It was a Saturday morning, the dining
table was littered with dirty dishes and crumbs of leftover food, a young girl
in her late teens wiped the table surface hard while muttering under her
breath.
“This children ehn…na wah ooo,
na so dem leave dorty for table anyhow. Dem mama sef na witch why she come leave
dem commot na? Dis kain thing, I never see o.”
She startled when she heard the
door slam shut. Chioma walked into the dining room while searching frantically
for something.
“Grace did you see my phone?”
“You get phone?” Answered the
girl in disgust.
“What’s your problem?”
“My problem be say, na only
washer girl I be, una papa no dey pay me to sweep house, he no pay me to clean
dorty. To add sand join my garri ehn, as e dey commot im tell me make me no go
anywhere sake of say, na only una dey house.”
“Really? Did my dad go out?”
“Before nko?”
“I didn’t hear his car drive
away, it must have been when I was in the bathroom.”
“Na u sabi.”
“Okay, go ahead and wash the
clothes, leave the tidying up to me, forget about babysitting, my brothers and
I will take care of ourselves.”
“Abi ooo, thank you, make I go
wash una cloth. Shebi you don pack cloth for basket?”
“Daddy’s clothes are on his
bed, Thomas, Ekene and Zubby’s clothes are in the basket, mine are in my wardrobe.”
The maid left the dining room, as
soon as she left, Chioma’s little brothers ran into the dining room in noisy
shouts as they played a small game of Indian warriors.
“Will you guys shut up already?
Thomas, where is my phone?” Shouted Chioma.
“Do you have a phone?”
“Of course.” Answered Chioma.
‘Isn’t it the phone daddy
bought for all of us?”
“Who is all of us? Look at
these little rats, what do you take me for? Your mate?”
“Leave us alone jor….” Whined
Zubby who was the youngest of the four.
Chioma rushed to him and
slapped him on the face, Zubby cried in pain and fell to the floor in tears.
“If you love yourselves, you
will bring back that phone, now!”
“But…Daddy said we should hold
on to it in case he calls.” Said Ekene quietly.
The look Chioma gave him
chilled him to the bones and he quickly ran to fetch the phone and gave it to
his sister. Thomas quietly shrugged and sat at the dining table.
“You guys will clear up that
table you messed up, or else, I might just make life hell for the three of
you.”
The boys scampered to do her bidding
while Chioma sat on one of the dining room chairs and dialed Queen’s number.
The phone let loose its usual caller tune and after ringing for a while, it
stopped, Chioma kept on dialing. Even though Queen had not contacted her after
her outburst on Monday at the shopping mall, Chioma still wanted her as a
friend. Though she felt sad that Queen never called to apologize or ask her how
she was doing regarding the bra and her period, Chioma could not hold a grudge
against her. She was interrupted from her thoughts when Grace burst into the dining
room as though chased by an animal.
“Heeey my eyes don see wahala
ooo, I don enter.” She screamed hysterically.
Chioma startled and sat up
incredulously.
“What happened Grace? Why all
the noise?”
“Chioma, so you don start flow
flow abi, you don dey wear brassiere sef, abi no be wetin I see for inside ya
wardrobe?”
“Please don’t ask me that
question.”
“You be dorty, see ya pant wey
dey inside basket, na so so flow flow full am, even ya brassiere don change
colour, abegi I no go wash am lie lie.”
Chioma shrugged embarrassed and
speechless as her brothers hung on to every word, she turned to them and
ordered them back to their chores.
“What’s your business? Have you
finished the chores I assigned you?” Addressing Grace she said; “Please wash
them for me, I promise to give you all my pocket money for the week, don’t tell
my Dad about what you saw.”
“God forbid, even the mama wey
born my mama go wake up from grave if I use hand touch am, the small wey I see
don do me to go baff for stream. E concern me if you no want tell your papa?
Abeg carry ya kwanta commot jare.”
“Okay, I’ll wash it, just go
and do your job.”
“Me, I don tire for this house,
this una way no be am at all. How pesin go leave im yakata for basket, come say
make I wash am. Na woman you be ooo, you no dey shame.” Shouted Grace as she
walked out of the dining room.
“Don’t insult me Grace, please
mind you business.” Retorted and angry Chioma as worriedly stared at the phone
in her hands; ‘where in the world was Queen?’

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