September 26, 2021 at 11:02 am #1473770ValentineAdmin
In an interview, I was asked to narrate a really tensed sitiation and how I navigated it.
I remembered my NYSC days, I lived inside Letmauck Cantonement, Mokola Barracks, Ibadan. Year was 2008.
The wife of an Army Officer( a Major) hired me to tutor their three young kids after school. Unknown to me, it was the woman that needed tutoring on how to read English(she couldn’t read nor write). She spoke only pidgin.
We agreed the fees (weekly), and I started. She would later open up to me that she needed tutoring as well. For a relatively long time, I didnt meet the Major himself. I would have left before he returned from work. I was a teacher at St Luis Grammar school just behind the barracks.
Long story short, I started teaching the woman too after she increased my weekly fee. But I noticed the woman would rather gist with me than learn. Being a student of emotional intelligence myself, I reckoned she needed someone to gist with in that ghostly environment like the Officer’s Quaters. A full time house wife and in that environment. The other end of the barrack where soldiers ans corpers live was more fun and populated . As long as I was paid, we would gist all afternoon. We soon became friends. I even stopped teaching the kids. They were super sharp, intelligent, restless and troublesome. But every Friday, she never missed my payment.
One faithful Friday afternoon, the Major came home early, that was the first time I ever saw his face. I rightly assumed all the money I was being handsomely paid came from him since the wife was a full house wife.
I stood up to greet him but I couldn’t tell if he was angry, sad or just being his military self. He didn’t bother to respond, he just went upstairs. His wife followed him immediately.
After about 15 minutes, he came back to join me. He asked how much I was being paid, I told him. He asked if his wife mentioned why she needed to learn how to read, I told him I assumed it was for self improvement. Meanwhile, I had been collecting money weekly for several weeks and this woman could not read jack. We would rather chat, gist and laugh.
The Major went to the TV area and gave me a card, it was their wedding invitation card in 2 weeks time. He mentioned that they never got married before the kids. In short, at the wedding, the woman would be required to read a long vow or something like that. It was a Methodist or Anglican church along Bodija.
He said, given his status both in the church and in the army, he must not be embarrassed by his wife’s inability to read. That was the whole reason for the lesson that we turned into chatting sessions. He said it was mandatory that I attended to witness the result of my tutoring. The whole conversion lasted for about 10 minutes and it sounded more like subtle threats and one man trying to dominate another man.
How did the woman not mention her wedding and the real reason she was learning how to read? How could I make her read in two weeks? Should we just memorize the whole text of the program? My mind started racing. I lived at the other end of the barracks, the Major knows where I worked as well. No way I could escape. I had collected a lot of money already and I was 100% certain he would be embarrassed on that day.
I did what I could in two weeks. Attending the wedding for me was like a cow going to the slaughter. My heart was pounding and was literally in my mouth. I knew the woman could not still read even after practicing the texts many times.
It was a beautiful military wedding. I sat at the back, then two guys came and said something like “O boy, oga say make we sit beside you”. Which oga? They said “Major”. I knew I was in deep shit. Prior to that time, a corper colleague had to be locked up in the guard room for dating a soldier’s sister. Ordinary soldier. This was a Major about to be embarrassed in front of his friends, colleagues, juniors and church members. Of course, he wouldn’t beat his wife, I figured I would carry all the blame and possibly return every penny I collected.
Sitting through the wedding was the most tensed period of my entire adult life. Gruelling 3 hours!. Second was waiting for my HIV test result. Of course, she fumbled, woefully at that. It was a disaster. That moment you want to hide under the seat. The officiating minster had to take charge of the situation to save face. I’m sure he wasn’t aware.
As they where matching out of the church through the guards or what do they call them. Those guys that carry sticks and couples pass under them. I was seriously looking at the Major’s face. His facial expression would inform me of my likely fate. His face was always expressionless but today, it was important to read those expressions so as to know my next line of action. Either to pick the next available bus back to my state and never return or something like that. But again, there’s the problem of the soldiers beside me.
The Major didn’t have my time on that day, I guess he was occupied with the guests and all. I got lost in the crowd but never returned home directly. I slept at a colleagues room like 10 blocks away from ours. I could remember, ours was block 36 Engineering block. The soldiers sent to sit next to me also probably didn’t know the reason and we all dispersed. My room mate and other corper colleagues that knew the background were waiting for the full gist of what happened. That night, I was waiting for that “gulf 3” visit. Gulf car was reigning at the time. They used gulf to pick you up to treat unofficial f**k ups.
The next day, I received a call from the Major’s wife to come down to the Officer’s Quarters. She didn’t thank me for attending the wedding or for my tutoring or say anything that I could draw conclusions on about the mood of the situation. I was too paralysed to even congratulate her. Why would she be the one to call me given what happened at the wedding? I had heard all sorts of stories about what happens in the guard room, true or untrue, I never wanted to experience any of it. I put myself in the Major’s shoes. No man should experience what he passed though in those few minutes at the altar. The Church became very quiet. Some people could not even look up.
Approaching the building, I saw the Major and one of the soldiers from yesterday and behold, the Gulf car!!.
I went straight down on my knees and then on my chest, flat on the floor in public view. My colleague had told me that was the only way I could lessen my punishment. But the Officer’s Quaters was too quiet and lonely to gain any public pity and possibly help. The Major looked confused. I started apologizing and promised to even refund him. His kids (2 boys, 1 girl) started laughing.
The wife came out laughing as well, but in her hands was what I would later find out to be cake wrapped in those aluminium foils for me. The Major and the soldier just looked at me as if I was less of a man, rolling on the floor without even being accused of anything yet. Apparently, the Gulf car belonged to the soldier. The poor man was not even angry at me. I died multiple times throughout the night thinking about what evil was about to befall me. But all was just in my mind.
The wife would later tell me that she warned her husband before the Wedding not to waste his money on tutoring her. She felt she was hopeless at education.September 26, 2021 at 4:17 pm #1473887GraceMember
InterestingSeptember 27, 2021 at 5:18 am #1474051OlumideMember
Wow!September 27, 2021 at 1:51 pm #1474297Gentle DemonMember
WahalaSeptember 27, 2021 at 1:52 pm #1474298Gentle DemonMember
Na GOD save uSeptember 28, 2021 at 8:01 pm #1474731Orry-functionMember
Ye! I no fit laugh oSeptember 29, 2021 at 9:54 pm #1475076Jboy youngMember
Cnt sop laughinSeptember 29, 2021 at 9:54 pm #1475077Jboy youngMember
U get luck