IF NOT FOR AJALA, THE DRUNK SAVIOUR…
- Ajala was in his garden of vegetables. He was harvesting some tomatoes. He wore a pair of brown shorts and a black singlet. He sang as he worked. His pet, a dog, was hopping here and there. It kept him company while he worked. He heard a car halt. He raised his head to look at who the driver was. It was his cousin, Adeyeri. A young lady accompanied her. She was seated beside him. He smiled. He thought the lady was one of his cousin’s new catch. He hailed him.
“Adeyeri Kokoro! (Adeyeri, the ant!)”
“Ajala, my cousin! Longest time!”
“Ki lo wa se? (What have you come to do?)” Ajala asked as he walked towards the car.
A young lady jumped out of the car and rushed to him. She hugged him tight and started shouting.
“Thank you sir.”
Ajala was shocked just like his cousin, Adeyeri.
“Do I know you?
“Do you know him?” Adeyeri asked her.
“Uncle, remember the night I said someone rescued me from some bike men?”
“He was the man that saved me.”
“You guys should explain things to me.” Ajala said.
“Sir, I am Olayinka Taiwo. The lady you took in the other night.”
“Ö ga o!” Ajala wondered.
“What a small world? Do you know she is my wife’s niece?”
“So, some good gesture could be to your own people?” Ajala said.
It was a Wednesday night. Ajala was coming from the heart of the town. He went to hang out with the old guys. He alighted at the junction from his friend car. His friend had driven him close to his neighbourhood. He struggled as he walked on. He had had about 4 bottles of beer. He staggered as he walked. Despite being very tipsy, he was still conscious of everything around him. He was close to the expressway. He had to cross to the other side of the expressway before he could turn into his street. He was lucky to escaped a knock down by a speeding vehicle. Obviously, the driver was one of the careless ones. He hissed loudly as he managed to gain his balance.
Ahead of him, about three electric poles away, was a public motorcycle park. A group of riders were laughing and chattering loudly. The night waves carried the echo of their voices here and there. He moved closer to them. A young lady of about 17-years was standing with them. Her luggage was on the floor by her side. She clung on to her hand bag. She was stranded, full of fear and helpless.
“Ëkun ti mu eran lále yi o (A prey has been caught tonight)” He heard one of the riders say. He thought within himself, despite being drunk, that the lady was in trouble. He knew the riders were always evil at night. He increased his pace. Luckily, he got to the scene about the time one of them made to touch the young lady indecently. He shouted at them.
“Will you stop that?”
“Baba o!” They chorused in praise of Ajala.
“You should learn to treat women kindly. She is young and could be your sister, don’t you think?”
“Father! Nor talk dat one o. (Don’t say that father!)” The rider that wanted to touch the young lady said in anger.
“Ö da bi eni pe o fe ki nle e ni adugbo yi? (It seems you want me to stop you from coming to this area?)”Ajala said looking at the rider in fury.
“Ë ma binu baba! E kan ti fo’se awon boys ni. (I am sorry father. It’s just that you have spoilt our game.)” he apologized.
Ajala turned to the young lady. She was filled with fear. Tears flowed from her eyes as she knelt in appreciation. He helped her up.
“Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you going?” He asked.
“My name is Olayinka Taiwo sir. I am a fresh graduate of the Premier University. I was on my way to the school sir but the bus I traveled in developed a fault on the way. The driver couldn’t get it repaired but we were lucky to find another one that helped us to this town. Unfortunately, I know nobody. I was here to ask for direction to any guest house around but the…” Ajala cut in.
“In short, you need a place to sleep?”
“Do you mind if I take you to my home?”
She didn’t know what to say. She just looked at him.
“I am the chairman of the Landlord Association of this neighbourhood. You are safe with me. I am happily married with children; some of them are of your age.”
“Thank sir” was all she could utter.
He led her to his home, helping her with some of her luggage.
It was a bungalow but not fenced. Ajala’s wife and children were sitting on the veranda, enjoying the night breeze. The electricity was out but they had a lamp switched on and hung on the wall. They welcomed Ajala.
“We have a guest. Please make her comfortable. We’ll talk about it in the morning.”
“Yes sir.” His children chorused.
His wife looked at him in awe.
“Just like that?” She thought.
Indeed, she was made comfortable. They made her a good food and helped settle her in. She slept well and thanked God for the help she got. She left the following morning before Ajala could wake up.
“Indeed!” Adeyeri replied.
“I just did what I did out of humanity”
“Thanks for saving me sir.”
“A small world indeed!”Ajala said as he pulled her to himself in greetings again.