Nosa will date any man for the right price. Find out why.
Mum’s tradition is a watch-night service that starts at 8pm and ends at about 5am in the New Year, so I opt to follow her to her church. Maybe a prophecy will come my way, but no such luck.
The year is declared the year of God’s glory and everyone prays hard to see it. I do too. Whatever will give God glory in my life is what I seek. I don’t know what the year will have in stock for me, but this past year ended on a brutal note. I want peace and quiet. That’s all I pray.
The first day after my arrival is New Year so everyone puts up the happy face. Three of my sisters, Julia the oldest, Rose and Beauty, middle sisters, come to visit with their kids. They all live in Benin with their families. I imagine Mary is still in Lagos or wherever. I haven’t seen any of my sisters since the day Kate, the second oldest called a family meeting over me. She had the full details of the man I was dating, a married man. Everyone shouted and complained, and I walked out on them. Imagine, baby of the family suddenly so bold. That was ten years earlier.
The conversation is awkward, and centered around things we didn’t have in common. I didn’t even know the names of my sisters’ children. Or that Leila, the third girl died of child-bearing four years earlier. Her daughter survived and now lives with Julia. Husband has since remarried.
Julia ventures on what I’m doing now, though I imagine she knows. So, I tell her, nothing. And that stifles the chat. Besides me being there, it is a beautiful time of celebration. There is a lot of food, which my sisters brought with them, and drinks, a big cake, and lots of chocolate and ice-cream. The cousins run around screaming and playing, and eating more than is good for them.
I imagine this is how they have celebrated in the past. With my dad no longer in the picture, Mum must have been very lonely without her daughters. And Leila’s death must have devastated her. I just can’t imagine.
Beauty, the prettiest true to her name, walks up to me toward evening. “How long are you here?”
She’s the snob. Some say I’m prettier than her but I know I’m not. She’s not only physically “yummy” she has a sweet spirit.
I shrug. “A week. Maybe more.”
She arches her eyebrow. “Mummy will like that. You should catch up with some of your friends.”
“I plan to.” Such an awkward discussion. “I called a friend already.”
“Who knows, you may want to move back. Be good company for Mummy.”
Is she kidding me? Even if I move back, I won’t live with my mother. “That’s a clean joke.”
“I’m serious. She needs the company.”
The mean streak rears its head. “Does she now approve of what I do?”
Beauty blanches, and walks away without a word. I don’t want to do what I do anymore, and yes, it has everything to do with the dead dog at my door.
Maybe I’ve taken my chance for too long. Maybe fate, and all the tears I caused married women all these years is finally speaking against me. I am superstitious, and I believe in karma. It may be time to “close shop” as the voice said.
But I doubt Benin is the place to settle. People don’t forget, and I know I made some history in this city. I might not have lived here for ten years but that time is very short in people’s memories. I’ve even been accused of trying to sleep with Julia’s husband, a man who earns less than fifty grand a month as a civil servant!
The next few days, apart from eating, I just remain in the second room in my mother’s two-bedroom flat reading some old novel I found there. I assume my sisters pay her rent because I don’t see her doing anything. Back in the day, she was a staff nurse at the teaching hospital.
On the fifth day of the year though, I get a call from an old flame who wanted to meet up. No harm in catching up with one or two “crazed” old crushes or friends, is there?
Sazu, the way we shortened his name Osazuwa, tried to get me into his bed all through my stay on campus, and then we turned it into several bets and jokes, and I won all. He was my age, and I didn’t do “boys” but he was always very fun to be with.
He picks me up and we go to the club. I notice a ring on his finger and couldn’t believe he would do that to himself.
“You got married? How old are you, Sazu?!”
“Hmm,” he chuckles. “Like eight years ago, even. We have three kids.”
I laugh hysterically. “Does she know you’re taking me to the club tonight?”
He shrugs. “She doesn’t care, as long as I don’t bring a disease home.”
I die laughing.
Photo cropped from pixabay.com
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