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Ade's Journal Part 6

Ade's Journal Part 6
My Valentine & The Elegance Of A Clean Breakup

Ade's Journal Part 5

Ade's Journal Part 5
My Scrumptious Valentine Kiss

Ade's Journal Part 4

Ade's Journal Part 4
A Scorpion is not a Lobster

Ade's Journal Part 3

Ade's Journal Part 3
My Insane Week Before Valentine

Ade's Journal Part 2

Ade's Journal Part 2
He Had The Guts To Come Back

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Friday, 4 March 2016

Dust Marbles Play My Heart


       Dust Marbles Play My Heart, like a broken string on an age old harp. Snow flames taste bitter sweet, from a sky coughing up frozen ice syrup so strange it makes me hiccup. Just watch me tip my hat, like rock shaves tilted and stuck on an over priced wall, never to return to the cold wilderness of the hills on the Adamawa planes.
   My epic love battle, echoes the Love raging triangle of the diety of old Oya, Sango and Ogun. As they fight, just to be the next royalty whose linage will reign supreme for all eternity. Waiting for an endgame, thrust down by Loving Sun rays of time captured forever.
   Sweating profusely......
      .... all the while missing you, robust and mine, as I plum up and just smile. The layers come off easily, now, my love. Because with you, my dear dear friend,
I can only sleep like a baby by your side. Until I am yanked away from bliss, dumped between one, not two of the men I have sworn to love at different intervals. I blink and an assault of flaming raging winged beasts race towards me. I scream and try to see if I can recognize my assailant. The normally peaceful birds attack as I know now what they are. A rabid flock of pigeons peck at my face.

     I wake up, shielding my face and slapping every last bird attacking my beautiful chocolatey brown caramel face. I didn't want anything damaging my monalisa precious face. I scream and stand up and realized I was dreaming.
   I exhale hard and just sit comatose on my bed. For a moment I actually thought my eyes were open. I was exhausted from fighting and reached under my pillow for my Bible. I realized I didn't even own one.
 How am I supposed to fend off bad dreams when I can't even remember what I own or don't?
   The loud bang from my door jolts me out of my drowsy state and I flick open my eyes and jump off my bed. I grab my torchlight and point it at my door.
'Who is it?'
I massaged my nose and sniffed in hard, so I would be wide awake and listen. At first I hear nothing and the hear everything.

It's a lie.

     I could not believe my ears, what was Frank doing, banging my door at? I search for my phone, found it and touched the side button. Two a.m. What degree of foolishness will drive Frank to disturb me at this ungodly hour?
   He continued to bang at my door and I just stood there, what am I supposed to do?
I walk towards the door and look out of the window. He was angry and slamming his entire body on my door. Any minute now, and it will break into pieces.
      Damn those old school flush doors, just a frame of cardboard light wood. I calculated
 the cost of fixing the door and going to work with my front door wide open and decided to stop this rubbish.
'What is strong with you?'
    I heard myself and hoped Ajokes poor English tenses were not robbing off me already. So I correct myself.
'Frank, what is wrong with you? Do you want to break my door?'
     As I opened it, I was a bit confused, there was no one there and outside was pitch dark and quiet. I look at my torch light and realize in my hand was a porcelain lady playing the piano. The door was almost broken alright but I had been responsible. I stood for a while, not sure what the heck was going on.
    Then I remember. As a child, I used to sleep walk, once in a while. But, kudos to Cele church, they helped me get rid of it. I think, now, it was back. I didn't want to go back to the white garment church. I am currently fighting too many spiritual battles and I just didn't want to go to that realm. Not just yet.
    So I carefully drop the porcelain and pinch myself hard, until it hurts and I shout. Eh Hehn, now I know, I'm wide awake.

     I look at the time, it's six thirty. If I don't jump in the bathroom now, now. I'll be late.
I rush and get ready and then start my car, it didn't budge. I checked the oil, everything and nothing worked. I am late.
I change to one and a half inch shoes then decide to take extra flats, just in case. I was right. The friday traffic to work was crazy. And I barely got to work on time.

    As I enter the office compound, I sighed and stretch backwards. Then realized, I was in leather slippers and changed to corporate shoes. I walk in and my boss is waiting.
'Good morning Mr....'
'My office, now'
I froze, did he just talk to me like that?
I frowned and was about to protest but he was gone. I hurried after him and spent one hour defending all my marketing expense and showing him, how much I brought into the company from January to this first week of March. It didn't end there, I had to compile a list of ten people from my department who did not bring anything to the company this past year or upgrade their education and qualifications. Three hours in, exhausted and hungry he stopped and compared my ten names to his ten names.

'Impressive, you are not biased in anyway'
I nod my head and shivered, two of the names on the list were my friends and the third the security guard that updated me on things happening in the office.
'Now, I have told HR that you are holding a meeting by twelve, so...'
I nod and stand up.
My boss was smiling, enjoying this. He has set me up to be the villian for today and I had no choice.
'Oh, Ade. Before you go, the board of directors have a new monthly policy, starting next week... Since we have not had one this year'.
  I left the door handle and faced him.
'All marketing and PR..  must bring in at least fifty percent of their three months target'.
'Hehn, but that is ridiculous. We all know that the price of oil has fallen and the dollar has spiked from one hundred and fifty to almost three hundred and fifty Naira'.
'Sounds like an excuse to me, there is always opportunity out there, find it'.
And he opens a file and starts to write and sign documents. I made a face at him and stopped in time because he looked up. I smile and quickly leave his office.

   The conference room is filled to the brim and my two friends were shaking and try to talk to me. I put on a straight face and move to the front. I look at my time, it was not yet noon.
'Good morning everyone, trust you are all good'.
I look up, far into the crowd and back to the front.
'...Change is inevitable and no matter how loyal you are, in the work force... Only results and output matters. Our Lagos branch has been the only one in Nigeria with its workforce intact... But today it all changes, and ten of you are leaving today. The rest of us are not safe because in one week there will be another evaluation. It is in three phases....'

    I exhale hard and put on a straight face. 'One, if you have upgraded your professional course in the last six months, you are safe....'
Some people nod their heads and others are in shock.

'...Two, if you have delivered on your three months target. You are safe...'
'Where are we supposed to find hundreds of millions of Naira in this country?', one staff yelled from the back.

'The final and third stage is a new one, the three months target has been moved to one month and if you meet fifty percent of that, you are safe'.

    I heard everyone grumble and complain.
'Na to find another job, be that', one of the junior staff lamented. He was one of the ten on the list.
   It prompts everyone to grumble and shout and I raise my hand.

'There is more... By next week if we don't deliver, then this office will not exist...'

   I know what you are thinking, that I am instigating violence. I am not, I understand the Nigerian one-man business scenario. Yes we have board of directors but we are a one-man business, servings special niche of clients. Our life line are politicians and in this regime, where expenses have trickled to almost a halt. We may not survive or exist by the time the Naira stabilizes.
   There was so much more I could add, like.
I have been here before and would have appreciated it if I was told the truth as plainly as I have just put it. No sucking up or trying to please anyone can save this business. We need to start job hunting and fast. But I restrain myself and listen to the questions pour out.

'What about our salaries? At least pay us before we go'. She said wiping tears from her face, she was not in denial.
'You will all get alerts before you go home....
Thank you, that will be all'.

   Most of them did not leave and bombarded me with more questions.
'Am I on the list?'
My friend asked and I nodded.
'Where is this list self?'
I handed it to my friend and they pass it round.

       I retreat to my office, sat down and massaged my forehead.
Knock, knock.
'Come in.'
    It was my friend, she's better off than the rest on the list. Her husband works in an oli servicing company unlike the others who are on their own.
'So, what am I supposed to do? I've worked here for fifteen years, did my industrial training here and now....'
I watched her cry and cry.
'Don't worry, just find another way...'
'Where, how?'

   My phone beeped and I checked.
Thank God, my salary had entered my account. Her phone beeped and she looked at it and shook her head.
'My children's school fees ooo...'
'But you are not alone...'
'My husband lost his job...'
'Are you serious, you didn't tell me...'
'We were hoping he will get another contract job... But it never came'.

  It seems we were not that close after all,
I made a call and dropped the phone.
'HR wants to see you, right away.'
She stood up and left, I had to get her going because I had to work and strategize. In this jungle, anything can happen.

   A soft knock and my boss entered.
'Did I forget to give you the file on...'
He raised his hand and stopped me, I knew he was upset but did not know why.
'Why did you tell my staff that we were shutting down?'
'I told them to act or we would be shutting down..'
'You misinformated them..'
'I did not sugar coat this, we both know what happens in situations like this'.
'You know, I should have made my move on you looking ago'

See me see trouble o. From where now? That is not appropriate on any level.
'But if it is not Frank, it's Mr. H'
'How did he know?
'You are much stronger than you look, you know. And now you are ambitious, a far cry from that content little girl that joined us....'

Wetin dey happen? I did not like this one bit.

'I actually thought you would jump on the opportunity and marry Frank. Only for Lara to say he married Khadijatu...'

     I heard but I was not sure, what the busy body was trying to say.

'I even thought you were there, but I got the pictures...'
'Oga, I don't like this one bit. How is any of this my business?'
'Oh, it's a very big deal because this...'
He handed me the pictures and I didn't pick it up. .
'..is going to court'

   I picked it up and stare at it. Maybe my eyes were deceiving me. It looks like a court wedding, of my two former best friends, Khadijatu looked happy and Frank the same.
I shivered and try to compose myself.
'Why?', it was not the question I planned to ask but it popped out just like that. You cannot imagine my state of mind. This was my ex fiance and best friend.. Former best friend. It was just last week we were laughing about this man, this Frank. Why did she rush to marry him? Why so soon? And why the heck is my boss throwing this in my face?

I know, Frank's ex wife is his cousin but what is my own in all this? Eh? See me see trouble o. I look at my boss and he is looking at me.

'The reason i want you to know what is going on... Is because..'

My boss looks tired and exhausted, I could tell he did not like this one bit, this awkward situation. But how do you think, I feel?

'....Because Frank never divorced Lara and this marriage is null and void'. My boss said the words and waited, it was like he was expecting a reaction.

I swallowed and asked.
'Again, how is any of this my business?'
'You will be called to testify of course in the...'

    I snapped my finger over my head and around my entire being.
'Err, over my dead body, over my dead body. Testify where? Only God in heaven will judge you and your family members... And Oga if you insist on this, I will report you to HR. You are harassing me and acting very unprofessional. What is it? This is a work environment, not some gossip column and we have more to worry about than to worry about who is marrying who...'
I hissed, smacked my lips and stood up from my chair. He looked at me and then quietly left my office.

 Nonsense and ingredients.

I pace around my office and talk to myself.
'Agbaya, busy body. His cousin sent him and he was stupid enough to come and meet me. Errrr, in fact, HR will hear of this. Enough is enough.'

I was fuming and angry.

'What kind of useless person is this Khadijatu? The girl is desperate and just foolish'.

I truly, did not see this coming.

   My phone viberates then rings and I look at the screen, it's Mr. H calling. I pick it up.
'Hey 'Ade how are you doing?'
'Great, just great'
'Oh, oh...'

    I must sound like a broken record, always making my down time about Frank. So I do the most logical thing to do, deflect and tell him, some of what is happening.
'I sacked two of my only friends at work. And the only security guard that is friendly..'
'Really, I thought your branch was immune?'
'It looks bad, really bad, I mean I had to defend for hours. My value to this company.. '
'So where can we meet? You need a break...'
'I took a bus to work, my car is down...'
'I'd come and get you'

 I looked around at my office and shake my head. 'Not again'.
How would I start all over again? I am about to leave, when I spot the pictures on my table. I grab it and strut out of the office, some staff had gathered around the other sacked employees and I quickly remove my face. I can't deal with that right now, I have a lot on my plate.

    Outside I see Mr. H trying to park and stop him, ' 'Abeg, no park'.
I covered my mouth, I did not know I was shouting. Quietly I enter and hug him.
'Sweety, please, before they all come out. Drive, drive....'
Mr. H laughs and shakes his head and I strap on the seatbelt.
'You will not believe the kind of day I have had.. '
'And I thought I had brightened your day', he had on the warmest smile and I tucked my head in his arm.
'Better, you look gorgeous'
'Thanks dear and you dressed down...'
He was in a T-shirt and khaki pants.
'Golf, I am inviting you'
'Uhh uh uh, uhh uh uh', I was dancing.
'...I am going to a golf course. Nice...'
Mr. H laughed.
'You are in a good mood'
I was waving my face with the picture and gave it to him.

'No',  Mr. H could not believe his eyes.
'Yes o, they did it'
'Khadijatu  didn't'
'She did and my boss threw this in my face... Can my boss and Lara force me to testify?'
'What? To what? No way'
'I told him and I will take this up with HR, first thing tomorrow morning'.

   I look back at my office, pray that none of my colleagues show up before we leave.
'Oyaya, let's go, fast fast, quick quick'.
Mr. H drove away from my office and now after hours of stress, I relax.
'Well, it's a good thing he told you of their plan'
'Why, he did it to destabilize me and get me all worried. I don't even know where to get a lawyer. Do I go to Ikeja high Court and make enquiries?'
'Well, no need, I do play with a couple of SAN's...'
'Eh, Senior Advocates of Nigeria? Real-life experienced, matured fine specially brewed lawyers? See levels, yes. Tell them o. No one is messing with me now I am with Mr. H'.

  Mr. H was laughing hard now.
'The best way to win is to be prepared...'.
I clapped and tilted my head.
'Uhh uh uh, uhh uh uh', I was dancing again.
'Before I forget, Bala said I should give you...'. Mr. H opened the glove compartment and handed me two cd's. I look at it and drop them in my bag.
'Did I ever tell you that I used to sleep walk as a child'
'No... Do you still..'
'...I think so, I woke up trying to break my own door'
'That is serious'
'I'm kind of worried...'
'It's perfect'
'I have been trying to get you to sleep in my house all month. Now you have no choice...'.
'No but's. You would not bring it up if you are not worried'
'I am'
'Or you don't want to?'

  I massaged his short thick full golden brown and black mane, it was just like an alpha lion's. He was watching me and waiting for an answer.
'I do, that's why I mentioned it'
He kissed the back of my hand and I totally forgot what we were talking about.

''Ade, 'Ade..'
I woke up and watched Mr. H.
'Are you awake?'
I stretch and look around, a bit unsure of where I was.
'We can go home...'
I shake my head as it all starts to sink in.
'No, I want to play golf'
I had never and I was not going to pass up this opportunity. One hour later and I was tired and sipping Chapman and watching him play golf.
  I got bored and whipped out my mini laptop to play Bala's first wedding CD.  

   Young Bala in his babanriga looked happy and there were so many guests. It looks like at least thirty of his family members and twenty dignitaries are present. Wow, that is a lot. I get out my notebook and start to write out the names as they are introduced. He actually has seven siblings, one surviving step mother and his mother. All his brothers were past politicians and farmers. His friends were old primary and secondary school mates and university and work colleagues. He did not loose touch with any of them and knew their full names.
    I was impressed, this was the first time I ever had to remember names of all the guest at a party, ever. It was exhausting but I knew I had to get this right. After all, the office job maybe gone by the time Ajoke and Bala get married. I see a young fully black haired Mr. H, with a chubby looking beautiful young woman, she can't keep her eyes off Bala and is really impressed by the party.

    Mr. H squeezed my shoulder and brought me back to the present. I squeezed his hand and removed the earpiece from my ears. He looks at my laptop screen and claps his hand.
'Hey that's Stella my ex....'
I smile.
'Don't let her innocent face deceive you. She was a wonderful pretender with her eyes on Bala'
He signalled and the waiter brought him fresh Chapman with loads of ice cubes.
'Bala was in fresh money and just bought his first fish trawler... He impressed me by blocking all her advances'
'How did you two meet?'
'We attended the same secondary school, boarding house. I got in on scholarship and my parents could not afford to visit or send money, Bala's were generous'
'They were not stinking rich, his father was a civil servant and his mother ran a small poultry business. I enjoyed the fresh eggs'
'That's nice. My mum too had a poultry, hers were turkey. I remember one died of snake bite. But the others fetched good money'
'You never told me that...'
'I miss my parents but I try to visit when I can'
'We will see them soon'
I smiled, the last time I took a guy home. They expected us to get married and I swore I would not take anyone home.
'You don't want me to meet your parents', he was disappointed.
'It's not that, but they are traditional. If I show up with you they would think there is a wedding, our wedding'
''Ade, I want to marry you and take you home now. But, this your ex matter is serious'
   I relax in my chair and fiddle with my straw and ice cubes in the sea of Chapman.
'I understand but he is now married...'
'To your friend and your boss is insisting you show up to some case...'
'We can't keep giving him this power to control what happens to us...'
'It's not power, it's healing'

Okay, put yourself in my shoes. What am I supposed to do. If I take him home now and this does not work out, is it fair? Fair on my poor parents especially my mother. Her blood pressure got worse when I was left hanging at the altar. All the past and ongoing gossip about their daughter. I don't even want to think about it. But Mr. H would not let this go and I would have to cushion the effect positively or negatively to my folks. Prepare their shock absorbers.

   After all blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall never be disappointed.
  I know it's a horrible way of thinking but I need to be prepared and to prepare my parents you know.

'And I believe you are well on your way out of that office'
'You mean Bala's job offer...'
'It's a massive opportunity...'
'But it's a one off...'
'Nothing is one off with Bala, if you pass his test he will recommend you for more jobs'
'So how many does he have?'
'How many what?'
'Ten, I think... I'm not sure'
'My goodness. How?'
'Bala is attentive to business and monitors his cash flow meticulously'
'How come you didn't offer me a job?'
'Because I can't be objective when dealing with you'
I chuckled, and half the club members turn to me.
'Oh, oh I am getting hungry o. Please, please let's order some suya. Mostly kidney and some beef suya'
'Nothing else?'
'That's all I feel like eating tonight...'
'I want more than suya tonight'
I giggle and then look at Mr. H, tonight was going to be epic.

I can't wait....

**Season 1, Episode 11**
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Adebusola Ukayat Elegbede is a Playwright and Content creator with a passion for real life challenges. Born in Kaduna state and lives in Lagos Nigeria, she has a passion for story telling from the perspectives of characters in conflicting situations. I started out on the New Writing Project in Nigeria with the British Council Lagos Nigeria and The Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square U.K. My passion for creating stories led to comic books, television drama's and an online journal on my website (busolaelegbede.com). As part of the WPIC in Stockholm Sweden 2012, the experience has forged life long friends and ignited my passion as a volunteer and advocate for human rights and the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Follow @Busola Elegbede