My first couple of days were quiet. I practically slept through till Monday, then I went to work and introduced myself.
I have to say here, been a Lagos bobo and used to the hustle, I woke up at 5 a.m, prepared for work and started pacing my hotel room when I realised cars weren’t moving on the streets – another lesson every Lagosian knows, don’t be the first one on the road early in the morning. What we hadn’t decoded was that those working up country had lesser stress getting to work, it was somewhat a cultural shock.
I didn’t leave the hotel room until 6.30a.m, at the ground floor, I asked the concierge for directions to my new office and after driving for almost forty minutes, based on his description, I found the place. The security men at the office complex and I exchanged a few words, then I was admitted into the complex. Unfortunately, I had to wait at the reception, damn!
I had been waiting a full two hours before the man I was supposed to report to came in, I mentally scored mr Eugene points for promptness. This dude would be a tardy boss, I surmised.
Handshakes and a tour later, I was shown my office, yes office. Not a workstation as Lagos would have provided, an office, phew!
I threw myself into work earnestly. Sonia and Trisha had called severally, they both got the same line. I had been transfered out of town indefinitely, for Sonia, Witch – sorry Jane – would liaise with her about her portfolios with the company. I put both ladies behind me, I was determined to get a new lease on life.
The company finally got me an apartment three weeks after I got to Akure. I was enjoying the stark contrast to Lagos. The city was dreamy and peaceful, unlike the rush that had become Lagos’ stamp – ‘Gidi.
Two months went by without incident, I was no longer drinking, and I had managed to stay off women since stepping into Akure. Believe me when I say this, Akure babes set die! Yet I hadn’t even considered striking a conversation in order to satisfy ‘some’ needs. That was when I let my guard down.
I ate at a certain restaurant every Saturday due to the fact that I loved the soup. That fateful Saturday, I had finished eating but was too stuffed to stand, so I sat still and started seeing the musical videos playing on tv. By the time the third video played, I was already bored and wanted out of the place. I hissed unconsciously and said, ‘crap,’ aloud.
‘You are not alone.’ A strange but melodious voice answered me.
I turned round and noticed a gorgeous looking lady smiling at me. I am not exaggerating, but she was prettier than Halle Berry, Beyonce or even miss World. My eyes literally popped out of their sockets and I knew I was in trouble. I had to get out of there fast.
‘Ah, this is a better video,’ she nodded at the tv still smiling.
Argh! Shut up! I screamed, mentally. She was getting to me and I could see myself relapsing. Oh God, two whole months and I was about to start again. I managed a smile. ‘Yea, the song’s quite cool.’
She pursed her lips, her brow raised, I could see she clearly loved this song, whereas I considered it average. She was battling with herself on whether or not to unleash her scathing remark.
I stood up and walked to her table, my hand stretched, I introduced myself. ‘My name is Akin, it was a pleasure to have met you.’
She took my hand warily, eyeing me with suspicion. ‘I’m Oluwakemi.’
I waited for more, but when it became apparent that we had subconsciously entered into a browbeating game, I dismissed her and started walking away. ‘I’ll see you around,’ those were my last words on our first meeting, if only I knew…, maybe I would have kept mute. But like I said earlier, I was the butt of a cosmic joke. I didn’t have a choice than play along in the sadistic game of the gods…