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I’m curled up in my favourite chair with Sefi Atta’s Everything good will come when sister Uzoduwa and Tony walk in. “Melvina dear.” She says as soon as she spots me. “Have you made anything?” She asks.
“I’m about to.” I reply and make attempts to stand languidly.
Tony flops down on the settee. I don’t even spare him a glance let alone greet him. Sister Uzoduwa sits on the armchair next to him. “Make enough.” She says giving me a silent warning with her eyes. She knows I could accidentally not make Tony’s. It may seem petty but that’s the only ammunition I have against him. I walk into the kitchen and start rooting around for something to rustle up. Few minutes later, I hear her go to her room. Probably, to change or something, I’m not sure. I hear the shower running as I tap my wooden spoon against the edge of the pot and place the lid. I walk back to the sitting room, pick up my novel and go to my room. I don’t know why Sister Uzoduwa thinks she can’t do better than this guy. Someone is knocking on our door. I wait for a bit hoping someone else would get the door. No such luck. Sister Uzoduwa is in the bathroom and tony… I don’t even want to go there. I stand up grudgingly and walk to the door giving him a bad look. When I open the door, I see our neighbor, Mr Kenneth’s wife standing there obtrusively. She is smiling at me sweetly. Hugh! If Mr Kenneth only knew. “Good evening.” I greet rather unfriendly but her smile seems to grow bigger. Hmmm.
“Good evening.” She greets back. “Is Uzoduwa around?” She asks.
“Yes.” I reply, standing obstructively.
She tries to peep around me as she says. “Can I see her?”
“She is in the bathroom.” I say still obstructing her.
“Okay.” She has the decency to look embarassed. “Please, I just came to remind her about the job she is helping us with. She said she would be starting tomorrow. We need some of her designs for my daughter’s room so we can choose before tomorrow.” She is saying, uncomfortably.
“Don’t you have her number? Call her.” I say and slam the door in her face. I have always wanted to do that since forever. Honestly, I wish I did it but I don’t. I get a pen and write her number down in my palm. “She will call you.” I say and try to summon an accompanying smile.
“Thanks.” She says simply and walks away.
I close the door gently and get startled by sister Uzoduwa. “How long have you been standing there?” I ask.
“Just now. Who was that?” She asks.
“It was our neighbor. She came to remind you about her daughter’s room. She gave me her number.” I say and push my palm to her face. She pushes my palm away playfully and smiles.
I follow her back into her room. Tony has dozed off in the sitting room. “Thank God. Now, we can stock up on foodstuff.” I say feeling a measure of relief.
She smiles and shakes her head. “I got some money from the other job today.” She says. “I will give you some tomorrow so you can get some stuff. I am going out early tomorrow so remind me to give you the money this night.”
I don’t know what I would do without her. She is the big sister I never had. I smile at her. The water had washed her face clean of make up and the bruises were more obvious now. I smile sadly at her.
“What?” She asks and turns her back to me.
I hug her tight not holding any emotions back. “Have you thanked our neighbors?” I say and point towards her window to clarify.
She follows my finger and frowns. Then, she smiles as a thought obviously crossed her mind. “I saw him just now!” She says suspiciously excitedly.
“Really?” I ask.
“Yeah. Just before driving in.” She says.
“He was outside?” I ask, my eyes wide.
“Yeah. In front of our gate.” She says.
“He was outside our gate?” I ask unable to grasp the idea.
“Melvina! You have go to stop crushing on this guy. It’s unhealthy.” She makes an attempt at advising me. “But he is cute.” She adds.
“Finally! I thought you were blind.” I say and sigh exaggeratedly. “That guy is the cutest guy I have ever seen. I don’t know what he is doing here. I think I’m just interested in the mystery surrounding him” Sister Uzoduwa rolls her eyes and walks to her wardrobe. “What did you say? What did he say? What happened.” I ask, a bit hurriedly.
She turns back to me. “That’s the thing. He never said a word. Have you ever heard him talk?” She asks me.
I think hard and reply. “No.”
“Hmm. Strange.” Sister Uzoduwa says.
Maybe he is dumb?
My subconscious whispers to me.
I need to stop my imaginations from running too wildly.
On both counts!