PHOTO STORY: THE GUEST

 

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“She’s so beautiful” I said to myself as I brushed the conditioner through her hair slowly and very deliberately. She had long brown permed hair and it seemed like she took her time to take care of it. Well, when you’re single, your life is yours, but when you’re married to a rig worker and have three boys and a baby girl, you have no edges and inconsistent lengths of hair all over your head. SheaMoisture products worked as they promised because the rinse-off conditioner was incredible. I combed her hair for what seemed like minutes until I checked my phone and saw that an hour had passed. Oh no! I had to rush and get her prepared for the occasion tonight. Peter was soon going to be back from work.

I quickly rinsed off the conditioner, dried her hair and then began to work on her nails. She had to look perfectly clean for tonight and so did I. Peter was in for a big treat! After I was done with…ummm…I don’t even know her name — I’ll call her Lisa. She looked alot like one of the many barbie dolls I had as a kid, one of which I named Lisa. Lisa wasn’t one of the most beautiful but I liked her because unlike the others she was detachable and very flexible.

Anyways, I did my hair or what was left of it, my nails, scrubbed my skin and moisturised it, shaved, and put on the blue playsuit Peter got for me on my birthday two years before. I also dressed Lisa up and allowed her to rest in the guest room while I worked in the kitchen.

You must be wondering where my kids are. Well, since it was going to be a special night, I sent them to their grandma’s for a few days to give us space. I prepared Peter’s favorite food and popped the best champagne. When I was done, I checked in on Lisa in the guest room and she was still resting. I checked the time and it was 7:08 a.m. He was going to be home soon.

I burned the sweet incense I bought from my friend Naheeja and put perfume on my neck, wrists and feet and then did same for Lisa. I sat at the foot of the bed and stared at her. The white gown I bought for her fit her perfectly even though I bought it in a rush, felt so proud of myself and wondered why I couldn’t get clothes that fit me perfectly like this.

(heavy sigh)

I looked beyond the bed where she lay and stared at my reflection in the full-sized mirror I had installed nine years ago when we moved into this house and now the same mirror showed me how my body had deteriorated so fast. How could I have let myself go this way? How did I not see it all happen? I started to get sad again; couldn’t let that happen. I stood up, dusted my playsuit and right on cue, I heard Peter’s car horn.

“Wow! Something smells nice” I heard him say from the sitting room.

I smiled to myself. Action.

“Dear, I’m in here. Give me a minute!” I yelled as I dished the food.

When I walked into the living room, he was already at the dinning room, but occupied with his phone and looked a bit frustrated.

“Dinner is served my darling” I said, smiling just like I rehearsed.

“Wow” he said again as I leaned over to put the tray in front of him, allowing him to perceive my scent and admire the blue playsuit. I placed the tray, poured him another glass of champagne and just as I was about to leave, he held my hand stopping me in my tracks.

“Babe, is there something I’m missing? Did I forget your birthday? Is it my birthday? It can’t be our annive-” He started to babble until I shut him up with a kiss.

“There’s nothing you’re missing jare, just eat your food. Let me go and get mine” I said, walking away and taking my time, knowing that he was staring at my behind. It’s working. I smiled.

While we ate, I could feel his eyes wonder over me from time to time but he seemed to be checking his phone very often like he was expecting a call from someone important. I ignored it however and continued my act. A part of me surprisingly enjoyed being an actress for a few hours. It was thrilling.

After the meal, I went into the kitchen and was doing the dishes when I felt him put his arms around me from behind. Men are so predictable to be honest. I didn’t have to be too smart or a sooth sayer to predict that move. Everything was going as planned. He began nibbling on my neck ever so softly, pausing to tell me I smell good or to thank me for the meal. Slowly and with every kiss, peck and caress, I allowed myself to be taken because, this probably was going to be his last time.

From behind the sink, to the kitchen counter, then the kitchen doorway,  and then our bedroom doorway — we floated in a cloud of arousal and finally set up shop in the bedroom. Through it all, flashes of the video I had on my tablet came to mind at inconsistent intervals but I forced them out; I couldn’t break character. Not now. When we were done, I went to the kitchen and poured myself a shot of gin and then poured another glass of champagne for Peter. I was about to go back to the room when I remembered.

Oops! I forgot the thing.

I went to the kitchen cupboard, got it out and dropped two tablets into Peter’s drink and watched them fizzle into the liquid. I mentally cautioned myself. I didn’t make it this far to get sloppy. It all had to be perfect. So, I walked back to the room with his drink and gave it to him. I stood around long enough to see him gulp it down before I went to take a shower. Two minutes later, he joined me. He slept off almost immediately after the bath and the pills were going to knock him out cold for hours. This was going to give me enough to time to bring Lisa into the room.

I walked slowly into the room to meet Lisa and she had begun to smell. I expected it although not too soon. The heat probably sped up the decay. She was still as I left her. I stood over and heaved a sigh. The time had finally come. Pale patches had started to form at the corners of her mouth and eyes. I ran my through her hair and then stroked her chin. Her skin was now cold and stiff. I considered putting her in the freezer but it was going to be too much work. Dragging her out of my car and into the bath tub was stressful enough. I only had enough strength left to lift her onto the bed.

My tablet had a 2 mega pixel camera and it was almost dusk when I recorded  that video but even through it, she looked very perfect laughing and occasionally stroking Peter’s beard. He liked it when I did that to him too.   He looked at her like she was worth looking at. And she was — one of the prettiest women I had ever met. I told her that when we met though but she couldn’t respond, probably because she was underwater. Such a nice girl. I wondered if anyone was looking for her at that moment so I retrieved her phone from the nightstand and checked her notifications. She had several messages and then 15 missed calls from “Baby”.  Our baby. I knew she was the one he was trying to reach when I was serving his food. If only he knew she was right next door all prepped for our night together.

“Don’t worry Peter, she’ll soon be within reach” I thought and smiled to myself as I got up to get the polythene bags.

I struggled to wrap her up in the polythene bags I bought on my way back from the boutique and then slid her to the floor and dragged her all the way to our bedroom where I met Peter out cold just like I left him. I struggled so hard to get her up to the bed. It was around 2 a.m and  I was exhausted.I was also a little light headed from the gin I took earlier but I finally succeeded. I rolled her over to lie face up, stood back and admired my work and then went back to lie down close to Peter.

“Perfect bride for the perfect liar” I murmured to myself with a smile on my face as I drifted off to sleep thinking about  how Peter’ll scream when he sees the gift I got him.  He will definitely love me more now.

 

STORY – ADDY’S TALE PART 3

 

I walked over to my bedside and gradually lay down face up as advised by the nurses. I looked at my mum who lay fast asleep by my right and instantly froze.

“No, no, no, not again”


“Shhhhh! Sit down. Be quick!” he said in a loud whisper as he pointed the gun at my mother’s head.

“Addy, sit down please. Just sit down.” my mum pleaded in a whisper with her eyes shut. When did she wake up? When did he enter the room? I was shaking so hard both from cold and fear. I slowly walked towards my bed dragging my squeaky drip stand along. I got to the bed and sat down quietly, trying hard in vain to be calm.

“It seems I did not hit you hard enough. You’re very lucky we were in a hurry.” he said.

Then it came to me: I knew him. He was the one with the gun pointed at my face. I remember being dragged out from under the church pew and I remember staring at this same face I was staring at now before I suddenly blacked out.

“I heard you were alive and decided to pay the only survivor a visit with a warning.” he said pressing the gun harder into my mother’s head. “You are only alive because we don’t want media attention. Speak to no one about whatever you feel you saw, or heard. If you do, I will kill every member of your family, let you suffer and then kill you. Do you understand? Do you understand?!” he asked impatiently.

“Addy answer him nau” my mum whispered with her eyes still shut.

“Shut up!” he said, slapping my mum from behind.

“I’ve heard you! I have heard you!!” I cried out. On hearing this, he left the room. Few minutes later the nurse rushed in.

Continue reading “STORY – ADDY’S TALE PART 3”

STORY – ADDY’S TALE PART 2

I struggled with the volume button and finally shut it off and I looked up to a nozzle in between my eyes.


“She hasn’t still woken up?” a female voice in my head said.

I slowly opened my eyes and shut them immediately from too much light and slowly opened them again, blinking to adjust to the light. I was lying down face up in a room. I looked around, trying to recognize my environment until my nose picked up a familiar scent. The atmosphere was filled with a strong antiseptic scent that made me sick to the stomach everytime I perceived it. I was in a hospital. What am I doing in a hospital? I thought as I sprang up to a sitting position.

“Mba mba mba!! Doctor said you should lie down until your drip finishes!” said someone beside me.

“Mummy! What am I doing here?! What happened?!! Where am I?” I asked in confusion.

“You don’t remember? Hian. You are in NAUTH my daughter. Thank God for your life.” My mum said as she guided me to a lying position.

“Remember what? Where is daddy?” I asked still confused.

Continue reading “STORY – ADDY’S TALE PART 2”

STORY – ADDY’S TALE

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“Oraifite! Ozubulu!! Oraifite!! Ozubulu!!! Last bus!” the conductor’s voice echoed in my head as I struggled to find 200 naira note to give the okada man for a ride that wasn’t even worth 100 naira. He obviously took advantage of my situation and I didn’t care. I had to go home. School had become very stressful and this weekend was the only opportunity I had to go home, relax and eat good food before preparing for my final defense.

I finally located the money, gave it to him and dashed towards the bus.

“Space o ka di?” I asked hopefully.

“Banye na azu!” the conductor yelled as he continued looking for passengers.

When I was finally settled at the back, I slowly heaved a sigh of relief and quickly texted my mother saying that I was on my way.

I finally arrived Amakwa about thirty minutes later and the reception at home was wonderful. My sisters were all home for the holidays except on who was currently writing her semester exams. My kid brother kept hovering around me asking for the buscuits I promised to buy for him and I managed to escape the question till he fell asleep.

Dinner that night was amazing. My mother’s ofe onugbu with garri never disappointed me. After dinner, I lay back on the cushion in the sitting room, while picking my teeth and enjoying my favorite show on FOOD TV when my mother strolled into the sitting room with an amebo look on her face so I sat up in expectation.

Continue reading “STORY – ADDY’S TALE”

I PLAYED DEAF

“Guys! you can go home. Professor no dey come!” the course rep said from the front of the class.
At this announcement, there was an uproar of excitement and we all started trooping out of the class headed to our various hostels. This was supposed to be good news for me because I watched movies till 3 a.m last night and needed to get some sleep. Also, there was a show on FOX LIFE that I usually missed because of this particular lecture that was cancelled. However, I was not happy. Infact, I was very angry and my friend Jide noticed.
“Oga wetin dey work you. You just keep face like shit since.” he said nudging me
“Guy abeg lemme. Girls just dey very annoying” I spat out
“Ah ah hehehe, wetin happen?” he asked
“No be that stupid girl? that b*tch” I replied
“haba, that thing still dey pain you?” he asked again
I’m sure you must be wondering what I was angry about. Let me tell you

*flashback to 3 hours ago*

Continue reading “I PLAYED DEAF”

STORY – ONYINYE’S TALE 3

 

She obviously loved James with all her heart and couldn’t wait to get married to him but the uncertainties of life wouldn’t let her mind rest. Something inside her head kept telling her that maybe her parents had a point.


It was Friday finally and the week actually ended better than it started. Mr. Femi had been going for site jobs for the whole week so there was no yelling or insulting in the office and her mum hadn’t called her again. At around 12 o’ clock, Onyinye was about to step out of the office for lunch when her phone rang and she checked her phone screen and it read “Tari the b*tch”. She picked,

“Tari the bitch!”

“Onyinye the whore!”

The two bestfriends greeted themselves in their usual manner and laughed their heads off for about three seconds. Onyinye met Tari two years ago during her NYSC camp at Delta state and ever since they haven’t let go of each other.

“Babes where have you been oo, you have replaced me abi?” Tari teased

Continue reading “STORY – ONYINYE’S TALE 3”

STORY – ONYINYE’S TALE 2

 

She got home at around 7 pm and performed her daily evening routine. She first unlocked her door, slammed it shut behind her, took off her heels and put them by the door and then hung her keys on the ‘key nail’ as she liked to call it. After that, she dropped her hand bag which also contained her laptop on her reading desk, and then headed for the kitchen to make sure there was food to eat before she took of her clothes.

 

“Phew, this beans didn’t spoil, thank God!” she said in relief.

 

She then took off her clothes and stuffed them into the laundry basket.

 

“How can someone mess up so many clothes in one weekend?” she said to herself as the struggled with the clothes in the rubber basket.

 

When she won the war between man and fabric, she finally stepped into the bathroom for the warm shower she had been dreaming of all day. The harmattan had dealt with her today and her studio partners refused to put off the AC. She always wondered if they had skins of leather. Especially David, he always had the sleeves of his pure cotton shirt rolled up while she on the other hand, had a vest, a jacket and neck tie on and she still felt  cold.

Continue reading “STORY – ONYINYE’S TALE 2”

STORY – ONYINYE’S TALE

She rushed out of her apartment, half-greeted Mrs. Okon her neighbour and didn’t even double-check to see if she actually slammed her door shut. The compound where she lived wasn’t exactly by the main road so she had to pull off her heels and run towards the road to flag down a bus on time. Her boss had already warned her about her lateness, especially on Monday mornings. She never understood why she always made it late to work on Mondays. Maybe it was simply because she hated Mondays, I mean who didn’t?!

When she got to the main road, she walked to the nearest bus stop and stood in line to wait for the next bus.

“Excuse me” someone said from behind her. “Excuse me, hey, I’m talking to you” he said again.

“Not this morning” she muttered to herself. She always expected this every morning and before she turned around to reply such, she said a little prayer to God: “Please let him have sense, please”.

“Yes?” she finally replied

Continue reading “STORY – ONYINYE’S TALE”

STORY- I ASKED FOR FUN 2

Later that night while we were having dinner, I decided to share my new discovery with everyone.

“Daddy, why didn’t you tell us that papa had a second wife?” I asked


 

“Second wife kwa? Who told you that?” he asked

“Ahn ahn, the boy that lives in that small house behind nau. The last son of papa’s second wife” I continued.

“Hian. There is nobody living in that house. You have come again with your mischief. Please don’t scare your siblings. First you were complaining about the food, now you’re coming up with scary stories” he replied in dismissal.

“But-”

“Ekene will you shut up and stop being stubborn. Eat your food and stop scaring your siblings” my mum interrupted.

My parents never gave me a chance to talk. I felt adopted at this point. It was almost as if they hated me. I didn’t care anyway because I had someone to talk with now.

The next two days went very well for me. I wasn’t bothered about the food or the prayers anymore because I always looked forward to gisting with Peter. I would go there and stay for hours and then leave when I suspected that my mum was looking for me. The best thing about it all was that nobody ever noticed I was gone. I guess they were too bored or something. On the fourth day, during our conversations, I decided to ask about the old man I saw twice at the window and in front of the house. He told me that it was his sick uncle who was always asleep. After I asked this question, Peter suddenly became distant and quiet and I became uncomfortable and so I decided to leave earlier than usual and probably come back another time.

I told him I was leaving and he followed me and closed the door behind. I was walking out of the porch when I saw my dad.

“Ekene! What did I tell you about that building? Do you want to wound yourself? Are you stupid?” he said as he walked towards me. “What were you doing in that house?”

“Papa, I told you that grandpa’s son lives there, you refused to listen to me.” I replied “One fair tall guy stays there. His name is Peter. How come you don’t know him?”

“Peter? This girl are you sure you are okay? Come and show me the person” he said as we walked back to the house.

When we got there, I knocked on the door the first time.

“Peter!”

I knocked the second time and to my surprise, the door fell off it’s hinges to the floor inside the house. This was odd, we stepped inside the house and it was like a dream.

The sitting room was full of logs of wood piled up at a corner, there were thick cobwebs everywhere. The floors made a squeaky sound every time we moved around. The furniture looked very old and worn out. There were rodents everywhere. I looked up and a part of the ceiling had fallen off leaving a gaping hole there. It was like the house had gone about 100 years into the future all of a sudden.

“B-but, I sat here, right here” I said pointing to the smaller couch. “Peter sat here. W-we were talking and eating. Just here.” I was confused.

Continue reading “STORY- I ASKED FOR FUN 2”

STORY- I ASKED FOR FUN 1

When my mum announced to us a week ago that we were going to the village for our Christmas holiday, I felt like slapping the excitement off her face because I didn’t understand it. In plain terms, I hated my village. There was no network to chat, no electricity during the day, and I had no friends to talk to there. My dad is the eldest in the family and so he has the oldest kids, all we had was ourselves and smaller cousins who couldn’t understand or speak English. It was terrifying.

For the past one week, we had been having the same daily routine. We would wake up at six to pray with the other families in the compound. I never understood the songs they sang or the prayers they said because it was all in my native dialect. My mum usually gave me the stare during these prayers because I simply kept mute and looked around like I was in a museum. After prayers, breakfast would be served from the communal local kitchen that always made my eyes water with all the smoke from burning firewood. It was either fried plantain with pap or tea and bread. No indomie, no eggs, nothing!

The last time I complained to my mother about the food and my father overheard it, I got the shouting of my life.

“You are still 16 and under my roof! What I have, you eat! If you do not like the food, go hungry or get a job. Nonsense!”

Oh lord, when was it going to end?!

The worst part of my day was taking my bath. The bathroom was about six meters away from the main house and not only was it untiled and slippery, you had to walk all the way back to the house with the harmattan breeze drying you up, making you cold and cracking your already cracked lips. This happened to me on the first four days of our stay until I devised a means to manage it: early baths.

I woke up as early as 5 o’clock and took my bath behind our house before it was time for prayers and that solved it all for me. Or did it?

Continue reading “STORY- I ASKED FOR FUN 1”