Queen jogged around her
neighbourhood, it was a routine she made herself go through atleast thrice a
week. Now, she made up her mind to make jogging an everyday sport. It was a
Wednesday morning and since she still awaited admission into a higher school of
learning, she was practically idle.
The street was clear and quite empty except
for a few cars and bikes which zoomed past.  With her headset sandwiched to her ears and
her feet slapping the ground in rhythm, she focused her mind on past events.
Last Saturday was a breaking
point in her life, spending the whole day with Tunde was fun till things turned sour when Chioma decided to interrupt their little reverie. Of course
Tunde was the perfect gentleman, only occasionally did he ever touch her or
lightly kiss her cheek, which she enjoyed immensely. After Chioma’s hasty
departure from his house, she had begged Tunde to forgive Chioma’s
flaws, he had grown calm and given her a chaste kiss. After which they had both spent some
time in each other’s arms before calling it a day.
Now, as she jogged about her
paved street, she couldn’t help but smile at the feeling and emotions which
rushed through her, she loved Tunde with her whole heart and was determined to fight, to have
him by her side for the rest of her life.
She had just made the bend
towards her house when her phone rang, stopping to check the caller ID, she
grinned to see the name ‘Tunde baby’ on the phone screen. Sighing aloud she
picked the call and spoke into the receiver.
“Hey darling…What’s up?” She
asked sounding breathless.
“Just wanted to hear your sweet
voice.” He cooed at the other end.
“Oh stop it Tunde, you make me
blush.”
“Well…blushing shouldn’t be
new to the most beautiful girl in the world.”
“Oh….I’m flattered…how are you?”
“Missing you.” He replied.
“Really?”
“Yes baby…I am calling to see
if you could come by my place and have some fun.”
“Fun? How much fun?” She asked,
biting her lower lip and loving the feel.
“I want to spoil you rotten
today.”
“That sounds like real fun, but aren’t you supposed to be at work?”
“Hmm…let’s say I called in
sick.”
“You are such a bad boy…I hope
your boss doesn’t find out.”
They both shared a laugh and
without further ado, Queen was at home and in the shower within minutes. Less
than an hour later, she had alighted from a bike and entered Tunde’s compound,
not for once did she think of calling Chioma or apologizing over letting her
leave Tunde’s house in such haste. She was too carried away with the feelings
of love which moved through her veins.
Tunde’s house had taken a new
look, the small sitting room space was tastefully furnished with new gadgets,
she smiled in approval and appreciation, moments later, Tunde walked out of his
room looking dapper, he smiled and went over to give her a hug. Their embrace lasted a
while as they clung to each other like two wet rats. After a while they
disentangled and Tunde gave her a good look, she smiled and twirled around in
circles awaiting his praises.
“Sweetheart…you take my breath
away.”
“Do I?” She asked.
“Yes.”
“How much breath do I take from
you?” She whispered.
Tunde showed her how much by
giving her a long kiss, Queen was overwhelmed by the feeling, she clung to him
desperately and could hardly catch her breath when it was over.
“I never knew your boss gave
you a raise, such beautiful gadgets you have here.”
“I bought them all because of
you.”
“Sure?”
“Yes.”
“I love that fancy table lamp, it’s
so beautiful…”
“You can have it.”
“Seriously?” she gasped.
“Anything for my love.” He
replied.
“I am so glad Tunde, this will
be the very first gift you would present to me…it’s so romantic.”
“Hmmm…I like the sound of that.”
“Yeah…I would place it next to
my bed and think of you every night.”
They both laughed and hugged
again, Tunde surprised her by taking her outside the house and whisking her
into a small car, Queen was so thrilled, when she asked if the car belonged to
him, he told her that it was his friend’s.
For four hours, they drove
round Lagos, stopping to buy drinks and snacks and hanging out in the car, the
sun was hot as the it shone brighter than ever but they didn’t mind as they
enjoyed themselves to the full. Queen felt fulfilled, she loved the life she
lived, she was officially a big girl. A girl who has a boyfriend that
spoiled her silly. Life was fun.
********************
Chioma sat in her class and
counted her misfortunes, things had taken the turn for worse. After the mock
faint she displayed before her father on Saturday, she had gained harsh
bruises from the fall. ‘Fainting wasn’t easy’ and she vowed never to try it
again. Queen had not called her and seriously, Chioma felt so bad, she had
always considered Queen to be a treasured friend and the only real friend she
ever had but it was obvious that Queen didn’t see her in that light. Since
Queen could not contact her after the nasty episode of Saturday, she could take
her friendship to the birds, she told herself.
Saturday was so far recorded as
the worst day of her entire life as she had succeeded in giving away, almost
everything her family owned. Daddy was not happy with her, even after she had
been revived and given water to drink after her mock fainting spree, his eyes
showed disappointment and since then she had hung her head in shame. The neighbours had immediately said it was a case of ‘419’ and the police had been invited,
they had questioned her for a short while and she hastily supplied them with
answers. Some of her neigbours blamed it on ‘Jazz’ ( a kind of juju) and while they
claimed that Chioma was a smart girl who could never be fooled, she wove up
tales on how her eyes turned while the ‘419’men spoke to her and people nodded
in agreement that she was not only jazzed but hypnotized as well. Hours after
they left, she still felt a bit woozy and a little disorganized, her father prepared dinner while trying to come to terms with his almost empty
house, Thomas refused to speak to her and he ganged up Zubby and Ekene as they were to eager to follow his steps. Home was a nightmare as after doing their homework, there was
nothing to do, the television was long gone and the realization finally sunk into
their heads. Their bad habit of running to the freezer to lick ice block was
over because the freezer had also been taken away.
Just this morning, as soon as
they finished preparing for school, her father received some kind of bad news
over the phone, as he shouted into his phone in anger, whoever was at the other
end of the line wasn’t silent either as they both exchanged words. Minutes
later they were in their father’s Honda car which had the bold name of his
company written on it, he drove them and dropped them off at school.
He even forgot to say goodbye and give them their pocket money for the day and
this made her brothers cry. As she walked them to the few blocks which led to
their primary school, their eyes were puffed and they had identical scowls on
their faces.
The bell signaling the end of
school for the day jolted her back to the present and she hastily packed her
books into her school bag. She walked to the school gate with her back pack and
quietly trekked the short mile to her brothers school, they were standing
beside their school gate waiting for her,
each with a frown on his face. She was tired, Grace who always came to pick
them up from school was nowhere to be seen and this was quite unusual of her,
horns blared from different corners and angles as people rushed to pick up
their kids from school. Six months ago, it was a different hustle for
them, their mother was around and she always took time from work to pick them
from school and drop them off at home or sometimes take them to work with her
for the rest of the day. It was fun then, there used to be much laughter in the
house until things took a downward turn and their mother left them
and even resigned from her job. Since she packed her things and left their
father, no one had set their eyes on her.
They stood at the school gate
waiting like four refugees, with tired looks on their faces while their stomachs
growled from hunger. Chioma took some change from her bag and bought some
biscuits for her brothers, Thomas didn’t accept the peace offering, instead he ignored it, Zubby and Ekene wanted to do same but hunger didn’t give them a
chance, the biscuits were already in their mouths faster than anyone could say
Jack. Their wait ended when they sighted their father walking
towards them with his briefcase in his hand, they were relieved and walked up
to meet him. Chioma was puzzled, where was her father’s car? She asked herself,
then mustering the courage she asked.
“Daddy, where is your car?”
“My company has it.”
“Why?”
“I was fired this afternoon.”

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