Friday, May 8, 2015

When In Nigeria - Chapter 7

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Patricia hung up. She folded the cell phone so tightly inside her right palm. As much as she didn’t want to hear her mother’s preachings, the thought of her child made her stomach twitch. Patricia clutched her stomach, the very place where some months ago, she was battling to let hope out for air. She began to feel light headed. She walked slowly, relying on the other couch close by for support to get to where Ade was.

When he saw her, his legs automatically left the floor. Ade rushed to her aid.

“Whoa, whoa, are you okay?” He asked, placing his arms around Patricia’s shoulders, he led her to a chair.

“Water,” Patricia called out in a hoarse voice. She was having a panic attack, fighting for air.

“Jesus, just calm down. Just breathe, okay? I’ll go get the water.” Ade stopped half way and turned around to check if Patricia hasn’t fallen over. She waved him off, urging him to be fast about the water.

“The last time I saw a woman have a panic attack was with my sister the day she found of she was pregnant again with her second—” Patricia held on tightly to the cup of water Ade handed over to her.

“Please, don’t say anything…”

“I’m only trying to calm you down and—”

“I said don’t say anything! Don’t try, just shut up!” Patricia yelled. A feeling of unease swept over her. She no longer felt comfortable in her own skin.

“Are you kidding me right now?” Ade asked with a bitter taste on his tongue. He stared at Patricia for an explanation to whatever caused her sudden change of attitude. Patricia knew Ade wasn’t going to get anything from her. She sipped on the cup of water she held dearly.  Ade hissed and walked off.

“What was are you thinking,” that was what Patricia’s mother had asked her daughter. Running away wasn’t going to help anything. Patricia’s fingers began to shake. She had made up her mind after late nights of planning and more planning that staying away from everyone and her life in France was the best answer to her problems. In those many nights, she thought she had the heart to go through with it, to leave her suckling child forever.

As Patricia went over her wicked decision, she became stronger. She needed to see it through, she thought.  All of a sudden, Nigeria became the most desirable place on earth for her hideout. Patricia got herself together. She knocked on Yemi’s bedroom door. Ade opened. He didn’t look at her. Pretending as if her brother hadn’t spoken to her about the meltdown Patricia just had, Yemi said,

“Let’s have some breakfast now, I’m hungry.  I’m sure you are too.” she led Patricia out of the room back into the living room.

In the living room, Yemi handed Patricia a plate of hot rice. She served Ade also. Patricia knew Ade was angry. He chewed his food ever so slowly, keeping an intimidating glare on Patricia. Patricia tried focusing on the portrait on the wall as they all ate. No one said a thing. Patricia thought that the family were either extremely strong or waiting for her to break down, hence their silence.

Ade couldn’t take the heat of Patricia’s silence any longer, he said, “So you’re just not going to say anything about what happened back there abi?”

“Ade!” his sister called, begging him with her eyes to stop.

“What? Does she think I’m her mate? Do you know the way she spoke to me back there?” He hissed and continued with his meal.

“Haba, you suppose understand. Just leave her alone. Patricia eat your food, okay?” Yemi stared sympathetically at the woman in front of her who seem like she was going to break into tears in any minute.

“I can’t deal with you women right now.” Ade dropped his bowl of rice on the table and stormed off.

“Ade,” his sister called out. “You better come and finish this food o, I don’t have lunch to give you today.”

She turned to Patricia and said, “I get it, you don’t want to talk about it but you shouldn’t have spoken to him like that. Ade can be really playful, but when he’s vexed ehn, there’s really nothing I can do about it.” But the last thing on Patricia’s mind was Ade’s feelings. “I’ll speak to him later.” She concluded.

Patricia wanted to be left alone and Yemi understood that so she gave Patricia her space. When her daughter came back from school, the bond between mother and child that Patricia saw made her stomach burn. Is this all what I’m missing staying back here in Nigeria? She asked herself, watching as Yemi helped her daughter out of her uniform.

“Ola, you will not disturb aunty today. She is very tired, okay?” 

The little girl frowned. “Aunty are you okay?” she came towards Patricia.

“Of course I am.” Patricia answered, playing with the girls’ neatly braided hair.

The rest of the day went by like a breeze. Patricia lived that day like a feather, weightless, powerless against her suffering heart. At about six p.m., Yemi’s husband strolled in.

“My food.” he ordered. He looked past Patricia as if he didn’t see her sitting on the couch in front of him. He sat down, pulling his shirt off. He oozed of cigarette smoke and alcohol.

“Where is the food? I have somewhere I need to go.”

“But you just came in.” Yemi replied nervously as she pulled a small stool in front of her husband and laid down the tray of food.

“And so? Since when do you start controlling my movements?”

“I’m sorry.” She said. He opened the first bowl of food and hissed. “The same thing every day,”

“It was Ade that gave me the money for it, I wanted to buy more meat but—”

“Get out.” he said so carelessly.

“Okay.” Yemi said embarrassed. She didn’t once look Patricia in the eyes. Her husband was a shameless prick, humiliating a wife who at least found food to fill his alcohol filled stomach.

“Oh, one more thing, this aunty helped pay for Ola’s school fees.” Yemi turned around and informed her husband.

“She what?!” He rapidly washed his hands, pushing his food aside, he stood up. “So we are beggars now, huh?” “Answer me!”

Yemi said nothing; she kept her head bowed in front of him.

“When I’m talking to you, you look at me!” He forced her jaw up. Patricia’s inside boiled in her seat, anticipating when to act.

“I’m sorry,” Yemi whispered in fear.

“You’re sorry?” he asked, just as he slapped her hard on her face. Yemi’s feet failed her. Patricia rose up instantaneously as Yemi dropped to the floor just in time for little Ola to come in.

“Ola, go and get your uncle.” Patricia said to the little girl whose eyes were opened wide in horror. She yielded to Patricia’s request and rushed outside.

“Oh let her die. She’s been doing this, no be today… and don’t you dare touch her.” Yemi’s husband hissed, kicking his wife hard on her stomach. Yemi cried out in pain. Her husband complained about the meal he didn’t get  to finish, he complained about his bike that was no longer working because of his wife’s witchcraft or whatever he called it. This ungrateful man complained about everything that was possibly wrong with him except his unborn child and wife.

“The baby,” Yemi whispered, “I think his coming?” she announced. Just then, her husband who had lite up a cigar looked dead into Patricia’s eyes and for the first time, Patricia saw fear in his eyes.

“What the hell is going on?” Ade rushed in. As soon as he saw his sister on the floor, he raised up his fist at the husband. The man slowly began to back away as Ade advanced forward. Escaping Ade’s punch, he ran out.

“Daddy, please don’t go,” Ola screeched in tears as she held dearly onto her father’s right leg. Patricia watched as Ola cried, begging her father to stay behind. He swung the leg his daughter held on to and she lost her balance, but still she pursued her father as he ran away. 

In that moment, Patricia realized that a troubled man who thinks he has nothing left to lose or live for will keep running no matter how loud his daughter’s cries. Nothing was chasing him but he will never stop running. And what about a troubled woman?


  1. Nice one but there are typographical errors in it and one instance of wrong name. Apart from that,Nice story :D

    1. Yemi, the typos has also been fixed on this episode. Thanks for reading


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