Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON TWO
Copyright © Ufuomaee
“If I had one thing to say to the Youth, to this new generation of business men and leaders, I would say – Dream. Dream big, but be prepared to work just as hard! Thank you.”
Ope Olamisan alighted the podium to a round of applause, after giving his talk on “Innovative Thinking in The Business Sector”, as part of the Men Empowering Men Business Talk, held at the Civic Centre in Lagos. It was a first of its kind initiative to inspire more young men to become entrepreneurs and to take charge of their businesses and careers. He had been invited to give his address as a 40-year-old successful, home-bred business man, with five companies to his name and counting. Though he had much insight to share about how he was able to achieve so much, he gave all glory to God.
He returned to take his seat with the high table of Executives, and shook hands with a few, who praised him on his speech. Ope settled in his seat and glanced at his watch. They were running late for what was supposed to be a Breakfast event.
He was the second to last speaker, and he’d hoped to make it to the hotel in time to enjoy a nice lunch with his wife. Plus, he was yet to sample Cindy’s cooking. He had heard the testimonials from Promise and a few of his clients about his new ‘Cook from Heaven’. He smiled to himself.
The programme eventually concluded at 1pm, and Ope made his way to leave, hoping not to be delayed by any of the attendees of the event. He normally attended these events for the benefit of idea sharing and information exchange, as well as networking, but he didn’t really have time for the latter today. He had just made it to the door, when he heard someone call for him. He stopped and turned around to see his old friend from High School, Richard Sawani.
“Ope! Wow, long time!” Richard said, extending a hand in greeting.
Ope took it and drew him in for a half hug. “Oh, wow! Nice to see you too, Richie. Where have you been?”
The men eventually got outside and into the parking lot. “I dey oh,” Richie said. “Been doing a few things here and there. I'm actually talking to a few investors on a new idea I’m working on. I see life has been good to you…”
“It’s been good, thank God,” Ope said. He could see that Richard was hoping to talk longer. “How’s the family?”
“We’re good, thanks. And you?”
“Oh, we’re great, thanks!” An awkward moment followed. Ope wondered if Richard needed a lift somewhere, but didn’t want to presume that he was without a car. “Did you drive?” he asked, instead.
“Yeah… I’m just parked over there,” Richard pointed to a grey Honda not far from where Ope’s black Audi A8 was.
“I’m just on my way to have lunch with my Mrs. We should catch up soon.” Ope slid his hand into his suit pocket and withdrew his card.
Richard took it, and pulled out his own to give Ope. “Yeah, that would be nice. Maybe I can come on Monday. I have some ideas I would like to run by you, if you don’t mind.”
“Ummm… Monday might be tight. Let’s do Tuesday. Send me a message on WhatsApp, and we can a fix time. It was good to see you, again,” Ope said with a final smile, before he got into the back of his salon car.
Richard waved and headed in the direction of his car, feeling optimistic that things were about to change for the better.
Amaka turned the leaf of the book she was reading to her sister, Adania, who laid comatose on her bed at the Royal Care Hospital. She’d read somewhere that reading and talking to patients in a coma could help revive them, as it sometimes enters their subconscious and stimulates their mind. She’d chosen one of Adania’s favourite love stories, ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ by Emma Blair.
She’d taken to reading to Adania for one hour each day, since she found out about her fall. She’d learnt from Jamie that it had been an accident, when they had crossed paths on her second day at the Hospital. She didn’t know what to believe, because she knew she could never put anything past Jamie. Even pushing a pregnant woman down the stairs! But she had noticed that there was something different about him. Something broken.
They hadn’t said much to each other that day or since. She was done exchanging words with him. With people in general, actually. She preferred to think and pray, and that’s what she had been doing.
However, when he’d been in an argument with her mother about taking his child home with him, she’d spoken up in his defence, which was shocking to both of them. She knew nothing would shake him out of his dream world faster than the reality of being a parent – and a single one at that. If he was ready to raise a child, all the better for the world, she’d reasoned. Maybe all hope was not lost.
“After all he did to you, how can you let this man touch your sister’s child?” her mother had demanded to know.
“It is his child too. And I think parenting will be good for him. As long as he grants us as much access to the child as possible. If he wants to raise his child, mother, it can only be a good thing. And I think that’s what Adania would want.”
“So, you expect me to be going to his house everyday…? Or are you going to move in with him?”
Amaka looked alarmed at her mother’s suggestion. Jamie was also taken aback. “No, there’s no need for either of you to come and stay. My mother will be coming, and I will also have a nanny.”
“You see??? He has already delegated my grandson’s care to his mother and a nanny. You good for nothing son of a bitch! Why I let you marry my daughter, I will never know. God forgive me!”
“Mother, please. There’s really nothing we can do at this point. We just need to pray for Adania’s speedy recovery, so she can wake up and look after her own child.”
Amaka shut her eyes and wondered if she had done the right thing. Since the time Jamie had taken the little boy, whom he had called ‘Tommy’, home last weekend, she had not been bold enough to make the visit to that house. Just thinking of returning there made her shudder. But she knew she had to. For the boy’s sake. For Adania’s sake.
Amaka closed the book. It had been over an hour today, and she had read two chapters. She leaned into her sister and prayed over her, speaking words of life to quicken her body again. She had to push past her doubts that her prayers could revive her sister and continue to have faith that one day, Adania’s eyes would open.
She got up and picked up her handbag and headed for the door. As she was opening it, a nurse was entering.
“Oh, Ms Nkechi. I was hoping to catch you on your visit,” the nurse said.
“I hope there’s no problem, Sir,” Amaka replied.
“No, no problem at all. We were wondering if you would be free and willing to volunteer with the Hospital. We see you have been faithfully coming each day to read to your sister. We have many other patients who don’t receive visitors, and who would love to be read to. I know it’s strange, and we don’t mean to impose, but…”
“I’ll do it. I can make out an extra hour each day…” Amaka replied, smiling at the blessed opportunity to do good.
The nurse beamed. “Great! We are so delighted. Come with me. Let me introduce you to Master Chidi.”
Chidinma and Lola were having another catch up at Chidinma’s home. Chidinma had kept her promise and taken Emmanuel to visit with Lola and Bolu at their home, last weekend. Since Emmanuel was leaving town at the end of the month, she’d thought the sooner they met, the better. The men had gotten along well, as they both shared a love for hard work, football and religion. They even supported the same team, Chelsea, which made life better for all.
Tonight, Emmanuel would be leaving for Chicago, and they had invited a few of their close friends and family for a Barbecue send-off at their home. Lola and Bolu had been invited. Mary and Ifeanyi were also expected to come. Emmanuel had invited two of his friends and their wives too.
Lola came alone, because something came up for Bolu. Emmanuel was outside, with one of his friends, grilling burgers and hotdogs. Lola and Chidinma were minding their little children and talking about how strange it is that men want to man the grill but never the kitchen!
At 2:30pm, Mary and Ifeanyi arrived at Chidinma’s home. Chidinma jumped up excitedly to hug her sister-in-law, before kissing her brother. She pointed Ifeanyi in the direction of where the men were hanging out, while she dragged Mary to join their girl talk on the sofa.
“Mary, meet my good ole friend, Lola. Lola, meet my awesome sister-in-law, Mary!”
The ladies smiled and shook hands, before Mary took her seat. She smiled at Lola’s little baby, Tinuke, and instinctively rocked her in her crib. “Your daughter is gorgeous! What’s her name?”
“Tinuke,” Lola said, beaming.
“Can you believe we had our babies the same night – at the same hospital?!” Chidinma said excitedly.
“Wow, cool. Maybe they are soul mates,” Mary said and winked at little Jonathan.
“Ummm… Maybe,” Chidinma thought. “Anyway…what took you so long? Barbecue was for 1pm.”
“Sorry, I had to wait for Ifeanyi to return from one Men’s meeting in Victoria Island. His bank sponsored the programme, and he was there to do a presentation too.”
“Cool. What are you drinking, girl? Go help yourself with some food! And bring me back a hot dog…” Chidinma called out cheekily.
“Yeah, me too…” Lola spoke up, and gave Mary an apologetic but playful look.
“It is well…” Mary replied, smiling as she made her way to the barbecue grill.
“Hey, Sis!” Emmanuel greeted, when he saw Mary. They shared a side hug. “Come for some grub?”
“Yup,” she said, smiling at Emmanuel’s friend, whom she had met a couple of times. “Hey, Joe.”
“Sup? How are the kids?” he asked.
“They’re good, thanks,” Mary said. She could feel Ifeanyi’s eyes on her, so she looked up at him. He gave her his usual wink. She smiled.
“Place your order, Baby. Let me serve you…” Ifeanyi grinned, and the other men laughed and made silly noises.
Mary blushed and beamed as she pointed to the burger and hot dog sausage she wanted from the grill. “Two hot dogs for my friends too, please.”
“Aight, Babe. It’s coming right up,” Ifeanyi said, and Mary smiled and returned to the ladies.
She overheard Joe saying to Ifeanyi. “Abeg, your own is too much! Na only you get wife?”
“Is it my fault that you didn’t bring your wife?” Ifeanyi retorted and chuckled, as he prepared Mary’s plate.
“Aaah! I’m not getting in this argument, oh” was the last thing Mary heard Emmanuel say.
When the women looked up at her expectantly and disappointed that she was empty handed, she shrugged. “My man’s on it.”
Lola and Chidinma exchanged looks and giggled. “Mr Romantic has come! Let him teach them, oh,” Chidinma said at last, and Mary joined in the giggles. She really didn’t see what all the fuss was about.
But Lola did. She wished Bolu had come. She knew the notice had been short, but she really wished he would learn to say ‘no’ to work in preference for spending time with her more often.
In the end, it was a lovely send-off for Emmanuel. After their friends left by 6pm, Chidinma escorted her husband to the Airport, and cried as he kissed her goodbye. She was missing him already.
To be continued…
Photo credit: www.pixabay.com
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