All his life he had lived like a prince, being the only child of his parents. The two women that brought him up to be who he was; his mother and his grandmother. The two most important people in his life that had taught him to stand up for what he wanted in life and constantly told him he could be whomever he wanted to be as long as he worked hard for it.
He had worked hard all the way from primary school till university, having won a scholarship when his mother couldn’t afford to pay his school fees when she was retrenched from her job. He had to struggle with a side job whilst trying to keep up with school. He was able to make it and got himself into the oil company through a few connections.
As for his love-life… it was non-existent. A few ladies, whenever they got to hear of his background, thought him to be a ladies man or ‘woman wrapper’. He didn’t care about all that. He had learnt where to place them so there wasn’t any conflict.
The afternoon breeze brought in a heat that grazed his cheek and snapped him back to reality where he was seated at the verandah of his mother’s house with his grand-mother.
Amanze rubbed his hand over his face and sighed.
“Why are you worried young man?”
He smiled at the usage of the words ‘young man’. “Who said I am?”
“Because I know you.”
He smiled at his grandmother.
“I know you do. I’m just thinking about my life-”
“And finally settling down? That’s very important Amanze. Why won’t you just settle down with that girl?”
Amanze wasn’t in the mood to hear about the particular girl his grandmother had in mind. “Mama there’s someone else that may have caught my attention and I’m sure you would like her as well.”
His grandmother smiled, the gap in her front teeth visible. “Wonderful! This is good news. Who is she? The daughter of one of your mother’s friends? Is it Cynthia or Veronica?”
He shook his head and laughed in his mind at how much their names and personality were similar. His mother’s friends daughters were just women that wanted to climb the social ladder and suck him dry of all his hard earned money. He wasn’t going to fall for that.
“No, mama. You don’t know her. It’s sort of complicated. She has a lot going on for her now and I don’t know how to help out. I’ve tried getting close to her but it’s like the closer I get the more she wants to run away.”
“Amanze when would you learn? Does a flower blossom in a closed place or in an open environment?”
“Mama I can argue for both being possible . . .”
She clucked her tongue. “Don’t be smart with me. If you put a flower in the palm of your hands and close it, would the flower survive?”
“Err – no.”
“So let her be. Don’t kill her with you chasing her too much. Give her time. Be a friend and understand her. You would win her heart in no time.”
“But I feel like calling and asking how she is doing . . . I think I messed up on Friday.”
His grandmother chuckled. “I see you really like this girl . . . What did you do to her?”
Amanze went on to explain everything that happened and how she walked out on him and too the food she wanted. He had his dinner at his home all by himself.
“I like that girl. After all the stress you put her through why wouldn’t she be angry?” She threw an insult at him in Calabar. “You have grown up with your mother and I, and yet you still behave as if you haven’t learnt anything! I would have knocked your head if not that the arthritis has affected my hand too much.”
He frowned. He hated to hear his grandmother was in pain. “Mama have you been taking your medications?”
“Amanze did you brush your teeth this morning?”
He sighed. “Sorry for asking.”
She smacked her thigh and leaned close to him. “Now let me tell you what you can do for that girl you have hurt.”
He smiled as he listened to his grandmother. If she could give him tips on how to win Efe’s heart… he would gladly follow them.