It was the last semester of my second spill over year and I was nearing triumph in the long drawn cold war running between I and some elements in the department of Agronomy where I was a student.
I was done resiting exams for the courses my examination officer had notified me earlier in the advent of the session that their results were missing.
The growing impatience from home and all other people who were concerned but unfortunately were oblivious of what I was passing through for me to announce that I had been called up to serve in the NYSC Scheme was now mounting and unbearable.
My mother was the one person in the world who was aware and also understood my plight, She never relented in encouraging me to persevere.
She had called me earlier that week to enquire if I needed funds wired into my account, I declined, assuring her that all was well. But the real truth was that I was so broke and starving as well.
On wednesday evening as I was dressing up to go and eat at a cafeteria in fulfilment of my new 0 – 0 – 1 feeding formula, my phone rang and it was my girlfriend calling.
Me : Hello, Sisi
Her : Boo How naa ?
Me : I dey oooo.
Her : How far ? U dey house ?
Me : Yes ooo.
Her : I dey road, I dey show, my hostel don too dey boring, u cook abi ?
Me : For where ?
Her : But u don chop naa abi ?
Me : I been wan go chop but make I wait for u naa, if you show we go now waka together go chop.
Her : ok e good like dat. I dey come.
She ends the call and I lay down waiting and thinking of how I would be able to manage through the weekend as I have resolved against all odds to run back home on monday and at least feed regularly for few days.
after about 20 minutes wait, with my belly aching with hunger, the door finally swung open and she came straight into my embrace.
Seeing how hungry I was, there was no need to waste time, she just dropped her bag and we headed straight out for the cafeteria.
[nextpage title=”episode 2″]
On Friday after we had done laundry together, Hunger had set in and with my wallet dry, I thought it wise to send her back to her hostel so she doesn’t join me in my Starve-mania.
Me : Babe how far, how much remain for that money sef ?
Her : Bobo na 80 Naira oooooo (came her reply).
Me : Oya comot N50 make you transport go back school.
Her : No e no go pure naa, My Popsi say im go send small Kohdosh(money) enta my account this afternoon, as here near town so, e go make sense make I wait make the alert show, then with this card we go rush go ATM sharpali (She kissed her ATM card as she spoke).
Me : Omo eh, as you show eh e dey pain me sef say we don even chop your own remaining money join, my fear now be say, if ur Paleh(Dad) no come shake body today eh, you sabi say na big Yawa for u unto say na weekend we dey chuk head enta so oooo.
Her : No dat one no fit happen naaa, Papsi assure me say na confirm say this afternoon pepper go rest, if we go ATM finish eh make we from there enter market go buy provs (provisions) and u sef go chuk hand for the money take go meet your people for Aba make dem find you small something as e be say I don check your cupboard nothing dey am and shi-shi no come gum your pocket, meanwhile wear polo make u escort me go buy sugar and groundnut make we finish d last otoh(Garri) wey dey first.
Me : Where you see money for sugar and Groundnut ?
Her : na d remaining money naa, Eh heh 8 pure water sef still dey remain for the half bag wey we carry come for night so we no go buy water.
Me : dis pikin u no dey hear word, make you come run go back school, if the alert show u go withdraw for school enter back town. Dis money now na your T-Fare ooooo. U fit carry d Otoh(Garri) go sef, everly you go fit see sugar for una corner for hostel.
Her : Bobo wetin you go come chop naa?
Me: No worry I go manage.
Her : Guy see make I tell u, dat hostel no dey sweet me as exam dey so. U sabi say everybody dey go class go jack, if no be say I still get one paper wey remain on tuesday, I for don pack come here oooo, so no dey pursue me go school, abi anoda babe wan bring food come for you ? (She teased)
Me : U see am, e don turn to say I wan carry babe abi, but you sabi say na u be my Sisi naa ( I walked to her and held her tightly from behind), I no just wan make u dey folo dey partake for my suffer.
She turned around and held me close and said in plain English;
Her : Look, from the day I said yes to you, I knew you were managing and I understand the troubles you are going through being a spill over student for the second consecutive year, and I admire your courage, but I assure you that it will all be over soon. I understand that you feel bad about it all, I going hungry in the cause of visiting you, I understand that it was what I signed up for and I’m here to support you, soon my Dad will send me some money, money that I can’t even finish making use of till the exam ends, so I elect that we share (switching back to pidgin) abi u no wan share with ur Sisi again ?
I drew her close to me and hugged her saying;
Me : Thank you Dear, I love you.
She chuclkled and replied
Her : I love you too.
Me : Oya make I wear polo escort u make we go buy the tins naa.
She disengaged from the hug reluctantly.
Her : Abeg Wear, Alarm don dey blow for my Belle sef.
We hurriedly rushed toward Mama Ozioma’s kiosk down the street to purchase what would make up our meal for the rest of the day.
[nextpage title=”episode 3″]
We in no time settled down to business on our cherished concoction, after she had mixed the garri to rise and added the just acquired sugar and groundnut.
I guess if there were an observer in the room at that time, we would have earned great deal of pity because we hungrily swooped on the junk meal with no mercy, trying to outdo each other in the number of spoons we would collect.
Being originally an Alpha Male, I was winning the battle of “number of scoops of garri you can take”
She had to cry out !
She : Ah ah Bobo !
Me : Wetin naa ?
She : Take am easy naa, abi u no dey mercy for pesin ?
Me : abeg no paddy man in jungle oooo.
She : Wicked boy. (She playfully cried)
No be you senior me, abi you no sabi say u suppose remain for me ?
I got choked as I burst into laughter and raised my spoon in surrender, she didn’t wanna take chances and she ran off with the garri plate out of the room, bolting the door from outside incase changed my mind.
After emptying the remaining garri into her hunger beaten belly, she opened the door, ran to me, jumped on top of my back and started beating me.
Actually it was a kind of fight we enjoyed, we call it the DING DING fight. A very romantic playful fight, that usually led to some intimacy.
Me : u don drink garri get enough strength to fight me abi ? (I asked laughing, as I tried to shake her off)
Her : wicked boy, u cheat me in the garri feast and am having my own pound of flesh now. (She continued hitting me)
In a swoop, I shook her off unto the large mattress and she landed on the soft surface, grabbing a pillow ; The Pillow Fight has started.
Anyway we ended up cuddling off to sleep after the DING DING fight.
By 3:00pm we woke up and she rushed to check her phone for bank alert and it was yet to be received.
We waited patiently until an sms tone disrupted the silence in the room, she rushed to her phone but to her utter most disappointment it was her room mate sending her a please call me back sms.
She sighed loudly as she returned to the mattress.
I initiated games of Ludo and whot in a bid to distract her attention, but she would not play
By 3:45 her Dad finally called.
Her : Helo Daddy!
Her Dad : Helo angel, imee au (how are u) ?
Her : I am fine, I am already at the bank and I am yet to get an alert.
Her Dad : Kai ! That’s why I am calling my angel, I forgot to send clement to the bank and I am boarding at Sam Mbakwe for Lagos.
Her : Daddy okpom nile agwule (all my money has finished)
Her Dad : I know my dear, can you try to get back to school ? If you do just go to Professor Madu’s office after about an hour and alert me, I will call him as soon as you are there.
Her : Okay Dad.
She ends the call, her face sullen and sad, she there and then won my pity.
As soon as it was 5:00 She called her father and lied that she had been to the Professor’s office but that he had already gone home before she could get there.
We had an uneventful silent evening, punctuated intermittently by few phrases said to each other, she was not happy and her kind of person needed a lot of petting to soothe her pain.
I had to cuddle her and we both fell asleep around 9:00pm or so.
By 1:00 am on Saturday morning, I was awakened by great Hunger, Chai ! It was so unbearable that I prayed for day break to come very quickly, I watched her sleeping innocently, occasionally scanning for me across the mattress with her arms.
As soon as it was day break, I awoke to notice that I had fallen asleep on top of the chair where I sat previously after waking up earlier on, the clock was indicating that it was 7:15 am.
The Hunger returned with greater force, I couldn’t bear it any longer.
I quietly opened the door so as not to wake her up, crept out of my room and ran with my last strength towards Mama Ozioma’s Kiosk.
On getting to Mama Ozioma’s Kiosk, she was not yet out.
It was then that it dawned on me that it was environmental sanitation day and no shop was supposed to be open.
I slowly started to find my way back to my apartment wondering what next to do.
[nextpage title=”episode 4″]
On getting back she was awake, we exchanged greetings and she let out series of yawns.
I knew there and then that the yawns were triggered by hunger.
Her : Boo, how far naa ? Where you leave me go this early morning ?
Me : I just stroll go check whether today clean up go get head.
Her : I know when u lie, wetin concern you and clean up, when you start to dey join for clean up?
Me : Haba pesin no go fit do clean up again ?
Her : Boo, e get one babe for this street wey don too eye you, u sure say no be she u go block ?
Me : Habaaa ! No naa ! Sisi which kind yarns be that naa ?
Her : Hahahahahaha ! I’m just pulling your legs abi pesin no fit follow you play ? ( She yawns again)
Me : No naa, e don dey much, u don carry style dey tell me say u no trust Me.
Her : No ooo Bobo, no be so (Yawns again) I just wake up, I no see you, I no come sabi where you put head, na as I hear sound of gate wey dem open, I come see from window as you dey enter. I been dey wonder how u carry waka.
Me : Ok I lied, I went to check Mama Ozioma.
Her : Haba, this early morning ? but She no dey owe us change naa.
Me : I been wan collect somethings on credit, later I go pay am.
Her : But you don’t have to.
Me : See oooo, wetin pesin wan chop, abi you no dey Hungry ?
Her : I dey hungry but I no want make you go dey owe people, especially all these women for street wey dey sabi gossip. Make we just dey, before clean up go (yawns) finish eh, I go don sabi wetin dey.
We both went to brush and after a while, the gates of Hunger were opened in our bellies, I watched her but she kept avoiding my eyes and yawning.
Then some minutes around after 11:00 am, She left the room and was taking long to return, I traced her to the corridor and I stopped dead cold and heart broken as I saw her Licking ToothPaste with tears freely flowing from her eyes.
Me : Chai ! Sisi am so sorry it came to this (I quickly took her into my embrace).
Her : (Sobbing) I’m so sorry, I’m so hungry and I’m trying out an old trick in my secondary school boarding house days of keeping hunger at bay with toothpaste.
I was so heart broken that I left her and dashed towards Mama Ozioma’s Kiosk ready to Beg her for bread on credit even if it meant being gossiped with.
[nextpage title=”episode 5″]
As I rushed out of the gate and crossed the road, A Peugeot 505 salon car was approaching with its horn blaring and headlamps flashing as it drove toward my direction.
I shifted to allow it pass but it came to a halt beside me and the two occupants happened to be my friends James and Chidolue.
James : (Excited) Abobby eeeeee !!!!
Chiddolue : (Excited as well) Oh Boy where u dey put head ?
Me : (Letting out a faint smile) Mehn I dey go buy something for down the street.
James : we been dey come see you, as we don see you enter motor naa, make we kukuma buy fuel for junction.
I entered and we drove to a petrol station at the junction.
After refuelling the car, James announced that he was hungry and needed to eat at the cafeteria opposite the petrol station.
As we got there, he ordered Garri and vegetable soup and subsequently asked us to make orders for ours as well, Chidolue asked for Semo and Egusi, while I whispered into James’s ear that I needed the money meant for my own plate of food.
He still insisted that I ate.
I gladly ordered Fufu and vegetable soup.
I munched away hungrily that being the last to order I became the first to finish, James sensing how hungry I was requested that I took extra which I gladly did.
It was a Miracle to be given such a treat, but for every ball of fufu I ingested, my mind went back to my hungry girlfriend who was in my room starving, I was enveloped with guilt.
But it was a miracle I couldn’t resist.
After the meal, James promptly foot the bills and I called him aside and spoke to him.
Me : Abobby, thank you very much, u just saved a starving man
James : hahahahahaha ! Dis man sef, notin do u.
Me : Abobby, I dey broke scatter and the only help wey you go offer me now na to help me with transport make I run go house, even my babe sef dey room, shishi no gum both of us, we never chop, as una meet me eh, na credit bread I dey go collect. That time.
At that point his phone rang and he excused himself to answer the call.
That call indicated that they were to be heading to somewhere from that point.
James : (Opening his wallet, brought out N1000 and handed over to me) Abobby Hol dis one naa.
My eyes nearly popped out of my eyeballs.
Me : Abobby! Abobby !! Abobby !!! (I screamed with glee)
James : (Laughing) abeg enter motor make we drop you, Chido reverse make we go drop am before we go waka dey go.
Chidolue : I no sabi wetin una dey come go do two aside for oooo, make una no sell me oooo
We all laughed, boarded the car and sped off towards my house.
[nextpage title=”episode 6″]
I got into the room to meet my girlfriend curled up at one end, her eyes dilated with hunger.
Her : Boo where you go naa ? (In her weakest voice I have ever heard)
Me : Sisi
Her : Eh (Yes)
Me : Oya wear cloth.
Her : eeeh ?(Really)
Me : eeh (Yes), come escort me go beg Mama Ozioma, abeg.
Her : Ok, but I doubt she will sell on credit oooo and I don’t like this idea ooooo (she reluctantly jumps into a pair of jean trouser and a good blouse)
Me: make we go try first, abi you no believe in miracles ?
Her : Oya naa, I don ready oooo.
We left the room and I could see she was really itching for a bite.
As We approached Mama Ozioma’s kiosk, I could see hope in her eyes, I just looked d other way and shook my head in pity.
Getting to the kiosk, she was slowing down, but I kept moving and walked past the kiosk, she hurried to catch up with me and she asked in a hushed tone:
Her : Boo, where you dey go naa?
Me : (Looking towards a cafeteria just ahead) Sisi, liver cut me, I no sabi as I want take start, oya make we waka front small come turn, I go now go beg am.
Her : Boo na wah oooo, I never do dis kind tin before ooo.
Me : u don see am say condition na wetin make crayfish bend.
We got to the cafeteria and I walked in, she was still outside and I beckoned on a surprised her to come in and have a sit.
She promptly did and in a whisper asked me :
Her : Boo wetin we dey do here ?
I smiled and asked her in return
Me : Wetin people dey come here come do ?
Her : Where you wan get money pay ?
A waiter had come to take orders
Waiter : Oga wetin una wan chop ?
Me : Na Madam go chop, no be Me.
Her : why you no wan chop naa?
Me : order your food first, then hear me out.
She ordered a plate of fufu and okro soup which she promptly pounced on, on delivery.
I watched her with pity and very happily as she ate hungrily, finishing the meal in no time.
I made her have more and she happily ate to her fill.
It was while she ate that I narrated how I met James and Chidolue.
As we went back, she was now livelier and spoke louder.
Few hours after our return to my room, I convinced her to return to the hostel, which she reluctantly accepted to.
While seeing her off to the bus stop her phone rang, Professor Madu was on the line requesting for her location so that His driver could bring her a package on her father’s request.
We were at the bus stop when 20 minutes later, Prof’s driver pulled over, handed her the brown envelope and drove off.
We opened the envelope and its content were two minty wraps of N200 notes.
She spoke to the money in a small still voice saying ” So na your eye be this”.
[nextpage title=”episode 7″]
From that evening till the end of the exams we never went hungry again.
In few months we were mobilized for National Youth Service and we were very happy about it.
Then came time for me to raise money to shop for things I would need for service.
Many times she would beg me to go and seek funds from home, but I was determined to do it myself, to prove a point that I had problems and I fixed it myself, to drive home the point that I had become a full fledged independent man.
So after searching for part time jobs to no avail, I took up a job at a construction site as a labourer, serving brick layers and making concrete mixtures from sand, stones and cement for a paltry daily wage of N1000.
On the second day of work at the site, by noon we had gathered to take instructions from the site manager and then go for break, the site manager was addressing us and midway into his address everyone was looking towards one particular direction, I too was forced to turn towards the direction the workers and the site engineer were all looking at and surprisingly there was Sisi approaching armed with a food flask and few satchets of cold water.
I broke free from the gathering and ran towards my Girlfriend who stood smiling and opened her arms for me to embrace.
On getting close I began with;
Me : who told you, How did you find here ?
She : I no fit loss for Aba naa, won’t you hug me ?
Me : I dirty naa, see cement and sand full my body.
She : Abeg hug me joor, but no rub me cement ooo !!
We burst into laugher as we hugged briefly.
She : Good Afternoon Sirs ( she shouted at the workers who were still staring at us, they responded differently and began to disperse for break as well)
We moved towards a shade, sat down on a makeshift bench and I proceeded in devouring the contents of the food flask she had come with.
From that day till I stopped working at that site, she paid regular visits and brought food along with her.
I was called up to serve at Edo state and she was called up to serve at Enugu. We weren’t happy but were still thankful that none of us was to serve in Northern Nigeria.
I was posted to Fugar, in Etsako Central L.G.A. of Edo State, 20 minutes drive after Auchi and she was posted to Ukehe in Igbo Etiti L.G.A. of Enugu State, 20 minutes drive from Nsukka as well.
We did visit each other and stayed in constant touch until the service year ended.
She was the first to visit and she spent 6 hours on the road to Fugar from Ukehe.
On the day I visited, I did so unannounced and did really take her by surprise, I took a 15 minutes Agenobode bound taxi, then crossed over to Idah in Kogi State on a speed boat over the Niger river in 12 minutes, then took an Nsukka bound taxi, in 50 minutes I was in Nsukka and with mental note of her description of how to get to her Place of Primary assignment from Nsukka, I located the place.
She almost fainted with Joy when one of her lodge mates ushered me into her room. She wondered if I had been in Enugu earlier on due to how short my journey had been.
[nextpage title=”episode 8″]
Anyway after Service We were ready to get settled and face life together, I asked and She readily accepted, Plans were in top gear to announce it to the whole world and to shock all the critics of the friendship we shared back then in school.
“Some amebo Ladies and some guys who equal as ladies, in trying to watch their fellow Ladies back will always label a guy as not genuine and give verdict on what they think the relationship will result into, forgetting that life is not always as people think it is.
I was very popular and sociable back then in school, Lots of Guys and a lot of ladies as well were my friends and still are, some then married, some now married and some still single while Sisi was reserved and the quiet type in school and those who felt they were playing the big sister or good male friend role did always tell her at the beginning “flee from this guy” but she was bent on staying and then they told her, he will hurt and dump you after a few months”.
It was some of these people that I was gladly hoping to prove wrong by inviting them personally to the solemnization of a union they never gave a chance but condemned with the tongues from hell, just because I was a happy dude who despite my travails in school still found time to be happy and was lucky to meet and find love in a friend of theirs who readily took the risk of dating me and discovering that they were totally and absolutely wrong in their assumptions and conclusions about Me, who was a pillar of support in those days when it seemed that failure was going to overwhelm me, who urged me on to Triumph and Victory.
Anyway we were set to commence plans to start life together when our happiness was cut short.
Sisi had been invited to resume at the UBA banking school after which she would commence work and I was about floating my fashion line “BOOSCY” in conjuction with Aburn Clothiers, we were enthusiastic about a bright future together.
Then while we went for medical screening, it was established that Sisi and I were medically incompatible.
We had great risk of producing Children with Sickle Cell Anemia since we both were with the Genotype AS.
I was broken, I lost appetite for weeks, my world came to a standstill, it was not easy and honestly I wept.
Sisi nearly committed suicide, she stopped eating, would see nobody, quit banking school and looked unkempt. After about two months, she picked my call oneday and I managed to convince her to see me which she did and after a heart to heart talk, we began search for remedy.
I encouraged her to get a makeover and since she missed out of the UBA offer, buy form for Msc since it was on sale in the school we graduated from.
These she did.
Unfortunately after series of confirmatory tests our genotype has not changed and each medical personnel keep advising us to part ways.
We have finally agreed to stay on just as friends, but painfully our dream of starting life together has been cut short.
Sisi said to me, Mezie we deserve better, I painfully let go.
She has since started her Msc. Program with a job as a part time lecturer in a Polytechnic and I have pushed far in the launch of the my business brand.
We are happy but heartbroken anytime we see or remember each other, but know someday, we will heal.
Sisi still remains my friend, and THE WIFE I NEVER HAD.
………… THE END ………