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“It really worked Pat, it worked like magic!” Juliet screamed as she jumped out of her car and straight into her friend’s waiting arms. “I have to confess”, she beamed with a smile that went from ear to ear: “I doubted it at first; it looked too mundane to fix what my husband had become but it worked out like a charm… The Gbade i fell in love with is back! Thanks so much girlfriend; I’m so grateful to God that I have you on my team” she finished excitedly. Her voice pierced through the silence and tranquility of her friend’s GRA residence but she made no move to contain her ecstasy.
Patience picked up Juliet’s handbag which had been carelessly flung to the floor in excitement as they both laughed their way into the magnificent living room.
“See this babe o; oya gist me, gist me… How exactly did it go?” Pat was equally as excited now.
“After that episode with the young lady at the dinner, I started acting like his actions and movement didn’t bug me anymore-just as you advised me to. Then I enlisted my son as my partner in crime under the guise of planning a surprise birthday party for his father; just so he wouldn’t notice anything amiss. That made it easy to shut him out, and also work on the reverse psychology tactics you taught me. I think I convinced Gbade that I had some very nasty plan up my sleeves and it was so obvious that he was curious, worried and I know he missed me…” She paused to giggle and revel in ecstacy. “When the D-day finally arrived, I made all preparations and even cooked the food myself. At first, I was scared he would not appreciate it, but to my surprise, he loved it! We had a nice meal and afterwards, he came to me and apologized for all his previous actions… Patience, it was written all over him, he missed me. Trust me, I initially acted tough and made him beg a little more, but I couldn’t keep it up for long when he went ahead to also play with the kids and spend good time with them. In summary, my husband is a new man, he is now the loving husband I prayed for and I’m sure my kids couldn’t ask for a better father.”
“I’m so happy it worked out for you dearie.” Pat responded truly happy for her friend. She’d seen Juliet suffer emotional torture in the hands of her husband for too long. Especially glad that her plan had worked, she continued in her role as advisor and marriage counselor. “Men are usually like that. They never understand or appreciate the value of what they have until they lose or find themselves on the verge of losing it.”
“I’m happy we didn’t have to lose each other before he got back to his senses.” Juliet cut in.
Her happiness at her victory in bringing her home back together was a beautiful thing to behold but happy as she was, Gbade’s jubilation dwarfed hers in all ramifications.
“You won’t believe it happened just as I saw it in my dreams!” Gbade narrated to his own coach and mentor-Deji.
“Interesting! But if you’re here telling me that, then I guess you weren’t poisoned afterall” the latter teased wickedly and erupted in laughter.
“Ha! That was the scary part… I had to put up a bold face ni o, as per man things nau…” Gbade responded expanding his chest like ‘King Kong’ and the duo burst into another round of laughter. “My guy, when she told me she prepared the food herself, I started sweating within me. Refusing to eat would have caused more havoc; my kids were there, expecting me to join in the celebration, after all it was my birthday. It was the longest meal of my life, I wonder how I made it through. I quickly rushed off to the toilet hoping to regurgitate all I had eaten. I tried all the tricks I knew, you should have seen me sticking my fingers in my throat. I was at it for several minutes but nothing came out so I sat there in the toilet, waiting patiently for my death. After forty minutes, when nothing serious happened, I had to convince myself again that it was just a dream jare, she loves me too much; my wife can’t kill me.” Gbade finished sounding every bit as cocky as the player that he was.
Deji at that point was almost rolling on the floor with laughter. He poured himself some wine and almost choked as he took a sip. When he finally got a hold of himself, he spoke: “You are such a weakling. I never thought you would be this easy to cage. Whatever she did to you actually worked out to plan.”
“Did to me…in what sense?” Gbade became curious.
“She worked on your psychology! She put you through some mental torture, and you my friend became a classic Joseph-dreaming dreams. I’ve got to hand it to Juliet mheeen, she really calmed your ‘gra gra’ nerves!” Deji went into another round of hysterical laughter. “Anyways” he resumed, “not to worry, the deed is done. She has her husband back, you have your home settled… now, you can focus on what really needs to be done to keep things going well for you, both at home and on the field of play.”
Gbade smiled triumphantly. “Yes o… I have to find a way to begin playing my league games far away from home and from the ever watching eye of her gossip friends”
“That won’t be a problem… There are several ways to skin a cat. That’s why I’m here, just chill and learn from the masters okay?”
Deji Arowolo was Gbade’s coach just as Patience played Juliet’s tutor in bringing her husband ‘under control.’
“This battle has been won Juliet, but you must know the war is far from over.” Pat announced seriously. “You can’t totally believe he has changed. Don’t relax just yet, you must still keep him on his toes.”
Juliet’s excitement dwindled, there were signs of jitters all over her as her friend’s submission suddenly yanked her out of her fantasy.
“How do I go about that? Please tell me” Juliet pleaded desperately.
“I’ll teach you the second phase of reverse psychology… This time it’s going to be direct assault!”
The last thing Benjamin wanted to hear was another complaint from Ada about her family problems… especially if it involved her mother!
It had been a tough week at work and he had lots of pending personal and family issues to attend to. The timing of her call couldn’t have been worse and she wasn’t even talking; she cried for the better part of the conversation, and he hardly heard what she said.
“Calm down and talk to me… what’s his condition now?” He asked calmly, hiding his frustration.
“He’s stable for now…” Ada replied amidst sobs, “but the doctor said we don’t have much time left. The surgery must be conducted as soon as possible to guarantee his survival. I’m so confused right now, I don’t know where to raise that kind of money from.” She broke down in tears again.
Ben heaved a huge sigh. He was completely at sea over the matter too. Even if he had #500,000, it would have to be diverted into some important projects – his wedding probably. He however had some money which he had been saving to replace the furniture in his apartment, he felt that would be good enough to donate to saving his father-in-law’s life.
“Ada, stop crying. Everything will be alright. Papa won’t die just yet.” He promised her.
“Amen… We need to raise money now. From anywhere, anyhow. I need my father to be alive.”
“I will send you #50,000 tomorrow. At least, that should make the doctor commence some treatment till we can come up with the balance.”
Even though it was just a tithe of the total amount needed, Ada was very surprised and grateful that such money could come from her man. She didn’t even expect him to have been able to raise half of what he was willing to give.
“Thank you so much Ben. I can’t thank you enough. You have given me hope and given Papa a second chance to live. May God bless you abundantly for this.” She had stopped crying, and was wiping her face with an already soaked handkerchief.
“Amen. I have to hang up now. So much to do at work. I’ll call you later.” Ben ended the call, and dropped his head on the desk in front of him. He prayed that money would be raised somehow for Papa’s treatment and he won’t have to be called upon to make any further donations. “Half a million Naira,” he muttered to himself, “God help us all…”
“Mama! Mama! We’ll get #50,000 tomorrow.”. Ada ran into the ward to break the good news to her parents.
“Really? From where?” Mama responded quickly, as she lowered the spoonful of rice which was intended to go into papa’s mouth.
“It’s Ben. He promised to send the money tomorrow.”
Mama gave a prolonged hiss and looked at Ada with scorn. “So you want to tell me that is all your husband can raise?”
The question hit Ada straight in the face. It was not what she had expected to hear from her mother. She was still thinking of the perfect response when Mama continued.
“Anyway, tell him we appreciate it. At least, a little bread is better than nothing.”
Ada was shattered. She looked at her father, hoping he would come to her aid yet again, but the poor man was too weak to utter a word. She needed support, someone to tell her that everything would be alright despite her mother’s demeaning words. The only available person she could think of was the taxi driver who had stopped by at the hospital that morning to check on Papa’s health.
She turned away in silence from her parents and walked briskly out of the ward making straight for the lobby. She was ready to burst into tears the moment she saw the taxi driver, but by the time she arrived at the lobby, he was gone.
Tunji headed for his hostel after walking Amaka down to Moremi Hall and watching her disappear into the blocks. It was almost midnight but lots of students were still up and active. There were those returning from classes where they had gone to read, some coming back from a show at the popular Amphi theatre and another set of serious students moving down to the classes to resume night reading.
He knew he was supposed to be part of those returning from class. Jumoke had called him severally while he was with Amaka, but he ignored all her calls and even switched his phone to flight mode when the calls were getting too much. He had a test the next day, and he was ill-prepared. His saving grace was that it wasn’t a morning test, he could still afford to read in the morning… The wise choice he knew, was to go straight to class and read right that moment, but he had something more pressing to bother about-the plight of a man in love.
He had thoughtlessly promised to proffer a solution to Amaka’s problems the next day but in all honesty, he had no idea what to do to help his damsel in distress. He only said that to make her feel better and get them both away from where they were; she would expect him to come up with something the next day and she would be very disappointed if he came up blank. How to raise #500,000 overnight was Tunji’s next headache; truly, loving Amaka was already proving to cost much more than he bargained for but he didn’t mind-as the saying goes “love is blind”.
He climbed the stairs leading to his room gently. He was weak and tired with a heavy weight on his frail shoulders. He managed to drag himself into his room and onto his bed grateful that no one had chosen it as an ‘initial’ spot for sleeping, it would have been another task having to get the person off. He jumped into bed and just as he was going to escape into dream land, his closest roommate, Sunkanmi tapped him.
“Celeb, how far?” He sat on the bed. “Wake up joor. Gist is all over school that Amaka was crying all over your shoulder, Mr ‘Knight in shining armor.’, Sunky made sure he had gotten Tunji’s attention before he went on with the rest of his gossip, “In the last two hours, I’ve heard different versions of crazy rumours about what transpired between you too and now I want to hear from the horse’s mouth.”
Tunji’s forgot all about sleep immediately as he quickly sat up. “What have they been saying?”
“No…the question is what have you been doing?”
Tunji sighed deeply and motioned to Sunkanmi to follow him as he led the way to the back corridor which served as their kitchen.
“Sunky…” Tunji began, “that girl is a handful just as you warned. There’s more to her story than what everyone sees or thinks…”
“Hold on… I thought tonight was supposed to be about letting her know how you feel. Where’s all this ish about story coming from?”
“Be patient… One thing led to the other and things just took a different turn…” Tunji carefully relayed the events of the night to Sunky and the latter listened with rapt attention.
“The problem now is how to raise #500,000 to save her father. The bigger problem is I have promised to come up with a solution tomorrow when in truth, I have nothing to offer.”
Sunky looked at Tunji in amazement and gave a wicked grin.
“You dey craze for head o” he started. “Can’t you read the writing on the wall? Love don blind you for eye and brain?”
“What are you talking about?” Tunji asked totally confused at his friend’s response.
“This is a pure scam! And you have bought it hook, line and sinker!” Sunky managed to control his voice to avoid attracting unnecessary attention.
“No, Sunky that’s not true. I heard the conversation between her and her mother. Besides, she wouldn’t go that far to create attention to herself in front of SUB just to get #500,000 from a poor schoolboy like me when she can raise that from her yahoo boyfriends and magas.”
“Why not tell her to meet them for the money?” Sunky retorted scornfully.
“That’s where the problem is… She doesn’t do what she’s doing because she enjoys it, she does it for survival. As a matter of fact, I personally don’t want her to continue that lifestyle, I’ve really been racking my…”
Sunky burst into laughter. He laughed so hard Tunji felt stupid. “Oh really? You want to be her messiah. Then you must find a way to help her raise the money.”
“That’s why I need your help. I need ideas of what to tell her tomorrow, something good enough to bring us the money or hope of getting the money.”
“Tunji, I have nothing in my head except this advice: leave that girl alone and get your life back!” Sunky went into the room immediately, leaving Tunji feeling worse than before.
The next morning, Tunji woke up with a terrible headache and had a tough time grasping what the lecturer said in class. He couldn’t attend the second class-he was still under a ban from Professor Awofisibe-so he found a seat at the back of an empty class close-by in a desperate attempt to make the hour before his upcoming test count for something. Everything had turned upside down for him in a space of two weeks and he knew well that he had to steady his ship quickly before he got lost at sea.
Sunky’s harsh advise left a bitter taste in his mouth. He was finding it hard to focus on anything. He couldn’t bring himself to leave Amaka at that crucial moment when she was looking up to him to be there for her, yet he had nothing to offer.
“Lover Boy, how are you doing?” Jumoke teased as she sat next to Tunji and smiled at him affectionately. “You don’t look too good. Actually, you look like you haven’t slept in three days. Is this an affect of dating a girl meant for all the big boys on campus?”
“I don’t understand what you are talking about” Tunji refused to lose his temper.
“Of course you don’t. You have abandoned class and your books, you have chosen to follow a path that’s sure to lead to destru…”
“Stop this Jummy! What’s this about? You have no right to judge me or my actions. What I do with my time is none of your business and you are not my mother for crying out loud. Stop stalking me.” Tunji was angry, but he somehow managed to keep the his voice down and just between them, trying not to create a scene.
“I may not be your keeper, but I am your friend, I care about you, and I have a responsibility to tell you when you go wrong and help you get back on track…” Jumoke replied.
“Okay…fine! You have made your point. I appreciate your friendship and all, but you are the one who’s on the wrong path here, not me!”
Jumoke managed a weak smile. She however wasn’t going to give up just yet.
“The truth is I miss you… I miss us reading together, playing, having fun, talking and even praying together. I want you back Tunji” she explained with heavy emotions in her voice.
Tunji was surprised to hear that from Jumoke. She was right about them reading, gisting and praying together, but to him, they spent the rest of the time arguing and bickering over one senseless issue or the other.
“What do you want me to do?” He asked looking into his books and hoping she would just leave.
“I just want my Tunji back, because…. ” She choked and kept silent for a while.
Tunji who was hitherto not looking in her direction, kept his ears open. When there was no sound coming from her, he was forced to turn to her.
“Because what?” He asked.
“… because I love you.” Jumoke’s eyes were laced with tears but she wouldn’t let them drop in his presence. She picked up her bag and walked out of the class immediately, leaving Tunji dumbfounded with his mouth ajar.
To Be Continued Next Week……………………..
Join The Discussion: “With Amaka looking like a burden, and Jumoke coming into the picture, what next for Tunji?”
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