She sighed as she put away the tray of the meal she’d just eaten. She though Senami should have been back by now so what was keeping her? She hoped the young lady wasn’t avoiding her. She had seemed so elusive like she was trying hard to hide something. She actually went defensive when she asked if Sam and Andrea were happy together. She also answered too quickly. There had to be something fishy here. She could feel it and she decided she would get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile, she hadn’t even spoken to Dorcas since she arrived in Lagos. Didn’t the silly girl know that she should at least have called to check up on her if she had gotten to Lagos? She really couldn’t understand children of these days. They were so carefree. She picked up her phone and dialled.
“Do you know that you’re a very stupid girl?” She asked when the line connected. “Shut up and listen to me. Your mother left Osogbo so late to travel all the way to Lagos and your sense didn’t tell you you should have called by now to find out if I’ve gotten safely to Lagos?” She listened very briefly.
“You don’t have an excuse!” She shouted into her phone. “Will I kill you if you had used at least one hundred Naira from the what you have made from the wares you have sold to buy credit to call? Or you didn’t make any sales? Are you sure you went to the shop at all? She listened some more. “Okay no problem. Sha take care of everything and take care of the house. If you like, carry boys as you like, you will see hell when I get back. Goodnight!” With that, she ended the call.
Back to the issue at hand. She needed to sleep now so she’ll have a clear head for tomorrow. She’ll wait another twenty minutes before taking the tray down herself. Why not? Her tour may as well start tonight with a mini tour starting with the kitchen. After all, she’ll be spending a lot of time there while she was in Lagos. She wasn’t sure she could handle all the junks these people were eating. Original vegetables were giving way to canned foods from what she had heard about Lagos. She tried eating soup made with canned tomatoes once and she almost threw up. Never again. She’ll eat only fresh foods and not all these junks people in Lagos tend to eat. She’ll also need to know where the markets are in Lagos. She had a lot to do. She lay down for a while and closed her eyes as she tried to relax. Fifteen minutes later, her phone rang and she woke up with a start. She had actually fallen asleep. She picked the call, it was one of her neighbours back home. Her nosy neighbour she had asked to spy on Dorcas while she was away. The beautiful thing was that their shops were opposite each other so she could spy on the girl at the shop too. She picked the call and chatted with the woman for a couple of minutes. Apart from a young man that had come to spend over an hour with Dorcas at the shop, there wasn’t anything much to report. She’ll look into that matter and deal with Dorcas appropriately later. If a boy could have the guts to come spend an hour with her at the shop just a day after she left for Lagos, then she can rest assured that by the second week, the guy would have moved in. She thanked her neighbour and promised to call her the next evening. She looked around. The tray containing the empty cup and jug was still lying where she had placed them. Senami hadn’t come to clear the tray? Been over thirty minutes since she had left and she hadn’t come back. Was she really that busy at this time of the night? She really must be staying away. She was left with no choice but to take it all to the kitchen herself. She gathered the tray with the cup and jug and headed for the door.
He was sure he heard the door open but he couldn’t be sure. He was really tired so he wasn’t ready to check anything. Even though his eyes were closed, he still shut them even tighter. But he heard that unmistakable sound of a door shutting softly. His eyes were suddenly open but he still couldn’t see a thing. He was so sure he didn’t switch off the light when he went to bed so why was the room in darkness? Or was there a power failure? He sat up and strained his eyes. There was the unmistakable glare of the light from the digital display of his bedroom air-conditioner. He reached for his glasses by the lamp-stand on an antique table by the bed where he usually kept it before going to bed but he couldn’t find it. He didn’t want to knock anything over so he decided to trust the little he could see. The figure was approaching the bed and somehow he could tell it was a female figure. He smiled as he wondered how Andrea could have been daring enough to sneak into his room at this time. What if Sam’s mother had seen her? He could just imagine the drama as he kept smiling to himself. He was supposed to be real tired but he wasn’t so sure he felt tired right now. His loins stirred. The figure stood by the bed. Eddy could have sworn Andrea looked a little bigger in the robe but he knew he couldn’t trust his eyesights without his glasses and not even in this darkness. He reached out to grab the figure and they were both on the bed in a second with Eddie managing to find the other pair of lips with his own as he held the figure closer. Something felt different. Everything felt different. She tasted good but different; she felt softly good but different; she responded well but differently. Then he was suddenly alarmed as some wave of realisation seemed to sweep him. This wasn’t Andrea. He had kissed the lips, felt the skin and touched the body enough times to know. So, if this wasn’t Andrea, then it had to be… He couldn’t bring himself to think or imagine that he had just kissed and held…
“What’s wrong, Eddie love?” The voice that was unmistakably Senami’s suddenly shattered the silence of the darkness and the calmness of his soul. Before he could stop himself, he shut his eyes like he wanted to snap out of the nightmare and he screamed out in alarm.
When he opened his eyes, he discovered he was breathing heavily. His heart was threatening to smash itself out of his ribcage. He realised he was sweating. This was strange. He looked around and he was alone… again. He looked up at the air-conditioner and realised he forgot to switch it on. The memories came flooding back and he was alarmed all of a sudden.
Senami? In his room? He got up from his bed decided he was going to have an urgent word with Andrea. Without stopping to think, he opened his door and stepped out to head towards Andrea’s door. Just as he was about reaching the door to Andrea’s room, the door to Sam’s mother opened and she poked her head out. Automatically, he just kept walking forward like he was heading for the stairs without breaking stride. That was a close shave.
“Erm, Eddie.” She called out. “Where are you going to in this kind of a hurry?”
Eddie was almost mad at himself. He was so shaken by the dream that he had actually forgotten about Sam’s mother. How could he? He was so glad that she hadn’t opened her own door a second later because it would have been awkward if she had seen him barge into Andrea’s room at this time of the night. He whispered a prayer of thanksgiving as he turned to face her.
“You’re still awake, ma.” He said as he collected his thoughts.
“Yes I am. I hope there’s no problem?” Sam’s mother asked. “You look pale.”
“I’m fine, ma.” Eddie replied as he slowly backed away from the woman.
“I seriously need erm… I need to drink some water.”
“Really?” The elderly lady asked. “I was headed there too. I want to go drop these dishes in the kitchen.”
“Then I can be of help, ma. Eddie said as he made to take the tray from Sam’s mother. “I’ll just drop these off so you can go rest. You should be asleep now, ma. You just got back from a trip.”
“You seriously don’t have to bother, my child.” She moved to object. But Eddie had already collected it from her.
“It’s no bother, ma. I’m very glad to. Just go and rest and I’ll take care of everything. Is there any other thing you’ll need me to get for you, ma”
“No, my son. I’m very fine.” She replied with a smile as she made to leave when she turned back like she forgot something. “By the way, my son, where is Samson now?”
“He’s gone to bed. He went up shortly after you went upstairs. He complained about being very tired and really needing his sleep.”
“Okay but where is his room?” Sam’s mother asked.
“Right over there.” Eddie pointed to the door just opposite her own room.
“And what about these other doors?”
“Well, that one is Andrea’s,” he pointed to a door beside Sam’s. “The one after Andrea’s is mine.”
“So, Andrea’s room is between yours and Samson’s then?”
“That would be correct, ma.”
“Where is Senami’s room?”
“She has her room downstairs.” Eddie paused, gathered his thoughts and continued. “But she stays with me a lot of the time.”
“So why would she have her room downstairs? Don’t you think she should be up here?”
“Honestly, ma. Don’t mind her. I told her to move up but she wouldn’t listen. She seems to like having quick and easy access to the kitchen, ma.”
Eddie forced a laughter. He was getting real good at this. He deserved an Oscar, he thought to himself. It was time to make his escape as he opened his mouth to say something but the woman beat him to it.
“Why isn’t Sam and Andrea in the same room?” She asked. “I really don’t understand all you city people.”
Time to beat it, he told himself.
“There’ll be in the best position to answer themselves because I wonder the same myself. As for me, I’m real thirsty and I need to go get that water now. Have a good night rest, ma.”
And he was off as he headed for the stairs.
“Goodnight.” Sam’s mother said and headed back inside. She poked her head out to look towards Andrea’s door and she then cast a glance at the direction Eddie had taken. She shook her head as she shut her door.
At the same time Sam’s mother was shutting her door, Andrea and Senami were still having their talk.
“Guess we’re good to go for now.” Andrea was saying. “I think we all need to go rest now. It’s been an exciting day for us all. And please, don’t forget to pick up Eddie’s laundry tomorrow. For this period, you’ll do only his. I’ll take care of the rest. That okay with you?”
“Yes it is.” Senami yawned.
“Okay. So you know how to act henceforth. You’re good to go.”
“Yes I am.” She suddenly registered alarm on her face as she hurriedly got off the bed.
“What’s wrong, Senami?” Andrea asked with fear in her eyes. “Did you leave something on the fire?”
“No. I was supposed to go clear up all the cutleries that mama used to have dinner.”
Andrea heaved a sigh of relief. “Okay then. Good luck as you enter the lion’s den again. May the force be with you.”
Senami simply smiled as she stepped out of the room.
Eddie sat down at the kitchen counter. He was sipping on a cold glass of water. It was actually his second glass. He had gulped the first glass like water was going out of fashion. His mouth was really dry. He didn’t know how much he needed water until he poured himself a glass just in case that spooky old lady suddenly followed him to the kitchen to find out if he was really going for the water or he just needed a ruse to get away from her. He didn’t need a soothsayer to know that he really had to be careful around the woman. There was something about her questioning that really unsettled him. Or was he just being paranoid? Probably. That was what really unsettled him. Being someone that had a science education background, he believed in absolute facts and when he wasn’t sure of something or someone, he usually had this familiar sinking feeling. He sipped some more of the water. Then his mind went back to the dream he had. It had felt so real. He had to admit to himself that he had made a very rash decision back there by attempting to dash into Andrea’s room. He hadn’t given it a good thought and had just merely acted on impulse. So he would have dashed into her room to tell her what exactly… that he had had a dream where he was about to make love to Senami? He shook his head as he almost laughed at himself. Won’t that have been something? But one thing that was sure was that Sam’s mother had to leave A.S.A.P. That was key to all of them not losing their minds. She had to… The power failure interrupted his thoughts.
Senami stepped out of Andrea’s room and walked to Sam’s mother’s room. She made a sign of the cross as she knocked and opened the door. She peeped in to find Sam’s mother lying on the bed. The elderly lady sat up when she came in.
“I’m sorry, ma.” Senami said. “I was caught up in all that i was doing, ma. I want to come clear up now.” She looked around for what she came to get.
“Don’t worry, my dear. Your fiance has taken them downstairs for me.”
“Just now. I just came in now to lie down after handing them all over to him.”
“Oh I’m sorry for coming back this late, ma.”
“No problem. We’ll see tomorrow. Let me sleep now.”
“Okay, ma. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, my daughter.”
Senami shut the door as she stepped out and she did a short dance outside the door as she headed for the kitchen. She was so happy the woman didn’t have any question for her because she dreaded having to answer questions that she didn’t see coming and hadn’t prepared for. Now all that was left was to go clean up the dishes that the woman used before heading to bed. She hated having dirty dishes spend the night in the sink. That was one sure fire way to breed cockroaches and she hated those pests with a passion. As she was headed down the staircase, P.H.C.N. struck. Those unreliable people were at it again. She expected Dogo to go power on the generator anytime from now as she made her way slowly to the kitchen. She had made the trip to the kitchen so many times that she was sure she could walk around it with her eyes closed but she still tread cautiously all the same. By the time she was almost entering the kitchen, she was wondering what was keeping Dogo when she heard the distant purring of the generator as it hummed to life. She decided to wait at the entrance until the light came on.
In the dark, Eddie was reminded of the dream he had that night. Yes, it was just like this. The darkness. Then the silhouette… He could almost smell her and feel her presence just like in the dream. What was wrong with him, he chided himself. He really shouldn’t be replaying such thoughts at all. What would Andrea say? He decided to find his way back to his room as he got up while finishing his glass of water. At that moment, the light came on as he turned just in time to see Senami standing by the doorway looking at him. Even the sound of the glass he was holding to his mouth shattering on the tile floor couldn’t instantly clear his shock as he stared at her while she stared back with saucer shaped eyes. It was his dream all over again. His mouth was parched all over again.
Allow me to be a little selfish today but this episode is dedicated to me. I added a year yesterday.
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