I still don’t understand your crying o Nadi, we can afford a good place , am even tired of that place, you are crying as if you were going to stay there for……, she quickly kept quiet when she saw the look on Nadia’s face. Sorry she said and then kept quiet. But Nadia broke down crying even heavier than before, Ruth could not understand. Nadia I said am sorry, I didnt mean to make you cry the more, please am sorry. Nadia turned and looked at her before standing up and talking. ”Ruth I know you don’t understand, but that uncompleted building is my home, that building gave me shelter, joy and happiness, when we lost everything that building welcomed us with opened arms, it was our only solace, and now I’ve left her behind, I left her there. What are you talking about? Ruth asked, you are getting me confused the more, please make me understand. My mother Nadia replied, my mother and I found that place, we struggled together in that place, and she died in that place. Then she reduced her voice as she said the last line, I buried her in that place. She broke down again crying. Ruth understood everything immediately, she held Nadia close, she didnt even know when she started sharing tears too. Ruth all my life memories are in that place and I just left like that, I don’t even know if I will be able to visit my mom again, she sobbed even more , Ruth held her and comforted her and after about 10minutes, she stopped crying. It was time to move forward. Firstly they made up their minds to visit their mini savings collector, to collect their money. Nadia knew she must have saved about 230,000 while Ruth knows she has about 170,00, they decided that once their collect their money. They would get a good place to stay. They hurried to the market as they needed to find a new house fast, they quickly went to the collectors shop, they saw a crowd of people there, some were sitting on the ground, some were standing, Ruth didnt know what was going on and so she went close to a lady standing and asked what was going on. ”So u never hear? Was her response, ”’ hear wetin?” Nadia asked, ” collector don die, collector die for accident yesterday when she day go house, okada nak her fall carry bag of money when she don collect run leave her for road”. Nadia stood like a zombie looking at the Lady, it was Ruth who after recovering from her shock that managed to ask the lady, sister abeg nor vex what of out money when dey with her? The woman looked at her sarcastically and responded, ”your money dey her hand too? Oya find chair carry follow those people when day there so, siddon make you day cry, I day tell you say person die you day talk of money,dead body day pay debt? Abeg this small girl leave me alone make I think my life, 300k nor be 300naira. The money don die follow am.
Nadia fell to the ground and was looking like she’s just been stabbed with a long dagger inside her heart. Ruth started wailing and throwing her hands on the air. My money o, our money o, my sister money o, eh God we don finish…… The entire market was in chaos. Nadia finally got her voice and asked if madam collector had no relatives who could talk to them properly on the money and how to get anything at all from it, and she got the biggest answer of a life time. Madam collector was a Ghanian who came over to Nigeria and got married to a man who later abandoned her, she couldn’t ho back to her people because they were against her marriage the first time, and so she cut ties with them. They don’t even know where she was. And so it was the council people that carried her body to the morgue and nobody knows what will happen after worth.
After looking around for sometime Ruth went back to Nadia,and asked what next? We don’t have a house, no money,nothing, we don’t even have hope. Nadia smiled and told her, we have hope, we may have nothing but we have hope, Nadia picked her bag and started walking away to an unknown destination. ”Where are we going to now Ruth asked” I don’t know was Nadia’s reply. And without saying a word, Ruth followed in silence, but then she remembered that she has the money that the man gave to them before they left the uncompleted building. She hasn’t even counted it. So she stopped Nadia and they both sat at one end of the road and counted the money it was 20, 000 naira. Ruths face lit up as she told Nadia that they really did have hope. The girls went in search of a house that they can afford. After moving from one end of a road to another, they finally got to one compound, it was a big compound with an opened space at the middle, the surrounding was neat, an old woman who was not looking smart was sitting outside, Nadia walked up to her and greeted her before asking if there was any vacancy there. The woman pointed to an empty room that was just at the side of the building, Nadia then asked again if the empty room was affordable. The woman looked at the young girl and answered her that its 1000 naira a month and then directed them to another compound where the caretaker of the house was living. Nadia before going to the compound the woman showed to her asked the woman about the place, if it was safe, how many tenants were living there, the toilet and kitchen and few other questions, the woman who seemed ready to talk with this two small girls smiled at the wisdom of such a small girl, she answered them in an all positive answer, and so Nadia and Ruth went to see the care taker, they introduced themselves as sisters and after a long talk they finally paid a total of ,nai12ra000 to the man who handed over the keys to the one room apartment to them. The girls happily moved into their new house. They had no properties just the single bag that Nadia carried that contained her clothes and some vital things.
They still had 8,000naira with them, and so they listed out some things which were unavoidable, like a stove and some pots. Ruth ran to the market and got the things they needed and some food stuff. She thought about her life with her aunty and her children. She has not set her eyes on them since she left the house. They probably think she is dead by now. She can never forget how they maltreated her in their house and called her all sorts of names. They never failed to remind her of how her mother abandoned her to die and how she was probably a prostitute, they never failed to tell her that she will end up a prostitute like her mother and die. She looked at the scar in her hand, she had received it from her aunt for forgetting to warm the pot of soup and allowing it get spoilt. She didnt only give her that scar, but locked her out to sleep outside for three nights. Today she finally has a house that she can call her own, she has a sister whom God gave to her at a platter of gold. God has changed her luck story. She was grateful to Nadia, and she was grateful to the man who gave them that money, most especially she was grateful to God for making her meet Nadia who has changed her life .
Meanwhile Nadia sat and prayed to God thanking Him for giving them another opportunity to have a roof over their heads, she though of the few events of the month, how she lost her mom, and how God didnt allow her to be alone for a minute, she thought of how God brought her Ruth to be a sister to her and a comforter and now they have a house they can call their own. She looked at the neck chain her mom gave to her, she held it to herself and thanked her mom for not abandoning her. Mom she said, I know you led Ruth to me so that I will not be alone, thank you so much. I might have left you in that place, but I promise to be back for you I promise! She carried her bags to carefully keep it then the ID card fell off, it was same ID card she picked from the night she met Ruth, she picked it up and took a look once more at the handsome guy who was in it, she wondered how such a fine boy could be an armed robber. He was a young guy and from his looks Nadia could access that he should not be more than twenty years old. ”You are probably dead by now” she said to the ID card before keeping it back in her bag. She could not understand why she was keeping the card, but somehow she just felt connected to that card and the face was very familiar to her. She kept it and walked outside to take another look at the area where she will be staying for the next one year. Just then she saw Ruth smiling and returning from the market with the things that she has bought. They went inside and sat down. They still have about , 4000naira with them. Tomorrow they will resume their pure water business. They sat down in silence as they fixed their new stove together preparing to cook but yet lost in thoughts of what the future holds for them.
What does the future hold for Nadia and Ruth?
It didnt take them time to adjust to their new environment. Everybody loved the two girls for they were very hardworking and they were dedicated to their jobs. Nadia has formed the habit of helping the sick old woman they met the first day they came looking for a house. In the mornings, she would go to her room and help her fetch water, she will also help her clean her house and even watch some clothes before going out with Ruth to the market. On this faithful day she met mama in the room very smart and lively, she was surprised to see that mama had by herself managed to sweep and she was singing and trying to prepare some food…”mama, Nadia called, you look very happy and excited today, do you mind sharing the food news?” Nadia my daughter she replies its nothing o, its just that my son is visiting today and so I am very happy.”
Son? Nadia asked surprised, yes dear she replied, my son stays at the other side of town, he works over there and he has called me and told me he will be coming to see me today and that is why I decided to cook for him, you see she said coming closer to Nadia, my son even in this my state still considers my food the best, he won’t have it that I didn’t make his favourite when he comes and that is why I am doing all of this. ”I see Nadia replied. So what are you preparing,it smells nice Nadia said trying to spy at the pot. Oh! Mama replied, am trying to make orfu soup. My son loves it a lot. Wow Nadia exclaimed. It must be really special, yes o mama replied , its one of a kind.okay then mama, I will be on my way, hope I will see your son when I return. Sure, mama said, he will be here for the weekend. Okay then Nadia replied, stepping outside. O will see you when I return. ‘Okay my daughter may it be well with you, mama replied. Amen mama Nadia replied as she beckons on Ruth to join her, and not long they left for the market.
Business was good as usual for Nadia and Ruth, they returned early and after a quick bath decided to check on mama and her son before going to bed. Mama was expecting them for as soon as they knocked the door was flunged open. With a wide smoke in her face she asked how their day was and they responded with a big smile also showing they their day went smooth. Nadia asked mama about her day while Ruth was busy looking for a plate for mama to dish some soup for her. They all burst out laughing when Ruth interrupted their discussion with ”mama see the plate”…”habba Ruth, did mama ask you to bring any plates, long throat will not kill you o” mama laughed very loud before telling Nadia that she’s always happy when she serves food for people and she feels fulfilled when people enjoy her meal, she went and dished some soup for the girls, Ruth collected the plates from her excitedly, Nadia was about asking mama about her son when he stepped in, tall and handsome with a fine skin, the girls quickly adjusted their sitting positions seeing a man step into the house, mama was quick with the introduction.
”Girls, this is Frank my son, turning to Nadia she quickly added I told you about him this morning remember? ” yes ma you did Nadia replied looking at him from head to toe, mama continued, Frank this is Nadia and Ruth, the two sisters living at the last apartment, they moved in three months ago.” Frank smiled as he stretched his hands for a handshake with the girls. How do you do? He asked, how do you do they replied….”did you get the cards you went for? Mama asks this son, yes I did he replied as he stepped further inside the house taking a seat behind his mom.Nadia and Ruth stood up to go to their own rooms and thanking mama for the food. ”I hope am not the one chasing you girls away frank asked, no not at all Nadia responded , we just came back and we really need to rest awaiting tomorrow Ruth added. Okay then see you tomorrow he said. And they bid each other good night.
When they left, Nadia was not comfortable, she kept on saying she has met Frank before but cannot remember where or when, maybe in your dreams Ruth teased her, Nadia stared at her but said nothing, she was sure that frank looked very familiar but she was not sure where or how she met him, after some time she let the thought slide away, they soon started chatting about something else and not long they both slept off.
The next morning, they got things up and tunning as usual, but Nadia didnt go to mamas place today, instead Ruth went to help mama with the normal chores that they’ve assigned themselves since they came to the compound. Nadia didnt understand but she just didn’t feel comfortable with Frank. Her spirit had rejected him, and as much as she tried to force herself to understand why, the more she felt the urge to stay away from him, she remembered her mothers words to her to always have a second thought on anything before making a decision , she has thought about getting along with Frank so many times and her spirit has always rejected the idea so she decided not to press any further. Ruth was getting well with him and that was okay. Nadia was praying for Monday morning to come already so that he will just leave them in peace.
Meanwhile that evening Frank had a long discussion with Ruth, and Ruth found out that he was very funny and nice and fun to be with. He told Ruth he was surprised that everyone was calling his mom mama, he told her that his mom was not that old and she was in her early 50’s and that it was because of long suffering and sickness that made her look like she’s 70. He also told her that he has noticed that Nadia does not really like him, ”however its okay, I get that a lot from so many people” he concluded. Ruth felt sorry for him and mama as she listened to him. She soon realized that the young man loved his mom so much and can do anything for her, she found herself do drawn to him, when she got home that night she told Nadia all she discussed with Frank, she also told her that frank was 25years old. Nadia could see that Ruth really likes frank. Then she told Nadia that Frank knows that she does not like him too much, ”I have noticed it too Nadi, why is that, why don’t you like him, do you know him before?” Nadia didnt know what answer to hive Ruth. ”Honestly Ruth I can’t tell why but I don’t just feel drawn to him, my spirit does not want me close to him and I don’t know why, I don’t have any reason for I cant even explain it. I don’t know him before, though I feel like I do. His face really looks familiar but I don’t know I can’t place it. Anyways, Ruth said, he is a very nice and funny person, once you get to know him I know you will like him she said smiling. I hope so too Nadia said.
The next day was Monday and frank was leaving his mother that day, Ruth had gone there to bid him good bye, Nadia had also gone there to wish him goodbye but quickly left them with the excuse of going to the toilet. She came home and sat down to wait for Ruth. She decided to collect a passport from her bag because she had earlier agreed with Ruth that they were going to the bank today to open an account instead of the daily collector they did before. She doesn’t want a repeat of what happened before. So while waiting for Ruth she decided to pick the things she needed for the account opening, while searching for her passport something fell from the bag, she picked it up and it was that ID card, when she saw the picture she shouted yes! I knew it, I said it, its him, this is the same boy that came over to the building that night. This is that armed robber, I said it, no wonder my spirit rejected him, its him, its him. I knew there was a reason my spirit rejected him, this is it, its him this is that thief. Mamas son was that thief. Nadia sat down confused, she didnt know if she should report to mama, or tell Ruth. ”What do I do”? She asked the empty room
To be continued!
Should Nadia tell mama or Ruth?