Sophie was laughing hysterically when I finished narrating the whole thing to her. I was confused because I didn’t understand what was funny about it.
“Why are you laughing?” I asked her.
She didn’t answer, instead she just continued laughing. I had to shake her vigorously before she stopped.
“I said, why are you laughing?” Confusion and anger was obvious on my face.
“My friend, I am laughing because Olu gave you that money to show himself.”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying. We had an agreement that he would give me the money if I got the answer to his question correctly and I did. So what do you mean he wanted to show himself?”
“Naya, you got the answer wrong. Fowi just told you that you got it right to boost your ego and make himself look like the hero who was giving you 20k for a super easy question.”
“It’s a lie joor. I got it right, Fowi himself confirmed it.”
“You did not. That wasn’t the answer.” Sophie insisted.
“Oya what was it?” I looked at her, waiting to hear the rubbish she was going to say.
“It’s body language joor.” She started laughing again.
It was then it hit me. Sophie was right when she said Fowi wanted to show himself. Fowi had made me believe I got the answer right so that he could give me money and then I would think he was a hero. How didn’t I figure that out? A whole me, Ifunaya Martina Nwokedi! Small Fowi was playing on my intelligence.
I walked away from the living room in shame. After boasting that I was a genius and feeling myself, Sophie had dashed my hopes. It wasn’t even the fact that I didn’t know the answer that was annoying me. It pained me that Fowi knew I was wrong and made me believe I was right, thereby making me make a fool of myself in front of Sophie. Knowing that one, she would use it to yab me for days to come and I would no longer have peace of mind.
I got to my room and lay on my bed. Just then, my phone rang, Fowi was calling. The phone rang and rang but I refused to pick it. I didn’t want to talk to him because if I did, I would definitely go ballistic on him and I didn’t want that to happen. I mean I was angry at him but it wasn’t enough reason to lose him just like that. I had only gotten 20k out of him and that was chicken feed. I wasn’t going to give him up without getting a huge chunk of money from him, lai lai.
A few minutes later, there was a knock on my door. I asked who it was and of course, it was Sophie. I honestly wasn’t in the mood to talk to her but I couldn’t send her away, after all, it was her father’s house. Her head can touch now and she will start saying rubbish. I told her to come in and she came and sat by my bed.
“Fowi called me to ask of you. He said you didn’t pick your phone.” She said
“Well I didn’t hear it ring.” I said flatly.
“Naya, we know that’s a lie. You’re angry that he lied to you.”
“Well forgive me for not understanding why he would do that.”
“Well he didn’t want to hurt your ego.”
“Of course. So he let me embarrass myself in front of you.”
“He didn’t know this was going to happen now. Come on, Fowi obviously likes you so he’s trying to do everything possible to make you feel like a queen, even if it’s by telling a little white lie.”
“Whose side are you on? Mine or Fowi’s?”
“I’m on the side of reason love. I understand that you’re angry but what I’m saying is, don’t let your anger last too long because guys like Fowi tend to have short attention spans. If they like a girl, they make her feel like a queen, if they’re not getting the same vibe back, they move on easily. Especially when they’re not even deeply involved. So next time he calls you, pick up. You can shout at him for lying to you when you finally see him. Don’t give him silent treatment when you can’t even see him.”
I stared at her for a while before she stood up and left the room. I was shocked that something so sensible could come out of her mouth because I always saw her as shallow minded. She was right about the whole short attention span thing. If Fowi felt like I was not returning his gestures, he would go away and since I wasn’t ready to let him go yet, I picked up my phone and dialed his number. The phone rang and rang but he didn’t pick up. Abi was he vexed that I didn’t pick up the first time? I dialled his number again and he still didn’t pick up so I stopped calling him. I didn’t want him to think I was crazy about him.
Before I knew it, I drifted off to sleep, only to be awakened by the vibration of my phone. I thought it was Fowi calling but alas, it was my mother. I rolled my eyes a few times before picking up.
“Hello mummy. Good afternoon.” I said.
“Ifunaya, where on earth are you?” She shouted.
This woman was at it again. We spoke only two days earlier and she was sounding as if I hadn’t called her in years.
“Mummy where else would I be? Abuja now.”
“Shut up there. Which Abuja? I called your aunty and she said she hasn’t seen your shadow yet.”
“Did I say I was in Aunty’s house?”
“Is it me you’re asking that stupid question? Ehn Ifunaya? You have grown wings that you can now talk to me anyhow abi?”
“Mummy I didn’t talk to you anyhow o, biko, don’t start.”
“If they had told me that I child I breastfed for over one year would talk to me like this, I would have shouted ‘Tufia!’. But just look at it now, you have put me to shame.”
Which kind of wahala was this now? Trouble will just be on its own, yanga go go wake am. My mother was the most dramatic human being ever. She had the special talent of blowing things out of proportion and making herself look like the victim every time. Emotional blackmail was a skill for her and she would not stop until sha had drained you of all your mental energy. I apologized to her to save myself the trauma of having to listen to her go on on about how I was such a disappointment.
“It is only God that will deliver you from this attitude.” She said. “Your father wants you to come back to Lagos so he can start working on your redeployment back to Lagos.”
Redeployment ke? For who? It couldn’t be me because I didn’t send anybody message. I was not going to go back to Lagos for youth service. God forbid.
“Ehn mummy? Which redeployment? For who?” I inquired.
“For who else? Is it me?”
“Me I don’t know for you people o, because it can’t be for me. I am not coming to serve in Lagos. I already have a place to serve here.”
“Over my dead body! You want to stay there so that you can be jumping about with men abi? Tufiakwa.”
“Ha, mummy, you better take back your statement o, before you die. Because me I am not coming back to Lagos to serve and nothing will change my mind.” I hung up before she could say another word.
What rubbish! The effrontery and nerve my parents had was not even of the world. Did I beg them to help me do redeployment? She didn’t even call to ask if I wanted to redeploy, she and her husband had already taken the decision for me and I was very sure it was her idea. The days of school were over and I wasn’t going to let them continue controlling my life. So I will now leave all the good things of life in Abuja- mansion, servants, job, Fowi, Babatunde, everything and go back to Lagos. God forbid!
As I sat there fuming, my phone rang. I didn’t check the caller before ai picked it up because I assumed it was my mother calling to continue her talk.
“See mummy, I have told you that I am not…” I shouted into the phone.
“Naya?” Fowi said.
“Oh it’s you.” I heaved a sigh.
“Is there a problem?” He asked.
“No no. Just the normal family drama. I thought you were my mum.” I said.
“Mothers and their wahala.” He laughed.
“Tell me about it.” I joined him and laughed too.
Before either of us could say any other word, something happened and I started to think otherwise.