Did somebody make me a shrink without my knowing? Abi did I suddenly become an agony aunt while I was sleeping? Ha-ahn! Throughout the day, all the women around me cried on my shoulders as if I gave a damn. The first was Miss Monica, my boss in the office. She did not mind the fact that I was five years younger than her and was barely three months in the job as she called me into her office and started sharing her man problems with me. Mind you, she had a bottle of red wine under her table which she was using style to drink.
“Can you imagine my fiancé telling me that he can’t make me a signatory to his account? How dare he? After dating him for straight eight years, he wants to die and leave me with nothing?”
“God forbid! But what if he dies tomorrow and-and I have to start fighting for his money with his relatives? Where does that leave me? But if I’m a signatory, I can keep everything, Amaka. Why are men so wicked?”
Not even King Solomon had an answer to that question.
She sniffed and took one long gulp from her wine bottle.
“Me, I won’t take his nonsense and I’m not going to go back to that house until he agrees to share half of all his money with me. Bastard! I told him ‘no money, no wedding!’ period!”
Yes, and you can kiss your man goodbye. Who stays in a relationship for eight years without getting married these days sef? The woman was just a mumu.
She took another long sip and after that, took her fiancé’s framed picture off the table and stoned the door with it. I had to dodge.
“don’t ever go into marriage without talking about how you will share your husband’s bloody money!”
Point noted. And ‘bloody’ was not the word she used. It was the other bad word.
“Make sure two of you own that money! Two of you! I have watched enough Nollywood movies to know what happens to widows. Oh God, don’t make me a bloody widow now. It’s too early,” she started wailing as she rested her head on her desk.
“Ma, but you can’t be a widow because you’re not married yet.”
“I’m not?” she raised her head. “What have I been bloody waiting for?” she wailed louder. “You have a boyfriend, right? That handsome bobo who picks you from work every day, the one that called your name on his own wedding day…”
That gist is still trending?
“Is that not a good example of true love?”
I smiled but not too much before she began thinking I was laughing at her.
“Take these files to oga to sign and bring them back to me.” She pushed two things that were not files to me and I knew that her alcohol level was beyond salvation. Nonetheless, I took the ‘files’ and walked out, thinking that was going to be my last encounter with her that day. But she caught up with me outside the office after work.
“Amaka,” she staggered slightly and put her arm around me. “I can’t drive, so I’m going to your place tonight!” she giggled. “Just us girls with each other! Whoo-hoo!”
“So, where’s our boyfriend? Is he here yet? Can we share him tonight?” She laughed loud. “Just kidding!” Another laugh. “But I wouldn’t mind. I share. My guy has a girlfriend.” She raised two fingers. “Two. He has two bloody girlfriends. Two!” she laughed once more. “Am I not a fool? Blood him!” she said with both middle fingers in the air. Then she threw up on me.
I had to take her back to the office to have us both cleaned up. I wanted to call a cab but I thought she needed some fresh air, so I stopped an okada and sandwiched her between the okada guy and myself as we headed home. BIG MISTAKE! All through the journey, her hands were spread out and she was hooting at every guy we passed on the way. I couldn’t wait to get her under a shower and cold AC. Loretta had very cold split ACs. Her house was our destination.
As I paid the okada man, I had to hold the woman still because the aloe vera in Loretta’s small flowerpot in front of the door was appealing to her and she felt she needed to eat them. I managed to get her into the house and under a cold shower as planned. I left her there and was thanking God that the worst was over when Loretta walked into the house in tears. She was not the crying type, so I followed her to her room and she fell on my shoulders. Her story started like this:
“I went to see Bem and as we were there…and we were talking to each other and we were… I don’t know what happened… I just found myself kissing him.”
“How? I don’t know! It just happened! Wait, why didn’t you tell me Habeeba is now his main girlfriend?”
“I didn’t think you needed to know.”
“Anyway, me and Bem were kissing and she came out and caught us.”
“And the brat looked at me and was like ‘Loretta?’ It was so embarrassing! She made me look like I was stealing candy from a small child. I mean, who the hell is she to make me feel that way? Am I her mate? Are you not like two years older than her?”
“Yeah, she’s twenty-five.”
Loretta shook her head. “Oh God, what have I done? And the stupid Bem has not called me yet. He’s chosen her, right? Tell me he’s chosen her and I made a fool of myself.”
It’s either my smart sister was the biggest mumu on earth or she was too blind to see that kissing her was the only thing Doctor Bem had dreamt of for a long time.
My phone rang. It was Habeeba.
“Amaka, you’re a very wicked person,” she accused in tears.
“What have I done now?” I got up and left Loretta’s room.
“So your sister and Bem are sleeping with each other and you didn’t tell me?”
How on earth is this my fault again? It’s better to form not knowing.
“What happened, Beeba?”
“Just get James’ car and come and pick me from Bem’s place.”
I sighed. “I’m coming.”
Miss Monica was still under the shower but her mouth was wide open and she was drinking the water.
“Come and join me. Just us two girls. The water is bloody sweet! Come!”
I ran away.
For heaven’s sake what type of mad woman was I dealing with? What would happen if her fiancé really dumps her? Will she turn me into her lesbian lover? No, Jamie needed to get me a new job.
I took another okada straight to Jamie’s place and picked one of his rides. By the way, he was claiming that the 7-Series he left to gather dust in his car park was not the car he bought for Watzhername, that he had gotten it for me as a surprise gift for our wedding. Surprise keh! What type of nonsense surprise do they tell the person before the person became surprised? Mtsheew! Shey James thinks they wrote OLODO on my forehead.
So I got one of his cars and drove to Doctor Bem’s place and got Habeeba. Doctor Bem and I kept a professional relationship. He was my OBGYN; I was his patient and that was that. I had no business with his romantic life.
“I can’t believe I fought with my dad and have refused to pick his calls because of Bem,” Habeeba lamented as we headed back to James’ place.
She shook her head. “I’m beginning to think that my coming to Lagos was a big mistake, walahi.”
“don’t give up like that, Beeba. You already know how Lagos is nau. It usually swallows you in the beginning. Allow it spit you out before you start to complain.”
“It spat me out already.” She sniffed and shook her head again. I looked at her Brazilian; it was old. Her earrings were faded and the t-shirt she was wearing had seen better days. I needed to talk to James about giving her some good money to buy nice things. What type of cousin was he? Must he always be stingy? Anyway, I couldn’t blame him. Habeeba was too proud and liked to suffer for no reason.
“When a man lies to you,” she started talking, “he doesn’t do it in some strange language. It is always clear as day, in his eyes, in the way his lips move as he’s talking, even in his tone of voice. Most women choose not to see these signs and allow themselves believe the rubbish their men tell them because it’s sweeter to hear…”
Hian! What was this chick talking about? Was it a poem she was reciting?
“It’s sweeter to hear ‘sweetie, you’re the only one. There’s no one else.’ That’s what Bem told me after I caught him kissing Loretta. Quite honestly, all he said was BS.”
“So, you’re leaving him?”
“For where?” she laughed for the first and only time that evening. “Tell Loretta that Bem is mine. I have already told my dad that the next time I show up in KD, I will be coming with my husband.”
“But don’t you have a husband already?”
“Is it me that wants to enter an arranged marriage with a man that already has a wife? Who on earth wants to be somebody’s second wife? Please, Amaka, don’t insult me, abeg. If you can have James all to yourself, why can’t I have Bem that way? Better warn your sister o. And guess what. Bem’s ex-wife is in town. She even came to the house. She and Bem were outside talking and I was watching them from the window. If that one too thinks that she can steal Bem from me, she’s in for a dirty shocker. Why do you think I moved here? I’m here for good.”
I looked at her and I could see the fumes coming out of her head. She was dead serious and very angry at the same time. I better warn Loretta not to toy with her because nobody knew how to switch from angel to demon like Habeeba. Her big eyes will just pop out of their sockets and nothing anybody says at that point will enter her ears.
We got to James’ house and all that was on my mind was food. The plan was to eat and dash back to Loretta’s where I would be spending the night but what did I see when I entered the parlor?
She was in full blown tears and her head was resting over James’ shoulder.
Now, Fiyin is very bootylicious. And as much as she is one of my closest friends, she gets all the attention when we go out. Yet it is never enough for her. She likes men that can keep women and James is on her list.
“Fi, what are you doing here?” I asked as I walked into the house.
“I came to see you. I thought you were here.”
But I was not. Remind me what GSM is for again?
“DJ slapped me,” she started crying again and James, happy to be free of her, got up and walked to Habeeba and they started their Hausa thing.
DJ was Fiyin’s boyfriend. He was jobless and liked to chop her money because she had rich parents. He also liked to hit her. Kyenpia and I had done everything to make her leave the boy but it seemed she enjoyed the abuse, so why was she here crying on my fiancé’s shoulder?
“What happened? Why did he slap you?”
“I don’t know. Please hug me.”
Oh God, why me?
I held her and she cried for a long time. My hopes of eating fufu and egusi soup were beginning to fly out the window as my boss called to ask me where I was. I said I was at my boyfriend’s and she said if I wanted to keep my job I had to go get her and take her for a late night movie.
Something romantic, she added.
Which kain woman be dis? Did I look like her boyfriend? Didn’t she know how to use the DSTV remote in that house to find a late night, romantic movie?
I had to use James’ car again and went with Fiyin who was whining all the way to Loretta’s place about her sorry love life. She had no idea how I wanted to run the car into a tree and watch her fly out of the windscreen.
When we arrived at Loretta’s place, we found both Loretta and Miss Monica waiting outside the door. Were they crazy to be dressed like strippers, all squeezed up into my expensive party clothes? And what was with all the makeup? Nobody finds a good man in a movie theatre. Didn’t they know? I sha said nothing to them because at that point I was exhausted, dreaming about going to sleep. There were no romantic movies at the cinema that day, so we went to one of the eateries at the galleria.
“Me, I need a man,” my boss started, “a good man, a real man, a rich man…”
“A single man,” Loretta put in.
“A man like James,” Fiyin added and I eyed her. “Maxy, ya lucky o. You don’t know what you have in James. Ya just doing anyhow. don’t let them snatch him again o.”
The operative word was ‘them’, translated to mean ‘Fiyin’.
“Guys of today sef, they’re so bloody wicked!” my boss said.
“Look at my own. He is cheating on me but if I decide to do the same, he will dump me before I close and open my eyes.”
“And my own nko?” Fiyin hissed.
“Jealousy will not allow him see me with any other guy. He stalks all my tweets, unfriends all my fine male friends on Facebook and even…”
“…started following around me secretly.” Fiyin searched the place with her eyes. “I’m suspecting he’s here now.”
“As for me, I don’t even have a man, talk more of insulting one. But if I do have one, I’ll make sure I do everything to keep him,” Loretta said, toying with a sausage roll on her plate.
“Everything?” I asked.
“And anything,” she added. “I don’t blame women who go to babalawo to keep their men. I can do the same.”
Ah, this was serious. Loretta was not playing. She was using style to tell me she was gunning for Doctor Bem.
“But is that not too extreme, Lolo?” I asked.
“NO!” all three shouted.
“Extreme keh?” my boss glared at me.
“Maxy, I know your bobo is a good guy, faithful to you and maybe still gives it to you good in bed but for some of us, all we care for is having a man by our side.”
“Gbam!” Loretta exclaimed, hitting the table.
“When you’re over thirty and begin to see yeye strecthmarks on your ass and you’re still single, my dear it is time to wake up and start smelling the bloody coffee. Nigeria is bloody unfair to our type. They feel all single women are sluts, ashewos, whores…”
Didn’t those words all mean the same thing?
“And who wants to be under that category?” asked Fiyin rhetorically.
“Not to talk of the lonely nights and the lack of sweet words whispered to you,” Loretta said and began crying again.
I couldn’t stand it anymore. Loretta was acting like a total stranger. I wish Kyenpia was around to scold her. Oh, Kyenpia, my soulmate, where are you?
I stood up and pulled Fiyin to escort me to buy something. I didn’t have anything in mind but I was tired of all the tears and lamentations. We entered Lifestyle Bookshop just to while away time. Fiyin was checking out horror books while I was going through the latest issue of cosmo, trying to check on tips on how to please a man in bed (on my wedding night o!) when all of a sudden, Fiyin rushed to me with excitement written all over her body.
“Whatever you see here today, promise me that you won’t faint.”
“What?” I asked, confused.
“Promise me, nau!” she held me tight.
Then she moved away from my view and who did I see walking in? Madam Watzhername with a protruding belly! My mouth fell open.
“Which agbaya got her pregnant?” I asked but Fiyin did not give me any answer. I didn’t need any, by the way, as the culprit behind the whole egg fertilisation process appeared behind her. None other than my Jamie.
Was this not the guy I just left at home with his cousin?
“Oh my God!” I gasped and turned away. No, I actually docked to the floor. Okay, my knees went weak and I almost fell so I went down and hid myself. I also pulled Fiyin down but she refused to follow me.
“Gaan confront him,” she told me.
“And say what? Why didn’t you tell me you have one on the way or what are you doing here with her? Please, let’s just find a way to leave this place before they see us.”
But it was too late…
“Fiyin?” I heard James say. “You’re here?”
“Where’s your naughty twin?”
There was silence. Thank God Fiyin didn’t rat me out.
But I raised my head to look at her and what do I see than her long finger pointing down at me, showing James where I was hidden.
Omg! I can kill that girl!