Iphey was having the worst possible Monday in the history of Mondays.
To begin with, she didn‟t hear her alarm ring at 6am and flew out of bed at
6:43 instead. Rushing to get ready and stepping out of the house within an
impressive 35 minutes, she was beginning to have faith that the day could still be
salvaged when her car refused to start. Her mallam-cum-makeshift-mechanic
insisted he could fix the problem in “pife” minutes. “Madam, only pife minutes I
need,” he declared but Iphey had neither the patience nor the mood to wait and
angrily stomped out into the sunless morning to hail a taxi.
The rapture or something like it must have occurred that morning – that was
the only explanation she could think of for the practically standstill traffic, and
she spent many angry minutes uncharacteristically cursing the taxi driver, the
other drivers, the okada riders, the Lagos state government, the Nigerian
government, and every other entity she could think of.
Walking into her 9am meeting at 9:26, she fumbled into the nearest empty
seat, muttering a breathless “Sorry I‟m late. Got caught in traffic.”
“And they say you’re professional,” Funmi muttered. “Do you have the
report?” She snapped more loudly.
“I‟m really sorry,” Iphey said, shuffling through the papers she held in her
hand. She picked out a couple and asked Bisi to pass them down. “Here they
Funmi shot her a withering look before resuming her presentation.
Iphey could not have been more embarrassed. It‟s this stupid Chinedu, she
thought to herself. She had gone home fuming from the party, thinking she‟d
made a huge mistake. She didn‟t even know what made her kiss him; it wasn‟t
like her to do so. She was never quite the forward type, but somehow Chinedu
had waltzed in on his high horse and messed up her rhythm. She hadn‟t been
able to get much sleep the past few nights, tossing and turning and staring at the
pitch-black darkness way into the early morning.
Feeling cranky from lack of sleep, she willed herself to disappear in her seat. It
didn‟t seem like she was doing a very good job because she caught Ayo winking
at her. Suddenly she was very annoyed. What was wrong with this man? He’d
shown up to a party on her mum’s invitation as her boss but then proceeded to
get chummy at every chance as if he‟d just proposed. Had he no shame or sense
of decency? Did he not care about his wife? What‟s wrong with men these days
even? It‟s like they don‟t know what they want.
She didn‟t realize she‟d hissed out loud until all eyes in the boardroom turned
“Excuse me, did you have a problem with something I said?” Funmi asked,
“I‟m-I‟m sorry,” Iphey stammered and for lack of a meaningful explanation to
give, reorganized her papers and tried to look busy.
That was her Monday so far, and it wasn‟t even 10 o‟ clock yet.
Determined to make up for her double strike at the meeting, she decided to
skip lunch and use the time to put in some extra work. Iphey felt upset with
herself for being so careless, and she reminded herself that now was not the time
to slack off. The recent spate of terminations all over the banking sector was
nothing to joke with, especially now that she was due for confirmation.
Around 12:30, Bisi and one of the girls from Accounts Reconciliation stopped
by to ask if she would join them for lunch.
“Oh, thanks for the invite,” Iphey smiled, “but I really have to finish all this
The other girl excused herself for a phone call, and Bisi waited until she was
out of sight before saying, “So when are you going to gist me about you and youknow-who at your party on Friday?”
“I don‟t know what you‟re talking about,” Iphey laughed nervously, she
didn’t want to talk about Chinedu.
“Ahahn don‟t form for me jo,” Bisi teased. “I heard he was all over you and
even gave gifts to your mom.”
Iphey stared back at her blankly for a few seconds before realizing she was
talking about Ayo.
“Oh you mean that one?” she said and then hissed. “I don‟t understand why
he won‟t leave me alone.”
“It‟s so obvious he likes you,” Bisi said, pausing to add, “He‟s really rich you
know. And I hear he and his wife haven‟t lived together in over a year.”
Iphey was about to ask why Bisi was sharing this information with her when
the other girl returned.
“You guys should enjoy your lunch,” Iphey said. “I‟ve to return to this
“We‟ll talk later sha,” Bisi replied and left.
Iphey turned back to her monitor and thought about the conversation. A
nagging feeling at the back of her mind told her trouble was breeding somewhere,
but she convinced herself she was being ridiculous and tried to focus on her
At 8 pm, she decided to head home. Most of her co-workers had gone by
then, so she packed her papers and hurriedly left the building. Stepping outside
the gates of the bank, she suddenly realized she hadn‟t eaten all day and she
stood for a few minutes, the cacophony of the evening hustle and bustle
interspersing her angrily growling tummy, until she spotted an empty taxi
heading in her direction. She stretched out her hand to flag it down and, without
a word, got into the backseat.
The driver turned around to ask where she was going, and Iphey gasped as
she recognized the disheveled, unkempt stranger as James, her sister‟s missing
“James…?” Iphey stared, mouth agape and eyes wide in shock.
“Wetin be that?” The driver asked. “You dey ok?”
“Are you not James?” She demanded as shock and all kinds of emotions
coursed through her body. He looked exactly the same as her missing brother-inlaw.
“That no be me oo. Who is James? Madam you well so?”
“I‟m alright. It‟s just that…you look like someone I know.” She continued
looking at him intently. “My sister‟s husband…”
“I say no be me,” said the cab driver in an unflinching tone. “Where you dey
He did look different. Thinner harder, meaner. The voice was also a bit
different from James’…or so she thought. It had been almost three years. She
really couldn‟t remember what James‟ voice was like anymore; partly because of
the time lapse and partly because she had almost believed he was dead…
Stop it, Iphey, And tell the man where you‟re headed!
“Lekki Phase 1…” She finally replied.
Scratching his head, the driver said “Oh…Sorry o! I no dey go that way…I
don close for today and na Surulere side I dey go.”
Iphey pierced him with her gaze but again he remained unmoving, “Madam
go now make I fit find another passenger.”
“Oh..ok. I‟ll just get another cab.” She jumped out, hunger and tiredness now
replaced by angst, memories of the nights when she had to stay with her sister.
When Ngozi would cry herself sick; her son sick and her husband missing. Lost
in her reverie, Iphey almost got knocked down by an Okada rider…
“See, no be me go kpai you o!” He cursed at her.
“Sorry! Sorry…” said a very confused Iphey. Cursing okada riders were the
least of her problems at that point. Damn! This had to be the day devil came out
with his entire clan. A stressful day at work and now a James look-alike!
She hailed another taxi. Thankfully, this one was headed her way. The
thought of what happened a few minutes ago just wouldn‟t leave her.
That driver had definitely put her on the edge. He looked so much like
James…but that voice, or maybe that was because of the pidgin he was speaking.
She had never heard James speak that before, and the taxi driver seemed very
fluent. She cursed her car for not starting. Cursed the mechanic for not fixing
whatever the problem was.
“Chei! I must be more fatigued than I thought.” She said aloud.
“You say wetin?”
“Abeg, no vex. I was talking to myself” She said embarrassed.
Something about this entire business smacked of lies…or was she paranoid?
Yes. She was paranoid alright. And hungry. And fagged out.
“Lord help!” She said aloud.
The cab driver obviously worried about the young lady constantly talking to
herself said “Take it easy o madam. It is well.”
The first thing she did when she came in was to call her best friend.
“The strangest thing happened today o, Aisha!”
“What happen…Iphey abeg, Hold on, I don‟t know what TJ dey call me for
“No wahala…I‟m here.”Iphey said in between nervous laughter. Who would
believe it? She thought to herself. Should she tell her sister?
Aisha was soon back on the line, hissing “Walai! Can you imagine! It‟s that
rubbish Mutallab boy that TJ called me to come see!”
Iphey laughed at her. “Say after me, Mutallab is a mu-mu.”
Aisha hissed again. “Tell me joo, wetin happen today? Has Chinedu finally
“Please don‟t talk to me about Chinedu!” She had thought of him at work
most of her free time but what happened on the way home had pushed him to
the back of her mind. And she preferred him to remain there.
“You want make I speak with am again?” Aisha interrupted her thoughts.
Iphey was mortified. “Did you already call him?”
“I‟m sorry Iphey, I called him for something to do with Habib, but your name
Iphey sighed. “It‟s OK. I‟m tired of that guy oo, and no I won‟t call him.
After kissing him in public, I think the ball is now firmly in his court.”
Aisha agreed. “So wetin you call to tell me?”
“Aisha you won‟t believe it…” Just then her doorbell rang.
“Aisha, hold on, someone is at the door.” Iphey she sprang up off the bed and
headed back towards to door. It was just as well she had not changed out of her
Aisha went on, mischief in her tone “At this time? Or is it him?”
Iphey was busy peering through her windows when Aisha blared in her ears
“It‟s him! Bad child! You you were just pulling my legs abi?”
“Aisha please go jo!” Iphey said chuckling, one hand unlocking the door. “I‟ll
She froze when she saw who rang her bell. He who now stood in front of her
on her doormat that said “WELCOME”.
“Can I come in?