“Baby, the kitchen gas just got exhausted, gimme 10 minutes to breeze into the filling station. I’ll be back before you know it.”
“No problem dear”. Esther replied, sipping from her glass of juice. He planted a warm kiss on her forehead and dashed out.
She turned to the curtains, brushed them aside, smiled and watched him drive his Lexus Jeep outside the compound.
Her man is all shades of perfect. Handsome, hardworking, caring and domesticated. What a package. The last feature is mostly missing in men. And she knew she was one on the few lucky ladies out there. Life couldn’t have been any better.
Her path and Charles’ crossed 2months ago at the biggest unisex salon in town. She, a sucker for Asian weavons had opted for braids on that fateful day to satisfy her friends who constantly and annoyingly drummed “Change your look” into her ears like they were in a voice training session.
She eventually gave in to their demands after 3 years of wearing her Brazilian and Peruvians weavons. Braids it was. It took hours. 5 painful hours. The hair was undergoing punishment for whatever reason deemed by the merciless girls working on it. She contemplated quitting at some point but the boss summoned more apprentices to join and that made the work faster. She vowed that her Brazilian hair would resume duty two weeks after.
Fatigued and craving sleep, she trudged to her car and then discovered one of her tyres were deflated. “Not this time!”. She sighed. Her butt ached from sitting for so long, her head pounded like a mortar in use, now this? Arghhh!
“I can help with that.” came a voice behind her. Oh my, bless this God-sent soul. He came at the nick of time.
“Thank you so much”. She said and proceeded to open her boot. 5 minutes after, the tyres were swapped. She placed the instruments in the right positions and closed the boot gently…
They hit it off one month later. The new relationship had been a different ball game. Good Lord, where had Charles been all this while? Where was he when Laide cruised her car around town and picked up some lowlifes? Where was he when Igbokwe, the poverty-striken fellow ran away with her N3million. Where was he when all sorts of men shattered her heart and threw the pieces at her?
This must be the compensation she had prayed to God for for her past relationship woes. The final piece in the jigsaw puzzle of her life. You know what they say about eating the bottom of a pot of jollof rice. The sweetest! She had been to cloud nine and back and life without him is unthinkable.
The past few weeks had been paradise on earth. The outings, the heart-heart talk/ no-holds-barred discussions, the shopping spree. She will relive the moments for the rest of her life.
She paused her movie, stood up and moved closer to a hung frame bearing a black and white picture of a slim, beautiful lady. This must be his late mum he spoke fondly about. God rest her soul. Standing beside it was a bigger frame, an old family picture, his parents, two boys and a girl who couldn’t be more than 5, 4 and 2 respectively.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the buzz of a phone. It must be Charles’. She looked round the sitting room and dinning table and eventually traced it to the kitchen where it was grumbling on the microwave.
She checked the screen. It was an unsaved international number. The phone stopped ringing again. 15 missed calls from the same person. Poor soul, he rushed out of the house and forgot his phone, all because of her. Who knows how important this call or caller is? She would take over the cooking when he comes back so he could fix the issue that apparently can’t wait. The phone rang again, the same caller. Perhaps she should pick it and tell whoever it is to ring back in few minutes time.
“Hel…” The deep, masculine voice at the other end of the line roared back, almost throwing her off balance.
“You are a very useless person Charles, very useless. I’ve been calling you for close to 20 minutes now you’ve refused to pick up? What if it was an emergency, is that how you’ll mess things up for me? I know you have been praying for me to die and inherit some of my property and. it won’t work for you”
Jeez, she removed the phone from her ear, looked at it and continued listening. Who’s this lousy fellow? “ En….I ‘ve been away for 3months, only 3months and you’re misbehaving. Anyway, I’m coming back this evening, not tomorrow again. So get the car ready and come to the airport by 8pm.
Wait, what sort of a stupid person are you sef, I’ve been talking for the past few minutes and not even a word of apology from you. En? Hello, Hello, ha, no problem, I see you’ve lost your manners and grown wings en, I will get another driver when….”
“Wait….Your what?….” Esther screamed into the phone.
She paused and continued. “Sir…….who …did..You… call a driver?”. She said with a tremble in her voice.
“Who is this one asking questions? Who are you?”. She was too shocked to offer a reply.. Yet the man continued
“So, Charles has started bringing women into my house en? It is not his fault because I upgraded his salary to 40k. We will sort things out when I come back. Anyway, Sisi, tell him Chief called and ask him to call back on his line”. He hung up.
She clutched the phone in anger and then let it slip off. Her mind was in a twirl. What exactly had she just heard? Charles, a driver? Her Charles? A common driver? She let her guards down again. An avalanche of questions ran through her mind.
Another smooth operator! Where did he get the thousands of money he’s been lavishing on her? His spoken English, untypical of a driver. His knowledge of issues….his forthcoming meeting with her parents, the dream wedding and honeymoon in Spain? All that had been a mirage?
She placed her hands across her head and sat on the kitchen floor. Sweat enveloped her body. Tears flowed effortlessly down her face. She snatched his phone again and scrolled through the message icon. She needed another proof, more proofs. Another one hit her like a tornado. Chief had instructed him to transfer some money into his account, move temporarily into one of the rooms in the main building and wash and service all the cars. She had had enough!
“I am finished”. She let out a cry, stood up and stomped out of the kitchen. She wiped her face with a face towel from her bag and sat still. Memories of their moments rushed back at once.
“Baby I’m back”. He didn’t even hear him drive in. She stared into empty space.
“Common darling, don’t gimme that look. I’m sorry. It wasn’t my fault. There was a little accident at the junction…”
“Your boss” She interrupted.
“My boss? Who?” He asked, puzzled.
Her gaze shifted momentarily from the empty space to his face.
“Acting skills?”. He cut in
“Quit the pretence Charles” she stood up raising her voice “Quit the silly pretence.”
“Baby” Charles moved closer.
“To hell with you and your baby. Who is your baby and where do you think you are moving to? If you lay that filthy hands on me? I’ll break this cup on your head.” “How long was this supposed to go on Charles? Deceive me till God knows when? Answer me you pretentious idiot?”
Charles was lost. He looked back.
“Of course I’m talking to you, you filthy liar. Are there not two of us in this house? Suddenly you’re pretending like you don’t know what I’m talking about right?
“You lied to me of being a Chartered Accountant only for me to discover that you’re a bloody driver, en Charles? God will judge you?”. She gave him a head-toe scan, picked her bag and made for the door.
Ololade Olatunji is a blogger, an award-winning writer and an aspiring Public Relations Executive. She blogs at www.loladeville.com. She can be reached on
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Photo Credit: African Sweethearts