It was a rainy day in Lagos when I was on my way to Idumota from Mushin. The rain was so heavy that I could not risk moving to my destination; hence I had to take refuge in a nearby building. I ran to the corridor of a commercial bank along Martins Street to take shelter. I was worried that the man, who had given me appointment for 10 am, might be out of the office before I got there. Don’t wonder how. Ha has two official cars and three personal ones, he could use any.
This opportunity I had of seeing him before he left for another “operation see the world” was being hampered by this wicked rain. I almost changed my mind about the existence of God, but I promptly cautioned myself. But, why should God, allow rain to fall when He knew I had this one chance in the world of getting a job, I wondered.
I started when someone tapped me at the shoulder, bringing me out of my reverie. I turned swiftly to see Jerry smiling at me. “What is on your mind? I’ve been watching you since you ran here for shelter, and you’ve been looking into space. What is the matter?” he asked.
I served Youth Service with Jerry in the same secondary school in Cross River State. He was intelligent and handsome. But he had two weaknesses –women and excessive spending. He had first class in Microbiology in University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in the South Eastern part of the country. He loved beautiful, slim, fair-complexioned girls. And whenever any was around him, he parted with his money like a drunken sailor. He could afford to, anyway. He received additional monthly allowance from his rich parents apart from the stipend paid by the government.
I didn’t blame him for not understanding my problem. He had a rich father, so he didn’t understand what it meant to be unemployed for eight months when I thought I’d made it academically. Moreover, I had heard that he had gone back to the university for his postgraduate degree.
I managed to smile back. I told him I had an appointment with a company director but the heavy downpour was putting behind schedule. “Man relax! Is that why you’re worried? You can see him another day, except you want to swim to his office; all the streets are flooded.”
I swore beneath my breath. I wondered why some people with business acumen and capital hadn’t thought of building canoes for hiring in Lagos during the raining season. I could have hired one and paddled to my destination.
“Chuks, I’ve got a hot gist for you,” Jerry said.
Didn’t I tell you that this boy didn’t realize the type of fix I was in. the sky was still weeping seriously, so I said, “What is the gist all about?”
“I hope you still remember, Eno?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied nonchalantly. I remembered Eno all right. She was Jerry’s girlfriend during the Youth Service. She was tall, slim, fair-complexioned, and beautifully built with a come-to-bed set of eyes. She was a material for the front page of fashion magazine.
“She gave me a shock of my life.”
“What happened?” I inquired.
“She wrote me once that she was pregnant. But I didn’t take her serious. Three weeks ago, she wrote to inform me that she had delivered a baby for me.”
“Is that what you call a shock?” I hissed. “It seems you’ve not bothered to check the dictionary meaning of shock. You’ve a child and you call that a shock? What did you expect when you were sleeping with her ever time as if she was your legal wife?”
“Take it easy, pal. I was just beginning the story.”
“Yes! Let me have the rest,” I said enthusiastically.
“I was in the campus, so I went home to tell my parents. They made no fuss to my uttermost surprise. Instead, my father fixed last week for us to go and see her and our child. A day to the visit, he ordered John, his driver, to wash and polish his Prado jeep for the journey, which he did. The next morning, we were on our way. We drove straight to her house in Calabar. We were told she traveled home. I directed John and we headed to Odukpani, her village. My father had bought drinks, clothes for Eno, baby formula, baby wears, nappies –all a newly delivered mother needed. When we arrived in their house, we met her parents but she was out. Her father sent for her, when we asked for her.
“When she arrived, my father explained the reason for our visit. Eno’s parents were dumbfounded. If Eno had a child, she never told them, they claimed, the ball was passed to Eno. She wept for a while before she told us that she delivered no child. ‘What?’ my father shouted. A chill crawled up my spine and my body was cold as if a block of ice was placed at the base of my neck. Her father asked her why she wrote such a letter, if she did not deliver any child? She accused me of jilting her and she wanted to get revenge. I had stopped communicating with her a month a left Cross River State. I didn’t know how she got my current address.
“My father was seething with fury and my mother was dazed. My father ordered that we drive back to Lagos that night. When we got home, he talked to me like he never did before. Ha has stopped my allowance till further notice. I’ve come to collect when this bloody rain started. Boy! You never know with women. I shall return to the campus tomorrow.”
“That was some experience,” I told him. How do you explain to a lion that it’s not nice to eat other animals? “Why did God endow me with sharp teeth and swift movement,” it’ll reply. It is the same case with Jerry.