In Lagos, the city that never sleeps, time was everything. Everyone found a way to be busy, pacing around, doing one bidding or the other. At the same time, it is known to provide the best opportunity for basically anything and everyone. A city characterized with unending road jams, crazy transport system, noisy nooks and cranny, and of course frustrated inhabitants. Above it all, it was a beautiful nest for as many lovers as possible.
It was 8pm already. The exact time of the day for B&B food factory entertained lovers with the best steak in the whole of Lagos. Not only was the restaurant beautiful, it was notable for the best customer service, of any restaurant around. And just like in any restaurant in the world, the drama never ends. Every day, there were auspicious dates; breakup, make up, proposal, contract deliberations. All came in different pockets and shapes.
"What could be taking him so long?"
Anything could make anyone late to a special date. Its Lagos, everyone is believed to be unbalance. Besides, since businesses close by 6pm; movement by road can as well be considered as “the battle of troy”.
Mitchell kept adjusting her wine flair gown decorated with lovely floral petals design. She signals to a waiter, who keeps smiling like someone that won a lottery.
“Excuse me, can I get another glass?" She was beginning to get very nervous.
“The number you’ve dialed is unreachable” was the response she got after several attempts of calling him. And just as expected, the frustration was crawling up her sleeves.
"But what’s taking him so long,” she thought to herself as she kept checking the time.
It was 9:15 already, and Jeff was never late to any appointment. She couldn’t seem to get a hang of herself. He had called her hurriedly that morning.
"Good morning beautiful. I have something very important to tell you. Let's meet where we had our first date”.
For a hopeless romantic, Jeff did a lot before he could get Mitchell’s indifferent heart. But, in two years, she stood no chance against his charms. He was attentive, had the right words and most of all very meticulous. There were a bunch of things she admired about him like his bravery. We never plan for a lot of things. Sometimes, love just happens and all we get to do is move along with it.
You remember how they say you know love at first sight? Theirs was not the normal Hollywood where both parties accidentally collide; books fall to the ground and maintain eye contact for three minutes. It was nothing like the contemporary love meets. In contrast, it required a bold step. The sands of time could bear witness to the clash of temperaments.
Jeff never failed to tell Theo about how he found his amazing love with Mitchell over drinks once. Today, he was going to recount the story in style.
”She stepped into the banking hall that afternoon, and joined the queue like every other person. While I sat in the waiting room, trying to sort out my account malfunction with the customer care attendant. Everyone could sense the change in atmosphere, when she started giving a random dude some intellectual insult. And trust me, she had and awesome way of dishing out a piece of her mind.” Jeff started that day.
"How dare you touch me? What nonsense? You’re such a pervert? You deserve to be castrated”. He continued, mimicking Mitchell.
”With a voice as subtle and commanding as hers, she had the attention of the banking hall. What everyone could see was her rage. All I could see was how her hair fluttered in different directions. It felt like an Indian movie remake. Kathrin Kaif couldn’t act this scene any better, even if she wanted to."
“Dammmmmmnnnnnnn…” Theo remarked with a thrilling smile.
“Dude that’s not all," Jeff paused to continue his love tale.
"Trust me naw, as warri lawyer wey I be, I took charge of the situation”. Theo and Jeff burst into laughter.
” What did you do?” Theo inquired with a big smile. He was so engrossed and thrilled, he couldn’t hide his excitement.
"I walked up to her and said, pretty lady let me handle it. Trust me, Theo, I regretted that statement. She just blew me off with a disgusting stare. But I didn’t let it get to me. I turned to the accused and give him several offences he could be charged for. Thankfully, an average Nigerian fears what he doesn’t know, especially when “Kirikiri” pops up. He just went on his knees and started pleading. I was so cool with myself. I was expecting the American ‘thank you’ with a peck on the cheek or at least a name and number.” He threw his hands in the air visibly tipsy; he brought his hands to his chest to knot his tie.
“And, let me guess, she totally ignored you,” Theo suggested with a mouth ready to explode with laughter.
Jeff just resorted to get a glass of 1885 Baltimore Shardon, his favorite, and he continued to knot his tie.
"She just looked at me and said, I could handle it, but you just had to throw your weight around. Then she stormed out angrily. But as fate would have it, her complimentary card dropped from her bag".
"The rest is history," Jeff said with a smirk on his face. Jeff takes a look at the time.
“It is 6:30pm already, dude, you caused this” Jeff said with a slight frown.
“And you know today is special!” Jeff exclaimed.
Theo scoffs “my bad bro, I was just engrossed in the gist.” Theo apologized.
Jeff was a very composed young man. He was slow to anger and of all things hated keeping anyone waiting. Like the popular saying, if you want it, you have to put a ring on it. Jeff was going to propose at dinner. He went to a jewelry store where he got the jeweler to remake his dad’s ring. He stepped out into the lonely garage. He got jumped and before he knew it. It was lights out.
"Doctor! Doctor!! Doctor!!! We have an emergency,” the nurse called as they rushed a patient in to the hospital.
"Rush him down to the ICU immediately. I need the report for the patient."
“His wallet says Jeff Coker and his phone has been buzzing all the way here,” an eye witness related.
"Please, call the last caller on his phone and explain what happened," the doctor implored.
Mitchell decided to call Theo, since Jeff wasn’t picking, after waiting for close to two hours at the restaurant.
Theo was as confused as she was.
"He left the house well over three hours ago," he kept saying to an inattentive Mitchell.
Just as she stepped out of the restaurant to get a cab home, her phone rang. She angrily ignored when she saw the caller ID. Jeff should know better than to try to apologize for keeping her waiting for 2 hours. Her phone rang for the tenth time.
"Hello, I don’t ever want to see or talk to you again," was all she said before ending the call.
Tears started to race down her cheeks, the caller called again. In the moment when she was the weakest, Theo broke the news that Jeff was in the hospital. She felt like running mad. She took off her heels and wig as she hassled the cab driver to the hospital.
“Quickly, take me to St Augustus memorial hospital.” She screamed with a feeble voice
Theo was standing at the hospital counter when she arrived. Then it dawned on her, she couldn’t handle the way her heart felt like jumping out of its chamber. And just out of curiosity she asked Theo with a shaking voice, like a bird drenched in rain.
“What did Jeff want to tell me so badly?”
Theo took a deep breath and said,
"He wanted to propose to you. They found it in his wallet." He reached into his pocket and brought out the ring.
She was trying to piece it all together when the doctor intruded the moment of truth with very disheartening news.
“Which of you are his relative?”
“We both are.” They both chorused.
"Well, we did all we could, but we lost him unfortunately. Please, accept my condolences." The doctor stated to them in his office.
At that moment everything stopped. She felt the cold that gripped her feet push the buttons on her shared memories with her heartthrob. Tears seized, wailing stopped, her heart felt pierced with a 12’ inch tornado nail, her body lost strength, her mouth resist the urge to scream. It felt like the death of her. All she could think of was the words of the Italian painter; “life takes the most unexpected turns, just trust to have the right map guide”. She literally slumped into unconsciousness, with her eyes wide open.
A matron just stitched up the patient’s head in the ward next to the ICU.
"Sorry ehn, make sure you take your drugs oh, how will you get home now? This is Lagos oh, be careful next time. She cautioned.
"Matron what happened to this fine bobo?” One of the nurses inquired.
“Ahh! My dear, he was robbed just as he was about getting into his car. The thief must have used gun to hit his head. But he is okay now."
"Thank you, Ma" was all Jeff could muster to the lousy matrons.
He was about to leave when an officer came in to cross check the report from the witness. The officer follows the doctor into the ICU to confirm the identity of the deceased
“Officer, you’re sure this is a criminal? His ID card says otherwise.” doctor inquired.
“Well, turns out the person lying on your hospital bed is a fugitive” officer Ray continued.
Apparently, a convicted criminal who broke out of jail was the patient rushed in earlier. He’s been out in the wind for three days. And he has been tailing Jeff the whole day. Robbing his car and impersonating Jeff to commit a crime felt like the perfect revenge plan. After all, Jeff was one of the reasons why he was locked up. That bloody barrister. But, the Big G had other plans.
Jeff was assisted out of the ward. He entered the reception. He stood numb before what he saw. Standing right there are the people he wanted to see the most. With mouths left opened wide. Shock enveloped the room.
They embraced each other.
“Fate is overwhelming”. And once again two lovers reconnect in the most auspicious conditions.
...happiness is found in the most unexpected places, tranquil situations and unflinching faces