I stood up, walked majestically to the bar and found a seat. I asked for their wine list so I could pick the one I could afford. At least let me be drinking something while I was waiting for my breakthrough. Different men passed by as I waited but not one approached me. Which kain bad luck be this? Abi them dey follow me from village?
My glass of wine was almost finished and I had no intention of refilling it because it didn’t look like I was going to get lucky that night. I couldn’t be wasting money that I didn’t have. I gave God an ultimatum in my mind ‘Father Lord, biko, help my situation. If you know that I am your daughter, let my prince charming come to me before I finish this glass of wine. Let him be restless till he approaches me. In the mighty name of Jesus. Amen’. I was gulping down the last drop of wine when this man came up to me. He tapped my shoulder and said ‘Hello’. I was already thanking God for not putting me to shame, only for me to turn around and see this man. ‘Mba, mba, biko, God, you have to be joking. This wasn’t the agreement na.’ I said in my mind. You should have seen this man, he was ugly, with a pot belly, not too short, but I was definitely taller than he was. He looked like someone in his late forties, early fifties, all these money miss road people. This one was not prince charming anything, he was bitter-leaf, or better still, agbo. Why would God want to send me a man like this? After all the times I spent on my knees praying to Him. I was staring hard at this man, still in shock, with a million thoughts running through my head. ‘Are you okay?’ He asked in his deep igbo accent, when I had stared for too long. It was then my senses came back to me. ‘I am fine, thank you. I just remembered something, that’s why I blanked out’. I answered. ‘Alright, my name is Chukwuemeka Okafor. Nice to meet you.’ He looked like a trader with shops in Aba, Onitsha, Alaba etc, like all these men that are very greedy. You will know from their name. See the conc igbo name, and I thought my own name carried weight.
‘My name is Naya. Pleased to meet you too’. I replied. ‘Naya? What kind of name is that? Where are you from?’ He asked. Me, mumu now really answered ‘I’m Igbo. My full name is Ifunaya’. I answered. ‘Odiegwu, from Ifunaya to Naya. Nothing I will not hear’ he said. It was so obvious that he didn’t go to school. At most, he stopped at primary six, then went to do apprentice work in Onitsha. ‘You’re a fine girl o. I always say it, the girls from the east are the finest’ was the next thing I heard. ‘Thank you sir’ I replied. I wasn’t interested in this one at all, so to me, calling him sir will remind him that I am too young for him. I couldn’t be following this kind of man in this Lagos na. What will people say? ‘No, no, not sir. My name is Chukwuemeka. Call me Emeka or Emmy for short’ he said. I wanted to burst into laughter at the way he said ‘Emmy’, but I just respected myself and kept a straight face. ‘What are you doing here sef?’ he asked. Mscheww. Question for the gods. All these loud and nosy people that will not mind their business and face the one that concerns them. ‘I came for a meeting here and I decided to buy a drink here before heading home. It’s been a very long day’ I answered. ‘Eya. Ndo.’ He replied. ‘Beautiful girls like you shouldn’t be stressing yourselves like this o. You are supposed to be at home, chopping money and enjoying life’ He added. It’s like that they used to chop life abi? Whose money am I going to be enjoying like that? Money wey I never see. I laughed and said ‘I know sir, but what can I do? I have to work for every kobo I spend. So I can’t stay at home and stretch hand and leg. How will I eat?’. ‘That is why Emmy is here. With me, there is no problem. No retreat, no surrender’. I laughed again. This man was certainly a clown. The funniest part is, he had a straight face while he was talking. You could tell he wasn’t joking. ‘Ok Mr Emeka. ‘We’ll see’ I said. It was at that point I noticed his big purse under his arm. That was the last characteristic I needed to confirmed he was a trader. I laughed again in my mind.
Emeka offered to buy me dinner and we walked down to the restaurant by the pool. After we got a table, we called the waiter and asked for the menu. When Emeka saw the prices of things there he exclaimed ‘Hian. Ordinary rice for 4000 naira? Is it not the same rice that they are selling in buka?’. I was embarrassed ehnn, because people were already looking at us. I quickly responded ‘No o. The things they sell here are imported. Can’t you see it’s mostly white people here? Besides, it’s food like this that makes me beautiful o. Abi don’t you want me to stay beautiful?’ the igbo girl in me had come out. ‘Omalicha. Yes now. If you even want a container of the food here, I will buy it for you’. He said. I blushed and touched his cheek lightly and he smiled sheepishly. For the first time, I was happy I was wrong. If I said the right words and pressed the right buttons, he would be extremely generous. O boy, forget drop dead gorgeous abeg. As far as money dey, Naya is present. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. This my own lemonade, was going to be laced with honey and sugar.