”The best ingredient to ambition is Zeal!” …they say. But I would rather say that, the best ingredient to ambition is Priority and Diligence.
Everyday I seat right in front of these graves, wishing I could undo some things. Unfortunately, there is a limit to what I can do and undo because I am not God. I feel writing to ‘’Oti Stories’’ would give me some degree of relief because
I would be able to stop a great deal of readers from stepping into the same shoes that has brought me to the point of sitting before these graves everyday. Well, it all started after I attended a seminar back then in School, 100level to be precise…….
“Wow! I must step up my game … “ I said to myself with great determination, after listening to a female speaker who talked so much about feminism, about women being in control, about attaining goals that would place you in key positions no matter the cost.
One could say that, that was me been positively influenced. Hmmm… Maybe I was (sighs).
So, I began to study hard, and harder. I didn’t care about the cost. Yes. I paid the price; neglecting my looks, had no social life, spent more on educational materials, barely ate etc. Thank God, I graduated successfully with a first class.
2 years later, even after I got a job, after job hunting for about 10 months the words of that lady at the seminar were still very fresh to me. In fact, back then in school, I made her words my screensaver, and wrote them on places I could easily see them until, it built up a passion in me which later turned into an obsession. Then, I felt if I could graduate with a first class, only then would I succeed. But it was a great shock to me that on most of my job interviews, candidates who graduated with lower grades were always preferred to me. Do you want to know why? You’ll find out later as you read. Back to the Story!
Still trying to get my feet on the ground, I met this cool guy named Kyle, and we got married 18 months after we met. Life was pretty smooth. I had a decent job, happily married to a comfortable guy who happens to be a visionaire
One Saturday afternoon, as I was doing my shopping at the mall, I met someone…..
AMAKA: Excuse me lady… you look familiar! Aren’t you…..
ME: A…..M….A…K…..A…… right?
LADIES: WOWWWW! (exchanges pleasantries..)
AMAKA: News Flash! Look, I have found our brainee. I hope you made good use of your first class. Gosh, I have to leave now…..
ME: (Drop in smile)
AMAKA: (dips hand in bag) …. Here’s my card. Call me anytime, please…. (runs off)
ME: (Puts card in bag and returns to shopping), (thinking)… wow, look that is the Amaka I used to look down on in school…. She’s feeling important… I wonder what she does now… well she’s looking good though… Well, looks are deceptive……(continues shopping)
KYLE: Welcome babe… how was shopping? You forgot your card on the dinning table…. I hope you didn’t run out of cash…. Did you even notice that……….. wait… are you crying??? What’s the matter again? Did I just say something wrong? (puts down his laptop and draws closer to his wife)
ME: (fakes smile in tears and hands a piece of well designed paper to her husband, gets up and walks out of the room)
KYLE: (looking very confused) What is the meaning of this? (bash…. The slam of the bedroom door as his wife steps out the kitchen.
> EXCERPTS FROM KYLE’S DIARY…..
That day was the beginning of it all. Days passed by, then months and my wife would barely speak to me nor the kids (Henry and Harriet; 15 and 13 years old respectively)
She kept crying and minding her own business. I kept asking my wife what the problem was, but she would never say anything meaningful.
After about 6 months, something strange happened. I was at work when my phone rang…wow, it was my wife calling…
WIFE: Yea… Good afternoon. Please I need a favour from you. Do you still have that stuff I gave you? Please text me directions to where you kept it.
I knew exactly what she meant. And when she handed that piece of paper to me I decided to keep it because I was confused but something in me felt her recent attitude was linked with it.
At last!, she was ready to talk for the first time about her recent attitude that evening.
WIFE: You see this paper? It belongs to …………… WIFE: You see this paper? Hmmm, It belongs to Amaka. Amaka was a very dull and unserious classmate. She virtually bribed her way through school. Then, I would mock her terribly telling her she had no future and that she would eventually amount to a nobody. I looked down on this lady because, I was better, a lot better than her. I was proud. In fact, she was a nobody to me.
Dear, Please read the content of this paper. ( stretches out her right hand, as she hands over the paper to her husband)
On my way back from the mall, at a certain traffic jam, I decided to reach out to my hand bag in order to get my phone, when the card Amaka gave me at the mall accidentally drifted into my hands. So, I decided to take a look at it.
SHE ….. IS …… THE …… CEO…… OF ….. THAT….. POPULAR …… …..COMPANY…………., THE OWNER OF THAT POPULAR NEWS BLOG….
Immediately, I understood why she made fun of me at the mall…. ‘’…look! I have found the Braine…. Bla bla bla nonsense she said’’
Look at me! A wife and a mother is all I amounted to. Amaka has the life I wanted. For now, I have met only Amaka. I just wonder what those other dummies have now become…….
KYLE’S NARRATION: I was indeed glad that she spoke out, at least I knew what the problem was. Hhhhmmmmm…. But after then, she began to treat me with hatred, just as if I was the cause of problem. She channelled the entire anger on me everyday. After series of hot quarrels and self pity statement from her, I decided to cause a change…..
TWO MONTHS LATER
KYLE: (while eating dinner at the dinning table) babe… the way you are acting is weird………….. Amaka is rich, influential, etc…. and so? You women and comparison. You want to kill yourself because Amaka is better than you, as you think? But I want you to know this, there is no yardstick for measuring success. I am also a visionaire. I have my life goals set out. I’m also pursuing them but at the pace that life brings me, putting my family first and believing that one day these goals would be fully accomplished and I’ll feel fulfilled. That is good Success!!!
I feel you have a wrong perception about success. Your destiny is not determined by first class. Rather, it is determined by Priority and diligence. Now, if this would make you happy, I want you to tell me what you want to do with your life and I would give you all the support you need. Stop pitying yourself…..
WIFE: (Still frowning) I wish to resign and go into buisnes….
5 YEARS LATER…..
AMAKA: hello.. who is on the line please?
ME: hi… Amaka it’s the brainee! We met at the mall 5years ago…. I hope you can still remember. You gave me your card and….
AMAKA: wow…. And it took you 5 years to call me? I thought you were smarter than that….
ME: Yea….you know the pride thing… anyways, could we please meet somewhere? I’d like to speak with you. Any time is Ok by me.
AMAKA: HHHHMMM ( thinking) I am out of town now for a buisness meeting. I am thinking next weekend would do. I’ll text you the venue and time for the m…e.ee.ting….
ME: Okay! Thanks! See you then! (ends call)
BACK FROM THE MEETING WITH AMAKA…..
KYLE: Honey since you came back from your outing, you have been moody. Did you meet another old friend this time? I know you have not been that cheerfull for the past 5 years, but today, you look really depressed. Please I am not just ready for another episode…. You better speak up!
WIFE: (sighs) I just returned from a meeting with Amaka. (shaking her head). Well, I just wanted her to help me climb up since, she is now into politics. But then, she talked of a certain ”ladies club”. She said a lot of influential women in the country are members of the club. And since her rank in the club is high, been that ehm, she had been a member for so long, it would be… easy for me to join them and also climb high in no time.
(looks up, as though thinking) Hmmm, She also stressed that there are certain criteria to joining the club. (looking worried) I need a fat bank account and all. Although, She scheduled another meeting for next weekend. That’s when I should give her my reply.
KYLE: (surprised) ARE…. YOU…. SERIOUS????? LADIES CLUB???? AND YOU ARE ACTUALLY GIVING IT A THOUGHT????
NOW I CAN SEE YOU NEED DELIVERANCE……
WIFE: (yelling) please leave me alone and face your business. What has your patience earned you after these years? You keep talking of fulfilment that, fulfilment this…. Who are you to discourage me? I am really stressed out about the ”fat bank account” criteria…. I should not have even told you anything. It was of no use, since you would not help.
KYLE: WEEELLL, DO YOU WHAT YOU WANT!!! (walks out)
‘’5 MINUTES INTO THE MEETING WITH AMAKA’’
AMAKA: SOoooooo….. Carol are you joining us? … 5 MINUTES INTO THE MEETING WITH AMAKA …
AMAKA: Sooooo … are you joining us?
ME: I would love to but my husband does not support it.
AMAKA: This is the issue with marriage. This is the reason why we big women don’t get married or rather remain divorced … gosh! … a man gets to control you …
ME: Are you not married?
AMAKA: is that the only reason why you can not join the club? (wears a mocking smile)
ME: (feeling intimidated) No! I just don’t have the kind of money to join. But You are married right?
AMAKA: Well, well, well, I don’t discuss my life with strangers. You become my friend when you join us. We are all like sisters you know (smiles). The money is not the issue. Is that not why you need us. I’ll transfer some good millions into your account. It’s yours to keep. Change your wardrobe and upgrade yourself. I’ll send you the address for the next meeting of the club. There you would be formally initiated … Hmm! sorry enrolled into the club.
ME: (thinks) did I just hear initiated? Well maybe it’s one of these new terms these days for formal organizations.
KYLE: (yelling) Where are you coming from at this time of the night? Where? It’s almost 3am?
ME: (says nothing)
KYLE: (still yelling) Can’t you speak? What example are you setting for you daughter. You are … after … alright … come here …
ME: (walks silently to the room)
My wife began to keep late nights, go on long journeys, and stay away from home for weeks sometimes.
Every day I almost die of worries, wondering where my wife would be, when and if she would ever return. I kept thinking. My friends felt I was too weak for a husband. But, my wife knows its not true. I have shouted, talked and hit her thrice, which I regret doing so much because I really love her. But she is so OBSESSED, OBSESSED AND OBSESSED. She would never listen. I have also tried calling her family’s attention to it but they are not interested. She seems to be sending a lot of money to them. On my last visit to her parents, I was driven out of the house. Her relatives told me I’m only jealous of their sister’s success. They said I’m scared that she would outshine me. Or probably I’m just upset because she does not send money to my people. MAN WOMAN … JEALOUS FOOL … LAZY BONE … They called me all sort of names.
As a matter of fact I have decided to invest all my energy on the kids and my private business. I have become satisfied with seeing her face in the house once in a while, since there’s nothing else I can do. I have my life goals, and I really need to work at fulfilling them.
3 YEARS AFTER (Still on KYLE’S DIARY)
ME: Hello … who is this please?
CALLER: Hello sir, I am your daughter’s friend. She is in the hospital right now and the doctor just said she may not make it. I’ll text you the address sir. I think you really need to run down here as fast as you can sir ( CALL ENDS)
That was the call that started the end of my life.
I got to the hospital but at that time Harriet had already given up. It was a painful death.
As though that was not enough, 2 weeks later my son passed out after running into a lorry on his return from a night club driving drunk.
You may be wondering where I was while all these were happening. Hmm … Let’s start from initiation into the ladies club. When I got there that night, everything was quite normal except for the flashy looking ladies. They were all dressed as though that was the very last night of their lives.
While I was looking around a lady walked up to me holding her glass of wine in her left hand. She walked slowly, just as slow as the rhythm of the background music playing. The meeting was like a dinner party.
STRANGER: (in a sensual tone) Hiiii… New lady… you must be the lady Amaka told us about.
ME: (attempts to kneel) Good evening Ma.
STRANGER: Noo noo noo … please do not do that. I’d only accept that from low life strangers … you are one of us now or would become one soon right? Well, after the protocols have been observed, I would be your new guardian. Amaka is our leader for now. She’ll be for the next 5 years. We would not want you to bother her too much so I’ll be your new coach. I guess our friendship has already started? (smiles and still sensual). I already have you digits. I would give you a call after the meeting. OOoops … it’s time to assemble. Tick .. tick … Let’s move it.
ME: (smiles and moves to the arranged seats.)
Every seat seemed to already have names tagged to them and they were arranged in other of rank or I would say wealth and status.
LEADER: I welcome you all to this prestigious meeting … (After the welcome address). Now, before we proceed with the meeting, I want us to welcome Mrs. Carol. (smiles) Mrs. Carol, could you please step forward? Secretary please hand her the constitution.
Mrs. Carol, I welcome you once again. With you is the constitution of this club. In order to become officially one of us, you are required to read out the pledge to our hearing.
ME: Okay Ma! (feeling a really nervous I lifted up my head, looked around briefly and assured myself that I was not making the mistake of my life)
THE PLEDGE read thus:
I pledge before this group to stay committed, loyal and focused, no matter the cost. Putting her demands first before my will. And if for any reason I act contrary to any rule or disobey any law, I am ready to bear the consequence.
Mrs. Carol: Nice! Please read the 4 pillar laws on the first page …
ME: (Nods and then Flips page)
- THE DECISIONS AND DEMANDS OF YOUR HUSBAND MUST NOT BE GIVEN PRIORITY OVER ORDERS FROM THE GROUP
- YOU MUST NEITHER DISOBEY NOR DISRESPECT YOUR SUPERIORS
- YOU MUST BE WILLING TO OFFER YOUR BODY ANYTIME …
WHAT! EXCUSE ME! (I exclaimed). What are all these? What kind of laws are these? I thought this was a responsible organization?
Amaka I am indeed sorry … You never talked to me about the rules! Noooo … I can’t do this …(turns back to leave)
LEADER: Carol! Stop there! (with an angry and unfriendly tone) Who do you think you are that you call me by my name. How dare you? You ambitious fool!
Do you think you can just leave like that after reciting our pledge? For your information, that is our Oath! You are now one of us whether you like it or not!
ME: (shouts back) Yes, I called you Amaka. That’s who you are. And I don’t think I need this group to succeed any longer. Nonsense!
LEADER: (speaking to the thugs who rushed at Mrs. Carol for speaking rudely) … Do not worry yourself! Let me handle her myself! LEADER: (speaking to the thugs who rushed at Mrs. Carol for speaking rudely) … Do not worry yourself! Let me handle her myself!
Carol! You think you can make it without us? Please let all ladies who made first class in the university indicate by raising up their hands. (Pause)
Carol, did you see that? Over 50%.
Carol you see … Graduating with first class is not wrong neither is it all. It’s just an added advantage. In fact, it is very prestigious! But, many first class graduates, graduate without extra skills, even as low as good communication skill … It is necessary to be vast in knowledge. Not confining yourself only to your field of study. I’m sure that all you knew was crammed notes.
Most first class graduates happen to be shy, timid, have no skill, and are not even experts in their fields of study. They just crammed!
It may shock you, but we have made our findings.
Hahahahahahahahah … looks terrify) we are very aware that you started 7 different businesses and they have all packed up. You see? You do not even have the skill … We are here to make it easier you know …
Finally, I would want you to know that nobody takes our oath and walks away alive. Sorryyyyyyyyyy!
To cut the story short … I joined them. It was not all rosy. You are made to carry out certain tasks which include having sex with influential men and women. But most times you get to forget the painful sacrifice on receiving the compensation … I became a busy international lady. Flying from one country to another for one social function or the other.
Many influential women, and feminists belong to this group. Most of them are either divorced, not married or live a completely separate life from their family. I am not saying there are no genuine influential women, but they are few. It’s easy to detect one. They are often humble and still committed to their homes and spouse undermining their wealth and busy schedule.
Later on, I discovered that the club was founded by 4 pillars; 4 women who do not attend meetings but are very current with details on how the club was getting along. They relate only to the leaders and influence important decisions in the club.
Amazingly, one of these pillars happened to be the lady that spoke at the seminar I attended in my 100 level! So sad. They teach success, influence, authority to women without balancing it out. They make you feel a good family life is good but not essential. YOU MUST BE GREAT! YOU ARE MORE THAN THE KITCHEN, LIVING ROOM AND THE OTHER ROOM. But they seem to forget the place of succeeding together as a family and putting family first even as a lady pursues her dreams.
They do not teach ladies tips on how not get so comfortable in the house or get too busy with ambitions…
I had the wrong ideology and that has brought me to the wrong place. In fact, the actual source of the wrong ideology.
Well, Amaka kept her promise. I rose quickly and was given a lot of political opportunities.
However, yet to recover from the loss of my 2 kids when I received a harsh phone call from my husband’s younger sister to rush to the hospital as fast as I could. On getting there, she just gave me an envelope and said see you tomorrow. Her eyes were filled with tears but for guilt I could not ask her anything. She just gave me the envelope and drove off!
I felt insulted. I raced to the hospital for an envelop? I even had to call off an appointment …!
I opened it to confirm it was empty when I discovered that it contained a letter. My Heart Skipped!
Then I went to my car so I could settle down to read it.
How are you doing? How’s the successful life been treating you? You are now an icon in the country you know.
Well after the loss of our kids, I decided to stay distant from you and focus on my life. I expected you’d return home for good and leave your club but, nothing changed. In fact, you never even called.
I tried my best as a father but I was not as sensitive as a mother would have been. I was very lenient with them because your absence from the home had begun to tell off on them. It was not easy for me.
They both died as a result of wrong peer influence. Perhaps they were trying to fill your space.
I could not really take all these and unfortunately, I developed high blood pressure which you did not know of. I kept managing myself until I got down with diabetes. Few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure and was told I had few weeks to live.
Any ways, I know you were too busy to notice. You hear of that big and fast growing telecommunication company? Its ours. At last! My dream came true but it’s unfortunate I won’t be around for too long to see it expand. The company is now yours. I have done all the legal transfer.
Please leave that group and return home. Try your hands on this. All you need to run the business successfully is in my wardrobe at the house. Wow! That used to be ours you know!
But if you would not be interested, you could please hand the company over to my younger sister. I do not want the company to die!
If the date is 6th October then you came late. I told her to call you on the 3rd. Doctor said I would be no more on the 6th. I love you baby … and would still continue to love you!
Success comes from focus and devotion …
Your Husband Kyle.
I can’t explain to you how miserable my days were after that day. I just can’t explain.
Well, I took up the company as it was the only thing left to remind me of my family. With the aid of all the instructions and books my husband kept in the wardrobe I have been able to run the business successfully.
I left the club. Yes I did. Their constitution states that when a lady is bereaved and has nothing left to go back to after a major loss she is free to either remain or leave only if she’s on Grade 3 executive Rank and above. I grew fast remember. So I was qualified to leave under these circumstance
All I do after work during the evenings is come downstairs to the graves of kids and husband and just think about my life I regret.
There is a lot to learn. I need to go upstairs to eat. Thanks for your time and thanks to Oti Stories.
THE END!!!……. READ NEXT STORY “MONEY SPENDER”
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