- 1.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (I)
- 2.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (II)
- 3.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (III)
- 4.Mechanics of Yenagoa (IV)
- 5.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (V)
- 6.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (VI)
- 7.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (VII)
- 8.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (VIII)
- 9.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (IX)
- 10.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (X)
- 11.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XI)
- 12.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XII)
- 13.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XIII)
- 14.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XIV)
- 15.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XV)
- 16.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XVI)
- 17.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XVII)
- 18.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XVIII)
- 19.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XIX)
- 20.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XX)
- 21.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – I
- 22.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – II
- 23.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – III
- 24.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – IV
- 25.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – VI
- 26.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – VIII
- 27.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – IX
- 28.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – X
- 29.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XI
- 30.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XII
- 31.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XIII
- 32.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XIV
- 33.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XV
- 34.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XVI
- 35.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XVII
“I think I should go back to working with Oga Emma in Agudama. To be honest, it doesn’t feel right being in Kalakala street and doing this with you anymore. This whole being the side chick thing just isn’t me.” Oputi’s unexpected expression of unease at our situation hit me like a powerful jab from Anthony Joshua. My heart sank and my large eyes bulged in panic that she was ending things between us so abruptly.
We had agreed to spend another night together in De Brass Suite but the hotel was fully booked because it was the venue for the annual conference of the Association of Nigerian Authors holding in Yenagoa. Because of the unavailability of rooms there, we had to settle for a less glamorous hotel nearby.
I had sensed Oputari’s withdrawal the last time we rendezvoused, which was only two nights ago. At the time, I decided against pressing her to talk about whatever it was she had on her mind because I was too busy begging for sex. In that state of intense arousal, the last thing a guy wants to do is pause and get into a long conversation about family history or personal woe that would weaken his libido.
“Why would you want to go back to your former boss? Aren’t you happy in my workshop? Did one of the guys offend you, disrespect you in anyway?” I asked perplexed.
“It’s none of those things, Ebinimi, and I’m sure you know that. I’m happy when I’m around you and the guys, and I’m learning a lot from you, but things are changing really rapidly between us and I don’t think I can handle our complicated relationship status or these secret dates any longer.”
“Is it Blessing?”
“I’ve heard a lot about her and I’m scared of what she’d do when she finds out about us,” Oputari confessed.
“Oputi, if you leave now, what’s going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to our social media strategy? What’s going to happen to Saka who is in Lagos right now because of you? Did I tell you that when we spoke today he told me that the guy directing the Axel commercial is also shooting a music video for Timaya and Adekunle Gold’s new song and he wants Saka to be in it?”
“He called to give me the good news too, and I’m happy for him and for you as well.”
“Then stay. I know we can work something out. Trust me on that one.”
“I want to trust you, Ebinimi, but I don’t want to get into any embarrassing confrontation with your girlfriend. And about managing Saka’s career and the Mechanics of Yenagoa, I’m sure I can find a way of doing all that from Agudama while we figure out what we want to do about us.” Oputi turned to face the wall so I couldn’t read her countenance, but still I heard the question she muttered under her breath, “Is there even an ‘us’?”
Thankfully, she didn’t want answers so I closed my eyes and waited for sleep to come, knowing that in another hour or two she’d be in a better mood and we would transition from talk to activity, and all her guilt tripping would evaporate.
Sometime around 5:30am, we checked out of our room and headed for the reception to drop the key. When we checked-in, the receptionist on duty had been a guy so I was surprised to see that the person behind the counter was now female. Perhaps there was two of them but I only noticed one, I thought to myself.
“Ebinimi!” I recognised her voice instantly, even though I couldn’t see her face or make out her figure because the light in the reception were still turned off.
“Agnes?” I was tentative in my response.
“Ebinimi, Oputi, wetin una dey do here for this early morning?”
“We…we – ” I couldn’t even lie; there was no need. We had been caught red-handed.
“I don dey tell Saka since say something dey happen between the two of una, but him no believe me. Hmmmm, na wa oh, wetin person no go see for this Yenagoa?”
“Sister Agnes, it’s not what you think.” I didn’t need to look at Oputari to know that she was wishing the ground would open up and swallow her. And because I couldn’t think of anything more to add to my feeble attempt at denial, I tried to deflate by asking her what she was doing there. I know Saka had told me a few weeks back that Agnes got a job in a hotel, but I didn’t ask which. Now I wish I had.
“I work here. I started two weeks ago,” she said, laughing gleefully in a way a politician would if he stumbled on an embarrassing piece of information about an opponent. “I hope you enjoyed your stay. Please come again.”
I ignored the sarcasm in her voice, dropped the key on the counter, and chased after Oputi who was already at the entrance door. I knew what she was thinking, Agnes would tell Saka, Saka would tell BRD and Biodun and we would never hear the last of it. But actually, that wasn’t what she was thinking, because you see Oputi, her brain works faster than mine.
“Now she would go and tell Reverend Ebizimor and the Reverend would tell Blessing and Blessing would pour acid on my face,” Oputi said slamming the car door so hard, it rattled the four windows.
In the car, she wouldn’t speak to me or react to my plea for her to reconsider her stance on training with me. When we got to her gate, she highlighted from the car without giving me a peck or saying goodbye. It was how I knew she was serious about not coming back to Kalakala Street.
The workshop felt different without Oputi and Saka, and it just wasn’t about the increased workload the remaining three of us had to take on. It was an emptiness that tugged on my heart and reminded me how much I missed both of them.
Immediately after communion service in the evening, Reverend Ebizimor sent for me and I dropped everything I was doing to meet with him. I was certain he wanted to rebuke me for my lukewarm attitude towards the programmes of the church so I began manufacturing excuses in my head. Fortunately, that wasn’t what he wanted to speak to me about.
“Your sister and I had a long talk when I came in this morning. I think I’ve been able to convince her that being confrontational with her in-laws at this time wouldn’t be in her best interest or that of her son in the long run.”
I couldn’t tell him how relieved I was that he was able to get through to her when even I, her brother failed. I know how difficult Ebiakpo could be once her mind was made up about something.
“Thank you Reverend. God will continue to bless you.”
“Oh, it’s nothing. I think she has made her point by moving back here, but continuing to insist on her position would be foolish.”
“What would even be more foolish would be her telling them that Benson isn’t Anda’s father. They will call her all sorts of names. Some people may even accuse her of killing her husband because maybe he found out the truth and she wanted to silence him and take his money.”
“Brother Ebinimi, you are very correct. That was exactly what I told her. Thank God she has agreed to take part in the burial and move back to her matrimonial home.”
“Ebiakpo has agreed to go back to that house?”
“Yes. She would be going back there this weekend because if she continues to stay here, her late husband’s brothers will share his property and not give her anything.”
“But that house is a rented apartment,” I reminded him.
“It may not be their personal house, but what about the cars and the money that is left from the contract he was doing before he died.”
“For me, the most important thing is that no one will call her names. This town is too small to be involved in any scandal. It would never blow over.”
“And it would be an embarrassment to this church because people know her as a staunch member of –” he stopped speaking abruptly and I had a sense that something else was bothering him, something very heavy.
I still had my theories about Benson’s death, but because it was such a sensitive issue that might involve my closest relative and a man of God, I made a conscious decision to suppress my suspicions and distract myself with my budding relationship and other things. I had raised it with him before, but Reverend Ebizimor dismissed it then, perhaps it was time to bring it up again.
“Reverend, you stopped talking suddenly. Has my sister done anything else to embarrass the church apart from Anda and the baby she is carrying now? Would she tell you if she had a hand in Benson’s death?”
“Brother Ebinimi, Sister Ebiakpo is a good person. She didn’t kill her husband and she wouldn’t do anything that will deliberately embarrass my ministry or me. Unlike some other members, Sister Blessing inclusive.”
“Sister Blessing?” I asked surprised.
“But Brother Jacob, why are you acting surprised? Don’t you know that Sister Blessing has been fooling around with other men? Why do you think she has been travelling a lot lately?”
“She told me you sent her to the mountain top.”
“Brethren, if you don’t want to die young, end things now with that girl. She isn’t who you think she is.”
“But she’s still in charge of the Choir here.”
“Not for much longer because I have decided to suspend her from the choir and even expel her from the church if she doesn’t change her ways.”
“But she told me you told her you saw a vision – ”
“I told her that you are a man with prospect and that she shouldn’t spoil your destiny with her own corner-corner lifestyle. Besides I have noticed how things are going with that new mechanic girl. That girl is nice and decent from what I have observed about her. She is the kind of girl you should be following.”
I left Reverend Ebizimor’s office feeling very confused. I didn’t know who or what to believe. Clearly, Reverend Ebizimor was trying to sabotage my relationship with Blessing and the question on my mind as I went back to work was why.