She pirouetted round and round in sync with the wind. They seemed to understand the language of each other as she used her hand, her feet and facial expression to flow with the wind. She was a good dancer and did all sort of dance ranging from ballet, hip hop, classical to traditional dance. She had studied Performing arts in the University of Ilorin and had come out as the best graduating student in her department. Even after graduation, she found it difficult letting go of her passion, she had to join a dance club where she taught younger dancers the art of moving with the wind.
Adaeze was the last and only daughter of her parents Mr and Mrs Odogo. She had two older siblings Alex and Humphrey who were already doing their masters in Oxford University. They were an upper class family who had tasted what it meant to be in the society’s limelight until they fell from grace to grass the previous year. Dr Henry Odogo had had his medical license seized after he conducted an abortion on the daughter of a prominent politician in the country and she lost her life in the process. He was sued by her father and banned from practising medicine but in and outside the country. No matter how much he fought to keep himself going financially, things didn’t remain the same for them again. His wife managed a fast food restaurant where she sold every kind of drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, pepper soup, fried rice and other kind of food the men of the society loved eating to keep themselves happy. That was what the family started relying on for survival in the Coal city of Enugu state.
Her students could not help but admire her gait and body language as she danced. Many of them wished they could have perfect body and legs like she did. Her legs were that of a typical dancer, slender and straight; there were no alterations anywhere, no curves anywhere just straight. When she danced, many people watched her legs while some gushed between her legs and her face.
God did take His time in creating every part of her. She stopped dancing when she realised that they were not paying attention to her but whispering among themselves.
Adaeze: “Are you ladies even paying attention to me at all?” she asked walking towards them while using a hand towel to wipe the sweats on her face and body. The girls cringed when they saw the look of disapproval on her face. They were five in number but only three among them were outspoken and loved teasing her. They were between the ages of 10-15years.
Suzan: “We were paying attention our beautiful instructor”
She teased admiring her long, dark and sweaty eye lashes which concealed her eyes as she looked at Olivia, the youngest and shortest of them all.
Adaeze: “You were paying attention and whispering among yourselves at the same time? Do you call that paying attention?”
Flora: “Yes aunty. Actually, we were discussing your moves, the part where you spun in the air, we were wondering how on earth we were to learn that” she lied.
Adaeze: “You all know ballet is a difficult dance and you must pay attention to every move and also practise them at every single opportunity you get otherwise, you will keep wondering whether you’d get it or not. I am not satisfied with your explanation though so the four of you will have to do twenty press down without stopping” she stood up and placed her hands on her hips trying to look as strict as possible. She loved the girls to the core but knew she mustn’t over-indulge them still otherwise they’d be taking things for granted. She looked around the dancing hall which had nothing in it except a huge mirror which occupied the whole of one side of the four-cornered hall. The floor was shiny with polished mahogany wood which made it easier for them to dance on due to its slippery surface.
Suzan: “Awwwwww aunty Ada. What of Olivia? You are being partial o” she grunted.
Adaeze: “she is too young, she is just ten years so she will not be able to do it for now. So the four of you, Suzan, Flora, Bola and Stephanie, get on your stomachs now before I change my mind and make it fifty instead of twenty” she emphasized by pointing on to the ground.
The girls obeyed immediately, afraid they’d be made to do fifty press down when ten was even herculean for them.
She waited patiently for taxi in front of the dance club. Most of the dancers had gone home save for just few of them waiting for a cab. She wished at that point that she still had her car. She had to sell it off when it started becoming too difficult to stock up her mum’s restaurant. Her dad was not ready to ask any of his friends for help either, he preferred to suffer silently pretending he was still on top of the ladder than let anyone outside his family know things were not working so well for him. Exotic cars pulled to a halt in front of her with the drivers beckoning for her to hop in with them but she turned them all down. She wasn’t going to act like a prostitute just because she had no car. She knew that getting into their cars would mean she had agreed to whatever they wanted even without them asking her.
Her rival, Amanda, who was just as good as she was in dancing but not in looks stood at a side wondering why she just wouldn’t get into the cars. She wished she was the one they were stopping for, she wished even one would stop for her be it a Peugeot 504 just to take away the shame she was feeling at that moment.
Amanda: “Hope you are okay?” she asked walking closer to her, at least like that, it would seem like they were stopping for the two of them.
Adaeze: “I am fine, why do you ask?” she cast her a suspicious look knowing fully well that the lady hated her with passion.
Amanda: “Well it’s getting late, why don’t you get into the car with one of those guys so they can take you home? I know your house is at the GRA and getting a cab there at this time would be quite difficult”
Adaeze: “I don’t want to. Do not worry about me, I will get a cab soon enough. I don’t seem to be in a hurry” she replied with a tone of hostility in her voice.
Amanda: “Oh don’t be angry o. I was just concerned you know? We can both walk down to that other junction if you don’t mind? I think taxi men like stopping there more than here” she suggested.
Adaeze: “No need. Patience is a virtue. We might leave here now and a cab will appear from nowhere, I think I will just stay here, you can go on over to that side”
Amanda: “Okay now” she replied but didn’t make any attempt to walk away. She didn’t want to miss the opportunity of getting into one of those cars.
“I will pretend that I am the one they are talking to when another one stops and quickly hop into one of them. There is no time for dulling at all aftrall my family is not as rich as hers is. I need all the help I can get even if it will mean going extra miles” she reflected thoughtlessly in her mind but no cars pulled over anymore. She felt like a bad omen.
Abigail: “Dear, why is Ada not home yet? Do you think she got wind of what we are about to discuss with her? do you think she will reject the offer?” she asked turning off the TV which she thought was making noise and messing with her mind which was already in enough turmoil. They lived at a Government Reserved Area in Enugu city. It was a four bedroom apartment where each of their children had their own room while the parents shared the master bedroom. It was a huge house where they had to pay a huge sum of money as rent every year.
Henry: “She is probably finding it difficult getting a cab home. Don’t worry, she will be back soon” he replied, adjusted his reading glasses and went back to the book he was reading. He was always reading books.
Abigail: “Humphrey called me yesterday. He said he is out of job, he was fired from where he was working to sustain him and his brother over there. He needs some money for feeding until he gets another job”
Henry: “Oh really?” he replied nonchalantly without looking up from the book he was reading.
Abigail: “Is that all you will have to say? What do you mean by really?” she was losing her cool.
Henry: “What would you have me do? I don’t have money. Is he trying to say he isn’t aware of the situations at home? They are both men and I think I have done my part by getting them into one of the best Universities in the world. They should learn to cater for themselves over there too and leave me to rest. Aren’t they men?”
Abigail: “Just hear yourself talk. Have you been the one catering for them for the past one year now? Haven’t they been doing all sorts of odd jobs just to survive over there? How can you sound so relaxed knowing your boys are over there suffering? He only needs some money until he gets another job so man up and go out in search of money. Drop those books, they haven’t helped to better our lives since you were banned from practising” she said sarcastically, snatching the book from his hands and dropping it angrily on the table.
Henry: “What do you want me to do? I am out of job too or have you forgotten?” he shot her an exasperated look.
Abigail: “You know all these are your fault? I warned you not to carry out that abortion but you wouldn’t listen. You connived with her father to carry out an abortion on a girl who was unwilling, a girl who only wanted to live with the father of her baby. Didn’t you know it will have repercussions?” she was close to tears but refused to let herself cry.
Ada could hear them arguing from the gate. Ever since her dad lost his hospital, arguing had become a part of their daily routine. Her mother never failed to remind him their present predicament was all his fault.
Adaeze: “I am home” she announced and made to walk past them into the corridor leading to her room but her father stopped her.
Henry: “Come and sit down there is something we need to discuss with you” he announced happy to be rid of the argumentative essay they were having.
She sat on the couch opposite the long settee they both sat on.
Henry: “We need your help to get out of this waterloo we are in now my daughter. You know I don’t usually ask anyone for a favour but I am asking you for this one. Please help us” he half pleaded removing his glasses.
Adaeze: “What do you need my help with?” she had a look of puzzlement on her face. She had never seen her dad like that before.
Henry: “Chief Nwokolo’s son said he likes you. You know that my friend who is a business icon and one of the richest in Nigeria. His first son Richmond is asking for your hand in marriage”
Adaeze: “Richmond? You mean the one who is autistic? Dad you want me to marry an imbecile?” she was behind herself with anger.
Henry: “He is not an imbecile, he just has funny habits my dear. Don’t forget this could be the answer to our problems. This will help us rebuild our fallen empire, restore our lost glory. Please my dear”
Adaeze: “Never! I will never do a thing like that dad. I can’t believe you guys will think of selling me off like this. I will never marry such a guy. Over my dead body, no! Not even over my dead body” she shot up to her feet and her dad stood up too with his eyes blazing with anger.
Henry: “You will not agree even after I begged you this much? I will not have you disrespect me this much Ada. I have given the chief my word and so shall it be”
Abigail: “Please calm down, I will talk to her” she looked pleadingly at her daughter whose eyes was filled to the brim with unshed tears.
Henry: “No there is no need talking to her anymore. She will do as I have said or she will have to leave this house. Ada, it is either you marry Richmond or I disown you, you will seize being my daughter and I will strike your name out of our family tree. Choose one” he raved, pointing his index finger angrily at her.
Question: Hmmmmmm what a dilemma! What will she do? Succumb to her father’s whims by marrying an autistic guy or get disowned?
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