Fiction: A Few Days In Tanzania

February 15, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

By

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya

 

 

Xose Adutwumwaa Wereko knew Yakovina Obataiye came from a place in Tanzania. She wouldn’t doubt that according to Yakovina, his parents lived there in a big mansion behind a beautiful Umojawa Vijana complex in Dar Es Salaam. She was quite aware Yakovina had never attempted to introduce her to his parents as his wife he married in Nigeria. Xose also did not know and couldn’t point out the parents of her husband should they call her from a brief distance.

Yakovina never, and had never by joke as his manner, told Xose he had a robust pale sister back in Tanzania. All he had hinted about his family to her was the elegant tallness of his black mother whi had quaint cornrows that she carried like sun on her head, each strand inked in Capri-gold as a bronze-emerald ring tacked in her lower lip and a silver-crescent pendant that flopped and dangled in her left nose.

His father Obataiye Afaafa had a varicose ulcer and he regularly flew from Lagos to Dar Es Salaam to check him out. He had a brother, Kiwanga Obataiye, but something happened and he perished in a blaze. He had a nephew Bikolimana Obataiye who died of Ebola in Liberia and Aailyah Manyadah, a cousin who lived in America and an uncle Afaafa Abdulrasack in North Dakota, the uncle’s gold firm in Mississippi and a steel company in Ontario, Canada. He never said anything that had to do with having a sister in Tanzania, but a few days in Tanzania, a very few days in Dar Es Salaam, Yakovina came home with a pregnant pale lady he called his bereaved sister who lost her husband in hurricane Katrina in New Orleans a month ago.

 

 

That night Xose Adutwumwaa Wereko was running a transaction in her personal workstation and there was a knock on the door. Yakovina came in with a pale lady. Xose felt like bleating, like yelling , like grunting, like droning, like drumming like a wild emus but she proved a disciplined woman and groaned  among fury, passion, surprise, vehemence and a sense of betrayal not stridently but deep inside the depth of her yakking and coughing stomach. Xose made to say ‘you are welcome’ but an eddy of gum-filled breeze stapled her tongue to the roof of her mouth. She sat up finally and noticed the lady was pregnant.

She couldn’t stand it and furiously thundered ‘who’s she?’ Yakovina stared about, looked to the ceiling and to the floor, a habit of his, mostly when guilty, an act just cut for him and chirped ‘she is Susanfatimah, my sister, dear wife, don’t mind Xose, my jewel get her trunks upstairs, I’ll meet you shortly and aquaint you with why she’s here.’ Xose ignored Yakovina’s brief monologue and said to the lady that shook like a frangipani bush whirling in the pit of tsunami ‘who are you?’ Naively or timidly the lady whispered ‘am..mu…mu I’m his sister from Tanzania.’

Xose suspected there was a qualm imperceptibly roosting somewhere but she stemmed the flames that punted roughly in her skull from popping out for the moment, so she would not be a mannerless wife. She did what Yakovina commanded but Xose fixed a zapping, a zonking gaze on him and never said ‘welcome’, a ritual cliché, until she climbed out the spiral stairs with his attache case and the lady’s trunk.

Soon she was obdurately quaking her waist in front of Yakovina in the bedroom.

“Who is that predgnant woman?”

“For God’s sake I told you she’s my sister, my younger sister!”

“You never told me you have a sister back there in Tanzania”

“Yes, yes, I hoped she’d be here someday with her husband after she winned her first child, but something happened.”

“Yako, you wont fool me, you told me none of your family members are light-skinned”

“Erm….erm, cant you see it, she was bleached with cream, common sweetheart don’t you trust me again…his husband visited my uncle’s new established ICT centre in New Orleans but_”

“But what?”

“Something happened, a rancourous hurricane swept out Katrina, and her husband got displaced into the ocean, please she’d stay till I raise up a certain amount of cash for her.”

“Cant your rich uncle keep her?”

“His business failed with that huricane Katrina, he invested much, I planned to get things from you as a matter of fact.”

“Not again! You owned nothing, and I gave you everything and you come home with a woman, not just a woman, a pregnant woman.”

“She is my sister  and I hope you’d not insult me just for living in your house.”

“Yako, am not tricked. Did she resemble you? No.”

“I swear with my head, with_ she is my sister.”

“And why cant you get me on the phone to tell me she’d be coming here?”

“Xose, indulge my slip-up, she’d stay with us for a few days.”

”It better be Yakovina.”

And it was sealed and it was over, Susanahfatimah became part of the house.

 

 

Susanahfatimah was a polite young woman and just for this things went fine with her and Xose. If Xose thought or could think  Susanahfatimah could be what her mind pushed her to believe she was, Susanahfatimah’s respect and regard for her as her brother’s wife was loud and soothing. Once Susanahfatimah perfected a manner that compelled Xose to urge Yakovina to let Susanahfatimah stay for her time, all the days she wished.

One day Xose dusted the cushions and soon started to mop a few electronic appliances and Susanahfatimah walked in with a glowing smile with her pregnancy.

“My brother’s jewel,” Xose wasn’t unhappy with her since she had not observed foul play. She must sincerely be Yakovina’s sister, and she concluded if she is of Yakovina’s family then a wife is obliged to show those things of courtesy like to respect and display good manners to any member of her family-in-law. Xose smiled and chuckled.

“Susanahfatimah, how is your baby?”

“He’s stubborn in here” Pointing at her pointed belly.

“How do you know its he?”

“Boys are big heads, they like to kick.”

“Wow.”

“Please let me help you with the mopping.”

“No, have a rest I’d do it.”

“No, you are a banker, you are supposed to be at work now.”

“Never mind, I don’t do this, my maidens went out.”

“Oh, you’ve got maidens here, yes five of them.”

“Let me help you my brother’s jewel.”

“No you need to rest, I’ve not given birth once but I think its not right if you overlaboured yourself with works.”

“No, my brother’s jewel, you should know its medically wise to do brief exercise when you are pregnant.”

“How should I know?”

“So don’t mind” And she mopped the TV, radio, the glassy-tables and all other things. After Xose returned from an Oceanic Bank conference in Accra, Ghana a week later, they sat opposite in the parasole outside the house in the home garden and talked about her husband’s family in Tanzania.

“How is your mother, my husband’s mother in Tanzania?”

“Tanzania?” Susanahfatimah wondered as if she had never gone to Tanzania in her life, quickly as though she recollected something she said ‘Oh mama’s fine, its papa, the varicose ulcer is troublesome and seemed intractable, he’s  been taken to hospitals in North Dakota, in Jackson, in Detroit and different places in India, but the ulcer is always bulging with a hyper-cruelty.’

“Can you tell me why your brother would not take me to Tanzania to know your family intimately?”

“Yes, yes he told me, erm, erm, I talked about it anyway, he said my parents never planned he should marry a Nigerian and I think, he’d have to make up for the gap before he takes you to Tanzania.”

“But what’s wrong if a Tanzanian married a Nigerian, after all, we all come from Africa.”

“My mother, his mother is a rugged amazonian that loved the cultures of Tanzania like heaven, she believed as a custodian of the Tanzanian culture her son should marry a woman from Tanzania so she would not begin to relecture anybody into fitting in in the culture of the land.”

“Hmmm” Xose breathed and said.

“You’d begin to teach me the vital part of the Tanzanian culture” Susanahfatimah was appalled as though it was an imposible task, she comforted herself and yelled like someone rousing from a sleep.

“You’d give me some times, the wife of my brother, I’m weak.”

“No qualms, Susanahfatimah, whenever you are chanced, am all ears and hands.”

“Not a problem.”

So on and with this pattern they talked about her husband’s death in hurrican Katrina, Yakovina’s uncle and many other things. But throughout their conversations Susanahfatimah was humane and respectful.

 

 

Everything has tranversed, all has happened, Xose has buried it all, the links that had bonded her with a decietful, a cheat of a husband. Now she was sorrowfully singing in the small chalet she bought in Yaba. She was picking out all that reminded her of Yakovina. She swabbed her face with spotless linen and sang a yoruba song ‘Jesumi sheun sheun….Olorunmi sheun sheun’. at least she should be grateful to God, she has no child though, she could of course be grateful to God for revealing things to Mrs. Onyinlola so she made her aware she has been staying with and spending much on a man who regularly leaves and comes home with an attache case full of unorganized papers, who comes home in suits and an overstuffed attache case, who has never travelled to Abuja, a trecherous dreg born in the slums of Ajegunle, but claimed he came from Tanzania.

She walked  to the window eaves and flung out the green bra of Susanahfatimah she believed was Yakovina’s sister. She wasn’t, Susanahfatimah was Yakovina’s wife that got him five brilliant boys in Ojota, Lagos.

‘…and Yako was using me, sucking the innocence of my nakedness like I was some sort of a hob and I, a professional banker anchored a con, a bilk the liberty to slurp my breasts..my…… No Yako must pay for this’ she hissed, snorted and dragged out the trunk that reminded her of a false union she once shared with Yakovina.

The canvassed bronze-framed images they took in St. Patrick on the wedding day, the five they took in the reception at Surulere, the images they took inside her office, the six Yakovina took with her phony-parents, the phony-ring, the lavender band Yakovina gave her at a dinner, the goblets, the silver mugs, the ornate carafes she had shared foods witn Yakovina, the cheat! She dragged them outside, on a cemented  halo-shape clearing in the brilliant lawn that shone in the sunblaze.

She turned out the trunk onto the ground. The first thing that fell out and gawked at her menancingly was the cavasssed picture they took kneeling before the Rev Father Orunloga who joined them in a ‘decietful matrimony’. Yakovina bowed innocently beside her gorgeous Indian saree and Xose could recall vividly how he repeatedly nodded to accept everything the priest administered. So innocently as if he’d be sincere and prepared to fufil every marital vow like ‘I do, in sickness, in health, in snow and storms’..and all those things. How she cherished Yakovina, the handsome Yakovina she got through facebook. Looking at the shattering image, how Yakovina claimed he was her sincere lover, before he travelled to his Tanzania. She slumped to the lawns and began to brawl and drone.

She was checking out new friends with her laptop on facebook, in the west of Jigawa where she served before she was posted back to her mother’s state, Lagos. NYSC ladies then loved to chat, to meet a handsome pal online, and a long-nosed, dark handsome guy turned up with a smile. She zoomed out his profile picture and he was her ideal man with this daring phenotypical enchantment. Then she scrolled  up and down his posts and walls and details. He came from Tanzania, he was a surveyor, single, based in Ojota Lagos where he worked for the Lagos State Estate and Land Management Ministry, his inbox images were great and succulent, his likes were Aliko Dangote, Muhammad Ali and Bill Gates. He must be a don, with her evaluation of the open-toothed young stranger, due for marriage anyway, she sent a friend request and soon very soon he confirmed it and the wild fire began to burn.

“I am Xose Adutwumwaa Wereko.”

“You must be a Ghanaian.”

“Yeah born by a Nigeria and a Ghanaian.”

“Your mum’s from Lagos I think?”

“Yes my dad is a Ghanaian.”

“You are cute.”

“Not more than your Ebony skin with your open teeth.”

“Ha, you will kill me Xose, I never knew I have an open teeth.”

“You did and the square-hole is catchy.”

“Like seriously.”

“Like unjoke babe.”

“May I know you?”

“Of course, I’m a copper serving in Jigawa, but my mum’s working for me. She’s scared of the bombings in the north. She needs me back in Lagos.”

“How is that possible with your mum?”

“She is the vice chancellor of Unilag.”

“What? vice chancellor of Unilag?”

“Precisely.”

“Hrm, but Jigawa is safe.”

“She cares?” North is north and anything is predictable in Nigeria, anything can happen.”

“Your best place in Lagos?”

“Eko hotel.”

“Your best novel?”

“I think Diana Gabadon’s Drums Of Autumn.”

“Your best memory?”

“Haa, if I hadn’t read you are a surveyor I would have called you a lawyer.”

“Hrm.”

“Anyway, the day I visited Washington DC, the White House with my mum.”

“What? Washinton DC?” the White House, what’s the place like?”

“Heaven.”

“Compare it to Lagos.”

“Don’t go there, here is the worst segment of Hiroshima.”

“Its nice meeting you Xose.”

 “And I, Xose, may I know you?”

“Sure.”

“Your names?”

“Yakovina Obeteiye.”

“From where?”

“Tanzania.”

“Yearh.”

“Why do you stay in Lagos?”

“A temporary thing anyway, I’m a land suveyor, working in Lagos State Estate and Land Mangement Ministry.”

“Great, married?”

“No, I’m a virgin.”

“Funny head.”

“Your best nove?”

“Well come to Nigeria, Chika Unigwe’s On the Black Sisters Street.”

“In Africa as a whole.”

“Hmmmmm, Chika Unigwe’s On the Black Sisters Street and the American James Peterson’s Pop goes the whistle.”

“Wow, you must be an intelligent bookworm.”

“I love books.”

“More about your family.”

“I have an Uncle in America, a steel company owner in Ontario, Canada, a gold firm owner in Mississippi, and he’s based in North Dakota; I have a cousin that studies law in Harvard law school. And America is the finest place in the world.”

“Great.”

“You mean it?”

“Of course.”

“Your worst memory?”

“The day my granny was shot to death in Johannersburg, South Africa, in the days of Apartheid for having a black skin,..and the day my brother died of Ebola in Liberia on a business trip.”

“My heartfelt condolences.”

“No qualms. It’s a very old story.”

“Your best memory?”

“The day you sent me a friend request and the day I’d see you face to face.”

“What? You will kill me.”

“No, like seriously I cant wait to see your yellow face.”

“What if I am a cripple?”

“You won’t be a cripple.”

“What if I am, no let’s jokingly face it, what will you do?”

“Ha, anyway I’d ha, I don’t know ooo.”

“Haaaa haaaahaa, I know it, you’d run four forty.”

“Haaaa haaa, haaa I won’t run, I’d tell her my wife is calling me, please let me pick her call and, like the wind, am gone.”

“What’s the problem of Nigeria in a few lines?”

“Power tussle, everybody wants to become the president. Everybody wants to become a senator. Nobody wants to be a servant. Everybody is the master of his own.”

“Worst memory in Nigeria?”

“Boko Haram christmas bombing and Diana Aircrash.”

“You make me go grim and surreal.”

“Sorry Xose.”

“Cant wait to meet you face to face.”

“Sure, if you wish. But you are still in Jigawa.”

“I’d soon be back to Lagos.”

“You’ve got my endorsement to call me anytime as soon as you entered Lagos. I cant wait to hug you.”

“It’s an experience meeting you Yakovina.”

“Don’t mention.”

 

 

Xose boldly stood up and poured gasoline on the small sagging hill of papers and frames. She looked up and down to her lawns and struck a light into it, five steps away so she’d not blaze up, and watched tearfully as Yakovina’s cheating and glory flamed up and curled in a frosthy smoke into the azure skies of the snowy morning. Her manager understood what happened to her and had freely given her a month interlude to bear her misfortune; and such distrust punched, that welted her beauty and feminine ego.

An hour later, she was in the living room she shared with Yakovina ‘that demon and now he pretended Susanahfatimah was his sister and how he filled that hob with lies, no wonder they both failed to teach me anything about Tanzania, because they’ve not been to Tanzania in their lives and I was pouring my money on Yakovina to augment his barbing saloon in Ojota, to feed his five boys. No Yako, you will pay for this’. She blamed her inner voice for not stressing her future doom.

The blanket, the bedsheet, the mirror, the pillow, everything she dragged out. She would burn them. She must burn them, of what benefit if all that Yakovina ever touched stayed with her in her own hard-earned house. Soon she would get to the bathroom. To change the bathmat, respray the cubicle, if possible pick out everyting like Yakovina’s tootbrush, moustache chopper, razor blade, all those things young men need to make up in the bathroom; all the things bellonging to that cheat she’d pack out.

She would have released them to him, she was supposed to have given him the chance to get them from her house but she felt it was not necessary since she bought them for him and, even if she were to grant him the chance, she sent them out unprepared. The blanket, the bed sheet, the lavender magazine cracks, his wrist watch, his bangle and a pendant necklace, his bow tie, the tie he dropped before they last made love, she packed them into the trunk and headed for the bathroom.

 

 

It was brilliantly sunny in the city of Lagos that Sunday, traffic jams were the sole-character of the metropolitan parts of Lagos, Moluwe spread out on high and low ways in an endless continuum. Young ladies hawked cattons of gala and ice creams, some little cretin boys carried suya, banana, carrots, sliced pineapples on their bare heads they would wave their wares at you, from the outside. If the glasses werent turned up they could stick their things into your eyes. That’s Lagos for you, it’s the busiest place in Nigeria. And you would do the destitue children nothing than overlook them. You’d bear it, the pains not for Lagos but because Nigeria is hard and they must hustle and bustle for a livelihood.

Xose  was in her jeep deeply strung up in the heart of rugged traffic. She must get Yakovina, her handsome Tanzanian, good rich things. He’s too big. Too rich, too noble, too gracious to stand there in the sun, in that park waiting for her. She checked her wrist watch and hastily and briskly looked out from the window, the traffic wasn’t seriously moving. What sort of Lagos is this? she thought. Everyday you must encounter traffic hitches in Ojota that makes you nauseous and loathe ever owning a car. Things weren’t this way in Jigawa. You get up and you are at your destination. Not Lagos, Lagos is a boisterous city that pained your nerves with preening hullabaloos and a jerking pandemonium. You are either free from traffic, or you go numb with the intricate blasts oozing like smoke from the recording studios that spread about Lagos like mushrooms. Thunderous punchlines getting corrected, or repeated. Lagos is a sickness, you’ve got no time to rest, to feel the entente of traquility.

Xose checked out again and thanks to heaven the road was gradually clearing. It started with a regular inching and soon she rolled out for the park. What stood before her was too elegant than what she saw in facebook. He wore an overcoat that fitted his robust skin and smiled at a boy who waved at him and Xose got it, she simply saw those open teeth that made her head bobble nervously a few months ago.

She breathed hard and grew nervous in her seat belt. How on earth does she confront this tall Tanzanian surveyor who studied in Texas and Los Angeles? She had only visited America as a high school girl, what sort of intonation would she employ, what sort of manner could prove her civilized and mature? But why wasn’t he in a jeep like her? Maybe he’s humble, she thought.

She finally gained confidence. At least she was a very stunning young lady, the one with the same facial charactesr and well-oiled dreadlocks of Chika Unigwe, the Novelist he cherished so much. Xose was milk-skinned. Richer than her mates. A professional banker. Though an introvert and of course that spurned her into online dating. Why then must she entertain fear? Just because he studied in America? No, she must have to gain poise. Still she was nervous and feared she wouldn’t flop up her matriarchal ego before this gorgeous patriarchy. She breathed hard and climbed down.

When she came out, she was a glory. A moonbeam. An honour, an ostrich perching on the green hills of snowy brackens. She wore an immaculate gown, a lavender spectacle and a furnished gleaming face, a glowing shimmering dreadlock that accorded her a rarity, an enchantment, flawless. She limped like an African Salamander crawling out from a stormy sea, her teeth  like ancient  corals, like the anti-flash ivories, like the stainless tusks of an elephant glinting like the cheek of Chimmmanda Ngozi Adiichie the day she won an award in America for her stupendous novel Americanah.

Yakovina noted her quickly and sauntered out wildly , if he can do this, Xose felt she too can’t wait. She darted forward and they met in a smooth bang, a chest to chest bang.

“You are Xose Adutwumwaa Wereko?”

“Are you Yakovina Obataiye?”

“Yes I am.”

“Where is your jeep, sorry your car?”

“Erm, erm, my car broke down and it’s with a mechanic, but my uncle planned to send me one this season.”

“To hotel, my house or your house?” Xose asked.

“My house then. And they drove out into the heart of Ojota.”

 

 

The bathroom smelt of decayed snails and putrid eggs. Everything was out of place and it reflected her life, her inside, her history, her state of mind and health now. The once glittering cubicle has the stain of Capri dolts, the mess Susanahfatimah wrecked, the caps of  mangosteen and the tiny seeds of pomegranate dropped on the bath mat. And Xose wondered if Susanahfatimah had consumed few fruits in her bathroom. She hissed, at least she was sure the problem won’t come up again, she is now a relic of the past;  She swept the floor into a net-featured plastic bin and endeavoured the faucet was splendidly mopped, she let water to dribble out the last ejects of Susanahfatimah; If she knew it had been possible to drain out the underground soak away pit that cleaved these things that came out from the bowels of Yakovina, she would have let in a long pipe into the pungency and do a rapid outright draining, draining and draining until everything that belonged to Yakovina disappeared completely away into the yonder caves of history.

‘In this Lagos, in this Ojota where I cleverly grew up, sucked my mothers  breast, someone cheated on me? No. Yako is paying for this’. This was her mind and she began to re-mop the cubicle, perhaps she feared Yakovina could reappear into her world with his daring enchantment through the soul of anything that held his touch, his impress, his grasp.

Sweat gathered in her quaint face. She wasn’t old enough, no wrinkles in her face, she could boast she was yet a lady. She’s still ripe for a perfect marriage. Thanks to God she wasn’t pregnant before her friend blew up the galf.

She blamed herself for indulging facebook with rave and carelessness. If she had listened to her mother life would have been much blissful. Now she realized her coursemate, Adul Fatai, and her mother saw things from a vital sagacious edge she never imagined. They’d warned Xose to check her love for facebook, it has ruined many ladies out there. Many ladies have been murdered and kidnapped. Many housewives in Lagos, in America has loosened the ointment that added flavor and savor to the bonds of their marriages. Many, not few have become witches and wizards through Facebook imperceptibly.

Once, as her mother would briefly narrate, a lady answered a text question and the next day she was on a carpet sprawled out in the heart of a sea and she was forever a marine spirit, a mermaid. Facebook is the worst invention, even when it is the best of all inventions. She was warned but Xose claimed she’s in her right senses. She saw a handsome open-teeth Yakovina and today she was a broken incisor, now a gap stood between her and her mother. She had wasted five good years with a hypocrite. ‘But i should be blamed. Did I ask him if he’s married, but I did that, I asked him, he said he was a virgin.”

A few weeks after much sleeping together she proposed, it wasn’t Yakovina who proposed, this spoilt things a great deal.

“Can we be a faithful couple?”

“I cant wait, Xose, I cherish you. You are my heartbeat.”

And they set up a wedding. Her mother was curious. She inquired of Yakovina’s parents. He explained things to Xose, of Tanzania, a place that held an awkward weather for flights, of some culture things, of her mother wanting her to marry a Tazanian rather than give her parents excuses. She bought him a pathfinder and they arranged fake in-laws and the wedding was officially carried out. But now she regretted her decision. Her mother became a world apart after hearing this slush, slush of a conspiracy orchestrated by her own daughter.

 

 

Today as she cleaned out her chalet she moaned in her heart for what quickly turned the corollaries of her mistakes. She flushed out the bathroom so it matched a supple sublimity then took out the trunk out again for burning. She burnt the relics of cheating then walked into the study. The study had six tall catalogues filled with books, big encyclopedias on banking and finance, data and statistics gathering and an extraordinary catalogue that was crammed with African novels. She started from the swivel chair to dust out the impress of Yakovina, his cheating, his scent, the hypocrisy of a man loved terribly and passionately, she did just that.

 

 

She played with Mai and flung a soft toy to the four of Susannahfatimah when her friend, a publisher, a newspaper editor and a journalist Mrs. Onyinlola knocked and came in. They laughed and discussed the problem with Nigeria as opined in Chinua Achebe’s the trouble with Nigeria. They agreed the Muslims want Islam to rule the world and that is the problem with the world and Africa as a continent. They chuckled and chortled on the last issue of the New Yoker and Mrs. Oyinlola blabbed angrily how she used a column in Newswatch to slam the Nigerian publishers for pricing themselves high, for not creating an avenue that exhumed the wannabe Nigerian writers. Xose said she read the column too.

She asked Xose who Susanahfatimah was to the family. With jokes, in between flinging mant toys to Mai, the daughter of Susanahfatimah, and smiling, she said she’s Yakovina’s sister from Tanzania. Her husband died in hurricane Katrina that swept things out in America’s New Orleans. She would have been back to Tanzania, but I insisted she stay for few more months. Oyinlola asked her what brought her to Nigeria and Xose said she came a pregnant woman and Yakovina had pitied who was going to cater for her since his Uncle, the finance centre of the family, rapidly failed in business. So he brought her here to relax, deliver her baby then return back to stay with his uncle.

Mrs Onyinlola laughed and said “friend, you risked your marriage, why didn’t you tell me a woman now stayed with you, if not that I saw her with Yakovina everyday and one of my sub-editors told me she lived with you?”

“You’ve not visited here lately and she’s always indoors.”

“You played with your marriage, I cant say what I did not know but I tell you I suspect that girl, she’s up to something.”

“How? She’s respectful, she calls Yakovina ‘brother’ and he is her brother indeed, it’s in their attitudes.”

“Ok, you see I don’t know what you would make of this, but I must tell you, could you believe I regularly see your husband in Mr.Biggs and Eko Hotel walking hand in hand with her so called sister that wore mascara and a show-back top like a hob?”

“No she just gave birth, she can’t wear show-back. She is disciplined, she can’t use mascara, often she told me how she loathed it staying on her lips.”

“Jolly-good-fellow.”

“I saw them somewhere today, but I wouldn’t say what I saw; Grace to God you are around today, when they are back do not ask them questions, learn to watch them closely from morning to night, their conversations, everything.”

“Why do you speak as if something is absolutely wrong somewhere?”

“My friend that I saw today? Ha, there’s fire on the mountain, but I think as a journalist I’ve sworn by the virtue of my profession to maintain the law of confidentiality and am sure you wont force me to say more than that.”

“Talk to me Oyin.”

“Are you blind Xose, Susanah…or what do you call her can’t you see they never resembled in anyway and  if he sincerely love you what stops him from introducing you to his parents, have you ever gone to his office, his work place? Xose I think you should wake up and understand if this is a marriage or a game. Remember you got this man through facebook and Xose take a cursory look on that girl in your fingers  ”

“No, no Oyin you won’t insult my husband in my own house.”

“Look at that child, to me phenotypically speaking she’s a carbon-copy of Yakovina.”

“Oyin thank you, stand up and start going.”

“What?”

“Yes leave my house.”

“My childhood friend sending me out for telling what I saw?”

“Yes get going, before I run mad.”

Quickly she sauntered back from slamming the door against Mrs. Oyinlola and cast a critical look all over Mai as if she had just seen an infested hickory wood in the eyes of the child she called gold a few minutes ago. Xose observed her dark skin, her tall narrow nose stood out like the beak of a twittering blackbird, her small mouth curved like that of her husband.

“No” she yelped and slumped into the armchair; Her noise brought in Jimo Kutugi and Olarotimi, the gateman and the maid.

“Madam what’s wrong?” they chorused.

“Nothing, get this child upstairs” she needs a moment of solitude. She must think hard. It should not be what she thinks. It shouldn’t just be or heads will roll. Her eyes reddened like a plum-tomato imported from Italy.

 

 

The hefty novel, ‘Pop goes the whistle’ of James PattersonYakovina loved to read stayed still on the study desk, this was a horror. The novel was worse than what Yakovina did to her. Any American fiction lover would understand the novel is a horror, and Xose had simply thought reading just this monstrous thriller all alone in the midnight could introduce you to demonism and of course to the realm that seals human conscience. Xose imagined this book grasping the fingers, clinching the image of Yakovina. She wouldn’t touch it and it was the gravity of her hatred for him. Touching the best book he talked about with passion is tantamount to touching his heart. His emotion, his mindset and his soul. If Yakovina should appear she would spit in his face, and why wouldn’t she? A man who misused a professional  banker, the daughter of the vice chancellor of Unilag, for five years like a rag, a marionette. She picked a long reed and plucked it to the floor. She attempted all she could to anchor the novel into the trunk . She used two short pegs but the novel, as rugged as its content as its owner slipped off and banged to the floor. She can’t just touch it. Never. She called Jimo and the ma-ma-ma gateman picked the emblem of deceit, of cheating out to the ashes outside the house.

 

 

Yakovina came in with Susanahfatimah. She wore a decent gown, contrary to what Oyinlola claimed she saw on her body. Xose behaved all was well and alright. That evening she greeted them like they were strangers. She placed dishes of salmon mayonnaise with a hot curried chicken on the dining table. She played happily with Mai and watched them eat and slot their brunches. Far away from the dining room Yakovina spoke under a whisper and regularly looked sideways, still Xose acted like she wasn’t interested in the dining table, already she had planted a recorder underneath it. After, she heard what shattered her, what soiled her, what stained her. What they said at the dining table, she replayed it and it went thus:

“Honey I over fed myself, can I eat all this again? And is this the enjoyment you take here and you dumped me there to suffer with your children.”

“Shut up, you are my sister. Common he’d hear you. Let loot her more, then one day we would run away.”

That night Xose collapsed but she maintained all was right. A few nights later Yakovina began to disappear away from the bed he shared with Xose. One night, Xose woke up but Yakovina wasn’t by her side. She switched out the light and climbed downstairs. She stood beside Susannahfatimah’s door and heard Susanahfatimah panting and whispering ‘Am tired, am tired, it’s ok, it’s ok.’ Xose ran into her room and wept herself to sleep.

The following morning , it was over. She called the police and they were pushed out of her life, out to the street Yakovina belonged, even Mai was thrown out.

 

 

Xose lifted out all that reminded her of Yakovina and watched them blaze to ashes. She bumped into the bathroom and soaked her nakedness inside the bathtub and wept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya  

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya, a Nigerian young veteran Photographer, songwriter, organist, poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist and lover of birds and wild animals. A Chelsea fan that enjoys table tennis, football, basketball and frequently romps through woods for scenic animalistic displays. He visits a Nigerian stone mine from which he derives heart-ripping hunches and vibes. African stone mine workers travail in felters of pains and emotional conudrums and he catalogues these in photo-images and as graphically as possible in a new novel ‘Five Fingers’ he currently works on. He’d be happy to share it with an experienced publisher that cares.

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