This Story is a continuation of GOING… GOING… GONE PT 1, GOING… GOING… GONE PT 2 and GOING… GOING… GONE PT 3
“Memories; the brain’s diary entries of your life. Now, imagine those pages being ripped out and tossed into the wind…you get the picture? Well, that’s the story of my life.” Adunni. O.
Recap: *Adunni gets a job at the construction site but soon has to leave due to unwanted attention from a site manager which leads to a nasty incident. On her way, she has a chance encounter.*
He stood staring at her retreating figure. Slowly, he removed the dark shades he wore like he couldn’t believe his eyes. Maybe his father was right and he needed therapy. The loss must have hit him harder than he thought if he was now seeing things. His mobile phone rang, jarring him out of his trance like state and he realized he was still parked in the middle of the road.
“Hello dad.” He spoke through the earpiece, as he maneuvered the car out of the way.
His eyes kept straying out the side windows, hoping to catch a glimpse of her and convince himself that he wasn’t going crazy.
“How was your trip, son?”
“It was fine but I’m heading to Abuja in a few days to sign a contract.”
“Oh yes, the Resort Centre project. Before you leave there’s…”
Just then, he saw a slim, shapely figure in a dark blue top. The woman turned her head, but no it wasn’t her.
“…so you’ll be there?”
“Um, yes I will.” He replied distractedly, shaking off his disappointment.
“Good, you have enough time to settle in since you just arrived. I’ll send the driver to get you on Thursday. I have to go now, I’ve got a meeting with the Minister.”
When his father ended the call, he was baffled. What had he just agreed to?
Thursday came and he found himself in the midst of a gathering he hadn’t planned for. It was one of those social meets where guests were mainly there for the purpose of networking and keeping up to date on who’s who and what new investments they’ve made.
“I just had to drop by when I heard you were back in Nigeria.” The fair skinned, former beauty queen standing before him said.
For business, not pleasure. He thought, not missing the way her eyes scanned his Armani suit, no doubt calculating its cost and if he was as rich as rumored to be.
Moving on, he was drawn into another conversation with a wealthy businesswoman who seemed determined to boost sales by going on and on about her company’s new product.
During lunch, a pretty young aspiring actress wouldn’t stop giving him shy glances across the table.
“You should mingle dear, get to know more people.” His mother said hopefully when she spotted him later on, trying to draw him into conversation with yet another high profile woman.
He loved his mother, but her subtle ways of trying to make him forget the last few months were becoming tiring.
Halfway into the occasion, his mobile phone rang and he quickly excused himself.
“It’s business mom, I’m afraid I have to leave so soon. Please tell dad I’m leaving.”
Despite his mother’s slightly visible disappointment, he was glad for the escape.
I stood at the door to Madam Furah’s office, owner of Furah’s Delicacies. A booming restaurant with three major branches in the bustling area of Ikeja, Yaba and the third, located in Victoria Island.
My appointment with her was long overdue but I could only hope that she would still give me a chance.
“Come in.” A voice called, after I knocked.
I stepped in to see a voluptuous, fair skinned woman seated behind a desk.
She tipped her head to the side as she studied me.
“Good afternoon ma.” I said, walking forward.
“Yes, good afternoon. What can I do for you?” She asked before gesturing in front of her. “Have a seat.”
Once settled, I explained why I was there.
“Hmm, yes I do remember being asked by my friend, Kemi to give you a job. But why are you just coming now?”
“I’m sorry, I’ve had many difficulties in getting here.”
“That’s alright. I suppose I can give you something to do, although the better positions are filled now.”
I felt my chest get lighter, the heaviness from the disappointment I feared would come, had lifted.
“You can help to run errands. Buy groceries and deliver meals when necessary. You’ll be given accommodation and earn a monthly salary. If you agree to all this and follow instructions, then you can begin tomorrow.”
It was like a dream come true. A job, money and accommodation. Finally, things were looking up!
“Thank you so much ma, I’m really grateful.”
“It’s alright, I’m mostly doing my friend a favour. You just need to prove yourself and don’t make me regret my decision.”
She called a staff to show me around, inform me on the code of conduct and all that I needed to know about my new job.
In excitement, I called Halima to share the good news. She was very happy for me and invited me to stay over at her place for the night before starting work the next day.
The next morning, my duties began. I held a mile long shopping list in my hands, wondering where I would even start from.
“I recognize that look.” A male voice said with a hint of laughter.
I looked up to see a co-worker, Emeka. He was one of the chefs who specialized in pastries. He was welcoming and friendly since I’d walked in that morning, eager and clueless.
“Please don’t expose me, I’m trying hard to look competent.” I said, holding in a smile.
He laughed quietly as he laced the display glass with an array of tempting looking cakes, pies and chocolate treats.
I stared longingly at them but forced my gaze back to the list.
Ataiko, Stockfish, Gbafilo, Efinrin, Bouillabaisse, Mozzarella… could all these items possibly be found in the same place? I had no idea what some of these things even were.
“I could go with you. Besides, I’m sure Efe can cover for me today.” He said, turning to the co-chef who nodded.
“Are you sure that’s okay?” I asked. To be honest, I needed all the help I could get.
“Definitely.” He said, giving me a smile that for some reason, made the prospect of spending hours in the market sound pleasant.
I learned a lot about Emeka during our shopping trip. He was 24, two years older than I and a graduate. He told me about his fiancée, Amaka who lived back home and from the way his eyes lit up when he spoke about her, I could tell it was genuine.
I wondered how it felt to have such a strong bond with someone very special to you. My mind went subconsciously to the initials on my bracelet. Could it be someone I’d known? A family member? A best friend?
“Adunni? For a moment there, you seemed lost.” Emeka’s voice broke through my trail of thought.
I smiled and brushed it off.
“No, um, what were you saying?”
He shook his head at me in amusement.
“It’s time to go, we’ve got everything.”
I felt slightly bad that he’d done most of the work though.
For a couple of months, my job ran smoothly. I developed a good relationship with many of the staff and finally knew my way around things. I even knew how to avoid Felix, who was a chronic flirt. Emeka was like the big brother I’d never had.
After running a few errands one weekend, I was making my way to Madam Furah’s office when I heard the voices. Instinctively, I slowed down and listened.
“Its must be done…tom…rrow…in his food…suspect…thing…”
“… I will handle…it… don’t worry” The second was feminine and familiar.
I jerked away from the door and left as quickly and quietly as possible.
The next day, I was high strung and alert while going about my duties.
“What’s up with you today?” Emeka asked, eyeing me strangely.
“Guess I’m just feeling a bit restless. Didn’t get much sleep.” It was true at least.
I had another flashback last night. It was different from the others. This time, I saw a young couple. The man provoked slight recognition deep within me but what surprised me the most, is that I was the young woman. I looked so happy and carefree, I wondered how my life had been before all this.
I sketched the scene in my notebook. Now I was slowly but surely developing an idea of what life was like before the accident. I thought maybe I dreamed the whole thing up because of Emeka’s stories about his fiancée. But it had been too vivid to be just a dream.
I was in the kitchen with Emeka and Efe, as they prepared a variety of dishes.
“It has to be perfect.” Emeka said firmly to Efe as she put the finishing touches on a foreign dish I’d never heard of before.
“I’ve never seen you both this serious, what’s going on?” I asked.
He glanced at me briefly before focusing his attention on the dessert he was arranging.
“Madam has important guests today.”
Efe picked up where he left off.
“The Governor and his son are stopping by. Apparently, they want to patronise some local establishments.”
“I think it’s all a publicity stunt for his campaign if you ask me. After all, the elections are coming up soon.” Emeka chipped in. “But that doesn’t stop us from doing our best.”
“Or looking our best.” Efe winked.
Oh, that explained why her shirt seemed so form fitting and flattering today.
Emeka shook his head playfully at her but said nothing.
“Oh please, all you have to do is watch the news to know that the younger Mr Adeniji is a catch. I mean, the man is independently wealthy asides his father’s investments, he’s a bachelor and he’s handsome. What more could a girl want?” She threw her hands up for emphasis.
I laughed as I went off to set the cutlery.
A few hours later, the restaurant was closed to the regular customers for the day to provide some privacy. Our boss instructed that the dishes be brought to her for inspection before being served.
It seemed like a normal thing to do, until warning bells went off in my head.
I watched anxiously as one of the waiters pushed a serving trolley over to their table. From my position near the kitchen, I couldn’t clearly see the guests but I felt the need to do something.
My feet led me of their own accord before I could even formulate a plan. My heart beat rapidly in apprehension. Now, I could see one of them lifting a forkful of food to their lips.
Don’t eat that! I wanted to shout.
I caught a glimpse of a young man’s striking features, right before I tripped and went flying into the serving trolley. The sound of cutlery being dropped unto expensive plates resounded in the air along with that of breaking glass as bits of food flew everywhere. I felt something soupy dripping down my face.
I lay on the floor, dazed. Some parts of my body hurt from where the broken glass had scraped it.
“Adun…?” The young man whispered as staff rushed to clean up the mess. The older man looked at me in shock.
Subconsciously, I was aware of several gazes on me but the only person who held my attention was him.
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