LIES WOMEN TELL EPISODE #3

Episode #3

As they sat enjoying their midday meal, her phone rings.

She picks it up, glances at the screen, drops it again with an apologetic smile at Malik. He was wearing a blank face which in her experience doesn’t begin to translate into ‘i don’t care who is calling you’.

Smiling at him again, she decides she din’t owe him an explanation. They continue with their food. She finishes first.

“Ta-da!” she pronounces sticking her tongue out at him

Scrunching up his face, “I wasn’t aware we were racing. I would have put in my best” he teases back as he swallows the last morsel on his plate.

“Shall we?” She says already standing to her feet

raising an eyebrow in surprise “What’s the rush?” he inquires “won’t you allow our food to digest or you just want to discharge me so you can pick your calls?”

“Aha! there it was finally” she says to herself. Men just didn’t know when to ignore. Deciding to torment him, she selectively responds.

“My food takes forever to digest. Are we going to sit here forever then?”

Malik realizes what was happening but unable to stop himself

“You know very well that part isn’t important. Why are you avoiding the real question?”

“Because it is not soup talk” came her reply

She watched his brows climb further as his face came together in the semblance of a frown. She could not help thinking if  those brows climbed any higher or his face scrunched any tighter, one of them may start crying from the effort. On second thoughts, it was good his face was so flexible she told herself.

“It is nothing serious to discuss. Just a friend that saw my status on BBM and is calling to confirm. You know those sort of people that never call you unless there’s gossip…..?” she explains

“sooka!” he says

“What’s that?”

“Japanese for ‘I see”

“haha are you even sure there’s anything like that…?” she teases, stopping at his hurt look.

“Are you always this sensitive or is this just your ‘puppy look’ for women?”

He makes another puppy face at her and she couldn’t help laughing and shaking her finger at him.

“You are incorrigible. Shall we?” Lara asks him again

He sighs and gets to his feet grabbing the car keys off the table simultaneously. It was as they walked to the door she realized he neatly sidestepped her question and she still didn’t know the answer to it nor could she stop wondering about it. She didn’t even know the basest things about him yet!

‘what did he like to eat or drink?’ he seemed to have no preferences thus far. Some men would have used to opportunity to eat like they were starving. She wondered if they imagined that was an impressive feat a woman would admire.

‘Is he married?’ she began to wonder then stopped and firmly told herself it was none of her business. She was simply passing time in the city and he was being a wonderful escort.

The sound of the doors unlocking alerted her to the fact that they had arrived at the car.

“welcome back” he said seeing her startled face

“oh thank you” sarcastically

The doors click shut again as he pulls out of the parking lot. He turns to her barring all his teeth in a scary grin.

“I got you under lock and key now”

“HElPpppp HelllPPPp he is taking me where I do not know!” she pretends to yell in a hoarse voice

They both laugh.

“What now?” she asks him all fired up for whatever adventures he had planned for her

Looking at her eager face, Malik decides to spend more of his busy time with her so he could keep watching her face light up.

“What do you wanna do next? Any place you want to visit?”

“Me?” incredulously “Where do I know in your city!”

“Alright then. I’ll just take you to one of my favorite places”

“Where? Tell me. pleaseeeee” as he stubbornly shakes his head “please now. please. pretty please” she pleads batting her non-existent lashes at him

He finds himself laughing and gave in.

“It is supposed to be a ta-da surprise but since you insist on unwrapping your present before Xmas…….”

“Oh! just tell me already!” she pounces again

He laughs again “The place is called Art and that’s all am going to say”

“pleaseeeee pweety pleaseeee. Tell me what they do there. What are we going to see there? please”

“What do you think you will see there? It is the Art Place. Art! What else do you imagine would be there? Monkeys? Although that’s a possibility too”

“Monkeys! Noooooooo they jump at girls. I don’t wanna go to the monkey place” came her response

They were still laughing when his phone rings and after three curt monologues, he turns the car back towards the direction they had been coming from. His facial muscles had all tightened up and he had a distant blank look on his face.

She was still processing the sudden change and didn’t know how to inquire.

“What’s the matter?” finally

“Am sorry we will have to go to the Art Place some other time. I’ll call you tomorrow if am free again” neatly sidestepping her question

“What part of town are you headed now?”

“Maitama” shortly

“Nice. Just drop me at the junction. I can take a taxi from there”

“I hope you don’t mind? Am so sorry. Would have taken you back home but something came up” he wouldn’t say more

“of course something came up. An idiot could figure that out already duhhhh!” she thinks in her head

“It’s no problem at all” was what came out instead

He pulls up to the junction, she steps out of the car and he hurries off in a cloud of dust not even waiting to return her wave.

“how rude!” she thinks again “what even came up sef? maybe his wife is in labor and they called him from the hospital…..maybe his wife fell from the staircase and had a miscarriage….maybe…. oh whatever! it is not even my business so I wonder why am in his business!”

Bringing out her phone, she dials the number at the top of her call log.

“Hey sugar!” she croons into the phone

“Hello” came the deep sulk at the other end “I just called you about 20 mins back and you didn’t pick my call. I know you saw it and just didn’t pick it.”

“Nope. If i saw it, why won’t i pick? I was in the bathroom. I came out and saw your missed call”

“I explained when you called in the morning complaining of boredom that I was headed for a meeting and would try and get out of it as soon as I could. Is that why you didn’t want to pick my call?” He persists

“I told you already I was in the bath when you called. Am I not calling you back now?” beginning to get irritated

“ok. ok. Where are you now?”

“Somewhere in Maitama” came her reply

“What are you doing in Maitama?” automatically

Rolling her eyes, she takes a deep breath to calm the auto-response ‘Go fuck yasef’ instead this came out

“I came to the MTN office. I have been having issues loading recharge cards lately. Remember that was why I asked you to do a VTU for me two days ago” she says smoothly

“Yea ok. Should I come pick you there?”

“If you can. Are you still at work?”

“Where else would I be at this time of the day? It’s not even 3pm yet”

“Alright. I will be waiting at that eatery we ate the last time. Please don’t be long. You know how I hate to wait…”

“Especially for men” he completes the sentence and smiles

Smiling, she disconnects the call pleased with herself. Walking to the intersection, she waits for the light to change. After waiting 2 minutes, she looks at the red light again and decides it was probably dysfunctional. She was just arriving at the door of the eatery when a horn blares from behind her.

‘That can’t be him already eh? I have not even had time to check my face in the bathroom and cool down with the AC indoors. Oh shit! Oh well! Here we go’ composing herself, she turns around feigning pleasure and surprise as she recognizes the Nissan Altima pulling up to the entrance.

Getting into the car, “Hey sweets!” she says as he appraises openly

“Good enough for your office?” she asks scooting closer to hug him briefly

“Yep” he replies admiring her waist high navy blue tailored cutoffs, pale pink short sleeve blouse, light jacket and proper shoes – his idea of proper shoes was something comfortably covering the feet, combining moderate heels with a buckle.

He smiles in approval “That’s my girl. You know what I like”

“Yea. I wore them for you” leading him on, she smiles tightly through her teeth

His office was not too far and she knew where they would go afterwards.

43 ways I have cried

The many different ways we share ourselves…..

Solarplxus

i find it a way i can’t describe when people are uncomfortable around crying

i have cried so many times and in so many different lights

in grocery stores shopping apathetically

making eye contact with strangers and pharmacists

at desks of offices looking down and away in embarassment

pumping gas in my car holding myself

on the floors of kitchens and bathrooms in my own saliva and snot

while being washed in the shower because i was too sad to wash myself

crawling under beds to hide

sidewalks and asphalt underneath me vomiting on the road

with a pile of blankets like a nest around me

and frostbitingly cold cars i refuse to move out of

walking, running away from places

at restaurants while ordering food and alone in my room

food tasting like a necessary evil

at hospitals into my knees in uniform chairs

at hospitals into sheets on…

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7 Rules In Kindergarten

this man's journey

We made it to the first two weeks of Kindergarten class. My son had been very excited about school, meeting his new and old classmates, of learning new things and of car pooling with other kids in our subdivision. He was so into it that he would even wake up his mom to tell her that it’s time for him to take a shower and prepare for school.

Yesterday, we had our first parents meeting. The teacher was really warm and understanding about our kid’s concerns in her class. She was very thorough in her discussions that ranges from the daily schedule, homework and attendance. The one that striked me the most was the topic on discipline. Our son can get overly excited and active in a lot of things. Last year, during the first few weeks of his Pre-K, my wife and I had a temporary episode of stress…

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LIES THAT WOMEN TELL Episode #2

Episode #2

Her romance with Malik began on a perfectly harmless note. She was bored as she had foresaw and most of her friends in Abuja had day jobs. She wasn’t one to go office-hopping so she pulls out her phone, scrolls down in search of persons of interest.

“Aha!” she allows a smile flit across her face briefly

“Hello. My name is Lara. Am I speaking with Malik?” she says in a single breath like a news reporter

“Good morning Lara. I believe you are. How have you been finding your stay in our city?” She could feel his smile from across the space

“Borrrring! am bored outta my mind that’s why am calling you. I told you I may call if am bored”

He chuckles into her ear. A rich, pleasing sound

“I remember. Lucky for you, I had just one meeting today for 7am and it ended on a very positive note so am in good spirits. I’ll come pick you up for lunch. Where are you staying?”

“Errr I stay a bit far from town. It will be easier if I just met you halfway” she tells him

“Never mind that. I have the whole morning to drive to wherever you are” he insists

“Oh well then, I am staying in Kubwa with my friend. When you get to GT Bank, there’s a street just opposite it. and a gated house across the road. I stay in one of the flats. Just call me when you get into Kubwa or approaching GTB.” she explains

“That’s real easy. I stay around there too. It would make returning you home at night real easy.”

This makes her laugh excitedly.

“See you soon”

“Yea. See you soon”

True to his word, a 2012 Range Rover Jeep pulls up to the house after two hours honking while her phone began to ring simultaneously with the name Malik flashing on the screen in Bold letters. She picker her purse, sashays out of the bedroom, winks at her girlfriend who just smiles at her shaking her head and walks out of the door. This time Malik was unchaperoned. She sighed in relief. She wasn’t sure she wanted a chaperone with him or his undivided attention yet. She just knew she was bored and everyone knew that could be dangerous.

“Hey! Someone looks good”

“Hola! someone smells nice” she returns getting into the car and allowing her eyes adjust to the dim interior. He had shaded windows and her mind began analyzing

“shaded windows + dim interiors + lone guy = womanizer, cultist, bad boy?”

He looked at her face and laughed a full laugh

“I know what you are thinking but sorry to disappoint you, am neither a womanizer, a rapist nor a cult member. Was i right?” He glances at her as he puts the car into auto drive and pulls back onto the road

She smiles tensely “I apologize. didn’t realize my face was an open book. Not rapist tho, cultist” She smiles again

“I got into the car and immediately realized I knew nothing about you and I was putting myself in your hands for the next few hours plus you drive a dark nondescript car” she ended

He laughed again, clicked the doors to lock and began to race the car like a maniac as if he was really a cultist as she had presumed.

“Am I scaring you yet?” He glanced at her wickedly with a naughty grin

“Nearly” she replies

“Maybe I should do better” he teases

“No thank you” came her sharp retort

Easing his speed a little, he looks at her momentarily as if to determine how bad he was scaring her. He decided it was bad enough for him to pull into a public space and get a drink to calm her. This obviously was no brazen Abuja chic.

Sighing in relief, she silently thanked God Malik was sensitive.

“Just a coke please” she replied to the waiter’s unspoken query

“a bottle of water for me” he intones

“Why do waiters ask the woman what she wants first and not the man that is supposedly ‘paying?” he throws at her

“Hmmmmn don’t get me started on that subject Malik. Trust me, you don’t want me to get started”

“Why not?”

“Because once I start, I could never stop. It’s my most favorite topic. I could never tire of it” She pauses with a smile at the waiter returning with her coke on ice.

“Thank you” she says to him as he places it on the mat in front of her

“You are so proper and polite, it’s hard to believe you grew up in Nigeria where girls are so rude and won’t even thank the waiter because they feel ‘it’s their job’. I think I like you” He told her

“Nice” she responds

“just Nice?” he queries and bursts into laughter. she looks at him a while puzzled then starts laughing too involuntarily.

“I like your kind of girl” he says again seeing that she was relaxing with him a bit

“I apologize for scaring you earlier. It wasn’t intentional”

“hmmmn now, I think I like your kind of guy. Sensitive to what a girl is feeling. Nice”

“Nice again? Is that the only expression you know?” Haha

Shaking her head, she was laughing so much she could not mouth the proper response

“Alright, let’s leave. I think you relaxed a bit. Ready?”

“Ready” standing up, she leaves her unfinished coke on the table as she follows him out into the midday sun.

They drive towards the city center as he engages her in idle conversation to “kill time”.

“What spots do you know in Abuja?” he asks her “This is the test your knowledge of the city time”

“Hmmmn I only know GTB Kubwa branch and Jeveniks because a friend took me for lunch there twice. Haha”

She pulls to the side, gives him a serious look “You can take me wherever you want tho. I believe I am in capable hands”

“or arms” he suggests

“No. just hands for now” she gives him the tongue out sign. He laughs again enjoying her company

Arriving at Jeveniks a while later, the place was packed for the lunch hour. Shaking her head as she steps out of the car and shading her eyes against the sudden onslaught of sunlight.

“What?” he enquires of her head shake

“All these lazy people that eat outside their homes everyday in Abuja” she proclaims

“Are we also lazy too. We are about to eat out too.” he teases

“No. Our is a different situation”

“Oh really? how is that?” he continues to tease her unknown to her

“well, because we are meeting on a sort of a….you know what I mean, we can’t go to your house since you can’t cook….oh! I don’t mean you can’t cook anything….I mean, given the situation, you can’t possibly cook for me as it is….oh well! I give up. You are right. They must also have good reasons to eat here” She hurriedly concludes. She wondered why her tongue felt like fudge cake and why she was so flustered around him. Usually, she was quite fluent in expressing her thoughts coherently. What was this strangeness she was feeling? Was she reacting to this man she just met just because he appeared to be sensitive to her and read her like a book! She resolved not to let her guards down anymore.

He was watching her every move and her face was just like a Windows 8 app with speech! She was so easy to read. He knew the precise moment she decided to be careful with him and he unconsciously decided to walk over all her defenses just to prove to himself he still could. He applauded himself on being able to read her. That was why he was a successful negotiator because he could read each party he was dealing with like an open book.

The waiter comes to take their order and turns to her first with his pen ready. Lara’s eyes meets Malik’s and they share a private smile.

“Pounded yam with Afam and fish with a bottled water. Do you have Eva water?” she says

“Yes ma” waiter replies

“I will have what she is having with a bottle of Eva water too” Malik says

“How come you keep ordering same thing I order” she asks as the waiter walks away “Don’t you want anything for yourself or is it just a wonderful coincidence you keep craving same thing as me?”

This earned her a deep bellied laugh and with twinkling eyes “perhaps I need a woman to pick the good foods for me and I happen to feel I can trust your judgement with food”

“hmmmmmn scope!” was her immediate retort

“ouch! that hurts!” was his rejoinder

A Girl’s First Love – My Daddy

HABEEBY! Tis my Dad’s birthday and am as excited like it is mine.

Every girl falls in love for the first time with that strong arm, ready smile and open face that throws her into the air and is sure to always catch her……… the first male she attaches to, is usually, dad. He forms a concrete impression in her mind of what a man should be and if he does it right, she prays fervently for any man she ends up with to be just like him.

Today, I appreciate God for giving me you over 3 decades ago. I used to tell my friends “if i love any man half as much as I love my dad, that man would be extremely lucky”.

Growing up, I used to be daddy’s lil girl. He’d light up the room when he walked in, I could talk to him about boys(Only after I graduated LOL) but I could always trust him to lay it down straight. I miss being daddy’s little girl. I miss following you everywhere. I miss telling you not to eat the chicken’s skin at parties. I miss us being envied by your friends at Juma’at because I was always with you and they would call me “your first wife”. I miss the stories you used to tell us about our family’s proud history and the fables and jokes you used to tell. I miss watching late night movies with you when everyone else was asleep like our private secret. I miss you. Growing up is a bitch because I miss my Daddy!

All I want to say has been said in the “Daddy” song by BeyonceDad n girl. I will post it here for the sake of those unfamiliar with the lyrics(edited for my purpose o’course).

Read, remember why it is important to be the perfect daddy to your little girl and how much your little girls will always love you till the end of time.

MY Daddy by Beyonce Knowles(Edited by Moi)

I remember when you bought me my first bike and taught me to ride it

It was a pretty dark blue (You remember that? We were inseparable)

And I remember when you could do no wrong
You’d come home from work and I jumped in your arms when I saw you
I was so happy to see you (I was so excited, so happy to see you)

Because you loved me I overcome
And I’m so proud of what you’ve become
You’ve given me such security
No matter what mistakes I know you’re there for me
You cure my disappointments and you heal my pain
You understood my fears and you protected me
Treasure every irreplaceable memory and that’s why…

I want my unborn son to be like my daddy
I want my husband to be like my daddy
There is no one else like my daddy
And I thank you for loving me

I still remember the expression on your face
When you found out I’d been on a date and had a boyfriend (My first boyfriend, you should have seen your face)
I still remember the look on your face when a boy called the house

asking to speak to me….you looked like I had moved out of the house already

Words can’t express my boundless gratitude for you
I appreciate what you do
You’ve given me such security
No matter what mistakes I know you’re there for me
You cure my disappointments and you heal my pain
You understand my fears and you protected me
Treasure every extraordinary memory and that’s why…

I want my unborn son to be like my daddy
I want my husband to be like my daddy
There is no one else like my daddy
And I thank you for loving me

Even if my man broke my heart today
No matter how much pain I’m in I will be okay
Cause I got a man in my life that can’t be replaced
For this love is unconditional it won’t go away

I know I’m lucky
Know it ain’t easy
For men who take care of their responsibilities
Love is overwhelming
Lord why did you pick me
Can’t stop my tears from falling
I love you so much daddy

(Thank you, you’ve done so much for me. I love you daddy.)

I get so emotional daddy, every time I think of you
I get so emotional daddy, every time I think of you
There is no one else like my daddy
No one else replace my daddy…

(Lyrics culled from Genius)

MAD MEN PREACHING JESUS…..

Saturday the 13th of September 2014. It was morning and I was still stretching catlike in bed, gingerly touching my new, hair stylist’s handwork from the night before. This young lady had spent over 5 hours to pick every strand of my hair.

 M just got to her sister’s shop reluctantly opened the door and began to dust and sweep lamenting the previous night’s work and how she had closed shop at a quarter to 12am. She was understandably tired from last night and was not in the mood to open shop. Unfortunately, she had a hair appointment coming in a few minutes and she wanted to be on time.

She was still cleaning when this fat, dark young man walks up to the door giving out tracts. He gives one to the pregnant lady M is lamenting to.

She looks at the address on the tract “Your church too far from my house I no go fit attend una service. No vex o” Pregnant lady declines as politely as she could

He directs his attention to M. She also tries to refuse but he would hear none of it.

“Am a muslim, I don’t go to church so I can’t come. Make I no waste your tract if i collect am because I nor go come. Give another person”

He insists, pushing a bit farther into the already tight shop.

“You must collect am if not I go vex beat u”

“I don’t want. I say i no dey go church” She is starting to raise her voice frustrated that this particular young man isn’t getting her simple message “Go Away”.

“I will be very angry if you don’t collect it”

“I no want ah! na by force? I say I no want abi u wan beat me?”

He moves further into the small 6×6 space effectively putting the pregnant lady behind him and outside the shop.

“leave her now. she says she no want the tract. na by force?” pregnant lady chides from behind him

“If you don’t collect it, I will beat you” he threatens and she must have obviously thought this was a rhetorically idle threat.

Next thing, he rushes towards her, she feints to the side as far as the small cramped space would let her. A chair stops her midway, he grabs at her, pulling her towards him while simultaneously reaching for a pepsi bottle lying on the floor beside the door. He breaks this on her head in a single downward stab.

“yeeee! O pa mi o. o gun mi pa” she screams

Pregnant lady looks in, realizes this was no longer a tete-a-tete, rushes in and tries to pull the mad man off of M, he turns towards her, arm raised, still holding the bottle with a crazed look in his eyes. She decides he has really gone over the bridge and rushes back outside to get help.

From across the same street, another woman comes to try and remove the mad man from astride M. He turns on both women and they flee for dear life. They stand screaming in the street for help which wasn’t coming while M screamed on intermittently from inside the shop like a woman in labor pains.

“ye! O gun mi pa o. ye! Ori mi o” no help forthcoming in the broad daylight

The screams continued for some minutes before she staggered out of the shop with blood running down her arm into her dress from a slash in her wrist. Two fountains spurting from the sides of her head. She looked like one of Van Goh’s painting come to life and walking the streets of Lagos. She was floundering in the street like a fish out of water.

Her assailant stepped out of he shop and looked on calmly as if nothing untoward had happened.

M staggered into the arms of the pregnant lady who was already crying because the girl looked like she would pass out any minute from all the blood loss.

However, they managed to put her on a motorcycle, asking the motorcyclist to take her straight to the police station to lodge a complaint before treatment at the hospital.

The poor girl. She had been stabbed on the both sides of her head, one spot at the back of her head and various slashes on her wrist while trying to protect her neck. A shard of bottle about 3 inches long was removed from the right side of her head at the hospital and it took a while to staunch the flow of blood from the head wounds.

“She don go police station go bring olopa” The mad man was informed

“Make she bring them. I dey wait for here” He calmly responded and also acted true to his words.

When someone promises you saying”I SHALL NOT LEAVE YOU UNTIL YOU ACCEPT JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND PERSONAL SAVIOR”, they just might mean it literally. However, let’s call a spade a spade, there is no compulsion in religion. Forcing someone to accept your spiritual beliefs should be the least of your worries until you are certain you have enough good deeds to get you into heaven already.

Yoruba people say “s’adura kin s’amin, kosi ija ni church”.

hmmmmmn diariz God o!

LIES THAT WOMEN TELL EPISODE #1

I promised a series of interesting stories about LIES THAT WOMEN TELL. A very tall order I set for myself considering my long vacation from writing.

Lara has been through many things in life so that she now considers herself a cynic. Owing to her varying experiences, in her opinion humans are a very dynamic lot capable of almost anything. Starting out as an innocent, she had changed considerably becoming what the society made her….

EPISODE #1

She looked at her phone ringing for the umpteenth time. She knew it was Malik again without looking at the screen. She had a special ringtone just for him – nothing terrible, just a voice note that says ‘never answer’. He had been a pig in the past even though she had been the freak he wanted in his black bed countless times. These men these days……….shaking her head, she dismissed the thought.

She had met Malik on during a flight into Abuja. She had noticed his phone and couldn’t help but ask him what model it was because it looked similar to a recent one she had been stalking on google. It was a HTC One Max that costs 125 thousand naira. Her magnet automatically recognizes an expensive phone. She gave him a second look. Even Slots in Lagos didn’t have it at the time of her search. Moving close to him…..

“Hello. My name is Lara. I love your phone. Is it an HTC?”

He smiled a deep confident smile and the voice when it came was a pleasing timbre

“yes it is.”

She was beaming at him now. She couldn’t help it “What model is it?”

“It is a HTC One Max” he replies keeping his voice at a teasing low as if it was a real private conversation.

She had to bring her head closer and her voice a decibel lower too

“wow! that’s so cool. Slot in Lagos does not even have it when I checked their website”

“Really?” he asked surprised

“yea. I wanted to leave the Blackberry group and try out an android so I was browsing the Net for good android phones. That’s when I saw the HTC. It’s so sleek….really pretty phone”

“it is but uses a lot of data and as a result, the battery does not last so long because of the updates that come up every few hours. That will exhaust your data and battery too”

“It’s true. I got a small Droid too and the updates and data drove me right back into the arms of Blackberry. Haha”

he smiled again. She was really beginning to feel a twinge of something for his smile and was starting to anticipate it.

“Can I hold your phone for a minute?” she asked

“Sure.”

“Haha I just wanna feel it for a bit to see what I missed by not buying it”

He laughs with her for a spell then takes a second good look at her.

The air hostess passes by “Please stow away your chair tray and turn off your phones. Thank you”

Lara and Malik look at each other, share a secret smile before doing as the hostess asked.

He sounded like an intelligent man plus his good looks, she barely refrained from asking him what his job in Abuja was. Does he even live in Abuja or Lagos? She wondered how to broach the 21 questions running round her head. Wait! she told herself firmly.

He kept looking at her sideways from the convenience of his glasses so it appeared he was focused on the airline magazine opened to the Free miles with Aero page. What was actually going through his mind was surprise that a female in Nigeria would step out of her brazilian wigs and Instagram long enough to absorb some technology. He was impressed and was tempted to ask what she did for a living…..perhaps that would explain it.

He turned towards her with his mouth open to ask her and caught her looking speculatively at him. They both laughed and then he asked.

“Do you live in Lagos or Abuja?” he paused “If you don’t mind me asking”

“I thought you’d never ask.” She laughs a pretty one

“I live everywhere and nowhere for long. For now, I work in Lagos so I live there but when am bored, I visit wherever catches my fancy – Abuja, Port-harcourt, Kano….”

“What do you do? Do you live in Abuja or Lagos yourself?” She asked with interest

“I live in Abuja. I came to Lagos on some business.” He answered

“So……..What do you do?” She persisted

Smiling.

“Guess!”

“Haha usually, I can but in this instance, nothing comes to my mind….”

“Well, I am a negotiator. I facilitate deals, mergers and buy-outs between companies. I work independently” He surmised

“Really! that must be fantastic. How does that work? Sounds like something involving and worthwhile”

“I agree” he chuckles

“Do you love what you do or you just do it for the money or something?”

A brief pause. “Very good question.”

Another pause as if to consider the question

“I believe I love what I do at the moment because both parties are usually satisfied after my team’s negotiations. If either party is dissatisfied, it makes the project unduly long and somebody’s gonna lose some money, usually, the party that is buying because the seller has nothing to lose anymore. He’s already selling. Haha” He explains

“I love what I do” he finishes looking at her quiet face

“And what do you do?” he returns

“Hmmmn actually, right now am out of work. Am a survivor. haha” she tries to suffuse her discomfort with a dry laugh

He senses this and tries to lighten it “Do you sell phone technology? I may buy from you considering your knowledge of phones…”

“Haha” shaking her head  “That was just because I was looking for a phone to buy myself”

“Actually, I am an analyst. I work with data for firms. I also work independently or on projects where expert hands are needed. I go in briefly and leave at the completion of my part.”

“How does that work for you? Leaving at the end of every project? How do you leave a baby you nurtured to someone else?” He was curious

“Oh well! The move is always what keeps me going and I never get attached. It’s easy. I could never survive staying on a project forever. I have the ‘Jumper syndrome’

They both laugh. The hour and half flight was almost gone. The hostess came to take away their empty snack packs and ask them to stow away their chair trays. It was the same hostess from takeoff. They merely smiled at her.

Then came the pilot’s announcement.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are approaching Nnamdi Azikwe airport. Please put away your phones, laptops and tablets as we prepare for landing. The temperature outside is 35c. Remember to take all your belongings with you as you disembark. We at Aero thank you for flying with us today. Have a pleasant stay in the Capital city.”

He reaches into the overhead bin and helps removes her pink carryon. He hands it over.

“Thank you”

He nods and heads off with his navy blue backpack. As they approach Baggage claim, she taps him on the shoulder.

“Malik, may I have your number?”

Looking at his raised brows, she hastens to explain “just in case am bored or need an expert to negotiate me out of a tight corner. haha. Just in case am bored……” she let it trail off

He reels out a 9 digit number, she pauses with her raised brow waiting for him

“it is incomplete”

He smiles mischievously

“Add an 080 in front of those” and he waves and strolls towards a young man walking briskly and reaching out for his bag while simultaneously bowing towards Malik.

She looked on puzzled. He didn’t look back even once. He just walked into the sun and the waiting gray car by the door.

“Am gonna see this guy again” she promises herself silently.