Stories

A Day To Forget

January 15, 2024

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The storm within the family started years before he was drawn into it

 

They were a rich family

 

The man was an accountant, his wife was an administrator with a parastatal of the government

 

They had five children, four girls and one boy

 

The children were all brilliant, but there was one who was the most brilliant of them all

 

She was the girl in the middle of the five, the third child

 

She was so brilliant that she reinvented the parameters for measuring brilliance and excellence in all the schools she attended

 

She was also ambidextrous, had a good eye for investments and was an excellent judge of character

 

Her father had high hopes for her and so did her mother

 

She was by far the brightest star of the family

 

Her parents tried very hard not to make it get to her head but she was smart enough to know these things by herself

 

The one “but” she had was her stinginess

 

Once something was given to her, she hated to part with it

 

She would keep her own school fees in her locker and refuse to pay it even when it was obvious she might miss examination or tests because of it

 

She did not mind if the fees were paid directly by her parents on her behalf but parting with money or anything else was a big deal for her

 

Her parents felt it was a phase that she would outgrow with time but she didn’t

 

They didn’t see it as a mental disorder, her grandfather was a stingy man and so was her father

 

Her father used to boast that while he was building his house he used to leave his office to help out with manual labour on his site so that he would not have to pay the labour cost of one labourer for that day

 

She continued to dazzle in her academics, graduating as the best graduating student from the university she attended in Nigeria before moving to America for her Masters’s

 

As soon as she completed her studies in the USA, she got a job and she began to make serious money with one of the big Tech companies in silicon valley

 

In order to get to the office, she and three other colleagues would carpool, they took turns paying daily but she would never pay

 

She would either lie that she left her wallet or forgot her phone or something

 

When she boarded the train, it was the same issue

 

She would rather go without food for days unless someone was buying food for her

 

At first she was staying with an uncle in Florida, he was a taxi driver and he expected her to cover some of the house bills while she was under his roof

 

She refused to do so

 

He sent her packing

 

She got an apartment with a friend, the friend paid and she was supposed to refund her friend but she refused to

 

When her riend asked for the money, she locked herself in the room for several days and refused to come out to eat or drink or do anything just so she would not pay

 

The friend got worried and called emergency services

 

The paramedics arrived, broke the door to her room and dragged her to the hospital

 

They diagnosed her of depression and hoarding disorder

 

They began to treat her at the hospital but she refused to use the medicines given to her willingly

 

They had to confine her to a straight jacket and treat her with injections to calm her down because she became violent at a point

 

Eventually they informed her parents of her dilemma

 

Her parents flew to the USA and decided they had to bring her back to Nigeria with them in order to give her adequate care

 

When she got to Nigeria, she didn’t get better

 

She wouldn’t eat, didn’t want to see any of her friends, would lock herself up in the room all day and all night and lie down there just starring into space

 

At a point her parents had to take her to the hospital despite her protests that she was fine

 

When they left the clinic, her father was given prescriptions to buy for her at the local pharmacy

 

They went together

 

She stayed in the car while her father went on to the pharmacy

 

Then she got behind the wheels and drove the car off

 

She was found the following day in another state, seating behind the wheel by the road side because she had exhausted the fuel in the car and refused to buy fuel

 

When the police officers got to her, she gave them her father’s phone number

 

This was when her father realised the issue had gotten to a head

 

They decided to go spiritual on the issue

 

They took her case to a pastor

 

The pastor prayed for her and invited another minister to minister unto her

 

She got better

 

She began to eat, mix and go out with her friends once again but her friends soon noticed that she had the same attitude she had always exhibited and they started keeping away from her

 

She was by far the richest of them all but she would never spend her money to pay for anything whenever they went out

 

Not Uber, Not the food, not drinks, nothing!

 

If she drove, it would be a car that already had fuel and if she drove and exhausted the fuel in any car, she would just leave the car there and call someone to help her order uber or bolt so that the person would pay

 

It was an attitude that even her own siblings and parents got tired of

 

By this time she had houses of her own in Lekki and hundreds of thousands of dollars in her bank account but she would never spend a dime out of her own money

 

Her psychiatrist called for a family meeting, a sort of intervention

 

She asked her family members in a session with her to talk about how they all grew up and their impression of her and her “stinginess”

 

Everybody told her to her face that she should not continue down that path

 

She took offence, insisted they didn’t love her because if they did, they would continue to give her whatever she wanted just because they loved her

 

It was a tough deal for all of them

 

She is a lady, so she deviced a means to get free food

 

She would dress up and find her way to a restaurant

 

After sitting there nursing a bottle of water, a guy would come and ask if he could buy her lunch

 

She would then order lunch and dinner to take home, engage the guy in a good conversation, exchange phone numbers with him and then call it a day

 

On days when nobody showed up, she would cry and lie that she had lost her wallet or something to get free food or at worst she would eat and buy to take home and then give the restaurant her father’s or mother’s or any of her sibling’s phone number and ask them to call and ask for their money

 

She also started crashing parties just for food

 

When her father found out, he changed her therapist and had her committed to a psychiatric hospital for the fifth time

 

She was making a nuisance of herself all over and he didn’t know what else to do

 

She met a guy at the hospital

 

He was from a poor background

 

He was suffering from mental exhaustion and stress

 

He was an Uber driver

 

They became fast friends

 

When she was discharged he became her victim but he didnt know it at the time

 

She would call him at odd times to take her out and buy stuff for her

 

He would do so and pay for whatever she wanted

 

He was not hoping to have a relationship with her

 

He was just being a nice guy or perhaps being friendly

 

Her parents didn’t tell this young man how their daughter operates

 

They were just relieved she had an adult who they could hold responsible for her behaviour

 

After six months, the young man got tired of the friendship

 

He sent her a message, complaining that all she does is make demands and make him spend his little earnings on her while he demanded nothing in return

 

She got the message and began to cry at home

 

Her father took her phone, read the message and asked her to take him to the young man’s office

 

When they got there, her father accused the young man of trying to guilt-trip his daughter into giving him her hard-earned dollars in exchange for their friendship

 

Her Father told him she was from a better stock and class than him and he should never call or be seen near his daughter again

 

The Uber guy was shocked

 

He half expected her father to say, “Thank you”, knowing the kind of ailment his daughter was dealing with and the role he had played in giving the family some respite out of his little earnings

 

He felt very belittled

 

He blocked her on every platform and moved on with his life

 

One year, three months later, the Uber driver was driving down Opebi link-road when he got an order

 

He was to pick a passenger at Eko Hospital

 

When he got to the hospital, his passenger jumped into the front seat beside him and greeted him

 

He turned to greet her and realised it was her

 

She said she was going to her parents’ house

 

He drove her in silence

 

A job is a job

 

When they got to her parents’ house she refused to come down from his car

 

She began to talk of how much she had wronged him and how miserable her life had been without him and all

 

He told her he didn’t want to end up in jail

 

Her father had forbidden all communication with her because she was suffering from a mental health challenge

 

She should please leave the cab, so he could end the ride

 

She refused to alight from the vehicle

 

She insisted unless he forgave her, she would remain in the car

 

After a long time, he said he had forgiven her

 

She then said she would like to go home with him

 

Wow!

 

Go home with him?

 

She said he was the only person who understood her and treated her kindly

 

Her only friend in the whole world

 

She talked and cried on and on

 

At a point, he got down from the car and began to walk

 

She ran after him, barefooted, weeping like a bush baby

 

He did not know what to do with the attention, so he turned back and returned to his car

 

She followed him still

 

They were there all day until her parents got back from work

 

When her father saw him, he called the estate security immediately

 

“Have I not warned you to keep away from my daughter?”

 

He screamed

 

The estate security arrived and bundled both she and the Uber driver to the police station

 

At the police station, the DPO took her into his office to find out what the issue was

 

Questions like…

 

Are you pregnant for him?

 

Did he break your heart?

 

Why are you holding on to him?

 

Were floating in the air

 

He had committed no crime and he was not under arrest

 

He should be the one pressing charges

 

The DPO came out with her and asked him what the issue was

 

Her father said ,”I suspect ritual, he must have used my daughter for ritual because I dont know why a lady would be following a young nobody around like this if he had not used something fetish to hoodwink her or impair her thinking”

 

Wow!

 

The Uber driver stood up and looked at the man

 

He said, “Your daughter has a mental problem, this was why you went to bring her back home from America. She still has that mental illness and she is trying to cope with it

 

She told me she had moved to her house in Lekki but you came to forcefully move her back home just three weeks ago because of the complaints of her neighbor

 

You know she was sick and instead of you to tell the police the truth, you are insinuating that it is my fault

 

I have used something on her

 

I have used her mind for ritual

 

You are the type that would ruin the destiny of other people just because they are trying to be of help to you, no wonder your daughter is suffering from this mishap, you are clearly reaping the seed you have sown over the years”

 

The police DPO told the security team to drive the young man back to his car and escort him out of the estate

 

He had done no wrong whatsoever

 

As he drove away, he saw her kneeling by the road weeping furiously

 

He drove past her into the night

 

It was for him a day to forget.

 

 

 

PS: Months later, this young lady would send messages to the Uber driver asking him to forgive her and be her friend again

 

He would respond by blocking her

 

He got another job and moved to another state entirely

 

She went to meet some people she knew through him making inquiries about him and trying to see if the friendship could be rekindled but he had moved on

 

When I was telling this story yesterday during a discussion with a friend, I felt it was something we can all learn from

 

What did you learn from it?

 

 

 

-GSW-

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