Nosa stared at the empty plate before him, his stomach
growled again and he shuffled himself up to his feet. It was seven pm and Iya Sikirat closed her business in thirty minutes, he had to get there as soon
as possible or bear another bout of hunger tonight.  He stared again at the empty plate on his
shabby-looking centre table and hissed.

“Which kain life be dis ehn? A whole HND graduate nor even
get money to chop!” He said in lamentation as he gestured by curling his
fingers into a snap and placing it against his mouth. Why is life so unfair ehn?
Look at my mates Chidi and Akpan, they are working in banks and look at me, I
can hardly feed myself talkless of anything… was my going to school of any use? How can an educated man like myself can’t even boast of five naira to his name? My account is in red, my life is in shambles.”
He hissed again and stood to his feet, shuffling his way to
his door and opening it he stepped outside. The cold air hit him squarely on
the face and he suddenly felt the urge to cry, dipping his hands into his
pockets, he hurried down to Mama Sikirat’s stall. 
Mama Sikirat was fanning the fire which she used to fry her
akara balls when she saw Nosa stroll down the street, she slowly crouched
before the fire and spoke to her daughter in a coded tone.
“Bisi…e don dey come ooo…tell am say we don sell all our
akara finish for dis night…you hear me so?”
Bisi nodded and suddenly started re-arranging the already fried
akara balls in the open pan and covering them with a transparent cellophane bag.
“Good evening ooo…Iya Sikirat…Bisi…how now? Wia
Sikirat dey?” Nosa inquired.
“Sikirat go school, she nor come shop today…” Bisi replied
stonily.
“Okay…make she read well ooo…” Nosa said, scratching his
head and smiling. When he saw that the people he was talking to were busying
themselves with other things, he spoke.
“Errr…una fit find me small akara make I chop? Even if na de small one wey you wan use as fisi or jara…I promise to buy some akara tomorrow, my company has been owing me for the past six
months and it’s been a struggle to make ends meet.”
“Dat na de talk you dey talk every day…” Iya Sikirat said
as she bustled past him.
“Please…I am begging…the small garri I soaked this
evening didn’t get past my stomach and I am really hungry…”
“He don dey blow im grammar for Iya Sikirat wey nor go
school…kikikikiki…” Iya Sikirat laughed in an unbecoming fashion. ‘Dem tell you say, Iya Sikirat nor dey use money to finance im business? I resemble Buhari pikin?’
“Please…make una assist me…abeg…”
“Dem don buy all de akara wey dey hia…even de one wey we
never put for fire sef, dem don buy am…” Bisi said.
“Hehhh…wetin I go come chop? Please help me find
something…please…” Nosa said to them, but at that moment, his phone chimed
in his pocket. “Please excuse me, I need to pick this call…”
Iya Sikirat and her daughter ignored him, hissing in turns.
Nosa looked at the caller ID and was surprised to see a strange number call him, so,
he picked.
“Hello…”
“Nosa!” The familiar voice floated down the line.
“Mama…how are you? How is everything? Did you change your number?” Nosa asked in an
excited voice.
“Nosa na wetin I do you? How long you go tey for town before
you come see ya mama wey born you for village?”
“Mama…things tough ooo…things hard for here ooo…” Nosa
said in a subdued voice.
“If things hard for town…come village abeg! Which one be,
mama things hard! All de money wey I pay for school fees don throway na…nobi your
mate Oghogho don buy motor give her papa and na woman she be ooo…nor be de
same school wey you go, she go?”
“Mama…all fingers nor dey equal…Oghogho dey work for
good place. You know how long I have searched for a job, it’s five years now
and still, no work. I was a plumber’s apprentice for three months and
after I became a certified plumber, the man didn’t recommend me for jobs…I
worked as a bartender for one of the new hotels around my area and its been six
months and they haven’t paid me salary. Mama I am suffering ooo…’
‘Na me dey enjoy na …I call you because I nor understand de
kain work you dey do for town wey even to come see ya mama, you nor fit, to
send money nko, whosai!’

Nosa listened to his mother’s rants and after she had made
her point, he hung up the call and shook his head in self pity. Iya Sikirat and
her daughter bustled around busily, ignoring his hunger stares and attending sweetly
to their customers, by the time Nosa stood there for thirty minutes and no
akara was coming forth, he walked away.

*******
Amaka was bitter, she stared at the card painfully and tore
it in two, breathing heavily, she picked up the torn parts, walked to her
kitchen, lit her stove and watched the invitation card burn.
‘Nonsense…she is getting married and so what? Rubbish!’
Amaka hissed.
The wedding invitation between her best friend Soluzo and
heart-throb Odili had been in her bag for days yet, jealously hadn’t allowed
her bring it out to look at it properly. The wedding was in two weeks and she
was the maid of honour but all she wished for desperately was for the wedding
to be cancelled.
‘So, when we go to the village, everyone will say, Soluzo is
married and Amaka is not abi? Mtchewww! May thunder fire her and that wedding!
May she never see anything good in that marriage! May her children bring curses
to her, that is if she lives to have any!’ Amaka proclaimed.
She stormed to the sitting room and sat down on her sofa in
anger, suddenly she remembered how they met at the Girls secondary school in
Okija.
It had been a rainy day and Amaka’s parents had just dropped her off in
school, Amaka’s parents  were a fiery pair, so mismatched and angry at
eachother all the time that they ignored their children most of the time. Amaka’s
parents had hardly dropped her off at the boarding house gate when they zoomed
off in their car, leaving their daughter, whose first time it was in secondary school
and a boarding school at that, alone to carry her load into the school
premises. She had broken down in tears when all of a sudden, she saw a
young girl about her age as well, whose parents had also dropped her off at
school and who had carried their daughter’s luggage into the school premises while
their daughter tagged behind. Amaka was startled when the young girl stopped, turned back to her and offered to
assist her with her luggage saying,
‘Let me help you with yours, my parents are carrying mine
for me.’ The girl said sweetly.
‘Really? You’d do that for me?’ Amaka has said in shock at
the girl’s goodness.
‘Sure…what are friends for?’ The girl had said sweetly.
‘But…I don’t know you…’ Amaka had said.
The girl looked a bit downcast so, Amaka quickly took back her statement.
‘I am sorry, forgive my manners, my name is Amaka and yes, let’s be friends.’
It was there that their friendship began, Amaka learned that
the girl’s name was Soluzo and they became inseparable, most times, spending
the holiday in each other’s homes even though between the two of them, Soluzo’s
house was more fun and relaxing while Amaka’s was always a chaos.
When it was time for them to obtain admission into the
university, they both got in together even though Soluzo went for Medicine and
Amaka went for Media, hence they didn’t graduate at the same time as Amaka was
about three steps further as she spent just four years in school while Soluzo
battled through endless medical school years. 
Years later, the friends got together again like old times when Amaka had started working with a
Television station while Soluzo was just through with her NYSC.
One day, while spending a short time in her friend’s place in Lagos, job
hunting, they had decided to go out to one of the new clubs in town to unwind.
That was where they met Odili, the truth was that two girls had seen him at the same place and
at the same time and judging through time differences and whose eyes strayed to
him first, Amaka was actually the first to spot him. Amaka loved tall hunky guys and Odili was her ‘speck’, and immediately she saw him she was out to get him. Soluzo saw him moments later
and their eyes met but then, being the shy one of the two friends, she turned away and spoke to Amaka about something
unnecessary.
Now, as the both of them stood there at the side of the
club, nursing their drinks, Odili who was talking to a group of friends, left their company
and started walking towards them. Amaka felt giddy with excitement while Soluzo
bit her lower lip and stared at the ground. Then, Odili approached and
introduced himself and there, it was obvious, who he wanted and it was none
other than Soluzo. Amaka was instantly jealous, she wanted him for herself and
all through her drive home with Soluzo, it was as though a knife was lodged in
her heart, twisting it inwardly and painfully. Soluzo sat in the vehicle
recalling the conversations between herself and Odili and was instantly shocked to see that he had pinged
her on BBM, there their conversations started as she waited a moment before replying and excitedly told her friend that the ‘hot’ guy they had met at the club was messaging her. Amaka had suddenly murmured something inaudible and turned up the volume of the car radio.
Amaka snapped back to present and fishing out her phone at the side of the sofa, she
scrolled through the picture icon and opening it, she stopped at Odili’s
picture as he smiled back at her through the screen. There and then, she made a
firm resolve that it would be over her dead body that her friend would get
married to Odili.
‘It’s not in my destiny to be the single one while bestie gets married, besides I finished before her, went for NYSC before her and even got a job before her…it’s only proper that I get married before her so…I am going to take a big step to ruin their love, once and for all and this time, I’ll get it right!’
Amaka said.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here