After all the hugs and greetings, we headed home and I was very happy to see Chris. On our way back home to my Aunty Ada’s place, we were stopped by the cops at probably three different checkpoints but they let us go after Nixon showed his Military ID.
I told Chris and Nixon all about my flight and started telling them about Onyeka and his help at the airport before we got stopped once again by some more police officers interrupting my story. They wanted to see the contents of our trunk and one of them in particular did not seem to be interested in my brother’s ID and quizzed me on what I had in my luggage. I gave him a breakdown of all I had there and after he seemed like he was satisfied with my answer, he let us go. We got home to a very tasteful meal of pounded yam and uha soup with snails, that was my choice meal for my first night home.
Chris left after dinner and promised to pick me up after church the next day to hang out with him. I could not wait to spend time with him because I had missed him sorely. While unpacking, I found the business card of Onyeka and using my cousin Ekene’s phone, I called him to thank him for all he did and to tell him I got home ok and he was ecstatic to hear from me.
On my second day in Lagos, Chris took me to his place and it was a different apartment from last year when I visited Nigeria. It was a nice apartment with matching couches and draperies in a patterned fabric, the side tables had elaborate crystal lamps and maroon carpet. The place was well kept with an almost feminine touch so I teased him about the clutter-free house he had and an almost immaculate bathroom.
I also met his elegant cousin Stacy and she made special efforts to keep me comfortable while I was there. Chris introduced her as his cousin studying in University of Lagos who is responsible for keeping his place looking so tidy and dainty. Stacy had made some Jollof rice with fried plantain for lunch and over lunch; we talked about and compared life in Nigeria and the USA. We shared our College experiences and she told me that she had always wanted to visit the USA and I told her that USA is not always as fascinating as it’s been portrayed to the rest of the world.
She teased Chris that he would be moving to the USA when we get married and taken back by her brash assumption that we would be getting married, I told her that I have been considering moving back to Nigeria. “NO ooo. This country is hard Jasmine. You cannot survive here oo.” She said hotly.
“Why not? I will get a job and survive just like every other person” I replied Chris laughed at her and told her that I am a very industrious person and will survive anywhere with my dynamism. He also added that he would be glad spending his life with me and location is very irrelevant and that gladdened my heart.
The beach was a memorable experience. We had loads of fun and went horse riding and Stacy really show cased her swimming talents. We had fish pepper soup and some drinks in a special way because I got to pick out the catfish from a slapdash fish pond. It was an eatery in one of the thatched huts at the beach and they made some sumptuous pepper soup and the owner must be a well known excellent cook because her food joint was packed with lots of people. I got the shocker of the evening when Chris proposed to me at the beach in front of all the people at the eatery and I was the happiest woman in the world because I was now engaged to Chris.
The next few days were spent visiting my parents in the Eastern part of the country. I was only visiting Nigeria for about 10 days and still had some things to do in Lagos. I only had 3 more days in Nigeria and on Friday evening, Nixon and I flew back to Lagos as opposed to our initial plans of coming back to Lagos on Saturday. I called Chris as soon as we got to Aunty Ada’s place and he seemed surprised that we came back. He was glad to hear from me and when I asked him to come over to Aunty Ada’s place, he told me about his throbbing headache and that he could not make it but will see me in the morning. He advised me to just rest for the evening because he had planned us an exciting day for the next day. He wanted me to meet his parents. He was glad we came back safely from the East but was not feeling too good to come over to aunty Ada’s place. I felt sorry for him and promised to make him some nice soup the next day. I was really feeling this new wifey thing and would be over there tomorrow to make my fiancé some food and help him feel better. I made him promise to take some Tylenol and go to sleep and he promised that he would be turning off his cell phone after our conversation to sleep it off.
Nixon really wanted us to go out though. It was Friday night and the only Friday I would be spending in Nigeria like he said. Nixon and I had made no plans because we were hoping that Chris would come over so we just stayed at home with my cousin Ekene watching Nigerian home videos. We were watching some movie with my girl Patience in it and she was living up to expectation of being the mean mother in law. We had just started the second part of the movie when Ekene’s phone rang and on picking it up “Who do you want to talk to? She asked in that no-nonsense tone and I felt sorry for whoever was at the receiving end. I was still thinking when I heard my name, “Jasmine, it’s for you” she shrugged and passed on the phone to Nixon who was sitting between us and he passed it on to me
“Hello?” I said thinking about who could be calling me on Ekene’s phone.
“Hey girl, how are you? It’s Onyeka on the line” I then remembered that I had called him my first night back with Ekene’s phone. He must have saved the number.
“Hey Onyeka, I am fine and how are you doing?” I asked
He asked if we were coming to the birthday party tonight and I then remembered that he had invited Chris and I to his friend’s party for tonight.
“Sorry Onyeka but my fiancé is not too well this evening so he is sleeping in but I hope you guys have a lovely time at the party ok” I told him
Nixon was whispering something and I asked Onyeka to hold on so I could hear Nixon. He wanted to know who was calling and on telling him, he jumped at the idea and wanted us to go to the party. My hesitations fell on deaf ears and he had me get the address of the place from Onyeka. I had tossed the tickets that had the address that he gave me at the airport in the trash.
After I hung up with Onyeka, Nixon was excited and started hurrying to get ready so we could go. These military boys just love to party.
“Nix, I really cannot go. Chris is out sick and it’s late already” I told him
“So just call Chris up and tell him you will be going to a party. He will be glad to know you had fun and you are not just sitting idle at home counting your fingers.” So I called Chris to inform him that I will be going with my brother Nixon to the party but his cell phone was switched off. My poor baby, he is probably passed out sleeping now. Well, I hope he gets better by tomorrow. I will tell him all about my evening out with Nixon tomorrow.
I showered real quickly, changed into some linen pants and a top, applied some subtle makeup and pinned my hair up with some bobby pins letting down few strands in spirals. It was still humid at 9pm and we headed out. Ekene was too tired to go out so it was just Nixon and myself.
Driving through the streets of Lagos at night was a sight because the whole city was up and bubbling. The night clubs must be packed tonight because the city was very awake with young people out for fun. We arrived to the venue and there were several cars parked outside of the house which was an architectural masterpiece. I was a bit nervous going inside because we knew no one so we called Onyeka and he practically sprinted outside and this man is a piece of work. Eye candy!
We went inside and the entire living rooms up and down were packed with guests. The music was blasting and some folks were already making the DJ proud in one corner. Meanwhile, Nixon and I fixed our plates and got something to drink and found somewhere to sit. We were eating and talking with some of the guests but Onyeka wanted us to meet the birthday girl and her boyfriend who is his friend but I told him that we will go after eating. I was enjoying the moi moi so much to be interrupted and Nixon who is a great dancer seemed like he was more interested in getting to the dance floor with the way he was bobbing his head to the music. One of P-Square’s tracks was playing.
After eating, we danced a little bit and we then went to congratulate the birthday girl whom Onyeka said also got proposed to by her boyfriend. They were upstairs and we went upstairs and surprisingly, there were more folks up there and few of the females were very scantily dressed. I was awed by the rapid erosion of our values as a society but I was just here to enjoy the party. I excused myself from the guys to use the bathroom and on coming back; I saw Onyeka and Nixon talking to Stacy, Chris’s cousin. I was quite surprised but happy at seeing some one else I know. She was not as warm as the first day I saw her and when Onyeka introduced her as Uju, the birthday girl, I was surprised to know her name is Uju; well, Stacy must be her other name. Was that fear or panic I saw in her eyes? It must be because of the scandalous outfit she has on that left nothing to the imagination and she may think I will tell Chris all about her disgraceful dressing and big party when she is supposed to be a struggling student in College but that’s not me. I mean, she is an adult and it’s totally her prerogative to or not invite her cousin Chris to her birthday party. I thought.
Onyeka was surprised to know we had met and the whole time, Stacy I mean Uju was looking around nervously. She must be checking on the guys across the room that were getting a bit rowdy and loud.
“So where is my boy?” Onyeka asked Stacy.
“..He…He… went to…ehm… get some more…ehm…drinks” she stammered and was still looking around restlessly and from behind me, I heard a voice coming up the stairs and Onyeka hailed the voice coming up the stairs from behind me. “Biggest boy! Your woman dey rock her party oo” said Onyeka
The familiarity of the voice was very unsettling that I quickly turned around and to my dismay, there was my boyfriend Chris holding some bottles of wine. I felt smaller than sand.
On seeing Nixon and I, he dropped a couple of the wine bottles making a messy spill on the rug. Too weary to even think of what could be going on but my need to know was very overwhelming so I calmly asked Onyeka to do the introductions.
Yep! You guessed right. Stacy or Uju or whatever her name was has actually been Chris’s girl for the past couple of years. Nixon moved to topple over Chris but I grabbed his arm and restrained him because that will only cause a scene and I got too much class for that. Onyeka was too shocked for words when he figured out what was going on.
Stacy started saying something but my eyes were withering her with scorn and she stopped. I had so much to say but my only thought was a resolution to the decision that I needed to make immediately. Chris moved to hold my hand and there was pain in his eyes.
“Get your hands off me, you little bastard!” I wriggled my arm off and he squirmed.
“Jasmine, it’s not what you are thinking. Uju pulled me into all this. You are actually the woman I want to share my life with and I promise you that I will fix this.” He moved to touch me again and I almost slapped him.
“How dare you come to me with that egotistical attitude and expect me to believe that piece of baloney. What you have done is sickening and you two make me sick!” I said and trying to explain, he only sounded like a blubbering retard. To think I was going to marry this scumbag and would have started filing for his fiancé visa on getting back to New York by next week. I yanked his ring off my finger and threw it at him and Nixon held my hand while looking at Chris and silently daring him with his eyes to touch me.
Onyeka was still shocked and as Nixon and I made to leave, he followed us but not before he told Chris that he was mean and cold hearted.
Outside, we were getting into the car when Onyeka came outside and he started apologizing for the heart break but I thanked him genuinely for the opportunity to see Chris for who he really is. I got a bit relaxed and as we got ready to leave, Onyeka asked for my New York number.
Couple of days after I returned to Rochester New York, Onyeka called me and in the course of our conversation, he told me that he would be relocating to New Jersey in the next couple of weeks. The night I met him, he was at the airport to confirm his traveling tickets having won the American Visa Lottery.