“Fourth Crescent 44,” The signpost at the end of the road announced. We’ve finally arrived at the new house after a long time on the road.
The house, a fine duplex in a serene and well planned housing estate. Roofed with black roofing sheets, it maintained an identical architectural style with houses on the same lane with it. Diverse species of fragrant flowers adorned the fence.
The previous owner had won a visa lottery and moved to the United States. Looking around at the landscape of the compound, I can’t help thinking that he must have admired the American way of life for a long time before finally getting the opportunity to reside there.
Our relocating to this house has been a long time coming. Mr and Mrs Dupe, my employers, were undecided, regarding the purchase of the house, for two whole months. A kind hearted couple. They have treated me like a son since I joined the family as a driver, shortly after my graduation from Unilag. Their three daughters reside in the campuses of their respective institutions so I did all the chores around the house.
Mr Dupe left, with his wife, soon after we arrived, to say hello to our new neighbours. Moving all of our stuff from the huge rented truck into the building took a long time. Especially as the only help I had was from the gateman – an easy-going young man named Haruna.
“Chai Oga mi! If I fine like you ehh, you see all these fine fine women for this crescent ehh?” Haruna began. “Chai! I go yapa all of them”
We lifted the couch together to place it properly where it should be in the sitting room. Haruna was different from the former Gateman we had who only spoke hausa.
I smiled and deflected his flattery with a question, “You also worked for the people living here before?“
He smiled, revealing his white and brown teeth that made me laugh the more everytime he said something. “People? No people oo, na just my Oga mi and his woman, they don’t find Pikin tire, pikin no come.” Then he added wistfully, “But me na small mistake if I go yepa for my side, I don become papa.”
I laughed out loud this time. I liked his confidence and his exceptional sense of humor. At least I’ve found someone that can talk to me and help ease my mind off some things that hovered around my thoughts most times. Thoughts about my aged mother’s poor health and her demands for me to marry and give her a grandchild before she dies.
After a long time of cleaning and arranging, the house was now set. I quickly went into the kitchen and prepared a delicious egwusi soup and Eba, the only igbo delicacy Mr Dupe loved to eat so much. I dished some for Haruna too.
Soon the couple returned looking all excited and happy. Mrs Dupe was holding a box of chocolate and cakes in her hand when she entered the house
“welcome ma. Welcome sir.” I greeted them.
Mr Dupe stood at the door, hands akimbo, looking around the sitting room. He looked at me for a while, then asked
“Derek why are you this nice to us?” Just fifteen minutes of stepping out and you have already taken care of the whole house,” He smiled and looked at his wife, who was also surprised, for support.
“Sir it’s nothing, I’m here to do a job and that is what I’m doing” I bowed my head. I don’t like being the centre of attention.
Mrs Dupe held my hands and started blessing me in her thick Yoruba accent.
“Ah! Is that the smell of ‘Egwusionu pele mi nuku no’ in my house?” Mr Dupe said sniffing the air and interrupting Mrs Dupe’s blessing laying activities.
“Yes sir, you’re correct. I just finished preparing it before you came back”
He smiled and patted me on the shoulder. “Good boy!” he said. “Iyawo mi please go and dish the food let’s eat. I’m suddenly very famished.”
We all laughed.
He began to leave for his room then changed his mind.
“Ehe Darek take the car and go to number 62 down this street. Our neighbors there welcomed us very well, we told them about you and they said you should come and say hello to them immediately. The owner of the house is a senator, one senator Adewale. So you dress very well OK?”
“Yes sir” I said.
“Take the jeep with you so you can come back early eh” Mrs Dupe said. Adding tenderly “Good boy.”
“Yes ma” I said.
They went upstairs to freshen up.
I went to my room and took my bath, combed my hair and brushed my side burns. Looked at myself in the mirror, a true definition of a handsome man, fair and not too huge, muscular, hairy chest, and a deep brown eyes. I put on blue denim shorts and a white polo T-shirt. Took one last look at my self in the mirror, decided I looked decent enough, then I stepped out.
I entered into the jeep and honked at the gate. Haruna ran out of his room to my side window and knocked, I rolled down the glass and he said excitedly with much gesticulation : “Oga mi this soup na kakurumo alapa di omo igbe oo’ ayeeeee” I smiled deducing that whatever he was trying to say meant the soup was nice. He opened the gate and I drove out.
I passed a couple of buildings before I reached the house at 62 Crescent. Honked twice at the gate and it opened on its own. I drove in but couldn’t see anybody at the gate, I comported myself while admitting to myself that whoever lived here was no pushover. My strides approached the door and I knocked; the building was much more bigger than ours and well decorated too, in a much more expensive way.
After some minutes the door opened and a figure stood before me, I tried to comport myself again but this time it proved impossible. I stood there looking at her fair skin that shone in the evening light. Her beauty was heavenly. she was wearing a bumshot and a blue Nike Singlet.
“Hi. I’m Darek,” I said. I tried to break free from whatever spell she was casting on me that moment, but I wasn’t myself. She was brutally beautiful. Her natural hair ribboned at the edge of her back. Her pointed nose and huge eyebrows made her perfect.
I was still waiting for her reply when another voice came from behind, it was feminine too but matured and sleek
“Miracle who’s that?” A fine woman in her late fifties came out and stood beside the girl, she looked at me and smiled, “You must be Darek.”
She smiled and gestured for me to come inside. I did.
The house smelt so exquisitely rich and classy. A serene environment, well air conditioned. We came into the sitting room and she offered me a seat and then a drink. She left and then came back with a man who I guessed was the senator.
He was huge and had a potbelly. He looked pompous and classy from the wrist watch he was putting on and his blue jean shorts and yellow polo T-shirt.
“Honey this is Darek.” The lady introduced me to him.
I stood up and greeted him with respect
“Dupe’s son?” he enquired?
I was very surprised when he asked that? Did my Oga introduce me to them as his child?
He sat down too and started asking a couple of academically related questions, I answered all correctly and he was so impressed
Then I felt my little boy shudder and my tension rose up as the heavenly figure that let me into the house made her way around me to where the senator sat and sat beside him.
“Darek, this is our only child, Miracle. she is a graduate too. She graduated from Harvard. she just came back home yesterday.” The senator said.
I looked at her again this time with a little confidence, she extended her hand to me. “Hi Darek.” she said. “You have very sweet parents”
I shook her hand. It was so small and soft life the fur of a cat. “Thank you, I’m happy you like my parents.”
I could tell from the way her mother was smiling that she was happy at how well we were getting along.
We talked about various topics. Finally I said my goodbyes. after a long time of talking. The evening had slowly bled to night.
Her parents told Miracle to see me out. She stood up and walked beside me. I was so terrified of a woman for the first time in my whole life, I didn’t know what to say or do. And she wasn’t helping either by the way she kept on looking at me. I decided to try something, because once we walk through that door it’s over and I might not get the opportunity to talk to her in a long time
“So,” I said, “how is life in Harvard?”
She smiled. “Well, it wasn’t that interesting for me. I’ve always wanted to study in a Nigerian university one day, so Harvard wasn’t something I planned. It’s on my father,” she said in a sexy tone.
I made it out of the house and walked to the car. “Thanks for your hospitality miracle,” I said.
I started the car and was about driving off when she stopped me and handed me a card. But, I didn’t look at it. I just tucked it in my breastpocket, smiled at her and drove off.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I rolled from one edge of the bed to the other thinking about her. I blamed myself for not demanding for her phone number or something. Then I remembered the card she gave to me and brought it out. There were two phone numbers written on it. I quickly picked up my phone and dialed the first number.
To be continued…..
Written by EMERIE EBUBE