Wednesday, November 9, 2016


That baby keeps crying, someone please shut her up! Ayo thought annoyingly, slamming the cash register back after collecting her customer’s change of five dollars. Two more hours, she chanted, anxiously taping her hand on the cash register as she waited for her next customer to find her. Two more hours and I’ll be back in my cold apartment.

She thought about that damn apartment with holes on its wall. That same apartment where NEPA has refused to give her electricity for the past three days because she’d refused also to pay her light bill for the month. A new customer greets her and her attention quickly focuses back on her only paying job since she moved out to go to college out of state and most importantly against her father’s will. This one was nicer; she had no crying baby attached to her. She was younger too and easier to deal with. And so she continued like this for the next two hours until she got the call from her manager.

The woman welcomed her into her unkempt office. She even had to clear the single chair in the tiny office before she could sit down.

“I’m sorry about the mess; I haven’t had time to clean up.”

“That’s fine Mrs. Brown, I understand.”

“Okay. Well I called you here because I’ve gotten some complaints from customers about you. And also,” she pulled out a yellow folder and began to read from it. “You didn’t show up to work for the whole of last week and you neither called in. And this isn’t the first time you’ve done this. Now you know I love you sweetie, but I have to let you go.”

“Let me go? Like you’re firing me?” she asked in complete shock.

“Yes, sweetie, I’m sorry it had to come to this but we just need more reliable employees.”

“Oh.” She expressed regretfully. “Is there something I can do to fix this, I really need this job.”  She said but her manger shakes her head. She wasted no more time in that room that was now suffocating her. She removed the badge clipped to her blue work uniform and dumped it on her manager’s desk before leaving.

Once out of the office, the smell of freshly fried chicken hit her nostril causing her hungry stomach to growl. She swallowed the tears she knew she should be crying after losing her only source of income along with some saliva to lubricate her dried throat. She began to do the math all over again. Mentally, she calculated the bills she needed to sort out as she drew nearer to the source of the smell. When she finished doing the long math, dinner wasn’t worth it after all when she had a bigger debt to pay. She transitioned to the exit sign and located the car her father had managed to get her after she’d graduated from high school three years ago.

It was freezing outside and her car was no different especially since the heater was no longer working. One of the things she needed money to fix. Once in the front seat she reached for the handbag lying on the floor of the back seat.

“I know I kept some gloves inside.” She said to herself, struggling to reach the bag. She knew she shouldn’t be doing this while trying to drive out of the parking lot but she was freezing to death. And suddenly she heard the bang that jerked her almost out of her position. Her hand unconsciously held her flat stomach tight after the impact of hitting another car. The shock left her no time to think but to speed off. She was never coming back there again afterall.

Ayo reached the apartment complex she believed she was still sharing with her boyfriend Mike, who was really her ex. He has been that way for the past two months.  The last time she saw and spoke to Mike was a week ago after he left the last hole on their apartment wall.

“I don’t care about what you do with it; I just wanna be out of here and out of your life.” He’d said before storming out leaving her with bruises on the floor of their tiny bed room.

She was broke but she’d bought four of these testing sticks to make sure she wasn’t crazy and also to make sure she was accurate before breaking the news to her then boyfriend of six months. The downright feeling of emptiness she’d felt that day when he knocked the last one out of her hand when she’d showed it to him was the same feeling she’d felt when her mother let go of her hand at the airport nine years ago when she was twelve. She’d made her come here with her father, to this place where she knew no one and to a place where there was no love. Her father who didn’t know how to raise a teenage daughter had made it worse for her, making promises that he couldn’t keep or that the immigration system wouldn’t let him keep. And that had driven a wedge in between their relationship.

“Don’t leave.” He’d warned three years ago. “You don’t need to go so far away.” He’d complained but Ayo had stopped listening to him since the day he made the mistake of giving her a car which was then her freedom ticket away from him. One day before he came back from work, Ayo packed all her things in a few bags and loaded them in her new car and drove all night until she reached her new university campus where life began once more for her.

It was in the ending of the third year of this new life that she’d met Mike in one of her Sociology classes. She’d liked the way his eyes smiled whenever he watched her while she argued none stop about gender roles in Africa. He was intrigued by her beauty and her intelligence. Mike couldn’t resist this chocolate beauty and neither had Ayo been able to resist having this all American boy’s attention on her.

After two months of talking and not all together placing it safe, Mike had brought up the idea of her moving into his apartment. Ayo who’d thought this meant that he was ready to take things to the next level whatever that might be with her had accepted. Everything was going smoothly between them until she’d gone and fucked it all up according to Mike.


Her phone vibrated in her hand.

“Do you still want to do it?” The text read.

“Of course I do. We made the appointment for next week.” She texted back.

“Hmm... Have you heard from Mike? Don’t you think you should tell him???? I mean he is still the baby’s father whether he wants it or not!!!” Her best friend yelled through her messages. But Ayo hated whenever Mike and her best friend referred to the life growing inside of her as just a mere “it” when it wasn’t. It was a life and if given a few more months would start to develop fingers and toes like everyone else.

But that, she couldn’t bear.

They, her best friend and her had found an Indian doctor who was charging $400 dollars to have this it removed from her in a city not too far away. She was going to go have an abortion next week and no one was stopping her, not even herself who was afraid of leaving the child out in a cold and never looking back once born as her mother had done to her.

          So she replied back saying, “No, he is not ready but I am.”

I just need to skip a couple more meals, live in this cold apartment a little longer, and drive my freezing car. But I am living it, this unfulfilling life…


Thank you guys for always reading,