My Landlord and I #9


It was the last quarter of the year. My employer insisted that all staff members took annual leaves, especially those who had not taken any, during the year. 

The strategy was adopted to ensure a large percentage of staff did not apply for leave at the end of the year. Failure to comply resulted in forfeiture of the annual leave.

Forfeiture wasn’t the real problem. The big issue was the wrong impression the affected staff was going to create: like having a skeleton in the cupboard and being afraid of leaving the desk for a few days. I didn’t want to forfeit my leave. I wanted to avoid the auditors and run from Amina after our unforgettable experience. Finding an escape route through the compulsory application, I called my parents. I planned to stay in the village for two weeks.

I knew my decision translated into costs. I didn’t mind the fuel for my vehicle, the gift items for my extended family, and contingency funds since I planned to visit Ikogusi warm spring (A tourist attraction where warm and cold spring flows abreast and meet at a point, each maintaining its thermal properties). I’d rather incur expenses and banish myself from my flat than face Amina. Maybe, the painful memory would be replaced.

My application was approved as soon as I applied. I told my landlord about my proposed trip and how long it was going to last. Alhaji said it was fine and suggested that I should visit my parents. He admitted missing me. I told him I was going to bring some farm produce for him since the yam festival was near. We smiled and parted.

Amina called immediately after I stepped out of her father’s house. I suspected she had eavesdropped my conversation with Alhaji Alowonle. ‘Has it come to that? You want to embark on a trip, and you can not tell me. Is that how it is now?’

I heard the pain in her voice, but I didn’t apologise. ‘There are two more days to when I am leaving town. I planned to tell you later.’

Amina dropped the call. My heart raced as I wallowed in thoughts. When was she going to stop knowing my every move? When was she going to realise what happened between us was a mistake?

I arranged my clothes and other essentials for my trip. I serviced the car, changed the brake pad, replaced the engine oil, and did other necessary checks for a long trip. Also, I got some mint currency notes to spend in the village.

My parents are raving fans of lace materials. Because I didn’t want to purchase low-quality materials, I sought Amina’s help. I told her to buy ten yards of lace material from the popular Isale Eko market. I added her taxi fees and extra change for her convenience. She returned hours later, with an amazing apparel, good enough to be presented to my parents. 

I thanked her.  She returned my change, but I insisted she could keep it. She gazed at me for a few seconds. Such lustful eyes could not work on me this time. I knew what ran through her mind, but I needed to save that drama for the soap opera ( in Davido’s voice). I didn’t want her to put a spell on me. At least, the birthday party was over, and I wasn’t high this time.

Something told me I needed to be smart about the moment. So, I quickly told her I was about going out when she arrived. The excuse saved me from another trouble. I couldn’t risk us falling the second time.

Amina pretended not to understand me, but we moved out.

The following day, I awoke early so I could be on my way to Ekiti state. Driving between Lagos and Ibadan was smooth. For once, I appreciated the job the government had done on the Lagos/Ibadan highway. It was smoother than the last time I had travelled. Somewhere in Ibadan, an unknown person flagged me. I assumed she knew me, so I parked. This time with a closer look, I saw an angel. So gorgeous. She wore a nice scent and dressed decently. She represented the kind of company I desired to have beside me as I continued my journey.

We exchanged pleasantries and asked if she could join me. She was going to Ekiti state. I could not deny her request, so I asked a few safety questions. She identified herself as Dammy, with an NYSC card and an international passport. She came from Lagos, but the commercial driver had played a prank on her and other passengers. The driver was heading to Ibadan but fooled them that he was going to Ekiti. When they arrived Ibadan, he refunded a part of their fares and claimed the vehicle was not in good condition. I understood her plight. She joined me and I jerked the car forward.

Dammy is a light-skinned lady. The kind of lady people refer to as beauty plus brain. Our conversation confirmed she is a smart and reserved person. We settled for a meal in a roadside restaurant where many commuters visit. I had to convince her to join me because at first, she was unwilling. Three hours later, we arrived in my hometown. I took Dammy to the nearest park as her destination was about twenty minutes more. She appreciated all that I had done for her. I gave her my complimentary card and moved on.

My parents were happy to see me. Few things had changed in the village. Old people returned from the farm to settle down. They looked tired. Items from my vehicle were offloaded.

Surprisingly, Dammy called to thank me.

During my few days in the village, my mother pressured me about marriage. She told me how she had fasted and prayed for me. She desired to see my children who would in turn be her grandchildren. I assured her that that area would be sorted out in no time. 

Whenever I was bored, I chatted Dammy on WhatsApp. It started to get interesting when I learnt she had just ended a relationship. I felt this was a good one for me. We kept talking even after my stay in Ekiti ended. I visited Ikogusi and spent a night. She was with me during the day but left at night. We remained close friends.

Upon my arrival in Lagos, I spent four days with my friends. The two weeks I had applied for had to be completed. One afternoon as I sipped orange juice from a glass cup, my phone buzzed. Amina.

‘Guess what.’

‘I’m not good at guesses. What is it Amina?’

‘I am pregnant.’

‘For who? How?’

Silence followed.

‘We’ll talk about this when I return.’

With that, I hung up. My mood turned sour. I wasn’t expecting this. I wondered how I was going to deal with the situation. Just when I was hoping Dammy would agree to date me, Amina reminded me of my folly.

Thanks for reading.

What do you think Femi should do at this point?

©Theophilus Awopegba

3 thoughts on “My Landlord and I #9

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