Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Truth About the Death Of Naomi. Episode II


“Hello sister, good evening…. You say? ….okay, when should I come pick up your friend? …Alright no problem, at your hostel right? … okay, I’d be there , bye” Abdul hangs up the phone-call and concentrates fully on his driving, he makes his U-turn and drops his passengers off at the gate entrance, he gives change to one of them and decided he should probably go fill up his petrol tank but changes his mind as a passenger got into his car asking for a ‘drop’ somewhere outside the university gates, he hoped he could do this drop, buy the fuel needed and be in time to pick  up a friend of one of his favorite passengers at-least it pays better than queuing up and wasting time waiting for his turn to pick up passengers while hoping someone wants a drop somewhere. He was done later and had three minutes to spare as sister Mope had started calling already, he decided not to pick her calls but picked up the unknown number that called seconds after, the female caller introduced herself as Mope’s friend and that she was ready and waiting for him, he apologized for the delay and promised to be with her shortly. He accelerated so as not to miss one more addition to his customers’ list, he wondered who the lady that called was, she spoke so gently and this he liked already as he thought such person could barely get angry or sound angry whenever he couldn’t meet up with a pickup time, he hoped his cab service to her would be satisfactory. As he drives on getting closer to his customer’s hostel he was flagged by a lady wearing a shirt and pants, it took him a while to register the face as this lady was wearing too much makeup, her name was Chika and she use to be a final year student when he met her, he was her favorite cabman and had come on to him on several occasions, he hated to refuse her as he didn’t want ‘student trouble’, he thought he couldn’t afford to date a student as the demands were not yet in his priority list, the rented car he was using then required the care you give to a child, you couldn’t go too fast nor too slow with it otherwise it halted all by itself, Mr Benson who owned his previous cab was a junior lecturer in the university, Mr Benson was as stingy as he was a perfectionist, his blue painted car had better not be retuned with any dent on it at the ending of the week, Abdul was too glad to be introduced to a microfinance bank before that year ran out, he was able to acquire his own car by paying monthly arrears and start his own cab business afresh with the hope of acquiring more cars in the future for hire.

Chika had been flagging him before he even noticed her, “This lady must have the sight of a hawk” he thought to himself, “Awh! Abdul, how are you, long time” she greeted him before he was even able to park the car properly for her, he greeted her and gave her his nicest smile, he was of-course in a hurry and needed to get going, she told him she was already on her master’s degree program and needed a cab as she had lost his number. Although this Chika was a generous customer to him, she was also a pest sometimes, she would want him to take her everywhere and even ask him to hang out with her, she never hesitated in footing the bills all the time which he didn’t get so comfortable with, more than once she had invited him into her apartment outside school and he had shyly declined them all, he knew once he got into her house with her he would only end up being a man that he is and not himself, this lady was older than he was, she was even married although her husband stayed overseas, she had told him he was welcome to visit her whenever he wanted. He wondered what kind of woman invited cabmen into her home, he wasn’t going to be a part of such story, at a height of 6 feet weighing 70kg and having a dark complexion, he knew his looks could deceive women to think he was capable of doing so much more, he couldn’t boast of other things, he was only a holder of a secondary school leaving certificate, he had never bothered where the piece of paper would get him though, once this same Chika had offered to purchase him a jamb exams form, he had collected the money and opened an account with the micro-finance bank, he avoided her throughout the month if the exam, at the age of 24 he thought of that aspect of school that the lady was backing up the wrong tree. He was a lonely man sometimes who would rather be with his colleagues at Iya Sikiru’s pepper soup joint where all sort of alcohol mixtures were sold, this was where he would rather spend some time after closure, once he gets home he went straight to bed and rose early the next morning. Very few times during his cab sessions, nature had called on him with a suffocating grip on his throat, these were times he needed to be with a woman. Sometimes he got lucky with one bored stranger or the other while sometimes he went to bed in sweats but he never got desperate enough to knock on Chika’s door or maybe he was just a coward who could only handle women he thought would be at his mercy, this Chika as he had surveyed her body so many times since she started showing romantic interest in him would not be the easy type, he was always acting like an alter boy whenever she was around him.

“I’m sorry I’m actually on my way to pick a student up in that hostel over there, I can come back to pick up from the faculty when you’re done” he told Chika apologetically, “Oh that’s okay, never mind then, just give me your number and I’d call you as soon as I need you” Chika replied, he thanked her and gave her his number again before he finally left for Mope’s hostel, driving up to the hostel he greeted the few students that recognized him, these were the few students who had bothered to pay attention to his face, very few had told him that he was good-looking, he barely got out of his car during work hours except when there was need. He parked in the front of Mope’s hostel block and dialed her number, Mope called back immediately and informed him that her friend was on her way downstairs, he okayed and thanked her before hanging up, he only waited for a few moment when his passenger’s door was fumbled with, he unlocked the door from the inside for the lady outside.
Abdul had guessed that this gentle speaking lady should be good looking but under-estimated how much, she was beautiful and looked very appealing to the eyes, she greeted as soon as she sat down, she gave him an address of where she wanted to be taken to but he only stared at her while she gave him a puzzled look, she asked to be sure he was Abdul the cab man she and her friend had called and he answered that he was the one like he had just be woken up from a slumber, she repeated the address to him again and he started the engine, he drove off with her on the phone almost all through the journey, her voice to him was like a bed time symphony, her smile was beautiful, he stole hundreds of glances at her from all the mirrors in his car but she probably never noticed as she gave him a little or no attention. Once at a red light stop he had eavesdrop on her phone discussion, he thought she was giving a sensual talk to someone on the other line, he didn’t wan to imagine she was what he should guess she was, thirty minutes later he drove up to the address she had given him, Naomi smiled, paid and asked him to keep the change, he asked if she wanted a pickup later and she said she would call him up if she needed him, she got out and he left to make a U-turn, by the time he had turned back to the high class hotel he had just dropped this young girl, she had already gone through the gates, he wondered how people could afford such luxury, he thought about the charming looking girl he had just dropped, sighed and finally drove off, all day he replayed that evening’s encounter, he thought he had seen beautiful students but this was an outstanding one, he hoped all through that day that she would call for her pickup but he finally gave up waiting, “She probably had other plans” he thought to himself by the time he was opening his front door and still hoping for the call when he got to his apartment, he held his dinner in a take away pack and placed it on the table in his room, he imagined coming home everyday of his life to a very beautiful girl, he wished he could own such a girl and take care of her, he didn’t even know her name and was too taken by her beauty to even ask, he dozed off to this perfect dream and was woken up startled by his phone vibrating in his pocket, he was with all hopes that it was this same girl that was calling him, he thought maybe she was done and needed a pickup, he looked at the wall clock and it read twenty minutes passed 10pm since he had returned, he took his phone and answered the call without even checking the caller, “Hello Abdul, its Chika, can you hear me?” he replied that he could, too late to not had picked up the call as his closing hour was long passed, she replied that she needed an urgent pickup and gave him an address to come to, he hung up and thought the extra money won’t be bad as he charged more at hours like this moreover this passenger was a generous one. Contemplating whether to leave his dinner or take it along, he grabbed his car keys and decided to go with his food; he turned off his bedroom light and locked his front door, hurried to his car and drove off to meet Chika. On getting to the address she had given him, he horned at the gate and dialed Chika’s number, she called back and asked him to drive in as soon as the gates were opened, she explained that she needed to carry some things out and immediately he realized her lie, what was he to lift into the car that the gateman he was looking at couldn’t carry, hoping for good and rebuking otherwise he drove in, she got out of her won apartment from a two storey building and asked him to come in, she was fully dressed like she just got back from a date or somewhere, she mentioned that this was her new apartment and had changed her mind about going out. She promised to pay up none the less and asked him in one more time, now he was really getting hungry and asked if he could eat his food in his car for some minutes “Oh, I see, I have some take-home food inside anyways, its good food, put that school food down and come get something better” As hungry as he had gotten he decided to man up and follow Chika into her apartment, her simple and nicely furnished apartment was scented with some rose and lavender lighted candles which added an air of quiet, solitude and romance to the atmosphere, he wondered what the occasion was or had been about, he decided to ask “I hope I wouldn’t be in the way of something” he gestured at the lighted candles as he asked, “Oh no, at all, in-fact those candles are all about you” she said, he pretended to be puzzled by her statement and she went ahead and spoke “You see, you’re here and I’m obviously not going anywhere, I mean I lied, I’m no more some random student you carry about in your car, I have my own car already but you know I’ve been on your neck for one particular thing for a very long time” Abdul only stood staring as she spoke, getting out of the house at that time was no where in his head, to be precise  there was nothing going on in his head as he watched Chika undressed, she explained to him that she needed to get comfortable as she wasn’t going anywhere anymore. He didn’t know when his car keys dropped to the carpet neither did he know how he ended on top of her on her couch, his spirit sighing through out the event of that night, he knew he wasn’t himself, he was simply just a man. Chika maintaining a close contact with him while she led him to her bedroom explained again, it looked like she was pretty good at explaining things “You can imagine the emotions that rushed through me when I saw you today, I saw you before I saw your car, you just keep getting more handsome every time I see you, today was just too much” she told him.

“Even if a man was supposedly raped by a woman, he would still want to know how well he performed, he needs his ego unshaken”
Abdul woke up with a striking hunger six o’clock in the morning, he was covered halfway with a thin wide wrap, he turned to his right side to find Chika peacefully asleep, he remembered he hadn’t had dinner and quietly got off the bed, he realized this lady had totally unclothed him, he rarely showed his nakedness to anyone even after a fling he preferred to go to bed with his undershorts and singlet on but here was he standing with no clothes on, he surveyed the room for any of his clothes to no avail until he heard Chika call on him, he turned to her shyly and uttered a ‘good morning’, she didn’t reply this but only kept on staring at him, he knew uncomfortably that he was quite naked but feared he didn’t do so well in pleasing her last night judging by her long expressionless stare, he sighed in time as she spoke “Abdul, you are beautiful, look at you, he smiled and looked around to find something to cover his nakedness, he resigned and used both of his hands, she got up and gave him the cover cloth they had been sharing earlier “I can see you need this “ she said and tossed him the cloth, she was now naked herself, he was really shy about seeing what he was now seeing but maintained his stare at the good view, he said his ‘good morning’ again and she replied “morning” and got hold of a night robe to cover herself, she brought out his neatly folded clothes out of her wardrobe and offered them to him but stopped him before he could begin dressing up and motioned for him to go into the bathroom for his bath, she left him in the room with a promise to return with breakfast made, she left him standing by the bed like a child in wonders. He stared as she walked past him and out of the room, well she hadn’t said anything about all that had happened last night, he wondered what the catch was about and the payment she had promised him. He looked up at the ceiling wondering and trying to replay last night and like a woman he wondered why he had had a sexual relations with this woman, this married woman, did he even use a condom? He also wondered why he wasn’t happy, its been over six months since he had last been with a woman, it was difficult for a man with a small income like his to find and maintain a stable relationship, women of his choice of nowadays would rather be alone than manage with a man like him, he was on a road that had him moving to wherever it led, he was afraid and thoughtless about paving his own route out of this road. He went into the bathroom soon after seeing the wall clock reading six thirty-five, he selected a simple looking blue soap out of the numerous ones she had and bathed, he got out of the bath and used a mouth wash, he was glad to find a used condom in the toilet seat and flushed it, when he was done he took a final look at the numerous soaps, body wash, cleansers and the likes that she kept and shook his head in amusement “You can’t put on so much makeup and not provide enough soap to wash it all off” he thought to himself, he couldn’t even remember the last time he was in a woman’s bedroom or even her bathroom as he began to dress, he felt his pocket for his wallet and backed the door to check if its contents were intact and they turned out to be, placing the wallet back into his pocket the bedroom door opened and for one split second he thought Chika’s husband was coming in, Chika came into the room looking cheerful and her face whitewashed, he hadn’t notice earlier and sighed in relief on seeing that it was only her coming in, she informed him that he wouldn’t need to wear his old shirt for she was holding a new shirt in one hand and a brand new wristwatch in the other, she offered them to him and instructed him to put them on, he stared at her in surprise and thanked her, she left and told him she would be waiting in the living room for him. Abdul now better dressed in his new clean shirt and wristwatch sat down eating his noodles breakfast in a hurry, time was running and he wasn’t really comfortable in the house of a woman who would probably have a handful of men at her beck and call, she wasn’t a bad looking woman and he didn’t need a surprise meeting with any of her male friends, he wondered what she was up to when she left for the inside her bedroom, what if this Chika had used some of his vitals for rituals while he slept like a fool during the night, he shook such thoughts out of his mind and stopped eaten almost at once, like she heard her name in his thoughts she came out as he dropped his spoon, she  was dressed casually this time as she smiled and offered him her right hand with money in it, he took the money but couldn’t bring himself to check it, he thanked her and shoved it straight into his pocket standing up, she asked him if he might want to see her later and he replied that he would try.
Deep within him Abdul knew he wouldn’t want to repeat last night’s event again, he unlocked his car and was greeted with a rotten stench, he remembered he had left last night’s dinner in the car with the windows winded up, he quickly whined the windows all the way down to allow in fresh air, got in and started the engine, he horned for the gate to be opened and saluted Chika on his way driving out. Though not particularly sure why, he heaved a sigh of relief immediately he drove out of the compound. Looking at his new wristwatch it read 8:20 am, he was late already and he accelerated, he would have more time to look at the wristwatch properly, not like he really knew the values of watches but he liked the one he was wearing, the last one he had had stopped working two weeks after he had bought it, well he had purchased it for two hundred and fifty naira and he couldn’t bother to complain nor repair it or replace it. As he stopped at the red-light he flung the rotten pack of food out his window into a pile of dirt nearby, he tried to replay last-night and he smiled for the first time, he didn’t smile because he had had sexual relations with Chika but because all through that night he imagined he was with someone else, another woman other than Chika, he didn’t know her name but her face was very fresh in his mind, he thought he might call her phone number when he arrived at the university premises to check if she would want a pick up, he thought to himself “It’s just a customer care and follow up thing”.

Soon enough he arrived at the premises of the university and joined the queue of available cabs, he had missed the early morning meeting of the day and thought to ask one of his colleagues to fill him in later. He remembered the money he had collected from Chika and brought it out to check, he counted it and to his astonishment he was having ten thousand naira in one thousand naira notes with him, this sent a smile up to his face, he was happy but still didn’t want last night to repeat itself. He thought he could decide to go off work the day but was wise enough to know it wouldn’t be ideal if he could help it, he took off his new wristwatch and examined it, it was a Busch watch in black chromium and he liked it very much, he was more absorbed in his new wristwatch than the new shirt he was wearing, he thought of leaving the queue to buy himself a more solid breakfast of ‘Fufu’ and lots of meats in the ‘Egusi’ soup, he had his hand on the ignition still contemplating on what to do when the young pretty lady he had driven out yesterday walked by his cab, he horned once and tried to control himself from running after her but stared hard at her, she was about to take a drop and he wondered why she hadn’t spotted and selected his own car, the rate at which his heart was beating fast and heavy scared him, he wondered how a young lady he didn’t know someone he didn’t know could get him so unsettled, he thought to call her number but she was already getting into the cab ahead of him, if he got out of his cab to meet up with her to take his own cab he would be looking for trouble from his colleagues, he wouldn’t even have a say as he was one of the youngest cab-drivers in the school and he knew the rules clearly, he unconsciously started the engine as the cab driving Naomi drove out of the queue and away, he followed en-suite. If he knew how awkward his present action was he would had laughed at himself, the angels in heaven would shake their heads in pity at his pathetic self. Just what was he planning to do by following Naomi’s cab. He stopped some meters behind the cab dropping Naomi to her hostel, she seemed to be in a hurry or something as she rushed out of the cab, he wondered what the cab was now waiting for, two male students came towards his cab and asked for a drop but he shook his head and pointed at the cab in front of him, the two male student walked away towards the cab and he noticed their irritated look when they left the cab. He resumed his stare at the hostel Naomi resided until she hurried back from the building into the cab, he saw that she had changed her shirt and Abdul quickly understood what was going on, he started his car-engine before Naomi’s cab did, he drove past her cab and forced himself not to stare, he slowed down and waited for her cab to catch up to him, finally the cab drove past him, he recognized the driver to be one of his colleagues he had drank at Iya Sikiru’s joint with, a man in his late forties, he was sure she wouldn’t have interest in such person but would she even have any interest in a fellow like himself?-He had this in his mind while he unconsciously followed Naomi’s cab till they got to her faculty, 

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