He struck the door, shouting out my name; “Adanne! Adanne! Come out of that bathroom, you have been there for long… we that have work will be late?” I could hear his wife’s voice; “it’s not like she goes anywhere, her own is to sit down and make clothes inside her house.”

    I ignored their words, no be today e start. Papa Buka and his wife love speaking plenty grammar, their words have no effect again.

He knocked again angrily, I screamed out; “Papa Buka, you no go careful? You go spoil this door ooo!”

    Well, the door was dead already and can never resurrect, only if they can see that it belongs to my mother’s three stone fire. My fair legs could be seen as the down part of the door was broken. It is easy to break down the door as the lock has been replaced with a knot made out of a worn out cloth.

I hurried up knowing that an extra minute in there may provoke the wrath of Papa Buka. I lifted the knot from the nail it hung on, and walked to our apartment, swinging my waist with my empty bucket which was carelessly hanging on my wrist, my little towel laid on my shoulders… I stopped at a point to intimidate them, dropped my bucket, knoted my faded wrapper firmly on my chest, picked up my bucket with a powerful song… “Jesus you love me too much oo“…🎶🎶🎶 It worked! But I am sure they cursed me within them.

Infront of our door was my mother, who cautioned me and also pleaded that I have my bath later in the day than disturb others who were going out.

    I really don’t get it… I am also working, a young entrepreneur, a skilled fashion designer but just work at home.

Well, she never understood. For peace, I reluctantly accepted to bath atleast by 10am instead of my usual 7am. After our plenty talk, I stepped inside our apartment while she left for her shop at the town’s market.

    Our apartment is the biggest in the compound, two rooms, the first is the sitting room with just a sofa, a black box television and my ancient sewing machine passed down to me from my mother while the other is the bedroom with a big bed, by the side are two mats rolled up. We are 9 in our family. My parents and my last too siblings sleep on the bed while I and the rest take the floor of the room and the sitting room. We share kitchen and toilet/bathroom with other tenants. Imagine a bungalow with 19 rooms and 18 families excluding their children. The younger ones have thair baths outside, the same with few adults that can wake up as early as 4am whereas the rest of us who are born ready to fight, use the bathroom.

I dressed up and just as I was about to step out, my friend since we were 5 stopped me at the door; “ehe! Danne where are you going to?”

Danne, a name he called me as a child… for a sole reason, he stammered!

Augustus, please let me pass… I don’t have your time“. I replied. He continued; “but Danne, why haven’t you been attending Mr. Gee preparatory class… you know we must pass this exam, we have to enter University next session” I took a breathe; “Augustus!!!! I am busy and I read on my own”.

But he is stubborn. It is true what they say about stammerers.

I shoved him aside and walked up. “Danne! You are going to see that man, right?” I was shocked! He knew about him. I turned back to him smiling; “Augustus, please stay out of my business, we are friends but born differently with different destinies. I am lucky to have discovered mine earlier… stay off and focus on yours”. He was crushed!

    Don’t blame me, that was the only thing that could force him to keep his mouth shut. They say I am his weakness and I say, I know how to get him.

    I was going to see a man. A young man! I met him weeks back, in front of Mr. Gee Preparatory Class… The man I prayed for, to take me out of the hole I call a home.

    Jerry! Jerry is his name. He dresses well and drives a 2002 peugeot 307. The car is red and always clean. His apartment, a well furnished two bedroom flat with no one to share anything with. A life outside my home, a life I long for.

Jerry had invited me for a date. It was a surprise. I met with him 3 streets away from mine. He drove me to mall at the center of the city… He got me clothes and jewellery. Then, we drove back to his house. I cooked for him, cleaned up and rushed back home to clear up my tracks.

At home, I dressed for church, prepared my younger ones who were back from school and then, waited for my mother. It was a routine, my parents are staunch christians. At the church I met Augustus, he didn’t look happy with me… I never expected him to but I knew I had to apologise to him. I walked up to him; “Auggyyyyy!! Oya I am sorry, but you should be happy for me… the man, his name is Jerry and he is rich… he even wants to marry me and if he does, you know na… I will be rich and I will come and take you and my family out of that gutter.” He replied; “Danne, you don’t get it! I am not against your relationship, you are 20, an adult but don’t you think that we should focus on our forth coming exams and pass it. It will be a plus to your marriage to the rich man.” I didn’t want to argue with him, so I smiled and hit his back. He smiled back.

3 months later
The results were out, I failed my core subjects whereas Augustus passed. He merited it. However, I wasn’t bothered, Jerry was still there and I was the best fashion designer in the hood. Though, they paid too little. Whenever Augustus complained about my result or asked about my future plan, I would shut him up; “Augggyyyy, goan study for two nah”. He was not happy but that was the least of my problems. My mother was the major!

She complained everyday, I wished I could remind her that the money I have spent on food stuff and other household essentials has automatically paid off that exam fee. But the fear of my father was the beginning of wisdom. He would actually twist my mouth to the back of my head if I try that. The solution was marriage but how could that happen when they have rejected my helper, Jerry!

They have forgotten that when I am determined, I pave way for whatever I want.

    I want Jerry and that will happen…

Watch the space for the next part!!!

Photo Credit: @cinegradevisuals

Written by Umahi Uju Vicky
Talking about myself welcomes me into the world of confusion, I mean, how else can I say that I am a passionate volunteer, a flexible teacher, a life loving blogger and Umahi Obianujunwa Victoria!