“Are you sure you will be okay?” Kola asked Imelda
They had talked extensively Sunday night, he understood why she held on to the Man who constantly abused her for years, she met him when she was lonely and had nobody to help her.
“Ahmad was the only person who looked after me when no one wanted to associate with me” she had told him.
“I was a fresh poor and naive student who doesn’t even know where her next meal will come from, I was able to pay my first hostel fees and school fees, but had nothing else with me, my hostel mates mocked me a lot, and you won’t blame them, I have been eating from them for a long time, borrowing from them and they couldn’t take it anymore” she continued
She was sipping ginger tea he made for her, she said she had not tasted it before but heard it was good to the health. When he asked her about her parent, she frowned
“My father abandoned my mother after she had the third child and she was a girl, he was desperate to have a son, someone to keep the family name alive, before my mom came back from the hospital, dad had moved out…” she placed the cup on top of the side stool closed to her, pulled her legs closed to her chest and continued
“We later heard that he already had a woman who had a son for him, and that he moved in with his new family… my mum couldn’t renew the rent so we moved out of the flat, we couldn’t go back to the village either, we were not welcomed there, neither did my mum wanted to go back to her people, at seventeen, my mum has already started wishing that I got married to ease her burden, so you could imagine how she felt when I told her that I wanted to go to the University…” she coughed, the ginger was hot and gave her a burning sensation.
“So how did you meet Ahmad” he asked her
“I met him in a food joint, he came with his friends to eat, he was there when the woman shouted at me to pay her what I owe her first before asking for another food on credit, he paid off my debt and both food for me, he also told me to come to him anytime I am in need, that was how I survived in school, I knew he was into illegal deals in school, he was one the tough guys we had in school then but… I couldn’t leave him, he was my only means of survival in school” she said
“Was he violent when you were in school?” he asked her
She looked at him suspiciously
“Are you a detective interrogating me?” she asked him and they both laughed
“Anyways… he was a hard guy, but did not beat me, he entered into different fights with different people though, it didn’t occur to me that one day he would raise his hands on me”
“And you put up with him even while he abused you because…”
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“I couldn’t leave Ahmad, can’t you see? It would be ungrateful of me, after all he did for me”
“And now…” he asked
“I am done, I can’t continue with him, he knows I have tried, it’s time to move on”
He saw determination in her and he was happy. She told him that she would put up with her Madam until she was able to get another apartment, he offered her his place but she politely refused.
“What will you tell your girlfriend if she comes and meet me here” she asked
“I am single, my girlfriend left because she couldn’t tell her family that her fiancé is a cook” she said
She raised her eyebrow in surprise, “are you serious?” she asked
She had refused still and he didn’t push it, the called her Madam later in the evening and she was eager to welcome Imelda.
So early Monday morning, he had drove her to her apartment to pick her things, he insisted on going with her to make sure nothing happened to her.
Ahmad saw her came out of the car, he recognized the car as the same one that brought her home few weeks ago, he would have been angry seeing her in the same car, but that was not the time to show agitation, what mattered was that she was back.
He was sitting comfortably in the sitting room when she came in, she didn’t greet him but that was understandable, women would always do ‘shakara ’ he thought
He knew she would come back to him, she has no option, nobody to accept her, he was her life wire, or so he thought.
He looked back at her as she entered inside the room,
“She is looking better than yesterday when she left” he thought again hoping that the man who drove her home wasn’t servicing her in anyway, he would settle that issue later, for now , he had to allow her feel at home.
He was surprised to see her coming out of the room with all her boxes, with his mouth wide opened he looked on as she brought out box upon box till the last of her things was outside, and the young man in the car loaded them in the trunk of the car.
She was about leaving the sitting room after checking to make sure she wasn’t leaving anything behind, when he held her;
“Ife mi, Ayanfe mi jowo ko fi mi, please don’t go, how do I survive without you, I promise you I will change, I will turn a new leave, I will get a job and will take care of you…” he was pleading
She stood there, as motionless as a statue, he held her legs, hid his head in between her thighs bathing her thighs with his tears;
“Babe mi,sanu fun mi, mo nife re, have pity please, all those things I did to you were the work of the devil, o je Satani please my queen, you are my everything, don’t leave me now that things are difficult for me…”
The door opened and Kola walked in, he stood by the door and watched them, he didn’t want to interfere, he waited for a while and walked out, the decision was solely for Imelda.
She looked down at Ahmad who was looking up at her hopefully, suddenly he became so little, his large eye balls held her gaze for a while, then she pulled her legs from him, it was difficult to get him off her legs, he was weeping like a babe, she walked out and shut the door behind her
She met her landlady fetching water on her way out
“Imelda you don come back?” she asked
“Iya , I will not be staying here anymore, thank you for accommodating me all these years” she said
“Ah ah! Just like that? Where you go stay? Ehem… who go dey pay the rent here na” her landlady asked
“Ahmad will pay the rents from now on, except he wants to move out too”
She allowed herself to sob in the car, he did not stop her, he knew she had to relief herself of the pain finally before moving on.
Grace was already driving out of her compound by the time they got to her house, she welcomed her with opened armed, and without many words she opened her house to her
The two ladies were about to start a new journey that will bring them more closely.
The news of Zara losing her pregnancy thrilled Chinyeaka, she came home from her new job at
Imota , where she works as a waitress for an Ijebu woman.
She had wanted to move away from Odu Ade because of Ken, also staying away will give her the space she needed to hatch her plans faster, she moved in with the woman and her two sons in their three room apartment.
The pay wasn’t much, seven thousand a month but it came with feeding and a place to lay her head. She saw how Baba Ademola , looked at her the day she came to apply for that work, and how his eyes had followed her whenever she walked by, she knew it won’t be long he would start coming to her for knacks, and she would grab the opportunity to make more money for herself, so she made sure she moved around the house without any underwear to make her buttocks flap up and down while she walked past him.
Opportunity to make more money, that is what it was for her, her mind is still set on winning Ken back, besides [i]Baba Ademola [/i]would be helping her ease the sexual tension Ken had brought in her life.
She heard about Zara’s loss in one of her visits to her cousin
“They said na poison person put for am, she for die sef if no be say them rush am go hospital quick” her cousin said
“Chai, people wicked o, who go do am this kine thin na, nawa o, I piti am” Chinyeaka feigned concern
“Na so o, them say the thing damage her womb, I pray say make she fit born again after this” her cousin said
“God go help am, I pray make Oga Uche no cancel the marriage because of the pikin way die” Chinyeaka added
“I don’t know o, anyway, how work there dey go?”
They talked about many things, she had wanted to know what was going on with Ken, but her sister did not know who she was talking about, so she dropped it
Later that day, she would call one of Ken’s sales girls and got the information that Ken no longer come out regularly;
“My Oga don get big contract with Oyibo people, na there him dey stay now, we go soon move go that side sef” the girl would tell her
with the news of the big contract she knew that she must do all she could to secure her place in his life.
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