By Sarah Oyedo
One would think the noise of banging doors and hushed pleading voices should have held her attention; or the man standing in her room staring at her sheer nightie like he wished to devour her.
Though it occurred to her she should be scared but oddly, she felt no fear. Instead her mind flitted through the open window and sailed like night light into the cloudless sky. It sailed away from everything around her and all that there was to a quiet place where there were no worries and all was at ease.
His hands reached out to grope hungrily on her left shoulder where the robe was slipping off. Still, she didn’t flinch. She just sat there stiffly and waited passively as her mind wandered. It flew across her house where her sick mother lay in pains. The doctors had discharged her home as they said except they could raise the money for the dialysis that would sustain her failing kidney, there was nothing to be done.
Since then, relatives and friends had rallied bringing different herbal remedies ranging from foul smelly poultices to herbs infused in brackish waters. The last time she visited the stuffy dark room where her mother slept, she needed no telling; else she found that money, her mother would not be long for this earth.
He slipped the robe off completely and began caressing her shoulders while he breathed heavily and evaded her eyes. She let him to his ministrations as her mind skimmed over her 4-year-old son. She had seen him a week before at his grandmother’s and he had looked unkempt; his hair twisted together like small millet seeds and mosquito bite scabs ran across his scrawny legs. She said nothing to the aunties who “helped her” look after him since her mother fell ill, but when she had gotten home, she wept terribly till her shoulders shook and snot formed foamy clots on her nose.
It was only few months ago that she’d lost her job and the roof over her head, her Madame she lived and worked with lost her money to smart tricksters and closed the business. She saw all the seams that held her life together fall apart. She’d wandered for a while, squatting with friends she’d made at the saloon until she met Oby.
For the first few nights after she moved in with her, all was well and smooth yet Joy held her breath. The air around her benefactor had been weighty, as though she expected something of her. And there were the lingering looks when she changed clothes in her before. And the touches. So when she felt her hand in her panties one night, she was not very surprised. Her kisses were hot and sweet and the other things, they felt good… different.
For the ten months she stayed with her, Joy remained faithful to Oby, even when she acutely missed a man’s touch. She made efforts to not rupture the relationship and security Oby provided for her. Though she got money from making hair randomly, it was barely enough to support herself, her growing son and mother. Then Oby had gotten married and moved out, leaving Joy with 5 months of rent left on the apartment. She’d promised to keep in touch but stopped taking Joy’s calls a few months after she left.
Joy sought work desperately but at the last month of rent left she still did not have enough to make payment and her mother had fallen ill. People advised her to move out, sell some of Oby’s luxury properties and get something small and cheaper. That environment was for the rich anyways, they reminded her, with people with good jobs and children of rich parents living in. But she had turned deaf ears.
She loved the quiet peace in the compound, the interesting people who lived there in their flashy cars and the smell of money. She had fitted right in; wearing Oby’s stylish clothes, speaking haughtily in a coquettish affected accent and refusing to speak to the scholarship students. Those ones who stayed in the boy’s quarters and had nothing in their rooms but thin mattresses and plastic carpets. It was a breath of fresh air from the grub she had been used to, the taste of a life imagined and she was unwilling to give it up.
So when her ex from secondary school had mentioned after a torrid session of love making that he needed gainful information on the other occupants of where she lived, she didn’t ask much questions. She only insisted she saw his boss to discuss terms better. She would give them all the information they needed, including intel on a doctor she was sleeping with who sometimes brought home large sums of money and in return, she would get 20% of their profit. She met the man in charge in a dinghy motel room and the deal was struck; as long as the information came through, she’ll get her cut.
She’d gone to Ewere’s apartment tonight few minutes after she saw his car pull into the driveway, bedecked in her translucent nightie. Though exhausted, he had seemed particularly happy to see her as he pulled her close, dropping his bulgy back pack on the floor and kissed her passionately. But he smelt of sweat and dust so she insisted he took a bath first before they went any further which he quickly complied to.
After he’d left, she stooped and opened his bag carefully. There she found the brown bag filled with crisp naira notes sitting inside. Then she’d stepped outside and made the quick call.
Ewere, fresh from a bath, had come out ready to continue from where they left off but she announced she was going home. He pleaded with her to stay but she was adamant. He even offered to join her in her apartment but she laughed mysteriously and kissed him goodnight.
Later that night when she heard the noises and then quick rap knocks on her door, she had opened expecting to see a familiar face. Only it was this man, who told her in a raspy high-pitched voice the boss requested of him to check on her in the same breath he had used to undress her.
He laid her back on the bed and slipped his hands in-between her gleaming thigh. He reached for her pert breasts and she grabbed his hands. They were struggling, he trying to free the hand from her grasp and she resolute in resisting when someone knocked raptly and spoke in a code language outside of her door. This made the man jerk suddenly as though he’d just been roused from a trance and he began straightening her gown. He was making for the door when loud screams of “Ole ohh!! Thief Ohhh!! thief Ohh!!!” broke the otherwise partial tranquil of the night.
Read also: #Unforgettable: The Priced Target (Ep 5)
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