“NEPA!” Just 25minutes ehn, na wa o! She hissed as she groped in the dark. Despite the fact that the electricity authority was privatised and had been sold to several investors with different names, most Nigerians still referred to the successor companies as NEPA. She hissed again in frustration. There was a spark as a small flicker of fire came on after she struck a match stick against the box. As she did, the acoustics of Mathias Piano Man’s ‘a spark of light’ came to her mind and she hummed it joyfully. She lit the candle sitting idly on her reading table and after three attempts, the candle agreed to stand on a Milo tin. The Milo tin had huge candle waxes which had built over months.
“This foolish people will soon bring their stupid bill even when there’s never light. This country is so annoying” She ranted as she fooled around with the candle wax moulding some of it into a figure resembling guitar strings.
‘Fadeke! Her mother’s voice called ‘Fadeke!!!
‘I’m in my room’, she grumbly responded.
‘Ok, so I should come to your room abi? She heard her mother respond sarcastically.
She knew that it was wrong the way she treated her mother on some days. The woman had given and continued to give everything to ensure that she got educated. She dragged herself from the bed which creaked noisily as she did. She remembered vividly when the frame for the bed was set up; it used to be a very beautiful bed, which had now become a shadow of its glorious self. Everything in the two room apartment bore a sign of old age, all worn out despite obvious effort at keeping them clean and neat.
“We need gas ma. If you won’t do the cooking at least help make the job easy for me. You didn’t notice the gas was low when you warmed your food this afternoon abi?
‘I was trying to finish my assignments ma”
‘ehn, now is the time to do your assignment. What have you been doing all day? She looked at her and saw she was weary and aging really fast. She felt bad at being the cause of most of the grey strands of hairs appearing on her mother’s head. She was too young to be greying. Fadeke knew she could not lie, her mother was better than a lie detector, it was as if she had a gift of discernment; she could tell when a person is lying and being deceptive. St. Agnes Girls Secondary School was a mere stone throw from the house. The school closed at 3pm, and within 10 minutes she ought to be home. If she got home by 3.30pm, her assignments should have been completed latest by 7pm. Her mother got home at 8.15pm. There was no possible lie.
‘Errm….I was tired so I took a nap’
‘You’re either tired or singing, every time. At some point, you will understand how serious life is. It is your life o, it is your life. Anyway, take money from my purse, and refill the gas cylinder. If you like sleep there o’ Sarcasm and Nigerian mothers, rather than tell you very simply what they want, they say it the other way round and God save you if you take them literally.
Fadeke hurried off to her room in search of her slippers, she searched the room and could not find her slippers, frustration began to set in when she heard her mother call again “Fadeke, akuko ko, ole pose. How long will it take you to get out of your room ehn?” She knew full well that whenever her mother dished Yoruba proverbs, it was often out of some deep emotion, ranging from anger to frustration, and sometimes simply out of amazement.
“Mummy I’m coming now, I cannot find my slippers” Fadeke responded with some great effort at hiding her irritation.
“Why won’t you look for your slippers when your room is full of junk and punk?” Her Mum threw back. Fadeke took a quick look around her room, and her head told her that her mother was right; her heart responded that her room was merely artistic and represented her personality. On the wall of her room hung several portraits of female artistes and musical bands whose music ruled the airwaves during the 90’s. Directly on top of her reading table hung a black and white portrait of the Brownstone, an American female contemporary R&B group that was popular during the mid-1990s. Next to the portrait was yet another Brownstone painting; this one had the Brownstone girls standing by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. She had read all about the Brownstone, from its formation in Los Angeles to present day life. The Brownstone did not last on the scene but she loved them passionately; she loved Nicci best. She also had an antique guitar which she bought off some of the junkies in her area. She saved any money she received from her mum for these types of items; she was not so much into all the girly indulgences. She had very few friends; most of her neighbours felt she was a weird teenage girl. She once asked Tade, a talented boy in the SS2 class of St. Johns High School, an all-boys secondary school sharing boundary with her school to make an artistic calligraphy of Lauryn Hill’s Can’t Take My Eyes off you. The poor boy did not know who Lauryn Hill was, but because he wanted to impress the pretty SSS3 girl at ‘Agnes Girls’, he agreed to make the calligraphy. He frantically asked everyone, none knew who Lauryn Hill was, so in frustration and thinking he had lost the chance to impress Fadeke, he told her he was sorry he could not make the piece. Fadeke was not to be put off easily, so she dug into the reason behind his rejection. When she discovered it was because he did not know the lyrics, she laughed at him and told him she was sorry, she ought to have written out the lyrics for him. She picked a piece of paper and wrote the entire lyrics on the paper without a pause. Tade was impressed and gave the calligraphy his best shot, Fadeke totally loved it. It hung nicely above her bed. She remembered she needed to see Tade the next day, she needed a sketch …
“Abi” – right?
“Akuko ko, ole pose” – the cock crows, the lazy man is displeased.
“Ehn” – A Yoruba exclamation
To be continued….
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