I hate Thursdays. In between Friday and Wednesday lies a random 24 hours, that doesn’t really fit in. It’s an unneeded checkpoint to the last weekday everybody looks forward to. Like the last page of a book. Its blank, and unnecessary. Why can’t there be a book without a blank page? But then again, a blank page isn’t that irrelevant. You could use it for notes, and during a test, it becomes the most important part of the book. Just like Thursdays. It’s not that irrelevant. Thank God it’s Friday is a common phrase everybody says, but the real MVP is Thursday. We don’t realize how much we appreciate Thursdays than Fridays, or to be more specific, Thursday nights. The excitement and relief you get when you reach it, doesn’t compare an inch to Friday as a whole. Its almost nerve-wracking, and that’s why I hate Thursdays… Also, today is the first day of a new semester. School has officially started.
If I spend 5 more minutes here, I can use 10 minutes to prepare my things and get to school just in time for assembly.
Quiana! you’re late for school.
But if I stay for 10 minutes, I could use five minutes to prepare and still be just in time for school, only that I might not make it to breakfast.
Quiana? Quiana, are you listening to me?
But is there a need to go to school today? I mean not everyone is going to be around, and I haven’t got a speech prepared for assembly yet. I could just call in sick, but then I have to convince auntie Willa…
Quiana where are you?
If I somehow convince her, it is possible I will have to congest the first week of class into the weekend, and that seems more hectic. But If I don’t, I have to go in front of everyone and say something. I have absolutely nothing in my head right now. But then ag-
I gasped for air, spluttering, and coughing out water from the bathtub. Everywhere was foggy and my head was unclear. I couldn’t grasp what was happening around me or who called my name. All I was thinking about was where I was. “Quiana what are you doing?”, that voice. Where is it coming from? “Are you okay my dear? I’ve been calling your name for some time now, but you weren’t answering. What were you doing in the bathtub?”, there was a lady at the door, dark-skinned, slim, and tall, with a pink robe and black flip-flops. Aunty Willa.
“Oh, uh hey Aunty Willa. I was just, uh, trying to find my earrings,”, I said, searching for nothing through my wet hair. “I was just with them you know. But they just disappeared”, she looked at me sceptically, sauntering over to my side of the bathroom, but was distracted by something else behind me. “Well, you have to pause your search till you come back from school. You have 30 minutes before school starts, and you know it takes half of that to reach it, depending on how free the roads are”, I looked behind me, and realized she was staring at the clock. 7:30? How long was I in here?
I jumped out of the tub, and rushed to the room, moving as fast as I could to keep up with time. “Don’t forget to wear your new blazer, I hung it beside your closet door, and use your new shoes, okay? The shiny ones with the shoelaces. Also, I got a new watch for you. This is the fifth and last watch I am getting for you. Quiana, you need to start keeping your things well. Its not exciting for me to buy the same things all over again. The watch shop knows my name, and I’m getting tired of hearing ‘the black watch again Ms. Willa?’. Don’t loose this one, okay?”, I nodded, not really minding what she was saying. I was trying to find a suitable pair of socks I could wear. All the rest were missing another pair. “Here, take these ones. I got you fresh pairs-”, I sighed trying to take the socks from her, but she reverted, “Uh-uh, no missy. There is no way you’re taking this without making me a promise”, she asked. Not this again.
“Aunty I really don’t have ti- “
“I said make a promise young lady, I didn’t ask for how much time you have”, she retorted. I looked at her and nodded, waiting for her to give me the similar set of rules about my socks she gave me every term. “Make sure to put your initials on all the pairs I give you. When you come back from school, that will be the first thing you give me. You are still grounded for losing the 5 pairs I gave you last term, but, if you can keep these pairs for at least a week, we can re- “
“We can reach a compromise, but if I lose them once again, my grounding elongates. I get it Aunty Willa; you’ve told me this for the past bunch of terms I’ve gone to school. Don’t worry, this time I’ll try not to disappoint” I told her, smirking at her distorted face. She sighed and rolled her eyes, throwing the socks at my face.
“Trust me honey, you never disappoint”, she replied, and I chuckled blowing her a kiss as she walked out my room. “Quiana be quick and come for breakfast. Its getting late”
“What’s for breakfast?” I asked
“Waffles and breakfast sandwiches. I even baked some muffins and croissants to take with you”, That’s weird. She never goes all out for the first day of school…Well, croissant all out.
“Huh? What’s the occasion?”, I asked. There was a long pause after my question. I looked up to see if she was still around, and she was, but she looked distant. Hands rubbing against each other, itching of hair, trying to avoid my eyes. She is nervous!
“Aunty is there something you need to tell me?”, I asked, staring at her inquisitively.
“Is there something you need to tell me?”
“Huh? Um, no, no. Just come downstairs and get breakfast”, she rushed out of my room, leaving me even more interested in what she was hiding. I checked myself in the mirror for the last time, before grabbing my bag and going downstairs. Wait am I missing anything?
“Nope, not a thing”, I say, scanning my room for anything I could’ve left behind. Just an untidy room, with a desperate need of a clean-up. Maybe I could manage to clean a thing or tw-
“Quiana!”, nope, can’t happen
“I’m coming!”, I ran down the stairs, struggling with keeping my feet at the same pace my mind wants it to be. I could tell there was a fall waiting at the corner, ready for me to get distracted, so it could come seize the day.
“Quiana be careful”, Aunty Willa cautioned, I jumped through the next flight of stairs, relieved I made it out alive without breaking an ankle. “Don’t worry aunty, I’m safe”, I reassured giving her my room keys before taking a seat at the kitchen island.
“How many minutes you got left”
“10. Well, there’s no other way to say it aunty, I’m late, and Uncle Rowland’s going to kill me. You might as well wish me farewell, because I might never come back”, she rolled her eyes at my blubbering, and passed me my breakfast. “Not today honey, not today. Just give him this box of pastries I made, he might just look the other way and pardon you”, she whispered, giving me a small brown box.
“Oh Aunty, what would I have done without you?”, she smiled and replied, “Nothing my love, that’s how awesome I am”, we laughed and I ate my breakfast in peace, until I saw a silhouette pass through my side view.
“What was that?”, I asked. My aunty looked at me, confused by my sudden outburst. “What was what?”
“Something just passed the corridor. You didn’t see it?
“See what?”, she said. Her voice is shaking. She’s been acting weird since she came to get me from my room. She’s hiding something.
“You know what? Don’t worry. Maybe I was just seeing things”, I remarked. I turned to my food, but this time I was more alert to my surroundings. If it is who I think it is, then there is no way he would not pass again.
As I was about to take the last gulp of juice, I saw the silhouette again, this time his outline was more noticeable. Its him!
“Aunty I saw it again. It’s someone! Who is here?”, she couldn’t look at me, but kept on refusing that anyone was around. “It’s him, right? He’s here?”, I asked her, already annoyed with the fact that she was lying to me. “Who’s here?”, she replied, feigning ignorance to my question.
I walked to the living room, passing the corridor where he was. “Hey, Quiana, don’t go the-“
“No aunty, I need to see him. Let me give him a piece of my mind”, I scanned everywhere, looking for something, anything to show that I knew he was around. The curtains.
“Kingston, I know you’re hiding behind the curtains. Come out now and I won’t call the cops on you”, I yelled. There was nothing. I walked to the curtains, and kicked it, only to find no one hiding behind it
“You must have so much faith in yourself to think I would hide behind the curtains Quiana”, a voice from behind said. I knew it was him. The way he said my name always made my blood chill and the hairs on my skin curl. He is disgusting.
“Quiana Isoken Igbenidion”
He smirked as my scowl grew when I heard my name. He knew I hated that name but insisted on saying it continuously. I sighed, taking a sit, on one of the couches. “Well, isn’t this a lovely surprise, eh?”, I taunted, smiling at my nervous looking aunty and her pain in the ass boyfriend. “You know, I never expected to see him again you know? I mean, we all agreed it would be best for him to stay away from us as much as possible, but, shockingly enough, it seems there is an imposter among us, who disagrees”, I looked at my aunty, waiting for a remark, anything that she can say to prove that she wasn’t the one who told him to come. But there was nothing. She looked as guilty as ever.
“Aunty, why? Why do you hurt yourself like this”, I inquired? It was sad, almost painful to watch how she always went back to him. “Huh, is that why you baked all those pastries? For him? Aunty, for Kingston? What the heck do you see in Kingston?!”
“That is Mr. Kingston to you young l- “
“Shut your stupid mouth you giant piece of sh- “
“Quiana!”, my aunty yelled, “there will be no swearing in my house!”
“Oh, but we will be breaking promises? For a heartless coward like him?”
“You don’t underst- “
“I don’t understand what? That you hurt yourself purposely! Please aunty explain it too me. Maybe I’m too dumb to understand how love works”, I asked. She just looked away and left me to glare at the smiling man. Nothing, still nothing. Just like the last 2 years.
“Just as I thought. Nothing”, I got up from the couch and was about to walk past them, but was stopped by a soft, warm hand. Aunty please don’t do this.
“Quiana, please, don’t leave without me hugging you. Don’t leave yet. Let me hold you”, she pleaded. She knew I couldn’t refuse, and it hurt me how she hurts herself every day. I sighed and rushed into her arms. It was a ritual we did. She would hug me and speak affirmations into my ear. Though I didn’t know what It meant, I knew she was praying for me in the way she knew best.
“Quiana Isoken Igbenedion”
“Say it in Yoruba”
“ Ọmọbinrin akọkọ ti ọrọ”
“Olupilẹlọlọlọlọrun, Iwọ yoo ni itẹlọrun pẹlu kadara rẹ”
“o ni Ibukun”
“Awọn ọba ati awọn ọmọ-alade yio tẹriba niwaju rẹ”
“Ohun gbogbo ti o fi ọwọ kan yoo mu ayọ ati ayọ nikan wa. Iwọ yoo ṣaṣeyọri ni ilẹ eniyan dudu. Iwọ yoo ṣaṣeyọri ni ilẹ awọn funfun”
“Omije ti wa ni ti yàn tẹlẹ fún ọ, ṣugbọn Ọlọrun yio si mú ọ ayọ”
“Oorun kii yoo dide titi iwọ o fi sọ bẹ. Alagbara julọ ninu awọn ọkunrin yoo fo ni awọn igbesẹ rẹ”
“Iwọ yoo jẹ igberaga ti ẹbi rẹ”
“Ti o ba wa ni Sun ti o na si nmọlẹ lori awọn Igbinedion ebi”
“Iwọ ni Kiniun ti ile baba rẹ, Iwọ ni Oriṣa ti awọn iya rẹ”
Iwọ ni ẹbun Ọlọrun si Aye. Awọn aye yoo ko wa nibe kanna lẹẹkansi
“Lọ ni alafia ọmọbinrin mi. Nitori iwọ ko ti mu irora wa fun mi, Mo gbadura pe gbogbo awọn ọta rẹ wa ninu irora”
Nwọn o si ni iriri awọn buburu ti nwọn ti ngbero fun o
Emi yoo wa pẹlu rẹ nigbagbogbo, laibikita kini. Ohun gbogbo ti o fẹ kọja laye, Ọlọrun wa pẹlu rẹ
Ifẹ mi, ireti igbesi aye mi, eyiti o wẹ omije mi nu, Mo nifẹ rẹ
I felt a low rumble through my chest. My aunty was laughing. “Nitorina lẹhin ti gbogbo awọn wọnyi years, ti o si tun ma ko mọ ohun ti mo n wipe?”, she whispered, giving me a a bunch of kisses on my face.
“Aunty stop! You’ll spoil my face with your saliva”, I giggled, trying to avoid her kisses. She laughed, giving me one last peck, before she let me go. “Oya vamoose! You’re late for school”, she pushed me to the door, but I wasn’t going without knowing what she was going to do about Kingston.
“But what ab- “
“Don’t worry Quiana, everything is under control. You just have to trust me”, she reassured, handing me my bag, a box and a small pack of croissants. “Take care of yourself, and stay away from trouble, okay?”, I looked at her and sighed taking one of her car keys from the bunch on the tray. “I’m taking the Mercedes for the unnecessary problem you put me through”, I ran off to the elevator, because I knew she wouldn’t accept me taking her car.
“Bye! Tell Kingston he can go ahead and suck some d-
Next up: Quiana’s POV
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