People believe contractors are very rich. Yes and no. In the business of handling contracts, a lot actually is at stake. First of all, your second name must be patience. Without patience, nothing works. You need the patience of the vulture to get the LPO. You need patience again to execute the job and wait for your payment. If you see it as a piece of luck, waiting to be grabbed from a basket, better look elsewhere because in no time, you will find yourself so miserable and confused.
I am a contractor, a full-time contractor. I don’t have any regret about this, although I am in trouble because I married a woman who never wanted to understand the intricacies of my job.
The first time I met Ezinne is still fresh on my mind because the circumstances are quite peculiar. I was with a friend Ben, drinking at a joint close to my street. The name of the joint is Live Life. From the name, you would know that it is capable of gulping all one needed to enjoy oneself.
As I sat with Ben, sipping my usual Gulder over a plate of fresh fish pepper soup, she walked in. To say the truth, everything about her presence was noticeable. Is it the height? It was imposing. Is it the fragrance? It was exotic and exciting. She wore a black skirt accentuated by a tight-fitting purple blouse, which highlighted her firm breasts.
This made me let out a soft whistle. It was obviously out of awe. Ben, my friend noticed that about me, so he brushed my legs with his. In our world, it was a sign that one should keep still.
I tried to steady myself. But I was always stealing glances at her, while I pretended to be nursing my beer.
It was when she made her purchases and left that Ben asked me if I like the girl.
“Of course, I do Ben.” I screamed. One could see the excitement on my face, especially my eyes.
“Can’t you see how I am reacting?”
“Cool down. Are you sure you like her really well?” Ben sounded like a marriage counsellor.
“I am asking because I can arrange her for you. I know someone who knows her well.”
“Ben, are you sure? Or you want to pull my short legs?”
“I swear to God. Her name is Ezinne Okafor. She just completed her NYSC. And my cousin, Imelda, who lives two streets down is her friend. I could get my cousin to fix it with her. And you know I can easily do that for you.”
I was excited about Ben’s proposition. For that, I ordered Madam Live Life’s girls to replenish our order. Two extra plates of fresh fish pepper soup and two bottles of beer came instantly and we resumed our talking, bordering essentially on how Ezinne would be mine.
Ben’s ideas were just near perfect, I will get Imelda to bring her to your house. They are both ladies. At least, they will know how to sort issues out.” he said.
“What day?” I asked.
“Em…you decide. They are mature babes,” Ben obliged.”
After NYSC, what else should a girl be looking for if not a guy she could settle with? Does her Dad mould men like you, Emeka?
His words tended to balloon my head, but I knew how to keep things down at such situations.
“So what day?” Ben seemed to be consumed in realizing my desire with the snap of two fingers.
After weighing the options left for each of the days of the week, we agreed on Sunday. It seemed perfect for a lot of reasons. Aside me being free, I guess the girls won’t be doing much too.
With the grimace on Ben’s face, I just doled out N1,500 and gave him. That’s as far as I was concerned would settle everything about transportation and other contingencies. I am not a stingy person. When I like something, I like to invest, because my father says it all the time, that nothing good is free.
By the time we left that pub, Ben’s re-assurance that Ezinne would be mine had turned to tap a song and I was happy that I was making a headway even though everything seemed like paying lip service.
By Saturday, I contacted Ben and he told me that everything had been sealed, that Imelda, his cousin would come with Ezi (by this time, I was always thinking about fondling her) on Sunday, like we had earlier agreed. He had said 1.00pm.
Enthusiasm, I would say, fired the level of preparation I had that day for all of them. Before 1pm. Ben had come and it was good that he came ahead of time because we used that little opportunity to fine-tune our plans. It was when it appeared that everything was set that we settled down to watch a DVD. It would be nice for the two girls to walk in and meet us watching a DVD player, I had reasoned.
My feeling when it was 1pm was indescribable. It was a mixture; everything good, everything fun. But by half-past-one, they were nowhere near my apartment. I did not know what was going on but Ben kept assuring me to himself that they would come. I did not ask him but he kept on coming up with excuses why they were not around.
They did not turn up until 3.30pm that day. It was late but the excitement in the air consumed every other hiccup. We were introduced. We talked. And we agreed that we would give each other a chance to explore ourselves.
That was how everything started. About one year later, Ezinne and I were pronounced husband and wife at St. Leo’s Catholic Church. I would not say it was a gathering of the top echelon of the society, but a lot of important people graced my wedding.
And this probably placed us on an envious pedestal. The first eight months were quite rosy and quite memorable. The three contracts I executed for some local government councils in Ogun State were paid for.
So I meant I had the time in the world and perhaps the money too to make my wife happy. Of course, I was always making sure that she got whatever she desired.
But one mistake I made was that I failed to teach her how to live like a contractor’s wife. You see, a contractor lives like a Spartan. When there’s food, you eat, when there is none, you endure and hope for a better future.
The word lack was what infuriated Ezinne. The moment it seemed as if the money was not flowing the way it used to flow, Ezinne gets really pissed off.
…to be continued