“…Let there be Lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and Let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years…”
This bright day is November twenty-five, exactly one month to Christmas, and everybody is in the high spirit of preparation for jollification and celebration. Ada smiled at the rhymes of the three words in her mind. For her, it is a month to her Dad’s post humus birthday, and f ive weeks to the fifth anniversary and remembrance of her Dad’s death. So, excuse her if she’s not excited about Christmas and has no plan for it, for in her world, Christmas went into extinction three years ago. She stepped out of her flat into the cool morning breeze. She took her time in locking the door and taking in fresh air before she made her way to the estate’s car park. Ada silently prayed that her car would not give her problem as it had been doing from the beginning of the week.
She heard her neighbour coming out of her flat, calling her husband as usual, “I don’t understand why I usually have to be the first person to get ready for work while you as a man would always take your time” Ada smiled as she overheard the normal rant of her neighbour yet again. In the past, she used to get easily irritated by that. Now, it is a sweet melody and a spice to her day. God help her soul. She made her way to her Volkswagen Beetle and entered to start the car; Mr. I-am-old-enough-and-ripe-fora-change Volkswagen refused to start. So, she pushed the bonnet trigger and moved out of the car to hit the battery with a stone, and check out some other stuffs she could try. She was about to close the bonnet and start the old man again when ‘Mrs. neighbour’ walked up to her side, standing beside their Highlander jeep. “Good morning Mrs. Bankole” “Morning Dear, how was your night?” Ada wanted to throw the neighbour a punch in the face and dissemble her lips. Isn’t she so proud? Ada hated being called “Dear” and removing the “Good” at the back of her “…morning” when greeting her at dawn. Nevertheless, she is a neighbour and a married woman although they apparently fall in the same age group?
She was still debating on going for a public transport when Mr. Bankole came out in a grey suit, perfectly ironed with creases at the right places; his sport waves hair was perfectly set and when he came closer, he overshadowed the air with his thick deodorant and body spray. “Good morning Miss. Ada” “Good morning Mr Bankole” “Sorry, my Angel, I had to take my time to look good; you know that looking good is good for business” “And I love you for that; I was just patiently waiting for my husband!” “Alright then, shall we?” “Sure” They entered their jeep together as Ada stood to lock her car. Their car roared to life but she noticed it was not moving. She looked up and saw talking and gesticulating but the loud music coming from their car wouldn’t help her hear them. Whatever their problem is, it’s none of her business, and she’s already running late as she needs to be at work as early as she can. She closed the old man’s door and was about walking to the estate’s main gate when she heard her name, she looked back and noticed that Mr Bankole was calling her. “What happened to your car?”
“I don’t know, it wouldn’t start” “Oh-oh, I would have willingly checked for you but you know I’m all dressed and set for work. Can we drop you off at the Bus stop instead?” “Oh, no, I don’t want to be a bother” “No, you are not, come on” Ada joined her neighbours in the moving club house and made herself comfortable “Thank you, Mr. Bankole. Mrs. Bankole, I really appreciate the help!” “You’re welcome” “Welcome dear, my husband is a good man. He couldn’t stand a single lady being stranded”, Mrs Bankole said rolling her eyes and eyeing her husband. “Yes baby, just as you taught me”, Mr Bankole fired back. “Ada, get yourself a good man like my hubby here” “Okay, thanks anyway” “Really, a man like Mr-Prim-and-Proper Bankole?” Ada couldn’t help but stifle a laugh and then relax to enjoy the loud music coming from the car’s speakers. She noticed Mrs. Bankole placing her hands on her husband’s headrest, and wouldn’t stop touching his neck every now and then although he seemed uncomfortable.
Ada smiled when she remembered the loud noise and bangs she heard from their flat just yesterday evening. “Who are they trying to impress?” If Mr. Bankole was the last man on this planet, Ada would rather remain single. “And here we are” “Thank you so much” “You’re welcome dear” Ada alighted from their car and walked past the buses calling for passengers since she had enough cash to afford a nice ride in a Taxi rather than being jam-packed in a bus. She settled in the cab, gave her destination and brought out her phone to listen to some good music. “Oh, this is already out of power?” She returned it and relaxed, trying to enjoy the noise and scenery around her. The driver stood beside the car, holding the door to the driver’s seat; they still had two more passengers to go. Soon, a lady dressed in a pink flowery gown entered the car and occupied the front seat. “Driver, please can we start going?” “Madam, abeg, remain one person oh” “One person? Where is the person gonna sit?” “Ah! Madam Oyinbo, shey you no know say na two pesin dey sit for front? No stress me abeg; I no go leave here if my car no full” “What the heck? You gonna squeeze two people in this tiny seat? Oh my, I’m in for it today” “That one na English ooo. Madam, me I sure know say I no go move if my car no full, except say you fit pay for two and you go sit alone” “It is fine, don’t worry, I’ll pay for two. Can we go now, please? I’m not about to be late for my meeting” “Eehnee, correct Madam” Ada couldn’t help but wonder who this Nigerian lady is that does not know the sitting arrangement in a ‘naija’ taxi Cab. She did not have to wonder for long when the lady’s phone rang; she brought out her iPhone 11 pro and answered her call. “Hello Mum, I have been calling you; you wouldn’t believe I’m in a cab right now…. Yes, Mum, the car broke down. I don’t even know what went wrong with the car, ooo… Mum, Akin went to look for a mechanic and did not return till now; you have to sack him, Mum. He’s so incompetent…Yes Mum, the Uber I called got stuck in traffic and cancelled my order… Yeah, and your husband…I don’t even know what to say about him. Mum, Dad refused to send his driver to get me; he told me to go for a cab. I had to go for it when my feet were killing me for standing for so long Mum”
There was perfect silence in the cab but for the noise from passing vehicles. “Oga, abeg move this cab. I no wan late for work; make my supervisor no sack me”, the man sitting at the back said. “…Yes, Mum…I’ll be fine, Mum, the driver made me pay for two persons because I wanted to sit alone in the front seat…Thank you, Mum… Bye Mum, talk to you later”. “Nawa oh, wetin pesin no go see for this country”, the woman sitting beside Ada said loudly, folding her hands across her bosom. “Abi Madam, see story for inside bible”, the driver added. “Wetin Musa no go see for gate?” the guy with the supervisor replied, and the three of them burst into laughter. Ada wanted to tell them to let the poor girl be but she had learnt to mind her business after Mrs Bankole mistakenly poured water on her head the day she ran to their flat to settle a fight. The journey continued steadily until they entered into another traffic holdup few kilometres away from her bus stop. “Oh my… my… another traffic holdup? What a day! Please, driver, can you put on the AC?”
All other passengers except Ada burst into laughter, and Oyinbo lady turned to look at them in confusion. It was then Ada was able to see her face, and although she seemed familiar, she had no time to process the picture; her only thought was to get down and trek the little distance to her office. “Oga, give me my change, biko. I go trek the remaining; my office no far” “Sure madam, take” the driver said, and passed a two hundred naira note to Ada at the back. Diamond Consulting Firm, Ada’s office, can be seen from afar, and it’s a few kilometres away from the point of traffic holdup; it is located at the heart of the city. And most times, the holdup lasts from 7am through 10am; it moves in a slow snail pace. Ada knows this very well because her office is located at the third floor of the off ice complex her firm occupies. Her own office, for the Head of Event Planning and Management department, which is at the rear end of the floor, gives her the view of the main road. She got to her office in good time, and was told that the Administrative Manager wanted to see her ASAP. So, she dropped her bag in the office, and rushed up to the Admin’s office. “Good morning Mr Benson, I was told you asked to see me.
“Yes, Miss. Ibekwe. Please, do have your seat”. Yes, I am Adaeze Justina Ibekwe. “Thank you, sir” “You’re welcome! I told your secretary that I would like to see you as soon as you resume for today” “Okay, I got in not quite long; I encountered a terrible traffic” “It’s okay. I know its few weeks to Christmas, and unlike before, we have no scheduled event for Christmas, which is rather odd because most people fix weddings, get-together, reunions and all sorts in the Christmas holidays. Plus, I already received your mail application for leave, which you are well overdue for considering the fact that for years now, you’ve always worked through Christmas, and I really appreciate your commitment to your work” “Thank you for that, sir. I really need the leave” “I know but something came up yesterday” Mr Benson stood up, brought out a file, and dropped it before Ada. “Agape Christmas Project” “Yes, the MD called yesterday, and gave me the file. He then gave me a brief, and asked that I get the best hands available for the work. Interestingly, the project majorly involves your department as every other aspect has been covered. I will like you to go through the file; we have a meeting with the other stakeholders by 11am”. Ada checked her wristwatch, and saw that the time, half past 10 already. She became angry and displeased with the new project, which was a bad start for her because she always got the worst out of any project she wasn’t happy with. And although she usually delivered on the job perfectly, it would leave her sapped out and drained like a sachet water nylon. “Is that all, sir?” “That will be all for now; I’ll see you at the boardroom by 11 on dot” That’s Mr. Benson for you; he is neither a Yoruba demon nor an angel, the only person in the office that does not address people by their first name but surname, always formal and business like, putting people on their toes and…
Thank you for reading. Another episode drops tomorrow