Jide closed his eyes, as the Aircraft descended into Ikeja, Lagos. He began to reminisce over the past. He had been at this very airport, many years ago, eager to leave the country, as his shadows chased him. He remembered vividly how uneasy his mother had been that day, as she called a cab and hurried him and his elder sister, Fola, out of the house. Jide had cried all through, as he ran from his sins, and Fola had been the one comforting him and telling him everything would be alright.
It took about an hour to retrieve his luggage, and then, he found a cab to take him to his best friend’s house. The latter could not come pick him at the airport because he had to be at an event where he was to deliver a speech.
He stepped into the cab and took his seat at the owner’s corner. The man said “Eight thousand, sir.” after he had checked him out. The leather jacket Jide had forgotten to take off, probably had registered wealthy Londoner in the driver’s mind.
“That’s too much. I am not new in Lagos o. Seven Thousand Five hundered.” He said, feeling proud of himself that he had priced it well.
The driver smiled. “Oga because na you o. Na Ten k sef.”
Jide nodded and brought out his phone. He needed to get a new sim card to replace his T-Mobile. He had the address to the house, and his best friend had told him that his wife would be home to welcome him.
He looked at the roads, and closed his eyes again. He was a grown man, and tears were not permissible.
They arrived Ajao estate in less than thirty minutes, even with slight traffic. The cab driver honked, and then opened the trunk to help lift out Jide’s luggage. The gate man went in to ask for permission to open the gate, and in less than five minutes, a pretty woman in a blue kaftan joined him.
“You must be...” She started, smiling to be polite, but inquisitive enough to be sure.
Jide laughed. One needed to be very sure of never-before-seen visitors in Nigeria.
“Jide Thomas, your would-have-been best man if I had been able to come to your wedding. And you are the gorgeous Chisom Asiwaju, right?” He opened his arms to give her a hug. “I see a new Niran Asiwaju is on its way.” He laughed, gesturing at her belly.
“Call me Chichi please. How was your flight? I’m sure you must be so tired. I would have come pick you up but Niran went with the driver and I can’t drive well at night. Bad eye sight.” She said.
“Oga, I dey comot o.” The cab man said in a low voice, wishing the woman had not come. She seemed very familiar with Lagos.
“Oh. Chichi, can I get some cash from you, I have no naira notes yet and I have to pay this chap.” Jide said.
“Oh good. Johnson, please come and carry oga’s boxes, and tell Ndifreke to bring my hand bag on the centre table.” Chichi said to the gate man.
The househelp brought the Louis Vuitton purse and handed it to her boss. Chichi brought out her wallet and counted some notes.
“How much, oga?” She asked.
“You fit pay Five k sha…” He stammered.
“Five what?” She laughed.
“But you said Seven thousand five hundred naira.” Jide said surprised.
“Eewo! Abeg abeg take.” Chichi gave him two thousand naira, and left him to drown in his protests.
After he had taken a shower and changed into something light and comfortable, he joined Chichi in the living room. She asked him to have some pounded yam but he declined. It was too heavy for 9.30pm. He decided he would have fried fish and garri, as they waited for Niran to come home.
“So, how is your family in the United Kingdom? Niran says you are not married yet. I can hook you up with one of my friends oh. Ha ha! Many wonderful girls in Lagos.” Chichi chatted.
Jide laughed. “Women. Well, I had someone in mind, and that’s kind of part why I came back, you know. But it’s complicated.”
“Complicated? There is nothing that can’t be worked out you know.”
“It’s not as easy as it seems, my dear. I just want to know she’s okay. I can’t leave her the way she is. Other than that, I want to visit my dad’s grave and his family. It’s been such a while I saw them.”
“Hmmm. I see. Don’t worry, we are here for you. With God, all things are possible.”
Francisca applied her mascara on her false lashes, and smeared the Riri woo on her lips, smacking them together. Dotun had already been through with everything that had to do with dressing up. They were attending the opening of his mother’s new shopping complex at Magodo, and the woman had specifically requested Francisca and Dotun Junior’s presence.
“Francisca, please hurry up. We are getting late already and you know how my mom is on late coming.” Dotun complained.
“I’m coming now. Don’t you want me to catch a rich toaster today?” She joked.
“And what is that supposed to mean?”
“Ah ahn. Since you have refused to marry me now, let me find someone to take me and my son. I am not getting any younger. Even Chichi that is younger than I am, and was not even thinking of marriage, she is settled in her husband’s house, living happily. Niran is even going to open a beauty salon for her after she puts to bed. What have you done for me apart from the chicken change you give me?”
Dotun hissed, and grabbed his car keys.
“I think I should get going. I can’t stand your nagging. You are just an ungrateful person. Sometimes I prefer my childless wife to you, you know. At least…”
“At least what, Dotun Da Silva! You prefer her spiritual nagging?” Francisca laughed, and said some curse words in Urhobo.
He hissed and went to sit in the car, waiting for her.
In about fifteen minutes, she came out, carrying the child with her, and then buckled him in the baby car seat behind.
“Why are you boning for me now?” She smiled at Dotun, and tickled him.
“Because you always get on my nerves!” He hissed.
“But that’s why you love me now. We are not boring. Oya, I’m sorry.” She kissed him, and cleaned the lipstick smear on his lips.
The party had started already. The Alfa and Pastor who had come to pray over the shopping complex were now in a hearty conversation under the tent, eating pounded yam and efo soup, with bottles of small stout. Chief Da Silva sat with his friends on the other table, with their big stout, discussing big men talk.
“Omo mi. My dear! You are so late! Ki lo de” Iya Dotun said, taking the child from Francisca and kissing his cheeks.
“We’re sorry ma. Congratulations ma.” Francisca said, smiling.
“I should start teaching you our culture o. You should kneel when greeting your elders or your in-laws.” Iya Dotun said, patting her back. Dotun kissed his mother and said some words of prayer, then went over to say hello to his step mothers , siblings, and then his father.
Kwamm 1 and his band played live on stage, and in less than five minutes, the women had gathered in similar gold asoebi and large geles, dancing and going down. Iya Dotun dropped the child with his mother and joined them on the dance floor as the band leader sang her name and her praises, and as her husband sprayed dollar bills on her. Francisca followed suit, and danced beside Iya Dotun, and Chief began to spray her dollars as well.
By nine pm, the party was not yet over. Dotun had to drag a very hesitant Francisca and got into the car. The baby was already asleep, and he didn’t want to keep a late night.
Francisca had been murmuring and nagging over Dotun’s hesitation to introduce her to his step-mothers and his extended family, and accused him again of not wanting to marry. She asked him when he was divorcing Toyin, and Dotun hissed. He knew she had had a little more than she should have drunk, and so he ignored her, but then she started dragging his buba and calling him names. He turned and tried to push her off. He hadn’t seen the truck that had defied the one-way road, and was now coming towards his vehicle. By the time the driver realised, it was too late to hit the brakes to avoid a collision.
The nurses wheeled the bodies into the hospital, and the area boys who had arranged the pick-up truck that conveyed the bodies, began to leave gradually. The doctors had called the police and they had checked the man’s wallet to find some form of identity. The lady’s bag had been stolen, so there was no identity on her. They found a business card in his wallet.
Toyin Da Silva (Mrs.)
CEO Toyinz Interior décor
Toyin grabbed her wallet and her phone, and dashed out of the house. Sumbo Faniyi ran after her daughter and all the girl screamed was “Dotun accident!” Sumbo got into her toyota and drove out the house, looking on the street to spot Toyin. She saw her calling a bike.
“Get into the car! You are not taking a bike, girl!” Sumbo yelled, pulling over.
Toyin got into the front seat, and Sumbo buckled her up, and told her to calm down, then drove down to Knight hospital.
The doctor stood, and shook Toyin as she walked into his office.
“Please what is the matter? I received a call and the nurse directed me here. I am Toyin …Toyin Da Silva.” She said.
“Please take a seat ma. I want you to calm down.”
“I don’t like the sound of this. Please what is wrong?”
“We need you to identify them properly, before we proceed with any other thing.”
Toyin crashed to the ground as she stared at the bodies of Francisca, and the little boy, Dotun’s son.
“Oh my God! Oh no! Please where is the man? Dotun Da Silva, my husband.” She wept.
“He is in the Intensive care unit. We need you to fill out some forms please.” The doctor said.