I kept quiet and held Chinelo for a long one minute before releasing her. Some of the people in the salon had fixed their gazes on us but we didn’t care. One thing i was sure about was that if they fired her for that, it would take me only one day to get her fixed somewhere else. She had become such a good girl. She would wake up early, clean the house, make breakfast and serve us. She would wake up earlier, sang in low tone and prayed. She had called her mother in the village and told her she had returned back to Lagos to learn hair dressing. The mother had asked how she managed to feed and live in Lagos, she had told her that a man from Enugu state had given her accommodation and was also feeding her. She had sent money to her mother from the money she brought from Ghana. The mother had been praying for me ever since.
Unfortunately, i had just missed out on potential wife. My cousin had taken over and right inside of me, i knew that it was only a matter of time before he proposed to her. I also knew that she would accept.
Life was such a balanced system. The goods we did were balanced with the bads we did. All we needed to do was just to pick the fights we could win.
”Thanks for the hug” i had said. I asked the tutor how Chinelo was faring, she said she had been doing good and that she was such an obedient girl.
”Alright, i need to go home now. Do you girls need anything to drink” i said.
All voices went up.
Before i left, i gave Chinelo N2000 to buy drinks and biscuit for everybody in the house. I knew that such gestures would elevate her status in the salon but i also knew that it could turn her head from being obedient to ”My friend used to buy drinks for you” attitude. I was going to warn her when she got home.
I went to good day hotel. I needed to look at some girls. As it was, i was without a girlfriend. Something that i had not done in a long time. I didn’t go to good day to get a girl but to just watch them make their moves and claim their usual ‘big girls’ kind of life.
As i sat there, i considered who i was going to call back as a girlfriend.
Zainab: That Aboki had totally forgotten me. It was my fault that she left. I had stopped calling her after changing to a new simcard card. I believed i was going to call her again but i needed to consider others first.
Daisy: That beautiful young girl was considered an outcast by the Igbo culture. I had abandoned her because of such silly culture. I wondered if she would even listen to me again if i called. Maybe i should give it a try or perhaps forget about her entirely. How was she even going to react if i called?
Stella: Ever since she adviced me to visit TB Joshua, we had not spoken much again. Although i didn’t meet with Mr Joshua but i did what she asked. Maybe i should just pretend to have been delivered from the spirit of vengeance, picked up a bible, buy clothes with Mary or Jesus’ head on them and go back to her. She would definitely fall. If she wanted to discuss bible, i would be absolutely ready. Back in my secondary school days, i was the best student in Religious knowledge. I was even the best in every subject. My parents were teachers. They had drilled bible inside my head to the extent that i could tell the stories from Genesis to Genesis offhand, maybe i should also try but first of all, i needed to check other options.
Elizabeth: Not girlfriend material. She knew nothing about love and i wasn’t going to teach her how to love me. Or maybe she had learnt but she wasn’t radiant and beautiful like Daisy and Chinasa. She was just a regular girl who learnt about life in the street. I was tempted to call her but not yet. Her purpose in my life would come.
Call girl, Uzoma, Chilota, etc : I rather stay single.
I finished my drink and drove home. It was almost 7pm when i got home. As soon as i drove inside the compound, two police men came out of nowhere and tapped on my glass. I had anticipated that Chinasa could come with police but i had stayed out until night with hope that they would come in the morning.
I ignored them, switched off the AC, the radio and the engine, then opened the door and locked the doors.
Chinasa and her father had materialized from outside as well.
”Good evening officers, what can i do for you” i said.
”You are under arrest” one of them said.
”For what Sir” i asked.
Whoosaa!! A slap landed my right cheek. He was left handed.
”Na me you dey ask question abi, wait until we get to the station” he said.
I bent down to allow the pain to subsidize before i raised my head up again.
People who slapped me had gotten their own doses of revenge but that very slap was from a Police man. There was no way i could revenge on a uniformed man. Of course unless he removed the uniform. There was always a way to solve every riddle. All that was needed was just to calm down and think. At that moment, i decided to obey and plot my revenge.
As i raised my head up, a cuff was being slammed on my arms. Chinasa was standing there with her arms folded across her breast, her father was shouting that i would change by the time he finished with me.
Coward! Change was constant.
They dragged me to a waiting L300 bus and took me to Area D, Ijesha Police station.
We got there and walked inside. I was told to remove my Dark T shirt and Jean with shoes. I was left with singlet and boxer.
They said that the office had closed and that i would write my statement in the morning. It meant that i was going to sleep at the police station. It was my first time to smell a Nigerian cell.
I asked one of them why they brought me there but he refused to say anything. It was obvious that money had exchanged hands.
I had seen the name of the officer who slapped me. I had also marked his face.
As they escorted me towards a cell room, i asked for officer Basil Duru, the man who slapped me. They said he had gone home.
We got to a room and they opened it from outside, two other boys were there.
” A smart man makes a mistake, learns
from it, and never makes that mistake
again. But a wise man finds a smart
man and learns from him how to
avoid the mistake altogether”