On a bench, Iya Kpati picked her beans when Mama Chinedu dragged her feet to her spot, Mama Chinedu yawned and sat,
Iya Kpati: “Mama Shinedu welcoming!”
Mama Chinedu yawned again,
Mama Chinedu: “Tank you o, my sister!” she yawned again.
Iya Kpati: “Ah ah? Dis wan you are doing dis,” she mimicked a yawn, “shey you wantu swallowing somebody ni?”
Mama Chinedu: “Nne, tire I tire o!”she looked at her tray, “Na beans you dey pick?”
Iya Kpati nodded,
Iya Kpati: “eh eh o! It’s football I dey played,” pointing to her legs, “You know see shoes and hear whizul?”
Mama Chinedu: “Na wa fo you o!”
Continued picking her beans,
Iya Kpati: “No bi you dey ‘ask quayzon?” Mama Chinedu sighed ignoring Iya Kpati, yawning Iya Kpati drew her attention to Mma Kalu who had just come outside by twitching her mouth, “see your fillage pezin, Momo Kalu!”
Mama Chinedu greeted her in Igbo,
MmaKalu: “Oho thank you, my sister!” wore her glasses and she flipped open a religious book on her hand with the title, “How to Fight your Enemies!”
Iya Kpati whispered,
Iya Kpati: “Momo Kalu she dey harsh o! shey you say she don retire?”
Mama Chinedu: “Hmmm, she bi laik pepper o! she bi our first village female tisha!”
IyaKpati: “ Ogah o!”
Caroline entered the compound dangling a leather bag and whistling an Igbo song, she greeted Iya Kpati and Mama Chinedu,
Caro: “ Good afternoons,ma!”
They chorused, “ehen… thank you!” she walked to Mma Kalu and greeted kneeling down,
Caro: “Good afternoon, mama!” she greeted in Igbo but was given a deaf ear, again she greeted,
MmaKalu: “Mtcheeeeewwwww!” she gave a long hiss, “You’d better go and look for your mother,” she shoved pass her, entered inside the room ranting.
Caro stood like a chicken infected with Amyloidosis, tears gathered in her eyes.
IyaKpati and Mama Chinedu wore sullen faces,
IyaKpati: “Na wa bfo dis woman o!”
Mama was too disappointed to say a word. Caro fought tooth and nail with tears but it was a lost battle as the tears patrolled down her cheeks, but wiped it before she entered Precious room, that was her temporal home. Precious was asleep.
It was four o’clock in the evening, Caro set out to cook. A phone rang, it was Precious’, who was still enjoying the sleep she usually lacked at night, making up, you’d say.
Caro tapped her,
Caro: “Your phone is ring.”
With dim eyes, Precious, collected the phone and picked in a guttural voice, it was her younger sister, Bidemi,
Bidemi: “Good afternoon, aunty!” Bidemi was six years younger so she preferred calling her with the ‘aunty’ title.
Precious: “Owfa, love?”
Bidemi: “Far oo.”
Precious: “Ah, ah, what’s wrong ?”
Bidemi: “our landlady is breathing fire on us o! Saying we must renew our rent before the end of this month.”
She sat up while Caro continued cooking,
Precious: “ Hmmm. Recession no reach una side? You girls should try persuading her now!”
Bidemi: “We’ve done all we can but she isn’t ready to listen to any more excuses. She threatened to throw us out!”
Precious: “how much?” Bidemi told her the house rent was one hundred and forty thousand naira, but they were splitting it with her room mates, seventy each, “Okay, lemme see what I can do about it!”
Precioius was worried, she wanted to really stop that business but Bidemi’s school demand was too much. Sent a message on her phone to Alhaji Bello, her biggest client, “meet me in my guest inn tonight!” he had replied.
A plate of garnished Jollof rice was dropped before her,
Precious: “Ah-ah, Caro. You shouldn’t have bothered, na!”
Caro: “Noo, I must bother!”Precious smiled and took a spoon.
Precious: “Wow! Delicious!” she went for more, Caro smiled as she carried the flask she had filled with rice, “Where you dey go?”
Caro: “I go ,Mmma Karu prace! Give em food!” she said.
Precious sighed as Caro went out.
Kalu had, had a very long day, he was tired and sleepy. He tried control himself as the car sped off but he didn’t know when he dozed off on the shoulder of the lady sitting beside him, after five minutes he got up quickly and apologized to the lady, who understood with him. a very mild smile, she threw at him. Was it his mind playing tricks on him or he was just too tired? To him, the lady bore a close resemblance with Caro; looking at her face the thought of Caro came, instead of the pleasant smiles that accompany the thoughts, usually, he was worried. Something was amiss, he just knew it!
Caro met Mma Kalu preparing Egusi soup, greeted then spoke, Iya Kpati and Mama Chinedu were feasting on the beans Iya Kpati had cooked, a colossal bowl of beans and Garri stood in between them. Mma Kalu hissed and continued singing in low tone, Caro entered the room to drop the food she had brought for her. MmaKalu angrily breezed in and dragged Caro out.
Iya Kpati screamed,
Iya Kpati: “Ah ah! What’s wronging with her na! is dat how your pipo used to show hating in the public?” faced Mama Chinedu, who threw the spoon she was eating with.
Mama Chinedu: “Eh ehoo! No just insult my people for here o! mtchew! I no blame you na bicos I come folo you chop na!” she hissed again and left.
Iya Kpati: “Shiyo! Beg beg! Ele nu gborogboro!ah,” turned to look to Mma Kalu and Caro’s fight.
Before Caro could explain herself, Mma Kalu had slapped her as she sent the second slap, Kalu was just entering the compound,
Kalu: “What’s happening?” he ran in between Caro and his mother, she held the poor girl by the neck of the Big T-shirt, “Leave her now!” he pulled her hands off Caro.
Iya Kpati who was standing exclaimed,
Iya Kpati: “Ehen is good dat you come now! Jesu! Dis womaned o’ buru o!”
Mma Kalu stretched her hand to slap Caro, who was behind Kalu but he prevented her and she burst into tears, Caro couldn’t utter a word, tears ran down her face. Mama Chinedu hid behind her curtains watching,
Mma Kalu: “Kalu so you have turned against me with this witch eh?”
Caro: “Karu, I does nothing to her o!” managed to say, tears gathered in Kalu’s eyes, he was vexed at his mother.
Mma Kalu mimicked her,
Mma Kalu: “I have does nothing to her o!”
Kalu: “Mama you’re leaving my house this night!”
Mma Kalu and the rest were shocked; they had never seen him flare up before.
Mma Kalu left the next day, Kalu was bent on her departure the night she had slapped Caro,
Caro: “If Mma left your prace bicos of me. It wiri paining me. I not forgive myself! No! no!” she had told him.
Kalu felt terrible that he had chased his mother out of the house but he was left with no choice; she had gone too far. He explained that to Precious,
Kalu: “Mma had gone too far!”
Precious: “Eh but no matter what she is still your mother. I feel you owe her an apology.”
Kalu: “She pushed me to the wall!”
Precious: “Stop excuses joor. The right thing, man. Call her!”
He called her days after she had gone back. For the first time she refused to pick but later she did,he apologized and when she wanted to bring Caro’s issue he stylishly changed the topic.
After Mma had gone things went back to normal between the two lovers. They always spent time together most especially evenings. Kalu decided to get text books for her since she wouldn’t succumb to the idea of attending other things. Every evening he taught her, how to read, spell and write. It became their evening routine. She enjoyed it.
Caro: “Karu come an taught me na!” she’d remind him even when he was tired. It was an obligation to fulfill and he loved it.
Kalu: “Baby, it is Kalu, please come and teach me”. Kalu corrected her.
Caro: “ok..Karu, pliz come and teash me, biko Dim Oooh?” She’s getting it better this time around
Being jobless made Kalu unhappy; he wanted all the good things in life for Caro. Mr. Tanko wasn’t back yet. Kalu had gone to the head office after the expiration of the two weeks but he didn’t meet him. It was said that, he had extended his stay in France for Eclaire was covering African Fashion Week. Kalu couldn’t wait for Tanko to be back but he was told that they were moving their office to Lagos that same week.
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