The many pleasures of Lagos ……… VI

The blood drained from her face as she saw her husband come in……”Olumide” ………. she whispered.

He was a sight to behold. he had a bandage wrapped around his head. He looked like he had been stung by a bee around his left eye. It was swollen and he could barely keep the eye open. His right arm was in a sling and he was in obvious pain.

“Why did you come? she said while trying to get out of bed but a firm and stern voice re-echoed “madam, you can not get up yet”.

“Don’t worry Omotola, I have come to you. I am sorry my love. I should have listened, I could have killed everyone of us. I feel so stupid. i don’t know what I was thinking”. As he said these words, he made to sit at her side on the bed. ‘Motola reached to touch his arm and as she did, tears rolled down her cheeks. Olumide was not one to quickly admit his faults and his sincere apology touched her beyond what words could say.

“Olumide, I should have insisted. I am sorry too. My poor judgement led us to this. I really should have insisted”…………”no please, don’t say so ‘Motola. It’s all my fault and you can not imagine my joy that everyone is safe. We are the only ones with injuries dear. Our kids came out without any scratch”.

Really? Oh, thank God…. as she made to hug her husband, she touched his slinged arm and his spontaneous reaction was a frown and a little sound…”oh I’m so sorry” she said, still reaching out to him. “Olu, please don’t be so hard on yourself and we should be grateful that we are the only injured ones. Imagine if Beverly or Banji had injuries and we were without any, would you forgive yourself? I forgive you wholeheartedly and now let us focus on getting better”

Olumide smiled and was about to say something else when Atilola’s voice rang into the hospital room. “where is ‘Motola? she asked, shoving the nurse who stood near the door out of her way. She half-ran towards the bed and made a face as she saw ‘Motola with her plasters and dressings. “oh my!”
She stopped short in her stride and clasped her hands together. ‘Motola looked at her and smiled as broadly as she could. “Atilola, it is not as bad as I look. It’s just because the wounds are still fresh. They are really just small injuries..”

Atilola looked at her in shock and could not bring herself to mutter anything. Her gaze said it all. A myriad of thoughts spun through her head. Could they really be minor injuries? Why were there so many nurses in her room as if they just won a long battle to save her life? what could be going on? Is ‘Motola being economical with the truth about the extent of injuries she had sustained? As she thought about all these, tears flowed down her cheeks……’Motola, don’t tell me any lies, please let me know. Are you okay? is there anything I can do? I could call Abayomi, you know. We could transfer you to his hospital……”

“No, Atilola, it’s the truth. I am and do feel better than I look. Please stop the teary show and come over here. I could use a bear hug right now and, eh, just watch the dressings” she said and they both burst into laughter.

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The many pleasures of Lagos ……… V

“No ma’am, please rest your self. you can not stand up just yet” a male voice calmly said to her. She attempted opening her eyes but her eyes were met by the most unfriendly bright lights, she had to quickly shut her eyes.

Where could I be? am I dead? why is there so much brightness here? where is everyone else? where’s Banji and Beverly? Where’s Olumide? What is going on?…these and several other thoughts raced through her mind. She made another attempt to open her eyes and this time she had some luck but with a lot of discomfort. A glance around confirmed her fears. She was in a room full of unfamiliar faces and several gadgets.

“Where am I? what is going on here? where are my children? where is my husband?” she asked all in one breath and with obvious pain. “Please calm down ma. There had been an accident and fortunately, you all survived. All other members of your family are in recovery. Motola’s head spun for a little bit. An accident? How? … then it all came back.

As they made their way back from the beach after the usual time out, there had been so much noise in the car as the kids kept giggling and chatting about what else they would like to add to the usual family time out. They had argued about the need to spice the outing up so it would not become a boring family tradition. Olumide was at the wheels. He had taken a few drinks and despite her insistence on driving since she hadn’t taken any drinks, he drove all the way back.

“Where did we have the accident? do you know what really happened?” she asked after she had finally gotten a hold of where she was. The male nurse went on to tell her how they had run into a stationary 16-seater bus that had broken down on the road. The impact of the crash was so much that it sent the bus off the highway and their car also somersaulted before finally resting in a ditch. From all he said, she could only understand that the accident could very well have claimed their lives but for the well meaning passersby who dialed the 737 emergency line.

The nurse went on to reassure her that her injuries were not as bad as they looked. He also went on to say she would need 12 stitches on her left thigh where she had a cut and she would also need to carry a cast for a while on her left arm.

“When can I see my children? are they injured? do they have to carry casts as well?” she asked with a tinge of anger. She was angry that she had not insisted on driving them back and she was angry that Olumide had also insisted on driving. Now she had to be in a cast because he didn’t listen to her. She was furious and as she made to utter another sentence, she heard some noise at the door and she saw Olumide limp in through the door after what seemed like a minor tussle with the uncooperative hospital staff. One look at him made her anger subside.

The many pleasures of Lagos …… IV

Along the streets of Mayegun village, there had been an uneasy calm. The peace of the erstwhile silent town had been disturbed. Someone had just been killed and the villagers had only suspended their riots after the king assured them that the perpetrators would be brought to book. 

It was now 3 days since the murder of Adigun and the elders had not yet solved the riddle his murder posed. Everyone went about their businesses but talks about Adigun and his brutal murder had not abated. Adigun was a friendly young man who always made jokes during the village’s town hall meetings. He was daring for his age and everyone knew and, seemingly, loved him.

Elsewhere, in the village, Adunni,  also known as  mama Ajewunmi, was host to some men from the city. For  short while, her attention shifted from Adigun’s death to a more personal dilemma. Her guests were men of the Nigeria Police Force. They had come on a fact finding mission.

When told how Raila had stolen her boss’ s jewellery and the value of the items, she threw herself on the floor and wild with a loud voice. She was completely inconsolable.  

“Egba mi o, Raila ti pa mi oooooo. Aye mi oooo. Ni bo ni mo fe foju si” she sobbed. ” Raila is my only child, I don’t have any other child. My husband was killed in a hunting expedition several years ago. I have no one else. Why would she do this to me?” she added in yoruba. 

“Mama, we would like to know when last you heard from your daughter, one of the officers asked. “ah, it has been long. She came home in December and that was all. She has not been calling Alamu,  the telephone operator like she used to. I wish I could see her, I miss my daughter, oga olopa  she replied in yoruba again, still sobbing.

The men asked a few more questions and took their leave. Adunni was too shattered to see them off  especially since they had told her they may be back to see her if they still needed some more information. 

Elsewhere in a  suburb of Lagos, Raila was writhing in pain.  She had dashed her foot against a stone and her big toe was bleeding profusely. Raila tried all she could to stop the bleeding with little luck. “Iru ori ibuu wo niyi bayi? she thought out loud. It was common in Mayegun for people to say dashing your foot against a stone meant ill luck. 

She looked around and saw a boy hawking sachet water walking towards her and she called out to him. As he walked towards her, Raila made for her bag to pay him and collected one of the sachets. 

The many pleasures of Lagos ….. III

It had been a standing Buckley family tradition. Beverly and Banji knew their holidays always entailed a beach visit with their friends amongst other fun events and packages. This christmas was no different as the adolescents hurriedly packed their beach knapsacks into the family car.

‘Mum, please bring some sunscreen for me. I’ve exhausted almost mine’ Beverly called out to her mum as she put the family beach bags into the car. Her best friend, Sally, was going to need some as well, she thought aloud. They had been friends since their kindergarten days and became closer after Sally lost her mother in a plane crash 2 years ago.

‘Okay dear. Come and get a new one so you would not have to bother me when next we’re going to the beach’ ‘Motola called back. Bev’ did a small ‘boogie’ dance and dashed into the house to meet her mother.

The men shared a small joke about the vanities of women and how life would assumedly have been a lot easier if all humans were male.

As the Buckleys tidied up their beach knapsacks, their friends, the Egbedas (Sally, her younger brothers – Ife and Tola) as well as the Lawsons (Banji’s girlfriend Biola and her elder brother, Kola) settled into the Buckleys’ SUV and the umpteenth trip to the beach began.

The Buckleys and their friends made a rather noisy trip, as was typical of them, to the beach. Their voices were much louder than the stereo system of the car and Mr Buckley ensured he had his earplugs on to help him concentrate on his driving.

As the Ford SUV made its way into the beach, the Buckleys made a deafening noise and Olumide had to pull over and ask that all the occupants of the vehicle get down.

Notwithstanding daddy’s ‘anger’ at their noise, the “Bs” and their friends jumped out of the car. Banji and the guys hurried off to fix their tables and, also, to arrange the lunch boxes and drinks on the tables while Beverly and Sally went off to find an empty tent. This was for them to comfortably hide away and gossip about their boyfriends and other ‘throbbing’ issues that were dear to their hearts.

As the young ladies quickly got away from the rest of the party, Olumide and ‘Motola settled into their chairs and began to talk about several issues ranging from ‘Motola’s choice of the beach to the boring music they had listened to just as Olumide pulled up the SUV.

“what has Jeremy been up to? Has he finally taken you to see MALIBU DATES?” asked Beverly. Malibu dates was the most recent movie she had seen and because Jeremy had sworn to take Sally out to see it, she turned Beverly’s invite down lat week. “No, he hasn’t” replied Sally. “he has been vey busy” she added” “I see” added wn unbelieving Bevely ” Sally has a nasty habit of making excuses for Jeremy.

The family time-out indeed turned out very well. Everyone of them had more than enough to eat, all thanks to ‘Motola. Also, all the young men had as much as they desired to drink courtesy of Olumide. As they munched their meals and gobbled down the wine, everyone went on to pass comments about the generosity and timeliness of the Buckleys’ timeouts.

The many pleasures of Lagos ….. ii

“What does this caller mean?” She thought. “What station could he be referring to?”

She dismissed the call with a wave of her hand and got back to updating her Job descriptions (JD) memo. The update had to be concluded today else her line manager, Walter, would have her head. He had made it clear that all updates had to be concluded today.

Her phone rang again and this time, she let it ring without answering it. The caller called back again and then she picked up

“Hello ma”

“Hello” she replied with as much sternness as she could relay. “Can I help you?”

“Yes ma’am. I called earlier requesting your attention at our station.”

“What is this about?” She wondered. Raila had run away and even though she had been told to report it, she did not because she had no photographs of Raila. It was no use embarrassing herself by letting some rookie cops drill her endlessly.

On a second thought, she asked “what station are you calling from?”

“The Police station on Montgomery road ma’am. Please ask to speak with me, Officer Lanre when u get here” the male officer replied politely. He obviously had given no thoughts to her ‘cold’ tone, she thought to herself.

“Okay, I will be there before close of business today. Have a good day and thank you for your call”

As soon as Officer Lanre dropped the call, she thought out loud ‘what could the police need me for?’. She reached to hold her head in her palms but Atolani’s firm face warning her not to ‘spoil’ her makeover came back and she stopped herself.

‘Motola haphazardly completed her JD and rushed off to inform Walter that she had left it in his queue for his approval. As soon as he confirmed that it had been signed off, ‘Motola jumped into her car and drove to the police station. Thankfully, her certified bodyguard, ‘madam’ Atolani was not available to query her rush.

As she drove out of her office on Olaoluwa crescent towards Montgomery, ‘Motola wondered what the issue could have been. “Why does the police want to see me?” Olumide was not in the country. He left for Accra after his meeting on Sunday and was not due back until the weekend so it could not be about him. Their kids, Beverly and Banji are weekly boarding students so it should not be about them either.

“Good afternoon, I would like to speak with Officer Lanre” she said nicely to the pretty officer at the counter.

“Please fill this visitor’s form and I would let him know you are here” she said.

After a few minutes, ‘Motola was ushered into a corner office, close to the end of the building. As she walked in, she could not help noticing the touch of class in the interior decor of the office. The blinds were a dark shade of brown and they complemented the light cream colour of the walls. The office also had some shelves which stacked several books. As she made her way to the only table in the office, a smiling Officer Lanre welcomed her and offered her a seat.

Motola stopped short in her stride, “You’ve got to be kidding me” she said, “you are officer Lanre? Lanre Olatunji. What are you doing here?” she asked as she settled into the seat she was initially offered.

Lanre was a childhood friend who had worked with Olumide for a short while before leaving for his masters degree in Germany.

“It’s good to see you again ‘Motola. How are you?” He asked with his signature smile. “I am glad I didn’t give myself away, I honestly expected you to know who it was when I said ‘Officer Lanre’.”.

‘Motola laughed out loud. He still had his R-factor or “french roll” as his friends had always called it.

“Its good to see you too. I can’t believe my eyes. How did you end up here? Why the police force? Did you not complete your Masters degree programme? Why come in here to waste away?” She asked very hurriedly and with apparent concern.

“Hmmm, ‘Motola, I am tired of explaining it to everyone” he said with a sigh. “I did complete my Masters programme and, yes, I came back hoping to make a difference which is what I am doing.” He added. “It made no sense for me to go back to construction after my studies. I saw what obtains in Germany and I do want to replicate it here” he continued.

“Wow, that’s a major career change though. How has it been?” She asked.

“Good, actually.” He answered. “I’m enjoying it. You know I lost my phone when I was mugged in Frankfurt. Fortunately, I ran into your maid, Raila, a few days ago and she gave me your number.”

“Raila? Where did you see her? I have been looking for her.” ‘Motola said,panicking and almost close to tears.
“I’ve looked everywhere for her”

Lanre stared in utter disbelief. “Really? Oh my goodness. What did she steal? No wonder she said she was in a hurry because you had asked her to buy some food stuff. I even asked her to lead me to your new place you know?” He said.

‘Motola went on to tell the surreal story of how Raila had made away with her jewellery and some money while they were out on family timeout at the beach

The many pleasures of Lagos

lagos - xquisitetouch   ‘Motola Buckley sat at her desk on a Wednesday morning. It had been a long and busy weekend coupled with some training she was forced to go on. Her husband had hosted the Gentle Businessmen annual meeting on Sunday and as the hostess, she had to up the standard so her husband would not be ridiculed. She clearly overdid it and that left her exhausted. Her hair was unkempt, her nails were chipped and she even forgot to wear her earrings. Simply put, she was a hot mess that needed a good makeover.

She probably would have managed through the day but Atolani, her prim and proper busy-body colleague made sure she didn’t have the last of it. ‘Were u robbed? Why do u look like you rushed out with all u had left in your hands?’ she asked with genuine concern. Atolani rushed over to her bag, grabbed her make-up bag and dragged a phlegmatic Omotola to the convenience.

As her emergency makeover was being done, Omotola wondered about her depleted store, her hair that had to be fixed, her pending laundry and several other errands that had to be run.

‘ ….so what do you think?’ asked Atolani who had obviously been conversing with an absent-minded Motola. ‘About what?’ She queried. “What’s wrong Motola? I’ve been asking about your need for a housemaid. I intend asking Olori to send me a maid. Would you want one as well?”. Motola smiled and turned down the offer. A househelp was the last thing on her mind considering that Raila had only recently robbed her of jewellery worth close to 2 million naira. She was a maid brought from the village by a colleague’s mother and to ask Olori, Atolani’s mother was like relieving the sad memory.

“The maids are palace maids Motola. I could easily get you one and she dares not misbehave because she knows her family will pay dearly for it. I can assure you of that” she insisted. “Hmm, you won’t budge right? Okay then, I will think about it and discuss with Olumide as well. You know how it is now, he has to sign off before a new maid comes in after the Raila saga.”

As ‘Motola made her way back to her desk, she brought out her grocery list and got online to make some purchases from the online supermarket that had been her ally since Raila disappeared. She placed her order and mused to herself about how she would have to go round the market to pick her long list of items if she were in another town. As she said a prayer of gratitude for the little pleasures of Lagos, her phone rang.

“hello, are you Mrs Omotola Buckley?”

“Yes Please”

” we would like you to come over to our station. we need you to …….. ”

the line disconnected ….