Outside, and sitting by the side of the gate he was employed to man, tears ran profusely from his eyes down his cheeks. His friends who manned neighbours’ gates were with him, but he could not help but betrayed the masculine ego and cried before them.
“Nasa, what happened?” they inquired. How would he explain his pains? Would they understand him? Would they not call him a fool? His seething and tears continued. “What’s the problem? Did you lost anybody.” They continued asking, still, he was not uttering a word.
“Sorry. Be strong. You’re a man.” One of them comforted him. That seemed to have increased his pains as his tears gushed uncontrollably.
“Am I not human?” He broke the silence. “Am I less a human because I’m a gate-man? Why should they treat me that way?” His friends wondered what he was saying.
Nasa, after graduating from secondary school could not further his education because his parents could not afford it. About a year of staying at home and doing nothing after leaving the college, he decided to take this job of a gate-keeper to help himself and his family. His poor background didn’t prevent him from appearing clean and neat all the times; the handsome boy washed his dresses regularly and ironed them passionately. He loved to look good and enjoyed people’s compliments. “Fine boy!” he’d heard a countless times from men and women, and he was the ladies’ guy back at college.
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Whilst he worked as a gate-keeper, many thought he was a son to the owner of this compound, because of his good looks.
On this fateful day, Nasa was with his employer in the sitting room upstairs when the house bell rang.
“That must be my friend and children at the gate; go and bring them in.” His boss instructed him. He went downstairs and made his way to the gate. He un-bolted the gate, opened it a little to see who they were; three pretty looking half-cast ladies with wonderful shapes were standing by with their dad. He pulled one side of the gate door in to allow the visitors in.
“Hey, cutie boy!” one of them said and gave him a kiss on his cheek.
“Oh my God, you’re so cute.” Another said to him, giving him a peck on his cheek.
“Wow, you’re so handsome. Nice meeting you,” the third lady complimented and gave him a warm hug, not caring their dad was with them. Astonished Nasa just blushed and led them in. They got to the sitting room, his boss was already downstairs to receive his visitors.
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Nasa left them in the parlour and dashed back to his duty post.
Whilst he sat by his gate, joy and excitement wrapped him all over. He was sure these girls wouldn’t mind if he asked any of them out for a date. For a moment, he’d forgotten whom he was: a mere gateman.
About two hours later, he saw them coming out of the sitting-room, apparently going back to where they had come from. He opened the gate for them, and they all passed him by without saying a word to him; not even looking at him nor offered him the very cheap goodbye gesture.
He’d anticipated the ladies’ warm pleasantries again when leaving, but he got the unexpected shock of his life. Thinking of what would have happened to have made these ladies shun him this way, he began to put his thoughts together. Oga must have told them I’m just his gate-man. After-all, they didn’t see me with them while they were with him. He thought, and then went outside the gate, sitting by its side and facing the road. This time, tears had begun to converge on his face.
“Nasa, you just dey cry dey cry, and you no want talk wetin dey make you cry. Na wao.” One of his friends said again. He believed these folks around him won’t understand him if he should explain to them; they were just the regular abokis who are contented with what they do or have.
He left them and headed to a certain joint and had three wraps of marijuana (Igbo) to calm down his worries and forget what had happened. He soon realised the smoking didn’t change a thing; deep within, a part of him wept for his life.
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The next day, early in the morning, Nasa told his boss he was quitting his job. He left the job, went home and started thinking of what to do with his life to earn a full respect and honour. Now, he needed a more dignifying job.
Nasa got a better job with a better pay; a front desk official at a private company. Nasa, the ladies’ guy, met Jennifer. She was a beauty; pretty enough to attract your stare whilst she walked past you till she entered a room and locked the door behind her, and then you wished you could still see her through the door. Her curvaceous nature made almost every man drool. Nasa wanted her; nothing in the entire world would make him happy than having Jennifer in his life.
“What do you call that your name again?” She asked
“Yeah, I remember. It’s not Nas, your name is Nasamu. Stop trying to beautify your local name.” She scorned at him. “Why are you disturbing me? Can you take care of me? Money, you don’t have. Is it because you’re a fine handsome guy? So you think I’ll jump at you for a relationship because you’re handsome,” she added, giggling at him. “If I ask you to give me common N10, 000 now, will you see it to give me?” She asked him sarcastically.
“So, Jennifer, if I should bring this N10, 000 for you, you will be my girlfriend?”
“Go and bring it.” She said.
Nasa went about looking for a friend to lend him N10, 000 so he could prove to Jennifer how much he cared about her. No friend could borrow him a kobo, and so he reached out to his uncle who gave him N15, 000; beyond what he needed, but this was after three weeks Jennifer made him believe he stood a chance of winning his heart if he had N10,000. He rushed down to Jennifer’s residence.
“Please I’m here to see Jennifer,” he said to a certain lady outside the house whom he believed was Jennifer’s younger sister.
“Sorry, Jennifer is not around for now. She’s travelled out of the country. She is not in Nigeria.” The girl told him.
What a disappointing news this was to him, as his head went down, cocked and arms akimbo for a moment. “When?” He asked.
“Just few days ago.”
“Don’t worry.” He realised his disappointment had made him goof.
Back home, he pondered upon his life. ‘If only I’d gotten this money on time, I would have had Jennifer before now,’ he thought. The fact that where he currently worked owed him close to three months salary added anger to his disappointment and bitterness. He realised again that he needed more in life. He needed to resign this job, but he had to wait for some time to collect the 3 months’ salary owed him by the company.
A month later, he was paid; every kobo the company owed him. The next morning, Nasa tendered his resignation letter.
Nasa decided to start his own business. The starting was tough and rough for him, but he stayed focus. About a year later, heaven had begun to smile down on him. He made his first half-a-million naira in business. He went to the bank, withdrew the whole and took the money home. He dropped the bag of money in his room, danced around it, and then opened the bag so he could see these damn papers that had humiliated him for so long.
Several minutes gone, Nasa was engrossed with the staring. Suddenly, a feeling of anger crept into him. He spread the money on his bed and brought out his belt.
“I’ve faced so much embarrassment because of you,” he said as he whipped these monies on his bed. “When next I need you, come on time,” he continued hitting the monies with his belt, “Never ever you delay again in coming when I need you.” After the flogging, he knelt down and praised the heavens.
As time went by, Nasa had grown in business and became a millionaire. He got married few years after to the prettiest woman he thought he’d ever met.
Now, Nasa says to people;
“Women brings out the best in you. If it weren’t for women, today, I probably would still have been a common wretched gateman waiting at the gate-post, and of course receiving serious commands and stern warnings from some idiots in the compound, or a mere messenger at a work place receiving instructions every day from some bossy fellows. After all I went through, look at me today, I’m living very okay.
Yes, my happiness is not complete because I divorced the woman I married; I got married to the wrong woman. It was a mistake I made because there were many women around me at that time, and I was confused at a time as to whom to marry out of them, but my ex-wife played her card well with pretence. I married her, only for her to show her true colour later. But it’s all good, at least I have two very wonderful kids from that union. Today, I can say I’m a fulfilled man; I couldn’t have asked for more. All thanks to women. They made me what I am today.”