Work has been stressful. My line manager has been breathing down my neck, two other guys in my department quit (or got fired, I don’t even know), they just stopped coming. There’s been a lot of talk about downsizing but we are a good bank, and I’m not sure we will be affected. Still, the stress is overwhelming but I push on.
Friday, September 23
I must have slept in an uncomfortable position because it feels like a trailer parked on my left leg, overnight. It’s damn heavy but I manage to drag it, along with the rest of my body to the bathroom, looking out the window, I’m guessing it’s past 4am. I no longer need to set an alarm, my body is on autopilot weekdays and it functions quite well on its own.
So, I do my business for 20 minutes, the usuals, brush, sit on the toilet, step in the bath, and dress up, there’s no time to waste as I have to catch the staff bus which will leave Berger at 5am. My house is a 15 minute walk, and its one of the few things which I enjoy every morning. I use the time to plan the day ahead. I’m not alone, as the street slowly comes alive. The usual company, Ike, honks his horn as he drives by, he picks up Tundun, they’re both heading to VI, as always, Tundun asks me to join them till the end of the street, and I respectfully decline, and they drive off. A series of “good mornings” and e kaaros” later, I’m st the designated pick up zone but there’s no bus. A few people are milling around, most with earphones on, and downward glances at their phones catching up on social media trends from last night.
I enjoy my own company better, so I stand like sergeant Ajayi taught us back in camp, at ease, with my back straight and close my eyes, I am at peace. 15 minutes later, the bus arrives and people rush in, everyone has their seats, I don’t join in the frenzy, I board last, the driver nods a greeting and I respond, he apologises for being late and I smile “bros make we roll”. He hits first gear and we are on our way.
Not long after I settle into my seat, I notice that Julia is in the seat next to me, it’s not her usual place but I’m not bothered, the ride will take 2hrs and almost everybody will be asleep in 10min. Hi Julia, I mumble, she had thought we had a brief magical moment at our team bonding a few months earlier, after which she invited me to her place, nothing happened because I don’t like having anything with co workers. She had been cold towards me since then, I felt bad but hey, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
Julia is actually in a chatty mood today and she asks how I’ve been, and we get to talking, I never sleep on the bus so it was good to talk, as a matter of fact I enjoy this time talking because of our depth and knowledge of current happenings. So, I’m thinking to myself, today is actually a good day, after the unfortunate 15min delay at the pick up.
Finally, we get to the drop off. Julia gives me a hug and a see you later… normal thing, I promised to catch up with her after work on the return journey, hopefully, I won’t be too tired, or exhausted to talk cuz Julia can talk and she doesn’t like one sided convos.
There’s an envelope on my desk, since I’m the only one left in the department, I don’t pay it any mind, I switch on my computer and my password is denied. I try it twice and its the same, and then my heart starts racing, a lump appears in my throat, and my shirt starts to soak, even with the AC on. I reach for the dreaded letter and my fears are confirmed – rendered redundant, wow! I just sit there, pained and emotionally drained.
My line manager isn’t in, she won’t be in till later since she’s gone over to HQ to give a report. I think of smashing stuff and leaving a lot of damage but I quickly wipe that idea from my head, there’s no need to make things worse, besides, this isn’t a scene from a movie, this is real life, and this is Nigeria… So much for having a good day.
I reach into my bag for my notepad and pen, to do damage control, I take a quick account of where I’m at and my chances moving forward into recovery mode ASAP.
I’m not doing too bad, with almost two million in a savings account. No debts, and a half plot of land just after Ikorodu, I should be okay. Besides, I just paid my rent, and it’s not due for another year and my car was just serviced, I hardly use it, so even that liability is on check.
I’m good, in fact, I have nothing to worry about. I don’t have a girlfriend (lol, no offense to the lady folk) my family lives in town, everybody is doing well, this is just a minor setback. I’m 30, have a track record of success during my time here, why give myself a heart attack? This is probably a chance to do my own thing.
Flipping through my notepad, I stumble across my goals for 2016:
New crib (studio to a 2/3 bed)
New car (2010 model and up)
Serious relationship (no more random goodness)
2 New languages (mandarin and arabic)
1 New skill (digital marketing)
So far, so good, I’ve achieved only two and a half, out of five and it’s September, perhaps the situation can be salvaged given this new development.
I start packing my personal items, which by the way aren’t many, into my bag and prepare to leave, the time is 10am, the day is young, so I call my friend Obinna, I’m guessing he should be home, since he’s on leave, luckily, he is, I’m about to request for uber but then I give myself brain and get keke to drop me off, money cannot be wasted.
Obinna has company in the other room, I wonder who it is so early in the day as I chill in the living room, after raiding the kitchen, there’s some pizza and orange juice, so I settle for FIFA on the PS. After one hour, I’m restless, I haven’t gotten used to the idea of not getting any work done on a weekday, I haven’t been out of work in years, it’s not beans.
My guy is done and we talk about starting a business, small talk, woman talk, recession, traveling abroad, economy, woman, all amidst FIFA. What a way to pass the time on day 1. We are finally able to draw a blueprint for a business consultancy and promised to work out the finer points over the course of the next few days.
My phone rings, it’s Julia, she’s probably looking for me, as it’s time to leave for home. I answer on the third ring and she’s like “awww, I’m so sorry, I just heard, how are you? how’re you holding up? where are you?
The way info flies ehn, how would Julia have known, oh well, I’m fine, I’m at Obinna’s and she offers to come over, she ends the call with afterall we’re no longer colleagues and we can help each other, I pay it no mind and reply absent mindedly, yes, sure.
She arrives, and she’s all nice, and I start feeling sorry for myself, the look on Obinna’s face says it all, she plays the role of a concerned girlfriend, the attention irks me but it probably means more to her, so I play along. She even offers to cook us a meal but Obinna suggests we go out tonight and everybody agrees. We decided to start off at the karaoke bar, and see where the night takes us.
The bar is lit, and with the henny on the system, time quickly flies by. At 11pm, Julia nudges me, she’s called for uber and she suggests we should leave, obinna isn’t having it, so we wave our goodbyes and hustle into the car.
Where are we headed, I ask, Julia says home, and before I can ask mine or hers, she kisses me full on the lips, suddenly, nothing else in the world matters as I return the kiss.
Before I proceed with this narrative, Julia is a very impressive young lady, graduated top of her class, MBA from LBS, speaks four languages, gorgeous and smart plus supremely well mannered, she’s the perfect girl, and many a guy would give up a limb to be with her. Funny how I had always has this at the back of my mind.
Finally, we come up for air and the car is silent, she wants to say something, and I put a finger to her lips… then kiss her and there’s no need to say any words. Somewhere on the third mainland bridge, the passion gets intense but we maintain our composure and lock each other in warm embrace. Our driver speeds on oblivious (or not) of what is happening with his passengers, her head is nestled on my chest, and I wrap my arms around her, in a protective embrace.
This actually feels good and I have absolutely no worries and enjoy the moment.
We get to her place and she asks me to wait a minute in the living room, while she goes inside, a half breath later she’s at the door, dressed in silk, at least till she drops it to the floor.
Standing in front of me is the most beautiful body I have ever seen, even better than I could have ever imagined. She is absolutely stunning. We had one helluva night and morning after. When I awake, she’s there beside me, sleeping peacefully, and in that state, I just stare at her and all of a sudden I’m asking myself why I’m not with this wonderful woman.
As if she can read my thoughts, she stirs and opens her eyes, with a smile that can provide peace in a turbulent world , she says “good morning babe, why are you staring at me like that”? I just draw her close in embrace and ask her to be my girlfriend. She laughs and it’s music to my ears. And when she says what took you so long, I know for sure that this is the girl I want to marry.