The Abandoned Child Episode 29

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It was like a mirage at first, I thought I saw her, Modupe! I peered very well through the glass of the Toyota corolla driving me from the hotel to the office that morning. It was like I saw her amongst the crowd thronging to enter the brewery gate but she was gone, in a jiffy she had vanished. Maybe I was hallucinating I thought.

I am the automation engineer at the Kaduna Brewery, having spent six months at the training school Ibadan to familiarize my self with the company and the industry at large. My Boss, the Engineering Manager, Mr. Kelvin Chima, a huge fair-complexioned humorous fellow in his mid forties took an instant liking to me when I was handed over to him from the HR department. The HR had inducted me and registered me at the Clinic and Canteen; I was given my safety vest, gloves and Boots including a safety induction card.

My Boss grew up in Ikere Ektiti with his Parents and so he speaks the ekiti dialect fluently, he also drinks Gulder as his favorite beer and when he introduced me to other managers at the bar in the evening they were surprised to see me popping the Gulder bottle, they said they hoped I will not be another Kelvin. My Boss is stubborn but very good on the job.

I was in charge of all the electrical installations and facilities in the Brewery. My job was to make sure there is no power failure or break down in the plant. Production must not stop due to power failure.

The experience I acquired during my industrial attachment work came in handy as I proffered several alternative powers generating media to the company. It was capital-intensive but worthy. And for the first time, Kaduna Brewery marked 250 days without power failure. I was the man! I was celebrated at the Bar during the end of year party and my Boss became the best HOD for the year.

I got an excellent appraisal, my appointment was confirmed and new things happened in my new life.

The remuneration and benefits listed on my confirmation letter were awesome. I had moved out of the Hotel accommodation and gotten myself a flat at Angwa Yelwa along Sabo-NNPC road, close to Television Garage; it was close to Kakuri where our office is, just less that ten minutes drive.

I was entitled to a Car grant of two million naira as a young manager. Senior Managers like my Boss gets a status Car. But who needs a Status car? I have Cars at my disposal at home. By the end of January 2002, my Bank account was about to burst. I had received the payment alert for my Car grant mid January, I was still thinking of what to do with the money when another alert entered my phone on my way home from work on a Friday, I thought it was any other SMS but when I saw it was from my bank, I opened it while driving. The figures I saw confused me that I had to veer off the road and pulled up the car to park, I pulled the hand brake.

I read the SMS repeatedly and I wanted to cry. It was not that the money was overwhelming, I have seen money in my new family but my concern was that I worked for this one! It was my sweat, not Baba or my sisters. The company pays upfront of annual leave allowance, annual housing allowance, and annual transport allowance plus my basic salary for the month, I was seeing an amount in the range of over four million naira. I shouted like a deranged man in the car, a passer-by fled when he heard me scream, I started to laugh and cry at the same time, the passer-by stood at a safe distance looking at me and shaking his head out of pity, I had to drive on when he approached a group of Kuje boys that were discussing by the road side and was telling them something while pointing at my car.

My heart beat was racing as I was also racing to Mummy’s Villa at Angwa Television for a bottle of chilled Gulder and some thing to chew. I drank to my satisfaction and I ate every thing that came to my mind at the Bush bar. It was like I would die the next day. I called my Wife and chatted until she started begging me to go home; she said I should remember her condition.

At 11.00PM I was tipsy but not tired, the next day was a Saturday and the automation activities in the Brewery were on auto pilot so I hit the road that night. I headed for the NAF Club, I called few of my colleagues for a night out together but they did not pick my calls, it was late though so I went alone and when I was at Barnawa area, I parked at a dark spot and beckoned at a call girl amongst those lurking along the street close to Mr. Biggs fast food. Three girls came rushing but I allowed the first into the car, loud music was blaring from the car speakers and we spoke on high tone while I nodded my head to the rhythm of the music, it was a song by Tony Tetuila ’Omode meta n sere’ it was the rave then.

So what is you beautiful name? I asked

Charity! She replied

Good! And how much for the night? I asked

Five thousand naira! She said laughing

Wow! For only one night? I asked laughing too, abi na for the whole weekend? I asked.

Suddenly she stopped laughing and fixed her gaze at my face

Bolaji! She called.

Yes! It me! I said. Do you know me? I asked

Oh my God! Oh my God! She started to panic.

I switched on the inner light of the Car and looked at her but I could not recognize her. Who are you? I asked

She tugged and pulled at the car door.

Don’t bother! I said; it won’t open. I said

Please let me out! Please I beg you in the name of God in the name of God! She pleaded in tears.

I tried to hold her to look at her face very well but she kept pushing me away and hiding her face from me.

I will scream o! I will scream o! Open this door and let me out! She let out a shrill scream that my loud music could not suppress.

I had no choice but to unlock the car from my side, she pushed the door open and ran out of my car. I quickly reversed the car and headed home. It was past midnight and that was a sign that I have had enough for the day.

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I went to work on a Monday in March 2002 and during the lunch break I went to the Canteen to eat in the company of Dauda an automation supervisor reporting to me. I carried my tray of food and proceeded to look for a vacant table to sit, Dauda was beside me so he pointed to a table occupied by a lone Lady. I walked towards the table, the lady at the table looked up and saw me and continued eating. I remembered the flashes I had some months ago at the Brewery gate, it was the same dress that she wore that day so I pulled back a chair and placed my tray on the table then our eyes met.

She stared at me with open mouth revealing the yellow morsel of eba in her mouth. I cannot describe the shock on her face. I also had quick flashes of the night I was going to NAF club and a girl had run out of my car, it was the same girl, the same multi coloured hair attachment.

I smiled. Modupe or Charity! So we meet again? I asked.

To Be Continued…

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