Excerpt from a work in progress
The pain cuts through her vagina. She cringes secretly as she overturns the akara, bean cake, in the pan with a big size picker.
"Sisi give me akara hundred Naira."
"You get fried yam?"
"Fried plantain dey?"
"oya put fried potatoes inside nylon for me."
The chants multiply in the atmosphere but she is listening to none. Her mind is far away from her business. Last two nights, the flow of blood from her vagina was one she had never experienced before; not even her heavy menstrual flow could be compared to what she had experienced. Her bed was messed up with red liquid stains. She had dialed Ehi's number but changed her mind. He's the reason I'm going through this pain she thinks as she gradually recollects herself when a customer threatens to walk away if not responded to.
"do eje," she greets the woman in Esan dialect as she looks up at her and genuflects.
"Don't greet me sisi. Just put akara hundred Naira for me and let me leave," the woman scolds her.
Sisi put this. Sisi put that.
Customers had come to adopt the name "Sisi-put" for her business. She was a young girl in her early twenties. They saw her as a sisi rather than a mama; hence, the name Sisi-put other than Mama-put. The business was run in an open space with a large umbrella placed on a stand serving as a shade for customers.
Her name is Adesuwa.
kpri-kpri-kpri... Adesuwa's phone rings. It's Ehi. She ignores the call on her Itel keypad phone that the students of Ambrose Ali University, beside which she sells her fries, often called chinko, Fake phone. She thinks of Orobosa, her first and only love. She used to wonder if he was dead or alive until she heard a rumour about him from his neighbour recently. It's three years now since he left for Europe; no calls, texts, or maybe even letters. Oromonye has started school already- Kindergarten one. He has begun making meaningful speeches amidst his babbles like: mom-m, i pit it i your (h)ouse? Sometimes, he asks, "mom-m, where tati?
At first, she responded with "he will soon come back from work, you hear?" But now, his frequent questioning about the whereabouts of his father has made her start to respond with "he is in Europe."
"In Yuyope!" he now screams excitedly to friends whenever he is asked "where's your daddy?"
Adesuwa often regrets that Oromonye does not know his father, Orobosa. Well it's not my fault she thinks aloud while serving the next customer fried plantain. The customer tilts his head backward wearing a who-is-she-talking-to look.
"No o. Not you sir." She says this in her dialect.
She wiggles her head briefly. She is beginning to get used to talking to herself, even in public. She still feels the pain between her legs.
"Don't remove my baby," Ehi had warned her. She was three months pregnant. She heard that Orobosa was returning to Nigeria very soon, so she took the decision to abort the child in her womb, in order for him not to meet her carrying another man's child.
Orobosa had proposed to her before making any plan to travel abroad. One day, he announced to her while she was six months pregnant of Oromonye that he had met a 'pusher' who would cross him over to Italy via the Mediterranean Sea. He promised he would send for her once he was settled. She pleaded with him to stay but he insisted that it was his golden opportunity to get established in owebo as people in Ekpoma fondly called the white man’s land.
"Only one year and I'll be back to marry you formally, I promise."
One year turned to two, and now, three.
Ehi was Adesuwa's regular customer at Sisi-put. She liked him but she kept her hopes up for Orobosa's return. He ran his masters degree programme at Ambrose Ali University beside which she trades. He worked with a construction company and at the same time, managed his father’s properties which were leased to tenants. On the noon she fell into labour, Ehi was in a chit-chat with her when her water broke. He witnessed Oromonye's birth down to his first step and his first day at school. Oronmoye's first word was "o-ku" after Adesuwa had pointed Ehi to him as "uncle" in a native accent on several occasions.
She turned down his offer to assist with her tertiary education so that she could gain a University degree. She also turned down his offer to establish Sisi-put into a refectory. He had the financial status that could make him the heart desire of any young lady in Ekpoma but Adesuwa, though she blushed whenever he was around her, feared Orobosa’s jealousy. Despite Orobosa’s absence, thoughts of his rage when he sighted her in a conversation with another man, or when she received a gift that was not given to her by him haunted her.
"Orobosa will take me to owebo when he returns," she boasted to him, "he will send me to oyibo school and open oyibo business for me in ItAly." She stressed the 'A' in the word Italy.
She was never sure of what she was saying but she was just one who was good at hoping. After all, her pastor, Prophet Osagie always prophesied whenever 'the spirit came upon him' that a man would return from owebo to his wife very soon.
"mmph... ah...yeah...I see him comminng. Yes! The plane is landing, is landing, is landing landing landing. I see a woman jumping for joy to meet him. Yes! mmphh... holy! "
That was the order in which Prophet Osagie prophesied.
"Aaammmeeenn!" Many women would shout in response which often made Adesuwa wonder how many of them had their husbands abroad who had abandoned them there in Ekpoma. Somehow she was sure she was the one for whom the revelation was meant.
Until now, she has not wavered in her hopes. She, sometimes, dreams of him arriving at the front yard of her small one room apartment tapping lightly on the door while she runs to open it and flings herself on him in embrace heartily. In the dream, Oromonye would say "tati tati tati... see my tati fiom Yuyope." See my daddy from Europe. And when she wakes up, she would start to cry because it is only a dream.
She is seated on a bench. Her waist aches from standing for hours turning potatoes, plantain, akara and yam in the large and deep black pan she often uses. She places her right hand on her lap close to her vagina, where she feels the pain and starts to wonder the extent of damage around there. The abortionist, Ebosele, had penetrated into her with a hanger which he stretched out, dismantling its shape. The ironic smells of blood in the ramshackle premise of the abortionist, the filthy surrounding, and the obscure lighting; the silent screams of other women who had visited the him before inflicted fear in her. Tales of ladies who died during the process of terminating their pregnancies had been rumored but a few testified of Ebosele’s expertise.
Adesuwa had switched off her phone in order not to be talked out of her decision to terminate the pregnancy.
"Aaarggh...!" She screamed again and again picturing Orobosa in her head as the abortionist whirled the hanger inside her. It was extremely painful but the fact that she was doing it for him was her assurance that she was doing the right thing. She could almost swear that she saw the gates of heaven as she felt the hanger destroy the fetus in her womb. Poor thing. But at that moment, there was no mercy in her heart for the unborn soul.
She would not have had sex with Ehi if not for the fact that she could not stop fantasizing love making with Orobosa. Sometimes, she would cover herself from head to toe with a bed sheet and start to moan imagining that she was in bed with Orobosa who was making her giggle like a child. She would fondle with every sensitive part of her. It was her addiction. When masturbation became insufficient to satisfy her longing, she paid Ehi a visit and requested to use his toilet. She came out naked after a few minutes, knowing he would not resist her. After that day, she allowed him willingly whenever he wanted to explore her, imagining he was Orobosa until she realized she was pregnant.
"Marry me. Let's raise Oromonye and this unborn child together. Please don't say no." Ehi's eyes were soiled with tears. She had never seen a man cry for love before. She said yes. Maybe out of love. Maybe out of pity. They made plans to marry but the news of Orobosa's return changed everything.
kpri-kpri-kpri. Her chinko rings again. She picks the call this time and slams the news of her abortion into Ehi's ears.
"Stay away from me. I'm Orobosa's wife."
It's dusk and she feels tired. She heads home with Oromonye strapped at her back and the pan on her head. She smells hope in the air. At the entrance of the passage leading to her small room is Orobosa and his neighbour standing in wait for her return. He is looking fresh, wearing a designer's senator and a pair of clean palms. His hair and beards are well shaven. His complexion brighter.
Adesuwa looses her grip from the pan. It drops from her head, tumbling here and there making loud clangs. Her jaws drop. Her eyes expand.
"Orobosa!" She screams.
She rushes at him with her arms spread apart for an embrace but he steps aside in resistance. He doesn't smile. He looks her from head to toe sneering and sniffing. She looks tattered and worn out, smelling of smoke. Besides, he is wearing a wedding band which he makes obvious to her by lifting the finger and rubbing around it with another finger. She would later learn that he is now married to an oyibo through which he got his green card and she has a baby girl for him.
But now, they are standing, staring each other in the eye like strangers.
Two scores of seconds of silence go by and then, he croaks his throat. "I'm just here for my son. I'm to take him with me to Europe."
Are you enjoying my ongoing story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Gabrielina AbhieleWrite a Review