Taofeek, the ideal model, average height, that kind of height that makes one not to be able to say for sure if the person in question is tall or short. He was originally fair in complexion but due to excessive tanning he now had a Mexican light brown skin. His accent was purely American, the only thing Nigerian about him was his name and probably his way of thinking, apart from that, one would easily guess he was a foreigner.
When Zainab had decided to migrate to Nigeria, he had been the only one who had supported her, all her friends had begged she stayed, get a good job, husband and start a family of hers in Canada, even her parent had once suggested she went to do a sanity test to know if she was okay mentally.
“Zainab, you want to leave all of these?” Her father said to her on the last day of her stay in Canada, spreading his hands out wide and moving it round to signify the magnitude of his house and Canada as a whole. “You really want to leave all off these for a country where there isn’t even stable power supply?”
“Daddy, I’ve made up my mind. I’m a Nigerian, and nothing can change that no matter how many years I stay here in Canada.” Zainab replied with a tone of finality and watched as her father left her room disappointed. The truth behind the whole migration was the fact that Zainab wanted to be taste independence and see how far she can go all by herself, staying in Canada meant that she would end up in one of family’s company as a Manager, in her words, “that was too easy”.
Her dad instructed the drivers not to take her to the airport, so she had wanted to call a cab when Taofeek stepped in and offered to drive her to the airport, throughout the journey, he had asked her just one question. “Zainab, are you sure about this?” And of course, Zainab had replied in the affirmative that ended their conversation.
Zainab had gotten to the airport fifteen minutes later and after thirty long minutes of queuing, she was on the plane.
Looking back all of these, Taofeek smiled at how well his junior sister had progressed, she had become such a popular actress and TV personality that her shows and movies were aired all over the world, Canada included.
A sudden, but continuous knock at his room door snapped him back to reality.
“Come on in,” he said directly since he was more than certain it was Zainab and he was right.
“T-Maze, what’s up na?” Zainab said with a wide grin, T-Maze was a nickname she coined for her brother with the “T” meaning for Taofeek and the “Maze” meaning how complicated and never straightforward her brother could be.
“I’m fine, how your life dey?” Taofeek said in his admirable American accent, Zainab chuckled at how funny he sounded, mixing pidgin and queen’s English in one sentence, he joined her in laughter.
Zainab then walked closer to him and sat by the bedside. “So, seriously, what’s up?” She asked with a straight face.
“I’ve answered you. I said I’m fine,” Taofeek replied, still smiling.
Zainab wasn’t surprised by his reply, she knew he was never straightforward, “okay, so to what do I owe this august visit?”
“Actually it’s October, not August and do I really have to have a reason to stop by my sister’s house?”
“I don’t know what you people at Canada call ‘stop by’ but here in Nigeria, you don’t call traveling from Canada to Nigeria a stop by, it’s called a journey.”
“Yeah yeah, whatever.” Taofeek replied and laid on his bed.
“Taofeek, I’m serious here. I’m elated to see you here but what exactly are you doing here, don’t you have a company to run or something like that?”
Taofeek kept quiet.
“Taofeek na! You are killing me with suspense here, how can you just show up at my house by this time of the night without informing me and with such a small suit case like that,” Zainab said, pointing to the trolley bag which leaned on the wall comfortably, “I deserve to know.” She concluded.
Taofeek turned to face Zainab and replied, “nothing is wrong Zainab, just like you, I want to taste independence, I’m tired of father looking over my shoulder and patiently waiting for me to do something wrong so he can scold me. For crying out loud! I’m a man! A fully grown man and dad still treats me like a twelve year old all because I’m solely dependent on him.”
Zainab sighed, she now knew her decision of leaving Canada few years back was the right decision, “so you just packed up your things and left?” She asked.
“Not really, I told a few friends, and I’ll call mum later on, to tell her about my whereabouts because I’m sure she would be dead worried by now.”
Zainab didn’t know what exactly to say, she knew her brother was complicated but this his action had given more than complicated. She started weighing all her options mentally, checking the loose ends and precautions, after a long period of silence, she finally broke the silence, “so what do you plan on doing now?”
Taofeek sighed, “I guess I’ll look for a job, I have a really heavy and hard-to-resist C.V so I don’t think that would be a problem and I’ll be out of your hair in no time,” he said with a warm smile.
“Nah, I don’t mind you staying,” Zainab said and her brother gave her an inquisitive look, “as long as you do some little chores of course.” She added and they both laughed out loud, Taofeek had expected her to say something like that, they sure knew their selves well, if they weren’t siblings, they would have made the perfect couple.
“So what’s up with that your friend, Jumoke?” Taofeek asked, “she looked like a kid who her mum had just seized her favourite toy.” He added.
“Oh! She just had some men issues, she has gone now anyway.”
“Okay.” Taofeek started grinning widely and winking at Zainab.
Zainab smiled back, “what is it now?”
“So who is Henry to you?” He asked in a mocking tone grinning widely than before.
Zainab giggled and stood up from his bed, “I’ve got to rest, I’ll need to wake up early tomorrow morning.” She said avoiding the question and walked out of the room as Taofeek laughed out his ass, and rolling on the floor.
* * * **
It took Jummy several tossing and turning before she finally decided to stand up from her bed. With one glance at the wall clock, she knew she was late for work already and no charm can change that so she mentally decided not to rush, after all, what was the point of being an assistant manager if she can’t go late to work at times?
She went straight to the sink at the bathroom and pasted her toothbrush, she looked at the mirror at the front of her and saw her eyes were both swollen already due to excessive crying the previous day, she paused for a bit but almost immediately continued with brushing her teeth..
When she was done, she removed her pyjamas and dropped it on the floor before sliding under the shower. In no time she was done with freshening up and here came the trick part, she realized she was hungry.
She put on a black jean and red top, then picked up her car keys and walked out of the house, she need to go and get her breakfast since there was nothing cooked in the kitchen and cooking that morning wasn’t even an option considering her current emotional state.
She drove to the third avenue from hers and cruised into the road, she stopped at the front of an ‘akara and bread joint’. They air in the environment was distinctively different thanks to the appetizing aroma of Iya Uche’s wonderful akara.
Jummy stepped out of her car and wasn’t really surprised by the small crowd that seemed to be increasing by the second.
She walked past the people who were already there straight to Iya Uche and leaned closer to her, “abeg give me two hundred naira akara and eighty naira bread.” Iya Uche turned to see who was talking and saw it was her long-time customer, she smiled and nodded as Jummy went back to her car to wait for the akara to fry well. She had sliced bread at home, but there was something about the agege bread Iya Uche sold, it was as if it was baked specifically for the akara she fried and until you eat the two together, you won’t get the complete satisfaction it gave.
As Jummy waited, an unexpected but familiar figure jogged passed her car. She opened her door immediately to make sure it was who it was.
Wearing a short and arm less top with an electronic device that was probably meant to calculate the distance he jogged strapped to his waist, Taofeek looked more like the ideal kind of model sugar mommies would pay anything for.
“Taofeek!” Jummy called out to him as he passed by.
He didn’t reply until the third call, he stopped abruptly and turned back to see Jummy waving furiously at him.
He smiled and jogged back to the car, “hi, what are you doing here?” He asked.
Jummy just pointed at the Iya Uche’s joint across the road in response and smiled, “I’m sure Zainab didn’t cook before she left for work so I insist you join me.” Jummy said.
“Err… You don’t have to worry, there are some eggs and more than enough bread at home,” he replied.
“Did you miss the part I said I insist?” Jummy smiled, “you are my friend’s brother and I think it would be only right to host you properly, and trust me when I say this bread and akara is more than proper. Wait a minute.” Jummy said and walked to Iya Uche, she instructed the woman to double the order and Iya Uche did as instructed, she packaged it and gave it to Jummy. Jummy handed over a thousand naira note to Iya Uche and asked she kept the change, Iya Uche was more than excited, the change was more than twice the original price.
Jummy just smiled and walked back to her car, “hop in, we are going to my place to eat. I think you’ve had more than enough exercise this morning.”
Taofeek just smiled and hopped into the car, he needed the company and from Jummy’s description of the meal, he was curious to taste it.
In less than five minutes, they were in Jummy’s house and ready to eat, Jummy had brought a full pack of an orange juice and two glass cups.
The both sat on the dining table and went down to business, devouring the meal. Taofeek was more than impressed with the akara, he hadn’t tasted akara in years and for a first time in a long while, this was surely nice.
“So how long are you staying?” Jummy asked, trying to start some petite conversation.
“Err… I’m based here now.” He replied.
“Oh! You are tired of Canada too just like Zainab?”
“Not that, I just want to try other options,” he replied, for some strange reason, he was free while talking to Jummy.
“Hmmm… All this ajebor children, you people left yanky to come and suffer with us in Naija, so stupid.” Jummy replied with a grin.
Taofeek was sure about what to say next so he just smiled and changed the topic, “how about you, do you have to go to work this morning?”
Jummy became alarmed, she had forgotten she still had to go to work that morning, “oh shoot!” She exclaimed and ran to the bedroom to prepare, “when you done eating you can leave, don’t worry about the mess, I’ll take care of that.” She screamed from the room.
Taofeek laughed at how weird Jummy was, how was it possible she forgot about work? He thought and just sighed. He packed half of the remaining akara and poured it into the bread nylon. He intended on continuing his meal when he got home.
“I’m going!” He screamed before he left the house and boarded a bike to his house. One thing was sure, he definitely liked Jummy’s character.
* * * **
Jummy finally got to work by 10:00AM, which was earlier than she had imagined, she had thought it would be around 12 or maybe 11 at least.
She walked straight to her office grinning for no reason, the day had started quite well and she was optimistic about the rest of the day, but that was all about to change as she walked into her office.
She was confronted with the one person she didn’t want to see.
He sat on her seat crossed his legs, he had a wide smile on his face and Jummy could believe she had once thought that smile was warm and nice.
“What are you doing here?!” She literally yelled. “Hello sweety,” he replied sounding threateningly calm. It was John.