EPISODE 35: ANIKE
(A STORY BY: TOYIN TAIWO)
A month later, I got a call from Tinuke, my friend in US. She’s coming back home finally. I was so happy when she told me. That’s my one and only friend. She is now a successful surgeon and one of the competent doctors around. After pleas from friends and colleagues for her to stay back that fell on deaf ears, Tinuke came back to Nigeria to practice. She got a job with a big specialist hospital in Lagos own by whites. Politicians and wealthy people patronize the hospital because of there reliable services. She met the owners abroad, since she’s Nigerian, they approached her and gave the offer. She thought it was the right thing to do, to come back home and give back to the society.
She called me a day before her return and she told me some of her plans once she arrived.
“That reminds me, I remember you never liked Lagos back then, so how will you cope with your Lagos job?” I asked Tinuke.
“The offer is great, doctors won’t give it a second thought before they grab the offer” she replied.
“So you want to live in our Lagos now abi? I’ll tell the Governor to send you back to where you came from” I said playfully.
“Then prepare to bribe me. But seriously Lagos is cool now” I informed.
“Alright, talk to you later. Bye” She hung up.
I travelled to Lagos for her welcome party. Tinuke’s Parent too travel down to Lagos from Abuja to welcome her back. The hospital gave her a car, Toyota Aventis and a three bedroom flat not too far from the hospital. They also pays in dollar. Her employer told her she could also be part of the hospital share holders. Although she planned on having her own hospital soon.
Tinuke called me some weeks after she settled down to move in with her. I gave so many excuses but she said she have no one in Lagos. She has no friend except me. I promised to join her soon.
It was an opportunity to free myself from Prince. The only song he sings now is for me to have his baby. Knowing fully well that he wants to use that to get me into marrying him, I told him I can’t have his baby.
Four months later I decided to go to Lagos. I told Prince that I want to move back to Lagos for a while and he did not agree, so I left against his wish. I resigned and moved to Tinuke’s house.
It was a happy reunion for us. The first day I moved in, we did not sleep till day break, we were gisting all through. Although I always update her about Prince and I. So she knows everything.
I really pity her because I don’t have a job while she has to resumed work 8am.
A week later. She came back from the hospital, she came to my room. We exchanged greetings and we got talking about me.
“Tinuke when are you going to let go Prince Alawode, except you plan on getting married to him.”
“Get married to Prince! Tinuke I can’t.”
“Then how long will you continue like this. You’ve got everything you wanted from this man. You have shopping complexes, you have your own house here in Lagos plus the one he gave you himself that you rented out. You ride the latest cars, Your sister is now in the Navy, Your younger brother in a Private university. So what else do you need that you don’t have. You are not getting younger sis, you have to decide on what you want.
My phone rang, I checked the caller, it was Prince. “He wants to know where I stay in Lagos, he knew I wasn’t staying with my mum.
It rang again but I ignored it. “Pick his call now” Tinuke said.
“I’ll call him back later.”
“I think you should let him know what you want.”
“He won’t let me go, I stop talking to him about it. The last time I brought up the issue before I left Abuja, he almost had a heart attack. We had to rush him to the hospital.
“Really! Is it that bad?”
“He even want me to have his child.”
“I’m stucked, more reason why I moved in with you. I really need a change of environment, I need to breath. He doesn’t know where I’m staying presently.”
“So my place is your new hide out, no wonder you agree to move in with me” she said spanking me lightly.
“No, aside that you know how much I miss you and at this time when I can’t even think straight, I need a friend like you.”
“I’ve heard you, any single young guy lurking around?” She asked.
“Hmmm…..yes, but sincerely I don’t give them attention, again I can’t dabble into any relationship except I end things with Prince.”
“I know that man has really tried for you especially in those dark hours when you have no one to run to. I can’t decide for you, infact nobody can. You have to decide on what you want. If you are not comfortable with his age, then let go, he’ll get over you with time.”
“Sincerely, I don’t know how to make that happen” I said with tears in my eyes.
“Anike, are you in love with him? Gosh!”
“To be honest with you, I do. I’ve been with him for almost 4years now. I’m attached to him physically and emotionally, same with him. I don’t want him to die an untimely death because of me. I want to leave him and at the same time I don’t want to hurt him, he has giving me nothing but Joy. I don’t want to be selfish” I said in tears.
I’ve met rich and young men but I’m still remain faithful to him.”
“Then marry him” She said.
“I wish it’s that simple.”
“It is well” She said holding my shoulders.
I excused myself to clean my face. I came back and sat on the bed.
“Let’s talk about you, you said you are seeing someone in US, hope the relationship is heading towards marriage?” I asked her.
“Yes, he’s coming back to come and settle down here as well. We’ll start our wedding preparations once he’s back” she said.
“Good, at least I’ll be the chief Bride’s maid.”
“That’s if you don’t get married before me.”
“I can’t wait to meet him, but before then I’ll like to speak with him, he needs to know I’m his fiancee’s bestie, and give him my rules and regulations because he must treat you well” I said playfully.
“No problem, you guys will talk.”
“Good” I said.
My phone rang and it was Prince again. I picked the call. He still wanted to know where I’m staying presently but I didn’t tell him.
Tinuke woke me up one early morning before going to work, I was still sleeping when she came in.
“Good morning Sleeping beauty.”
“Good morning, you are off to work already?”
“Yes, some of us still works” she said jokingly.
“I had a job too, I resigned.”
“Whatever, my house keeper resumes work today. If there’s anything you need just let him know, especially this your laundry basket that is full to the brim.
“I was actually going to take them for dry cleaning today. Thank God she’s resuming today.”
“It’s he… not she” she corrected.
“Your house keeper is male? So you stay alone with a guy in this house, you are not even scared.”
“I’m not scared because he’s a harmless guy. Make sure undies is not there o.”
“Tinuke you know I can’t do such things, my undies are not dirty, I wash them everyday, just my clothes.”
“I know, but what I don’t know is when you started keeping dirty clothes this much. There is washing machine in the house but you choose not to make use of it.”
“I can’t remember the last time I did my laundry myself.”
“See what your luxury lifestyle has cost you, the Anike I knew before is not lazy.”
“Don’t blame me Prince spoilt me rotten.”
“You can say that again, see you in the evening and have a nice day” she said.
“You too sweetheart.”
Tinuke came back in the evening. I noticed she was moody.
“Welcome, how was your day?” I asked.
“Not too good.”
“I thought as much, why are you moody you left this house lively.”
“I lost a patient, he died right in the surgery table. I tried to revive him by all means, but I still lost him at the end.”
“It’s okay dear, I know you would have tried all your possible best to save him, but who are we to stop death when it comes knocking, please cheer up.
“You have this white doctors attitude to patient, some of our doctors here don’t care much about their patient. They won’t even flinch when a patient die on there watch.”
“Maybe they are not attached to their patient. If you are attached to them, then you’ll care.”
“That’s true, now let’s go and eat, food is ready” I said.
“I can see your laundry basket is empty” she said pointing to the basket.
“Yes, all thanks to your house help, that guy is really hard working o.”
“Yes he is, I saw some money on the center table, do you keep them there?”
“No, your house keeper did.”
“So he’s so rich now that he dumps money anywhere, good for him.”
“Don’t mind him, I gave him #10,000 after washing and ironing my clothes. I was impressed with all the chores he did in the house too. But he rejected the money, he said he’s doing the job he’s paid for. I refuse to collect it from him too, so he dropped it on the table” I explained.
“That’s Jedidiah for you, that’s why I like him he’s always contented with anything I give him.”
“How much do you pay him monthly?”
“Okay, I shouldn’t be saying this but you are my friend and now lives here. I met him in my new church here in Lagos. I told my Pastor I needed an house keeper and he told me there’s a brother who lives in church that could use the money. He’s a student and work at the same time just to put body and soul together. So I employed him. I pay for his school fees, he goes to school from here so his accommodation and feeding is covered. He stayed on campus for his exams that’s why you’ve not been seeing him around until today. As for salary, I can’t call it, salary let me just call it pocket money. I give him #20,000 monthly” she explained.
“That’s very kind of you, bringing a stranger into your house. Society needs people like you. I’m proud of you, I pray God will reward you.”
“Amen and you too, because I know some people would have benefitted and still benefitting from you, I’m proud of you too.”
“Let us not be weary in well doing, we will reap the reward if we faint not.”
“Yea, my friend still quotes scriptures” she said.
“Of course I go to church, do I look like a pagan?”
“I thought you won’t have time for God again.”
“Anyways, let’s go and treat Jedediah’s fuck up” she said with a broad smile on her face.
We both left my room to search for Jedidiah.
Jedidiah! She called out “meet me in the sitting room.”
“Here am I” he said standing in front of her.
“Who kept this money here?”
“I did doc” he replied.
“You are so rich now that, your money now lie around.”
“It’s not mine actually…”
“Take it, don’t reject money, it’s for you hun!” Tinuke cut in.
“Thank you ma, God bless you.” he bowed facing me.”
“You’re welcome” I replied.
He turned to leave. “Are you doing something in your room?”
“Sit with us then.”
“I just want to give you some privacy.”
“If we need privacy we’ll be in our room, so free fee to sit and chat with us” Tinuke said.
He sat quietly with us, listening to our gist.
“I need a drink” I said.
“Let me get it for you” he said.
“Don’t worry, do you guys care for a drink too?” I asked.
“Yes we care” Tinuke answered.
I went to the kitchen and brought a pack of juice with 3 glasses.
Later, we exchanged our good night greeting and returned to our various rooms.
… to be Continued.