The hot water steamed powerfully over her body, as she washed and scrubbed from head to toe, as though her life depended on it. She had been twenty minutes under the shower, but she let the hot water seep into her head, and find its way to the rest of her body. Images from her abortion flashed through her mind; how the quack doctor had started the operation on her, how much pain she had felt when it was over, and how Chichi had laughed and told her it was normal to feel that way. Images filled her mind from the day the doctor at the teaching hospital had said her tubes had been damaged and how she had come crashing on the floor, weeping and actually gnashing teeth. That was hell for her. Images flowed from the day Dotun finally made love to her on their honeymoon, and how she had to psyche herself away from the ugly rape from her past. Everything suddenly went blank and she couldn’t picture anymore images after Dotun had thrown her out of the house.
She wept bitterly, as the hot water caressed her skin, making her tears almost invisible. The steam had occupied the glass doors and mirror, and had drowned her in its fog. Slowly, she sank into the floor, weeping.
“God where do I go from here?!” She screamed.
Sumbo Faniyi lay on her bed, in her bedroom, also weeping and praying. She asked God to break every generational curse or hoax of being thrown out of the material home. She prayed eagerly and passionately for her daughter, and wondered what she could do to make things right again.
Jide Thomas smiled at the petite old white woman who stood beside him and let her take the cab that was waiting to pick up a passenger. He decided he would wait for the next one. Just his luck. As the next one pulled over beside him, the lady beside him begged that she needed to get to the airport in time to pick up her sister. He shook his head, looking at his wristwatch. He also had to be at the airport. His car had a fault and he had dropped it with the car repairers.
“We are both going to Birmingham Airport. Why don’t we go together?” He said.
Deola Faniyi was one to always lighten up a dull moment. And so, when she had noticed the Mr’s quietness, she brought up conversation about the royal family, and the weather. Soon, he couldn't resist her loquaciousness and decided to just enjoy the chat. She was going to pick up her younger sister who was coming to Birmingham for some time-out, and to also do some shopping for her store, and he was going to inspect some engineering work in the airport. By the time they arrived the airport, they said goodbyes and exchanged phone numbers.
She spotted her sister immediately at the arrival lounge and ran to hug her.
“Toyinsco!” She ruffled Toyin’s neatly packed hair.
“Dey, you look very good. This your new job must be treating you very right o.” Toyin laughed. She had missed her big sister; her substitute mother, the one who she had learnt to lean on as she grew up, while their mom was all over the country.
Deola had a nice two bedroom apartment by Ladywood. She knew her sister had an eye for luxury and exquisiteness, and so, she wasn’t surprised when she saw how beautiful the place was.
“How is your boyfriend, the white guy?” Toyin asked, drinking her glass of water. She found it weird that the water was from the tap. That was rather strange in Nigeria.
“Lucas? We broke up jo. Goodbye to my half-caste or mixed race babies. I met someone better.” Deola said.
“Dey! Is he Chinese, this one?” Toyin mocked.
“No. He is Edo. Osas.”
“Hmm…well that’s close to our side at least. Mummy won’t complain too much.”
“Complain? The woman would love me for bringing home a man. You know how delighted she was when you finally got married.”
Toyin’s demeanour changed, and Deola noticed.
“Sis, come on. You have to deal with the loser once and for all. Left to me, I think you should face him and ask for a divorce instead of hanging. He’s got a kid, and a baby mama. You’re the woman here. Thirty-one is approaching and trust me, the men reduce as you grow older.” She went to her fridge and brought out two cans of beer.
“Have you started drinking yet?” she said, opening her can.
“Dey, you know you should quit this.” Toyin hissed.
“How has the Christian thingy paid off for you? Drink with me my love.” She laughed, tickling her sister. Her mobile phone rang. It was Osas.
“Hey boo. How’s work going for you?” Deola said.
“Yeah, good but I’m working till six. How’s your sister?” he said.
“She’s alright. Wanna say hi or you’re stopping by the flat?”
“I want us to have a welcome dinner. Let’s meet up at Jimmy’s for seven.”
“Oh great! Hold on for her.”
Toyin said hi to her sister’s boyfriend and went in to take a shower. She breathed in some fresh air, as she dried her body in the soft white towel.
By twenty minutes past seven o clock, they got off the bus and walked down to the restaurant where they were to meet up. As they walked in, Toyin bumped into someone at the stairway, as she spoke on the phone to their mom in Nigeria.
“Hey…” He said, turning to face them. Deola had already begun to say some angry words in her British accent. "Look where you're going man!" Then, she saw him and smiled, recognizing him.
“Jide yea?” She went over and hugged him.
“Deola. Met you today, on the way to the airport.” He laughed, hugging her.
“I guess that’s your sister from Nigeria.” He said, looking at Toyin who was still speaking over the phone.
“Sure. So, how did your job at the airport go? And what are you doing here?” Deola said.
“Yeah, so so. I don’t cook, so I came to grab a meal or two.”
“Hey babe.” Osas pecked Deola, coming into the restaurant, and sizing Jide up.
Deola kissed him and then introduced them.
“Jide, meet my boyfriend, Osas. Osas, Jide’s a new friend.” She smiled. Osas nodded, still sizing the other man and then shook hands. Toyin was through with her phone call. She walked over to them and Deola did a re-introduction then they all decided to sit together. Toyin seemed a little reserved. Jide studied her. He sensed something was wrong, and decided to engage her in conversation. She seemed passive, and then he decided to drop it.
“What was the moping for?” Deola said as they walked into her flat.
“Moping?” Toyin replied.
“You had better loosen up, girl. Don’t you know the Jide dude was totally checking you out?” she laughed.
“My dear, you seem to have forgotten that I am married.”
“Married my foot. Married but living single, huh? Married and your husband is busy being someone else’s husband.”
Toyin sighed, as she headed for the kitchen to get something to drink.
“Look, I’m gonna have to be going to work. I can only be with you half of the time. You need to have some fun, at least before you go back to Nigeria.” Deola said, taking off her boots.
“Deola I just don’t know what to do. Before the eyes of God, I am still married. It’s sinful for me to have another relationship. That’s like cheating…”
“Oh wow. Cheating…that thing that your husband didn’t and isn’t doing to you yea?”
Toyin understood the sarcasm and sank into the sofa.
Deola’s phone rang.
“Hey Jide. Nice time today.” She said, laughing. Toyin didn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but then she heard her sister mention her name, and say she was going to be free to see a movie with Jide tomorrow evening.
“I gave him your digits too. Movie night tomorrow. You and Jide. Operation loosen up.” Deola said, and went into the bedroom.
He seemed like a nice guy. He had picked her up in his car, and they had gone to the cinema at Five Ways to see American hustle. They hardly said much, till after the movie, and Jide asked if they could sit over Ice-cream and get to know each other.
She liked his personality. Beyond his good looks, he seemed like a really simple and down-to-earth up-to-heaven kinda guy. He told her he was born in Nigeria and lived there up till his teenage years, when his father’s died, and then they moved with their mom to London. He was an Electrical Engineer with a construction company in London, before he got transferred to the Birmingham office. He told her he was a Christian, and his goal was to try to live a good life, while on earth.
How could she beat this? What did she have to say? That she was raped, had an abortion, thrown out of her husband’s house, and attempted suicide? She smiled, and just told him she had been battling with some problems, and needed to clear her head. Jide understood. It was too early to delve into her problems. As he parked the car by the building, to drop her off, he held her hands. Toyin was about yanking them off when she heard his words.
“Heavenly Father, we thank you for today. We thank you for the gift of life and the blessing of a good night rest. We thank you for our lives, and we ask that you grant us your peace that passes human understanding. All the glory be to your holy name. In Jesus’ name we have prayed.”
“A…” She stuttered.
“Amen.” He laughed.