“I’ll get it” Ufuoma volunteered. God please, let it not be Chris, she thought as she walked over to the window to take a peep. There was a Range Rover 2015 L.E parked in front of the crib, she gasped. Just a few days ago she had talked about Chris with cars, especially her love for a Range Rover which sadly enough, would cost her more than 4 years of her salary. Hmm, she mumbled, thoughts running through her mind as she stood before the door and took a deep breath.
“Good morning ma’am” there was man at the door, about 6 Ft. tall by her mental scaling with a beautiful masculine build and a simply spruce appearance. He’s definitely American, she thought to herself, her gaze quite fixed on him.
“Good morning mister, how may I help you?”
“Does Peace live here…? Peace Otebele?” he said, pronouncing the Nigerian name very fluently. She could hear herself gasp lightly at how wrong she had thought, he just has to be African.
“That’ll be me” came the slow reply.
“You forgot this in my car last night” he replied, handing out a black purse to her. She was startled; but for the fact that he had her purse in his hand, she would have ignored him.
“Ufuoma, who’s that?” Jackson’s voice rang from within the apartment. The look on the man’s face changed as he withdrew his hand.
“I’m also Ufuoma” she told him awkwardly. He nodded slowly and handed the purse back to her then turned to leave. She watched him enter the Range Rover 2015 L.E and drive off-so much for big dreams.
“Some guy brought this” she said, waving her purse “said I forgot it in his car last night”. Jackson raised an eyebrow at his wife,
“It’s not what you’re thinking” she replied their gesture
“And how would you know what we’re thinking?” Sylvian replied with an uncontrollable broad smile.
“So what went down last night?” Jackson asked rather ineptly.
“Jackson!!” his wife interrupted, Ufuoma only managed to smile as they went back to having a normal breakfast.
The thought of how her purse had ended up in the ‘stranger’s’ car lingered in her head all day. Had she been a bit tipsy last night? At least that was the only logical explanation of the sudden turn of events. If I’d been tipsy enough to ride home with a stranger, Lord knows what else must have happened last night; she thought to herself, she hadn’t even asked for his name or…
“Ahn ahn, you’re here and your phone has been ringing.”
She gasped as she turned sharply to see her sister who had interrupted her random thoughts standing at the door.
“I know” she lied as she reached for her phone which lay at a distance on the bed where she had been sitting virtually all evening. She rolled her eyes at the caller’s name. “It’s Chris”
“Well?” Sylvian probed as she closed the door behind her and flung her arms about her chest.
“Well… well nothing” she flung the phone under her pillow as it rang again. The light footsteps of her sister echoed across the room as it made a perfect rhythm with her short giggle.
“What’s wrong? Tell me” Sylvian started as her weight pressed into the bed.
“Its…” she paused, allowing air escape her lungs “Chris is not just it”
“How do you mean by ‘not it’?”
“It’s his attitude and all, I think his wealth has gotten into his head and sincerely, I can hardly stand it sometimes” Ufuoma ended with a silent his as she felt the phone’s vibration again.
“That’s all?” Sylvian giggled “Look, if you’re waiting for a Pinc Charming or a Mr. Perfect, you just might end up an Old Maiden because there are no 100% men”
“You’re kidding me right?” Ufuoma replied with broadened lips “Even Jackson?”
“Jackson kó Jackson nì. Jackson used to be addicted with smoking but look at him now. What I’m saying is no man was made to your Specifications, you’ll just have to make a modified version out of the millions of them we see every day; it doesn’t get any better”.
The phone rang again as Sylvian ended her ‘heart-to-heart’ speech.
“Go ahead, answer him. Think I’ll just go check on my own ‘modified version’” she said with a smile as she rose to leave, referring to her husband as he modified version.
“Chris, what do you want?” She started with all that female ‘James bond’ shakara [that ladies do when they want to punish their guys].
“Please don’t hang up, Please” Chris begged from the other end of the phone call like a drenched cat [it’s what these guys do to make you think they’re now sober].
“I don’t have all day to spend on phone”
There was a moment of silence that made it possible for her to hear how slow her heart beat.
“I’m sorry about how I acted last night, I can’t explain wh…”
“I’ve heard you, I understand. See you some other time.” She cut in sharply as she threatened to hang up.
“Wait…wait…wait, please!!” came the sober response from the other end as Ufuoma tried hard to hold back a sinister laughter. “Can we meet again? Perhaps tomorrow… please”
“No. I’m sorry I’ve got church to attend” was the simple reply and it took just a few more words before their conversation ended.
After what seemed like forever, church finally dismissed. Walking out of the hall was quite a task considering the number of people which piled up, exchanging pleasantries and how uncomfortable she now felt in her heels as her toe throbbed under the pressure of her shoe. It was one fancy step after the other as she stylishly tried to distribute her weight evenly on both legs just so the ache might reduce.
“Help me with Daniel while I get the car around” Jackson had said handing over the toddler to Ufuoma as he made his way to the parking lot.
“Don’t tell me that’s your kid” a voice from behind asked. She turned to see who would have ever asked such question considering how famous Daniel was in church, thanks to his incessant shouting.
“Chris!!” she blurted with a smile, “Or is it Brother Christopher ?”.
He let a giggle, “Whatever suits you” he replied in his fine American accent.
“So if you didn’t owe me anything, would have been in church today? Talk less of My Church!!”
“Well, that’s enough reason to have me all dressed up for church this morning… it was your call.” He replied, running his hands over his coat until it was just below the label- what a perfect showman he was.
OMG!! Is that a Signature Code Design™ label? This suit should be no less than $15000, she said within herself, falling for his trick.
“Hmm, I see.” She could feel Daniel’s weight even more now as he got restless.
“Uhmm…..I’m sorry about the other night, it just happened and now I feel like I really need to apologize. How do I make it up to you?”
“No…its okay, really”
“But I-” he paused for a split second, she caught him stealing glances at some lady “…I insist”
“It’s still a No!” Just that act of his had ruined it, her mood and his chance of getting her back-today. It was like cheating right in front of her.
“That’s your problem, it’s always been your problem” that fine American accent had been replaced with a somewhat Nigerian-American tone. “You’re always acting childish, like you’re the only thing that matters in the world”
Her eyes shone as the last words dropped. Had he just called her ‘childish’? , deprived her of womanhood by referring to her as ‘thing’? , now that was more than enough insult she could take in less than a minute. Jackson’s car honked close by, her perfect getaway…
“You know what Chris, you really should leave your job and sign up for rehab. Until then, you might as well forget you ever met me. Happy Sunday Brother!” She turned to leave and that was she remembered how much her shoe ached.
As dreadful as it was, Monday finally came by. At least now she could get to think about how to deal with the patients at the hospital where she worked rather than dwell on the heart breaking events that had happened during the weekend.
“How much casualties came through over the weekend?” She asked as she turned the computer’s screen to herself. She didn’t need a reply to that as she gasped at the sight of Chris’ name…
She hurried over to ward 72 and it was more than she expected, lying next to Chris’ bed was the stranger who had returned her purse…