Few days in Tanzania

this story has been published in Tuck  MagazineImage result for image of weeping african lady

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 bath mat, respray the  cubicle, if possible pick out everyting like Yakovina’s tootbrush, mostache 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.

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 quiet was aware Yakovina had never attempted introducing her to his parent as his wife he married in Nigeria. Too, Xose did not know and couldn’t point at the parents of her husband should they called at her from a brief distance.

Yakovina never, and had never by joke as his manner was told Xose he has a robust pale  sister back in Tanzania. All he had hinted about his family to her  was the elegant tallness  of his black mother that has quaint cornroll she carried like sun on her head, each strand inked in Capri-gold and 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 has a varicose ulcer and he regularly  fly from Lagos to Dar Es Salaam to check him out. He has a brother , Kiwanga Obataiye, but something happened  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 and the uncle’s gold firm in Missisipi and a steel company in  Ontario Canada. He  never said anything  that has to do with having a sister in Tanzania , but 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.

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That night Xose Adutwumwaa Wereko was running a transaction in her personal workstation and there was a knock on the door. And 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 predgnant.

She couldn’t stand it and furiously she thundered ‘who’s she?’ Yakovina stared about , looked to the celine and to the floor , a habit of his, mostly when he’s guilty , and 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’d 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 bushes 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’ that was a ritual cliché until she climbed out the spiral stirs with his attache case and the lady’s trunk.

Soon she was obdurately quaking her plumb 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 happend”

“Yako, you wont fool me, you told me known of your family members is 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 up?”

“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 predgnant 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 phone to tell me she’d be coming here”

“Xose, indulge my slip-up, she’d stay with us for a very 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 on 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, the days she wished .

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

“My brother’s jewel,” Xose wasn’t unhappy with her since she had not observed a 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 curtsey 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 for a live”

“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 medical wise to do brief exercise when you are pregdnant”

“How should I know’

“So don’t mind” And she mopped out the Tv, the radio, the glassy-tables  and all other things . After Xose returned  from an Oceanic Bank conference in Accra, Ghana a week  latter, 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 vericose 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 an 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 afterall we all come from Africa”

“My mother , his mother is a rogged amazon 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 weakly”

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

“No a problem”

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

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Everything has tranversed , all has happened , Xose has buried it all , the links  that had bonded  her with a decietful , a cheat of an 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 linean and sang a yoruba song Jesumi sheun sheun….Olorunmi sheun sheun at least she should be greatful to God, she has no child though, she could of course be greatful to God  for revealing things to Mrs. Onyinlola so she made her became aware she has been staying with, spending much on a man who regularly leave and come home with an attache case full of unorganized papers , who come 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 had believed  was Yakovina’s sister . She wasn’t , Susanahfatimah was Yakovina’s wife that got him five brilliannt boys in Ojota Lagos.

‘…and Yako was using me, sucking the innocence of my neckedness  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 in 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  hallo-shape clearing in the  brilliant lawn that shone in the  sunblaze.

She turned  out the trunk in 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 bowwed innocently  beside  her gorgeous Indian saree  and vividly Xose could recall how he repeatedly nodded to accept  everything the priest administered. So innocently as if he’d be sincere and prepared to fufil every marital vows 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 the 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 droan.

She was checking  out for new friends with her laptop in the 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 an handsome pal online, and a long-nose, 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 , Mohammed Ali and Bill Gate. He must be a don, with her evaluation of the open-teethed 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 ghanian’

“Yearh born by a Nigeria and a Ghanaian”

“Your mum’s from Lagos I think?”

“Yes my dad is a ghanian

“You are cute”

“Not more than your Ebony skin with you 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 need me back to 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 noth 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 hadnt 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 wosrt  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 temporal 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 Mississipi, and he’s based in north Dakota; I have a cousin  that studies law in Harvad 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 Journasburg, south Africa, in the days of Apatied for having a black skin , . And the day my brother died of Ebola in Liberia on a business trip”

“My heartfelt condulence”

“No qualms. It’s a very old strory”

“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 wont 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 kow it, you’d run four forty”

“Haaaa haaa, haaa I wont 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 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”

“Its and experience meeting you Yakovina”

“Don’t mention”

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Xose boldly stood up and poured a 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 she watched tearfully as Yakovina’s cheat and glory flamed up and curled in a frosthy smoke into the azure skies of the snowy moring. Her manager understood what happened to her and had freely given her a month interlude to bear her misfortune; And such distrust  punch, that welts 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 fututre 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 bath mat, respray the  cubicle, if possible pick out everyting like Yakovina’s tootbrush, mostache 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 suppossed to have given him the chance to get them off 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 made the last love, she packed them into the trunk and headed for the bathroom.

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It was brilliantly sunny in the city of Lagos that Sunday, traffic jam was the sole-character of the metropolitan parts of Lagos , Moluwe spread  out on high and low ways in an endless continum. Young ladies hawked  cattons of gala and ice creams , some little cretins of boys carried suya, bannana, carrots, sliced pinneaples on their bare heads they would wave their wares at you, from the outside. If the glasses werent turned up they could stick there 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 livelihood.

Xose  was in her jeep deeply strung up in the heart of a rugged traffic spread that seemed  to alternatly inched five five minutes. She must get Yakovina, her handsome Tanzanian, a  good rich things. He’s to 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 make you nauseate and laoth ever owing a car.  Things werent this way in Jigawa. You get up and you are at your destination . Not Lagos, lagos is a boisterious city that pained your nervers with preening hullabaloos and a jerking pandemonium. It’s eighter  you are free from traffic , or you go numb with the intricate blasts oozing like smokes from the recording studios that spread about Lagos like mushroom. Thunderous punchlines  getting corrected , or repeated . Lagos  is a sickness , you’ve got only 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 intching and soon she rolled out for the park. What  stood before her was too elegant  than what she saw in the facebook  he wore an overcoat  that fitted  his robust skin, he smiled  at a boy that waved at him and Xose got it , she simply saw that open teeth that made her head to bobble nervously few months ago.

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

She gained  confidence finally . At least she was a very stunning young lady, the one with the same  facial character and well-oiled dreadlock 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 a poise. Still she was nervous  and feared she don’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, a 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  glinted 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 or my house or your house” Xose asked

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

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The bathroom smelt  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 be again, she is now a relics of the past;  She swept out  the floor  into a net-featured plastic bin and endeavored 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  aged  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 course mate , Adul Fatai and  her mother saw things from a vital sagacious edge she never imagined . They’ve warned Xose  to check her love for facebook, it has ruined many ladies out there. Many ladies  have been murdered  and kidnapped . Many house wives in Lagos, in America has loosed 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 , like  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 an handsome  open-teeth  Yakovina  and today she was a broken incisors 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”

Few weeks  after a much sleeping together she proposed , it wasn’t Yakovina who proposed , this spoilt things  much.

“Can we be a faithful couple?

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

And they set up for wedding. Her mother was curios. She inquired her Yakovina’s parents . He explained  things to Xose, of Tanzania been a place that yet 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  a 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.

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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 out the relics of cheat then walked into the study . The study has six tall catalogues filled with books , big encyclopedia on banking and finance , data and statistics gathering and an extraordinary catalogue that crammed African novels. She started from the swivel chair  to dust  out the impress of Yakovina, his cheat, his scent , the hypocrisy of a man he loved terribly and passionately she did just that.

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She played with Mai , she 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 , they 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 much toys into Mai the daughter of Susanahfatimah and smiling she said  she’s Yakovina’s sister from Tanzania. Her husband died in a Katrina huricane 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’s going to catter 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 don’t you tell me a woman now stayed with you, if not that i saw her with Yakovina everyday and one of my sub-editor told me she lived with you”

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

“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 out 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 what 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 live 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’s just seeing an infested hickory wood in the eyes of the child she called a gold 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 a head will roll . Her eyes redened like a plum-tomato imported  from Italy

⃰                 ⃰                     ⃰                     ⃰                     ⃰                       ⃰                      ⃰                             ⃰

The hefty novel, Pop goes the whistle of James Paterson Yakovina loved to read stayed still on the study desk, this was an horror. The novel was more worst 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 wont 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 out she’d spat to his face  and why won’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  on the floor. She can’t just touch it. Never. She called Jimo and the ma-ma-ma gateman picked the emblem of deceit , of cheat  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 dining table. She played happily with Mai. And watched them eat and slot their brunches , far away from the dining room Yakovina spoke under whisper and regularly looked sideways still Xose acted like she wasn’t interest on the dining table, already she had planted a recorder underneath the dining table. After she heard what shattered her , what soiled  her. What stained her . what they said in the dining table , she replayed it and it went thus

“Honey i over feed myself out , can I eat all these 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 here you. Let loot her  more , then one day we would run away”

That night Xose collapsed but she maintained  all was right. 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 she heard Susanahfatimah panting and whispering ‘Am tired, am tired, it’s ok, it’s ok. Xose ran into her room and wept her self 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 blazed to ashes. She bumped into the bathroom and soaked her nakedness inside the bathtub and wept.

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