He was staring at me. I didn’t know if it was because I said no to his request or if it was due to the way I was looking that morning. Never had I ever left my house without brushing my teeth. I hadn’t had my bath in 2 days and lord knew I looked awful!
Clearing his throat, he said, “I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable with my question, your bag is still at my place, we can go to the hotel now?”
Was that a question? Of course I was ready to get out of my stinky clothes and fill my stomach with a hot meal.
When we got to his place, his pregnant sister was waiting outside. When she saw me, she got up from the bench she was lying on.
“You shouldn’t be here na… I told you to rest. Where is that lousy husband of yours.” Daniel asked. He took his sister by the hand, leading her into her own apartment. She struggled with his hard grip on her wrist.
“Hey let her be, what’s your problem?”
I wasn’t the one to get into other people’s affair… okay, that wasn’t totally true.
“I just wanted to thank her…” his sister muttered. Daniel sighed. With his hands on his waist, he said, “Do it fast, she has to go.” He went into his apartment.
She took a seat on the bench she had been previously sitting on. I followed along. We both stayed quite for a while, not knowing what to say. She swung her feet back and forth like a little girl. I did the same. I stopped to admire her beauty. She was the kind of girl that if given three months to recover from childbirth, would have a killer body. I envied her full breast, teasing mine which were no larger than the smallest oranges have ever eaten.
“Oh god! will you guys get it over with?” Daniel yelled from his room. His sister jumped at the sound of his voice. I didn’t understand why he was in so much in a rush. Was he the one going to the hotel?
“I just wanted to thank you for today, and also for taking Ola to school. I’m sure when she comes back she will have alot to say about it.” This young girl who I guessed to be no more than 25, same age as I spoke like a mother. Everything about her changed. I was jealous at how matured she spoke.
“I’m also sorry that you had to see my husband like that…”
“Does he usually do that?” I interrupted.
“Well, you see,” she sighed. She tried finding words to defend him. “He only gets that way when his angry. I love him you know, so I forgive him.”
“I know his your husband, but that doesn’t give him the right to lay his hands on you… ” I was telling her all what she already knew. Her eyes were filled with unshed tears and so I stopped. I looked down at her pregnant stomach. “How far along are you?”
Her face blossomed. She began to softly caress her tummy. “6 months, 3 more to go. I am hoping it will be a boy this time.” she said, still molding her stomach with her bands. “My husband hopes for it too.” she frowned. Well his not going to get that if he keeps you as his punching bag. I wanted to say to her. No, I wasn’t a marriage counselor but I knew a thing or two about marriages.
Like girls, we managed to make small talks. “How did you meet your husband?” I asked.
“Which country did you come from?” she replied, turning her face away from me. I wasn’t going to push further, so I answered.
“Wow!” she exclaimed. She looked at me differently this time. “You’re lucky ooh.” She said, shifting away from me. “I haven’t even gone to Kaduna talk less of France.” I laughed.
“Oh before I forget, I promised to pay for your daughters school fees today.”
“I guess you meet Mrs Kemi?” She sighed, embarrassed.
“Yes… I offered to pay… but you know what, that lady, she seems evil! I thought she was going to use her cane on me!” I shivered. We both bust out laughing.
“Are you both done? I told you we had somewhere we were going?” Daniel spoke from behind us.
“Aunty is leaving us soon?” she turned to face him.
I grabbed my hand bag which he was holding in his hands.
“Yes, it was really nice meeting you… I’m sorry I have to go like this.” I was a bit disappointed in myself as I dug into my purse for my wallet. I handed her some money; not telling how much it was.
“What is that for?” Daniel asked. His sister hesitated before collecting the money.
“Its for Ola’s school fees. You know her…”
“Didn’t I tell you once I get that new job I’d…” he stopped.
“Thank her na so we can be going.”
“Are you sure there is no way we can get you to stay for the night? Ola would want to say her thanks too, plus I was thinking of cooking up some meal for us.”
“Tolu…” Daniel called this sister’s name with a bit of irritation. A promise of a hot bath and food was what an hotel promised, Tolu offered the same. Yes, I know that wasn’t a good enough excuse for me to stay but I feared after leaving Daniel, I would not be able to find my way around Lagos and so, I needed to cling tightly to him.
“I guess I can stay for the night.” I smiled at Daniel’s whose face wasn’t so inviting.
“No, no, no, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Come on brother, you know we need some of this yankie blood in our lives.” she teased. “By the way, what’s your name?”
My name? Daniel hadn’t ask since we met so I never told.
“Patricia.” I answered shyly.
“Oh Patricia! That’s a lovely name. Patricia you can even spend more than one night with us sef…” Daniel hissed, taking my bags back inside his place. He knew his sister had already won.
I wasn’t expecting a luxurious bath tub or anything, I just wanted to smell fresh, so when Daniel drew a bucket of water into a wooden built bathroom, I took my bath with pleasure. After I finished showering, Daniel excused himself from the room so I could dress up.
Dinner with the family that night was great. Daniel’s sister was a better cook than I. I spent most of the evening gisting Tolu whose curiosity scared me about France. Her husband didn’t come home that night. Her eye’s held a longing for something other than herself. After promising to tell her some more later, I bid her goodnight and was ready to lie comfortably on Daniels couch for the second time. His sister had offered me some wrappers and a pillow to make my sleep more endurable.
As I yawned, stretching my arms and legs, loud banging on the door made my heart skip a beat.
“Daniel open this door!” She shouted.
As soon as Daniel heard her voice, he rushed out of bed. He began pacing around in front of me, unsure what to do. Then it hit me, this had to be his girlfriend.
“Oh, so your going to keep her in there abi? I said open this door!”
Daniel had heard enough of her yelling and so he did the only thing he could do.
“Yes, yes, what!” he shouted back at her. She bust into the room.
“If you know what’s good for the both of you, tell her to leave this minute!”
“Darling just listen to me…”
He tried to calm her, but she wasn’t having it.
“Daniel you know what I can do, tell her to get out!”
He looked at his girlfriend who was tapping her right foot angrily on the floor with her left hand on her waist, eyes filled with fire and then back at me who was standing next to the couch I was once lying on. With his eyes pinned on neither of us, he said,
“You have to leave…”