What an unusual man! When he came to our house and told me he knew of my affair with Daddy Teni I was so afraid. Then I thought I could bribe him into silence; I offered him money and my body. He simply wasn’t interested. All he wanted was for me to listen. Uhn? “Okay sir” I responded. Then he proceeded to tell me what no one had ever told me; that I had an honour to protect. What is this man talking about? I wondered. He told me I was beautiful, special; a radiant flower that is opening up and that I should protect my honour from the men who are hunters. Even though I was genuinely moved that he thought I was all those things I laughed.
“It’s too late Mr Dike, even if I was a radiant flower, now I have been crushed” I told him honestly
“My daughter it is never too late to begin again” he replied
“I have a daughter who like you decided to listen to the sweet words of foolish men. She got pregnant and thought that was the end of the world. Even her mother, my wife almost disowned her because she was the secretary of the women’s union in church. But I encouraged her like I am doing to you now; last year she became a nurse and she is doing very well today. Her boy, my grandson lives with us. You can start afresh, I will not tell anyone but I just want you to know that you don’t have to live like this” he said and walked away.
I am touched by all he has said but I cannot imagine a life other than this one which does not involve taking advantage of men’s weaknesses. There is still that eighty thousand my mother needs, how do I get that? Even if I were to “start again” how do I fend for my younger ones? Fifteen thousand naira a month is not enough. In spite of the fact that I have been sending half of my salary home my mother doesn’t even regard it, her friend’s children are doing better. I am so tired of being the breadwinner. I really hate this life. My phone is ringing, it’s Aunty.
“Hello ma… yes ma… okay ma… okay ma… yes ma…”
Uncle’s brother is coming and I have to get things ready for his arrival. I notice that I have an unread text message. It’s Daddy Teni, he wants me to come over, and he says he has fifty thousand to give me. Useless man! I delete the message.
This girl hasn’t replied me. So she’s angry about last week, girls and their emotions! Who does she think she is? I don’t even give the other girls eighty thousand naira for one meeting. But she is something! She left me feeling happy and I haven’t been happy since my sister-in-law died. My wife doesn’t care if I exist, must the whole world come to an end just because somebody died? I think I’ll give her twenty thousand after all, she DID make me happy.
My friend Kemi and I are coming back from the market. She works with the Adekoyas who live down the street and she has her own troubles. Her madam is as mean as a witch.
“My ear is still hurting me. I swear I didn’t hear her tell me to bring the clothes from her car” she says
“So what do you want to do now?” I ask her
“What can I do? I have told you I can’t leave. Where will I go? Who do I know in Lagos? I will endure till I gather enough money, then I will leave”
“Look Kemi I have told you…”
“Blessing!” I look up and it is Daddy Teni getting out of his car. “Come here” he says
“Wait for me” I tell Kemi
What does this ape of a man want? Isn’t it clear enough that I don’t want to have anything to do with him again?
“Good afternoon sir” I mumble
“My dear just call me Uncle Tobi”
”Yes sir” I reply. He’s staring at me and I know Kemi is watching. What does he want?
“My friend is waiting sir” I yell him, jerking my thumb backwards
“You haven’t replied me. Are you angry?” he asks, his eyes ogling and his lips widening in a lustful smile.
“I’m not coming” I reply disoriented. The way he’s looking at me!
“I will give you fifty thousand. Didn’t you read my text?”
“I’m not coming” I reply. I don’t trust him and besides that I’m still affected y what Mr Dike said.
“Why?” he asks unbelieving “I said I will give you fifty thousand naira” he says, stressing fifty thousand naira.
He seems serious but I can’t trust him, he’s fooled me once. Besides I am a radiant rose, flower, whatever Mr Dike said. I know that he won’t let me go if I tell him the real reasons why I want nothing more to do with him so I tell him:
“Mr Dike caught us. Goodbye sir”
I can’t see his face but I know he’s stunned. I can see Kemi’s however and I know I have a lot of explaining to do. Her face is full of suspicion.
Dear reader the series continues on Monday