Today looked bright filled with promises of what I could achieve. I relaxed on the sofa basking in my small victories over the past few months.
Greg was 8months old yesterday and we had made it this far. My mother was still living with me of course, it appeared it was a permanent living arrangment now. I had gotten used to her presence and she has been a pillar I never knew she had the strength she displayed over the past few months.
We became quite close as we had no husbands to talk to. I was thought of making a trip to see my dad.To talk to my dad about his decision not to have her back. I made a mental note to speak to my brother about it. I knew it was a tough ride for us but we had overcome all the challenges life threw at us. Greg, was so fat and I wondered if it was a good thing. I licked my ice cream with pleasure as I watched a comedy TV series.
There was a beep, then another, then another. It was a succession of beeps on my phone.
I stretched for it and lazily pulled it towards me.
‘shhhh all these unsolicited commercial text messages, what have I done to them?’ I said.
I began deleting it until I got to a number which I saved as landlord.
I looked at the text message, it read:
Madam, I have been trying to reach your husband, but his number is not going through. Your rent is due and I expect payment by the end of this month. No more excuses o!
I quickly dialled the number, before it had the chance to ring I heard a voice.
‘Hello, good morning Sir. Please Sir, I thought my husband paid for 2 years, can you give me time to raise the money?’ I said.
‘Ehn, he was supposed to pay two years and he begged me to allow him to stay o! I can’t give you time. Pay by the end of the month oh!’ He said.
‘Please Sir, my husband travelled out of the country and I have not heard from him. I don’t know if he is dead or alive sef. I use God to beg you Sir.’ I said.
‘Madam, na because na you o. I go give you 3months or else na chase I go chase you comot for my house.’ He said.
‘Thank you sir, God bless you.’
I hung up feeling sad, where was I supposed to get N500,000? There was no job out there, the banks were laying off staff, big companies too were doing likewise. I was only lucky to have sold off my gold for a good price 4 months ago and that was what we had been surviving on.
I just had N50,000 left then the thought struck me we had land, large expanse of land about 3 plots here in Lagos. I rushed to the room in search of the documents. Two hours later and I was yet to find it. My mother couldn’t help but ask.
‘What are you looking for like a crazy person since morning?’
I sighed and continued.
‘If you don’t tell me, how can I help you?’ She said.
‘Ok, I am looking for title documents to our plots of land, the landlord called for his rent and I don’t have money to pay it.’
‘How much is the rent?’ She asked.
‘N500,000.’ I said.
‘What?’ The bowl of garri she held landed on the floor. It was only when I rushed to her aid that she realized her folly.’
‘Lagosians, you people can spend money, can’t you build house with that N500,000. Don’t sell the land o. We build on it.’ She said.
‘With what? My spittle? please let me do what is necessary to survive. Daniel can buy more land but we cannot buy children. Greg needs a home and a home he must get.’
She frowned at me for the rest of the day but she said nothing. Nothing was better than her constant battery with words.
I had searched everywhere but one place and I was tired. My room was in disarray. Clothes were everywhere and I couldn’t clean up the mess. At least not right now.
I went to the guest room, where my mother slept with the three children. I climbed the bed and searched the wardrobes. There it was, the title documents to the land. I was elated at least this would solve the problem of the rent and feeding for a while.
I thought of selling one plot, the land was located along Lagos-Ibadan expressway by the road side. I knew land by the road side was expensive but I was willing to sell it for a lot less like N1m as against N2m.
I took my phone and made some calls.
The smile was back again until I saw the incoming call with a + ….
Having familiarised myself with country codes, I knew this must be Daniel and at this point all traces of joy in my life disappeared.