The agent and I departed the premises. When we were finding our way to the main road, he asked if I really loved the flat or I was trying to make the landlord feel cool.
‘What do you think?’
He quickly quashed my question with a confused facial expression. ‘I am not good at guesses’.
Smiling, I told him I loved the house and would make my payment as promised within 48 hours.
True to my word, I credited the landlord’s bank account with the help of my easy-to-use mobile banking application.
Within two weeks, my rooms were painted, mosquito nets fixed as well as the burnt electrical sockets. On inspection, I observed my landlord had fixed the door handles. I was excited when I moved into my new flat.
Alhaji Alowonle fathered children who had turned into adults. The family pictures in his living room attested to this claim, but I was yet to meet all of them save for the last daughter, Amina. She had just completed NYSC. She is a gorgeous being, elegant to behold, and is a fan of my dear Chelsea football club.
Often times, when I returned from work, Alhaji Alowonle requested my attention in his living room. We gisted like father and son. He told me stories of him growing up in the city of Lagos, how banks were not transparent with loan charges, government policies, and Nigerian politics under the military and civilian government. I looked forward to those intriguing moments with my landlord.
I became closer to him than the other tenants. It was during those privileged periods that I realised my landlord had been to Medina in Mecca for pilgrimage and other important countries around the world. His wife, Alhaja, welcomed me any time I came around.
I figured out Amina lived in the kitchen cooking and brewing aroma that made stomachs rumble. I strongly believed she could smash a final exam for Catering and Hotel Management Certificate, though, she informed me that she earned her degree in Soil science.
One Friday, I did not return in good time from work even though I had left the office early. Held up with other road users, I was hopeless in the traffic. I regretted leaving the office early. I had left at 5:30 pm because the other option of leaving late at 9:00 pm could not have paid off. My phone rang, interrupting my thoughts. When I answered, my landlord, asked about my whereabouts.
When I arrived home, I sent a text message to my landlord because I did not want to interrupt his rest at 11:15 pm. He replied immediately. ‘Welcome home. Please see me tomorrow. Goodnight.’ I got worried when I remembered he asked about late-night crawling during our first meeting. I felt relieved after some time because I had a genuine reason. If there was a need to be worried, it was only about dinner.
The following day, I honoured his request. Alhaji blamed the bad road, impatient drivers, and failure of the traffic control officers for the heavy traffic. In the middle of another gist, he smiled and said I would make a great son-in-law. I was not sure of what I heard. I looked the other way and pretended to check my phone. This time, he called my attention and repeated himself. When my tongue loosened, I thanked him.
Alhaji added how he had trained his daughter and made his compound dreadful for unserious boys. He would not allow lazybones to have an affair with Amina. He said he had found a perfect gentleman in me. At the time, Amina and I were friends. She had only visited my flat once to drop her CV for job hunting in case I found a good job that matched her profile. I smiled and pretended to be blushing.
See you on Wednesday for Episode 4.
Do you think Femi will give in to the subtle demands of his landlord?
Thanks for reading.
© Awopegba Theophilus