Hello everyone! My break is over and the series continues. For those of you who’ve asked, the workshop was insightful! A big thank you to Mr Chris Ihidero who graciously shared his knowledge with about thirty-five of us.
Anyway, I’m back to telling stories and I believe it’ll be better from here on out! I need you to do something for me though. Kindly SHARE this website with someone, it’s the best thing you can do for me right now.
It’s strange how the thing we thought we wanted the most becomes a burden, something we slowly start to loathe. We start to ask ourselves how this thing became the object of our desire, and we question our ability to value a thing accurately. We want to let it go, but we’re too ashamed to admit to ourselves and others that we’ve made a mistake. So we hold on and hope that it’s a phase, and we’re merely being impatient.
Oladapo looked at Rhoda from the corner of his eyes, she was eating bananas. Systematically, she finished a whole bunch and proceeded to start eating a plate filled with slices of juicy watermelons. She wiped her mouth with her plump hand and rubbed it on her wrapper.
“Andrew says you don’t want to do a scan.”
Rhoda looked away from her juicy watermelon and looked at him defensively. “He called you?”
“So it’s true! Rhoda you need to do a scan, let’s know what we’re getting into.”
“So what happens if we find out that the child is abnormal? You’ll kick me out?”
“I didn’t say that. I’m just saying that we should be prepared. Why should we leave things to chance?”
“I’m not doing a scan. Our mothers had several babies without doing scans, it’s not important.” She went back to eating her fruit, and her partner knew that the conversation was over.
“Okay.” He held up his hands in resignation. “So have you made up your mind what you want to do when you give birth?”
“Ah ah!” Rhoda dropped her unfinished slice of fruit back into the plate. “Dapo, what is it? Why do you want me to start working so soon? Let me concentrate on giving birth to this child. When I give birth, I’ll decide what I want to do.”
“So we’ll have to wait for months to plan? I’m not saying that you should go and start working so soon. We can spend this time putting things in place.”
“I’m not in the mood to start thinking please. Let me enjoy this time and prepare myself for another child.”
Oladapo massaged his head and got up. “Alright, I’m going out.” He grabbed his keys from the center-table.
“You’re leaving me again?”
“I have to work, you know that.”
“No, you’re just walking away from me because I said I’m not ready to work! You’re being unfair!”
“Rhoda, I will see you later” he replied calmly and left the room.
“Does your boss give you a break? You work so hard!” Mr Gbolahan said to Comfort as she set the table for his breakfast.
“I’m not complaining sir.” She replied swiftly and meekly, she wasn’t going to be caught gossiping about her boss.
“But you work so hard! I think you deserve a break.”
“Don’t worry about me sir. Madam pays me well.”
“She does?” He looked up from his cup of coffee. “How much does she pay you?” he asked teasingly.
“It’s enough sir.”
“You don’t want to tell me?”
“It’s not that sir…” Comfort was getting uncomfortable. Why did her boss’s husband want to know how much she was paid? It made no sense to her that he didn’t already know and she had no intention of getting in between Mrs Gbolahan and her husband.
“It’s okay!” he started to spread some cheese on a soft slice of bread. “Well, I want you to take a break today. I know my wife and I’m sure that what she pays you is inconsequential.” He stopped to look at her. “So you’ll take a lunch break today. Go and rest for a while.”
Comfort now suspected that Mr Gbolahan didn’t want her to be around. ”Yes sir.” she replied. She was even glad to be relieved of work for a few hours. She would go to the church nearby and spend the time praying and sleeping.
Niniola heard her mother’s warning but she couldn’t get Dele out of her mind. The boy paid her attention like no one had. She enjoyed spending time with him and also enjoyed whatever treat he had for her. Being with him was exciting, he had something to offer that her poor family didn’t.
“Where are we going?” she asked him again as they walked down the road.
“We’re going to that club.” He nodded in the direction of the place.
“A club?” Niniola had heard of a club many times but had never been in one. “Okay…”
“Are you scared?”
“No… I’m just surprised. We always go to a fast food restaurant.”
“Yeah… we do.” Dele said with meaning.
As they walked into the club, Dele wondered if he was doing the right thing. He wasn’t sure if Niniola would agree to his plan but he had to try. His friend had promised him twenty thousand if he brought her. They entered into the club and Niniola was immediately disoriented by the darkness and mustiness of the place. A cloud of smoke hung in the air and she could hardly breathe. The loud music playing made her head pound. She began to get nervous.
“Dele let’s go please!” she said earnestly.
“What? Are you afraid?”
“No I’m not, I’m just… I don’t like this place. It’s so dark!”
“Is your house better than this place?”
“Ah ah Dele, are you insulting me?” Niniola was taken aback by this statement.
Dele didn’t respond, he merely walked away towards a table where two men were seated- one dark and lanky, and the other stocky and short. He shook hands with them and sat down. His older acquaintances were already drinking.
“What do you want?” the lanky one asked.
He told them him favorite brand.
“You like the good stuff but you can’t pay for it. Leech!”
Short and Stocky laughed. “No mind am.”
Dele smiled awkwardly, knowing better than to reply to the insult. Niniola stood where she was and fiddled with her fingers. Her mother would kill her if she knew where she was.
“Are you going to call your girlfriend?” Dark and Lanky asked sarcastically, his companion laughed again.
“Sorry.” Dele gushed, shocked to discover that Niniola was still standing afar off. He got up and walked towards her.
“Do you want to embarrass me?” he asked through tight lips. “Why’re you standing here?”
“I didn’t know if I should follow you…”
“So you were waiting for me to announce it on television? You’re too slow for my liking! Follow me!”
Niniola followed him to the table and curtseyed. “Good afternoon.”
Dele’s companions burst out laughing and Niniola wondered what she had done. Dele shook his head disappointedly, he had to get rid of the girl. The waiter came and took their orders.
“So have you told her what she’s here to do?” Dark and Lanky asked.
“Not yet, but she’ll cooperate.” Dele replied, glaring at Niniola.
“Alright, finish your drinks and let’s start.” A waiter brought a tray of several drinks and began to set them on the table.
“Start what?” Niniola asked Dele over the loud banging music.
“Shut up and drink, you ask too many questions.”
The girl was hardly thirsty but she sipped her drink slowly, wondering what was in store for her and how she would get out of the place.
“They want you to dance for them. All you need to do is dance. Dance well and they’ll give you five thousand.”
It was all that Niniola could think of. The food that her family would eat and how things would be easier for her mother.
“So will you do it?” Dele asked.
“’Yes. Just to dance right?”
“Yes, just dance.”
Comfort had been in the church for about an hour when she remembered that she had been boiling some water. Hurriedly, she ran towards the house and hoped that she had not burned down the house. Her heart beat faster with each step closer to the house. What would she say to her boss? How would she explain her absence?
She dashed into the house and stood still. Mr Gbolahan was humping away on top of a young girl. She promptly ran to the kitchen, turned off the gas and went out of the house through the kitchen door. Trembling on the stairs, she finally understood why her boss hadn’t wanted her around.
“Oh my eyes! Why did you have to see such a thing?” she said to herself.
The door behind her opened and she could feel Mr Gbolahan’s wrath before he spoke. “What are you doing here?”
“Sorry sir, I was boiling water, and I forgot to turn it off.” She replied with her back to him.
“You think I don’t know that you came to spy on me?”
“’No sir! I swear, I didn’t plan to come back. I forgot to turn off the gas.”
“Look at me!” the man ordered.
Comfort turned to face him slowly and bowed her head, too embarrassed to look him in the eye.
“My wife must not know what you saw.”
“I didn’t see anything sir!”
“Better.” He replied and stared at her for a while. “I’ll settle you.” he said firmly and went inside before she could protest.
Mother and daughter had money in their hands, yet they were not happy. Niniola felt dirty and cheap, her mother felt like a betrayer. They had both left the house that morning, wishing that they had more money, yet they both felt utterly dissatisfied and unhappy with the money they had.
“Mummy is everything alright?” Segun asked his mother seriously.
“Yes, I’m just a little tired.”
“Nini said the same thing.”
“She did?” she asked suspiciously. “Call her for me.”
Niniola repeated her story to her mother but the woman could tell that all was not well with her daughter and she suspected that it had to do with the boy but she had no proof.
“I hope you heeded my advice about that boy you talked about?”
“Yes ma.” she lied.
Comfort knew Niniola was lying and it hurt her deeply to know that her daughter was falling into the same trap she had just come out of.
Niniola tossed and turned, thinking of how she had gyrated sensuously in front of the men and Dele who kept shifting uncomfortably as he watched her. She hadn’t known that she could do such a thing.
“Pull up your skirt a little… yes… Now your blouse… good! Make sure you’re dancing to the beat o!” Short and Stocky had said to her.
Niniola thought of the lust in the men’s eyes and wondered how she had come to such a point.
“You did well today. Don’t worry I’ll give you the rest of your money tomorrow.” Dele had said to her after they left the club.
“Why can’t you give it to me now?” she had retorted.
“Are you harassing me because of two thousand naira? I said I will give it to you! I need cash for something…”
“But they gave you your own money!”
Dele had held his hand up, aiming to slap her but had stopped at the last minute. She had stared at him for a long time, wondering how to react to the situation when he smiled charmingly.
“I was just playing with you now! See how you’re looking at me! Fear fear!” he had said mockingly, grabbing her hand and pulling her along.