‘Are you married?’
‘With or without kids?’
With kids. I have three girls and their dad…
‘…where is he? He should be here.’
Well he works in Port harcourt and is really busy so he sent me over. Yes, I am married. With three daughters.
‘Yoruba. Married. Three girls…err. I would convince Alhaja, i will. I don’t know how she would take the husband issue but i will see what i can do…’
I am married sir. I promise that i am…
‘See you tomorrow madam.’
I walked out of his office, with a relief from the normal questions that trailed house hunting. I had viewed beautiful houses by mouth that were monstrous on sight. I had seen barrack-like houses, with prices betraying their dilapidating form, houses unfit to raise three girls until i met Mr. Sobunmi.
The house, a two-storey building with four flats sat on a well-floored two-plot land. It was a haven with an outhouse for relaxing. Mr Sobunmi in his round-rimmed glasses told me in a matter of fact tone that the landlady was amiable and accommodating and made sure trash was collected by the house’s trash collector and an end-of-the-year celebration for phatic communion was organised on the street. She only wanted married tenants.
I would find out later that the out-house was a no go area; that Mr. Sobunmi had collected money for dumping trash, trash which would sit for two months until the landlady threatened eviction and i would have to pay an aboki; that the 50,000 Naira collected for the street end-of-the-year party was a label for a gathering that never existed.