Perception – Episode 1

By Dr Ogonna Okeke
It was a rainy Saturday morning, Amoge was awoken by the sound of her alarm clock set for 5am. She loved the sound of the rain on the roofing sheets and the cooling effect of the rain .She had to literally drag herself out of her cosy bed.
     She had just completed her morning ritual of praying and doing some aerobics when she got  a call from Teniola ; a renowned wedding planner, reminding her to be at her client’s hotel room by 7am in order to get her ready for the wedding on time.
        Amoge worked as a professional make up artist and she  received both local and international training. She had a special gift of transforming the plainest of faces into the most beautiful. After several years of struggling in the industry, she was now reaping the fruits of her labour. She got many referrals even from celebrities. Business was good and her bank account could testify to that.
     Amoge was dressed to go out, her make up box was carefully placed in the trunk of her newly acquired car and drove to the hotel where her client lodged. 
      Amoge did what she knew how to do best.The contract was to make  the bride ,bride’s maids and the mother of the bride up. She did justice to them all. Even the mother of the bride could have passed for a bride as well. The mother of the bride who was popularly called ‘Maame’ said to her “Amoge my daughter ,well done! .Christie my friend won’t let me rest if you don’t touch up her face as well, don’t worry she will pay you”.
Maame quickly rang up Christie who was staying in the room next to hers, to get her make up done.
     As Madame Christie approached Amoge, she wore a smile that looked familiar. “I have met this woman before” ,Amoge said to herself.
It was almost time for the wedding ceremony. The bride and bride’s maids got into their well decorated cars.The other guests had either family members ,friends or cabs take them to the wedding venue.
    While Amoge was walking towards her car in the packing lot , she saw  Madame Christie  trying to enter a car packed besides hers. Amoge caught a blurry vision of a man  who closed Madame Christie’s door  and went over to the  driver’s seat .At this time, Amoge had also just got to her car .In a curious attempt to see who was driving Madame Christie, she looked over to the driver’s seat and his eyes met hers.
    She knew this face very well. How could she forget the face of her best friend in primary school and junior secondary school. It was William Bankole Nwankwo.”I must be dreaming” Amoge said to herself.
     The last time she saw William was just after their Basic Education Certificate Exam (Junior WAEC examination) when he told her with teary eyes that his family was relocating to London.
She could say for sure that at that time of her life,that was the worst thing that could ever happen to her.
William was like a brother to her.
       From their days in Ekulu primary school to Federal Government College Enugu, he was there for her and promised to always be ,at least that was his promise to her 20 years ago.  Amoge swiftly turned her gaze away from him in anger and drove off to the wedding venue.
        The proper wedding ceremony was over,Amoge did some touch up to the bride’s face to prepare her for the reception of the guests at the beautifully decorated Marquee.
She sat down with the other guests and watched  with admiration as the bride and groom danced gallantly to one of the trending ” Naija” songs.
While Amoge was daydreaming about how she wanted her big day to be, she was brought back to reality by a voice which said “please is the seat beside you taken?,she looked up to see William .He didn’t give her a chance to reply. He kept a straight face and sat down immediately. 
She felt very uneasy by his presence but tried her best to enjoy the wedding.
      The  couple and well wishers were on the dance floor and Amoge was fiddling with her phone and pretending to be engrossed with what she was doing .  William said to her “Are you going pretend that you do not know who I am”? .She replied with a frown, “I can say the same thing, you know! “.He said with a smile ,”it is so good to see you again”.
    Amoge tried to push the past aside and  have a normal conversation with William.They had general discussions while they  followed the wedding programme.
It was getting dark and She had to go home .Amoge  bade him farewell and as got up to leave,she felt his palm on her hand. “Please Stay” , he said.
“Would it make a difference? ” ,she replied and walked away.
    When  Amoge retired to her bed, She thought about how her day went .Meeting William had reopened old wounds but at the same time she couldn’t deny that his presence sent a tingly sensation down her spine. It occurred to her that they didn’t exchange contact numbers. “I guess it would take another 10 years to meet again ” ,she thought to herself.
     Amoge went on with her life,she pushed thoughts of William to a corner of her brain .
      Several Months went by, the much anticipated Rivers State fashion  show was only a few days away.Amoge  was hired by a fast rising fashion House to be the official make up artist .and so she travelled to Portharcourt  where the event was to take place.
     It was the first day of the fashion show. The models of the various fashion houses were back stage making up and trying on their outfits to walk down the runway.
Amoge was had just finished with one model when she heard someone screaming her name, ‘Amoge! , Amoge!’ , she turned to see Obinna.
“What are you doing here? ” she asked. “I own The Ivory fashion house” ,he said . “That’s great! she replied .They exchanged pleasantries and took each other’s phone numbers.
     Amoge reminisced about the past. Many years ago when she was in primary school, she had four very close friends. They were always tops in class and took turns to be the first in class.They all went to FGC Enugu, remained best of friends there and were popularly called the famous five. William and Obinna were the two boys  in the group. William’s female cousin called Njide,Lola and Amoge were the females. Lola’s mum and William’s mum were best of friends.
    The last time Amoge saw Obinna was early last year when he moved back from New York. They met briefly at a comedy show in Lagos but were unable to discuss properly.Fate brought him her way again, she thought to herself.
      The fashion show came to an end,Amoge was packing her work items when her phone rang. “Guess who is here ? “Obinna said over the phone. “I can’t guess ,just tell me! ” , Amoge replied. “We are coming to meet you back stage ” he said in excitement.
       Her bags were all packed .She was sitted on the chair and facing a dressing mirror .She saw the image of Obinna first as he came in through the door and some seconds later ,she saw the image of William as he walked into the room  Their eyes met as she looked at him in the mirror.
He was wearing a turquoise blue fitted tshirt on a pair of dark blue jeans and white Nike footwear.His shirt complemented his smooth dark skin. He  had a clean  hair cut  with a little moustache and his sideburns were to die for.
    ” How are you doing ? ” William asked her while giving her a warm embrace. “I am great” , she replied. The three friends talked for some time and headed to the car park. Amoge wanted to get a cab that would take her to her hotel but William said to Obinna “I can drop her at the hotel if you don’t mind since we are both going to New G.R.A” .She wondered in her heart why he had to ask Obinna for approval before dropping her.They  both bid Obinna farewell and got into William’s car.
    Amoge  who was normally outspoken and confident, suddenly became shy and quiet. William’s question broke the silence. “So how are you enjoying Portharcourt? ,” “I have not had the time to explore the city “she replied. He asked if she would be free after the next day’s fashion show so that he could take her around and she obliged.
     He told her that he moved back to Nigeria from Aberdeen for good. He studied engineering at Imperial college,got a master’s degree and was immediately given a juicy job offer in Aberdeen .However,after his last visit to Nigeria several months ago ,he applied  to work  as an expertriate in a blue chip oil company in Nigeria.
     Amoge told him about herself, some of the struggles and hardship she faced when she moved to Lagos in search of greener pastures.
They got to her hotel and he escorted her to the door of her room. Just as she was opening the door, he said” I want to ask you a question?” .As he was about to speak ,Amoge’s phone rang. She blurted out “It’s Obinna!”.
William said with a straight face, “I will see you tomorrow” and Amoge went into her room.
…To be continued


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