Drama IV: Numbers
DRAMA IV: NUMBERS
In the next months that followed, I tried not to think of Obi at all. What I did was to open a superstore somewhere in the suburbs of Surulere – and bury myself into the business of running it. It was not instantly successful; as supermarket business was not as easy as I imagined it would be. After three months of no headway, I decided to take a break and travelled out of the country, visiting Dubai and Paris on a spy mission. I took notes of some of the buying cultures I observed and came back home to Lagos with a comprehensive plan of action.
After looking over my inventory carefully, I realized where the leaks were coming from. Everything – from the colors of the walls to the arrangement of the display was off. It wasn’t working. Somehow, I had contrived to create a store that looked like a gaudy cabaret palace. Another huge lesson was that it was better to stock quality than quantity; buy tastefully stylish and expensive stuff as opposed to colorful cheap ones. In other words, start small but elaborate.
I started all over again, patiently, like a mother weaning a baby, and after two months and three days my shop was ready again.
I decided to hold a small opening party and formally re-open the place. It paid off. The first day out I sold all the bags and scarves and shoes and almost all the dresses, collecting cash on almost all the sales. Within a week I had my account sheets balanced out and I was ready for another trip out of the country. I was totally devoted to the success of the store – and I did not have time for distractions. Ekiti, Obi and the girls became nothing more than a distant memory…something that only came up once in a while. I was good. Or so I told myself.
After a hugely successful and busy year, I had to take some time off. I had been running myself ragged; I greatly needed some away time. I had two girls in the store and I trusted them. Several times I had left the store for them to tend, and I had even sent one; Nonso, to Dubai once before. The store would be fine. So one weekend I took off to Calabar to see Tinapa for the first time.
It was everything I’d heard and more. Though it was expensive to be there, it was worth every dime and for the next two weeks I forgot everything about stores and shopping – I forgot everything that had ‘worry’ attached to it. As much time as I spent at the gym, I put on some weight particularly around the hip area. It was good for my ego, because I noticed some hottie hunks staring at my butt several times. I hadn’t had time for romance in a long while, but I was still a fully functional female. I needed a man.
So I toyed idly with the idea of picking up a random stranger and shagging him for the night. What did I have to lose?
So thinking, I headed to my room to soak in a Hollywood movie-esq bath, complete with bathing salts and all kinds of lotions. I soaked myself in the bath for minutes, just relaxing and anticipating. When I finished I took my time to get dressed, wearing some sexy underwear and a loose dress. The idea was to look casual, classy…I wanted to look good and I did.
I headed to the bar to scope out my options, and was barely settling in when I noticed a couple seated to the far right. They had their heads together, laughing quietly and I looked away feeling as though I was intruding. But something dragged my stare back to them – and then I couldn’t look away again. I don’t know which one I found most upsetting – the fact that the guy was Obi; my Obi or the fact that the girl he was laughing with was Yewande.
I jejely stood up and made my way back to my room, hoping I wasn’t spotted. That evening – in fact that entire trip was ruined for me. I took the first available flight to Lagos out of the Margaret Ekpo airport the following morning, heart heavy as cold eba. Would I ever get over this guy? And then; he and Yewande?!
It played in a loop; over and over again in my head.
That was barely three months ago. This morning I got a call from Igho, a friend from school I had stayed in touch with asking me to come save her from her abusive husband. When I got there…
Obi was waiting.