By Egboka Ozioma“Diana!” mama yelled, hitting her exposed laps which…
By Festus Ogun
My name is Cynthia. I came into this bitter clime around the time Nigeria returned to democracy. My father died when I was ten. He fathered eleven of us. I was the 8th. He struggled hard to ensure my mum deliver, at least, one male child who will later become the father of the home after his demise. But, all the multiple attempts he made which later led to the birth of Ronke the 11th, was fruitless.
Growing up was tough, terrible and difficult. Mama couldn’t cater for our wellbeing because of our number. A poor farmer she is. We overpowered her.
Sadly, her parents died at her tender age.
After Papa’s exit, it became a game of survival of the fittest in the family. Mama couldn’t even afford her daily meals talkless of feeding us. So, we individually deployed several means for our survival.
Fortunately, I met Akin at the market in one of those “ember” months. He was so fluent and interesting. At our first conversation, he got my contact and promised to always be of help after I narrated my story to him.
Calls began to roll in. He became the best of friends. After a while, I agreed to marry him after his resounding songs of love. In my culture, we aren’t known for chasing away bread winners and helpers for ridiculous reasons. The gods will “wrath anger” on me if I reject him.
As December approached, he promised he was going to suprise my family. He sent me recharge cards as his homecoming became nearer despite the hard time brought about by the government. I sold them at little rate to one Honourable in our street.
He came home with a phone, one assorted with new features. The other one Adigun bought for me was kept together with rubber bands. It has been giving me serious headache since its first day with me. Motorola or something. Even though Adigun had been helping my mum on her farm in exchange of me, I found it rather untenable of him to give me such worthless phone. Oniranu! Alawin!
Akin was different. He brought me a phone with flashlight and a camera. “So, I can see a reflection of myself with my phone?” I thought within myself. He told me only politicians at Aso Rock can afford the phone. Inquiring why he didn’t get one for himself, he argued extravagant life displeases him. We had a fabulous time under the cashew tree fronting our hut.
He called for my mum. Mama starting raining prayer on him like Mummy Pastor. She was pleased to see Akin who has been speaking with her on phone for months. “God bless you my son, my helper, the God sent… May you soar higher…” she said.
Akin on his part gave her a loaf of bread. She shouted uncontrollably like a 2.2 student who finally meets himself on the verge 2:1 after final computation. It was an interesting scenario. Mama couldn’t hide her joy. She was overwhelmed. She grabbed Akin and thanked him.
“When last did I taste this? Buredi Eko? Eating a bread baked in Lagos is a rare privilege. I’ll forever cherish you, my son. Since I’ve tasted nothing since yesterday, I’ll break the emergency fast straight away. I’m so much…” These were the the words gushing out of Mama’s mouth like water rushing out of a damaged tap at the fullness of the tank.
Akin, while leaving gave everyone at home new #100 notes and we were all glad. He requested my presence in his house by evening for more special gift.
That was on Christmas day. I never discovered the home he was talking about was Senator’s hotel where everyone was barred from charging phones. He came outside to pick me.
We got inside. I thought I was in heaven while everything was set. He almost killed me with food and drinks. But I didn’t die. Lako ni mo wa bi ibon.
After much lobby and pleadings, we rolled on to the bed and the game started. I forewarned him I wasn’t a kid in matters concerning that. I instructed him to put on the rubber. Convincingly, however, he told me that’s not the style in Lagos, so I agreed.
Akin thought he was hard but I showed him pepper. I satisfied him because of his generosity. Unlike Adigun who’ll always come to work and buy me useless stuff.
The fourth round was tiring. I related that all the chances were given because of the state of the economy, my family and his generosity.
He told me to remain fine as he’ll continue to be the source of my unending happiness. Surprisingly, he promised to take me to Lagos by his next coming. I was mad in joy.
I left his place around 10. I never knew Lagos boys could hit that hard. It was the very best of the bests.
Even though I met Adigun waiting for me at home, I told him to look for other village girls as I was already taken by a Lagos millionaire. Adigun left in pain and vowed to pester me no longer. I later learnt he left the village in January.
February, Akin’s line became unreachable. People told me he had blocked me — over nothing. I couldn’t reach him. Depressingly, there was no way I could trace him, his friends or family.
Weeks later, after much vomiting and consultations, I discovered I’ve swallowed the big cockroach.
Without any stretch of imagination, I know it was Akin’s handiwork. He’s responsible. But, he’s at large. I don’t know any of his relatives.
Should I shift the responsibility on Adigun? Oh, I never gave him the chance after years of hard labour and pleadings.
Please, get me a rope and one abandoned building; I want do the needful.
To be continued…