I looked myself up in the mirror while putting finishing touches to my light make up. I turned around to check out myself one more time when I was done and deep inside me I say thank you to my maker who wonderfully made a tall, slim, fair, set and beautiful woman out of me. Like my friends use to tease God actually took his time when creating me.
I checked my Casio Ladies digital wrist watch. I have 10minutes left to leave the house. I hurriedly put on my Christian Dior sling back heels. I use my finger to move the elastic sling to the back of my ankle. I did same for the second foot. All suit up and ready for work, I wore Calvin Klein’s forbidden Euphoria perfume and left my room. Then I bumped into my Mum”
“Watch out young woman!”
“Sorry….Good morning mum”
“Otutuoma (Good Morning)my darling. Hmm.. looking good as always”
“Thanks mum” I said flashing my white dentition.
“Set for work?”
“Yes mum. You?”
“Today is teacher’s day, I won’t be leaving the house until 10am we have a small get together in school”
“Happy teacher’s day Mummy. You are the best teacher in the whole wide world”
I hugged her. I’m not flattering her, that’s the truth and all her students adores her.
“Thank you my darling”
“And thanks for everything you taught me mum. Academically, morally, mentally socially, spiritually and all”
“I’m glad you never throw them into thrash nwa(child). Look at you, you’ve grown into a fine and independent woman”
“All thanks to you Mum. Now, I need to run”
“I made scrambled eggs and toast” She informed.
“For me! is it because today is teacher’s day? What happens to your ‘you don’t cook, you don’t eat rule’
“Let’s say I’m celebrating teacher’s day” She smiled.
“Oh! I’ll pack it, thanks. Bye Mum, see you in the evening” I said and gave her a side hug.
“Ka e mesia (good bye)” she replied.
I took my car keys and left the house. I turned on the ignition of my Toyota avensis and zoomed out. As the clinical data manager of one of the the top ten pharmaceutical company in the world, I had a major role to play in the company. Chemochezzy Pharm is a household name in Nigeria and all over the world, owned by a foreigner.
Fortunately for me, I got the job based on merit, no connection, nothing. I was promoted 10 months after I joined the company with a six digit basic salary and jumbo allowances. I was passionate with my job. With my second class upper I never thought I could get the job when graduates with first class also applied for the job. Although, I already had my masters degree before I got the job.
Fortunately for me at the interview stage, I won the hearts of the Interviewers.
My job was so demanding that I hardly had time to run personal business like some of my friends. I went through trainings, I just concluded a program that got me certified by the Clinical data management. I’m currently running another professional course.
The competition here in the company is very high. So you have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, I mean work hard. You have to keep up with standard certification if you want to stay afloat, have the top post and be relevant in the pharmaceutical industry at large. I willing to do all this because I love what I do, I love my job. I have big dreams. I want to be a consultant so I plan on starting my PhD soon. There are heights I want to achieve.
In few years time I see my self as the minister for health at state level and more. Like I said I have a big dreams and I have to add value to myself, so I need all the necessary qualifications in case opportunity presents itself in the future.
My mum had two large stores in the house, she gave me one of the stores while she used the other to run her supermarket. I just opened a very big pharmaceutical store which is really thriving well but it is solely run by mum, because I don’t have the time. Since I have enough money, My mum we never allow me leave alone till I get married and the truth is that if she allow me, I can’t leave her too. We only have each other. I decided to invest with my money. I also bought shares in the company.
I have a meeting that morning by 9:00am. I drove into my personal parking space. It was labeled CDM (Clinical data manager) I walked into the company using the Head of departments elevator. I stepped into the elevator tagged HODs only.
Click.. I was already on the 5th floor which lead directly to my office. My secretary stood up immediately she sighted me and walked up to me. She helped me with my hand bag and laptop bag.
“Good morning ma”
“Good morning Silver”
I stepped into my office settled down and prayed briefly. I checked the time I still have less than an hour to brush over my presentation. I had done my homework well and can’t afford to fumble. The CEO and the board of directors which consists of whites are all going to be present at the meeting. I had to give my best.
My secretary was still standing in front of me. “Anything?”
“Your schedule ma.. ”
“Cancel all my schedule for the day” I cut in. You of all people know how long the executives meeting takes. Only God knows when I’ll come back into this office today.
“I understand ma”
“Once you notice it’s getting late and I’m not yet back, just go home so it won’t be like the last time”
“ I’ll wait for you ma”
“If it’s fine with you” I said and dismissed her.
Let me use this spare time to introduce myself. My name is Crystal Monachisom Ejiofor. I’m 27 years old. Ejiofor is my mum’s maiden name. I answer my maternal grandfather’s name. I’m the only child of my mother. Well if you are wondering about my father, he doesn’t exist at least to me.
He abandoned my Mum 28 years ago after putting her in the family way. It was later my mum discovered he had a family, a wife and a kid. She played and fooled my mother. He denied ever knowing my mum and denied my paternity. She took up the responsibility. Thank God she has a stable job. She teaches in a federal government secondary school and never married till date.
At 26 she was already a single mother who gave up her bright future for me. I never met him in person my I mum only she’s e pictures. He tried, he’s handsome no wonder he was able to sweep my mum off her feet. My mum is beautiful and fair even at age 53. I took after her, the only difference is that I’m tall while she’s average height and I’m very sure I took after that apologetic father of mine. Men still made advances at her even at her age. From the landlords in our estate, her school principal even some divorcee and widower in the church. They all wanted her for a wife.
The knocked on my door brought me back to the present. It was my secretary, she brought in a cup of coffee.
I was elated by my daughter’s words this morning, I’m glad she appreciated everything I’ve done for her.
I was initially scared that my past will affect her as regarding relationships, but hell no. I thought she will hate the male folks although I made sure I never gave her any negative impression about men. The men we have around us are good ones and she knew she can’t generalise because of her father. I always let her know there are great men out there.
She only had one childhood male friend in the neighborhood, Zite. They also attended same University.
Crystal shocked me when she gained admission into the University. By the time she got to 200l she already had six close male friends. Jayamma, to Dume, Somadina, Fesochukwu, Onochie and Zite. she has two female friends one Yoruba, Enitan and the other hausa, Hauwa by name. My daughter is a true Nigerian she can make friends with any tribe though she wish she had a Igbo female friend too. But she doesn’t just make friends, rather she chose her friends.
My daughter’s friends made me forget I has just one child, I see myself as a mother of 9 children because they treat me as their mother. They are all good children who came from good homes, I was privileged to meet some of their parents.. They eat, sleep here, hold their fun-filled get together here at my place. During their undergraduate days, they are always around, they even cook and help with the house chores.
Out of all the six guys, I know Crystal is dating one of them, I tried to know who among them she was dating but I couldn’t place it. She treats them all equally to my face, but I always see flowers and cards in her room, which means she’s with someone. She’s very secretive when It comes to her relationship but other aspect, she’s open like a book even to her friends. Three of the guys are engaged that reduces the list of my guesses . Leaving me with the three other guys. Two is presently out of the country and the other one is here in Lagos but my daughter and him are cat and mouse. So who the guy is, I don’t know till now.
I made sure she had everything when she was growing up My daughter is a sweet girl right from childhood. I made sure her education was sound and fast, she was a brilliant girl so raising her wasn’t a problem for me.
I wanted her to get married early as my only child so I could see my grandchildren early enough but I can’t force her if she’s not ready. I will never push Crystal into marriage because I know it’s a life time contract. I can only pray and wait till the best man wins her over.
I had no other responsibilities than to take care of her. I only build a house where we are staying presently, we moved in while she was in few years ago. I also have a car, which I only change when it’s old. I determined not to marry, I dedicated my life to the upbringing my daughter and I’m proud of the woman I raised. A fine, refined and independent woman. I have a two spacious store in my house where I run a supermarket, I just converted the other store to a pharmaceutical store when my daughter got a job at the pharmaceutical company. She opened the pharmaceutical store but I run it. Infact she told me jokingly to funding it since she didn’t have the time. She uses her influence at the company to get drugs supplied on a regular basis.
She employed a pharmacist, a nurse and two sales attendant. And for the supermarket, I employed two sales attendant too. Now we have Six employees. 60 percent drug supply is from her company while 40 percent is from other pharmaceutical company. I was already preparing for my retirement, though I still have few years to go. And the business is doing great.
By 8:50am, I stepped out of my office and headed to the conference room. The meeting commenced by 9:00am on the dot. Two hours later, it was the turn for my department to present, 40 minutes later, I was through. And from the way I was applauded, it meant I did well. They also endorsed the new innovation I introduced. Which has to be solely implemented right away.
“Since she brought the innovation, I’m delegating her to Implement it. And I promise you something big if this pull through nicely” The CEO said.
“Is this really feasible, I know it’s a great innovation but will this increase the net profit of the company. This is business and the sole purpose is to make profit. All I can see here’s is the upgrade the quality and image of the company only” One of the directors who happens to be the CEO’s son spoke up”
“Like I said, let’s go ahead with the plan. We don’t have to be scared to take risk” The CEO concluded.
“Next is the quality control manager’s turn to present” The Moderator announced and the QC stepped in front of the projector for his presentation.
Like I envisaged the meeting didn’t end until 7pm with 30mins recess for every 4hours. During each break refreshment is served. A popular eatery’s service was employed to cater for our lunch. They serve everyone a pack of fried rice and full chicken and drinks. I was just taking drinks through out, I was too stressed out to eat.
I got back to my office, my secretary was still on her desk. I wondered why she was still around, she should have joined the staff bus. I had my laptop on one hand and the food pack on the other, she rushed to me and took them to my office while I followed her tiredly. I rarely eat at the meetings, I always bring the food for her, so she already knew that the food was for her.
“How was your presentation ma?”
“Awesome, I’ll gist you tomorrow, I’m tired right now and it’s late we should be out of here any minute from now”
“Now let’s move before I sleep off here” I said yawning.
She carried my laptop and handbags. I retrieved my car keys and left the office. I locked my office while Silver went to her desk to take her personal belongings too.
I normally drop her off since her bus stop is along my route.
Her hands were full, but I’m sorry I couldn’t help, infact I was too tired to walk not to talk of carrying anything. I’m sure she understood. She must have busied herself with movies on the system while I was stucked in the conference room being bombarded with questions from the board of directors.
I got home and went straight to my room. I took my bath, my mum left the supermarket to say hi.
“Good evening mum”
“Good evening, Welcome. How was your day?”
“Sorry, come downstairs and make your dinner”
“Huh! Mum I’m tired. I thought you’ll make dinner too since today is teacher’s day”
“If you are married with kids, will you expect me to come to your house to make dinner for your family? Get use to it my dear you are a woman”
“What ever happens to getting a housemaid”
“I didn’t train you with that. Did I”
“Mummy, you can go back to the store, I want to sleep” I said and kissed her on the cheek.
“You won’t eat?”
“Mummy I’m tired, I need good sleep”
“Let me warm stew and prepare semo for you” She said as she pitied my tired self.
“No o…. I want to sleep”
“Ok. Good night then”
“Good night Mummy” I said yawning.
I woke up around 11pm, I went to the kitchen to get something to eat. I prepared noodles and boiled egg. I ate right there in the kitchen and went back to bed.
I couldn’t wait for weekend to come, cos my work load for the week was something else. The new innovations made had to be implemented. I was hopping from NAFDAC to SON to FDA just to get approval on the new products.
At last it was Saturday, I didn’t wake up until 9:30am in the morning. My mum never helped me with my personal chores, despite the fact that she’s always home before 4:00pm. She doesn’t prepare breakfast and dinner. She will rather wait for me to come in the evening to cook for the both of us. We have no maid, no cook only the gateman who also clean the compound during the week while Mum and I joined him for the cleaning on Saturdays. I’m also responsible for his feeding too.
The sales girls at the supermarket often offer to help my mum but she always tell them not to bother that Crystal will do it. She had only one child and she want to make her independent. She is strict, principled, spiritual and loving at the same time. Trust me growing up wasn’t funny. She never spare the rod.
I went to the laundry room to do my laundry, I loaded my used clothes into the washing machine. I went back to my room. Cleaned my room and wash my bathroom and toilet until it’s sparkling clean. When I was through I went to the kitchen to make breakfast but luckily for me, mum made breakfast for me. I think she did that because of the stressful week I had.
After having breakfast, I went back to my room and had another round of sleep. I made sure I didn’t bring any office work home that very weekend. I needed a good rest.
By 4pm I dress up in summer print chiffon midi gown and wore a ankle strap sandals. I wanted to carry a beach bag but I changed my mind. I just took my purse and phone and left my room. I went downstairs and use the connecting door that linked from the compound into the supermarket.
“Hi girls” I said from behind and they looked at the back door.
“Aunty Crystal” They chorused. “Good evening ma”
Good evening” I replied them and asked after their well being.
I went to my mum’s desk and sat with her. She asked if I have enough rest and I told her I did and I feel refreshed.
I excused myself to check out the pharmaceutical store using the adjoining door that I linked the two stores together. That’s my own responsibility since that is my field. I checked out sales, the stocks and every other thing the s drew my attention too. _____________Toyin Taiwo
“Good evening ma”
“Crystal, at last you showed up. I thought you won’t come downstairs at all” Richard our pharmacist said.
“A good evening to you too” I countered.
“Good evening” He smiled.
“I had a stressed packed week. So I needed that rest” I informed.
“Huh….hope you rest well upstairs?”
“Yes I did, thanks. How are you going and how’s the stores?”
“I’m good and the store is doing well.
“Good to hear”
“Where’s Anty nurse” I asked.
“She’s in the inner room, she’s attending to someone”
One of the sales attendant walk up to me and submitted the list of unavailable drugs.
“Why are you giving me a hand written list, I remembered I corrected you the last time. There’s system here in the store, how many minutes will it take to type and print it out”
“I’m sorry ma, we’ve been very busy during the week”
“Really, maybe I’ll tell Mummy to employ one more staff, since your hands are full this days”
“Thank you ma” the two sales attendant replied happily.
“Bring the list. I’ll tell my secretary to type it. I’ll submit it at the company’s warehouse on Monday. The drugs will be supplied latest by Tuesday” I informed.
“Alright ma. Please ma I’d like to ask a question. I ask Mr Richard if he can produce drugs since he’s a pharmacist but he said he wasn’t train to produce drugs.
Why is that” She asked.
“He’s right. Pharmacist are highly trained to evaluate medication use; prepare and dispense medications and educate patients about those medications. Those who produce drugs are Pharmaceutical scientist. They are expertly trained to discover, develop, test and manufacture new medications” I explained.
“Now I get it, thank you ma. So you produce drugs?”
I smiled at the inquisitive sale rep. “It takes a team to produce drugs with long term research and I’m part of the team” I addressed.
“Now I understand, thanks”
“You’re welcome. Richard, I’ll see you some other time”
“Are you going out?”
“Ok enjoy your evening”
“You too, later”
I went back to the supermarket. I sat beside mum and told her I was going out with Zite.
“I thought he’s fiance is around”
“She left this morning”
“Oookay… because I still saw her yesterday. She came to the pharmacy”
(Car horns) “Mummy that would be Zite, bye….see you later. Kisses”
“Bye, have fun” She replied.
“I will, mum please make dinner for me” I winked.
“I don’t blame you, shebi I made breakfast, now you want dinner”
“You better eat out or else you are on your own” She said
“Just go troublesome girl”
I waved at her and the girls and left.
Crystal hopped into the car and flashed me a smile “Hi Zite”
“Hi dear” I said pecking her on the cheek.
“I’ve you heard from Bisi?” She asked referring to my fiance.
“Yea, she got back to Akure safely”
“Where’s mummy? Upstairs?” I asked.
“No, she is inside the supermarket”
“Let me say hi to her. I only pass by during the week hooting the car to greet her”
I alighted from the car and went into the supermarket.
“Good evening Mummy” I bowed in respect.
“Chukwuzitere! how are you my son?”
“I’m good ma. Trust you are doing great too?”
“Yes I am, I’m trying to cope with your friend’s wahala”
“Don’t mind her, don’t let her get to you” I said jokingly.
“I heard Bisi left this morning”
“Yes ma, she got back home safely”
“Thank God, your friend will be waiting, you guys should have fun ehn”
“We will. And tell her to eat out, I won’t make dinner for her o”
I just laughed, Mummy and her principles.
“Come back early with that your friend”
“Ok ma. Have a nice evening ma”
I will ma” I said smiling
I went back into the car, turned on the ignition and hit the road.
“How was your week?” I asked Crystal with my gaze fixed on the road.
“Aww…. Stressful, I don’t even want to talk about it, reason why I need to unwind this evening. Thank God for weekends” she replied.
“Yea, but someone said weekend are made in China that’s why they don’t last.
We both laughed at the so called discovery.
We got to the cinema and Crystal insisted we settle for Nollywood comedy. After seeing the movie, it was getting a bit dark, we decided to hang out at a suya joint.
We started chatting and gisting while eating our ordered suya and drinks.
“How’s the preparation going for the next picnic” I asked Crystal.
” Well, I’m on it, I just discovered of a very nice resort center here in Lagos, the place really make sense. I got to know the place through a colleague at work”
“Fine, let’s know if you need anything”
But seriously I enjoyed the last picnic we had at the beach, you guys killed it, I enjoyed myself”
“I did too but enough of beach picnic, we’ve been to the beach three times back to back. Let’s try this resort center I told you about”
I remembered the last beach party we heard it was full of fun, I love been around my friends, it’s never a dull moment with them.
The day of the picnic, I went to pick up the ladies Crystal’s place. They slept there overnight in order to prepare the refreshment we are taking along.
We were all presently except for two among of us that are outside of the country.
They were supposed to come but later changed their mind.
Our picnic activities that includes board games, truth or dare. We also share our personal problems and come up with solutions. The best part is the dance, you can dance with any of the ladies either she’s your woman or not. We are all free with each other
The ladies served us, small chops, appetizers before the main dish and trust me they are great cook no wonder the guys insisted they cook for us. I always thank God for having such people’s in my life. We all love each other unconditionally.
We assist each other. ____________________Toyin Taiwo
Hello o” Crystal’s voice jolted me back to my present world
“You are saying?”
“Help talk to the guys now, we want to employ caterers to cater for the event”
“Crystal….future wives and mothers. Tell the others, no caterers. You’ve been doing it for years while complaining now”
“Hear yourself, we’ve been catering for the picnic for years so let’s rest too while the caterers do the job”
“No way, for God sake you are preparing food for nine and you are complaining.
Reason why we won’t allow caterers, so when you are married you’ll be feeding
your husbands with your maid’s cooking abi”
“Marriage is different”
“Start doing teaching practice from now”
“No problem shebi your wife too will soon join us”
“Sure, she will” I said with my tongue out. My phone rang, Crystal who was checking something out on my phone passed it to me.
“Who’s calling?” I asked before checking it out myself.
“Our wife” She teased.
“She’s her father’s daughter. We just mentioned her” I said.
I called my Fiance after preparing dinner. Just to check on him.
“My love” he said immediately he picked the call.
“Good evening, you are still out” I asked cos I heard music.
“Yes with my dear friend” he replied.
“I didn’t get to see her through out my stay at your place”
“She’s here talk to her” he said and passed the phone to Crystal.
“Bisi what’s up”
“I’m good, I didn’t get to see you before I left despite the fact that you and Zite live on the same Street”
“Pardon my busy week and it’s not always like that o. don’t worry I owe you a visit in Akure one of this weekend, I can still find my way to Ijapo estate, I’ll shock you”
“You that can’t leave that your Lagos. You only managed to visit me the last because of Zite”
“Anything for my wife. Watch out, I’ll surprise you”
“Ok o! That your Lagos, even this living in the Same compound may not even see each other in a week. I don’t know what’s pursuing you Lagosians, always on the run. I wonder where you are all rushing too”
“Iyawo, don’t forget you’ll soon join us in this same Lagos. Or you think Zite will relocate because of you?”
“Sincerely anytime I remembered that part I get cold feet, but what choice do I have. He’s live and business and friends is in Lagos. I will just get a transfer here at the bank.
“And banking job is stressful here in Lagos compare to Akure. I just pray you cope”
“So I heard, my colleague here are already pitying me in advance”
“Worst case scenario you’ll quit your job and start your own business, don’t let them scare you”
“I can’t quit o”
“Toh it is well, don’t worry you’ll get use to our lifestyle here”
“I pray so, you guys should enjoy the rest of your evening”
“You too , good night” she said handed the phone over to Zite.
He promised to call me back when he returns home. I disconnected the call.
“I think it’s time we take our Leave” I informed Zite.
“Hope you have eating to your satisfaction, Mummy said no dinner for you o”
“That my Mummy, ehn…anyways I’m use to it”
“You don’t cook you don’t eat, that’s her law. You know I liked the way she trained you Crystal. No one will ever believe you are an only child” He pointed out.
“So she can’t pamper me a little”
“You know there are some areas where she Pampers you. Look at you even before you start working, you never lacked anything. You used the best of everything”
“Hmm…I know you don’t have to remind me because I know you’ll take her side.
I’ve filled my stomach to the brim, now let’s go, it’s getting late” I said and we left the place.
On our way home, we discussed about so many things including our friends. Zite suggested that the next quarterly get together won’t be just the 9 of us, we have to bring our spouses.
“What about us that doesn’t have a partner, you want to flaunt your spouses to our faces abi?” I asked.
“My friend keep quiet, I know you are dating one of us but I don’t understand why both of you kept it as a secret”
“Really! Are we still on this matter?”
“Yes and that is why I said everyone must come with their partners. Let see if you’ll go and rent one for the event”
“Ok…..ok, you have to believe me now Zite. Agreed I was seeing someone back in school…….
“Seeing someone or dating one of us” Zite cut in.
“Whatever, but the truth now is that I’m presently not in a relationship with any guy” I said raising my voice.
“Are you serious?” he fixed his gaze on me.
“Dead serious, now face the road before you put our lives in danger” I shouted at him. I never believed I lost my cool that night.
“Crystal! What did he do to you? I can see the hurt in your eyes” he asked coolly.
I did not reply, I just fixed my eyes on the road, praying silently that I won’t cry before him. The journey was now quiet. We didn’t say a word to each other. He pulled over in front of my gate. I unhooked the seat belt.
“Thanks for today, I had a great evening” I said with a blank face. And open the door about to step out.
“That’s all? you indeed had a great evening”
I moved closer to him and peck him. I smiled faintly.
“Did I say anything wrong?” Zite asked feeling guilty.
“No it’s me, not you”
“I ruined today’s fun right?”
“Not at all. You just strike a chord but I’m good now” I said putting on a fake smile.
“Stop acting Crystal, You know I care about you right?”
“Yes, I know”
“If you need anyone to talk too, I’m always here”
“Ok, good night”
“Good night, have a wonderful night rest”
I called the gateman on phone who opened the gate for me.
Published By: Ifeoluwa ORISAKAHUNSI