I replied Efuah’s mail. I told her that I had traveled to Ghana and didn’t check my email.
I checked on the other mails, non was important except Agnes from Berlin, asking where I was and why nobody had seen me in Berlin for long. I didn’t reply her, she needed to wait longer before seeing me.
I called Jennifer while sitting near the terrorist. She asked why I was still in Nigeria. She also said that whoever she lived with had found work at a hotel where he made the beds and cleaned the floor. They planned to move into one room apartment in the coming week.
She said that Akunne and Joe had stopped giving her money. Things had became difficult in Berlin to the extent that the Germans didn’t see foods to eat, according to her.
She sounded more matured.
I asked her to send my bag and belongings to Akunne. She didn’t have money to do that.
Her monthly farkarte ( Tickets) had expired and she didn’t have money to buy a new one. I told her that I would call Akunne to pick up the bag and promised to give her €200. She was happy but she sounded defeated.
My absence had created a big vacuum in her life and she had been vulnerable to every kind of temptations since I left Berlin. It wasn’t entirely her fault because I believed that She could not have done some things if I had not traveled to Nigeria. She depended so much on me that She even forgot what it was like to work.
There was no need blaming myself. The only thing I could do was to help.
I called Akunne and told him that I needed my bags from the old house to be removed. The ever dedicated man promised to pick it up the next day. I also told him to give Jennifer €500 instead of the €200 I had promised her.
”How are you my wife” I turned to Amaka and said.
She had been sitting there all along listening to my calls.
”Who is Jennifer, the person you just asked someone to give money” she fired at me…
”She was my girl friend in Germany. She is in stress now and needed my help” I said slowly knowing that Mr James may be paying attention to hear what I was saying to Amaka.
She wanted to chat more with me but since I had finished what I came to do, I got up, dropped N200 in front of her and left.
I walked back home still pondering over what happened with Issa. I blamed myself for not even acting fast. I believed I could have helped him if I had gone after him and Atleast gave him a month’s Salary which was not more than N10,000. I could have even gotten him on phone if I had not taken the phone back. I was becoming a devil and it worried me… As a result, I decided to go to the Chapel and pray.
It was a few minutes to 8pm, when I arrived at the Church. There were several peole also praying.
I knelt down beside a girl and closed my eyes. She was playing audibly and wouldn’t allow me to concentrate. I managed to pick a prayer point anyway.
”Dear God” I said after making the sign of the cross.
”The things happening in my life now is becoming source of concern for me. I have just caused a man to be sacked from his work. I feel bad about it and I hope you help him to get another job soon.
God, I have also forgotten your ways. These days, I do things on my own without seeking your face first. Please God understand that I am not a bad person. They told us that you know everything before it happened. They told us that you even knew us before we were born. How could you allow me to do all the things I have done….. Maybe you are teaching me something but it is obvious that I cannot understand whatever it is you are teaching me… Open my eyes of the spirit and make me see your true light….”
The speaking in tongue of the girl near me interrupted me… I returned from the prayer mood back to the Beast that I had turned to. I had prayed enough. If God was enjoying my prayers, he or she would not have allowed the lady beside me to interrupt me.
I got up and went outside the Church. My phone was switched off, therefore I switched it on again. There was a text message. I opened it and saw that it was from Stella.
My Darling, I am sorry for what my mother did to you. I was ashamed to call you since it happened. She is like that, always beating me and my siblings yet my father does nothing. If you have time tomorrow, please tell me where we can meet outside our area. I really want to apologize to you. I miss you”.
I smiled and wrote a reply.
”Don’t worry beautiful Stella, your mother will pay for her insult soon enough. I will teach her how to pour water effectively”
I thought twice and figured that it could blow my cover.
Stella could alert her mother that I was planning something and the text message could implicate me. On the other hand, her mother could venture into stella’s phone and discover the message. It could be enough evidence to send me to Police if anything eventually happened whether it was me who did it or not. I was nearly caught in my own game.
I deleted the message and wrote a new one:
”Dear Stella, no matter what your mother did to you, she still loves you. I have forgiven what she did to me. I wanted to see if we can discover fully, the love we have for each other but it seems like I am not welcomed in your family. If you want to see me, you come to my apartment. If we must be together in the future, we must be ready to suffer the consequences that comes with it”
I posted the text message and smiled. I was a master at playing the mind games and since there was a possibility that Stella’s mother could see the message, I had decided to go for the punch.
I got home and the gates were locked. I called my cousin to come down and open the gate for me.
An emergency meeting was going on in the compound when I walked in. I pretended that I was not invited and walked past them.
”Azubuike please come back. I have asked of you but they said you have not returned” The Landlord had said.
I turned around and walked to a plastic chair and sat down.
”We are talking about the time to close the gate. The Gate man was sacked this evening. I came back here and saw the Gate wide open and he was not here. When I asked him, he said you sent him to buy meat for you but that was not an excuse to leave the gates open” he said.
I decided to keep quiet. I didn’t want to sell myself out as the cause of the whole things.
”We have concluded that we will be locking the Gate by 8pm. Anyone who returned after 8pm, must call somebody in the house to open the Gate for him” He said.
”Excuse me sir, who has been paying the security wages to the gateman” I asked.
Ekene, one of the tenants who lived downstairs said that the whole flats usually contributed money every two months to settle the Gateman.
”So why was he sacked without consulting anybody” I asked.
My cousin had become jumpy. I was sitting near him. He knew the kind of person I was and he felt I was going to stir the waters.
Nobody said anything including the landlord.
”I believe that an emergency meeting such as this important one should have been called before sacking our gateman. I was the person who sent him on an errand and he was sacked because of it. he had been doing a good job here watching the Gate. We should have voted whether to sack him or not. Maybe he made a mistake but he was a good man” I finished.
Tony, another tenant supported me. Shortly another guy whom I didn’t know supported the idea.
”We still need a security man here and we need him fast. There are things that a security man can do for us here. We don’t expect the landlord or the landlady to come down from the car and open the Gate every morning and evening. As for me, I can easily do that but it would be better if we find a security man fast. We all go out of the house everyday and it is the security man that can take care of the house in our absence” I said and remained quiet.
Some of the tenants didn’t even knew who I was. They were surprised over how I was too vocal without fearing the Landlord.
Some of them were among the group of business men who would wake up by 5am and leave for market only to return around 8pm.
Ekene suggested that we brought Issa back. Tony supported him. The Landlord as usual kept quiet. We all knew that he was being manipulated by his wife just like Stella had told me but it was the tenants who paid for Issa’s wages.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that Issa would return or that we find a new security man before the end of tomorrow.
The person who had hired Issa initially promised to go back to where he had found him and bring him back.
it was a nice meeting. Nigerians had started to Atleast express their feelings over issues that concerned them.
It was left for the Landlord to call his wife to order.
After the meeting I went up with my cousin.
He was scared of how I talked to the Landlord.
”I believe the only thing that worry you is that the Landlord could tell us to pack out of his house. don’t worry, he cannot do that and even if he does, he will balance us a lot of money. I will add more money and pay for a new place” I said.
He seemed to be soothed by my assurances but he still reminded me how powerful the landlady was.
”every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to chose but no power to escape the necessity of choice”