Dogo, the security guard, had just finished his meal. It was his favorite, Pap and Akara (Bean Cakes) with the required amount of milk and no sugar. So he just settled back to relax and fervently hoped that Oga Sam would get back home on time so he could just lock up and retire early. He sat back and reflected on his good fortune ever since that truck had smuggled him and his pack of immigrants into Nigeria from Niger republic in search of a better life.
He had found work as a cobbler just as many of his peers. He would walk all around with his tool box hitting on it to alert people whose shoe needed fixing or shining. There was so much competition but he survived. It was clear he’d have to work real hard to survive in the country and he was prepared for it. He was by no means a lazy man. Besides, he had a wife and two young boys back in Niger who counted on him. He wouldn’t fail them.
Just at the period he arrived in the country, there was an immense rise in the construction industry in Nigeria. Bare land was spewing up structures and a lot of people were tapping into it. Dogo also found himself in the midst of the opportunity even though he crashed the party unwittingly.
On that fateful day, he had been banging his tool box all over for customers but it looked like it was turning out to be one of those days. Then he had strolled to a construction site in Lekki where he ran into a couple of his countrymen and he had chatted with them a while. After the talk, he decided he wouldn’t mind making a few bucks on the side instead of not having money in his pocket for the day despite his trouble under the sometimes harsh and unforgiving Lagos sun.
He joined in.
He had no skill apart from being able to fix shoes and that skill wasn’t required here so all he could do was carry cement bags, blocks or whatever heavy material needed to be carried. He worked hard and at the end of the day, he realized he had made a little better than what he usually made from his shoe-making. And that was considering the fact that he had resumed at the middle of the day. He was there with his toolbox very early the next morning. But he didn’t make a single shoe. He joined the other labourers and worked. Even though the fact that he could only speak French made things hard for him but he coped pretty well.
His hardwork and dedication wasn’t lost on anyone. In a short time, he became the most popular labourer on the site. He was the tallest man on site hence the name ‘Dogo’ given to him by some of the Yoruba labourers on site (Dogo is hausa for Tall). He would work till 6pm in the evening and since he had nowhere to go, he would sleep on site. For whatever reason, he developed the habit of washing the site Engineer’s car daily and when Andrea would come once in a while during construction, he would wash her car too. When the makeshift security man had to return to the North due to homesickness, Dogo was the natural choice to replace him. He was so useful that even after the house had been completed, Andrea had insisted that she’d like to keep him as her security. She liked the fact that he was hardworking and he seemed to take some initiative without being told. She also liked the fact that he couldn’t really communicate with people because he only spoke French fluently. He could also manage pidgin English and passable Hausa.
He really appreciated her kind gesture to keep him in her employ and he had reciprocated with his immense loyalty. He was ready to bleed for her. Although he had to admit that the fact she was married to two men really threw him off as it was an act against his religion and everything he stood for. It was a sacrilege and a great ‘haram.’ But he had kept it all to himself as he had been instructed. He knew a lot of his peers were secretly envious of him. He was earning almost twice what the other security men were earning and the money he sent home to his wife and children were always generous. But he never told a soul about his Andrea and her two husbands. It was an agreement between him and Andrea and he planned to abide by it. She was paying him that generously after-all to keep the gate locked and his mouth shut.
He had laughed to himself the last couple of days when Sam’s mother had tried to gather some information from him. He could see she was frustrated because she wasn’t able to get through to him. Did she really expect him to tell her anything? Madam Andrea’s actions were left to God to judge as far as he was concerned.
He burped slightly as he bent to pick up the dishes and put them in one corner of the room to clean up later. Oga Eddie had only just arrived so all that was left was for that Oga Sam to also return early enough so he could turn in as soon as possible. He wondered where the hell the guy usually goes to that he always turned up late. Maybe chasing a few skirts around. He sure looked the type. Dogo sometimes secretly wished that Andrea would catch Sam at one of his escapades and have him out of there. Dogo wasn’t exactly fond of Sam. He would sooner see the back of Sam so that it’ll just be Eddie and all will be the way they should be. Then another thought crossed his mind. He imagined what it would feel like to have Andrea in his arms. He was certain that with one experience, she’d always come back for more. His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a knock on his door.
“Who be that?” He asked.
“I’m the one.” The voice, that was undoubtedly Senami’s, replied from outside. “Please, come out, Dogo.”
He stepped out to meet her.
“I want to ask you a question, Dogo?” Senami started, “When we came to drop madam on Sunday, did she go out again that day?”
“Madam?” Dogo asked with a confused look on his dark face.
“Yes. Andrea. Did she go out on Sunday after I and Eddie dropped her?” Senami asked, deliberately pronouncing the words slowly.
Dogo thought about it for a while then his face lit up with sudden realization.
“Yes.” He suddenly replied with a nod of his head. “Madam come go.”
Senami tried her best to understand what he was trying to say. “How long after we drop her did she go out?” She asked slowly and with some gesticulation.
“She no enter. She go.” Dogo replied with a wave of his hands and at the same time shook her head.
Senami pondered over this information. It was now beginning to make sense. She must have gone out to catch Sam at work and might have seen something that she shouldn’t have when she did. She had to ask a couple more question to be sure her theory could fly.
“When she come back?” She asked Dogo.
He thought for a while before he replied, “She tey small o.”
“Did she come back with Oga Sam?”
“No.” He didn’t have to think about this one. “Only Madam. Taxi. Oga Sam come after.”
“Hmmm…” It now clicked. “Was she angry when she came in or happy?”
“Madam no happy. She run inside.”
Voila! She had gotten all she needed to get. Her phone rang at that same moment. It was Andrea. She approached the house as she received the call. That was Dogo’s cue to know he had been dismissed.
“Sorry to disturb you but I need you to please let me know the moment Sam arrives.” Andrea had said over the phone. Her words sounded cool and resolute like she had made up her mind about something.
“Okay. No problem. Hope everything is fine with you? Do you need me to come up?” She had asked Andrea.
“You honestly don’t have to bother. I’m fine, thank you. Just let me know as soon as Sam arrives.”
“Alright. I’ll do just that.” And Andrea had hung up. She went inside the house to have a little chat with Eddie.
Sam drove up the house feeling so certain he didn’t want to be home just then. His mum had called him hours earlier that he should see to it that he arrived early enough because there was something urgent she needed to discuss with him face to face. Try as he could, he couldn’t convince her to hint him what it was about so he had had no choice but to come home earlier than he really would have wanted to. Meanwhile, he had tried calling Andrea that morning and she had not picked his call. He had hoped the dust would settle earlier with her but he was wrong. He knew that show down talks was looming. Was there any chance that Andrea might want to divorce him? No way on earth was that going to happen. She was stuck to him for life and she knew it. There was now no going back between them because there was a lot holding them together…
He honked as Dogo opened the gate and he drove in. He parked, picked up his bag and the charger he had bought for his mum as he headed for the house. He hesitated as he stood at the front door.
Andrea really needed a glass of ice cold water. She had not really eaten well in the last few days and she knew she had lost some weight. It was beginning to worry her too. She had to spend extra time applying some make up to her face before going out earlier that day particularly around her eyes. She hated things bothering her as it had this way of eating her away emotionally and even physically. For the stability of the home, she had to put this to bed once and for all.
She walked casually down the stairs and into the kitchen totally ignoring Senami and Eddie seated in the seating room discussing whatever it was that they always discuss. She had her drink and turned to find Eddie and Senami at the kitchen door.
“What has been eating you up these past few days, honey?” Eddie asked with concern etched on his face. He spoke quietly enough for anyone lurking around not to hear but loud enough to sail to Andrea.
“I’m okay, Eddie. I’ll be fine by tomorrow. Everything will be resolved by then. I just need to sort some issues out. I’ll be fine.” Andrea said.
Eddie kept staring at her. It was obvious he wasn’t convinced but there was nothing he could do about it now. He really couldn’t wait for Sam’s mother to go back to her village so a measure of normalcy would return to this madness he was involved in. Whenever he woke up in the morning, he always did with a consciousness of the madness he had gotten himself into but he had made up his mind to be content and not complain after all he had agreed to the whole fiasco. He knew he could have walked away but Love had prevailed.
Prevailed indeed, he thought.
If he had another chance, would he have made this choice? He had always screamed ‘Never!’ to himself to answer that question but there was that part in his inside that wasn’t so sure he wouldn’t. He really did love Andrea like he had never loved anyone in his life and he really would love to spend the rest of his life with her. Maybe if he could turn back the hands of time, he would have done things differently to win this divine angel standing before him solely for himself even though she looked right now like a divine angel that had just been through the inner recesses of hell. He felt Andrea brush slightly past him as she headed out the kitchen. He almost wanted to hold her back but he held himself back instead and could only walk after her with no conviction whatsoever.
Just at that moment, the front door swung open and Sam walked in. Andrea turned to see him walk in then walked to meet him and when she was just six feet from where he stood, she stopped and said, “I need to see you now, Sam. I’ve been waiting for you.”
“That’s okay by me.” Sam replied even though his expression showed the contrary. “Let me drop all these and I’ll be in to see you in your room. Or would you prefer mine?” He added with a weak smile.
He could have been speaking to a broken down fence from what Eddie and Senami could see. There was really some kind of negative tension between Sam and Andrea and Senami in particular was looking for tell tale signs of the cause of the conflict between them both.
“Welcome back my son.” They all turned to see Sam’s mother as she descended the staircase slowly. She didn’t look very happy and they all wondered who had fallen foul of her mood that day. “I’d like to see you right now Sam, it is very urgent that I see you.”
“Could you please excuse him for a few minutes, mum?” Andrea had said. “I was just telling him I needed to see him…”
“You will see him after I’m done speaking with him.” Sam’s mother had spoken with an air of finality. “Something has come to my attention and I’ll be leaving for home first thing tomorrow morning whether Sam wants me to or not. You have him for the rest of your lives; let me have this moment with him. You won’t deny me of that, would you?”
A very loud silence descended on them all.
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