I stood transfixed…. did i really hear her? Onyinye here? What on earth could prompt her to be here? Does normal ever exist in my life? Where does peace exist in my life? Will it ever exist? I’m wondering what horrible made up stuffs Onyinye is unleashing about me in there? Do i want to go in? Heck no! To face dad and maami in her presence? No…
So i’m thinking of a suitable excuse to run off but the look Bliss is giving me is boring into my soul. I want to disappear, how do i tell her i don’t want to go in? How do i tell her Onyinye is my arch-nemesis? My number one hater. I’m going back and forth wondering what to do, how do i….
“Uh?!” I quickly snap out of my thoughts
“Onyinye is inside with dad and maami” Bliss repeated with a frown
“Err…ok…i…” I spot Femi approaching “Femi and i need to be somewhere right now” I said rushing towards him and pulling him along.
“Wait…Moke….” I heard Bliss’s voice fading. I pulled Femi along to my spot, i let go when we got there. I sighed in relief, i definitely couldn’t face dad or maami like this. My eyes are expressing false emotions, i hate crying. Crying shows weakness, at least that’s what mom always told me before she died. I never saw her cry, she bottled up all her emotions. I got that part from her, and made my own choices and rules to live by.
I can’t control my tears when am singing, that’s the only time i’m in my moment doing my thing. I forget everything while am singing, i live in the moment. I feel at peace…
“Jumoke, you’re crying” Femi told me wiping the water torrent. I sat down and exhaled in relief.
“My eyes are itchy…”
“The Irritation is back? I thought you did the minor surgery… correction thing” I didn’t respond, he sat besides me and hugged me.
“Salome told me about Onyinye” he said breaking the silence, I nodded.
“She’s with dad and maami that’s why i lied to Bliss that we had to be somewhere and pulled you along. I can’t face them like this, i don’t know what she has unleashed from that hole she calls a mouth…. Dad and Bliss came to take maami home”
“That’s great news, you guys will be a fa..”
“They came for maami alone” I chipped in. Femi looks at me puzzled.
“Why? She left with you because she wants to, then why did dad want maami alone?”
“Femi, i left for a reason. I’m not going with them and i won’t allow maami chose me over her family like she did last time”
“That’s her choice”
“I won’t tell her walk away from her family the second time because of me, a child she took in” I said dabbing my tears.
“Ekene are you busy?” Onyinye asked barging into his office
“Ever heard of knocking?”
“Ever heard of answering your phone” Onyinye snapped back.
“What is it Onyinye?” Ekene asked relaxing in his arm chair.
“I want Jumoke fired. I don’t want her anywhere within five miles radius” she said sitting.
“I want her fired not suspended, i don’t want her anywhere near this bar” she said placing emphasizes on fired.
“I can’t do that-”
“If you want to be inches around me, fire Jumoke”
“What did she do to get so much hate from you? Why do you hate Jumoke? And don’t tell me it’s because she’s the crying diva or rather was. Pierce scrapped off that segment”
“That’s awesome” Onyinye said smiling
“Why do you hate her?”
“Urggghhhh….you’re unbearable” Onyinye growled
“Why do you hate Jumoke?” Ekene repeated. “Or are you jealous? Are you scared she might overshadow you and take your spotlight?”
“Me jealous? Why would i be jealous?” Onyinye asked amidst laughter
“You’re showing it right now”
“She reminds me of my past. That sweet innocent girl, adorable, loved by everyone. Bad things kept happening to her, no one came to her aid, no besties, her parents barely had enough. She wanted something better, she worked her ass off but nothing. Guess what she got in return?” She paused, looked him straight in the eyes “Her boss took advantage of her…he forced himself on her, no one came to her rescue. No one believe her, she was later fired. She had nothing else to offer, her virtue and essence of living was taken away. She used what she had to get what she wanted then out of nowhere Jumoke shows up like she’s the ghost sent from her past to haunt her. She’s everything my parents wanted and i hate it. It reminds me of them”
“O….ok” he said shifting his gaze to his system.
“Will you help me get rid of her?”
“I find your expression and choice of words…quite fascinating. She’s definitely gotten under your skin”
“Get rid of Jumoke Korede”
“You know her last name, awesome!” Ekene said still focusing on his work. She looked at him curtly and walked out.
“I know there’s more than you’re letting on Onyinye and i will find out one way or another”
“Femi told me you were here” Salome said sitting besides me. “You can’t stay here forever, you have to enter reality at some point.”
“What if i want to freeze time? What if i don’t like reality?”
“It’s not that bad…” I burrowed my eyebrows and frowned.
“It’s not all bad..be optimist” Salome said with a smile. “How about starting with getting your eyes checked and speak to dad”
“Femi told you about him?” Salome nodded.
“Yes, I’ll go with you to get your eyes checked.” She said reaching for my hand
“I’ll go alone”
“Good, i miss nerdy Jumoke” Salome said chuckling.
“I don’t know why Mr P didn’t find the culprit responsible for the viral pictures” I said changing the topic.
“Let’s just go” Salome said pulling me up.
I got to see my Ophthalmologist, it wasn’t all bad news. Like Salome said earlier…’Nerdy Jumoke is back’. I know the glasses will only help with the blurred vision and reading ability but to treat it fully requires time and money i don’t have. For now i’m going nerdy….
I know i will have to face maami since my face is back to normal…it’s awkward to say normal, it wasn’t exactly disfigured. No more false emotion expression, no more hiding, no more excuses. I walked hoping time flies by but it didn’t pass by fast enough.
My eyes catches a familiar face….Onyinye’s billboard. I remember always being here wishing, praying that i would be like her. But knowing her now, i don’t want to be her duplicate. I want the money though and maybe a little fame. I smiled
I had always stood staring jealousy at her billboard, that was my motivation. To make it to the top, but I’m suspended thus no more crying diva, my dreams and hopes crashed… There’s always another hope and dream. Maybe the spotlight isn’t meant for me after all…. I heaved my shoulders heavily, mustered courage and head home. The restaurant isn’t crowed..what happens to a crowd when you need it? and where’s Bliss? Maami spots me and beckoned.
“Oh! Lord how do i explain my glasses?” I asked myself.
“Jumoke…” I walked to her and greeted.
“Err..mild eye irritation” I said looking away
“Come with me” maami said leading me inside.
“Onyinye and dad was here. I’m not concerned about Onyinye, me and your dad knows everything she said were all lies” maami said sitting. I let out a breathe in relief.
“I’m fine maami, it’s just mild irritation. The glasses are no big deal”
“Dad and i took care of you, but you decided to leave like the prodigal daughter that you are” I rolled my eyes at maami’s statement. “Roll your eyes again and i will smash the pot of banga soup on your head!”
“Sorry” I apologized
“I didn’t like you working in the bar, but i didn’t stop you. You never ever accepted any financial help from your father. You tore all the cheques he sent you and now that we’ve resolved our issues, i don’t want that childish behavior to continue. And i’m not leaving without you behind”
“Are we going through this again? What’s wrong with you? You’re not a child…why are you treating him like this? What did he do that you can’t forgive?”
“I don’t have anything against dad, i appreciate both of you taking me in and-”
“Grow up Jumoke!” maami said angrily cutting me off. She stared at me briefly and left.
“I saw maami storming out pissed off” Bliss said stepping into the room. I shrug my shoulders
“She’s back…..” I said focusing a really huge smile.
“What’s going on Moke?”
“Mild irritation” Bliss shook her head.
“That’s not it. You haven’t been seen anywhere since Onyinye’s visit and maami said she came to tarnish your image”
“I’m not in the spotlight, i don’t have any image to uphold or tarnish”
“Maami said Mr Pierce stopped crying diva segment” Bliss said looking at me.
“Yap, i was suspended”
“What happens now?”
“I’m focusing on my studies. I guess singing is not meant for me”
“You can do that at home….our home”
“I’m not going, my life is right here Bliss. I’m happy here, Salome and Femi are here for me, i’m content”
“You don’t need us” Bliss said standing up
“It’s not like that, it came out wrong. You’re my family but i’m happy here and-”
“What have you proven? Have you fulfill your goals? Are you really happy or just happy? Are you at peace? The peace you so much desire…do you have it? Onyinye is bent on wrecking you and you don’t even see it, you were suspended thanks to Onyinye. You can’t see what’s right in front of you…you can’t see that you’re missing out on a lot. I hope it’s not too late before you realize it” With that she left.
“Pierce, Jumoke must resume work immediately” Ekene said pacing in his office. “No… Mr P, you know Jumoke is one of the favorite employees and you have to let bygones be bygone… That’s not good enough. Mr Pierce, i know you were caught in the middle of Onyinye and Jumoke’s clash but you have to forgive Jumoke course she’s innocent.” Ekene sighed and sat down.
“Onyinye won’t be happy when she’s finds out but i can’t let Jumoke go. I’ve to get her back and use her reinstatement as a way to get close to her. I just wish Onyinye would stop her late night visits, i know she doesn’t care about me. I only make her feel good and warm her up at night…stop it man!. Enough about her already, it’s time to get crying diva back” Ekene said standing up.
Ekene took a deep breath “it’s now or never” he said and knocked on Pierce door. “Come in” his baritone’s voice answered.
“Mr Pierce, i want Jumoke to resume soonest” Mr Pierce was startled. He had thought it was issues relating to the bar and definitely not Jumoke.
“I must say, i wasn’t expecting you to talk about Jumoke. There’s a word used for that…back stabbing, screwing over….betray?”
“I’m not betraying any one. You know Jumoke needs the job and she’s not behind the viral pictures”
“I thought you came here because you’re the MD and had issues relating to the bar but you’re here because of a lady. That’s quite captivating. Go on am listening” He said with a huge grin brimming from ear to ear.
“Mr P, i feel Jumoke was suspended unjustly. You didn’t investigate-”
“I investigated” He chipped in leaning forward. “One of Onyinye’s minions took the picture and made it viral”
“You knew and still withdrew her privileges and suspended her?” Ekene asked in astonishment.
“I don’t owe you any explanation nor do i answer to you. In other news….you’re putting Jumoke in harms way by asking for her reinstatement when you’re involved with Onyinye. You know she will wreck havoc for both of you and it’s going to be all on you…do you even know where you stand? I don’t take disloyalty lightly”
“Jumoke will resume but with no special treatment or privileges and no pay for the month”
“Whose side are you on?” Ekene asked wondering why he would let Jumoke resume her normal duties without much argument, he also removed her privileges but i guess her paycheck is collateral damage for harms done.
“I don’t answer to you”
“And crying diva?”
“Better than before, it’s now twice a week. Tuesdays and fridays….and there’s a pending commercial advert. Decide who will do it, Onyinye or crying diva Jumoke”
“Nerdy uh?” Ekene said spotting Jumoke in the restaurant. I turned and saw Ekene, i wasn’t expecting him or anyone else and it’s odd that he’s here. He’s Onyinye’s on and off boyfriend.
“For a time being”
“Been a while…”
“Yea…what brings you here Ekene? You certainly didn’t come to fill your tummy” I asked clearing dishes. He chuckled.
“To give you your job back.”
“Oh?! You aren’t excited?”
“I’m…i just thought Mr P would be the one to reinstate me because he knew i didn’t do it”
“He knows you didn’t do it, he asked me to give you your job back”
“I wasn’t expecting it but thank you Ekene.”
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