“Chai Onochie na you?” I asked,
my eyes suddenly alive. I didn’t know the rent was going to expire so soon.
“Who e go be before?” Onochie
asked as he pushed the door open and stepped into the empty room which Janet
had moved out of.
“How every na?” I ask, trying
to sound friendly.
Onochie stared at me with
unfriendly eyes and hissed, he turned to inspect the room, grunting at leakage
marks and at the dirty walls. I really do not know why I never dated Onochie, ‘I
should have’, I told myself. Now, I was in a fix and I had nowhere to go. I
stared at the lanky young man with a bulging stomach and tried to imagine
myself with him but disgust clouded my gaze. Even though I had nothing, I had
taste.
“So…shebi you know say, night
nor go catch you for hia.” Onochie turned to regard me. He was wearing a faded
singlet paired with brown trousers, a neck tie and a dusty looking coat. Anyone
who saw him on the way would think he was a mad man.
“I know…but err…Onochie…na wah
for you ooo…since I return, you never greet me proper.” I say trying to make
light of the situation.
“Na me go greet you or na you
go greet me? Onochie nor dey greet ashawo…na gials wey get respect, na dem
Onochie dey greet. Nor be girl wey her body don reach everywhere.”
Before today, I would have
taken this as an insult and perhaps insulted his life but now, I needed his
favour badly. I swallowed the insults and continued talking.
“Abeg…beg ya papa make im get
patience for my mata…I go pay next week.”
“You never hear say my papa don
go village? Him carry my mama and him other wife. Na me be only son, so…na me
dey incharge of his business and this house, and this house na part of de
business.”
“Ahh…Onochie…so you don be big
man…you for tell me na…make I wash am for you.” I praise him.
Onochie smiles crookedly and
says,
“Wetin you wan use wash am? Abi
na ya dorty nyash you wan use? I nor dey roll with babes like you again…dat era
don pass teh teh…”
“All de insult wey you dey
thruway for my body so…you don forget say I be ya wife dat year?” I say still
trying to sound civil.
Onochie ignores me, he walks to
the window and inspects the broken window glass.
“Come ooo…Senorita or abi na
Seniority, you go repair dis window ooo…which kain problem you bring come hia
ehn? I dey go work, when I come back ehn, I wan see correct window hia plus my
one thousand five hundred naira for last month rent. You don hia me so?”
“Abeg…Onochie abeg…I nor get
wia I go see de money…abeg…” I kneel in tears before him.
Onochie was obviously on top of
the world at the sight of me kneeling before him and tearing up.
“My name na Oga Onochie…from
now on…I nor wan hia dat ya dorty mouth call my name anyhow…” He warned.
“Yes sir…but abeg…wetin you
want make I do na? I nor get anything…even pin…I nor get…”
“If you nor get anything, sell
yaself give pesin…anyway, you fine so…” Onochie said and without ending the
statement, he stormed out of the room.
*****
That afternoon, with the aid of
the primary school children in the compound, I came up with a plan. It involved
paper, pen marker and a rope, and even though I had no money to buy these
items, the children were kind enough to give me what they had. We created a
sign which hung at my both my front and back and it read:
BUY
ME! SENORITA FOR SALE!
I paraded the whole area with
the placard and I found myself being accompanied by people who were astonished
at the signs on my body. Many read it aloud and laughed, some shook their heads
in pity while a few others were kind enough to press some small change into my
palms. With the money, I bought biscuit and pure water which was officially my
meal of the day. As I paraded the streets in my signs, I couldn’t help but
wonder if life would have turned out differently for me if I had stayed on with
Madame or all the other people that crossed my path over the past few months. I
was still pondering on my life when one car stopped right in front of me and
the window slid down to reveal a very familiar face.
“Senorita!” The man in the car
gasped.
“Oga Solo! Solo! Na you?” I
shouted.
“What is happening? Are you
doing some sort of street rally? Is it rag day?” He asked, still in his car.
I take in his appearance, good
car, healthy skin, Solo looked very fresh and good-looking.
“Wetin you dey do for this
side?” I ask.
“I drive for a company not too
far from here and I have accommodation around this area too. Where have you
been? What have you been doing? You don’t look so well…”He started.
“Oga Solo…na one thousand five
hundred I dey find so…Oga Onochie don promise say he go send me comot from im
house if I nor pay him money.” I cry.
Solo instantly dips his hand
into his pocket and brings out two thousand naira which he hands to me.
“Take this and pay whatever
rent that you are owing. Where do you stay? Tell me the address so that after
work today, I can come and pay you a visit.”
I quickly spill my address
quickly and Solo jots it down.
“Oga Solo…na you save me ooo…God
bless you…I dey sorry for everything wey I do…even wetin I do to ya friend
Anna.” I say.
“Don’t worry…all that is past
now…you can’t help it to be you, Senorita! And I can’t hold that against you.
Anna is fine but we are not together anymore, I have a new girlfriend and her
name is Gladys.”
“I go come see una sometime…u
hear.” I say as I cradle the money he has given me in my palms.
We bade our goodbyes and he
zooms off. So happy with the money that I have received, I dance round the
street and walk quickly towards my street. That was when I heard the snickers
from the young boys, they were saying,
“Senorita for sale!”

Angry that they dared insult
me, I kicked my slippers in the air and ran towards them intent on fighting
them to the finish.

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