Friday, July 8

20

Quarter of a Blue Moon - 8

EIGHT



Chinelo had a dream about her son. A very terrible nightmare.

It was only some minutes past 6 in the morning that she knocked on Onyemaechi’s short and red gate.


Onyemaechi is her late husband’s elder brother.

Uzoma, Onyemaechi’s wife, opened the gate for her.

After she narrated her dream to them and told them how serious her uncertainties were, Onyemaechi called his second son, Jideobi, and asked him to dial Phillip’s number.

Jideobi tried Phillip’s number again. ‘Not connecting, Papa,’ he said.

‘What does “not connecting” mean?’ Onyemaechi asked his son.

‘The phone is switched off. O gbanyuru ya agbanyu.’

‘Hey,’ Chinelo sighed.

Onyemaechi turned to her and told her that she should go home and wash her face and chew a chew stick, that they would keep on trying.

After Chinelo finally dragged away, Onyemaechi turned to his wife and said, ‘If that boy is dead, we can now cultivate that land, ohia?’

Uzoma clapped her hand and screamed. ‘Tufia!’

She shrugged her shoulders, snapped a finger at her husband and walked away, towards the dwarf goat house.

She reached on top of the rusty zinc roof and took her long broom.

She might have been clearly unhappy with her husband’s comment, but the next day, on her own, she got ready and carried her basket of corms, picked her hoe and set off to the same land in dispute.

‘It is not yet late to plant some cocoyam,’ she murmured to herself, ‘is it?’

***

Dr Samson Onalli is a businessman.

He has always been.

Since the days at medical school that he sold past questions and organized tutorials for a fee.

He was already forty when he finally quit practice and turned a full-time businessman.

Managing a business is not easy, even worse when that business suddenly burst into a huge growth, and you find yourself doing everything you can to keep up.

This was the case for Samson.

But over time he learned.

He also learned how not to mix business with pleasure.

How to be tougher than the market in order to survive.

How a big fish must keep swallowing the small fishes in order to maintain its size.

How to make gainful connections every day, and cut off people immediately he discovered that they are taking more than they could give.

How to talk the language of profit and orgasm on a good return on investment!

Now Samson can confidently call himself an expert in business.

But one thing he failed to realize is that he isn’t the same person he ever used to be.

Business has changed him.

He now run everything in life as if they are a business. Including his marriage too.

He started with making unnecessary demands from his wife.

Taxing her for dues of unknown bearing.

‘Mr Frederick will see you tomorrow,’ Samson said to his wife.

‘Why?’ Rita asked him.

‘He is taking control over all the accounts now.’

‘That’s absurd.’

Samson kept silent, but only for a few more days.

In his type of business, he is very sure, having your spouse as your chief competitor is not only risky but insulting.

And he is already a suspicious man. Wary. He’d heard a lot about wives who spent all their husband’s money on younger, sexier-looking boys.

Sugar or sugary mummies they are called.

And it’s always the good-natured, always-smiling-with-an-employee boss wives that get caught up in such a mess.

When Rita constantly kept refusing to give in to his demands, Samson resorted to aggression.

‘I made you!’ he screamed.

‘Which money do you think you have?’

‘Answer me! Which money are you laying claims to now?’

One day Rita lost control of it all and yelled back at him.

‘Samson!’ she called him.You may have started this company for me but really it was by my sweat that it grew to this level. It’s my touch that made it flourish!’

Samson looked as though amused by the statement. ‘What do you think you know about running a business?’

And then he dropped the bombshell—

‘Have you forgotten so soon where I picked you from? Did you ever in your poor miserable life dream of controlling such amount of money? Or ever even running a current account?’

‘You are a fool, Samson!’ Rita was clearly out of herself. ‘A very big fool!’

And then he slapped her.

So hard that she fell.

But instead of looking sorry, or voicing an immediate apology, Samson bent forward, toward her again, wanting to slap her again.

‘Useless, ungrateful woman!’ His voice seemed to shake the window drapes now, and cause the air around to run into their shells. ‘Just like your mother, that would dare to call me a ritualist because I bothered to give her money!’

That evening Rita stopped her fast. She ate her favourite vegetable soup and drank some cold wine.

She stopped asking God to intervene in her marriage, stopped pleading that He took away whatever spirit that has gotten into her husband.

She undid the ropes binding her together, the ones that have been threatening to stifle her.


***

Samantha Oluwakemi is a confused human being.

She has been for a very long time now.

Probably since that morning after Aunty Funke’s visit that she woke up and calculated her age by herself.

And discovered that even though she did not look it, yet, she was getting really close to 40!

That her Aunty might be right, after all.

That morning she didn’t go to the school in Osogbo where she taught Home Economics; she spent most part of it wondering instead:

Where all her years had gone to.

What she had done with them.

If they will ever come back to her.

If she still has hope…

It was later that same day, late in the evening, that her then boyfriend, smiling from the pleasant aftereffect of a good sex, whispered into her ear, ‘Can you have a baby for me, please?’

And just then, at those very words, Sammy realized it was time to go.

She gave the principal her resignation letter the next day and travelled to her village in Iragbiji the next day. She stayed a week with her grandmother and then moved to Lagos.

She rented a small self-contained room, dropped the name Oluwakemi and chose to be addressed only as Samantha.

Somehow it made her feel younger.

It gives her hope.

Now that Sammy is in Phillip’s room, wearing her signature interview skirt suit, and staring at little James, Sammy has become very confused again.

She checked her wrist watch again, and discovered she has barely 45 minutes now.

After two more minutes of staring, she finally reached a decision.

She carried the little boy and rushed him through a cold bath.

She scrambled around for his clothes and found one that was manageable enough.

She dressed him up and carried him.

Outside the door, she inhaled the scent.

This is going to be the most awkward interview ever, she could tell already.

She held the boy close and walked off.

***

Phillip is sorry.

For all the things he’d done, or hadn’t done.

For ever screaming at his father when he was still alive, asking him where he was that all his mates left him and were travelling and making money.

Achieving.

Why he decided to stay back in the village and farm crops instead.

Why he allowed his elder brother to take all their land.

Phillip is really sorry.

Now he wished that it is possible to see his father again.

He’d kneel down before him and apologize to him.

And call him a hero, for he chose peace over war. He kept quiet even when he could have drawn a sword.

For loving peace so much.

For being such a good man.

Phillip has realized now how very easy it is to blame another than actually doing the correct thing yourself.

Phillip is sorry too for his little boy, for his wife and for his mother.

His little boy especially! For bringing him into this world of rock and thorns without adequate preparations.

For all the things he couldn’t provide for his wife and aging mother.

For all the times he thought only of himself, he is truly sorry.

And he so wished now there is something he could do.

That it is possible that these ropes binding him together could come undone, so that he will escape.

And when he got home, he’d try to make a whole lot of things right.

***

The matron at Hall’s Academy, Lekki is a strict educator.

Nothing gives her more joy than seeing rules being obeyed.

Whether by her students, or her students’ parents. Or her five kids and husband at home.

Now that this woman is in her office, demanding to take her child, saying things that go against the rule, Matron Bridget is fighting really hard to remain calm.

‘Madam, it is not possible,’ she said to Rita again.

‘Are you insane?’ Rita barked. ‘She is my daughter and I registered her in this school by myself. I have every right to take her if and whenever I wanted.’

‘Madam, you and your husband brought your ward to us to keep, you both are free to take her anytime you want, but you must go through the same process you went through the time you first brought her to us.’

‘I can’t believe you!’ Rita said.

She also cannot believe this woman keeps using the word—ward—to refer to her daughter. Her daughter, who is almost 16!

‘Well, Madam, you have to try to do,’ Bridget said. ‘This is not just an ordinary private secondary school with neither structure nor principles. This is Hall’s Academy.’

‘To hell with you and your crappy school and rules!’

Bridget glanced up at the enraged parent before her.

She is already used to her kind.

She said nothing else to Rita again.

She pulled a drawer out and took out her glasses’ case.

Rita watched as she wore the large glasses, gently over her squinty eyes.

She turned to her computer screen.

‘Are you ignoring me?’ Rita asked, after too much time has passed with Bridget saying or doing nothing.

‘I can do worse, Madam,’ Bridget said. ‘You just thank your stars that it is a cold morning today!’

About five minutes later, Rita walked out of the school, reliving her worst horror all over again—being abused!

***

Amaka has heard so many things about bad boys.

From her mother.

Her elder sister.

Even her father.

To her mother bad boys are boys without ambition. Those lousy village boys with neither money nor character.

To her elder sister, they are sex addicts. Boys that constantly lie to women, with the backs of their tongues, in exchange for an orgasm.

To her father, they are boys that drink and smoke. Especially those whose lips have been permanently darkened by Indian hemp.

Because her father is the most educated in her family, she believed him the most.

Boys that smoke are bad.

They are dangerous.

They must be avoided.

So that night when she saw two men smoking at the end of the street, in the cold night, she turned and started to walk back.

When they called out to her—‘Hey!’—she began to run.

And she did really run.

Till she found herself somewhere she couldn’t recognize any more, and it dawned on her that she’s become lost in Lagos.

Had she waited a little more, she would have discovered that the two men she was running away from are actually men of the Nigerian police.

But what does it matter, really?

They are bad police men, after all!

 

20 comments:

  1. Please oo this story must continue oo..

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  2. Mmmmmm,nice excerpts! The story must continue.

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  3. 50 comments kwa? DNB una no go kill person. Keep the ball rolling

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  4. First to comment...Its now the story is starting...C'mon D N B.

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  5. This is getting more intriguing


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  6. DNB Stories, you pple should not try me at all. Pls continue with the story. It's really getting interesting now.

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  7. Ride on with d story. Tis getting more fascinating

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  8. Dannie biko continue na

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Please let the story continue. It's an interesting story. Btw Amaka,s character though. Very hot headed

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  11. Oh God! It's becoming interesting.

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  12. What will now happen to everybody?

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  13. Please continue with the story. Hope nothing happens to Amaka & Philip

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  14. please we are enjoying the series,please continue

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  15. Amaka and Philip are going through the Lagos experience, I believe they will be stronger for it. Please don't let any of them die.

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  16. Please continue...we want more!!

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  17. I hope my comment isn't too late

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