Loving a Stranger





CHAPTER ONE


Saturday morning was about to be a very busy one for Tejiri. He found himself going about the house cleaning up every single corner. He usually did not work this much but since he had decided to spend the day at home, he thought it wise to save his little money and do the chores himself.


Tejiri was a busy man who had no time for anything else. He worked throughout the week just to make ends meet. He was a hustler and because of that he always hired Ben, his neighbor’s thirteen years old son to keep house for him, especially since schools were on holidays. During school days it was different. Ben only came around on Saturdays after he was through helping his single mother.


Today however was different and it was going to be so for a long while because of the pretty damsel that was now lying on his bed.


Tejiri eyed her from where he stood by the wardrobe. Her nails were neatly cut, her hair, a scattered mass and her long eye lashes rested peacefully over her eye lids.


The circumstances that led to her being his guest was one that he most certainly would not forget.


One Wednesday evening, at about 8:00pm, when Tejiri was coming back from the rubber factory where he worked as a factory hand, he saw something that stopped his breath for about two seconds. At the beginning of the street where his house was located, there was the image of a person lying lifeless on the ground. People who came by crossed to the other side of the road in order to avoid passing by the supposed corpse. They did not want to have anything to do with the body. Tejiri could not blame them after all, this was Warri. Reporting the issue to the police or helping out always turned the Good Samaritan into a suspect. 


He was about to cross the road with some group of men when something made him stop. He thought he heard the victim’s moans. After waiting a while and hearing nothing more from the supposed dead victim, he turned to cross the road again but then the victim’s moans became louder and Tejiri could not ignore it. From what he heard, he knew that the victim was a female and it was like she was purposely calling for him. He looked around and found that he was the only one standing there.


“Well” he said to himself. “Since she is alive, I must help.”


He went over to where she lay and carried her on his shoulders. The first two taxis he flagged down refused to stop but the third one did.


“Wetin you carry for there so?” the taxi driver asked with concern. “I no want make all these police people begin dey disturb me o!”


“Nobody go disturb you.” Tejiri said convincingly. “Just take me go that Bethel hospital wen dey for that old Udu road. Make you drive quick quick o!”


“I hear.” The taxi driver replied as he started the car engine and drove off.


At the hospital Tejiri spent every dime he had made for the day just to get the doctors to attend to the wounded victim. After that he promised to return the next day with more cash.


Unfortunately for Tejiri, he was not so financially buoyant and so he had to borrow some money from one of his street friends, Ovie.


“Make sure say you give me my money next week o!” Ovie said as he handed him the sum of thirty thousand. “No excuse o!”


“I don hear na!” Tejiri replied as he took the money and quickly ran back to the hospital first thing the next morning.


After paying the bills, he promised to be back later in the day to check on her. With that done, he left for the rubber factory. The day as usual was very hectic. Tejiri worked like never before. He knew that to get more money in other to pay Ovie by next week, he had to work harder.


After the day’s job, he went to the other side of town where he sometimes worked as dish washer in a famous hotel. The pay was small but he needed it. Ovie might be his street pal but when it came to money issues, he tried as much as possible to pay back in time. Ovie was not one to be played around with and he did not want to find himself doing the playing.


It was already 9:30 PM when his shift ended at the hotel. He changed into his outfit and started to head home. At that point he was so tired that he totally forgot about the girl at the hospital. He was already inside his house and about to take off his clothes when his mobile phone rang.


He brought the phone out of his pocket and checked the caller ID but there was no name attached to it. At first he was reluctant to pick the call but when the ringing continued, he decided to answer it.


“Hello?” He said into the receiver.


“This is Bethel hospital. Sir please where are you?” A voice asked from over the receiver. “We have been waiting for you.”


Although his house was a little warm, Tejiri felt as if ice cold water was poured on him as he realized for the first time that he hadn’t gone back to the hospital. He quickly apologized over the phone and promised to be there in thirty minutes.
  

When he arrived exactly thirty minutes later, he met with the night doctor and also apologized for his forgetfulness.


“Are you in anyway related to the lady?” The doctor asked as soon as they were both seated in his office.


“No.” He replied. “I saw her lying unconscious by the road side. When I noticed that she was still alive, I decided to bring her here.”


“Okay. That was nice of you. But have you contacted any member of her family?” 


“No.” He replied. “There was no phone or wallet on her when I found her. It’s going to be impossible to get her contacts.”


“Well.” Said the doctor as he pulled his chair closer and sat up. “It looks like getting her contacts is going to be an issue. Can you take her home and cater for her? At least until someone starts looking for her. Definitely they will post a missing person postal or even air it on TV.”


“But doctor, since you say she is better now, why don’t we just ask her who her people are and where they live?” Tejiri asked. He already had a debt to pay because of her, taking her in and caring for her was going to be an extra strain on him and he didn't want it one bit.  


“That will be impossible” The doctor replied before going on to explain that the attack caused amnesia and so the girl cannot remember anything, not even her own name.

It was then it downed on Tejiri that he had greater responsibilities ahead. He had to take her home and care for her until she remembered her name and where she was from. How long it will take? He was not sure.


The next day after work hours, he went back to the hospital, cleared the rest of her bills and took her home. Since he did not know her name, he decided to call her Ovo.


Every dime he saved to pay Ovie back was used take care of Ovo’s immediate needs. He had to buy her second hand clothes, shoes, body cream and some other female necessities.


Now today was Saturday, a friend had promised to include him in an interlocking job where he would be paid N5,000 daily. It was a very good offer, and he knew that in just four days, he would be able to raise money to pay Ovie back. Ovie’s money was his main problem. He knew how Ovie behaved with money and so he wanted it out of the way.

To be Continued ...

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