WISHES & HORSES (Part 1)

The worst thing to happen to any bonafide Lagos chick is to be ugly or broke! It’s a double whammy! Auchi had the luck of being pretty, but not the other. She was tall and had fair skin. She had a long neck, slim long fingers, and an hourglass figure. She had slight knock knees but had a way of turning the swagger into a catwalk.

Auchi had worked for 2 years as a receptionist in a big advertising firm in Lagos and was beginning to settle in quite well into the Las giddy (Lagos) life. She had a good number of men begging for her attention, but no rich one. She grabbed every opportunity to be invited to parties and weddings of the rich. It was her daydream that a black Range Rover Jeep (Special edition}, would stop in front of her, as she stood somewhere on the street waiting for a Bus. The window would go down slowly and a darkly handsome man sitting in the driver’s seat would say “I had a dream and I know that it’s you I saw as my wife. Come in. I’ll take you wherever you want to go”. She had rewritten this script many times in her head and so far, nothing like that had happened yet and that was why it was her policy to always look good, ‘even if na bread you dey go buy package yourself well

Some weeks ago, her brother Lucky, had called her countless times to remind her to send money home. Her mother had been ill for several months and her requests for money had increased. She remembered all her mother’s struggles while raising them in a theatre called home in Benin. It was a daily battle growing up in a polygamous home. The salary of a receptionist outside a bank or Oil Company was peanuts. It was tough and expensive living in Lagos. She expected Mama to understand. She got angry and would often ignore Lucky’s calls

Lola Odehen’s wedding was coming up. The tabloids described her as celebrity’s celebrity. The invitation card was a sight for sore eyes……the whole town was talking about it! It looked like a woman’s vanity box. It had polka dots of pink and yellow on it. The invite was written on bottles of perfume, moisturizer, shampoo, and the works. It was awesome! There was also a little invitation on a small card for the Bridal shower. Laide, Auchi’s colleague had just received one. Quite unfortunately Laide had fallen down the stairs and broken her leg. So, when she was informed that her invite had been delivered to the office, she decided to give the invite to Auchi.

The only problem Auchi had, was that datkainof wedding “parry” needed you to be dressed to da teeth! She only had N200k of savings. Mama was there asking for N150k, her rent would be due in another 6 months, and debts from clothing over the last few months were pending. It was not wise to spend from one’s savings, but it was an investment –she might meet Prince charming there, and waltz into the sunset with him! Her colleague had insisted that she should attend the Bridal shower. Laide said that she had heard from another friend that it would be very memorable. The Bridal shower was done in one of those restaurants on Victoria Island that had an Italian-sounding name and where the waiters sounded as if they were not speaking English, but a foreign language, but in reality, they were.

Many Ladies arrived at the venue early. The ones who were already seated looked as if they had had a prior agreement to stare long and hard at each Lady as they walked in thereafter-from their hair, nails, clothes, and shoes. They seemed to give a pass or fail mark in their minds as more ladies poured in. Auchi had the gift of not fitting in with the rich or ‘Aje –pako” look. She was in between. It was difficult to profile her as rich or poor. Not long after she had sat down, she realized that almost everybody there had an American or British accent. It was tough trying to sound like them in her head, so she decided to be silent most of the time and smiled or laughed occasionally at their jokes. Lola Odenhen was on top of the world! She showed off her engagement ring and went picture crazy! Auchi eyed her from the corner of her eye. It wasn’t fair that rich people should marry rich people and be even richer! Drinks flowed like water and soon the American and British accents began to wane.

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