Martins quickly left the reception immediately after prayers and was about to run into the toilet to go and hide in a bid to delay his confrontation with Ada. He knew it was stupid since he was still going to face the inevitable but he didn’t care. He wasn’t ready to lose this job just yet. Unfortunately, Ada was as eager to see him just as he was as eager not to see her. She waylaid him, blocking his path
“What happened to your phone? I called you and it rang. After a while, it just kept saying it was switched off.”
He opened his mouth to respond but knew he wasn’t going to tell her he had purposely ignored her calls. He had refused to pick her calls because he didn’t have the heart to tell her he had failed; at least not then and the phone had eventually gone off because Mama Ruka had smashed it. The crazy woman had come after him after giving Fidelis some bruises and sustaining some herself. If he had known, he would have gone to fetch the water and avoid the drama and commotion that resulted. The cost of not fetching just one bucket of water was too high compared to what he lost in the process.
He thought he had escaped safely to the haven of his room after he disappeared from the scene of the fight but he had been wrong. Since he couldn’t stay locked up forever, he had to come out and that was his undoing. His stomach had growled in hunger since he had not taken anything all day and had decided to go and get garri. He kept trying Deji’s number, hoping he would come home so he didn’t have to go out until the following morning when he was going to work. That way, he could avoid Mama Ruka and hopefully, her temper would have cooled off by the time they eventually saw each other but Deji’s line had been unavailable.
He had checked to make sure she was nowhere in sight when he stepped out and had successfully gone to buy the garri when trouble ensued. He was on his way back and was using the torch light of his phone to illuminate his path since there was no light when a hand jerked his trouser unceremoniously from behind and spun him around. In a twinkle of an eye, Mama Ruka had jerked him up against the wall. Martins had to use all the power in him to release himself from the grip of Mama Ruka before she eventually let him go.
The force had made him lose his balance, flung the phone from his hand and poured the contents of the nylon he was carrying. As she jerked and poked and abused him, she had stepped on his phone and made a mess of the garri and sugar he bought. Seeing his smashed phone gave him the anger to push her away and warn her never to cross him again. Luckily, she had relented and let him go because at that point, he was ready to murder someone.
February 10 was a day he wasn’t going to forget so soon. After everything that had happened, having his phone smashed was just too much. It was the catalyst that turned on his tear duct. He had bawled like a baby and slept off from there. When he woke up, he told himself the day wasn’t going to get the better of him and he was going to do whatever it took to fight for his job. He stared at Ada who was waiting for him to respond.
“My phone is bad.”
“It’s ermm… It’s a long story”
She gave him a queer look. “Okay… I hope you have good news for me”
It was time to face the inevitable. He thought about lying to her, but immediately dismissed the idea. It would only make matters worse.
“Well…actually…I did my best…. But…errr…the man… he said he…”
They were interrupted by Yemi, a colleague of his. “Martins you have a call”
Martins wondered who was calling him but quickly took the outlet it offered him. He didn’t matter who it was as long as it delayed this conversation. “Excuse me,” he said to Ada, not giving her the opportunity to deny his request. He walked to his unit and picked the land line.
He looked behind him to see Ada staring at him, waiting.
“What happened to your phone? I’ve been calling you”
“Sorry, who is this?”
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry.”
He glanced behind him to see Ada still watching…. and waiting.
“It’s okay. I just wanted to inform you my boss changed his mind. He’s buying five plots”
Martins knees weakened in disbelief and relief.
The BROUHAHA of Oga Martins continues next week.
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Special thanks to Realty Point Limited, a real estate development and consulting company who has brought this to you.