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|My Christmas Angel by Orikinla(m): 7:54pm On Dec 24, 2009|
My Christmas Angel
December 25, 1999. 2.55 pm
The famous thriller novelist James Hadley Chase called one of his bestselling novels, “You’re dead without money.” Emmanuel now knew what he meant by that title, but he would rather say, you are lonely without money, because, in a capitalist state, you are handicapped without money. Money is a meal ticket. Money opens doors and money pulls crowd. Without money, you are disregarded and treated like a beggar.
Emmanuel was all alone in his squalid bed-sitting room in Onike, a suburb in Lagos city. He was lying on his back in bed, gazing at the ceiling. He was seeing many things of different forms, shapes and sizes. They were images of his distorted visions as he was contemplating his thoughts. He was wondering why none of his so called buddies and girlfriends cared to visit him. Why? Was it because he did not give them any gifts in cash or kind? He was flat broke and could not even afford an ordinary greeting card. In fact, he was so broke that he could not even afford a meal on Christmas Day. He had only water to offer anyone who would visit him today.
He had been jobless for the past twelve months living on credit and charity, borrowing and sorrowing in self-pity and he owed over fifty thousand naira. His landlord was threatening to eject him before the New Year. He said his eviction was long over due, because he had not paid his rent for over a year now. His debts were his worst nightmares. Everyone on his street knew he was a debtor. He had become the byword of his neighborhood. The laughing stock of many people who knew him when he was enjoying himself as a well paid banker. They were now making fun of him, since he had become the object of their derision. Most of his so called friends seemed to have forgotten to visit him for months and some of them were avoiding him like a plague. Especially the girls who flocked to him when he was working as a senior clerk at the Lagos City Bank (LCB) and always looked well-fed and well dressed in suits and traditional African attires in vogue. Then he was the toast of many girlfriends who always visited to dine and wine with him, watch the videos of the latest movies and listen to the CDs of the popular psychedelic music blaring from his CD player. The landlord made him the caretaker of the tenement and his neighbors always welcomed him gladly with open arms and broad smiles of appreciation. But now he was an eyesore to them. Poverty had turned him into a pauper. He was now tired of borrowing or begging for a living. His television set, video player and CD player were gone. He sold them to pay some of his debts and buy some foodstuffs. He also sold most of his fancy clothes to make ends meet. His wardrobe was more or less empty. He had only two worn shirts, two pairs of over-worn faded trousers, a pair of over-worn leather slippers and pair bathroom slippers. He was feeling comfortless and hopeless. He was even ashamed to go to church.
So this is life.
I have learnt my lessons.
Where are all my so called friends now?
The Big Boys Club, my sweethearts Ronke and Diana?
They don’t visit me anymore.
Only Mama Wande remembered to give him a plate of rice and stew with a piece of chicken and a bottle of iced soda. That was in the morning. He ate half of the food and kept the remaining half for the evening. God bless Mama Wande, the kind woman of all seasons and unlike the others who would only give you something in response to what you have given them or what you have done for them. C’est la Vie. Such is life.
These painful thoughts were festering thorns in his tender heart. He was having headaches. Poverty can cause hypertension.
But what would a poor man do?
Wallow in self-pity of his abject poverty?
He must cheer up.
Imagine a young man of 30 all alone at home and lying in his pajamas in bed on Christmas Day, day dreaming, depressed all because of poverty. What a pity.
Even his relatives were not visiting him and since he had not been able to send money to his younger brothers and sisters, he had not heard from them for months. Their letters stopped coming six months ago. He even heard that they always hissed at the mention of his name in their village. He had lost his pride as the Opara (first son) of their parents who had passed away one after the other eight years ago. C’est la Vie.
Oh, God! Don’t let these festering thoughts kill me.
Have mercy on me.
Only the Almighty God could comfort him now.
Then he heard the sound of someone knocking at his door.
Someone was knocking!
Who could be the one?
It could be an outsider or a neighbor?
Not the landlord.
The landlord wouldn’t knock.
The landlord would bang on the door, shouting, Emma oh! Open the door!
He would say that only visitors should knock and not the landlord, the owner of the house.
“Yes. Who is it?”
The sing-song voice shook Emmanuel from his state of melancholy.
He recognized the velvet voice of the person knocking at his door.
Oh, Sweet Jesus! Angela of all people!
Of all his female friends, Angela was the last person he ever expected to visit him!
She was from a very wealthy family living in the exclusive area of Lagos called VGC. Her father was a real estate tycoon and her mother was the publisher of a celebrated society magazine called SiSi. He met her whilst attending a seminar at the Eko L’ Meridien Hotel on Victoria Island. She was a Public Relations Manager of the Lagoon Island Bank near the hotel. They were attracted to each other and went to lunch thrice. They exchanged phone calls before she was sent overseas on management transfer. He lost contact with her and gave up the hope of seeing her again. He thought he was dreaming. He rushed to open the door. She was radiant in a silver hat, blue silk gown and white high heeled shoes. She was looking like an angel from the blues. He was dumbfounded, gaping and gasping as he saw her. She stared at him with a smile. He was like a bag of bones in his torn and worn pajamas. He was a pitiable sight. Emmanuel was ashamed of himself.
“Emma?’ She called his name as if she was not sure if he was alright. She was startled by his unkempt looks. He was like a man who was suddenly released from the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons. If she had not known him before, his dirty appearance would have turned her off. But she had been warned of his present predicament when she met one of his former colleagues since she returned from America seven days ago. In fact, what she heard moved her to tears. She found his address and told one of her father’s drivers to take her to his residence on the mainland of Lagos. A ghetto in Yaba.
Tears trickled to her rosy cheeks as she gazed at him.
“Co…com in….si…down,” he muttered, stuttering in embarrassment.
She came into his squalid room.
He offered her the only wooden chair in the room.
She sat down still gazing at him. A shadow of the dashing young man she once fell in love with at first sight for his exotic romantic looks. He became her beau for a couple of months. But her father did not accept him.
“An ordinary clerk living in an ordinary one room cannot go out with my first daughter! It is a social embarrassment,” he said and waved off her pleas in dismissal.
“Father, I love Emma and he may be only a clerk today, but he could end up as a managing director in a big firm tomorrow. Rome was not built in a day. After all, you told me that you were once a bricklayer,” she defended her choice.
“Well, Angela has a point there,” her mother said in support.
Her father hissed and bluntly refused to agree with them. He planned her transfer to a company in the United States of America to break up her blossoming relationship with Emmanuel. Then he used his own means to intercept her letters to Emma and he never knew about her whereabouts again. So, Angela did not receive any reply and concluded that Emmanuel was no longer interested in her. She stopped writing. Emmanuel thought she had also disregarded him and forgot about her and faced his quest for survival.
Angela returned from America and discovered the bitter truth of how her father worked against her relationship with Emmanuel. She blamed her father for the present woes of Emmanuel. She made up her mind to elope with him and believed that their love would succeed.
“Angie…,” Emmanuel muttered as if he had sore throat.
“Merry Christmas,” she said.
The greeting was like chocolate melting in his mouth. Emmanuel’s downcast face brightened like someone who was groping in darkness suddenly seeing a flashlight.
“Angie. Oh, my Christmas angel,” he enthused.
She got up from the seat and embraced him wholeheartedly and did not mind his filthiness.
Her sweet smelling perfume refreshed him like water poured on a parched ground in the heat of summer.
There were no words to express his feelings as her warm embrace elated his spirits. Emmanuel felt like he was in heaven on earth.
She took him out to the beach for a picnic and they spent the Christmas night together in her private quarters in Ikoyi. Emmanuel had never experienced a miracle so magnificent. He simply surrendered to his God sent Christmas angel.
I have not edited this short story.
|Re: My Christmas Angel by tijehi(f): 11:14am On Dec 28, 2009|
sounds beautiful. please continue.
|Re: My Christmas Angel by Orikinla(m): 10:55am On Dec 29, 2009|
I have completed it.
The short story was written on Christmas Day of 1999.
|Re: My Christmas Angel by Bossbitch(f): 8:18pm On Jan 01, 2010|
God, i love this story, it almost had me crying
|Re: My Christmas Angel by MyneWhite1(f): 8:43pm On Jan 03, 2010|
What a sweet romantic story.
|Re: My Christmas Angel by semid(m): 10:36pm On Jan 03, 2010|
Orikinla:So she took him out to the beach for a picnic and afterwards spent the Christmas night with him in her private quarters in Ikoyi and he went back to living in his squalid one-room in Onike, abi? Abegiii, come finish the strory jare
|Re: My Christmas Angel by Orikinla(m): 6:14pm On Dec 01, 2010|
How are you going to spend the Christmas with your angel?
|Re: My Christmas Angel by Orikinla(m): 4:44pm On Dec 17, 2011|
"Make a wish for the New Year," she said as they were enjoying the chilled Baileys Irish Cream in the bedroom with George Benson's Livin' Inside Your Love playing from the B-an-g & Olufsen BeoSound 8 system.
"I have many wishes," he said.
He put aside his cup and took hers and put it beside his. Then he held her hands and gazed into her eyes.
"I wish I had a diamond engagement ring," he said with a smile.
"For whom?" she asked teasingly.
"Who else? There is only one woman here," he replied.
"Well, if God could send me a Christmas Angel, He can also grant me this wish of my life," he said.
He leaned forward and kissed her right cheek. "To make you my wife for life," he whispered.
She moved her lips to his mouth and they had a kiss that Emmanuel knew meant that Angela had sealed his wish with her miraculous love.
|Re: My Christmas Angel by nollywood20: 3:14pm On Dec 24, 2012|
As part of Christmas trivia, watch this trailer of Christmas Angel. It is not related to the short fiction, but you can still enjoy it in the spirit of sharing the joys of Christmas in celebration of the coming of our Messiah Jesus Christ.
What would you do when there is no water to wash your hair?
Then later she collides with a cute guy on the street.
Who is your Christmas angel?
|Re: My Christmas Angel by Orikinla(m): 2:47pm On Dec 23, 2013|
Who is your Christmas angel?
|Re: My Christmas Angel by Nobody: 11:01am On Jan 06, 2014|
|Re: My Christmas Angel by Orikinla(m): 10:51pm On Dec 24, 2015|
|Re: My Christmas Angel by Orikinla1: 3:05pm On Dec 25, 2016|
We are still celebrating this timeless masterpiece of romance.
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