“Solo… do you love me?” I hear Anna ask.
“My sugar, u know say na you be my everything…I love you pass tomato…” Solo answered.
“I am feeling it…” Whispered the lady.
I was bored, this couple rescued me from the roadside where I was abandoned by the bus driver and passengers. The young man drove taxi for a living, his name is Solomon, fondly called Solo by his girlfriend. I owe them my life. They had picked me up from the side of the road and had transported me to Lagos, the land of my dreams even though I had lost all my enthusiasm. I had told them that I had no place to stay and Solo had made a place for me in his house. His girlfriend had spent the holiday with him at his home town and had stayed an extra two days in his house.
Earlier, her parents had called her and she had lied to them that she was still in school, she said something about being delayed at clearance point and her parents obviously believed her. I didn’t like the girl because she didn’t like me. Presently, we sat in Solo’s taxi car, as he drove to drop her off at home. I had tagged along because Solo had asked me to and I knew she hated the fact that I was with them in the car. Even now, I could feel her eyes piercing mine through the side mirror.
“So what are we going to do about her?” The girl asked, her name is Jenny.
“With who?” Solo asked absent-mindedly.
“The girl we picked at the side of the road.”
“Oh…what are we supposed to do with her?” He asked perplexed.
“I wonder how a she claims she has no home… it’s hard to believe ooo...”
I felt like placing my hand over a hot stove and giving her a hot slap with it.
“Baby…why are you talking like this? She’s no harm…”
“She’s no harm to you ooo but she’s harm to me…I don’t trust you men ooo..”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You men can’t keep those trousers zipped…”
“Are you mad? When did I become like other men?” Solo spoke in anger.
“I am sorry…I really am but I’m scared of losing you. You are the best thing that happened to me and I am so grateful to God for directing your steps to my father’s house. If you never worked as my father’s driver, I could have kissed true love goodbye.” She said.
“Well…” Solo shrugged.
“Even though my parents don’t want us to be together, we can make it work. You and I. As soon as I finish my university education, I’ll start working and make my own decisions without my parents influence.” She continued.
“We will discuss future plans much later…as for now, I want you to face your education. You’re still in your first year.” He stressed.
“I know, but I just love you too much and I can’t let anyone…” She stressed as she turned to me and gave me the bad eye. “Take you away from me…”
“Haha…whoever that girl may-be can’t get so far.” He laughed.
Suddenly Jenny ducked under the dash board in panic.
“What is it?” he asked.
“It’s my father, I think he just saw me…” Jenny said in a shaky voice.
“It’s not a problem if he sees us, he will think you called me to drive you home.” Solo said.
“He sent the car for me but I refused, I told him that I would come home with Winne, my friend at school. Is he gone? Please can I alight now?” Jenny asked.
“Let me park well.” He said.
Solo parked and Jenny stepped out of the car and picked up her bag from the boot, walking over to the car window, she spoke to Solo.
“Remember that I love you and I promise to see you soon. That’s as soon as mommy lets me out of the house. I am really tired of living the life of a prisoner in that house. I really miss you so much, your touches and kisses.”
Solo told her how much he loved her and after a while, we drove off. I still sat at the back of the car staring through the windows. I was mesmerized at this part of Lagos. I have never been in this part before, it was like paradise.
“Why are you looking at the houses like that? Haven’t you been in this part of Lagos before?” Solo asked me.
“Nooo…I never come hia at all.” I reply.
“You don’t mean it! I wish I could take you round Lagos but I have a client to pick up at surulere this evening.”
“Na wetin dem dey call dis place?” I ask.
“This is Festac…you haven’t even seen beautiful places yet, there’s Ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria island, Banana Island, Ikeja, VGC and other big places where very wealthy people live.”
“Chei…see plenty money ooo…na wetin Senorita dey do for lagos wey she never sample dis kain waka?” I whisper to myself.
“What did you say?” He asks me.
“Nothing ooo…I no talk anything…”
“So what’s the way forward…err…sorry I’ve forgotten your name…”
“Senorita!” I reply.
“Okay…what’s your plan? I can keep housing you but you need to have something doing. For instance I noticed that you came with no clothes and this is the third time you’re wearing this dress. You have to earn a living. What can you do? Where would you like to work?” He asks.
“I wan work for big company…” I reply.
Solo stares at me incredibly as though I had just uttered rubbish.
“Big company? As w
“I fit do Seke work na….na dat one I wan do. I dey speak beta English pass plenty people.”
Solo shook his head.
Four days later, I was ready for my first interview, the last one I had was at the modelling agency and I was ready to do my best. Solo had given me one thousand naira to shop for clothes. I ignored the fancy new clothes hanging in some small boutiques and headed to the bend-down select market. The clothes were quite expensive as one top cost one hundred and fifty naira, in my village prices ranged from fifty naira to seventy naira. I didn’t finish the money, I still had four hundred and eighty naira left.
This morning, I pulled out one of the clothes from the Poly bag I had bought for ten naira and quickly wore it. Did I mention that I bought a loud pink lipstick? I used this on my lips, cheeks and eye brows and I was satisfied that I looked my best. The company I was going to for the interview was not far from the house. It was headed by a Lebanese man and I made up my mind to take over the presidency of the company from him soon.
I left the house looking like a scare-crow in a floral dress and headed for the door which I locked firmly behind me and kept the key under the floor mat. As soon as I stepped outside, I could feel the stares of people on the street, some laughed while others gawked in shock. I twisted my body to sexy moves and walked the long distance to the company building where Solo had shown me the previous day.
The hall was packed with people all dressed in suits, I didn’t feel ashamed or fidgety, I just sat and ignored their stares.
People were called in one after the other and after a while, it was my turn, I stood up and walked into the office, oblivious that I was the only odd one amongst everyone.
“Come in…” Said the voice behind the door to the office.
I stepped inside and could feel their stares of disbelief. There were three men and one lady seated in the office.
“Who are you?” The lady asked incredulously.
“Senorita…” I reply and take my seat.
“We haven’t told you sit yet, are you here for the interview?” One of the men asked.
“Wetin carry me come before? Na party?” I reply angrily.
“What position did you apply for?”
“You never see question! Una no know again?” I reply baffled that they have quickly forgotten the position I applied for.
“What position did you apply for?” Asked the lady sounding stern.
“Seke ofcourse….” I reply.
“Where is your CV?” One of the men asked.
“No CV…curriculum vitae…resume.” The lady asked. She sounded like the boss.
“I no get TV for house, na when I get money I go buy TV. Solo TV break for Christmas, him carry am go mechanic.” I replied.
“So how would we know your past experience and your educational experience?” The lady asked.
“I go school for Gede nursery and primary school, I still do secondary school for dia.”
“Can you speak good English please?” A man demanded.
“No be im I dey speak so?” I retorted.
“Your interview is over…who recommended you to us? Please leave…this is no child’s play.” The lady said angrily.
“Ahh….wetin I do una? Why you come dey tell me to go na?” I ask getting angry.
“Leave!” The lady ordered.
“Ashawo….see as you be. You don see say I fine pass you na so you wan spoil paroles for me shebi? Make I warn you, I enter bend-down select sake of dis job ooo. You no fit to tell me to commot like dat.” I reply.
The lady picked up the phone and spoke into the receiver.
“Ese please call security now!”
“Security? You dey craze? I be criminal? Wetin I do you na?” I ask.
“You are not qualified for the job.” She said in finality.
“Na ya papa no dey qualify. You don look me well so? You reach my shit? Ode!” I hurl insults at her.
The door opens and one security guard comes in and drags me out of the office, kicking and screaming.
“Noooo…. Una no fit make me chop money for bend-down select like dat ehn! Give me my money…”
The security takes me out of the building and roughly pushes me out of the gate. I stamp my feet and cry loudly. I feel disappointed and angry, ‘why’s all these happening to me?’ I ask myself. Battered and in tears I leave the gate to the company and walk away. I walk towards the opposite direction of the street, not wanting to go home yet. I had not walked far when I suddenly stamp my feet on the road in anger, I keep stamping my feet and raining insults on the lady and the men that interviewed me.
“Sister….what are the matter?” A man asked me.
“No be de idiot wey full dat company for yonder…dem carry me thruway from their office. Me Senorita!” I say in regret.
“What did you find for deir?” The man asked.
“Na work ooo Oga…I be wan do seke for dem. Chai! Dem don miss ooo…dem don miss world class Seke.” I say.
“Really? Are you finding Secretary work?” The man asked, looking happy.
“Oh! How good luck is searching your way! I too seek Secretary.” He supplied.
“You mean am?” I ask in glee.
“I real meant it… I runs a dry cleaners. My brother owning it and he brings me to Lagos to manages it because he leaves for America.” The man said.
I give him a very big hug and he hugs me back.
“How much you go pay me?” I ask batting my lashes at him.
“Two thousand naira everys month….buisnessing is not progress…when it progressing I will double it.”
“Thank you sir…God bless you sir. I will start tomorrow.” I say filled with joy.
“Pleased do. But there is somethings I wants to telling you…” he said to me in a matter-of-fact voice.
“Wetin be that?” I ask.
“Your Englishes is bad…” He said.
“What?” I ask.
“I means…you don’t knew how to spoke Englishes but don’t worries, I will teaching you.” He said with a huge smile on his face.
I look heavenward and almost dance in glee, turning back to him, I clasp him in a huge embrace and say;
“Dis na just de beginning…Senorita don land seke work…e no go tey wen she go learn Englises join am!”