Steam Me A Heart: Chapter 1

Her room had the smell of lemon. Lillian dropped her purse on the small dresser beside her bed and stretched her neck with her hands. She kicked off her shoes and started to undress as she made a mental note of instructions she had given to her cleaner. Lemon was not one of the fragrances she liked in a washing liquid but she knew her cleaner seemed to have a liking for it. Lillian went barefooted into the bathroom to run herself a bath and she sat on the toilet seat a while to do her kajal exercise.
Her new cleaner was Rita. Rita was a nice, hardworking woman. Nothing was too stressful for her to do when it came to cleaning of houses. She always left the house spick and span. She had many clients. Each day, she had a client. The only day she left free was Sundays. Lillian had persuaded her to come in after a dinner party she had on one Saturday night but Rita declined and stood her ground. She told Lillian that it was the day that was mapped out for Christians to relax and serve God. Lillian douched before sinking into the bath tub.
She rested her head on the edge and closed her eyes. The dinner she had with Larry had turned out alright. Luckily for Lillian, he had called earlier that day to cancel it and begged Lillian to choose a different location. Lillian had chosen a restaurant not very far from her office. The night Larry had chosen was one of the nights she had to work late and with that in mind, her decision was easy to make. Larry had turned up at exactly eight o’clock in front of Lillian’s office. Lillian had brought her clothes to work and changed in the ladies. The night was peaceful. Larry’s spirit was at rest. He was a wonderful company that night. All that Lillian feared didn’t surface at all. There was no bickering. There was no lost looks. There was no out of line questions and above all, there were no temper flaring. It was like his old self was brought to the place. Lillian was pleased with that as it made the night much more interesting for both of them. She would have had to put up with Bunmi and her excesses.
There was a noise but she ignored it and tried to sleep. Lillian opened her eyes briefly and cocked her ears to the side. The soft noise she heard earlier came again and she got up hurriedly. They were here. They had found her out. Lillian peeped through the keyhole and held her breath. There was someone in her bedroom. Lillian put her hand over her mouth. She was trapped. She had left her phone on the counter downstairs in the kitchen. The person was moving so silently like a cat after a mouse. Lillian wished she had kept her mouth shut at the supermarket. She wished she had… The bathroom door flew open. Lillian gave a loud scream as she directed the hot water at the intruder with her eyes closed.
“Surprise! …Jesus Christ! Lillian?!”
Lillian opened her eyes and swallowed. Louisa was drenched. Lillian started to laugh.
“It is not funny, Lillian.”
“I am sorry. I thought you were a burglar.” Louisa took one of the dry towels and started dabbing herself with it. Lillian made to help her but Louisa brushed her hand away.
“What are you doing here? Are you not supposed to be in Baltimore? What of mummy?” Louisa eyed Lillian briefly before she replied. She was in town for a conference and wanted to surprise her twin sister.
“I guess I should make reservations now before I come so as not to be attacked with a maze the next time I come here.” Lillian apologized again for what happened and they both went downstairs with Lillian trailing behind with her clothes in her hands.
Louisa was Lillian’s only sister. She was married to Kojo. He was a computer scientist from Ghana who naturalized when they all came out of the university. Louisa had waited for Lillian to find the right person so after Gerald proposed she married Kojo. The sisters’ weddings were done a week after the other. There was nothing physically different between the two sisters when you look at them. They were so identical that there dad sometimes mistook one for the other. The sisters were always up to their neck in twin mischief when they were still young. But they both had different characters. Louisa was the gentle and shy one. And funny enough she was the most liked. She loved mathematics and studied it at the university while Lillian adored anything that had to do with words thus her work as the chief editor of a fashion magazine. Louisa put the kettle to boil and looked steadily at Lillian as she got dressed right there in the kitchen.
“How are you, Lillian?” Lillian paused in between putting her left leg into her pajama trouser and shrugged. She finished dressing and sat on the counter in front of Louisa.
“What are you up to these days? How is that crazy friend of yours?” Lillian laughed. Louisa had a dislike for Bunmi. They were always at each other’s throats whenever they had to meet. Bunmi thought Louisa was a proud Miss-goody-two-shoes. Louisa felt Bunmi was a barbarian loud mouth.
“She is doing okay. She and her loud mouth had helped me out of a lot of tight situations, you know. You may not like her but for my sake, endure her,” Lillian pleaded.
“She is such a blabber mouth. I wonder what her life is about. She needs deliverance, you know.”
“We all do. We all should re-dedicate our life to Christ everyday, so don’t even go there,” Lillian said in defense of her friend.
“They say people that bear that name of hers in Nigeria are as quiet as a mouse but hers is a different case,” Louisa replied and Lillian smiled as she got up to get the tea cups. She placed the cups on the counter and waited for Louisa to make the tea. She asked after their mum. Louisa said she was okay and had told her to tell Lillian that she should come over soon. Lillian’s phone started ringing. It was Larry.
“Hello Larry. Did you get home okay…yes, I did…Louisa is here…will do…thanks again for a great night…bye.” Louisa rolled her eyes. Lillian smiled.
“It is not what you think, Louisa.”
“What do you think I think, Lillian? Is that Larry…Larry?”
“Yes it is the same Larry. He is coming back on track and I am helping him take one day at a time, pastor is helping too. He truly needs Jesus in his life.” Louisa nodded as she sipped her tea with a sly grin on her face; Lillian shook her head and smacked Louisa lightly on the shoulder. Louisa never bothered about boys. She was too busy with being born-again and university stuff to have time to go on dates. She was a pretty born-again nerd unlike her sister who was just a party-freak church-goer. Lillian was always the life of every party they went back in school. She was always the one to chair one group or the other, she even ran for the president once but she lost to cunning, cheerleading red head named Cindy that had beaten her to it. When Louisa brought Kojo to her as her boy friend, Lillian had laughed out so loud that he felt embarrassed not knowing that she was just surprised that Louisa could actually found someone to call a boyfriend. Louisa had said he was the one she received. Lillian thought it was a joke but they went along well.
“I have good news to share with you. I have not told anyone, not even Kojo.” Oh-oh. She is pregnant.
“I am pregnant” I thought so.
“Congratulations Louisa. How long gone are you?” Louisa put up two fingers.
“Are you two weeks or two months gone?” Louisa said she was two months pregnant. Lillian was happy for her. They had always joked about who would have the first child. Louisa would tease Lillian with it as she always had a boy hanging around. She would say that at the rate Lillian was going, she would be the first one to be a mother.
“I just want you to be the first to know and if you are okay with me taking your place,” Louisa said and smiled. Lillian hugged her. They remained like that for a few minutes. They had been through a lot together. There were tough times and there were good times. They loved each other and that was all that mattered.
“I am happy for you. I am so proud of Kojo. He has been a good son-in-law to mummy in spite of her hesitation in the beginning. He is a good man and I am sure he will be elated to hear this news.” Louisa smiled and got up. She bid Lillian good night. She said she had to sleep early so she could wake up early for her conference. She yawned and went up the stairs. Lillian sat at the counter and silently sipped her tea. Louisa was pregnant. That was wonderful news to end a wonderful day. She called Bunmi and told her. She screamed.
“Is she there?” Bunmi asked.
“No, she has gone to bed and I do not think she would want to know I told you.”
“That is rubbish and you know it. You know, she knows that you can’t keep anything from me. She doesn’t like me but I am going to like her baby,” Bunmi said at the other end.
“I know and I am sure you will,” Lillian replied. Bunmi loved kids.
“I have to go. One of our interns is not around so I might have to do this piece myself. Good night Lil,” Bunmi said.
“Are you in the office?” Lillian asked.
“Not even if there is a gorgeous white cream there. I am home. Bye,” Bunmi said finally and hung up. Lillian rinsed the cups and switched off the lights in the house. She sat on the couch and switched on the television. She stared blankly at the screen but her mind was way outside the house out there on the streets roaming for a place that will bring her peace. She took the Bible by the sofa and opened to the book of psalm. Her mind couldn’t retain anything from there either. There were some shooting going on in the movie so Lillian turned it to another station. There was nothing interesting going on so she turned the television off. She sat deeper into the couch and closed her eyes. She was happy for her sister.
They had always wanted a baby unlike Lillian and Gerald who wanted to have fun first before they started a new family. Tears gathered in Lillian’s eyes as she thought of her dead husband. He had left her a lot. She was rich courtesy of him but nobody knew how much she was worth and she liked it that way. When Gerald died, she changed. For months after his death, Lillian suffered depression and was always moody and always looking unkempt. Lillian loved her husband to a fault. Louisa had her reservations when she brought the guy home but when they all got to know him, they too fell in love with him.
The floorboard creaked upstairs and Lillian opened her eyes briefly. She wondered why she was on edge. The incident at the supermarket had ended with a statement at the police station. Bunmi had brought her home and had reassured her that the duo thieves were out of the state by then. Lillian still felt uneasy but she knew it might actually and truly be unnecessary. She closed her eyes again. “Tomorrow will come and everything will become new again.”
Tomorrow always comes with a new thing and she hoped that that particular tomorrow would be for her. She was living a good life. Nothing could really go wrong. Christ was with her, His grace was abundant in her. The night sounds came into the sitting room. The dogs were barking. There were cars moving on the street. Lillian liked the night. It was her favorite time of the day. It was the time to reflect and plan as you let all your worries wait another day. Lillian lay down on the couch. She curled up and slept.

14 thoughts on “Steam Me A Heart: Chapter 1” by Tai Fasina (@Tai)

  1. Chair-cheer..

    Nice piece

  2. Engaging story. Love your descriptions. following.

  3. Nice.

    “Louisa had waited for Lilian to find the right person so after Gerald proposed she married Kojo.”
    -Sincerely, it took me a while before I got to understand that sentence. Those breaks -when one tries to figure out what a line/sentence really means- don’t help a story, at all. I guess that sentence lacked a correctly placed punctuation -maybe, two.

    1. @namdi : I know, but sometimes even proof reading leaves a few lapses. A coma should be behind the ‘person’ , just before so…..
      Thanks anyway, much appreciated.
      @elli : actually I took this from a chapter,not really te beginning of the novel. Will go back to the beginning.

    2. And after proposed too.

  4. Good writing, still waiting to get fully into the story. Good job!

  5. @schatzilein, @elly, @Nalongo, @namdi, I’m waiting to see the unfolding of the story… it’s a captivating beginning… thumps up for @TAI…. you could check out my poem at Thanks!

  6. And its “Steal Me a Heart” not steam, editors please take note. Thanks for doing a great job.

  7. @tai, this was a straightforward start, although I must say that there’s nothing here that makes me curious to know what happens next.

    Your style of writing was hard to read, with lots of repetition and very short sentences. For example, you have this:

    Her new cleaner was Rita. Rita was a nice, hardworking woman. Nothing was too stressful for her to do when it came to cleaning of houses. She always left the house spick and span. She had many clients. Each day, she had a client. The only day she left free was Sundays.

    This would flow smoother:

    Her new cleaner was Rita, a nice, hardworking woman. Nothing was too stressful for her to do when it came to cleaning houses; she always left them spick and span. Because of this, she had so many clients that the only day she left free was Sundays.

    1. Thanks@TolaO. This isn’t the beginning of the book, it was my first post and was just an exerpt; I think this is like chptr 6 or so. I see what you mean by the short sentences and will adjust. I will have it scheduled from the beginning. Tnx.

  8. @Tai,
    just curious
    though in no way not serious
    loving this story
    made me eager to read your other works…………..NICE!

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