When I got out of the airport, Ranti had my SUV stationed at the entrance.
For one moment, my heart swelled with pride. I have money. Money is good. It solves all the problems in this world. Just show them your mint notes and gbam! doors unlock.
Ranti jumped down from the car and rushed to take my luggage before opening the door. I climbed in.
It was time to change my car. I made a mental note to call a car dealer and find out the latest model in town
‘Welcome sir. How was the journey?’
I stared out the window and chuckled as I remembered how I’d beaten the other contractors and landed the 80 million naira deal. If at 40, I was already hitting it this big, where would I be at 50?
Senator Rabiu had even called me aside after the meeting and said, ‘You are an intelligent young man. Expect a call from me soon.’
This money, I’m going to make it.
A hawker tapped my window, pushing his basket of chilled soft drinks forward and making gestures for me to buy from him.
It was just like yesterday that I was in this guy’s shoes under the hot sun running after danfo buses, trying to sell plantain chips. To be in the hawking business, you had to be sharp and smart.
I rolled down the window.
‘How many sir?’
‘Four.’ I said and handed him a thousand naira note. I collected the soft drinks and placed them on the seat knowing I’ll never taste out of them.
‘Keep the change.’ I said and rolled up the window.
I placed the drinks on the floor and allowed my thoughts roam freely to the next agenda on my list.
There is no time to rest, I muttered quietly. I have to get back to the office to tidy up unfinished jobs.
When Ranti pulled up in front of my house, I tapped him on his shoulder. ‘Ranti, you have served me faithfully for two years. You deserve a raise.’
‘Yes…I mean, Thank you sir.’
I counted some crispy notes. ‘Take this.’
‘Jesus!’ He stared at the notes in his hands. ‘Thank you sir.’
‘Give the drinks to your kids.’
‘God bless you sir. Thank you sir.’
Bisola was standing at the entrance of our twin duplex in a blue bum shot over a white T-shirt. Her light skin glowed and even without make-up, she looked stunning.
She had married me for my money. When her fiancé, Femi, went bankrupt, she had quickly ported to a more profitable man.
I remember the days when Femi showed her off to us at the club, we almost went crazy by the mere sight of her.. She was the prettiest woman we’d ever seen. A glance at those beautiful eyes made me shiver inside. They were piercing at the same time exciting. Her curves were firm and her skin was like pongee over glass. Many times, I’d daydreamed seeing her in bed with me.
Now as she stood in front of me, the beauty and desire I had for her were all gone. I saw a vain, demanding and selfish wife…
‘Baby, How did the deal go?’
I shrugged and walked past her into the house. I imagined how happy she’d be the day I close my eyes in death. But she was in for a shock. I’d rather my properties go to charity.
That night I couldn’t sleep. There was this emptiness I felt just as with the completion of other deals. Only this time it was worse. Why would I be happy one minute and sad the next? Shouldn’t I be excited about the progress I was making?
Saturday evening, as I prepared to go see my friends at the club, Bisola began to bug me with talks of her trip to the U.S and her shopping list. I was just about to tell her to shut up and get out of my sight when my phone rang.
Welcoming the interruption, I stood up and left the room.
‘Ade. Temi is dead.’
I stopped dead in my tracks. ‘What?’
‘After taking his bath, he slipped and hit his head on the floor. He was dead by the time they got to the hospital. I swear, this is not ordinary. I’m on my way to the Bethany Hospital now.’
I walked slowly back to the room. My face was pale. Bisola looked at me, worried.
‘Baby what happened?’
I didn’t respond.
Temi is dead? Just like that? How could death snatch a promising young man like that? Just when he had finished building that mansion that left his friends mouth agape. How could this happen?
The funeral was attended by the rich boys in town. You could smell some serious money by a mere glance at those who had attended for the funeral.
When I stood in front of the casket, for several seconds, I stared at my friend and my eyes welled up in tears.
This was unbelievable. What about our plans to take a vacation to Paris next month? What would happen to the 100 million naira deal with that airline company? Was this what would happen to me at the end of the day?
For two weeks after Temi’s death, I couldn’t pull myself together. I felt so empty and depressed so much that I couldn’t get out of bed. My wife had to call the family doctor.
‘We have conducted all the necessary tests. Nothing is wrong with him. I think he just needs rest.’ The doctor was saying to my wife in my room.
I suddenly felt nauseated and wanted to just get away to find some fresh air. I stood up and picked up a shirt from the wardrobe.
‘Where are you going to? Bisola shouted, alarmed. ‘Doctor, my husband is going crazy. Help me.’ She ran to lock the door.
‘I’m not crazy!’
‘Baby, you need to rest. I don’t want you to go out like this.’
‘I am fine. Please let me go.’ When she wouldn’t leave the entrance, I turned to the doctor. ‘Tell her to get out of my way. I need to talk to a friend.’
‘Can’t the person come here?’ She said indignantly.
‘Let him go. Your husband is fine.’
Reluctantly, she moved away from the door. ‘Doctor, if anything happens to my husband, I’ll hold you responsible.’
I was out of the house before I realised I hadn’t even combed my hair or shaved. That didn’t matter now. All I needed was to get out.
As I drove out of the street, I had the urge to see Tayo, my best friend back on campus. Would he be mad at me for abandoning him after I began to pull in some serious cash?
I decided to give it shot.
Sitting in Tayo’s office that afternoon, I poured out my heart to the only person who understood me.
Tayo reminded me how in 100level, we had both accepted Christ in their lives.
‘What happened to me?’ I lamented. ‘Tayo, I haven’t prayed in years. I haven’t even opened my bible or stepped into a church.’
Tayo drew closer to me. ‘God was all the while watching out for you and waiting for you.’
I bowed my head. When I had been introduced to the big boys club and told of the shady things I had to do to get the necessary connections, I had felt uncomfortable initially but my dreams of moving far away from my poverty stricken lifestyle had made me push my christian faith aside.
I wanted to prove to my school mates that I was not the dullard they thought I was.
I’d enjoyed walking into the class reunion with a ride I emptied my pocket to buy just to let them know I could get anything I wanted.
But I was tired of it all. I wanted out. I longed for an intimate relationship with God even if it meant giving up all I had. I wanted peace more than anything else.
I couldn’t stop the tears as I muttered some words to God for the first time in a long time. Tayo held my hands and prayed with me.
I still love to do business but I was going to do it God’s way and all for his glory. Nothing was going to come between me and my Saviour. Not wealth, fame, recognition and not even my wife.
For the first time in a long time I felt peace flood my soul. I talked more to him as I drove back home and I knew, he listened.
All the things we chase here in this world, we’ll leave some day…There’s nothing as satisfying as walking in the divine purpose for which you have been called.
...and the world passes away and disappears and with it, the passionate desires and lusts, but he who does the will of God and carries put his purposes in his life abides(remains) forever. 1 John 2: 17. (AMP)