feeling. She knew it had to do with work but couldn’t tell exactly what it was. She
worked as the personal assistant to the managing director of Fando Oil, an oil and
gas company in Lagos. She had been working there for the past six months and had
never for once resented her job not even on the worst of days. She was dedicated to
her job and this was evident in the die-hard commitment and tireless effort she
pumped in on a continual basis. There were a few things she really loved, and her
job was one of them. But that morning, for reasons she could not explain, she
sensed something huge coming her way but couldn’t place a finger on what exactly
It was 4:55AM, her 5:00AM alarm had not even rung, yet her eyes were
wide open. She stretched her hand for the dangling switch beside her bed and
turned on the light which illuminated her neatly arranged pink floral themed room.
Her 6 x 4” bed was located at one corner. To its right, a few inches away from the
foot of the bed was a table and chair which doubled as her work desk anytime she
brought work from the office and her sewing table where she cut fabric and drew
up her designs. Her sewing machine was just beside it, she sewed most of her
traditional attire and a few of her official dresses which were hung neatly in the in-
built wardrobe across from the bed and on one of the doors of the wardrobe was a
full length mirror she loved looking at before stepping out. She made sure she
always looked good. She also sewed for people whenever she had the time. Sewing
was one her passions, others were cooking, graphic designing and reading. She
wasn’t really a social person and liked to keep to herself but Favour, her best friend
always knew how to bring out her social side.
Favour had come visiting, she spent the weekend and was due to return to
Ibadan where she lived, that morning. She slept in the other room ofGbemi’s two
bedroom flat. Gbemi remembered she had to leave the house earlier in order to
drop Favour at the park and at the same time avoid the terrible Lagos traffic. She
sat up in bed to pray, reached out for her Bible and devotional which were on the
bedside drawer. She spent the next forty minutes having her quiet time.
“Gbemi, are you ready?” Favour shouted from the sitting room as she
dragged her black portable travelling bag after her. Favour was the outgoing type, a
total contrast to Gbemi who was much more reserved. You know what they say
about unlike poles and attraction.
She didn’t get a response from Gbemi who was dressing up and bobbing her
head to the Nathaniel Bassey music coming from her laptop.
“This girl is going to be late for work at the rate at which she is going,”
Favour said to herself as she left her box in the sitting room and walked past the
dining to Gbemi’s room.
Without knocking, she barged into the room “Babe how far you na?”
(What’s up with you?)
“Good morning to you too, my night was blessed, thanks for asking” Gbemi
replied focused on her reflection in the mirror as she applied her pink lipstick
without looking at Favour.
“Who your good morning help? Aren’t you checking the time or do you
have another means of transportation I don’t know about aside your car?” Favour
was always blunt but this time around was also concerned about her friend getting
to work in good time.
“Ehn now, don’t you know I got a jet yesterday?” Gbemi said sarcastically
as she shut down her laptop and packed it into her laptop bag. “Oya (Okay) I’m
ready, let somebody hear word,” she smiled and added “you look good by the
“Duh, I always do.” Favour gave a naughty grin. She was about the same
height as Gbemi and coincidentally, same size. This afforded them the opportunity
of possessing each other’s clothes, an opportunity Favour was grateful for, as she
was always quick to search Gbemi’s wardrobe and pick whatever dress caught her
“You are just a proud somebody (person). Let’s go before you start shouting
again. It’s 6:10, we’ll make it in time,” she said as she sprayed her Escada perfume
behind her ears.
“Shey you will not give me perfume ni?” (Won’t you give me perfume?).
Favour knew how best to get to her friend. She many times wasn’t direct when she
wanted something from her.
“Did you ask? You think I don’t know you used it when we went out
yesterday. Just take and let me have peace.” She extended her hand to her and
added “just two puffs o, before you finish it for me.”
“It’s not your fault” Favour tried playing on Gbemi’s psychology. “It’s me
that is asking you” she was about to spray a fourth time when Gbemi snatched it
“Finish it, you hear?”
“Whatever” she waved her hand in the air. “Gbemi, I like this your top o.”
Favour knew where she was heading with that compliment.
“Thanks dear, I like it too.” Gbemi knew her friend too well.
“Don’t you think it would look great on me?” She smiled mischievously.
“Nah… not as great as it looks on me. The brown gown you took yesterday
is enough for the visit. I’ll think of what else I can give you when next you come.”
“Ehen so that’s how it is now. You are using clothe as an incentive for me to
Gbemi burst into laughter. “I didn’t even see it that way, but yeah that too
should work. I know how much you like clothes.” She was set to leave now.
“It’s okay o, there is God” She stepped out of the room as Gbemi followed
her behind carrying her handbag and laptop bag, one on each shoulder.
They said a short word of prayer in the sitting room and left.
Just as they stepped into the passage that joined Gbemi’s flat with her
neighbour’s, the main door of her neighbour’s flat was opened. All she knew about
the man who lived opposite her was that he was hardly home. She had seen him a
couple of times since she moved in some five months ago and greeted him anytime
their paths crossed. She was still locking the door of her flat when she heard
Favour talking to the handsome young man in a black suit.
“Hi, my name is Favour. I’m Gbemi’s very good friend,” she was the most
outspoken person Gbemi had ever met.
“Oh, nice to meet you.” He stretched his hand for a handshake “I’m
Gbenga” then he looked at Gbemi and said “I never knew your name” as he shook
“Gbemi.” She didn’t seem interested in a lengthy conversation.
“It’s really nice to meet you, Gbemi” he called her name softly. Without
mincing words, he added “I’m looking forward to knowing more than just your
Gbemi smiled but Favour knew her too much to be deceived by her fake
“I’m sure she will be glad too” Favour, knowing her friend, had doubts
about that. “We have to get going; it was nice meeting you Gbenga”. She hit
Gbemi with her elbow lightly and through clenched teeth whispered “Babes won’t
you say anything?”
“Bye Mr Gbenga” she gave a wave and led the way while Favour followed
“Alright, bye. Have a great day.” He waved back and watched them leave.
When they got to the car, Favour was the first to speak. “Why were you so
cold towards the guy?”
“How was I cold?” Gbemi asked with only little interest in the conversation
as she reversed out of the car park.
“With this unwelcoming attitude, I only wonder how you want to get a man
in your life.” Favour poured out her concern.
“And who said anything about me needing a man in my life? My life is fine
the way it is.” She was obviously getting upset and defensive.
“I’ve told you times without number to stop talking like that. I’m not asking
you to jump on the next available dude that walks into your life but we both know
you aren’t getting any younger. My husband has tried introducing some of his
friends to you but you are never interested.” She threw her hands in the air.
“Favour, the fact that you and Emmanuel are happily married doesn’t mean
that is the path everyone is meant to take” She gave her a quick sideway glance.
She sighed, “If I say I’m not tired of going round circles on this matter, I’d
be lying. I just pray you’ll snap out of whatever is wrong with you.”
“And I’ve told you times without number that I am fine. Thanks for your
concern.” She snapped.
There was silence. Gbemi knew Favour was just being a concerned friend
and so she struggled with the Holy Spirit who kept telling her to apologize. After
five long, quiet and awkward minutes, Gbemi broke the silence.
“I’m sorry for going off on you. I know you care and I really appreciate it. I
just don’t want to talk about this again.”
“No problem, I won’t bring it up again.”
“Plus the guy appears to be too forward. What’s the meaning of ‘I’m looking
forward to knowing just more than your name’?” Gbemi mimicked him, raising her
chin and gesticulating with the hand that was off the steering wheel.
The expression on her face was hilarious. Favour couldn’t hold back her
laughter. “Free the guy jo (let the guy be), you know guys will always be guys
more so, which guy in his right senses, will see such a pretty lady and won’t want
to know more than just her name.” She dropped finger quotes around the last few
words of her statement.
Gbemi smiled. “Thanks for coming over to spend the weekend and thank
your husband for me too. You made my weekend.”
“Well it’s not as if I like seeing your face. I just needed a change of
environment.” Favour teased with a smile.
“Yeah right, keep on deceiving yourself.” Gbemi brought the car to a halt as
they got to the park. “Thank you for always being there,” they hugged each other.
“You are always welcome dear.” Favour came down and picked her box
from the boot.
Gbemi waited for her to enter the bus before leaving. “Call me when you get
to Ibadan,” she waved at her and waited for her friend to be seated in the bus
before she left.
As she drove to work, she couldn’t but ponder on what Favour had said. She
knew she was right but she just wasn’t willing to give it a try. She had her reasons
and although she had never shared them with anyone, she was convinced beyond
reasonable doubt that she had every reason to lock men out of her life.
She turned on the radio in the car to take her mind off it.
“Baby you know I love you and can’t live without you” a male voice from
the radio said. “I love you too dear” a female cooed in response.
Gbemi rolled her eyes in disgust, with a USB cord, she connected her phone
to the car stereo and listened to music from her phone. Her songs were 99 percent
gospel. The first song that played was ‘Carry Go’ by Jaymikee. In another 20
minutes, she was at work. She got down from the car, carrying her bags. She
walked quickly into the cream coloured duplex. She had about five minutes before
work officially began at 8AM.
She still had that strange feeling she woke up with. She sensed something
unusual was coming her way. She greeted the receptionist as she signed in and
climbed up the stairs to her office which led into the MD’s. She got to her desk,
placed her bags on the table and said a word of prayer before setting up. As she
was doing that, the intercom rang. She picked it. It was her boss.
“Miss Johnson, please come to my office” Mr Kalejaye said. He was a
workaholic. He got to work earlier than everyone and was the last to leave. Gbemi
always wondered if he ever spent time with his family. He came to work on
weekends and didn’t go to church on Sundays. There was almost nothing fun or
social about him.
Gbemi did a quick mental check to ensure there was no pending task and to
know if her boss had any appointment that morning but could not think of any
reason for his summoning her. She immediately got up and walked toward the door
of his office.
She knocked and waited for his response.
“Come in.” She heard the distant voice from within his office.
She opened the door and after taking a few steps greeted “Good morning
“How are you? Miss Johnson” he said without looking up from his laptop
where he was working.
“I’m fine, thank you, sir.” Gbemi always composed herself properly before
her boss and colleagues at work.
“Clear my schedule for next week and book me a return ticket to South
Africa. I have a meeting with an energy company there. There is a possible deal
“Ok sir, I will do that right away.” She turned around to leave.
“You’ll be booking for two.” He said still focused on his laptop.
“Oh Okay, Mr Bamidele will be joining you?” She asked wondering if the
Project Manager, who joined him on his last business trip will be joining him this
“No. You’ll be going with me.” He looked at her briefly and then continued
Gbemi was shocked to the bones. Her legs became too heavy to move. She
stood there dazed. Her face couldn’t hide her dismay.
When he noticed he didn’t get a response from her, he looked at her again.
“Or do you have a problem with that?” This time around, he removed his glasses
and waited to hear what she had to say.
“No…no sir.” She stammered. She obviously was not comfortable with the
idea of travelling out of the country alone with him. She had heard rumours of him
being a womanizer. She already projected that they would be lodged in the same
hotel for close to a week. She was really concerned and didn’t realize she was
standing speechless in front her boss. His deep rumbling voice jerked her back to
“You may go.”
She left his office wondering what on earth she was going to do. “Was this
the reason for the strange feeling I woke up with this morning?” She thought as she
walked slowly to her desk. It was bad enough that she didn’t see a need for a man
in her life. Now, she was going to be ‘trapped’ with a womanizer who
unfortunately for her doubled as her boss.
She sat on her chair, bowed her head and said a short prayer, “Lord please,
you just have to help me.”