The worst thing to happen to any bonafide Lagos chick is to not be fine and to not have any money. It’s a double whammy! Auchi, (even though she hated the name) had the luck of being pretty, but not rich. She was tall and fair (every girl’s wish of good looks).She had a long neck and slim long fingers and an hour glass figure. She had slight knock knees, and had a way of turning her swagger to a catwalk.
Auchi had worked for 2 years as a receptionist in a very big firm in Lagos and was beginning to settle in quite well into the Lasgiddy (Lagos) life. She had enough toasters and all but no rich ones. She grabbed every opportunity to be invited to parties and weddings of the so-called rich.
It was her day dream to be standing somewhere at Oworonshoki bridge waiting for Ikorodu Bus and then a black Range Rover special edition, would just pull up in front of her and a handsome suave, dark man inside it would wind down his window and say, “I had a dream and I know it’s you I saw as my wife. Come in and let me take you wherever you wanna go”. Auchi had rewritten this script many times in her head. This had reinforced her policy “to always look good, even if na bread you dey go buy”. Her dream was yet to come to pass. She was still waiting.
Some weeks ago her brother Lucky,had called her countless times to remind her to send money home to their Mother, who had been ill for some time. She remembered all her Mother’s struggles while raising them in the polygamous theatre of a place called home, in Benin. The expenses and incomes were not meeting up. She expected Mama to understand. She got angry and would intentionally ignore Lucky’s calls.
Lola Odehen’s wedding was coming up, she was the celebrity of all celebrities. The invitation card was a sight for sore eyes……the whole town was talking about it. It was a box that looked like a woman’s vanity box. It had polka dots of pink and yellow. The invite was printed on bottles of perfume, moisturizer, shampoo and the works. It was awesome! A colleague and friend at her office-Laide, was sent one in the office, but because she had fallen down the stairs and broken her arm, she decided not to attend the wedding and gave the invite to Auchi.
The only problem Auchi had, was that this kain of parry needed you to be dressed to da teeth! She only had N200k of savings. Mama was there asking for N150k, her rent would be due in another 6 months and bills and debts from clothing over the last few months were still hanging. It is not wise to spend from ones savings, but then it was an investment, she thought to herself – she might meet Price charming there and waltz into the sunset! Her colleague had insisted that she go with her to the Lola Odehen’s bridal shower since she wasn’t going to attend the wedding and she needed company. The Bridal shower was done in one of those restaurants in V/I that had Italian sounding names and where the waiters sound as though they are not speaking English but a foreign language.
It was the usual stuff, the ladies who were already seated checked out the ones who were coming in later. They’d look at the hair, clothes, shoes and make up and give a pass or fail mark in their minds. Auchi had the gift of neither fitting in with the rich nor the ‘street’ look. She was just in between. Not long after they had sat down, they realized that almost everybody there had an American accent. It was tough “falling in” so Auchi decided to be silent most of the time and smiled or laughed occasionally at the jokes. Lola was on top of the world! She showed off her engagement ring and went picture crazy! Auchi eyed her from the corner of her eye. It wasn’t fair that rich people should marry rich people and be even richer! Drinks flowed like water and soon the American accents began to wane.
The Hen’s night was nearing conclusion. One of the girls who seemed to have organized the do, got up, cleared her throat and asked Lola to leave the room for a few minutes. She said she had something to say to all the guests. The Lady said she was very grateful for the turnout and show of Love to Lola. She said she had personally budgeted for a bill of N200k for food and drinks and that she was told that some of us had had second and third helpings and that she was not willing to pay an extra N150k. We were to all chip in Dutch style. Yeepaa! The booze virtually cleared from Auchi’s eyes…It was two days to the wedding between today and pay day,all that she had left was N15k till month end. Out of it, N3k was to cover the trip to the wedding by Uber, transport to work by bus, feeding and all, nko? All the ladies were to chip in N10k each! Beads of sweat began to form themselves on Auchi’s face and she began to do the math. It was not goinna happen!
Her “Edoness” kicked in as she got up and told the bearer of bad news in pidgin ’’See ehn, na invite dem invite me and na only one plate I chop and I drink one coke and wine, I no go pay for anytin”. Others joined in. There was lots of shouting. Auchi winked at Laide, who understood. They both got up to leave and were stopped by the bouncer at the door. Long story short, Auchi and her friend coughed out N7k each before they were allowed to leave. Laide echoed ‘awoof dey really run belle’.
Lucky wouldn’t let up with the calls. Auchi had just walked the red carpet into the reception of Lola’s wedding. Clicks, here and there, the photographers were from all over the place. She was counting on her pictures coming out in many of the fashion mags and newspapers. It was awesome! She looked like a Queen and she knew it!
One of the popular comedians was compere, and he gave the guests rib cracking jokes. Again Lucky kept calling. There were nice looking “aje-bo” guys around and she seemed to have caught the attention of one of them. She was trying to be careful not to spoil her packaging. Her phone was not looking too nice ,it was an old Samsung that had seen better days. She stylishly put her hand into her purse and put the phone on silent….still, Lucky persevered!
It was a magical minute when her eyes caught her target. She couldn’t see whether he was wearing a wedding band or not. Just as she was trying to cran her neck to see better, a young woman wearing the same fabric with the handsome Aje-bo man, handed him a baby and whispered into his ears, pointing to the direction of the bathroom. Auchi’s dream, just ended! She turned away quickly and ‘X-ed’ the guy immediately. She was angry. Now, her phone went on a vibrating frenzy. She gnashed her teeth as she picked it! Lucky! What is it sef? “Wetin happen, wey you no wan make I rest? Lucky said,I dey try to tell you say Mama don die. She die yesterday, Ba bye.” The news caused Auchi great distress and severe dizziness. Everything suddenly went black.