Akwaugo: Episode 1 - 70 : TOPSTER STORIES

Akwaugo – Episode 56

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Part 56



The next morning, I warmed the food Samuel gave me a day before and went to work. I worked all day until late in the evening before I had the opportunity to eat. I warmed the food again and then opened it to eat in the dining area where all the staff eat. The aroma hit the room. I was shocked myself. The first spoon I ate was unbelievable. This guy could cook. The yam he used was soft. Everything was in there cut into bits. Fish, snails, periwinkle, prawns, shrimps, vegetables. I ate while my colleagues got to try a spoon each.


“We won’t mind this for lunch.” “How much did you buy the food?” “It is much, two people can share” “I can eat it three times”


The businesswoman in me kicked in. I told them a man prepared the food and for that size, he sells at N2,000. He also makes excellent Afang soup with pounded yam. They were interested. I got the number of people that were interested in the next day and called Samuel.


“My colleagues tasted the yam porridge you cooked and have ordered for tomorrow”


“Ordered what?”


“The yam porridge. I will pick them up from your house tomorrow before coming to work. Please pack them in the same takeaway you did mine. Thirteen people have ordered and a plate is N2000”

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“Are you serious?”


“I am not joking. How will you get the ingredients?”


“I will call my auntie to get them for me. Everything will be fresh. N26,000 for thirteen people. This is unbelievable”


“Make a little Afang for me tomorrow if you can so they can also test. Since you enjoy cooking, it could be an added income”


“I am in shock. You got people to buy from me?”



“No, they tasted your food and wanted it. I saw the business opportunity there and took advantage”


“Isn’t N2000 much?”


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“For your skills, it isn’t”


“Ediye, thank you”


“What’s that?”


“That’s my special name for you, Ediye”


“What does it mean?”


“Find out”


The next morning, I went to his house to pick up the food before heading to work. I met his mother and her sister in the house. I greeted them. “Eka, how are you?”


“I am fine ma. How are you today?”


“I am getting better. When are you coming to spend time with me? We have a lot to discuss”


“I know. When I am off, I will come. I will let Samuel know”


“Do not let Etete know. I will give you my number. Come by yourself, I have so much to tell you”


“Ok, ma. I will come on my day off as long as you do not return to the hospital”


“I won’t go back there again, I promise”


His auntie brought well-packaged food to the dining table. She arranged them into bags. There were fourteen instead of thirteen plates. There was also a big bowl of



Afang soup packed separately with one plate of yam porridge. She packed them in a large basket and helped me get them into the car.


When I got to the office, the security helped me with the basket into the office. Immediately they sighted the food, they took everything except for my bowl and the Afang which was packed separately in different types of bowls. Others were offended I didn’t take their order. I sold half of my food to one person. I also brought out some Afang for them to taste.


“Can he pack in this bowl and sell? I will buy. Even the yam porridge and any other thing he sells. I bowl of this soup can feed me eight times”


The story had changed, apart from daily food, they wanted food for the weekend and just to have soups in their house. Samuel was happy. I was his courier for now and I was glad to do it. Eventually, I had to bring him to the hospital to introduce him. He employed staff to handle deliveries. He got referrals from the Teaching hospital where he took his mother to and now, he was delivering food to them. Within three months, the business grew. What I found fascinating was he cooked the meals himself.


He was making good money from the cooking business that he decided to get a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education. He worked part-time for the school while growing his business and pursuing his passion.


Akwaugo went to see Samuel mother as they had agreed. It took a while for them to meet because she wanted to be alone with her at home and with the new business, it was quite difficult. When Samuel started his programme, it was easier for them to meet.


“Eka, what you said touched me. I didn’t want Samuel to die trying to save me, it wasn’t my intention. Etete doesn’t understand I am lonely. When he comes back home, he is very tired and wants to eat and just face his books. I have no one to talk to. My sister comes back home late and is also tired. They have their lives; they don’t need me”



“But they are living because of you. Your Etete does everything he does so you can be happy. Your sister is busy because of you. I know how you feel and it can be settled”


“Etete needs to settle down. I want to have grandchildren. At his age, I was married and had three children although they didn’t stay. He was the only one that stayed. I have begged since he was twenty-four to bring a girl home but he has refused. Is it when he is thirty, he will bring her? That will be too old”


So, Samuel wasn’t yet thirty? He was still a young guy. I didn’t want to ask her how old he was so I allowed her to lay her complaints. Why she was complaining to me, I didn’t understand.


“In his father’s family, the men do not live very long. The oldest man that ever lived there was seventy -three. Most died before fifty”


“What killed?”


“Accident, my father-in-law died in an accident. My husband’s brother had medical problems. He died at sixty. My husband died at fifty-four”


“Are these the only members of his family?”


“He has a brother remaining, his sisters and mother are still alive. The prominent men have died”


“Are you scared Samuel will join them?” I asked her as I could see she wasn’t cheerful.


“I want him to marry or get a girl pregnant for him. I am not sure if he is a man. Will you tell me the truth?”


“What will you like to know?”


“Is Etete a man? Has he touched you?”



I was so shocked and highly embarrassed by her questions. How could she ask that? Of course, he hadn’t done much but it was not right for her to ask. “Mama, Samuel and I are just friends. We are not lovers, just friends. I believe your Etete is a man. He is just respecting you by not bringing girls to the house. He allowed me to visit because we are just friends”


“Etete is not a man. I know this. His father was a lion. Etete is too gentle. He should bring a girl home and spend the night with her here. I promise; I will not complain. Tell him for me”


“What if she spends the night and nothing happens? How would you know?”


“That she even entered that room with him is enough for me”


“I will talk to him”


Our conversation worried me deeply. Why would a mother be worried this much her son wasn’t involved in a woman or even meeting with a woman? It was even embarrassing having such a conversation with his mother. She sounded genuinely concerned. I felt I had to discuss it with Samuel so he could adjust.


When we had the opportunity to talk, he came to my flat. We sat in my room and we spoke about business and all. He brought me bowls of soup; Edikan and Abak. I was grateful. I packed them in the freezer as I had made fried rice and plantain for our consumption.


I brought up the issue and Samuel tried to shy away from it. I asked if he had a girlfriend, he claimed not to. Has he ever had a girlfriend, he replied yes. Why hasn’t he ever brought her home? He had no good reason. He acted funny when we were talking about it. I was worried. His body language was telling me something else. My mind began to wander. Was something wrong with him? Did his mother know more than she was telling?


My initial suspicion was his sexuality. I calmly talked about other things and tried to chip in the homosexual angle in. I told him I believed homosexuals had rights and should be understood instead of castigated. He wasn’t interested in the conversation. I asked him directly while facing him, “Are you gay?”



This guy had a good laugh. He did it at my expense. He later told me he knew I was working towards that angle with the conversation.


“Ediye, I am not gay. I have never been with a guy. Don’t look at me like that, it is true. I have been with girls. I had sex with a few. I don’t think my mother needs to know all this. I feel embarrassed about having this discussion with you. I don’t have a girlfriend now. I have both male and female friends. I don’t bring them home because of my mother. Why is she sending you to me?”


“She asked me if we have had sex. I was so embarrassed”


“Why? Why is she so desperate?” he asked quite shocked.


“Does she discuss her issues with you?”


“No, she doesn’t”


“I think it is about time you start the discussion. Tell her you will settle down when you meet someone you love. Bring your friends home too. It will help”


He promised to adhere to his mother’s wishes and we ended the conversation. He had started a full-blown catering business which was doing very well. I was so proud of him.


Once in two months, I went back home to visit with family. I took three to four days off to spend with family. My last visit, I was informed Ugonna had gotten married. I was very happy to hear that. She had received her deliverance and God was doing awesome things in her life.


I went to Enugu to check on the house. Everything was going on well. I was happy. I no longer had suitors hanging around. For a woman over thirty, you are expected to enter the desperation mode. I refused to be submerged in that fallacy. I was happy being single. My residency was almost over and I could work full time. I was happy I had good people around me who supported me.



Uju and I spoke after she had her son. Her husband was over the moon with the birth of the boy. She sent me pictures. She was also happy. She told me Jacinta was back in the village; she was down with a strange illness. I knew there was nothing like a strange illness but I didn’t have an interest so I didn’t correct her.


“Come to the UK now. There are opportunities here in the UK for Doctors, Nurses, Chefs, Teachers especially Science teachers, Caregivers, and a few others. Write the board examination and cover. Your area of specialization is much needed here. You will make a lot of money”


“How do I get the information?”


“I will send you the link. Apply and leave Nigeria for good”


“I will. Thank you”


I decided to actually look at what she was offering. I didn’t want to leave Nigeria because of the family but I knew I wasn’t going to move far ahead by staying back. I began to read for the Medical board exam. I didn’t have time for anything else as I read most of my free time.


I explained to Samuel, I no longer had time for frivolities. Every second mattered to me. He agreed but he visited every son after church. Amaechi has met him coming to see me before and for the first time I told him off in a way that baffled him.


“That guy is not good enough for you. Stop moving with him, he will not allow better prospects to come for you. People believe both of you are dating”


“I don’t need to explain anything to you and those claiming whatever. Amaechi, you were not good enough for me at the university when we were friends but I still stuck with you. Where we lovers? No. You gave me the best advice and you supported me. But now you have changed. You are not Amaechi I knew then. You are breaking your girl’s heart by both your actions and inaction. I hope you know you have a reputation. I prefer that nice guy I shared suya and juice with the first night we met to this proud and egocentric guy I am standing here with” I walked away back to my guest.



Samuel asked questions and I finally opened up to him and the opportunity. He looked at it and I could see he was interested. He struggled with himself and promised to get the process started when he had enough money. I advised him and explained to him how I was processing my own. He promised to start.








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