It is a rainy Monday morning .Ekanem grabs her purple purse as she comes out of her car.She runs into her favourite place in Lagos;Ryan’s coffee shop .
Ever since Ekanem discovered this shop ,not a single day has passed by without her going in to give herself a treat.
They served a wide variety of coffee drinks, hot chocolate and tea.
She also looked forward to the hot muffins and club sandwiches.
Ekanem sits at her usual spot. She figures that since her first lecture is by 10am she can quickly have a cup of cappuccino and a chocolate muffin.
She notices an unfamiliar face at the coffee machine and wonders in her heart about the fate of her coffee.
Ekanem leaves her seat and walks up to the cashier.
“Please where is the guy that normally makes the coffee?. I think his name is Paul, if I am not mistaken,”she says to the cashier.
“I am sorry Ma but he isn’t available today “the female cashier replied.
Ekanem frowns her face and says “why did I bother coming here today?
“The person available is just as good as Paul” , she replies . At that point, a tall dark guy walks towards her from the coffee machine.
“Please ma , I can take your order if you are ready “he says to Ekanem.
“Where’s Paul? , No offence but he knows exactly how I like my coffee” she replies with a straight face.
“Madam I can assure you that you will love it “, he said to her with a smile on his face.
Ekanem reluctantly walks back to her seat after placing her order.
She reads through the latest news updates on her phone as she waits to be served.
In about 5 minutes, a waiter places her muffin and cappuccino in front of her.
She takes a sip , smiles and drinks it all up to the last drop accompanied by a muffin.
Ekanem picks up her purse and walks towards the door. She glances at the person who made her coffee and smiles at him.
“I hope you liked it ma “, he says to her.
“It was better than I expected”, she replied with a smile and leaves the coffee shop.
Ekanem enters her car and straps her sit belt.She tries so hard to fight the tears running down her cheeks . “I thought that drinking this coffee would make me happy for at least one hour”, she says to herself .
She remembers the call her mum’s younger sister made to her early that morning.
“What gave aunt Joyce the right to call me and preach to me about being too selective in marriage when she got married at 40 years, she said to herself.
“Why can’t she believe my side of the story? , she believes only mum’s side of the story”, she said with anger.
Ekanem tried her best to drive to work in one piece. At 35yrs, she had already acquired a PhD and worked as a lecturer much to the displeasure of her mum.
“Don’t you think that being too educated would drive away eligible bachelors”, her mum said to her just before she travelled to the UK for her post graduate studies.
Ekanem always gave her a reply” any man who is intimidated by my educational qualifications,isn’t worth being my husband”.
Ekanem finally arrives at the school’s car park .She brings out her phone from her bag and sees 10 missed calls from Philip.
She sighs and switches off her phone.
“This is the guy they want me to marry. A big baby who never fails to broadcast our issues with my parents and all who care to know”.She puts her cell phone back in the her purse and goes to the lecture room to give her lecture.
Ekanem finishes giving her lecture and heads home.
She opens the door to her flat and goes into her room.
She gets a call from her flat mate Chichi, “Babe this your guy has been calling me since. What happened this time around? . He has been waiting for you in front of the house since morning. I had to tell him that you have seminars that will bring you back late”, she said to Ekanem .
“Chichi , I am tired !what kind of love is this. I have no breathing space. He always monitors my movement as if I am a child. When we are together, all he does is pick faults.I expressed my displeasure to him last night and virtually all my family members have called to preach to me about my attitude ” , she said to her .
“Relax my girl! but how are you going to handle him?.This guy dey persistent oh!I dey on my way home ” Chichi replies.
“I will figure something out. Come home soon abeg “, Ekanem replies.
Ekanem takes her bath and fixes her self a chicken salad. As she eats her meal,she hears the door bell ring.
Ekanem goes to see who is at the door. She peeps through the glass peep hole and sees the image of Philip. She sighs and reluctantly opens the door for him.
“Baby I have been trying to reach you for hours” he said to her.
“Why are you looking for me? ,haven’t you insulted me enough “she says to him while walking back to where she kept her food.
She eats her salad without taking notice of him.
“Won’t you even invite me to eat?” he asks with a mischievous smile on his face .
“Please allow me eat this salad in peace. You are the same person who threw my cake in the bin yesterday and said that I should watch my weight .Ehmm, I am taking your advice. Let me eat this delicious salad okay! “She replied with a straight face.
“Okay if that’s what you want. Meanwhile I want you to accompany me to an event this Saturday “Philip says to her.
“This weekend isn’t free for me. Besides why do you want to take me along with you when I am not good enough for you? She says to him .
“I bought a beautiful black dress for you which would suit your figure” he replies.
“Exactly my point! .Philip you didn’t even check if I was free or not .You went ahead to buy the dress you felt would hide my curves.Anyone listening to you would think that I am up to a size 16 .Any lady who is more than a size 10 is fat according to your standard. Please leave me alone. You can look for a barbie doll girlfriend who will accompany you” Ekanem says to him with a frown on her face.
“What wrong did I do now? Is it a crime to buy an expensive dress for my girl? .Do you know how much the dress cost me? ” he asks angrily.
“It always has to be about money and control with you Philip” she replies.
As they argue , Chichi comes back home. Philip pretends that all is well between him and Ekanem.He spends some minutes having general discussions with the two ladies before calling it a night.
Ekanem locks the door when he leaves and goes to meet Chichi in her room.
“Chichi how was your day?” , she asked.
“It was cool dear. Did you sort things out with Philip?” , she replied.
“He wants me to accompany him to an event.He bought the dress without checking if I would be free to go with him”,Ekanem said to Chichi.
“Then go with him. There’s no big deal in buying a dress ahead of time for your babe. I am sure that it’s an expensive dress” Chichi replies her with excitement .
“You sound just like him” Ekanem replies with a frown.
“I know that Philip acts funny and possessive a times but I believe he loves you” Chichi says to her.
“Well he has a really funny way of showing it.Is it because his dad is a senator and he has a successful business empire,. Does he feel that he can buy my emotions with money?” She asks her room mate .
“You guys have been dating for about 3 months. It’s possible that he is still trying to understand you in his own way”,Chichi says to her .
“You see why I hate this match making business?. See what aunt Joyce has caused?” Ekanem says to her.
“Is it aunt Joyce’s fault that he is acting this way?. I believe that she wants you to be happy “Chichi replies.
“Well I don’t know how long I can cope with his attitude and the next time he makes reference to my weight ,he will be truly sorry ” Ekanem replies with sadness in her voice.
“Na wah oh what did he say about you.Babe you look great !does he want you to turn to a stock fish?” ,Chi asks with sarcasm in her voice .
“Infact I think you literally have to ask him that question because I am tired. I know that I am not getting any younger but am I supposed to remain with a jerk just because he claims to love me?”She replies Chi.
“My dear,receive supernatural wisdom to handle him, she says jokingly with a mischievous smile on her face.
The days pass by so fast .Ekanem decides to attend the charity ball with Philip after much persuasion from Chichi.
When the fund raising aspect of the event comes to an end. They both have dinner. Both local and international cuisines are served to the guests and Ekanem enjoys her meal thoroughly.
Philip excuses himself from the table and goes to discuss with his friends.
Ekanem sits on her chair reading some news from gossip blogs.
After about 45 minutes, She observes that he still has not returned to the table.
“What kind of guy leaves his date this long at the table?” , Ekanem says to herself. She looks around the hall and sees other guests either discussing in smaller groups or eating. She doesn’t see Philip in the crowd.
After 5 minutes Ekanem gets up to look for him . She looks around very well to see if she would see him . Philip is still no where to be found. Ekanem begins to get worried.
She strolls out to the front of the hall .She sees Philip engrossed in a conversation with a guy and a lady.
Ekanem steps back a bit and hides where she would be out of sight of Philip. She watches as he discusses with them.His mannerisms looked strange to her.
“Hmmm, I have never seen Philip this excited before. See how he laughs at every given opportunity. He has probably forgotten about me” , Ekanem wonders in her heart.
She walks back quietly to her seat and calms her temper with a glass of cold Chapman.
After 15minutes, Philip comes back to the table .”Sweetie I hope you are okay?” he says to her in a fidgety manner .
“Why wouldn’t I be okay ” ,Ekanem replies with sarcasm and looks away from him.
“Sorry oh! , I met my friends and we were talking about something very important”, Philip says to her.
“Oh! really!”,Ekanem replies.
“Do you want more drinks babe?” Philip asks her.
“No thank you, can you just take me home? “,she says to him.
“So soon, we haven’t even come to the fun part of the party. Won’t we dance first? “, he asked with a smile.
“You can stay here and dance ,I need to go home and rest “,Ekanem replies.
Philip reluctantly picks his phones from the table and says to her ; “Okay , cool let’s go!”.
They both walk to the car park without saying a word to each other and enter the car.
Philip drives off. He puts on the car radio to lighten the mood .Ekanem continues to ignore him and keeps her eyes glued to her phone.
They must driven for about 40 minutes
when Ekanem blurts out in anger, “please don’t abandon me like that next time we go out”.
“How did I abandon you? You have started complaining again ” he yells at her .
“Did you say complain? “She says to him.
“You are so difficult Ekanem. I don’t know how to please you”,he replies.
“Wow! thank you for finally saying how you feel about me.Please pull over,I will find my way home”,she says with a frown on her face.
“Fine, if that’s what you want.I don’t know why you are over reacting “,he replies.
Ekanem gets down from his car and
Walks away. Philip calls her to come back to the car by shouting her name through front passenger window which was wound down. He follows her for a few minutes with his car driving slowly beside her and speeds off angrily.
She walks on the lonely road for some minutes . Ekanem brings out her phone from her bag to order a cab online only for the battery to run down completely when she opens the taxi’s app online.
“What a night! , why did I even wear these high heeled shoes?”, she asks herself with a sigh .
She continues to walk down the street, this time more briskly. She realises that street she is currently walking on is close to her favourite shop,she smiles to herself and says” hopefully, I will be able to charge my phone and wait for a cab to pick me up from there”.
As Ekanem approaches the coffee shop, she sees a man trying to lock the door from inside . She quickly runs to the door and knocks on the glass door.
“Madam we are closed for the day “she hears the male voice say to her.
“Please I beg you, I need your help” Ekanem pleads further to allow her go inside.
The door is finally opened and is locked immediately she enters inside the shop.
“Thank you very much. I just want to charge my phone for a few minutes please”,Ekanem says to him.
“Okay , but you have to do that quickly” he replies and continues cleaning the surface of the work table .
She hurriedly removes her shoes and plugs her phone into the nearest socket to charge.
Ekanem watched with the corner of her eyes as he neatly arranged the washed teacups into the cabinet.
“I wonder if this guy would throw a spoon at me if I ask for a cup of coffee while I wait for my phone to charge” , she says to herself .
She steals another glance at him. This time around, she observes as he meticulously he arranges the teaspoons, forks and knives in the lime coloured cabinet.
“Hmmm, will this guy listen to me after all this stress he is going through to clean up the shop?, besides it appears the other workers have gone home”,she wonders in her heart.
Ekanem decides to give it a try. She walks up to the counter with a smile on her face and says to him. “Please I know that it’s late and I have disrupted your plans of going home but can you make me a cup of coffee?”.
He looks at her with a straight face and replies with sarcasm ” Peter is not available to make your coffee as special as you like it”.
“I am sorry for being difficult the last time I was here.Please just make me any type of coffee that won’t take your time, I will pay for it” ,she says to him.
He looks at her for some seconds without uttering a word and eventually says “okay, give me a few minutes. There are no snacks available though”.
“Thanks, I don’t mind drinking it like that” ,she replies.
Ekanem sits on one of the high chairs which is behind the counter and watches as he makes her the coffee.
She is intrigued by the way he brews the coffee and the attention he pays to details while adding other items to the coffee.
He serves her the hot cup of coffee with a smile.
“Thanks”, she replies and offers him money for the drink.
“Nah! It’s on the house”,he says with a smile.
“Hmmmm, thank you once again. Your boss is lucky to have a kind hearted employee like you” ,she replies .
She takes a sip and says with excitement “what’s the name of this type of coffee .It tastes so nice.”
“I am glad you like it. It’s called caramel macchiato” ,he replies with a smile.
While she drinks her coffee, he goes out through one of the doors at the back of the counter and returns after some minutes without his work tshirt. He put on a mustard colored tshirt on a black pair of jeans .
Ekanem enjoys her coffee to the last drop and goes to where her phone is charging to unplug it.She switches it on and quickly requests for a cab online.
She walks back to the counter and says to him my cab will be here in a few minutes please ,can you wait for about 5 minutes.
“Okay” he replies as he keeps her washed cup away.
“I really appreciate. What’s your name?”, she asks with a smile.
“My name is Tochukwu, Toks for short”,he replies.
“Okay “she replies and quickly picks up her phone which was ringing.
“Madam I am in front of Ryan’s shop. Can you please come outside”,the cab driver says to her.
Ekanem quickly picks up all her personal belongings, says thank you to Toks and leaves the coffee shop.
She gets home in no distant time and enters her room. She quickly takes a shower , slips under her cosy duvet and goes to bed.
Ekanem wakes up the following morning to prepare for church. Since Chichi and Ekanem attend the same church, Ekanem decides to join her room mate in her car.
“Babe, I didn’t even know when you got home last night. I hope you guys had fun last night?”, Chichi says to her as she drives.
“Fun?did I hear you say fun?.Please my friend, let’s just go to church peacefully. I don’t feel like talking about what happened last night”, Ekanem replies.
“Hmmmm, was it that bad Chichi asks with curiosity in her eyes.
“Let’s just say that he allowed me to walk home late last night “she replies.
“What!!!!how can Philip do that to you?” , she says to Ekanem in anger.