Image by Prince Akachi

Oluwakemi is a third year student of University of Lagos. Things have not been so smooth for her family since she was born. They've always lived from hand to mouth. Things got even worse when her junior sister Fumilayo also gained admission to study Medicine and Surgery in the same University. She was no longer the only one giving her parents headache but her junior sister too. It's been two weeks and some days since she last got feeding allowances from her parents. She survived mostly from favours from her friends who were well to do and from writing assignments for other students.

Kemi (Oluwakemi) stood in the kitchen cutting onions while singing along to Sia's Angel By The Wings. Her deep rich and very loud alto voice could be heard from some distance as she kept singing "you can, you can do anything, anything
You can do anything"
This was her favourite part of the song. For a moment she closed her eyes and let herself get lost in the lyrics. In that moment, nothing filled her mind other than her dreams to attain financial freedom and help her family get back on their feet again.

She was brought back to reality as the song slowly came to an end. She began to hurry up the cooking process. She was expecting her best friend - Dami.

Dami had called her that morning saying she was coming over and she would like to eat spaghetti. Kemi told her she would pay for it and she did without hesitation. It was after Kemi received the alert that she began the preparation.

She had just turned off the gas when Dami appeared at the door.

"Do you ever knock this girl, or two of us are paying the rent for this place?" Kemi asked irritatedly.

She has always hated people badging in on her. She likes to be in control in her own territory.

"Sorry Tigress. I come in peace, I'll knock next time" Dami replied remorselessly.

If there's anyone who wasn't easily intimidated by Kemi, it was Dami.

"Whatever," Kemi replied, rolling her eyes.

"Where's my food Boss Lady, I don't have time to pay attention to your attitude this morning" Dami said as she moved into the kitchen and in the direction of the pot.

"Dish for yourself, do it with honour. I didn't say empty my pot." replied Kemi as she moved to the bathroom to take a bath.

About an hour later she came out and saw an empty plate in the kitchen and she noticed the food had been reduced much more than expected. Dami was nowhere in sight. She wondered where she would have gone without informing her. She went back to her room and picked her phone to call Dami. Dami picked up on the second ring.

"Babes!" Dami said in delight.

"You disappeared without notice and left my plate unwashed. Why is my spaghetti half gone?" Kemi said all at once not leaving Dami a chance to talk at all.

"I'm sorry dear, Emmanuel called and said I should come to his workplace immediately. He said he had something for me and I was eager to find out what so I just dashed out. As for your spaghetti…" here Dami began to lower her voice. She does this everytime she wants to plead guilty for an offence.

"I dished a bit for him, please don't vex". She said.

The line stayed quiet for a while. Kemi was obviously trying to control her temper.

"Okay." Was all Kemi said. This was usually her reply whenever she was very mad about something. With that she hung up.

Later that day

I am not a stranger to the dark, runaway they say cos we don't want your broken part..🎶🎶
That was Keala Settle's This is me and it's Kemi's ringing tone. When she picked up the phone she noticed it was a strange number calling.

"Hello" came the voice from the other end. It was a guy.

"Hello, good evening," Kemi replied.

"Good evening to you too, please am I speaking with Oluwakemi?" The unknown caller asked.

"Yes you are. And you are..?" Kemi asked back.

"I'm Raymond, a friend to Emmanuel who is a friend to Dami - your friend" he replied.

Kemi laughed at the description and just said okay.

"I'm calling because three people recommended you to cook for my upcoming birthday including me. I ate the spaghetti your friend brought over earlier and I got hooked," he said.

Kemi's eyes bulged out in shock as she couldn't believe her ears.

"Are you with me?" He asked

"Y...yyy..ye..yes sir" Kemi stammered.

"It's going to be a party exclusively for 50 invited guests including you. So you'll be cooking for 50 guests. Is that clear?"

"Ye...s sir"

"So run your analysis and send me your quotation. This is my WhatsApp contact so send it there. The birthday is scheduled for next weekend at 6pm. It's indoor," he added.

"Okay sir, I'll do that and get back to you "

"I'll be waiting, please get on it immediately, goodnight." With that the call came to an end.

Kemi couldn't believe her ears. She pinched herself and rubbed her eyes repeatedly to be sure she wasn't dreaming. She couldn't contain her joy. She thought of what this opportunity would mean to her. Though 50 was a huge number for a beginner, she was confident she could deliver as she has been assisting her mum in cooking for wedding ceremonies together with her mum's crew. This is where she learnt her kitchen prowess. Immediately she dialled Dami's number.

Dami seemed to have been waiting for the moment and picked the call instantly. Kemi thanked her repeatedly and asked her to pray he'll agree with the price. She later hung up to begin her quotation.

It was 1:15am when she finished putting heads together with a fellow chef who put her through a few things. Finally, she settled for 74,000 naira. This would cover the expense of buying all ingredients, borrowing plates, cutleries and all she'll need to use, pay the extra hands she'll employ to help, transportation and her own gain. Carefully she outlined everything and pressed send.

Kemi yawned loudly as she was so exhausted. She changed into her nightwear and switched off the bedroom light. Just then her phone beeped. When she opened it, it was a reply from Sir Raymond.

The message read: "seems like a fair price to me but I assume you do not have enough experience. I've had people do something like this for me before and the price was way higher so I'll pay you 200,000 just Incase prices of things get inflated when the day is near. I don't need any setbacks. I equally need a very impressive service, a lot of high classed people will be present and I won't like to be embarrassed. Please send your account details, I'll transfer your money in full. If you mess up, I'll find you."

Kemi was surprised at the immediate response. She didn't expect the arrogant life saver to be up at that time.

Still perplexed, she sent her details and waited anxiously. Minutes later, she got a credit alert of her payment in full! At that moment it felt like the universe was in a halt for her sake. She didn't know if she should laugh or cry, shout or dance. Tears streamed down her cheeks effortlessly. There in the dark she sat, lost in her imagination of how miraculous it is that her life would change within a twinkle of an eye.

With a heart full of joy she typed "you have no idea what you've done for my family and I, thank you is not enough".

She reached out for the picture of her and Dami from the table. Using her fingers she made a trail around it. Caressing it, adoring it. Making a mental note to break the good news to Dami in the morning, she whispered "you're my good luck charm"

The End.


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