Edet slept soundly in Nse’s blue Toyota Avensis as they headed for Granny’s. He snored a little, just the way Ansa did at night. It wasn’t the type of snore that irritated the person by one’s side; it was mild. And Nse actually loved the sound of it, even though she thought it weird that she found such snore attractive; nobody ever liked people snoring.
There had been traffic on the road, so the journey was not as smooth as it ought to have been. Loud sounds engulfed the entire streets. There were hawkers who ran after people, in cars, who indicated interest in buying items from them. Edet had the habit of always asking Nse to buy plantain chips for him. Nse decided she was going to buy some for him. She wound down her window and beckoned at a female hawker who wore a pink blouse. The hawker ran to her car with enthusiasm.
“Good evening madam!” exclaimed the lady, panting like a dog. “How much own you want buy?”
“How you dey sell am?”
The hawker indicated that she could buy some worth fifty naira or some worth a hundred naira. Nse handed over a crispy two hundred naira note to the hawker and collected two packs of plantain chips worth hundred naira each. She didn’t wind up her window immediately after. She put the packs of plantain chips into her pigeonhole, waiting for Edet to wake up to request for them. Now traffic was in a standstill. Yet she still hadn’t wound up her window.
Suddenly a hand made its way into her car, reached for her neck, and ripped off her gold necklace. This happened in a flash, in a split second. And before she could come out of shock to yell ‘ole!’ or ‘thief!’ the thief had run far away from her car, disappearing into the thickening darkness.
She could barely believe what had just happened to her. The necklace that had been stolen was given to her by Ansa, and it was very expensive. It was real gold. And rather ironically, shortly after it happened, traffic began to flow freely. It was as though the traffic jam was a ploy to get her necklace stolen.
Nevertheless she had been warned to always wind up her windows immediately after buying items from hawkers on the road. Itoro, her younger sister, had had an experience similar to what had just happened to her. She had also heard the same story from people who suffered similar ordeals, but she just never believed it will ever happen to her. Her right hand reached for her left earlobe as she stepped on the accelerator. Her earring was still intact. She was grateful that the earring wasn’t ripped off her earlobe as well.
“What a day this is,” she said, under her breath. Her day really couldn’t get any worse than it already was.
After a short while, Edet awoke. “Mummy?” he cried.
“You’ve woken up,” Nse said.
“Where are we going to?” Edet asked. He couldn’t fathom why they were on the road when it was so dark. Nse had never taken him out that late before. He could sense some strangeness in the air.
“To see Grandpa and Grandma,” replied Nse, categorically.
She briefly looked at his face. In her heart, she was sorry that they had to be on the road that late in the evening. She wondered if her decision to go to her parents was a selfish one, if she was thinking about Edet when she made the decision to do so. She soon discarded this thought though. She couldn’t take the blame on this one. All too often, she took the blame, but not this time around. Ansa was the bad guy and not her. Her only offense was that she loved him to a fault. She was going to protect Edet from the bitterness that would inevitably spring up from Ansa’s infidelity. That was what she was doing—protecting him.
In time, she reached the road where she had to take a circuitous route, the roundabout close to the street her parent’s home was located. She breathed in deeply as she rotated her car stirring. Finally, the journey of a thousand miles was almost over.
In a wholehearted way, she drove into Gbemisola phase 1, the street on which her parents’ house was located. Their house was the tenth house on the left, on entry into the street. Security had been beefed up on the street, as her car was thoroughly checked before she was allowed to drive into the street.
To say the least, she was happy to be on the street on which she grown up. She wound her glass down to smell the air. It seemed fresher than that of her area of residence. She figured that she was really going to enjoy her stay with her parents.
She honked her car horn when she was finally in front of the imposing black gate her parents had installed. Many of the houses in the street had also installed similar gates. She wondered why Nigerians were always so insecure; installing such unnecessarily formidable gates. Then she remembered the hand that ripped off her necklace. One couldn’t really blame Nigerians for being insecure after all.
John, the gateman, came out with his flashlight to check who was horning outside. Realizing it was Nse, he smiled broadly and quickly opened the gate for her to drive into the compound.