“WHY CAN’T YOU BE LIKE PETER OBI?” (SHORT STORY)
Linda unwrapped the latest gift from her fiancé, Dominic, with trepidation.
“What in the world is this?” she muttered. It looked like a world receiver but it was light and fanciful, not sturdy and durable-looking.
“It’s some sort of radio, but it can also play music and it has a clock and flashlight,” Dominic explained.
So it was one of those multi-purpose contraptions dumped on the Nigerian market from Asia by unscrupulous local importers.
Dominic fiddled with some of its knobs to show Linda how it worked. He obviously had no idea what he was doing, meaning he hadn’t tested the device before buying it.
As he tried to demonstrate the functionality of the device, one knob fell off. Meanwhile, there was no sound from the so-called radio.
Dominic then fished for the power cord in the packet. “Maybe you need to charge it first,” he said.
The cord was stringy and the plug so small that it didn’t fit any socket or extension in Linda’s apartment.
“Bring an adapter,” Dominic ordered with irritation. Linda complied.
When the plug was inserted into the adapter, sparks flew and a hissing sound ensued convincing Linda the plug had been fried. A few more tries with no current transmitted confirmed she was right.
“You can change the plug,” Dominic suggested.
“Even if I do, what exactly am I supposed to do with this?” Linda queried.
“I have explained its uses to you, haven’t I?” Dominic replied, his irritation rising. “I saw it in a shop and it looked good, so I bought it for you. If you don’t like it, give it to someone else!”
“Will you consider it rude if I asked how much you paid for it?”
“Yes, I would!” Dominic snapped, stiffening his shoulders. “It’s my money and it’s none of your business what I do with it!”
“That’s where you’re wrong. If you were a stranger or a mere acquaintance, I’d probably laugh at these recurring incidents, but you’re my fiancé.”
“What recurring incidents?”
Linda thought of all the gifts he’d given her in their three-year relationship. Most of them were just like this radio-clock-etc. – a calico bubu that was twice her size and the colours ran; a peculiar pot (just for cooking rice); some handcrafted footwear that cut while she tried them on; a flimsy, collapsible wardrobe (her bedrooms already had inbuilt wardrobes); all manner of electronics of dubious quality ….
“Think, Dom, how many of the gifts you’ve given me have been useful? You just see something that looks pretty and you buy it without considering its functionality or durability. And I can bet you pay a bundle for all that stuff.”
“You are unbelievable! Why can’t you be grateful that you have a fiancé who thinks of you when he sees a nice thing and buys it for you?”
“I would be if you used your money wisely and bought meaningful things with it. Why can’t you be like Peter Obi? With all the money you’ve spent buying me nonsense, I could have bought an okada to bring in extra money.”
Dominic was shocked. “My mum warned me about girls like you. It’s always about the money with you.”
“And my dad warned me about guys like you. You don’t know the value of money. Peter Obi ….”
Dominic lost his patience and interrupted her. “Okay, I can see that I am not good enough for you. Go and marry Peter Obi if he will have you.”
“I never said I want to marry Peter Obi, but if you’re going to be so petty because I complained of your wastefulness, I’m better off without you!”
Dominic was already marching towards the door. Linda went into her bedroom and lifted a huge carton where she had been throwing his unusable and unserviceable gifts. She came back and added the radio-clock-whatnot to the pile and carried it outside her apartment. Her plan was to put it on the bonnet of Dominic’s car but he was already driving away.
“Mtcheew!” she hissed as she carried the carton back inside.
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja
I love happy endings but unfortunately, this story veered in the other direction. But I am optimistic that with a little help, these lovebirds can get back together. So kindly advise them, if you may.