Restore 8

Happy Single-parent mom and son with copy space

Segun unlocked the front door to their home and went in. He had expected to find his mum at home but he guessed she was still at the hospital. He walked into his room, pressed the light switch and dropped his duffel bag on the floor. He then slumped on his bed.

Segun did not know what to think or feel about his dad. He frequently alternated between anger and sadness, hatred and loyalty with indifference in the centre of it all.

He had been quite young when his parents had divorced four years ago but he had been old enough to know what was going on. Although, he was only ten at the time, he had felt the stigma of been from a divided family everywhere he went be, it school or church. In this part of the world where divorce was not common, it had taken some getting used to. In school, he had been teased about it and asked why his family was different. All these just made him hate his dad more and it had not helped their relationship any. Now, to call it strained was an understatement.

Segun heard the front door open. “Segun, are you home?” his mum called

“Yes mum.”  He bounced off the bed and met her halfway in the hall. Jade hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheeks.

“Hi baby. How was the journey?”

“Really mum, I’m not a baby anymore.” He replied sullenly. “The journey was fine, faster than I expected.”

“Humph. You are still my baby no matter how old you get. Besides, you are barely fifteen, trust me, you are a baby.”

“I’m not joor.”

“Mmm, hmm.” Jade smiled. “What would you like to eat? Come along.” She led the way into the kitchen.

Segun opened the refrigerator and brought out a tetrapak of fruit juice. He was about to slug it directly into his mouth when he saw his mum’s murderous look. He quickly took out a glass and poured the juice into it. “Mum, you look positively haggard. Have you been at the hospital since last night?”

“Yes dear. I had to stay until I was sure he was okay.” She took a pack of food out of the refrigerator. It contained jollof rice. She put it into the microwave and set the timer. She then leaned on the counter to watch her son.

He returned the juice to the fridge. “Why? After all he’s done to you; he doesn’t deserve your help.”

“Segun, the man is your father. For that alone, he’ll always have a place in my heart. And we are all he has, so for now, we are it.”

“Okay.” He agreed grudgingly. “How is he?” he asked quietly

Jade looked at him and saw the worry he was trying so desperately to hide from her. “He’s fine, a lot better. We spoke for a while before I left this afternoon.” She went to him and held his face in her hands. “It’s okay to be scared for him son. And it’s okay to still love him. God knows I still do.”

He gave her a surprised look. “You still love him?”

“Yes, I do dear. You don’t love a man for twelve years and then suddenly stop because of some differences. The love stays with you.”

“Sometimes, I don’t know what to feel.”

Jade nodded. “Believe me, I understand the feeling.”

The microwave pinged and Jade brought out the bowl. She served the rice in two plates with a piece of fried meat each and they sat down at the dinning table to eat.

“So, how is school? Is it everything you thought it would be?” Segun had just got admission into the University of Lagos and Jade was so proud of him. He was an exceptional boy despite the absence of a father. God had really helped her with his upbringing.

“Yeah, it’s fine. The past few months have been challenging but enjoyable too. First semester exams are around the corner  so I’ll have to go back soon.”

“That’s no problem. Did you grandma call you?”

“Oh yes. She threatened to haunt me to the ends of the earth if I dare join any cult. Ma k’egbe kegbe o Segun ti o ba fe ki n pa e.”

Jade laughed. “That’s your grandma. But don’t overlook her words though. I’ll join her to haunt you if you dare.”

Segun smiled. “I’ll be fine mum, don’t worry about me.”

“Will you go with me to the hospital later in the day to check on your dad?”

“Yeah I will. I’m here to help you, remember?”

Jade arched her brows. “Okay dear.” If you say so. She knew he was dying to see his dad.

He stared into space for a few moments while Jade watched emotions flicker across his face. “Will you get back with him, mum?” he looked at her

Jade’s heart broke for him. He was so young but acted like a grown up. The absence of a father, which in most children would make them wayward, had the opposite effect on Segun. Instead, he acted much more matured and always felt the need to ‘protect’ her. Although she was grateful to God for a son that was ‘sane’, she sometimes wished he would act more his age.

“I don’t know son.” She whispered. “I’ll love to but it depends on the plans God has for me, and your father too, of course.”

“If he doesn’t want to get back together with you, will you remarry someday?”

“That still depends on God’s plans.”

He nodded.

“What is it, baby?”

He frowned. “Nothing mum, I’m just asking.”

Jade placed her hands on his where it lay on the table. “Don’t worry so much my dear. God’s got this, okay?”

“Alright.” He paused. “I often wondered why you didn’t have any other child after me. You and dad were together ten years before you divorced.”

“We tried for some time with no results. Although, after a while my mind was no longer in it because of the problems we were having. I didn’t want to bring another child into such fray.”

“That’s ok, I get it now. I really hope you’ll find happiness someday mum because you deserve it.”

“Thanks dear but I’m happy now too. I’m complete because I have God.”

He nodded but didn’t look convinced. Jade stood up and patted his shoulder.

“Let me freshen up before we head back. I can smell me from a mile away.”

Segun smiled and wrinkled his nose. “Great idea, mum.”

Jade laughed and went to her room. Naughty boy, she thought.

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Restore 7

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Wale opened his eyes to the blinding light streaming in through the window. He closed his eyes and groaned. Where am I? Why did I leave the window  open while I slept? This doesn’t feel like my bed. What’s going on? These thoughts whirled through his head while he tried to get the bearings of where he was.

Jade heard the groan and quickly came to the side of his bed. “Shh shh, try and relax. It’s okay. You are fine.”

“Whaaaa…?” Who is that? Sounds like Jade. He tried to turned to get a better view of the owner of the voice.

“It’s okay Wale. Relax please.” Jade said calmly

“Jade, is that you?” he tried to turn again but he felt some sharp pains all through his body. He groaned again.

“Yes, it’s me Wale. Try and  relax please, so you don’t pull your stitches.”

“Stitche….stitches? What?” he turned his head and regarded Jade. By this time, his eyes had adjusted properly to the bright light and he could see her clearly. “What do you mean by stitches? Where am I?”

Jade smiled. “You are at the hospital Wale, you were involved in an accident. But you are fine now.”

“Accident?” Wale exclaimed and tried to sit up on the bed. The pain in his abdomen sent him back down. “Awwww” he moaned

“Wale, I said you should relax. You had a major surgery and you shouldn’t pull your stitches. In fact, I’m going to call the nurse.”

She went out and got the attention of a nurse. The nurse told her she would be right there and she went back in.

“A nurse will be in shortly to check on you.” She told Wale.

The nurse walked in right after that. “So, you are back from the dead ehn, Mr. Adeniran?” she said and cackled at her own joke. Wale looked at her askance as if to say ‘how is that funny?’ Jade turned to the wall as she tried to hide her smile.

She was not perturbed though. “Your wife has been so anxious about you. She’s been here all night.”

If Jade was white, she would have blushed at that statement. This nurse and her big mouth. Wale looked at her but she refused to acknowledge the look. She was so embarrassed.

The nurse went about her business, oblivious to the tension in the room. She took out some injections and syringes and proceeded to fill the syringes with the liquid. Wale grimaced as he watched her. He had always been wary of injections; they were not his favorite things.

“Turn to your side, sir so I can give you some analgesics and antibiotics.” Wale shifted slightly to the side and the nurse did her business. “There, you will feel better soon.”

“Thank you.” He croaked

She waved his thanks away and after packing all her paraphernalia, sailed out of the room as quickly as she came in.

An awkward silence filled the room as soon as she left. Wale laid back down carefully and turned his head so he could observe Jade from a better vantage point. Jade felt self-conscious, she had not had a bath all day and she was wary that Wale was seeing her after all these years, less than perfect.

“What are you doing here, Jade?” he finally asked

“I told you. You had an accident.”

“Yes I heard that but what are you doing here?”

Jade shrugged. “My number is listed on your driver’s license as your next of kin so I was called.” She tried straightening the bottom of the bed to give herself something to do.

“Ohhhh.” Wale whispered. “I’m sorry about that.”

“It was nothing, I’m glad to be here for you. You gave me a fright though.”

Wale looked at her, surprised. Jade was surprised herself; it seemed the fright and anxiety had addled her brain or she never would have made that statement in a million years. The tension in the room escalated.

“I’m sorry. The last thing I remember  was driving back home from Bodija. The next thing I knew, I found myself here.”

“Why were you out that late anyway?” she asked. “Never mind, it’s none of my business.” She looked away.

“I was out on a date.” He said quietly

Jade felt the old bitterness rushing back. Out on a date? While I was home pining after him? She caught herself and schooled her face. After all, we are divorced and I have no claim on him.

Wale watched all these expressions flicker across her face. He had always been able to read her face easily and what he could see there now spoke plainly of jealousy. She’s at it again, he thought. “It was just a casual thing.” He felt the need to explain himself.

“You don’t have to explain yourself to me. Like I said, it’s none of my business.”

Wale thought it wise to change the conversation. “So, you’ve been here all night?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I needed to be sure you were okay.”

Why?

Jade stared at him. What does he want me to say? That I couldn’t bear to leave his side for fear I might lose him? That I’ve been scared out of my mind all night? “You were sick Wale, besides, there was nobody else.”

He conceded her that point. “The nurse called you my wife?” he raised his brows

She shrugged. “An honest assumption.”

Wale decided to let that go too. Besides, he rather liked the assumption that she was still his wife. “How about my car?”

Jade walked to the window and looked out. “I really don’t know Wale. It’s probably still at the site of the accident.”

“Okay. Who brought me here?”

“A good Samarian probably.”

“Hmmmmm.”

A few moments later, Jade turned back to look at him when she didn’t hear his voice anymore. She discovered he was fast asleep. She walked towards the bed and covered him gently. He didn’t even stir. The drugs must have taken effect.

Now is probably a good time to go home and freshen up, she thought. He wouldn’t miss me while he’s asleep. She stood up, grabbed her purse from where it lay neglected on the floor and went out of the room quietly. She left the door slightly ajar so he could call if he needed anything.

“I’ll be back.” She told the nurse at the information booth and walked out of the hospital into the sunshine.

#TheWInkChallenge: BLINK – No. 1 Online Community for Women No. 1 Online Community for Women

Hi guys,
So, I’m in a writing competition for women in Nigeria. I wrote a very short story that focused on wife/girlfriend battery in our society. This is a topic that is really close to my heart because it happened to someone close to me. I  felt it needed to be addressed so here goes.

Maybe one of these days I’ll write a short story on it for you my wonderful readers…we can discuss it together in the comments section. Sadly, battery is not limited to the female sex alone; it can go either way.

The link is below, visit it and leave your comments. I’m looking forward to them. Thank you!

https://thewcommunity.com/thewinkchallenge-blink/

Restore 6

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By the time Jade came back, it was a little past ten in the morning. She had called her colleague at the office while eating to inform him of the developments and let him know she wouldn’t be coming in to the office today. Jim had been sympathetic and wished Wale a speedy recovery. Now, she went directly to the information desk to inquire after Wale. The nurse she spoke with earlier was still there which made Jade approach cautiously.

“Madam, we have been looking for you now. Where have you been? The doctors have done their rounds and they wanted to inform you of your husband.”

“I’m so sorry. I quickly went to have a bite to eat. What did the doctors say? How is my husband?”

“Be patient please. Let me call the doctor in charge of your husband’s case.”

“Okay, thanks.”

The nurse picked up the phone in front of her and dialed a number. “Doctor Abbey, please.” She said and waited while the doctor came on. “Doctor, the woman you were asking for is here right now.” She paused again. “Okay, I’ll let her know.”

She turned to Jade. “He said he’ll be with you shortly.”

Jade nodded. “Thank you.”

“Please have a seat while you wait madam.”

“Thank you.” She repeated and sat.

A few moments later she spotted the doctor she had spoken with last night turn a corner towards them. She quickly stood up and met him halfway.

“Doctor, how is he?” she asked anxiously

“Calm down madam. He’s a lot better. His vitals have increased and he is beginning to come out of the drug induced sleep. He’s a lot stabilized now and we have every reason to believe he’ll pull through and he’ll be just fine. In a few hours, he should be properly alert to his surroundings.”

“Oh thank God!” Jade breathed. “Oh, thank you doctor. Can I see him now?”

“By all means madam. I’ll show you the way.”

“Thank you.” She whispered fervently and followed him through the halls to a private room. Wale was sleeping when they got there.

“There he is. Try not to make too much noise so as not to disturb his rest.”

“Okay. I’ll be very quiet.”

“Madam, you can go home and freshen up in the meantime. To my understanding, you were here all night?”

“Yes I was but I’m fine doctor. I’ll go home when he sees me and I’m assured he’s fine.”

“Okay then. Call the nurse if you need anything.”

“Thank you sir. I’m very grateful.”

“I’m just doing my job ma’am.”

With that he left the room. Jade dragged the only chair in the room closer to the bed and sat down. She took Wale’s hand in hers and thanked God once more for saving him. She looked at his battered face and bandaged body and thanked God it was not a lot worse. The doctor had said it was the seat-belt he had on that saved his life but Jade chose to believe it was God at work. She continued singing praises to Him while she watched Wale’s face, willing him to wake up.

 

Nedu checked her phone for the umpteenth time that day. She had been waiting endlessly for Wale’s call all day and she couldn’t believe he had not called her yet. She thought they had had a nice time, and he had promised to call. Some minutes ago, she had even put the matter into her own hands and dialed his number, but the operator said the number was unavailable at the moment. She refused to think he switched off his line just because of her.

She stared at her screen again, forgetting she just did that some few seconds ago. Even though all the tellers were required to submit their phones on resumption every day, Jade had sneaked hers in so as not to miss Wale’s calls. To think that I went to all that trouble for nothing, Nedu fumed. He should not even bother calling again, cos I won’t pick. With those insincere thoughts running through her mind, she went back to work.

Restore 5

Waiting

Wale slowly regained consciousness. His mind was blank and he couldn’t lift any part of his body. The fog was lifting but he still couldn’t see clearly. He tried squinting through the minimal light available to no avail.

He wanted to search his pockets for his phone so as to penetrate the darkness by using its torchlight but he couldn’t lift his hand. As much as he tried, he just couldn’t. After numerous tries, he finally gave up.

The fog drew nearer, it got thicker, and Wale couldn’t run or hide. Finally, after trying to hide and trying to run without results, he finally gave in to it. The fog enveloped him once more.

The next morning, Jade woke up very early to the sound of wailing. She jerked awake and searched frantically around her for the source of the sound. She saw an old woman on the floor just before her, rolling and moaning. From the words she was saying, Jade deduced she just lost her son; her only son. Two women surrounded her, trying to pull her off the ground but she resisted their help, she kept rolling and moaning. Jade’s heart went out to her.

She rubbed the final effects of sleep from her eyes, stretched and went in search of any nurse who could tell her the condition of Wale this morning. She prayed her case won’t be like that of the old woman mourning the loss of her dear son. Comfort her and her family, Lord.

She got to the information booth and found a nurse in attendance. Jade sighed in relief.

“Good morning.” She greeted politely

“Yes? What do you want?” the nurse replied, eyeing Jade crossly

Jade was a bit taken aback by the vehemence in the nurse’s voice. Maybe she’s having a bad day? But it’s barely light yet. “I’m sorry for disturbing but please I am Mr. Wale Adeniran’s wife, the accident victim rushed here last night? I just want to know how he is this morning.”

“Look madam, you have to go and wait till the doctors make their rounds, then you can ask them about your husband. As you can see, I’m very busy here, we just lost a patient.”

“I’m so sorry about that. It must be hard doing what you do.”

Jade was gratified to see the nurse’s face soften a little. She must be under a lot of stress.

“Yes it is sometimes. Just come back in a little while, okay?

“Okay, thanks.”

Jade walked back to her self-appointed seat. The old woman and the women Jade assumed to be her daughters had left. Jade decided it was time Segun knew what was going on. She speed dialed his number, he picked up on the first ring.

“Hey mum, good morning.”

“Hi dear. How are you?”

“I’m fine ma. This is quite unusual mum, what’s happening?”

Jade decided to just come out with it. “It’s your father…”

“Oh, what has he done this time?” Segun interrupted

“Segun! Now, that’s no way to talk about your father.” Jade admonished

“Sorry mum, but you know how I feel about him.”

Jade sighed. “You might want to listen to me dear. Your dad has been in an accident.”

There was silence on the other end. “Segun, did you hear me?”

“Yes.” He said quietly. “Is he…? Is he…?” he couldn’t bring himself to say the word.

“No, he’s not dead dear. He’ll be just fine, but right now we need to keep praying for him to pull through successfully. I’ve not seen him this morning but according to the doctor last night, he’s in a critical condition.” She and Segun had a pretty open relationship. She didn’t mince words with her son. “Can you do that, son? Can you pray for your dad?”

“I will mum. Are you sure he’ll be fine?”

“I hope so dear. I hope so. Just keep praying.”

“I’m coming home mum.” Segun said

“Oh dear, you don’t need to. I promise, I’ll keep you updated.”

“I’m coming mum. I was planning on coming this weekend anyway. I have some lecture free days, there’s a sport festival going on in school. Besides, you need all the help you can get now.”

“Okay dear, if you insist. When will you be here?”

“I’ll be around this afternoon.”

“So soon?”

“Yes mum.”

“Okay then. I’ll be expecting you. Ma pe o.”

“Okay ma’am.”

Jade hung up the call and settled back. Her son could be such a gentleman sometimes. Thank God he turned out okay after the not so okay childhood he had. Left to her and Wale,only God knew what would have become of him by now.

Jade’s stomach grumbled suddenly and she remembered she didn’t take any supper last night. She had been too tired to cook anything so she had settled for a cup of beverage. She looked around, embarrassed that someone might have heard the loud noise her stomach made but no one was paying her any mind. She decided to ask around if she could get a restaurant to eat.

She approached a young lady sitting alone at the corner of the room. “Excuse me miss, please do you know any restaurant around here where I could have a meal?”

The lady looked up. Jade could see traces of tears on her face. She looked so forlorn and lost, Jade decided to sit with her for some moments.

“Is everything all right miss?” she asked gently.

The lady looked surprised. It’s difficult to find a sympathetic ear in an environment such as this. “My mum is undergoing an operation.” She said quietly

“Oh I’m so sorry. Don’t worry, she’ll be fine. I’m sure the doctors are professionals here and God is in control too.”

The lady nodded.

“Do you mind if I pray with you?” Jade surprised herself by asking

The lady shook her head. Jade took her hand and held it in hers. “What is your name dear?”

“Rose, ma.”

“Okay. Father, we commit Rose’s mum into your hands, we pray you restore her health in Jesus’ name. Help the doctors see what the problem is and remove it accordingly. Amen.”

“Amen.” Rose echoed.

“She’ll be fine.” Jade reassured her.

“Thank you ma.” There was renewed hope in her countenance.

Jade patted her knee and stood to go. Rose’s voice stopped her.

“Ma, there is a small canteen just outside the gate. It’s called ‘Eat n Go.’ Their food is okay sha.”

“Thank you Rose. I’ll be right back.”

Thanks for reading! Follow on instagram @maggiesmart88

Restore 4

 

Waiting

Late Thursday night Jade was in her home office looking through some case files when her cell rang. She frowned at the intrusion and debated not picking at all on seeing it was a number she didn’t recognize. Who could be calling this late at night? Something urged her to pick though and she reluctantly did so.

“Hello?” she said crossly into the receiver.

“Hello. Is this Mrs Jadesola Adeniran?”

“Yes please.”

“I’m sorry to inform you ma’am but your husband has been in an accident.”

“My husband?”

“Yes please. Mr Wale by the name on his driver’s license. You are his wife right? Your number is listed here as his next of kin.”

“Oh my God!” Jade exclaimed. “Accident? How bad is it? Where is he now?”

“It was pretty bad ma’am and he had been rushed to UCH.”

“Oh my God.” Jade was flustered. “Thank you so much.” She managed to reply. “I’ll head out now.”

Wale? In an accident? “Oh my God, please have mercy Lord. Take charge of the situation Lord. His life is preserved in the name of Jesus.” She prayed as she frantically searched for her car keys. She was disoriented, she was sad but a part of her was angry.

Just the typical Wale. Just like him to go out late at night cavorting around the city like a jobless man, then go a have an accident and throw the rest of us into despair. Selfish, selfish man. Her mind had fallen into its usual tirade against Wale unconsciously. She was so used to blaming him for everything, it took a few moments to occur to her that she was been unfair, once more. Oh, I’m sorry Lord, I’ve fallen into my usual habits. How do I survive this? How do I show love instead of condemnation? Help me Father, for I am but weak.

By this time, she had found the keys she was looking for in the living room and rushed out of the house. She prayed the rest of the way for him and refrained from calling their son until she was properly apprised of the situation.

She got to the hospital just a little past 12am and went straight to ‘accidents and emergency’ department. Thank God she was familiar enough with the huge hospital not to afford her unnecessary delay. She had been acquainted with the hospital about two years back when a colleague of hers collapsed at work and they had rushed him in. That experience saved her the hassle of trying to locate Wale in such a big hospital.

She went straight to the information booth and addressed the attendant on duty. “Wale, please? Mr Adeniran? He was rushed in from an accident site about an hour ago?”

“Yes, who are you?”

“I’m his wife.” Never mind that that little clause could be debated. At least he did not have any other wife for now.

“Okay. You’ll have to wait because he’s in surgery right now and it might take a while before we hear anything. Try and relax, okay?”

Better said than done. Lord, I need your strength right now.

“You can wait at the visitors lounge.” The attendant continued. “I’ll make sure the doctor locates you as soon as he’s done.”

“Oh thank you very much. I’ll really appreciate that.” Jade enthused profusely.

The nurse smiled and waved her off while she turned to attend to another anxious relative.

Jade’s body slumped as soon as she left the information booth. All the anxious energy propelling her all this while left her and she felt fully the impact of the situation. She managed to drag herself to the lounge and sagged onto the nearest seat she could find. Tears coursed down her face as the thought of losing Wale crossed her mind. How will she survive it? How will she bear the pain? And most importantly, how will Segun survive without a father?

She had constantly upbraided herself for the shameful part she played in turning father against son and had asked God for forgiveness, while trying to undo what she had done. She had been so embittered after the divorce that she had frustrated every attempt Wale made to have a relationship with his son. She couldn’t bear having him around, so she had denied her son that too. For every one of Wale’s faults, he had been a loving father, she couldn’t deny he had loved his son and still loved him.

Despite her many attempts to redo the past, Segun had remained angry at his dad. Her constant tirades had the necessary effect on his young mind and he had not forgiven his father for leaving them. She tried to explain to him it was as much her fault as his dad’s but she could do no wrong in his eyes. He laid all the blame at his father’s door.

After she found Christ and understood the extent of damage she had done, she had tried to reconcile them but Segun would have none of it. He was not ready to have a relationship with a man who deserted his mum, and that was that. Maybe, just maybe, this situation would remedy that one. God, please don’t let him die.

 

It seemed like days before a doctor approached Jade where she was slumped. She had cried herself to sleep and jerked awake when she heard her name called. She stood up and looked at the doctor eagerly; he was a young man, probably in his late thirties.

“Are you Mrs Adeniran?”

“Yes please. How is my husband?”

“The surgery was successful but I wouldn’t say he’s completely out of the woods yet. You see, he had internal bleeding due to the impact, and if his seatbelt had not been on, the story might be different. He was hit by a trailer at an intersection; the trailer lost its brake and therefore lost control, hitting your husband’s car from the rear. His spleen had to be removed too because of some damage but he should make a quick recovery. We’ll watch him overnight; by tomorrow we should be able to give you a better report.”

Jade nodded. “Thank you so much doctor. God bless you.” She took his hand and squeezed it.

The doctor smiled. “You are welcome madam. In the meantime, try to relax or go home if you can. Nothing is going to change this night. We’ll just monitor him overnight.”

“Thank you but I’m staying right here.”

He smiled again. He must have been used to overzealousness in relatives of the sick and injured. “Very well then. We’ll keep you updated.”

“Thank you doctor.” She clasped his hands gratefully.

Jade sat once more and covered her eyes with her hands. “Thank you Lord.” She whispered fervently. “I am eternally grateful to you for sparing his life. You are a good God.”

She debated calling Segun but decided to wait till morning as the boy will most likely be asleep by now. It can wait till morning. She relaxed on her seat and continued singing praises to God until she drifted off to sleep once more.

Thanks for reading! Follow on instagram @maggiesmart88

Restore 3

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Wale whistled along with the song playing on the radio as he drove through the streets of Ibadan. The song playing was Olamide’s Bobo and Wale loved the song. He loved whistling too so he decided to combine his two favorite things. He was on top of the world, he was having fun and was contented with his life.

He got to the Chinese restaurant in downtown Bodija just in time for their meet-up. He carefully parked his Mercedes E-class 2015 series, got out and locked it. He checked again just to be sure the car was properly locked before he walked away. That car was the pride of his life and he would just die if anything happened to it. Although, nothing was likely to happen to it in Bodija here as this was the better part of town.

He walked into the restaurant and secured a table not far from the entrance so Nedu could locate him easily when she came in. He placed an order for a bottle of red wine, he had read some time ago that red wine goes well with Chinese cuisine and he was eager to test that theory. He decided to catch up on reading his mails on his smart phone while he waited for Nedu. Just when he was about to pick up his phone, she walked in.

Wale liked what he saw. Nedu was decked out in a navy blue long flowing gown with a high slit in the middle that allowed just the right amount of flesh peek through. The navy blue color complemented her fair skin perfectly. Her make-up was minimal and she completed the look with silver accessories and high-heeled sandals. Wale liked what he saw very much.

Nedu put on a very cool smile as she approached him. Although she was quaking nervously inside, she came off as very cool and collected. Wale stood up respectfully when she got to their table and took her hand.

“You look absolutely smashing tonight Nedu. Really beautiful.”

“Thank you.” She smiled shyly

Wale came around and pulled out her chair for her. He then sat down too. “I took the liberty of ordering red wine for us. Hope you like red wine?”

“Red wine is okay.”

“Good.” He smiled

She returned his smile. She looked so young when she smiled. Wale could swear she was not older than twenty three years. “Thank you for coming.”

“What???” I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’m excited to be here.”

“Really? Why?”

“Well….” She faltered. “Look at you, who wouldn’t love to be on a date with a handsome man like you?”

“Thank you. You are beautiful too.”

“Thanks.” She smiled

“And you have a beautiful smile. I reaaallly like your smile.”

“Thank you.” She looked down.

The waiter brought their wine and filled one third of their glasses. He then gave them the menu and withdrew.

Wale looked through the menu but he already knew what he would order. He had been hankering for some dan dan noodles and dumplings for some time now. He indicated to the waiter he was ready to order and the guy came back. Nedu was still perusing the menu.

“Are you ready to order, dear?” he asked her

She looked confused and frowned slightly. She probably doesn’t know what to order for. “Hmm hmm.” She answered, still studying the menu.

“You can just order for some noodles. I’m having some too.”

She looked up, smiled and handed the menu back to the waiter. “I’ll have whatever he’s having.” She sounded relieved.

Wale refrained from smiling. Poor girl, this is probably the first time she’s coming to a Chinese restaurant. He placed their order and settled back in his seat, ready to do some digging.

“So, Nedu tell me about you”

“There’s not much to tell. As you know, I work at the bank and I live with a friend of mine in Bodija here. My parents are in Port-Harcourt and I am the second of four children.”

“Where did you graduate from?”

“University of Nigeria.”

“Oh…great school.”

She nodded. “Yeah, it was cool.”

“I will like to ask you a question but I don’t want you to be offended. You ladies tend to be very sensitive about things like that.”

She looked curious. “You can ask me anything, Wale.”

Hmm, that’s a first. “Okay, how old are you? Forgive me for the intrusion into your privacy; it’s just that you look so young.”

Nedu laughed. “I get that a lot but I assure you I am much older than I look. I’m twenty-eight.”

“Really? You do not look a day older than twenty three.”

She laughed again, obviously pleased with his comment. “Believe me, I get that a lot.”

Their food arrived and prevented Wale from asking more questions as they eagerly dug in. He kept looking at her as she ate scarcely believing his luck. Her skin was so smooth and looked very soft. And she had a beautiful face, big brown eyes, full lashes and a pouty mouth. I am one hell of a lucky guy, he thought.

On the other end of the table, Nedu covertly observed him too. He’s so handsome and I can’t believe he’s so into me, he keeps staring at me. I hope my lipstick is not smeared due to the stress of eating this god-forsaken food. Who invented these chopsticks though? Thank God I had the foresight of requesting for a fork, my dress would have been a mess by now.

Wale finished eating and relaxed back on his seat with his glass of wine. He was still staring and Nedu started to fidget.

“What?” she finally asked

“I just can’t help but admire your beauty. Such skin, such glow…it’s really beautiful.”

“Thank you.” She said demurely. “Tell me about yourself too.”

“Well…., I’m into real estate, buying and selling of properties, land, and the likes.

“So, you are an agent?”

“No. I deal strictly on lease and sale. No rentals.”

“Wow…you must be rolling in dough.”

Wale raised his brow. That’s a subtle way of asking how much I earn. “No, but I make do.”

“I live in Ibadan here but occasionally business takes me out of state.” He continued. “My parents are both dead and I am their only child. With exception to some distant cousins and an uncle, I am all alone in the world.”

“What? You are not married?”

“No. So you thought I was married and you still agreed to go on a date with me?” he was surprised she thought he was married.

She shrugged. “I like you. Besides, I didn’t see a wedding ring.”

Wale looked at her shrewdly. “We are in Africa. It’s not strange to find a married man not wearing a ring.”

She shrugged again but refrained from speaking. Is he angry with me for going out with him? After all he asked me, not the other way.

Wale decided to let it go. After all, he was not a saint. He had purposely refrained from mentioning his ex-wife and son. “More wine?” he asked, wanting to move off the subject.

“Yes, please.”

He poured her wine for her and he was surprised by her next question. “How old are you Wale?” She blurted.

Wale laughed. “So, you thought to return the favor heh?”

She smiled, and waited for his answer.

“I’m forty.”

Her eyes bulged. It was clear she was surprised. “I would swear you are not older than thirty three, thirty four at most.” She finally admitted.

“Really? Thank you.” Wale was pleased.

They continued chatting about inconsequential things for a while after. By the time it was 10 pm, they decided to leave.

Nedu whistled when she saw the car Wale led her to. Wale smiled softly. What is it with Nigerian women and cars? He thought.

“Is this yours?” she asked awed

“Yes.” Wale answered proudly.

“Wow. So much for ‘making do’.”

He laughed and opened the passenger side for her to seat. Nedu settled into the plush seats and sighed. I’m in heaven, she thought.

Wale entered and started the car. He put on the stereo after asking for directions to her house and some cool music filled the car. They drove along sedately, both wrapped in their own thoughts. The silence was only broken when she gave him directions as they went along. Few minutes later, they got to her apartment and Wale parked. Nedu nestled further in her seat as though reluctant to leave and this made Wale smile.

“Thank you for a lovely evening.” He said.

Nedu took this as her cue. “I had a great time too. Thanks for inviting me.”

“It was a pleasure.”

She took her purse and looked back at him one more time. Wale took the opportunity and kissed her softly on the mouth. “I’ll call you tomorrow?”

“Okay.” She replied, stepped out of the car and waved as he drove off.

Wale drove off and started whistling to the song playing. He got to a traffic light and stopped as it was on red. He was tapping his steering wheel and singing along until the light turned back to green. He had just put his leg on the accelerator when he heard a loud noise behind him and his car jerked forward. The impact of the hit propelled his head forward and the last thing he remembered was hitting his head on the steering wheel before he lost consciousness.

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