Brukeme had his bath quickly and got dressed. Kevwe had volunteered to be his chaperone that day, as he had nowhere to go. Both of them boarded a keke to Delta Mall, where Kevwe worked as a security guard. While Kevwe changed to his security uniform, before taking his duty post, Brukeme moved around the water tanks placed close to the security guards changing room. “So much money had been invested here”, he thought to himself, looking at big air conditioning vents that lined the face of the building. “Oyibo people…dem like better tin.” He shook his head and walked back to join his friend, who was ready to take up his post.
As soon as they entered the mall floor, a cold blast of air hit Brukeme, and he shivered.
Brukeme: “Jesus! Na cold room una for dey work? Which kain harmattan be dis na?” he asked, his teeth chattering.
Kevwe: “omo na we dey face every day o. you no see say most of the workers dey wear sweater? Na die for here o. dat na why na so so heat I dey feel for house. My body don too dey used to the cold.” He replied, smiling.
Brukeme: “omo this na soft work o. see all these creamy girls. See as them clean. See that one skin. Guy why you never rush one take na?” he asked, his eyes roving all over the different girls that walk passed them, on their way to their various shops.
Kevwe: “with this my security uniform? You think say all these girls dey see me? Na those chairmen wey dey come troway money for here dem dey reason o. no even tink am.” He replied,
Brukeme: “guy dat na fucked up thinking o. if you position babe wella, weda the raba dey or e no dey, she go feel you. No be all girls dey after money o.” he replied, smiling at a light-complexioned beauty, who smiled shyly, greeted and walked passed.
Kevwe: “guy for this waffi? Na you dey talk this one so? Which babe no like money for the waffi?” he asked, eyeing the girl with a frown on his face.
Brukeme: “because say Cherish break your heart now, every babe don turn scam abi? If na me dey work for here, by now I for don put one correct shorty for line, I swear down.” He replied.
Kevwe: “ehen, dat reminds me sef. Come.” he suddenly said, dragging Brukeme by the arm. “you go do cleaner work?” he asked as the y walked briskly.
Brukeme: “guy I go pack shit if that position dey available.” He replied, excitedly.
Kevwe laughed. Then he stopped in front of glass partitioned office. A fair tall girl sat at the reception and she pressed the buzzer to open the door on seeing the two of them.
Kevwe: “Jessica, beautiful Jessica good morning. How you dey now?” he asked, smiling.
Jessica: “bros Kevwe, good morning o. I no dey fine jare. How far?” she asked, her lips in a pout.
Kevwe: “doh o. see you know if vacancy dey for cleaners. This my guy here need job badly.” He said.
Jessica: “ehen…cleaner work. Make e apply for dat new shop near the Food Court na. Dem dey find guys o. Do you have any educational qualification?” she asked, turning to Brukeme.
Brukeme: “yes. I have a diploma in Public Administration.” He replied.
Jessica: “cool. Arrange a cv and bring it to me. I will speak to the manager of the place for you.” She replied, smiling.
Brukeme: “oh…thank you o. I am grateful. I will go and get one right away.” He replied, his eyes shining with excitement.
Jessica: “don’t thank me yet o. when the job comes, then you can thank me. Oya make una dey go, my oga go soon come.” she said, her eyes darting to the clock on the wall.
Kevwe: “Jessi baby, how far wetin I tell you now? Why you dey do me like this?” he asked, softly.
Jessica: “bros Kevwe abeg leave me o. you don come again o. I don tell you say I like you as friend, finish.” She replied, laughing.
Kevwe: “no be so o. I go make money o. am a moving train o.” he said, with a mock frown on his face.
Jessica: “go make money come, den maybe I go reconsider. Moving train ko, rolling wheelbarrow ni.” She replied, laughing
Brukeme chuckled as they stepped out of the office and the door clicked shut behind them. Kevwe looked at him and frowned
Kevwe: “wetin make you dey laugh. No be you say no be all girls like money?” he replied, angrily.
Brukeme: “you no get doings, guy. No packaging. Abeg make I go do cv. I go come back just now.” He said stretching his hands to shake his friend.
Kevwe smacked his outstretched hand away and turned away from him, angrily.
Brukeme: “why you do like that na? I be your guy o. your real guy o. ok I go buy puff-puff if I dey come?” he said, laughing.
Kevwe didn’t turn back, he just raised his hands and opened his palm wide at him, “Waka”, he said. Brukeme laughed harder.
Ashley opened her eyes to find the sun streaming into her face. She got up from the chair where she had slept off, painfully. Her sleep had been uncomfortable, her neck ached from the forced position it had taken, while she slept. She cranked her neck from right to left and back, and from side to side, to ease the stiff muscles and bones. She stood up and stretched, yawning then she paused at the little girl staring at her from the dining table, a spoon of cereal in her mouth, her big eyes staring at her in curiosity. She smiled
Ashley: “hello dear. How are you?” she said.
Stella: “that is my adopted daughter, Cynthia. She is deaf and dumb. She is a beautiful soul. Sorry, I forgot to assign you a room last night.” She said, climbing down from the stairs.
Ashley: “it’s okay. You adopted a child? What about your own kids?” she asked.
Stella: “do you remember the last abortion I did for Jake before I left Spain and returned to Nigeria. The one that I nearly died?” she asked, taking a seat opposite Ashley.
Ashley nodded her head, sitting down slowly.
Stella: “well, my womb went along with that baby. When I got back to Nigeria, I married one Otunba as a third wife. All was rosy for a while until he realised that I could not give him the son he wanted, so he threw me out. He did good by me though. He gave me this house, opened a big cosmetics shop for me, which I have expanded into a spa, a gym and a boutique. So it wasn’t a bad deal. He still comes from time to time when he needs good loving and he still gives me gifts and stuff from time to time. So that is that. Anyways, I felt lonely with the maid and the gateman, so I decided to get myself a child that I will love and cherish.” She said, softly.
Ashley: “but why a deaf and dumb girl?” she asked, surprised at her friend’s choices.
Stella: “it was not intentional. I got to the orphanage with the intention of adopting a boy. Every man wants a son to take over from them; carry the family name. I wanted that too. I have no man in my life, so my son will bear my name and legacy. That was the plan until I saw her. She was a baby then. She didn’t say a word, she just stared at me then she smiled. It was like God had finally remembered me, I swear that was the day, I surrendered my life to God. She smiled at me, me. She saw something good in me. I took her immediately and we have been partners ever since. I have her learning to communicate with the sign language and I have also learnt it. She is very intelligent and very smart and a shrewd judge of character too. She sees into people easily and I love her with all my heart.” She replied, defensively.
Ashley turned to look at the girl then she looked back at her friend and she shook her head. When you think you know people, they do something that turns all your theories upside down.” She thought.
Stella: “children are a gift, Ashley. They should not be discarded easily. Sometimes the price we pay for doing so, is far heavier than what we dream. Go and find your son.” She said, softly.
Ashley: “do you think I wanted to dump him like that? I loved the boy. I loved him. But I was not good for him. I was high every minute of the day. When I was not high on drugs, I was drunk as hell on cheap liquor. I had my customers in the room, while he laid in his crib. What kind of upbringing is that? Even in my deliberate plan to destroy myself, I knew he deserved better. That is why I gave him out. Go ahead and judge me all you want but sometimes, bearing a child isn’t always the best thing.” She replied, angry tears clinging to her eyelashes.
Stella: “I am not judging you, my friend. I am giving you an ultimatum. Find your son and make peace with him, then I will do everything within my power to put your misery to an end; a shop, a flat, a car, anything you ask that is within my power to give, I will give. Just find him.” She replied then got up.
Her daughter came to her and grabbed her hand and two of them walked out quietly.
“find a son I did not even name, but Stella it is worse than you think. Much worse. God where do I start from?” Ashley thought to herself, staring at the floor, her cheek cradled between her hands.
The scream sounded again and again. Kate and Fidelia ran out of their room to the passage. They rushed forward to their parent’s bedroom and they met their mother on the floor, weeping. Their father was in a squat before her, holding her hands, his face, a mask of pain and helplessness. He raised his head and looked at them, then his eyes locked with Fidelia and in that look, the shared memory of the night before hung over them like a chasm that no one was willing to cross. Fidelia dragged her eyes away and walked to her mother.
Mrs Anigboro: “he raped me. He raped me. God, he raped me.” She cried into her daughter’s arms.
Kate: “so it is true. God, Fidelia, why didn’t you shut the door properly when you decided to go for your walk?” she suddenly asked, her face; wild with anger.
Fidelia: “what! What is that supposed to mean?” she asked, her eyes widened in shock.
Dr Fejiro: “hey girls keep your voice down. Kate that was a wrong thing to say.” He said, firmly.
Kate: “she is the cause of all this. She is to blame; can’t you see that?” she screamed then she ran out of the room.
Dr Fejiro looked at Fidelia and his heart broke. In her eyes, he saw the sad look that told him that they both knew who the guilty one was, in the room. “he promised me an avalanche. I can hear the sound of it coming.” He thought to himself.
A scream filled the house again. Mrs Anigboro roused from her stupor, the three of them ran into the girls’ room and they saw the terrified eyes of Kate, as she backed away from the bathroom door. Dr Fejiro rushed to the bathroom and gasped in shock. Lying on the bathroom floor, with both wrists bleeding, was Ese.
Question: the matter don tie wrapper o. Do you think Ese will survive the suicide attempt? Do you think Ashley will be able to find her son? Will Dr Fejiro do the right thing and tell his family the reason behind Friday’s robbery? So many questions, try to keep up, me dears, we will get to the root of this thing together.
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