Akwaugo: Episode 1 - 70 : TOPSTER STORIES

Akwaugo – Episode 57

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He did start. He moved even faster than me. I had to write a board examination while he had looked for a school to teach in abroad. He came every Sunday to see me either in the house or the hospital if I was on duty. He brought food for me for the week with each visit.


After a while, I noticed he was no more talking about the UK dream any more. I asked him why. He explained there were better opportunities in other countries than in the UK. I was surprised. I asked him how.


“If we go to the UK, we will just be residents, we will not have the opportunity to be immigrants and be given citizenship status. But we can do that easily when we move to other countries like Canada. We are still young and we will score good points. You can write their examination now or when you get there. Research about it”


“Is Canada better than the UK?”


“Let us get the citizenship first and then we will move from there”


I began to research about Canada. I was worried about using an agent but Samuel assured me we didn’t need one; he had printed out documents on the immigration.


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I prepared for the two board exams. This was an opportunity to leave the country for good. I began to dream of leaving as Samuel did. His enthusiasm was very infectious. That was all we talked about most time.


We filed some forms for submission. I did mine independently and he did the same too. We wrote TOEFL examinations and we both scored very highly. I was happy. Because we were not using agents, the process was slow for us but it gave us enough time to tidy up our own end. Samuel finished his Master’s degree and I wrote the UK board exams and passed. It was a double celebration for us.


Uju asked me to reconsider the UK. She had found a job for me and she said I could continue the immigration process to Canada even if I wasn’t in the country. It sounded good. I discussed it with Samuel. I told him I still wanted to migrate to Canada but Uju had gone ahead to get me a job and the hospital is willing to pay for my relocation to the UK.


“If it is what you want, why would I stop you?”


“It is an opportunity I can’t just pass it on and wait for another opportunity we are not sure of”


“I thought we will travel together”


“It wouldn’t have been a bad idea. It can still happen. I would come back to Nigeria to travel with you if we are both given. You know it takes a very long time”


“The hospital will want a refund for relocating you if you decide to leave. It will be an unnecessary expense on us. The best is for you to go on your own while they give you supporting documents for the visa. You won’t be indebted to them if you choose to leave at any time”

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“This makes sense. How did you reason this out?”


“I did some research after you told me. I can’t stop you from going to the UK but I sure would want you to come to Canada with me”



It seemed natural that we talked like that. The feelings I had for Samuel were more of sisterly love. I want him to excel in all he did and he excelled effortlessly. He listened to me and did whatever I recommended and vice versa. He had never made advances at me. He never spoke to me about love. I teased him about ladies I met with him and he just laughed it off. I hardly had guys come around me. I had older men try to talk to me. I didn’t fancy being a side chic to any man and so I kept my distance.


His catering business had boomed and it got his mother doing more than staying in her room. She was proud of him and all he had achieved. Her only problem was him settling down. He started to bring friends home which cheered his mother up but when she discovered they were platonic relationship; she gave up on her son.


I was to travel to Abuja for submission of my application for a UK work visa. I chose Abuja so I could stay with family while submitting. Samuel asked if he could come with me. He was ready to stay in a hotel while I stay with family. I told Amanze, Chiamaka and auntie Nneoma I was coming to Abuja and I stated I was coming with a friend. They told me Samuel could stay with us as they had moved to a bigger house.


Samuel bought tickets for both of us and sent them to me. I asked why he bought for me; he told me he owed me far more than he had done. He had never been to Abuja so it was an experience. We arrived at Abuja. As we left the arrival hall, I saw Amanze there to pick us up. I introduced him to Samuel and we went to his house. Auntie Nneoma was very happy to see me and I was too. She took my things into her room while Chiamaka wanted me to stay in her own personal room. I laughed and introduced them to Samuel. I told them he was a friend who was also working on his Canadian immigration. He wanted to use the opportunity to meet with some people.


He was in the guest room downstairs. He sat with members of my family and the interrogation began. “How did you meet?” “How long have you been friends?” “What do you do for a living?” “Where are you from?” the questions were endless but he responded to them all. He stated we are just friends and nothing more.


Amanze was more interested in the interrogation. “What subject do you teach?”


“I teach Mathematics”


“That’s a good subject and well sought after”


“Yes, it is”


“How will you work in Canada with your teacher’s training certificate?”


“I have a BEd in Mathematics Education and also MEd in the same discipline. I have submitted my academic qualifications and so far, they seemed impressed. I hope it all works out”


“But there are also opportunities here. Why leave?”


“I want to work where my hard work will be appreciated in every way. The salaries of teachers are encouraging in this country. I am also a caterer thanks to Ediye. She helped me start the business and I must say, it is doing very well but I still want to leave so my children will enjoy better opportunities than I did”


“Who is Ediye?” Amanze asked.


“Sorry. Akwaugo”


Amanze smiled and left it there. Chiamaka dragged me to her room to gossip. I knew it would happen so I tried to make Samuel comfortable before I left.


‘So, what’s up with him? Who is he?”


“A friend. He is just a friend”


“It looks like more than friendship to me. He has a pet name for you”


“He is grateful. He appreciates”


“He is not a bad looking guy. All your guys have been tall so I expected you to date a tall guy. He is a bit shorter than you but that’s not a problem. He is chocolate; that shouldn’t be a problem. He is not built. He is not sophisticated. He



is just there in terms of looks; he won’t turn heads. He is not a dresser. He is obviously not rich. These are the negatives I observed”


“From how many minutes of meeting him, Chiamaka?”


“I haven’t finished. He looks calm. He seems energetic. He sociable. He is hard working. He is ambitious. He can’t take his eyes off you. He has a special name for you. He followed you to Abuja for your visa application submission; what will he do when you are travelling? He is affectionate towards you; it is so glaring”


“It’s ok. Chiamaka, nothing is going on. I am older than this guy and I am playing the big sister role with him. We are not romantically involved. You are thinking things”


“So, you can’t see it? You can’t see all we all can see? The guy is in love and you have also fallen but you don’t know. You guys are affectionate towards each other. You are acting like an old couple who don’t want anyone to know their business”


“I wish. It’s not like that”


“Ask him how he feels about you and maybe he will tell you”


“I should ask him? Wouldn’t that be sending a wrong signal?”


“Just tell him you want to know”


“I won’t do such. We are just friends. Let’s leave it at that”


“But what do you feel for him?”


“I feel like his big sister and nothing more”


“You are hanging with a full-grown man claiming big sister. Spend a night in his room and see what happens”


“That’s seduction, it is not my thing”


“When will you settle down Akwaugo? Time is no more on your side”


“I might find a man in the UK”


“Have those in the UK found husband? Marry from here and go where you are going”


We talked about other people and all I missed since I had been gone. I love their new house; it was a duplex with five bedrooms and two-bedroom boys’ quarters. It was well built and furnished. I loved her room. I told her how impressed I was with their progress. She smiled.


Dinner was served after which we gathered in the sitting room to watch television.


Samuel sent me a message while we were watching television.


Samuel: I hope you are ok.


Me: Yes, I am. I was worried about you.


Samuel: Had a fun time with your brother; we watched football.


Me: I am happy you did.


Samuel: Honestly, I am bored. I am not a television person but I feel I might be rude if I just leave for my room.


Me: What will make you more excited?


Samuel: Let’s go through your documents one last time before we retire.


Me: We will do that in the morning. You can go to bed or go and write. I have no choice than to spend time with them.


Samuel: Will you check on me before you retire? We haven’t talked much today.


Me: I will try.



He excused himself and retired for the night. Not long after Amanze dragged Chiamaka to bed. I was alone with auntie Nneoma and she had dozed off on the couch. I helped her to get to her bed. I came downstairs and I met Samuel in the sitting room.


“I was coming to meet you in your room”


“I heard everyone go to bed so I came out to check. I hope it is ok. Are you excited about tomorrow?”


He made me conscious of what I was doing. I was excited but I was not showing it, unlike Samuel who wore his on his sleeves. I began to see how different we were but we complemented each other.


We talked for about two hours about applications, documentations, jobs over there other things. It was when we realized how late it was we bade each other good night and I retired for the night in auntie Nneoma’s room


Early the next morning, auntie Nneoma woke me up. I thought she wanted to talk about the UK application but that wasn’t it. She talked to me about leaving the past behind and forging ahead.


“You are not getting any younger; I want to carry your children”


“You will. I am waiting for the right man to propose”


“If the man is wasting time to come, then let us make do with the one available and make him into the man you desire”


‘Where is the man? I have no man to change”


“What of the man you came with?”


“Auntie, please believe when I say, we are just friends. He wanted this experience; he is enjoying it. He is an only child; a well brought up only child. I am proud of him”



“What is wrong with him for something more? Encourage him to stop this friendship story and make him into what you want”


“He is not in love with me. He is a good friend. I am not attracted to him in that way. By the way, I am much older than him”


“You are older? Case closed then”


I prepared to leave for the embassy. Samuel insisted on going through the documents one last time before we left with Amanze for the embassy. I was glad he did. He helped me arrange my documents in the right order for submission. While he worked, Amanze grinned.


They only allowed me in and asked Amanze and Samuel to stay in their car until I


come out.



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