As soon as I stepped into oga landlord’s house, some unfamiliar sensation nagged at the back of my mind but I ignored it completely. Even if oga landlord’s wives would not be in the greatest of moods when they see me, I was ready to take my chance.
While I was in Solo’s house, I had observed the landlord and his family. He lived with his two wives and about three children or grandchildren who were really so young. I used to wonder then if he didn’t have any older children but my doubt were assuaged minutes ago as I had seen some pictures of young ladies and men on the walls of the house which suggested that he had grown children.
Minutes after I entered Oga Landlord’s palace as he addressed it I was shown to a very spacious and unkempt room. It was littered with strewn clothes and old newspapers. As soon as Oga landlord showed me in, he gestured to the bed where I readily sat on. It didn’t take time before action begun and as we sweated under the dusty covers of the bed, I couldn’t help but admire the strength of Oga Landlord despite his age.
Exactly two hours after I had entered my new home, the two wives came home from the market bickering and gossiping. I was at the kitchen carrying out my new duties as the newest wife in the house and thinking to myself ‘Chai! Na so Senorita turn landlord for Lagos ooo’.
I knew Iya Segun and Mama Jibunoh very well besides who wouldn’t? They were the women who made life difficult for most of the tenants in the house through their useless landlady schemes . Oga landlord had turned on the television in the sitting room with the volume so high and loud that it could deafen the deaf. I swayed to the heavy beat of the MTN advert on the television and hummed under my breath as I burned the eggs over the stove. I didn’t stop dancing when the two wives of the landlord walked into the kitchen with heavy market bags.
“Shio! Who be this?” Iya Segun asked aloud.
“Ahhh…Senorita! Who hire you come?” Asked Mama Jibunoh.
“Hire wetin? We talk say we want housegial?” Iya Segun boomed in her overly loud and manly voice.
I ignored the two women and continued frying the eggs and swaying to the loud sound coming from the television.
“Come ooo…Senorita! Oga Landlord hire you come?” Asked Mama Jibunoh.
I turned, stared at her and at Iya Segun and laughing softly, I continued turning the already blacked eggs in the pot.
“Ehhhnnn…you dey see this small gial? No be question wey Mama Jibunoh dey ask you so?” Iya Segun queried.
“Abegi hol am for dia? Shio…which kain question una dey ask?” I snap.
Mama Jibunoh and Iya Segun clean their eyes with the back of their palms and stare at me in shock.
“Wetin she dey yarn?” Iya Segun asked, shocked at my outburst.
“Wait ooo…Senorita…or wetin be ya name sef. Who give you de authority to run ya mouth for we front like tap?” Mama Jibunoh asked outraged.
“Mtcheewwww…” I hissed and proceeded to turn off the heat from the stove.
Iya Segun could not take it anymore, she stormed off, screaming her husband’s name at the top of her lungs.
“Baba Ayomide! Baba Ayo!” Iya Segun screamed.
Mama Jibunoh stood and looked at me pitifully.
“Na wetin Oga Landlord tell you? My dear…dis house no be place for young gial like you. Shebi you know say oga landlord get pikin wey big pass you, dis no be ya place at all.” She advised.
“If dis place nor be my place, na how it take consign you? Abi you never marry? Gials wey dey marry for dis Lagos boku…why my own go different?” I say.
Mama Jibunoh shook her head and stared at me till Iya Segun returned to the kitchen looking exasperated.
“Your husband nor go kill me. E talk say im wan marry dis ashewo!” Iya Segun says in anger.
“Marry? For which house? Dat man nor dey pity imself. Me I nor fit fight for man with this small pikin lai lai.” Said Mama Jibunoh as she walked away from the kitchen.
“You! You! Shebi you wan live for inside this house? Na for here you go know say, rat nor get place for inside house. I go do you sortee you go fly leave dis house.”
“Hehehe…see pesin wey wan drive me commot…abegi commot from my front.” I said rudely as I carried the frying pan and black burnt eggs out of the kitchen and headed towards my future-husband’s room.
As soon as I reached oga landlord’s room door, I mutter under my breath.
“Una wan chase Senorita commot…who sigh? My leg don waka enter dis house, e nor go ever comot again lai .lai.”
It was a Saturday evening and I had stayed in Oga landlord’s house for two full weeks. It was the steady banters between myself and his wives that got me upset. Iya Segun and Mama Jibunoh refused to let me enjoy my marriage to oga landlord and I was already getting fed up. Oga landlord and I hadn’t solemnized our togetherness but I wasn’t bothered. He was my husband all the same.
I was downstairs washing my clothes when one of the occupants of the compound walked up to me and said;
“Oga Solo dey pack commot for this compound. You don see wetin you cause? You dis gial sef, e be like say u get badluck nor be small.” The girl said and proceeded to walk away.
“Auntie abeg come.” I beckon to her.
The girl comes back and I quickly give her a slap. The shocked girl’s hands fly to her cheeks and she stares at me in shock.
“Why you slap me?” She asked in anger.
“You wan slap me back? Try am na…make my husband finish you and ya yeye family for this compound. Abeg waka comot for my front jare…yeye dey smell.” I warned.
The girl walked away still nursing her cheeks but my mind couldn’t stray from the words she uttered. What does she mean that Oga Solo was moving out of the house. I knew I had to find out for myself so I hastily left my clothes and went to Solo’s apartment.
His bags were outside and he was in the house conversing with some tenants. I heard their voices very clearly as though they were talking to me.
“Solo…you too dey cool ooo. All these while, I believe say dat gial Senorita be ya side chick. I nor know say una nor dey do at all.” Said one of the neighbours who was known for beating his wife every other night.
“Chei…you disappoint me ooo. Solo, so you mean say that gial use you do wayo. You sure say she nor dey target landlord since? Some gials dey use pesin to get to pesin. Gials of nowadays dey evil ooo…my guy, look yaself well. Look ya house sef. Na so you pack enter dis house? Dis gial chop you big time.” Said another neighbour whose drunken antics woke up the compound every night.
“Hmmm…I guess I over worked the good Samaritan in me this time. But all the same, I need to move on with my life and make sure that I’m never taken for a ride again.” Solo said.
“Abeg I fit take dis ya iron? My own don spoil and I nor get money to repair am.” Said the first neighbour.
“You can have it…it’s not as good as it used to be. Thank you guys for your help, I’ll be leaving now.” Solo said.
At that moment, I knew I had to either go inside the house and bid him a proper goodbye or turn and leave as I came. I quickly rushed into his house and the astonishment of the other men couldn’t have deterred me more.
“Solo.” I whispered.
“What are you doing here?” Solo asked in a pained voice.
The two men hurriedly left even though they were itching to listen to our conversation.
“I nor know say you dey pack commot…you for tell me.”
“Tell you what? So that you can run me dry as you did before. Sorry, but I was fooled once and I wouldn’t make that mistake again.”
“I just wan say thank you for everything you do for me. I know say you nor go believe me but if not for you ehn, I nor go know wia I for be. Even my sister from village, Janet, nor helep me like you.”
“This is medicine after death. You should have thanked me better by being smart and not allowing that useless swindler use you again the second time. But, why am I saying all this? I wonder why I’m crying over spilt milk. It’s all over.”
“I just wan tell you say, anything wey you wan make I do for you, I fit do am.”
Solo threw his head back and gave a loud shout of laughter.
“Please leave my house, I need to leave now and you’re in my way.”
“Abeg nor throway my thank you…” I continued but was interrupted my the loud shout of my name. It was the landlord.
“Senorita Baby!” Oga landlord screamed.
I could hear his wives laughter and insults as they heaped curses on him for procuring a woman much younger that they. They too mimicked my name as they added words like ‘oloriburuku’ to it.
“Abeg Solo…nor ever forget me ooo.” I said while trying to ignore the commotion going on upstairs.
Solo forced out a chuckle. “You ruined my life. How would I ever forget you?’
I took that as a positive response and turned to go but Solo’s words stopped me.
“Are you really going to live like this? As the bed mate of an old man who has lived his prime? My advice to you is, go out, work hard, make money and get an education, you need that.”
‘You dey insult me?” I ask.
“No…I’m telling you the truth. In a world like this, you can continue with your level of IQ. You need to be sharp, articulate and sensible. I’m sorry to say this but you are a very foolish girl Senorita. After all I did to make you an better person…” He trailed off.
“Solo… I come thank you ooo. I nor come to hear ya insults.” I finish off.
My name resounds again and this time I respond.
“I dey come ooo…my sugarcane.”
Oga Landlord had instructed me to give him a pet name and I had chosen ‘sugar cane’ since it’s one of the sweetest crop I’ve ever eaten.
Solo shook his head while I hurried upstairs to face the newest phase of my life. As I climbed up the stairs I said aloud.
“Senorita don give thanks, if e nor wan hear, na him palava…as for me, na to dey climb to d top be my own.”