You have me, I have you…
We are strangers, that’s true
But I see myself in you;
Scared of the darkness taking you a complete hostage
And that’s why you have me and I have you
Together we can fight a common enemy
You can help me find me and I help you find you
We may be strangers, this is true
But darling, I see myself in you
Holding on to that tiny piece of sanity that may soon snap
Gradually having your life sucked out of you
And you are confused, helpless and so scared
Just a take a good look at me, you don’t need a mirror
I am an image of all the past you bottled up afraid to let go
Just take a closer look and you will see yourself in me
So, let me help you find you and you help me find me
All you have to do is trust me
Trust me that I’m not your enemy
I am your helper, your friend
Looking for peace, just as you….
“Dude, me I don’t have the strength for all this blackmailing ish o. I just don’t have the stomach for it. I don’t think I can go on o”
“Tade, my man, you don’t understand anything, do you? Of course, you don’t. If you did, you won’t open your mouth and yarn crap”.
“But dude, this babe can give me this cash without blackmailing her, she has been kind to me since we met and doing this to her feels as if I’m betraying the trust she had in me. The thought of that just makes me nauseous”
“Well, that’s your business. You owe me for ruining that deal with Skipper and if you want me to let you off the hook, this is the only way out, okay? Be a man and stop being a bitch”.
“You should take that advice, you know. Quit being a bitch and let this babe go. I will get the money you need from somewhere else, just give me time to figure how to go about that”
“We don’t have that time, okay. Skipper wants his money back by next week and this babe is our only ticket to raising a million naija in such a time”
“See, I’m sure I can talk to Skipper. He owes me for some stuff I did for him back in the day. That should buy us more time”.
“Well, that’s your business. Go to Skipper if you want, I don’t care. All I want is for that money settled before Skipper sends his boys after us, you dig? Do whatever you want, just get me that money”.
I watched him storm out of my apartment kicking things as if they were responsible for my decision. I could not blame him for being so irrational about the whole issue. Skipper was a hard man to please and a harder man when you cross his path. Sighing heavily, I sat on the floor enjoying for a moment the feel of the cool marble. I was in soup, a very big pout of steaming and spicy soup. I had to look for a way to give Skipper back his money. It was true that Skipper would extend the time if I went to him but a million naira was a lot of money to raise even if I was given a year. I had nobody to turn to. I hit my forehead with my palm that would not stop sweating. I wished I was back at home with everyone at my beck and call, where things were so easy, where a million naira was like one kobo. I wished things were different, I wished to wake up and have Skipper and his troubles behind me but wishes were just that, wishes. It was not time to wish, it was time to act. I picked my phone and played the video that was supposed to be my saviour. I was about to scold myself for wishing I had the balls to go ahead with the original plan but I remembered I only had my wishes; they were the only thing close to hope at that moment.
I watched her as she moved about in the kitchen, making funny dance steps while singing loudly in a very loud but strangely cool voice. She looked so at home in the very big kitchen and anyone that walked in would have thought she was the madam of the house; she looked the part. Dressed in a jalamia that was almost twice her size but still managed to look good on her. Her hair was packed in a ponytail and plaited at the tip. No one would have guessed she worked dancing with her clothes off in front of horny men who would not stay in their homes with their wives. I hissed at that thought. Men were just bunch of fools, staying away from their homes as if their children and wives didn’t deserve their time. How many times as a child had I wished my father would just spend time with me and my mother? I could still remember the times my mother would beg my father to stay with her, groveling as if she was a slave and not his wife.
The only times we spent times together were on days we had to go to church as a happy family, smiling, hugging and exchanging little kisses that made everyone want to have a happy family like ours. They had no clue what was going on behind the church gates. As far as anyone was concerned, my father was a loving father who was devoted to the work of God an his family. Devoted, he was, yes but to the church and never to the us. Most times, I wished he was spending time in the club house watching naked girls dance or humping different girls from the choir every night. At least, I would justify him neglecting my mother even when she was sick and dying. My father was not different from those men that crawled about strange women. As far as I was concerned he was a man who neglected his family for another lover, his was just religion. I shook my head at the familiar anger spreading through my core. I did not need my father and his sinful righteousness at the moment to disrupt my plans, I needed to stay focused.
I turned back to see Clara standing by the doorways, arms folded across her chest. She looked like she was lost in her thoughts. I stopped the music, removed the earpiece and went to her side.
“Aunty Clara, it is too early to be thinking o”
She jumped, turned and managed a dry laughter. I knew she did not see walk to her side and I had startled her.
“Don’t tell me the smell of my food was what entranced you”
“Very funny. The food doesn’t smell that good jo”
“Ah”, I touched my chest to feign hurt, “you just bruised my ego. I may never cook again after this”
She laughed heartily and hit my shoulder.
“Don’t be such a cry baby”, she stuck out her tongue and I could not stop the laughter at the sight. With her expensive weave-on in bending rollers and her face void of make-up, she looked like a child.
“You people should stop laughing and serve the food already, I am starving”
I looked back to see Oyebola rubbing her belly and trying to look like a starved child but failing, the mischievous smile on her face gave her away.
“Wait jo, you too like food”, Clara said, rolling her eyes.
“Before nko, I love food and I love it very hot, fresh from the fire”
“Foodie”, Sandra said and yawned.
“Cover your mouth jo, don’t pollute the food”
We all laughed at Oyebola’s retort and for that moment we looked like sisters waking up on a very beautiful day with no skeletons to hide. Everyone was laughing and make jokes at the other’s expense. It was exciting and it reminded of a time in the past where I would wake up and try to make fun of my mom and siblings. Tears began to pool in my eyes and I fought it back. I would never cry, not in front of anybody. A phone ringing in the distance brought me back to the present. Clara looked at the phone and looked at the rest of us as if she was deciding whether to the take the phone call in front of us. She stepped out and we all waited in silence for her to come back. When she returned, her hands were shaking and she was sweating. She turned to me and looked at me with anger seething through every pore on her body.
“We can’t wait any longer. It’s time to take care of this issue”
Written by Dako. A. Temitope