Engr. Emeka looked at himself in the mirror for the twentieth time in the past 10 minutes. His white Armani suit was perfectly tailored to suit his athletic body build. His hair was charcoal black, dyed just the previous day to hide the sections of his hair that could tell anyone who glances at him that he is advanced in age. That would have been the only obvious pointer to the fact that “the engineer” had spent close to three scores on mother earth. His face belies his age as he makes certain to unwind when the stress starts building up. He never misses his vacations. Never!
And as often as work permits, he visits the gym for light workout, just to keep fit. His dark eyes were glittering exceptionally this afternoon. Why wouldn’t they. He was about to make a ‘statement’, one that would leave a lasting impression on his “target audience” – or so he thought. He was handsome and he knew it. His looks seem to improve with age. And his dressing today was a killer. The combination of his looks, attire and the event he has put together was enough to make the statement he wanted to. “I look really fabulous today. It’s my day”, he mused. “Show time! Let me go show them that even amongst bosses, there is a boss”. He was not prepared for what he saw.
Just downstairs, the crowd was rejoicing. They had come to celebrate with “the engineer”. Ever heard of the idiom ‘once in a blue moon’? Well, occasions like this are definitely one of them. Emeka is a man of class. His house covered an expansive area of land. It was often joked about that the portion of land he took up to build his house was enough to construct a modern football pitch. The floor of his compound is covered with interlocking tiles, with a fountain the shape of an angel at a strategic point. The angel, a cherub held a trumpet to its mouth, with its head raised towards the heavens. Instead of melodious tunes, water came out of the trumpet, rising some distance upwards, before falling gracefully into the cast stone concrete basin below.
Exotic flowers adorn the surrounding, accentuating the aesthetics of the house. The façade of his mansion is a head turner. Decorative stones took the place of paint and in place of an empty space, ushering you to the entrance, you see the images of two lions, one on either side of the door, with their mouths wide open, exposing savage looking dentition. The first time Iyabo, a neighbour who lives across the road entered this house for the first time, she screamed her lungs out. The lions looked so real. When she asked “the engineer” why he made them, he simply told her that they show his nature – fearless.
The interior of the building can keep you rooted to a spot for minutes unending, wondering whether you are still in the country or had suddenly passed through a portal that sent you straight to a foreign land. The walls are pristine white. Paintings of Da vinci’s Mona Lisa and Lady with an Ermine adorned the walls, together with Picasso’s Garcon a la Pipe. At a corner of the parlour stood a smaller version of Michelangelo’s David. All his furniture was imported and the dining section was like that seen only in movies. There is an aquarium at one end of the parlour with rare species of coloured fishes, adding more beauty to the room. The decorative lights in the whole house are another wonder all together. “The engineer” is a man of taste. The brands of drink in his bar lend credence to this fact. In addition to Dom Perignon Rose, Salon Blanc de blancs and Armand De Brignac Rose, there was the Krug Brut Vintage 1988. And when the Gouts De Diamants was released, he contacted the creator, Alexander Amosu, and the next week the world’s most expensive champagne was added to the lots on his bar. So, when you find yourself inches away from someone of this class, wining and dining with him, or at least at a table he has set, invited or uninvited, you can be sure that ‘the moon is truly blue’.
Engr. Emeka sure knows how to make an entrance. While the celebration was going on and he was sure that the venue was filled up, he walked straight through the crowd and up to the ‘high table’. Heads kept turning to catch a glimpse of the man of the moment. Even the compere of the day, a rising stand-up comedian in the country stopped short a joke he was telling to acknowledge the man who was the reason for the gathering. He had just reached the table when he realised that something was amiss. He had been so caught up in himself, enjoying the attention he was getting as he strode to his seat to notice the ‘anomaly’. Now that he was seated and looked around, at those he was sharing the table with, he could not believe his eyes. Slowly, he looked around again to be sure. He was. The reality hit him so hard, he lost touch of time.
The accolades being rendered on him by the MC were not even heard again. The stares he so craved for was meaningless now. He was simply not there at that instant. ‘What exactly went wrong? What happened? How and why should this be?’ So many questions raced through his mind, each jostling for answers which were not forthcoming. The crowd was even applauding him now as the comedian of the day kept on praising him, telling them things they never knew about his greatness. He had made a little research on “the engineer” before coming that day. They kept on applauding the man they saw present. But, the person for whom all the applause and praises were rendered was absent. Only his body was.