Rita was at the market watching her beans grind, her mind
went to the times she actually had a good life. She remembered her childhood
years, playing with her relations and friends at Warri, she remembered her
secondary school education at FGGC Warri and how much fun she had with the
girls in her class, she recalled her days at the National Youth service camp
and how smooth her life had been back then. Yes, she had had worries but the
typical worries of any twenty seven year old. Now, she was a shadow of herself,
she had taken a look at herself at the mirror this morning and almost wept in self-pity,
she was gradually turning into an old miserable woman as she could see lines of
fatigue and stress surround her eyes. She was no longer the bubbly youth she
used to know since she and Chuka begun experiencing problems. She hadn’t even
bought data in her phone or chatted with her friends in what seemed like
forever, she felt so sad.

“Madam….Hadjia….” The man at the grinding mill called
out to her.
Her mind wasn’t there, she was staring at the grinding
machine unflinchingly.
“Hadjia! Madam! Excuse me!” The man said, this time tapping
her on the arm.
“Oh…I’m sorry…did you?” She started not know what to
say.
“I have grinded your beans….your money is fifty naira.”
Rita brought out a fifty naira note from her purse and
handed it to him. Picking up her bags of food items, pots, stove and the like,
she made her way to the house. Formerly she would have taken a cab but money
was too tight as she had no idea where tomorrow’s meal would come from, so she
hoisted the bag containing the stove and the pot on her head and carried the
food stuff on her hands, trudging the long distance to the house on foot.
Chuka was at home, lying on the floor and looking at the
ceiling, it was so surprising how his life had changed dramatically. He was
still lying down on the ground when a woman pushed open the door to the house,
entering the room. Chuka wanted to say ‘wrong room’ to the intruder but stopped
short when he realized that it was his wife, Rita. She looked so unlike herself
bearing the heavy load on her head and hands.
“What’s all the load for?” He asked sitting up.
Rita walked into the room and set the load carefully on the
ground.
“If I don’t hustle, I doubt we’ll eat.” She spat.
“Hey…I am hustling too…so stop acting like you’re the
only one working hard.”
“Really? Hustling? While still lying on the ground? Hustling
you say?”
“Rita, don’t get on my nerves.”
“Really? Don’t get on your nerves? Are you serious right
now?”
“I’m not ready to argue, I need to go have my bath and leave
this house.” Chuka said getting up and leaving the room.
Rita arranged the stuff she had bought from the market and
left the room, she was pressed and needed to use the toilet. The walk to the
toilet was not a pleasant one as she had to pass through the corridors of
people’s rooms, enduring stares on the way. She reached the toilet, a small
cubicle built with planks and zinc and noticed that she had to stand in line as
many other tenants were on the queue, she looked at the line of tenant buckets
on wait list and turned back, she knew that spending time waiting would only
delay her moi moi making.
*********
Bode was knotting his tie before the mirror, the look of
pure grief on his face when Tosin walked up to him and snaked her arms around
his chest.
“I know you trusted her…liked her even…but you forget so
easily that good things do not always come so easily, there’s always a catch to
everything.”
“Good bye Tosin or you might miss your flight.” He said
walking away from the mirror to pick up his bag leave the room.
“Have a nice day at work darling…” Tosin said.
As soon as he left, Tosin began to laugh, it was a slow
mirthless laugh. Her phone rang and she quickly picked her call.
“Hey babe…where are you?” Priscilla’s voice rang out.
“Hey dear…I’m in Lagos ooo, on my way back to Abuja today.”
“Lagos? How come I knew nothing about this?”
“I came to tidy up some things….” Tosin said quickly.
“Without informing me? What am I to you? A silly Abuja woman
who needs attention?”
“I didn’t say that I just…”
“Don’t even try defending yourself. You disgust me!” Priscilla
said and hung up.
Tosin looked at the phone in shock, a chilly fear gripped
her spine and she quickly hurried to the bathroom to have her bath, wishing she
had booked her flight for earlier.
*********
Jumoke was at home, moping about the house, she felt so
terrible and very ill, her mother took one look at her and heaved a heavy sigh.
“Wetin me and you talk concerning dis issue about married
men?”
Jumoke suddenly burst into tears.
“I should have followed your advice mom, but I didn’t and
now I am so sad…” Jumoke bawled.
“No work today?”
“There is but…I can’t face him.”
“Why?”
“His wife revealed to him that I was her former PA and that I
had sworn to destroy her family. Me! Jumoke! I promise that  I never intended to do that…”
“Jumoke! I nor understand wetin dey do you at all. You know
say since ya papa die, na only you and me dey work hard to make sure say food
dey for on top table. Why you wan spoil everything wey we work for? Dis one way
you siddon for house, dem fit sack you or dem nor fit sack you?”
“Dem fit….” Jumoke started.
“Oyinbo people talk say pesin nor dey mix business with
pleasure. So, sake of say you and ya oga for office dey friend, you wan dey
miss work anytime una quarrel?”
Jumoke looked at her mother.
“I called in sick, I sent the Human Resources executive a
message.”
“Jumoke! Jumoke! How many times I call you?”
“Two times ma…”
“I take God beg you…nor thruway dis job wey God give you,
e get plenty graduates for outside wey dey struggle dey find work.” Her mother
said standing up to leave.
“But mom…you haven’t said anything about me and him…”
Jumoke started.
“Dem don use hammer slap you before? Abi you don dey craze?
Wetin you want make I advice you? Make you go beg am? Or make you go dey
explain yaself to am? Who you think say he go believe? You or him wife wey he
don marry tey tey. Watch yaself ooo….mind yaself ooo…” Her mother said and
left the room.
Jumoke curled on the bed and began to cry.
********
Bode walked into the office as pissed as ever, he got to the
office and noticed that Jumoke wasn’t at her desk. Immediately he entered his
office, he placed a call to the Human Resources department.
“Good morning sir…”
“I haven’t seen my personal assistant this morning.”
“She called in sick sir…”
“Find me a replacement today.” Bode said.
“Yes sir, the general manager is out on sick leave for a
week, I’ll send you his PA.” The Human Resources manager said.
“Good.” Bode said and hung up. If Jumoke wanted to run, let
her run off, he thought, it all proved to him that she was guilty as charged.
If she wasn’t, she’d have come to work today and faced him with the truth,
instead, she’d decided to play the injured party.
*********
Rita placed the moi moi in the cooler she had bought from
the market and hoisted it on her head. The moi moi tasted a bit burnt because
the stove had burned mercilessly and she really didn’t know how to regulate it.
She carried her moi moi out and around the vicinity shouting, ‘Fresh moi moi
for sale’, some people stopped her and bought as she sold a piece for thirty
naira, however a group of people who called themselves council members stopped
her and asked for her ticket.
“I don’t have a ticket…” Rita said in a shaky voice.
“You must have a ticket to sell in this area…” One of the
men said.
“How much is the ticket?” She asked.
“Two hundred naira per week.”
“Ha! I have only sold one hundred and fifty naira worth of
moi moi…” She said in a pleading voice.
“Well, you’ll have to give us two hundred naira worth of
goods or you go home and stop selling…” One of the men said.
Rita felt so bad, she brought down her cooler of moi moi and
watched as they greedily took wraps of moi moi from the cooler, they were so
greedy that some of them took as much as two wraps. By the time they were done,
she had about ten wraps left, she felt like screaming but instead, she picked
her cooler, placed it on her head and continued to call out ‘Fresh moi moi for
sale’ with a hint of tears in her voice.

Rita’s mind flashed back to when she was working in the
ministry, a job she had held on to till Chuka got married to her and pressured
her to stop working there. She regretted that decision badly as if she hadn’t
stopped, she would have still been able to fend for herself. As she walked down
the streets with the cooler on her head, she made up her mind that with the
little money she had, she’ll take a cab to Garki tomorrow in search of a job.
She had had enough of the hawker’s life.
To be continued tomorrow…

8 COMMENTS

  1. And Jumoke has lost her job, Omase o.
    Rita see where ur quest to be Mrs somebody has landed you? You of all people should have known that karma would deal with Chuka for his wickedness.

  2. This episode is so so sad. I really don't care at all about Tosin and Priscilla but I hope Susan gets a second chance under supervision and that Rita wakes up from this horrible dream. Great job Ada. You got me in the feels.

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