A TIME FOR EVERYTHING

Ndifreke went and had his bath and stayed in his room. he had not calmed down. He would not calm down! He heard a knock on his door. There was no one in the world he would talk to now, but he had an instant change of heart when the caller was Mr Cosmas. He even had Mr Kingsley with him. The two men sat on the two stools in the room while he sat on the mattress on the floor.

“Young friend, usually I do not go giving advice and counseling when it is not sought. Indeed, advice not sought is usually counterproductive. But I see you as a friend. And you have always been reasonable.” He paused and looked at Mr Kingsley who nodded him on.

“It made difficult viewing seeing you so enraged that you attacked that man.”

“He’s a bastard. An opportunist. A life destroyer. If I had a gun, I would have shot him. How could he? Imagine the elaborate plot! He gave us both jobs because he saw that I was not going to stand aside and watch him take my woman. Then he started working on her weak mind. Helped me out of jail by demanding sex he later refused. Got her to trust him completely and then if I cough she would call him. If I sneeze, she would run to him. How was I ever going to compete with that? I was always one mistake away from her running to him for good. Now I did not even make a mistake per se. It was her incorrigible mother. If she is not complaining about one thing, she is complaining about another. They steal her money. Then she starts seeing ghosts! Maya takes offence that I am exasperated and next thing she calls the bastard. He knows I live here. He knows Maya is my girlfriend. Why wouldn’t he at least ask after me? Instead, he comes twice in a few hours driving different cars and carrying shopping bags like Father Christmas just to prove that he is a better man than me.”

The two men remained silent. Two full minutes passed. An opportunity to rant seemed to do Ndifreke some good. He was breathing better now.

“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy – Aristotle.” Mr. Kingsley said.

“What the fuck does that mean sir?”

“You say the man is your employer?” Mr Cosmas said.

“I don’t want his stinking job anymore.”

The two men fell silent.

“Revenge is a sorrow for the person who has to take it on. And the person who is rash enough to think it is going to help a situation is always wrong – Loiuse Erdrich.”

“Right. Thanks sir but I feel good having done what I did. My only regret is that he left in one piece.”

“I can imagine how you feel young friend. But you may be wrong. What if they are both truthful and it is purely a work relationship they have?” Mr. Cosmas said.

Ndifreke scoffed and said, “Well that’s true. Just like Donald Trump is from Mbaise in Imo State.”

“You are hurt. And in this situation only you suffers. If it is as you think, what will you gain by being this way while they are, well, doing as you say they are doing?”

“I love Maya sir. You know that. One day you even told me I should not feel guilty sleeping with her because spiritually we are married. Which man will feel good if his wife goes off with another man?”  

Mr. Cosmas exchanged looks with Mr. Kingsley. Then Mr. Cosmas said, “You are right young friend. But I have one question.”

“What?”

“Why did you two decide to stay on here?”

“I didn’t want to get carried away by the small money we had made.”

“Was she happy about it?”

“No. She wanted us to move immediately. When we spent two nights at my friend’s, where it was nice and quiet she did state it again that we should have left.”

“You know, finding someone who complements you and with whom you can build a life together is one of the hardest things to accomplish nowadays. If you are lucky to, you guard it with your very life, for life is better when two become one, where they complement each other. Notice that the Holy book says ‘for a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.’ You will never successfully become one with your extended family in the equation. I have once given the example of the repeated saga in the Indian soap operas you see on Zee World. There is always an evil mother-in-law and other relatives constantly working against the protagonist. It is because they chose to live under one roof and they do not see that it is unnatural. When you are not swinging in the will of the Almighty, everything naturally goes awry.”

“So it is my fault that she is off with the boss. It is always a man’s fault when a woman cheats.”

“Not quite. But things would have been different if she did not have to be listening to her mother every day. It was right before all of us that her mother practically pushed her into the man’s car today.”

“OK so you see why I don’t like her?”

Mr. Cosmas sighed. “There is a time for everything young friend. We must always be able to discern this. False modesty has led to mistakes and even death for many. You may have gotten the job and money so that you would be able to afford a better place for both of you but you did not see it. Even though most of the time what we see is ostentation and many attempting to live above their means, it is equally dangerous to stay low when you have been lifted.

“Many forms of cohabitation with nuclear families that exist in our societies destroy these families – adult siblings, aunties, uncles, cousins in the home. It is okay for a short while, but once it becomes permanent, things that should not happen usually begin to happen.”

“So what happens now? I should go and rent a flat? She is already gone!”

“We don’t know for sure.”

“I think I have lost her. I can feel it. She has given herself to him. And you said she was my soulmate.”

“At that time she was, probably still is. However, the good news is that it is not only one person that can be your soulmate. There are many out there with qualities that complement yours. What you need is the right frame of mind and discerning spirit to recognize that person when you meet her/him.”

“Thanks Mr. Cosmas. Your words have always given succor. I will stay on here. There is no need moving out now. I can’t even afford it anymore.”

“What will you now do about work?”

“I am a model. I will register with an agency and when there is work, they will call me. It is how we are supposed to work. Jonjo’s arrangement was only to help him get my woman. He has achieved his aim now so we can all move on. Lass lass we’ll be alright.”

“Take it easy young friend.”

“Sure sir. And speaking of soulmates, I may already know of another who can complement me – full of hidden wisdom, beautiful like the rising sun. I found her by chance.”

“Be careful friend. You are vulnerable now.”

“No I’m not. Thanks for the kind words sir. Mr Kingsley you have not said much.”

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you – 1 Thessalonians 5:18” Mr. Kingsley said.

***********************************************************************

Evae went to work on her room. As she expected, her parents, in a way only they could, had already taken all their personal belongings from the room. But everything else she needed to function until Achike accepted her back was still available. She swept, scrubbed the floor, washed the bed sheets, all the cooking utensils and then lay down in the afternoon to think about her next course of action. Achike was still evasive. His embarrassment at what happened to him was still there. Already, compound members were whispering and making snide remarks at him. She knew to take Mr. Zubi’s counsel to be careful in her approach towards him. The man was hurting. She knew that only Satan himself was more evil than her father. Achike was a strong man. The only other person her father did that to died within a week. But she was going to help him heal. She was going to rehabilitate him.

Next was Mama Tobi. Evae recognized that that was an opportunity to gain the good graces of compound members. Even though her presence alone was significant as it would be harder now for her father to enter and wreak havoc. But that aspect was difficult for them to grasp. Mama Tobi’s healing, by her help, was what needed to happen for her to be fully accepted into Number 225. Going to her father was out of the question. She knew other witch doctors who could help. What she needed to do was to be able not to be perceived by her father. He would be watching out for her. And he knew what to do to extinguish her essence. But did she want to persist in witchcraft? Evae wanted to be a changed soul through and through. But Mama Tobi needed help, she had the ability to, and she was going to give it one last shot.

She dozed off, awoke, and decided to go and cook dinner. She selected a short sleeveless gown, short enough to flash some of her hips and thighs through a side slit. She knew that as long as men lived the flesh of a woman would always sway them, and she was more blessed than most with the right kind of flesh. Achike was never to see her as anything other than the perfect female specimen. He should never have to think of anything else until he could set his eyes on her again. So she carried her pot and some beans and the required ingredients and headed for the backyard. As she hoped, Achike was just coming from the bathroom with his plastic bucket. He did not as much as blink at her. She could even have been breeze to him. Evae was dismayed when she passed him, but then something made her stop. When she turned, she saw another man looking at her. He was looking at her with a longing that nearly made her heart to stop.

***********************************************************************

The men spoke about the turn of events with the trial of CJN Onnoghen. The Federal Government was now desperate through the Code of Conduct tribunal to put something on the poor man despite the no case submission of the previous week. The CCT was harping on the fact that he admitted to not declaring his assets correctly and so he had a case to answer. They talked about Governor Muhammadu Bindow of Adamawa conceding defeat and congratulating his PDP conqueror Ahmadu Fintiri. They talked about INEC’s refusal to issue a certificate of return to Ademola Adeleke, stating it would only do so if the Governor did not appeal the judgement – an appeal that had since been filed. Then the Sports enthusiasts talked about Ole Gunner Solskjear getting the permanent job at Manchester United. Non-United fans were of the opinion that the board wold have preferred a sexier name, and that he was only given the job to appease supporters. It was a common narrative. Do well as interim boss, get hired, and then at the first sign of trouble, get fired. Examples were rife. Getting the job ahead of games with Chelsea, Man City and Barcelona was instructive.

Then the Alfa marshaled his troops into the compound.

They counted five little girls aged between seven and two, all in tiny hijabs. Then there was a boy in his late teens seemingly, and a girl of about the same age who balanced a baby on her hip. There were two other boys of about eight and eleven. Indeed the Alfa had ten children, and, even though they did not know at the time, two grandchildren. No sooner had they put their things down did the girls and their mother all rush to the bathroom and took turns in performing their ablution, which the women must do out of sight of non-mahram men. The Alfa as expected did his in the gutter in the frontage using a plastic kettle; and in about thirty minutes, his entire house had brought mats, which they spread in the frontage, and they all observed their early afternoon prayers facing the East. Only the oldest boy of the Alfa’s that did not join in the prayers. He already secluded himself at the soakaway and kept glancing at his watch. He wore a pair of jeans and Tshirt. He appeared different and restless.

When he finished praying, the Alfa took his mat inside and approached the seated elders.

“As-salamu alaykum” He said to the gathering.

They all looked at each other. They were yet to recover from the choreographed prayer session they had just witnessed. How were they supposed to respond to this now?

Then Mkpoikanna said “Abasi akan idiog nkpo!”

The others did not know what that meant apart from Ndifreke, but it sounded a strong enough response to the Alfa’s equally obnoxious salutation in the circumstance.

“Bia Alfa, you will just say good morning, afternoon and evening. That one you said is too much for us.” Achike said.

“No my friends. It mean say “Peace be unto you.” The Alfa said.

“Okay then, in future just say “Peace be unto you.”

“Barak Allah fik.” He said.

“Ah…Okpari!” Mama Cowbell’s husband said with his mouth wide open and arms spread.

“Abeg na wetin we go dey see be dis? Wetin come be barak allah now?”

“Alfa. You are welcome. But you see, the men are right. We don’t understand Arabic. Simply tell us in English.”

“Ok I hear you. But you must hear small small. Na language of Allah.”

“Chai…chineke!”

“Alright, you are welcome. We have seen your family.”

“Nagode.”

While the men tried to integrate the Alfa into their group, Irikefe and Castro spotted the Alfa’s son who was about their age. He dressed and carried himself differently from the rest of the family. He did not even join in the prayers earlier.

“Castro. You see that niggar!”

“I see am.”

“Let’s go talk to him. He looks interesting.”

And so they approached him where he stood alone. Irikefe spoke first.

Hey dude, welcome to our hood. I be Irikefe, and na my homeboy Castro be dis. What’s your name?”

“Iniquity.”

“What?”

“Usman the funky mallam. But my friends call me Iniquity.”

TO BE CONTINUED.

DÉJÀ VU

March 31, 2019

ROOFTOP SURPRISE

March 31, 2019