By Ayooluwa Akinduro
It was the first day of September; Nike adjusted the collar of Kola’s white shirt and gently touched the golden tie clip with a diamond stud. She looked up into his eyes – full of fear and anxiety. She understood his fear. For seven years, the love of her life has being trying to strike a deal with the Russians. Each proposal was turned down. The last one he sent was about a year ago; that too was yet to earn a positive response.
A month ago, Nike was lying down on the recliner on the balcony of their duplex somewhere on the island, reading Chimanmanda Adichie’s “Americanah”, while Kola was painting her toe nails with a sonic blue nail polish he had picked from a beauty shop on his way home earlier in the evening. He was doing the last brush stroke on her left pinkie toe when a call came in from the Russians. He was asked to come on the 1st of September 2015 to make his presentation to the board of directors.
“Baby, shake off the fear, go make us proud. Just do it.” With that, she pressed her lips against his and assured “I love you.”
“I love you too baby”, he bent and pressed his ear against her massive baby bump that seemed like it was going to explode with the slightest poke. “Good morning”, he sang and jolted almost immediately: “Wow! The baby kicked furiously immediately I sang.”
“Daddy makes everyone happy.” She said giving him his sonic blue suit. “Have a great day.”
“You too, don’t forget your breathing exercise; we’ll have another session this evening.” With that he kissed her right hand and hopped into his black 2015 Mercedes SUV.
Bayo stood with his mother at Abule-Egba bus-stop waiting for a bus going to Obalende. The son had been invited to his third interview in the last two weeks. He received a mail from Chevron Oil Company exactly a month ago, inviting him for an interview on the island on the 1st of September 2015 at 11am. Bayo had lost count of such invites since he graduated in the year 2010.
“Adebayo, joor be careful s’otigbo? Remember what we read from the Daily Devotional this morning. As you go speak grace and divine favour into your day, you hear?”
“God be with you eehn, Jesu a la na fun e.” She hugged him briefly and added: “Come straight to the market, when you’re back. I want to be the first to congratulate you. Se jeje ooo, odabo oko mi.”
With that she entered a Keke Napep heading to Agege.
5:00pm that day…
Kola reached for his expensive phone sitting somewhere in his laptop bag and dialled his wife’s number.
“Sweetheart,” her voice came in through the line.
“We made it baby! We made it! I just signed a 10 million US dollars deal with the Russians!” He said shouting at the top of his voice.
“Oh my God! Baby I’m so proud of you! I knew you were going to nail it, I’ve always believed in you.”
“You know what Baby, put on your best dress and pick the best tux for me. We’re going to celebrate tonight.”
“Not tonight baby, we’re throwing a huge party in the next eight days,” she said in a perky tone.
“Huh? What do you mean in the next eight days? Why not tonight?” he queried.
“Cos our beautiful son was born 30 minutes ago. Didn’t you get my text?”
“What text? Wait! Are you kidding me?! Our Son?! We have a beautiful baby boy?” he said rushing out of the empty board room.
“Yes baby, he’s every inch like you and he has my dimples too”.
“I love you so much baby, where are you?” he dashed into the elevator.
“The family hospital”.
“Perfect! That’s just right across the road. But why didn’t you tell me when the labour started?”
“It started shortly after you drove out this morning, I didn’t want you panicking.”
“Anyway, I’ll be with you in fifteen minutes.” With that he hung up.
Fleets of cars, trucks, motorcycles, yellow buses with two black stripes on each side sped past him, as he waited patiently for the road to be safe before he crossed. He decided not to take his car, since the hospital was near and driving meant he had would get stuck in traffic jam. Kola could not wait to get to his wife and son.
Bayo alighted from the car of a man who gave him a lift from the venue of the interview. He walked down to a kiosk that was painted in yellow and had “MTN, GLO, AIRTEL and ETISALAT CREDIT AVAILABLE”, written on all the four sides.
He folded the MTN airtime he bought into his wallet and dug out his cheap phone from his left pocket; he pressed some keys and then raised the phone to his left ear.
“Adebayo, how are you?” his mother’s voice came into the line.
“Mummy, I’m very fine ooo! God has done it.”
“Oya Oya, let me hear the good news.”
“I was asked to start work on Monday. Ahh! Maami, the salary is so fat and the allowances alone sef are enough to sponsor my sisters’ education.”
“Oluwa ma seunooo! Oya be coming home, I’m cooking egusi and will pound yam for you.”
Kola looked to his right and left to ensure no vehicle was close. He ran across the road, jumped the road divider, looked to the left and right again and ran across the road. The hospital was only three blocks away from where he was standing. He stopped at a stall to get some fresh apples and grapes for his wife.
“That’s a very nice time piece you’ve got sir,” Bayo said while waiting for the trader to provide his change.
“Oh! Thank you,” Kola answered reluctantly, staring blankly at the total stranger who just complimented his 8,000 USD watch and hurried off from stall.
He took long manly strides towards the hospital constantly placing his hand on his pockets to ensure his iPhone 6 plus and wallet were still there. After all, you can never be too careful on the streets of Lagos.
Suddenly, he heard screeching sound of tyres, blaring horn of a truck, and everyone seemed to be shouting “Break e ti fail ooo!” He stood confused in front of the hospital, trying to figure out what was happening. Then, there was a loud crashing sound, and everything stopped. The horn no longer blared, cars halted and people were gathering around the truck.
Curiously, he squeezed his way through the crowd. The polythene bag holding the apples and grapes he bought dropped and the contents scattered once he sighted the lifeless body of the young boy that complimented his watch. Bayo was sprawled in blood; his legs and arms ungainly twisted; head had been crushed by the truck’s tyre; his skull and brain have been reduced into a bloody mush.
Kola mopped his face with his handkerchief, as he pushed his way out through the crowd. Running late, he ran towards the hospital and just as he was about to enter the compound through the pedestrian gate, a lady stretched a religious flyer to him.
He paused to read the title; “A September to remember.” He scoffed and quizzed: “A September to remember? For me, this is a great September to remember, but for some…” he looked up at the crowd still gathered around the truck and the deceased young man, “this is a detestable September to remember.”
She nodded, staring at him in confusion.
“I know someone you shouldn’t give this flyer to,” he asserted, handing the flyer back to her.
“Who sir?”, she sought to know.
“Those back home expecting that departed guy,” he answered, pointing at the accident scene.
Ayo is a writer, poet and blogger.
The Mass Communication graduate from Babcock University, tweets from Selig_akb
Instagram: Ayooluwa_a and Selig__