Ola heard the rap at her door and stood up from the bed to
open it, she was bored of sitting at home all day and doing nothing.

She opened the door and was shocked to see who her visitor
was.
“Good morning.” He greeted.
“Baba Tee…” She said.
“Yes, na me in flesh and blood. How you dey?” He asked,
flashing a smile at her.

“I…fine…I …fine…” She said repeating herself.
“I just come to…errm…” He looked around as though he
wanted to see if anyone was looking. “I just come to give you dis small gift.”
He said handing a black nylon bag to her.
Ola accepted the gift, it was hot, and it smelt like food.
“Na moi moi…my mama na legend for moi moi.” He said with a
smile.
“Thank you.” Ola greeted him with a smile.
“Tell me, how old you be sef?”
“Eh?” She asked.
“I dey sorry if you dey offended by my queshion but I wan
know how many years you be?”
“Seventeen.” Ola said in a tiny voice.
“Na wah ooo…how you come agree to marry dat old man ehn?”
Ola looked at him not knowing what to say, she understood
his questions but she didn’t know how to put her answers into words that he
could understand.
“Thank you.” She said again.
He smiled at her and said.
“I will see you when I return…but…you know say, you nor
go tell dat ya old man say we be friends. D guy fit get jealous.”
Ola nodded in affirmative.
*************

As Mickey worked, she watched the students leave the school
with side eyes. Soon, she made him out in the crowd. He was walking towards the
gate with his bag at his back but soon stopped and turned around. She quickly
looked away and busied herself with carrying the nylon bag full of waste. She
had just dumped it inside the old tin bin when she heard a voice behind her.

“Hello…”
She turned around and her heart flipped.
“Thank you so much for the help today.” Gbenga said.
“No shakes…” She said, surprised that her voice sounded
steady.
“I feel guilty that you’re serving punishment for helping me
out.”
“Don’t be. I should have reported the matter to the school
authorities.” She said surprised at herself for sounding reasonable.
“Is there any way I could help you out with the work?” He
asked.
“No…oh no! I errm…I can handle it…thank you.” She said
quickly.
“Are you sure?” He asked.
“I am used to doing jobs like this but I doubt that you
are.” Mickey said.
“Well…” He said and smiled.
Mickey was dumbstruck, he had the most beautiful smile she’s
ever seen in her short life.
“My name is Gbenga, what’s your name?” He asked politely.
“Mickey….everyone calls me Mickey but the teachers call me
Ibinabo…”
“Mickey…as in Mickey mouse?” Gbenga asked.
Mickey smiled.
“Yes, Mickey like Mickey mouse.”
“That’s a cool name.” He said.
They both stood there, not knowing what to say. Suddenly, someone
shouted Gbenga’s name and he turned around.
“I have to go, that’s uncle Soji.” He said.
“Your uncle?” Mickey asked.
“Well…we’re not related but he’s been in my family for
years. He’s my dad’s driver so…he’s here to take me home.”
Mickey’s mouth hung open, she hadn’t guessed wrong, this boy
was from a rich home.
“See you tomorrow…” Gbenga said and waved at her.
Mickey stood there, watching him leave.
*************

Chekwube walked home replaying everything that had been
taught in class. That was what she loved to do- she loved to replay what the
teachers taught in her head all the time. She loved this school and even though
some of its students were rowdy and unruly, it was still a very good school
with good teachers.

She walked into the compound with her bag and saw two of
Mickey’s brothers sitting on the small fence and smoking.
She didn’t know why she loathed Mickey’s family-except her
mother- they were very wild and acted like hoodlums. She made her way towards
the house when one of them shouted out a command to her.
“Stop dia!”
Chekwube stopped and turned to regard them.
“You nor dey greet?”
“Good afternoon.” She greeted.
“So, if I nor tell you you nor go know. Wetin dem dey teach
una for school?” One of them spat.
Chekwube didn’t respond, she just stood there.
“Nor worry, you don enter Lagos…you go soon use eye see de
tin wey you never see for ya life.” He said.
Chekwube turned around and headed into the house. Soon, she
was knocking at the door.
“Who is it?” Her sister asked.
“It’s me…” Chekwube answered.
The door was unlocked and Chekwube walked in.
“Your school closes late ooo…” Ola said in their native
language.
“It closes at three…”
“Isn’t that late?” Ola asked.
Chekwube shrugged and started removing her rubber sandals.
“You should remove those sandals of yours outside.”
Chekwube didn’t respond, she was still angry at the men who’d
stopped her outside.
“What is wrong with you? Why is your face like that?” Ola
asked.
“It’s those men outside…Mickey’s brothers. I hate that her
family, except their mother.” Chekwube said.
“What do you mean by you hate them?”
“Can you imagine that one of that girl’s brothers just stopped
me outside and started talking rubbish?”
Ola didn’t speak.
“I hate them and their lifestyle.”
“Are you God? Why are you judging them?” Ola spat in
defensive.
“What? Why are you defending them? Do you know them?”
Chekwube asked, looking at her sister.
“I don’t know them but I’ve learnt not to judge a book by its
cover.”
“Ola! You love judging people.” Chekwube said laughing. “You
can’t suddenly change overnight.”
“Stop talking rubbish and change your uniform so that we can
cook.”
“Cook? Haven’t you cooked yet?”
“Do I look like your cook? Of course, I was waiting for
you….I didn’t want to cook alone.”
“Ola…why? I am hungry, I didn’t eat anything in school and
the only food in my system is the one I ate before I left this morning.”
Chekwube said almost near to tears.
“Are you going to sit here and complain or come with me to
the kitchen?”
Chekwube sighed.
“Go ahead, I’ll be with you shortly.”
Ola nodded and left the room while Chekwube grumbled.

 

To be continued tomorrow….

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