“You?” A surprised Seki called and then frowned upon the sight of Mike on her doorstep. “What are you doing here?”
“Good morning to you too, Seki,” Mike muttered as she eyed him. He could almost smell her resentment for him, and that brought him more than enough satisfaction.
“Have you come here to make jest of me?” She asked. “After reporting me to my….”
“I warned you not to push me,” Mike said, his glaring eyes boring into her’s. Then Seki’s nostrils caught the pungent smell of alcohol on his breath. Mike had indulged himself with a glass of Brandy, or two, before that Saturday morning before coming downstairs. “Wow. Looks like your mother really did a number on you last night, didn’t she?” Mike asked as his eyes caught sight of the very visible scars on her arms, despite her ebony complexion.
Seki frowned at his remark.
“You’re drunk, Mike!” She spat back. “I will…”
“Anyways, I just thought you should know, Usman’s finally fixed his car and taken it home – that’s why it’s been parked out there since Thursday evening,” Mike lied, forcing eye-contact with Seki. “So, I hope you’ll leave me alone now, okay?” But all Seki had on her face was a puzzled stare.
“Since when?” She asked.
“I’m not here for a chat, we’re not friends,” Mike stated pocketing his hands now. “Just stay away from me from now on, or I’ll set your mother on you again.” Then he turned to leave.
“Mike?” Seki called with a strange stare and he turned to her again. “So, you came all this way downstairs to explain this to me?” But Mike simply turned away and walked off without a word while she stared after him, then Seki shut the door, and her phone began ringing out in her pocket.
“Hello, Seki?” Bimbo’s voice called and Seki hissed out in reply.
“You’re a very wicked and heartless friend!” She began lashing out without mercy.
“It’s now you know you will call and check up on me, abi? After watching my mother beat me like a village goat last night. Just look at the time wherever you are…..it’s almost eleven now! What have you been doing all day?”
“Seki, I can see your mother’s beating has finally made you mad!” Bimbo fired back without having to raise her tone.
“Call me when your head is back to normal.” Then the line went dead to Seki’s shock. Even Bimbo was starting to have her limits with her now; but an unrepentant Seki simply hissed out loudly. She still felt maddened and humiliated from last night’s brutal encounter with her mother and had needed to dish out a portion of it out to someone else. As she walked back to the sitting room she stared at the television which aired a Yoruba movie on screen. The scars on her arms and legs stung badly – courtesy of her mother’s long cane. Bathing had been very excruciating for Seki that morning, and she had cried curses and insults, wincing all through. How long would she keep up with this? Her mother kept getting furious over the slightest deed and Seki was getting fed up living with this pattern.
“Chineke!” Ngozi could not help but laugh uncontrollably as her daughter placed the bottle of water before her on the dining table. She had been away from home for a week, visiting her younger sister whom had just been delivered of a baby boy. The long trip had her famished by the time she had gotten home, and despite her “bigger-than-life” size, Ngozi still ate like a horse. Her only child and daughter, Bimbo had just narrated the most amusing tale and she could not help herself as she swallowed another mound of Fufu. “This is very funny!”
“Mummy! I haven’t finished yet!” Bimbo called sitting on the nearest chair to her mother’s. “After Alhaja finished beating “stupid and nonsense” from Seki’s body, she made her kneel down, face the wall, raise her hands, close her eyes, and then open her mouth! At that, Ngozi exclaimed loudly before facing towards the bedroom.
“Kayode! KAYODE!!” She called out.
“What is it?” A man’s deep voice called back from the bedroom.
“Come and hear what your daughter is telling me oh!” Then she faced Bimbo again, grabbing at a large drumstick in the process from her bowl of Egusi soup. “Ehen, my dear, continue!” Bimbo nodded.
“Mummy, I begged this woman to stop, but if you saw the way she threatened my life, I just respected myself and shut up,” Bimbo narrated. “And she didn’t allow me leave that house until she had finished with Seki,”
“Hmm,” Ngozi mused with her stuffed mouth. All that was left in her hand was nothing but bone already. “You should stop going to that house, Bimbo. That Alhaja woman sounds like a frustrated person. But that poor girl, though,”
“I know,” Bimbo said shaking her head. “But the truth is that Seki doesn not help herself sometimes. She keeps…”
“No!” Her mother objected shaking her head. “Still, no mother should treat her child like a goat – no matter how stubborn. Can you imagine? Her only daughter for that matter,”
“True,” Bimbo muttered with a shrug while her mother began to masticate the bone without mercy.
“Don’t you remember those years when you were a very stubborn girl? I think you were about twelve or thirteen then” Ngozi asked to Bimbo’s humour. “Didn’t I successfully discipline you well without laying a finger on your head?” Bimbo giggled.
“But you were somehow scary, mummy,” she teased. “Who was I to try you then?” Then the both of them giggled. The helpless bones cried for mercy in Ngozi’s mouth as she chewed and crushed some more.
“It’s so sad what a lawless country we live in,” Ngozi said shaking her head. “A very developed system would have gotten Child Services involved in this already.” Ngozi scowled. “How old is that Seki, by the way?”
“Emm..” Bimbo stuttered making a face. “She just turned nineteen on Monday. She’s not a small girl, mummy,”
“WHAT? Nineteen gini?” An astonished Ngozi exclaimed with her eyes shooting open. “KAYODE! Come and hear o! Papa Bimbo! Where are….” Then she froze.
“Mummy?” Bimbo called raising a brow as her mother grabbed at her throat.
“B-Bone…” Ngozi was gasping for her breath now to her daughter’s shock now. Then she frantically reached for her glass of water, but only to shove it to the floor by accident, shattering it.
“Mummy!” Bimbo scrambled to her feet as her mother suddenly fell forward, and then to the floor. “Oh, my God! Mummy!” She cried out bending over her helpless mother. “DADDY! DADDY!”
“Mummy is choking!” She called back.
“Ooh! Not again!” Her father called back from inside. “Talking with food in her mouth again. I’m coming!”
Seki hissed loudly at her phone as she paced about the compound impatiently. She wondered why Bimbo was not picking her calls. It was Saturday evening now and she was bored. She had just gotten quite the alarming gist from Baba Kudi, the night watchman and she was more that impatient to share with her friend.
Apparently, someone had moved Usman’s car late last night – but it had not been Usman. The middle-aged man had witnessed it all. But where was Usman then? Seki pondered as she paused and gazed up at the windows of Mike’s flat. The lights were off and Seki wondered what was going on. But one thing was certain, Seki was hell-bent on finding out, even if it meant risking incurring more of her mother’s fury.
“Whatever it is you’re hiding, Mike, I’m going to find out…. or my name isn’t Sekinat Amodu.” Then Seki frowned.
TO BE CONTINUED……