because he zoomed off next, without any of them saying anymore word.
** àtógbà óyà – couple’s mediator.
*****
Nimi dragged himself away from the office chair. He cannot guarantee his next action if he remained there any minute longer. He walked quickly towards the other side of his office. It appeared as though a sitting room was inculcated into this office but regardless of the expansive space he had all to himself, it feels like he’s being squeezed in a jar only expandable enough to contain barely his big toe.
“You are my boss’ wife now. Don’t you get it?” He tried not to yell, readjusting the tie that she almost pulled off some moments ago.
Sweating in an AC tight room is not a palatable experience. Thankfully, he always removes his suit jacket first thing whenever he enters the office. One can only imagine how his dark skin would have been dripping down large quantities of water by now if he still had the grey suit jacket on. He turned quickly as he felt her hand around his waist. Taking deep calming breath, he tried to steady his whole being. This is not something natural anymore, he thought within.
“You are my boss’ wife now.” He said again, this time with a lower voice yet very emphatic.
“I know!!” She screamed in response, not removing her hands from wrapping around his waist, neither blinking her firm stare. She was fed up with hearing the same sentence over and over again obviously. “I am not married to him yet!” she added as though that statement just got in her consciousness.
Her tone made Nimi laugh with sarcasm. “It’s only a matter of days to few weeks, sweetie!”
The good thing about being the taller person was that he had monotony of choices. He could choose to look down to really see the situation, or to look up and find a solution. Nimi knew he was in a fix and cannot afford to repay her stare with his at the moment. Not now that the proactive part of him was beginning to wake up.
“But why are you doing this?” He asked softly. Helplessness would be an understatement as to how he felt right now.
“No… I should be asking you, Ojonimi. Why are you doing this?” Fiyin demanded as a tear dropped down her soft cheek. It flowed down to her lips and she licked it off. That made her lips even wetter, displaying in more seductive glare the shiny red colour lining every contour of her full lips.
At every blink of her eyes, every shake of her body… every single thing she did sent shudders running down Nimi’s spine, so much so that keeping his eyes up was increasing becoming an uphill task. There’s no method he hasn’t tried – from using the angered and enraged scheme, to the subtle and gentle principle, She obviously wasn’t giving up, was she? Perhaps, he shouldn’t have picked her call this morning in the first place, let alone agreeing to her coming over to the office. It felt like a dèjà vu; like he had played this scene at a point in his life before. Probably, he was missing up things in his head.
Not really!
Yea. Got it.
He was the actor.
Sunday school drama group!
He acted the biblical Joseph that escaped from the hands of Potiphar’s wife. He remembered doing it so well that some older people at the time called him Joseph for long.
Viola! He escaped…
But that was in a drama.
Scripted and well-staged few minutes of make-believe.
Here is life and reality
“I can’t!” He managed to say, holding her two hands from his waist and dropping them at her sides.
She complied, like a robot. Like someone who, all of a sudden, had no power to do anything else on her own. That amazed Nimi. Here was the same person who acted like a wounded tigress some minutes ago. Who can beat the strength of a desperate woman?
Women. Drama. Inseparable.
The pool of tears in her eyes kept welling up even more till it poured down like the mighty gushing waters from Erinjesha water fall.
None of these should be his fault, right? He had no hand in it, he comforted himself again.
The thoughts running in his head were not helping matters either. She should first of all fix the upper button of her body-fitted blue gown, maybe. Just maybe!
‘He would pick up his handkerchief from his right pocket and mop off the tears from her beautiful face. He would then hold her closer and into a hug so warm that the tears would impulsively dry up’.
Nimi wriggled his head rigorously just maybe he could shake off these deadening thoughts off his mind.
“She is my boss’ wife!” He voiced his thoughts out before he could stop himself. Gathering capacity from within, he made to turn around and leave – like the bible and the drama, he may have to be the second Joseph; flee!
Not an easy decision though, as he couldn’t stand tears.
At least, not from her.
She is still ‘her’ and would be ‘her’ to him forever.
He snapped and tried to turn around in a flash but something tugged at his throat. The more he tried to turn correctly, the more he felt suffocated. She was holding firmly to his tie again, dragging it so tenaciously closer to her. If only she knew the eventual consequence of her actions, she would release him and let go in a flash. Right now, he cannot draft out a template of what the story would be like if he turned back in her direction. Following the script or rewriting roles – that would be left to fate.
Suddenly, the office door flew open.
Just when Nimi thought that it was a good thing someone opened the door, even though the person didn’t have the simple official courtesy of knocking first, he was comforted with the thought that these harassments from Fiyin was about to be brought to an end, but then, he had never been more wrong at another time in his entire life.
“Good-good-day-sir!” he managed to stammer as Mr Johnson left off the handle of the door he had been holding onto all the while and walked into the room proper.
To be continued.

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