Don’t sulk over other people’s shoes as you don’t know where its pinching them.

‘Some people are just so lucky!’ Felicia muttered under her breathe the moment she spotted Mrs Ajayi driving into the estate. Watching the light-skinned lady from two buildings away from her house, she wished she could trade places with her.

Walking quietly back into her BQ apartment, Felicia slumped into her bed and allowed her mind wander into the past.

Felicia had once been married to the man of her dreams, Bode; a handsome promising Architect. Three years into their marriage, the cold hands of death snuffed the life out of her young husband. To make matters worse, a year later, the young widow had to relinquish the ownership of their home which stood as the collateral for the loan her deceased husband collected from the bank.

Six years later, she was still alone; with neither a suitor nor a child.

Life is so unfair, Felicia ruminated. If only, I could turn back the hands of time…

A loud bang at the door suddenly jolted her from the painful past.

‘Who is that?’ she asked, walking towards the door.

‘Please, open this useless door, before I force it open!’ Chief Rasaki roared from outside.

With trembling hands, Felicia quickly unlocked the door.

Her heart melted like a piece of margarine under heat as she faced the six-footer landlord.

The fury in the eyes of the middle-aged man was enough to lighten a dark room.

‘Good afternoon sir.’

‘What is good about the afternoon, Felicia? Must I always remind you before you pay your rent?

‘Sir, please give me a week more to raise the money…’

*****

‘Hello…’ Ronke Ajayi answered the phone call, at the first ring.

‘Hello, who is it?’ she continued.

‘Who are you please?’ she queried, then silence as she listened to the voice on the the end of the phone.

Once the message from the other end sank in, Ronke screamed, ‘Oh my God! Please…please…don’t harm those kids…I beg you.,’ her tears choked the rest of her words.

‘Hello…are you there?’

Ronke found her voice and continued pleading, ‘Please… I beg you…okay, okay…Why…oh…’ hello…hello…’ the line went blank.

Her husband walked in half an hour later and found her still fiddling with her phone.

‘Sweetheart, who are you trying to call?’ he pulled her into his arms, ‘I’m just coming from the police station and the DPO promised us he would personally take up the case.’

‘I just spoke with a man a few minutes before your arrival; concerning our kids…’ she gulped back the tears, ‘but he terminated the call before I could ask to speak to our kids…’

‘What?’ Lanre’s eyes almost bulged out of its sockets in astonishment.

He swallowed hard, beads of perspiration settled on his furrowed brow despite the air-conditioned room.

‘I’m quite sure he would call back. Just calm down…’

‘Just calm down? When our children are in the lion’s den?’

‘Oh God, why did you give me children that are always causing me headache?’ she continued, ‘If it’s not the case of street fight today, it’s the case of having to spend thousands of naira for one illness or the other?

‘When would I ever enjoy a trouble-free life on account of Jade and Jumoke? Why did I give birth to children in the first place; after all, there are still happy couples around without children.’

‘Quit talking nonsense, Ronke,’ Lanre scolded her. ‘Can you point to anybody without children and yet is happy?’

‘Yes, at least I know one of them. Take for instance, that lady that stays two buildings away from us; the one that lives in the BQ apartment.’

‘Felicia, the widow?’

‘Yes. She has nobody to bother her. I wouldn’t mind trading places with her.’

‘Do you now want to be a widow?’

‘No, I’m talking about being single…’

********

A week later, Felicia eventually paid her house rent, but her growing nightmares and frequent mild body pains made her decide to travel to her hometown to visit her parents.

By the time she got to the bus terminal at Ojota the next day, the pains had become severe and thus slowing down her steps. As she waited  to see if she could get someone to help her cross to the other side of the road; she spotted a fine young man, neatly dressed and wearing a pair of dark eye glasses.

‘Such a fine and confident boy!’ she pondered. ‘I could have had a child of that age if only I started childbirth very early in life.

‘Please, young man,’ she approached him, ‘can I cross with you to the other side of the road?’’

‘Oh yes, Ma,’ he smiled at her, ‘please hold my hand.’

The duo got into the busy road and in the bid of trying to cross, they narrowly escaped being knocked down by several vehicles.

‘Thank you ma’am for crossing with me,’ the lad smiled when they got to the other side of the road.

‘What is wrong with you?’ Felicia confronted him. ‘Didn’t you see that we were almost knocked down by vehicles. Are you blind?’

‘Yes, I am,’ he responded, removing his eye glasses to reinforce his statement.

‘Oh my Jesus!’ Felicia exclaimed with mouth agape.

‘You’re blind and yet you had the boldness to lead me to cross the road?’

‘Actually ma, you were my saviour. What I do on a normal day is to wait until I get someone to cross me over to the other side; but miraculously today, while I was yet thinking about it, you came along.’

At this point Felicia was shaking, not as a result of the pain, but at the startling discovery.

‘Thank you once more ma,’ he replaced his dark glasses and left.

Felicia leaned at the back of one of the stationary vehicles and began to cry, as reality dawned on her.

All the while, she had been so self-centred as though no other person has problems.

Final Remarks:  There is hardly anyone without one form of challenge or the other.  The only way to surmount your challenges and move ahead is to do a personal SWOT analysis, i.e. consider your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; then work out real solutions.

Until I come your way again next week, KEEP MOVING…