An entire month has gone by…
I thought I’d be married off and have a billion children by now, but it hasn’t happened. I wish it did though; my father has become a beast to me since the incident.
He told all the other wives that he had caught me with pornography; I had to check the dictionary for the meaning of the word.
It wasn’t quite that! I mean it looked really bad, with that half naked man on the cover and all; in any case, all dreams of meeting someone like that is all faded now.
In that time as well, the beatings to my dear mother increased. Oh I feel awful, the four hours that it would have taken me to finish reading the novel, dull in comparison to the eternity of sufferings my mother seems to endure.
She says, I don’t understand these things just yet, but when you are a wife and your husband refuses to visit, it is torture, or when he visits and he refuses to love you.
She was right I don’t understand….
Hold on, someone’s at the door.
It was only Saliu, I don’t think I have mentioned him. He is this very cute neighbor of ours, oh if my father knew that Saliu has seen my face, we would both be dead, that I can guarantee.
The first time Saliu saw my face, it was an accident really. I had meant to put on my hijab, when he burst in running from God know where with some supposedly exciting information.
I rushed to cover my face, but he insisted that I shouldn’t hide the beauty that Allah had blessed me with.
Since that day, I make sure to show him, little glimpses of my face -always by accident of course!
“Do I sound like your wretched mother?”
I poked my head out the door way and was greeted by a heavy wack to my head.
“Idiot! Do you need to be told that your face must always be covered?”
“Silly thing! Get the cover for your face!”
I had seen a character in a movie called Cruella Deville, she had given me nightmares for months, but Alhaja Danria made those nightmares appear to be like visions of kittens!
“Yi hak’uri, Alhaja” I made sure that the heaviest harmattan wind could not shift my veil.
“Sorry for your pathetic self. Your mother has fallen.”
“Fallen? Fallen ill? Or off a tree, off a bike?” I frowned up at her through my veil.
Another harsh smack met my cheek and it burned like I’d pressed the coal iron to my face.
Tears automatically responded to the call of pain and before I could control myself, I was weeping.
“Moira, I don’t have time for this nonsense! Alhaji, says you must come and stay at my house until she recovers.”
“Your house?” Oh how I wished death upon myself.
“Menene Ka na yi? What are you doing standing there?”
“Listen Moira, I am not your mother, I don’t speak a lot, I have my palms and a triple mouthed whip to talk for me.”
“For the last time, get your things and follow me to my place” She whipped her garment in a fashion that only the ‘big ladies’ did.
Waiting for me at the gate of her house where fifteen unhappy faces. Hungry, dirty, smelly and bony, why had Alhaji sent me here, of all places?
Fifteen? I looked back at Alhaja and wondered if she stole the children, I’d never seen her a day pregnant in this compound.
A thick lady I’d only seen during the family breaks nudged her way from behind the dirty fifteen.
“Is this the one that was watching porn?” She belted so throaty that I thought she was a man.
“She is. Alhaji has broken-sorry,, her mother fell.”
“Aaah, so Alhaji sent you here to be disciplined ko?”
I stood transfixed, praying under my breath that my mother would appear with her tray on her head from the market or from washing.
“This is Yaro.” She twirled a three tongued koboko in her beefy palms.
“It is customary that before you enter our quarters, Yaro must hug you!” She revealed a set of teeth that should have been called a smile but so sinister, I almost peed myself.
Not knowing what to call her, I stuttered and suddenly burst into a bout of coughs.
“Ah, take a look at this one! I haven’t even touched her yet.”
I looked beyond her mass to the faces of Yaro’s former victims and from the acute fear on their faces; I knew that my fate was done.
She lifted up her arm and it blotted out the sun, at this rate, I was screaming, “La Ilaha Illa Allah”
In my mind I was determined that if She and Yaro were going to have a piece of me, they would have to chase me!
I lifted up my skirt and began my dodging game of racing around the compound.
I could see that this made my hungry looking audience very excited; this gave my feet energy that I didn’t know they possessed.
I zigzagged and crossed, duked and dived, until I was betrayed by my very own garment.
Falling face first into the dirt to the sad echoes of “aaaw!” from my hungry audience.
Another day that would forever be etched in my mind, as I had angered Yaro and his vengeance came upon me like a rain of fire.