” Its Kay, ” Aunty Christy heaved a sigh of relief.
” What about him? ”
” Bimbo, Kay is cheating on me. I swear that guy is cheating on me. ” Christy was now raising her voice. It had an angry edge to it. ” Bimbo, after everything I did for him. He had the guts to put another woman above me. ” She was up against my mother, pulling at her blouse. I was scared that she was going to strangulate my mother with her clothes that I almost screamed and I was forced to stuck a fist In my mouth.
” Christy, calm down. ” My mother removed her grip on her blouse and put her hands around her shoulders, trying to soothe her. She was in tears. Perspiration broke out of her body. I saw some movements at the corner of my eye. When I turned to look, Chineye and Mary were lurching behind the sittingroom door to eavesdrop on their conversations. I met Chineyes gaze. She was stupified to see me hiding in the shadows. I stared her down and make a killing gesture by sliding my finger across my throat. She understood everything: I will kill you if you make a noise.
” Are you going to talk or you are going to rattle all day? ” More than anything, My mother was scared that Christys was going to wake her husband up. Marys father could be cranky if any of us disturbed him from enjoying his weekends. Couple of times, he had punished us for doing so. Chineye and Mary were usually his victims. Even while Christy was still living with us, he did not like her and most of the times they usually got involved in some tiffs which would lead to them not speaking to each other for days. Sometimes, it would linger to weeks. Christy usually accused him of being a pain in the ass and blamed everyone and everything that made her lose her job. She said she wouldn have been living with us in the first place if it hadn been for that. To make matter worse, Marys father usually say it to her face to get married and leave her sisters husbands house. And Christy would cried all day about that.
When Kay proposed to her, it was a big deal. The news of her proposal spread like a wild fire throughout the neighborhood and it brought an aural of festivity and happiness to our house that hovered for days. When she was happy, we were happy too. She spent weeks buying stuff for us ranging from some pizza, ice creams, grilled fish and chicken and chips. And also, she gave Marys father one hell of a time by flaunting her engagement ring to his face and making some gratuitous remarks about how some people thought that she would never got married. Christy was the IT girl and Chineye and I had seen her dated many men, some her age and some were way older than her. But, she had never loved anyone like Kay, even when Chineye and I concluded that he did not deserve her love. We both preferred Kayode, the handsome gentle Yankee whom Christys had brought home several times to see my mother. Chineye and I loved his American accent and we tried to mimick his pronunciations of some words by trying to speak through our noses too. Sometimes, my mother would snuck up on us while we were doing this and would laugh at us. I wanted to know how Christy got these high-profile men to love her and knew she was lucky to have them at her beck and call. I would never be like Christy. I knew that and most boys did not even spare me a second look. Even the ugly ones. Chineye and I were heartbroken when Christy stopped bringing Kayode to our house and replaced him with Kay. We knew we were supposed to respect her choice. After many weeks of dating Kay, she moved out of our house to a new one which she rented. Then, the proposal happened and she came back to stay long enough to frustrate Marys father before going back again to her rented apartment.
Christys wedding was the talk of the town for months. She was a trendy girl and she made sure she threw an elaborate wedding. Months of sleepness nights and days were put into it. She and my mother had combed through the entire city searching for a better cloth dealer in asoebi, the African traditional attire picked to celebrate any event. Yet again, Christy couldn find a better choice and ended up employing the service of her friend instead. They got a very expensive akara that they thought would be suitable for the event. Christy sold the bale of cloth to people at an outrageous amount of money that I was scared no one would buy from her. fortunately, people kept demanding for more until that particular print ran out of stock and she had to go for another print. Her bridal train was only made up of classic and expensive girls. Not much people could bear the cost. Chineye and I begged her to put us on it. She ran her eyes down our bodies and laughed so hard that tears started welling in her eyes.
” Does this look like some Christmas carol or drama rehearsal? I hope you know that it is Christy that is getting married. ”
” Aunty Christy, Monique and I never had the opportunity to play a significant role at someones wedding. We just wanted yours to be our very first. Who knows, we might not be able to do any other thing again until our own weddings, ” Chineye explained. I had always thought she was too smart for a twelve-year-old girl.
” Do you even have the body to pull off that outfit. I might consider Monique to be on my bridal train because she has the curves already. You on the other hand are still a child. You should not be involved in grown-up activities. ”
Chineye was on the verge of bursting into tears. She hated it when people looked down on her or when they referred to her as a child. I could read the pain in her eyes and I was hurt too and I felt like pulling at Christys braids hurting her until she begged me to stop. I knew I had to come to my sisters defense.
” Aunty Christy. If you are not going to put Chineye on that train, I don think I want to be there too. ”
Aunty Christy pulled a face at me. ” Did I ever mention that I was going to put you on it. ”
” I thought you wanted to. ”
” Not anymore. ”
” We are sorry Aunty Christy. We didn mean to annoy you, ” I said.
” Come here sweetheart. ” Aunty Christy pulled Chineye to her and sat her on her lap. ” Please don cry. ” She wiped the ready formed tears from her eyes before they could drop. ” Have you started menstruating? ”
” What?! ” Chineye and I said in unison. Mine prompted out of the fact that Aunty Christy was not supposed to be using that word in the presence of Chineye while Chineyes own was said out of being ignorant of the word itself. When I first saw my period, it didn come as a shock. I had already been fully informed about it in school and I was well vast in the knowledge of menstrual hygiene. I knew how to fix my pads and how to properly dispose them. My mother was kept at bay on the recent sexual developments in her daughter for months until that day Christy snuck up on me in my bedroom and saw me changing my pad. She giggled and screamed and congratulated me on being a woman. Days later, my mother came into my room to hand over some sanitary pads. She didn say much to me and I guessed she must have assumed that Christy had given me the proper education on menstrual hygiene.
” I know what that is, ” Chineye said. Her eyes started glowing. They did that a lot when she was excited to talk about something she knew. ” Its when blood starts coming out of your vagina. Its a sign that you are fit to get pregnant. ”
With my mouth agaped, I stared at my sister with wonder. The demonstration of her cognitive and mental skills was appalling. But then, I remembered that it was actually expected of her to be fully informed about menstrual development considering the fact that Always Sanitary pads usually came to our school to educate us. That was where I got my exposure from too. Christy was not very much surprised but she only said to Chineye, ” Its good that you know all this. ”
” Soooo, ” Chineye drawled. ” Do I get to be on your bridal train now? ”
” You are still a child, ” Christy retorted. And quickly added, ” But I will allow you to come for my bridal shower. ”
” Fair enough, ” I thought. Chinese could not contain her joy upon hearing this.
Prior to the day of the event, Christy sent two pairs of jeans and two white shirts to our mother to deliver to us. Chineye and I were so estatic to see how we fit into our outfits. I loved my skinny jeans and the way they accentuated my sharply bums.
” Your ass is big, ” Chineye teased as she smacked me on the rear and dashed to the other side of the room before I could catch her. I felt so good about myself . The day was actually one of the luckiest days of my life that I did not have to wear my mothers hand-me-downs.
Christy came to collect us in the evening in an Uber cab. She was so much in a hurry that she didn allow us to catch our breath as she hurled us into the cab. Chineye call for the front seat while Christy and I sat at the back. The cab was at the point of moving when we saw my mother from the side mirror waving it down. She was calling after us. She had a pair of oxford shoes with her.
” Chineye, you left your shoes behind, ” she moved closer to us and threw the shoes on Chineyes laps. Christy rolled her eyes at the shoes that had already seen better days which my mother was using to take her time.
” Lets go, ” she motioned to the Uber driver. He turned on the ignition key and the cab roared to life veering down the untarred road to the highway beyond. I fixed my eyes on the side mirror looking at my mother who was waving at us until she became a tiny dot in the mirror.
The cosmopolitan city of Lagos is a very busy one filled with people from different walks of life. Our cab drove into the very heart of the city. Pedestrians walked on the sideways , traders displayed their wares in their shops and some itenarian ones hawked theirs in the traffic. They were mostly children who most of them already dropped out of schools. They hawked cold drinks, sausages, sachet of water, and some others snacks. They ran after cars and narrowly escaped being hit by the vehicles especially the motorcycles popularly known as Okada. Lagos highway was flanked on either side by skycrappers and giant billboards. Afrobeat music blasted from different angles. Chineye and I saw some men in a nearby shop dancing to afromusic and displaying their cool moves. Some crowd gathered around them cheering them up. They would jump, twirl , stamp their feet on the floor and rock their bodies violently which in return would warrant the approval of the spectators. Christys phone rang and I shifted my attention back to her. I could tell the soon-to-be wife was nervous. Her hands were shaking just like her voice as she picked the call.
” Hey, baby…I am on my way to the hotel…still a little bit nervous….I don know if Sola is there already…shes not picking her calls… ” She cast a glance at Chineye and me. ” Just my nieces… I hope we arrive in a couple of minutes. The traffic is already clearing….alright…bye…love you. ” She sighed as the call ended. She started dailing a number. It rang for some times but there was no response from the other side of the line. ” The person you are dailing is not picking. ” she kept getting the feedback from the phone. She ended the call angrily. Within that time frame that the call ended, and just when our cab was about to make a turn around the roundabout inorder to veer into the road that ran besides Modern Bank, something bashed into it and the driver suddenly applied the brake sending us careening forward. I was lucky enough to hit my head on the passenger seat right in front of me while Chineye wailed in pain as her head collided with the dashboard. Christy was not injured as she was smart enough to pullback before making contact with anything. The okada that collided with us was already tumbled to oneside on the road. The two passengers on it, a woman who should be in her forties and a young lady were struggling to get off the collapsed motorcycle. The woman managed to substain some bruises but the young lady was not hurt. The hausa man who was the rider was making an attempt to erect his motorcycle . Profanities in the Hausa language spew out of his mouth.. Concerned crowd already started forming and Christy instructed us to wind up the windows and stay in the car. A traffic was forming behind us and vehicles blast their horns at us. The Uber driver came out of the car to address the situation. The hausa man kept cursing and swearing and his passengers joined in the rendition using their own language, Yoruba. Several accusations, more cursings and more apologies, the driver returned back to start the car. As it moved, vehicles overtook us swearing at us for causing a traffic in the middle of the road. A heartbeat later, the cab was walking on the road which course ran besides Modern Bank.
” I don know why people drive recklessly in this country, ” the driver said more to himself than to anyone in particular. A particular form of silence hovered in the car and everyone was all about themselves. Christy was looking at her phone as if expecting a call to come in. Mary was already nodding off on her seat while I in particular was keeping myself busy by staring at the billboards. Reading billboards is one of the things that make traveling on the road interesting. I started reading different advertisements ranging from the ones that displayed beauty products to the ones bringing ones attention to achoholic drinks.Then my eyes landed on a giant billboard that had WELCOME TO ROYAL RESORT HOTEL written bodly on it. I knew that was where we were headed. As I looked ahead, the gangatuan of a structure loomed before us.
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