Sunday, 3 August 2014

SPOKEN FOR 03





At first, Kemi had thought she just needed to get past the whole turn around of events that had happened since her mother's death, just before she started to reconsider taking the GCEs and going to the University. But then again, her baby's food and other supplies had started to run out and before she knew it, bills had started to roll in every day. The savings she had from what her mother had sent her the last time she ever did amounted to less than fifty thousand Naira, as she sat on the rug, with the notes scattered around her.

Her father had mourned their mother as though it had been scripted. Not more than two weeks after she had been buried had he brought in his mistress and other kids into the house at Ikoyi that once upon a time used to be the place she called home. She'd gone back after the burial to see her sisters, but her father had instructed the gate keeper not to let her in. And the black Northern boy had the effrontery to threaten her that he would have to unleash the dog on her if she didn't leave. The very same dog that she had begged her parents to buy when it was just a puppy.

The baby wasn't helping matters. She started to cry again, the fourth time within an hour.



***


It was the fourth time within the hour of 7 PM. Shomi had been counting. This was the third man that had come into their two-bedroom flat. This one had a pot belly, unlike the previous one who was lean; almost like the Electricity pole on their street. His slippers were muddy from the mess the heavy rain had made on the untarred road. He didn't see her; or maybe he did. He was cross-eyed, so she couldn't tell if he was looking at her not.

"Where is your mother?" The man said, his voice a total contradiction from his appearance and physique. He sounded like a swollen mouse.

Shomi didn't reply him. She only stared at him.

"Are you dumb?" The man raised his voice such that it revealed his hidden soprano.

She almost laughed. Her voice was almost even deeper than his.

Kemi joined them in the small living room. There were just two raggedy chairs in it, with a small round wooden table which was already peeling off. The Television hardly worked. It only responded to violence, when it was hit several times, exactly the way the every day African parent believed was the right way to make a child work; exactly what Shomi's mother, Kemi, did to her. Kemi hit her daughter at every given chance, for everything that wasn't done rightly. So Shomi had grown to speak less, because it seemed as though every word she spoke to her mother earned her a stroke.

"Papilo, how na?" Kemi said, walking towards the man. She looked at her seven year old daughter who was standing timidly by the corner.

"Go and bring the cold bottle of beer in the fridge." Kemi said, as she hugged the man and rubbed his belly.

Shomi went into the kitchen, even if she already knew that there was no more beer in the refridgerator. The very slim man who had come before Papilo had drunk the last two green bottles. She didn't know how to tell Aunty Kemi. Yes. That's what she called her mother. Kemi forbade her from calling her Mummy. Shomi had grown up used to the phrase "Who be your mama? Bastard!" from the woman who was supposed to be her mother.

If she went back to the living room with the bad news of no beer for the guest with an already pot belly, she knew Aunty Kemi would land more slaps and strokes on her. So she sat on the floor of the kitchen, waiting and praying they would get to their bedroom business and forget about the beer.

"Where is this bastard? Shomi!" She heard her mother's angry voice louder and louder, and she knew she was coming to the kitchen.

"Where is the beer I asked you to bring? If I leave this man thirsty and he goes away will you go and bring in money for the rent? Ehn!" Kemi slapped the little girl's face.

"The beer don finish Aunty Kemi!" Shomi cried out, trying to block the coming couple of hits with her arms.

"You are so stupid! Why didn't you tell me?" Kemi hissed and walked out of the kitchen.


In about thirty minutes, the pot bellied Papilo was back in the living room, sweating. Kemi hugged him and kissed him as he walked out of their apartment. Then she brought out a wad of notes from her bra.

"Go and bring my shoe box where I keep money. It's under my bed." Kemi said to Shomi. Shomi nodded and then went into the bedroom then came back into the living room with the shoe box. Kemi opened it and began to count the money in it.

"Three hundred Naira is missing!" She yelled, and within a second, she grabbed Shomi by the collar of her dress.

"Where is my money?!"

"I...I...Food no dey house...and hungry dey catch me..." Shomi struggled to explain herself. She wanted to really explain why but she was at a loss for words. She was not a school child anyways. Aunty Kemi had not enrolled her in one.

"Are you mad?!"

Shomi started to cry.

"Just get out. Leave my sight!" Kemi hissed.

As soon as the little girl scurried off, weeping loudly, Kemi shut her eyes, trying not to cry.



It wasn't as if she particularly liked the kind of life she was living. She had never chosen to become what she now was. She had promised herself the first time that it was just temporary and that after she got enough money to leave the shack of a house where they now lived, she would find a better job; one with dignity and some integrity. But those were really scarce these days. She had actually approached some places and begged for a job. But no one was willing to take someone who wasn't even a School Cert holder. She had dropped out without even finishing school. She had applied to be a front desk receptionist at a hotel once but they'd told her they were only taking a minimum of an OND holder. The cycle had gone on and on, with several rejections. Her landlord wasn't willing to listen to her pleas and excuses. So she had been forced to offer him something else in lieu of rent money, and he had taken it with giddy feet. Their affair continued for some more months until his wife caught them and told all the neigbours about it. Of course, she had been the one at the loosing end. The woman had made sure the Landlord sent Kemi and her daughter away.

The tears flowed down her face as she thought about how things would have been if her mother had been alive. She remembered that her mother had mentioned it that she would gather enough money to send her to the U.S with her baby so she could live with her brother and start a better life. Kemi had wanted to contact her Uncle in the U.S, but she didn't know how to. The only number she had on her phone was her mother's number, and her father's too. No one could even trace her to the former apartment because she now lived so many miles away, somewhere deep inside the mainland of Lagos. She was twenty two years old now. A twenty two year old prostitute and single mother. She wondered about her sisters, Kitan and Kofo. What were they doing now? Were they in school? Kitan would probably be 
in the University and Kofo would be planning on getting into one. She sighed, hoping she would get to see them someday. Perhaps it was high time she went back to her dad. She was an adult now. Maybe he would see her differently and reason with her now. Maybe.

She heard the little girl still weeping. She felt bad for raising her voice at her. She knew she didn't love her, but she didn't hate her that much either.

"Shomi!" Kemi called out her daughter's name.

The girl was standing in her front in no time, with eyes red and shot from crying.

"You don chop this night?"

Shomi shook her head, at the same time her stomach growled loudly.

"Take," She handed her a dirty and folded hundred Naira note.  "Go and buy Suya outside. We will take garri with it."

The girl smiled and took the money eagerly, then she went outside without any shoes, to get some food.


...


Time had passed. It was past an hour and thirty minutes that Kemi had asked the little girl to get Suya. She began to shake her feet like she always did whenever she was nervous. She bit her lower lip, and when she couldn't take it anymore, she grabbed her tank top and wore it as against stepping out in just her bra and shorts. She walked down to the stand of the Hausa boy who sold Suya opposite their block. He was slicing and dicing meat and onions for a young couple who were saying sweet nonsense into each other's ears.

"How far Ali?" She blurted out, pushing the couple whom she wanted to tell to get a room.

"Aunty Kemi..." He replied in his Northern accent.

"You see my small girl? She come buy Suya and since I never see am." Kemi said, trying not to panic.

He shook his head.

"I swear, me I no see am. I send am come for here?" He said.

Kemi hissed, roaming her eyes around the environment. She started to walk down the street, to the next, and the next. She went back to her flat hoping her child would have shown up. She was sure going to beat her silly! But Shomi was not there.



***

Shomi kicked and screamed as the young men took turns in forcing themselves into her. She cried and wept. This was more painful than a thousand beatings from Aunty Kemi.

Then, when her body became too weak, she fainted.









*fisayotalabi
*Spoken For
Photo credit www.relevantchildrensministry.com




12 comments:

  1. Hi all. I'm sorry for the delay. Read, enjoy, and please drop a comment.

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  2. Jeez. Pls drop d next one fast. I cnt keep waitin

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    1. will try to post promptly. thank you. :)

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  3. Huri up now.haha.before i come and beat u

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  4. This is sad o

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  5. Eiya...but why now, poor little thing***crying****

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  6. I don't like the way this story is goin o. Kai poor girl. Mrs m

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  7. Pls do't keep us waiting

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  8. This is too tragic... poor little Shomi. please Fisayo don't keep us waiting, abeg. You are really doing a great job

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  9. This got me weeping, they have succeeded in taking every atom of love left in shomi, I hate sad stories.

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  10. This is a real tragic for tht poor lil Shomi

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