By Eketi Ette
I am sitting here in the parking lot of a supermarket, crying.
I can’t even begin to explain where the hurt is coming from; I suspect that it is the accumulate hurt and pain from weeks of going against the tide, fighting the hardships and challenges that seem to spring up on every side. This isn’t even the time for me to psychoanalyze what I’m feeling.
So, I am crying. It is not the pretty, gentle sobs of a genteel woman; no, it’s deep, racking, chest-heaving, snot-dripping kind. What do I do? Where do I go from here? What’s the next step? These are the questions that are uppermost on my mind. I came here to see a client and collect a debt that’s been owed for many months. I don’t have a lot of cash on me; just enough to return home and perhaps, continue crying.
Entrepreneurship is hard! When left the nine to five, I didn’t really envision this kind of scenario. I saw me making a lot of money and not being accountable to anyone. I saw me sleeping in on days I would otherwise have gone to the office; me taking off on random trips and living the life. What else was I to expect after listening to all those high flying entrepreneurs who regularly take out ads on Facebook and Instagram, talking about how to 3x and 10x your income while living a fly life? Liars, all of them.
They didn’t talk about the process behind their success. Or maybe they did and I wasn’t listening. No matter; like I said, I’m not here to analyse myself. I am here to tell you that people are wicked. Imagine this customer who came to me, acting as if she was going to die if I did not give her a matching set of luggage on credit. It was part of the things required on her wedding list.
“Sister, I really need this. You’re the kindest person I’ve ever bought things from and I know that only you can help me. I know they’re expensive, but if you do this for me, I will be forever indebted to you,” she’d said that day, ten months ago.
Indebted to you. How did I even hear that nonsense and think it meant something positive? How? Are you people sure that I will not go and check my ears for a blockage of some sort?
“It’s not something you have to beg me for,” I’d replied with magnanimity and a little bit of pride, if you ask me. Oh, you’re not asking me? Whatever—I’ve told you anyway.
“But you promise that you’ll pay back before the second week of next month?” I asked, to be sure that we were on the same page.
“I swear!” she replied.
Swear ko, swear ni. We were not on the same page at all. After the wedding, I thought to give her some time before asking for my money. I calculated honeymoon and even added extra days for newlywed jolly-jolly. Then I decided to call her.
The phone rang for ages and then the call ended. I tried again. The second time, she picked up on the ninth ring.
“Hello?” I said, happy she’d picked up.
“Hello? Who is this?” she asked.
What did I just hear? Did she just say, who is this? Be still, my beating heart.
“Good afternoon, Ma. Is this Alice Ekuro?” I asked. Maybe I’d dialled a wrong number. But the number was on my phone.
“Yes, this is Alice. Who is asking?”
It’s Kokomma, Ma. That your customer nah; the one who gave you the matching Samsonite luggage for your traditional wedding,” I said.
“Which customer? What Samsonite luggage?”
Enh? Fadalawd! Jesus come and take the wheel oooooo! I am finished!