Ogho stared into space with slightly open, quiet unmoving lips. Her hand holding her phone, suddenly went limp so it landed on the rug with a soft thud. She quickly rationalised how long it took for poison to seep into one’s body system and do the job; silencing one’s thumping heart. She knew for sure that leaving the face of the earth was the only answer now. How would she explain to her excited employees that it was all gone, that there would be no Lekki branch again?! What would she tell the bank when they came to collect the money loaned to her? How would she explain to her dad that his house; his only house was the collateral she used to get the loan? An image of her parents being thrown out of her home flashed before her face. She stood up! And sat back down!
When she started ‘Taste bursterz’ a few years ago, it was the answer to all her prayers. Right from a very tender age, she had always loved to cook, so her announcement that she wanted to start cooking professionally after completing her university education was no surprise to her parents. She opened her restaurant two years after. She catered to the who is who in high society and her restaurant was a foodie’s haven. There was always traffic and a long queue of customers waiting to be served.
After Tony, her fiance broke up with her at 37 years, she decided to focus on her career and stay off men for the time being. She thought they had it going good until he announced at her last birthday dinner that he had fallen out of love with her and that their relationship seems more like friendship than an actual romantic one; talk about wrong timing.
After spending four days crying her eyes into a bowl of ice cream at her apartment, she dusted off and resumed work. Maybe she was not destined to be married; her relationships always had a wrong and funny way of ending, Alex broke up with her on their 4th year anniversary, Aminu ghosted her after three months, even Sandra, her little cousin was engaged to Kunle, her first love, their wedding ceremony is next month and she was still looking for a creative and not so damaging way of saying she won’t be there. Sandra even made her one of her bridesmaids, the nerve! Big aunty Kike, her maternal cousin was definitely going to be present and won’t stop hounding her about why she was not married yet or at least engaged. Aunty Kike never missed the opportuinity to remind her that her successful restaurant could not keep her warm on rainy nights nor get her pregnant. Auntie Kike was one of those family member she definitely planned to avoid at cousin Sandra’s wedding ceremonies.
Now, all her woes had reached a climax as she had recently made a bad business call. She had lost a huge part of a business loan she took, because she saw an opportunity to expand and took it. Unfortunately, she had fallen victim of a terrible real estate scam. The building she had leased for the ‘Island branch” of her restaurant expansion was another person’s property. There were real red flags about the real estate company that leased the space to her but she ignored everything thinking she was just overthinking things. The universe definitely had it in for her, nothing could tell her otherwise.
‘Why does everything I touch, fail!’ she asked no one in particular. ‘Why can't I just be happy, why!? I have failed at getting myself a husband and now the only thing I know how to be successful at, my business is crumbling right before my very own eyes.
She glanced at her phone and saw a notification from empathyspace.ng, a mental health advocacy platform she followed on Instagram. It was talking about “The warning signs of suicide”.
She remembered Dr. Kafayah, the lead therapist and the founder of the platform, who she had met a few months ago when Dr Kafayah did a session with her staff about “Maintaining Emotional Balance in a Demanding Work Environment” and was now regular take-out customer at her restaurant. They had exchanged numbers at the time, and that singular act could be well what was going to save her life right now.
When she picked after a few rings, Ogho said, ‘Dr. Kafayah, I am thinking of ending things.’ I am not sure I can come back from this one!
That phone call placed on that dark day, was the beginning of their therapeutic relationship, as they had spoken at length and she was booked into more sessions. It has been six months now, on a therapy plan and Ogho could boldly say she was far from the broken and desperately suicidal person who placed a call to Dr, K that day. Occasionally she still had the thoughts about taking her own life sneak into her mind, because this life ehn……...sigh! But she knew she was never going ahead with it, she was more determined than ever, to live and make a comeback from the failed attempt to expand her business and every other misfortune that had come her way.
She was currently in talks with a new bank that had been sending her unending emails and offering her opportunities to take out a business loan. So, hopefully with a flexible repayment plan, she should be able to offset the debt she owed the investor and go on with the expansion of her business to Lekki. With how positive and optimistic she felt right now, she was inclined to ask the yellow bobo who keeps smiling at her from Table 4 out on a date, and she was going to do just that!