Maria came with food again. We ate together. If her plan was to use charm to make me her man, fine. One thing will eventually destroy a man, be it charm or death.
We slept again in my house. One thing I had resisted totally was the urge and the trials to make love with her without condom. She had tried but I told her that I didn’t want to get her pregnant yet.
I was actually more scared of disease. Those Italian girls did a whole lot of nasty things with themselves.
There were stories of how they were paid big monies to sleep with dogs etc.
As for getting her pregnant, that situation was manageable. I was never scared of any non life threatening issues. Having a Child was a good thing aftearall but It needed proper planning. If she got pregnant, it could mean goodbye Europe for one of us. Those Edo girls didn’t have the kind of indoctrination and moral upbringing we had back in my home town. I couldn’t abandon a child of mine if the mother wasn’t there to take care of him or her. But I had also heard rumours of some girls from that part of the country who would give birth and abandon their babies in a gutter or toilet. It may all have been lies but in every story, there was some kind of truth in it.
The ‘every night’ outing style of life was gradually leaving Maria. She was staying more at home during the nights. I guessed the fact of having a car of her own made her lived like there was no tomorrow. It happened to me as well.
There were times when I would just fill my petrol tank and drove to any city without any tangible reason.
Maria confirmed that the new style of staying mostly at home had saved her some money. It was the same for me too. Each time we wanted to go out, we took one car instead of two. We drank less since I usually kept drinks at home.
She suggested that we go to Church one Sunday.
”No Maria, I don’t need anybody to remind me how Moses divided a sea with a stick. I have heard that many times.” I had said. She laughed out loud as usual. I liked her a lot when she laughed at my jokes.
She referred to me as a Comedian. She once said that she liked staying around me all the time because I made her laugh.
At this stage, the Lagos census had been halted. There was one person who was counted, and had decided that I shouldn’t count anybody else.
I liked it very well but I would have loved it more if Maria was being counted without pen.
Life went bye at the rate of sixty seconds per minute.
On the following Friday, I called my Alaye friend Baba. We scheduled to meet at a joint called Good day hotel in Ijesha. It was a hotel patronized mostly by prostitutes. Baba came with Ade and Kola with two other guys I didn’t know.
After buying them drinks, I called their attention.
”Kola, there is somebody I gave money to do something for me but I think he want to run away with the money” I had said.
I told them about Chukwudi. When I finished, they asked if I knew where he lived.
”No, I don’t know where he lives but he works at the wharf” I had told them.
I told them that I could make him come to Surulere in two weeks time.
Kola and his squad promised to get the money from him if I could bring him down to Surulere.
After our drinks, I calculated the bill and paid.
They left and I took a bike back to my place.
According to Ifeanyi, the clearing process was going well. He met with Chukwudi on daily basis. The only guarantee we had was that Chukwudi or anybody else can’t get the bus out of the wharf without the original documents.
Jude called me in the night. He said that he talked again With Chukwudi. Chukwudi was clearing the bus through the main office where I had visited when I was looking for information about him. The office was bankrolling the clearance since Chukwudi claimed not to have cash.
There were going to be complications since Chukwudi wasn’t doing the job with his money, but I believed we will have a way to get around it.
The following morning, I drove to the stadium with Maria to run. I had forgotten about sports entirely. I used to do some running back in Germany but down there in Nigeria, I never even remembered it.
We wore sports cloths and ran round the main bowl of the National Stadium. Two rounds was all I did. It wasn’t much but it was a start.
Since it was obvious that Chukwudi was working on the clearance, it was time to find out where he lived.
I called Ifeanyi and told him that I would be at the wharf the next day. I told him also that it was time to track Chukwudi down to his house. He agreed that it was important to know his house.
”Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort”