Click here to read Episode 1
Simi’s phone rang, jolting her out of sleep. She stared at the caller ID. An unfamiliar number showed on the screen.
Who could be calling her at 6a.m?
She hissed and pushed the phone under her pillow. The phone stopped ringing and started again.
She grabbed the phone and sat up. What if the call was from David? Maybe something had happened to his phone and he had to reach her through another number.
‘Hello.’ Simi was ready to chide him for making her sick with worry but she stopped when she heard a woman’s voice.
‘Good morning, please who is this?’
‘Simi, you can’t even ask after me. Oga fun e. It’s not good o.’
‘Please who is this?’
‘Which mummy Sunday? from where?’
‘Ahh, You have forgotten Mummy Sunday. Your father’s cousin.’
Recognition clicked on Simi’s mind. ‘Oh. I’m sorry ma. Good morning.’
She laughed. ‘So you remember me now. I just say I should call and greet you. How are you?’
Simi tried to stay calm. Mummy Sunday called her at 6a.m just to ask her how she was doing?
‘I’m fine ma. God is helping me.’
‘So when are we coming to eat rice?’
Simi let out a breath. Why won’t these people leave her alone. ‘Very soon ma.’
‘How soon? We have to get ready ahead of that glorious day. Our gele must be on point o. You know how these tailors are, if you don’t give them clothes on time, they can disappoint you.’
Simi rolled her eyes, waiting to get over with the call. ‘I’ll keep you informed ma.’
‘So if I may ask, is there anyone? Are you in a relationship?’
Simi hesitated. Was her relationship with David really existing? The guy hardly called her and for some weeks, he’s been avoiding her.
‘Ehmm…I’m still praying.’
‘Don’t worry ehn. God will do it. I know the God I serve. He will give you the desires of your heart. So, have you had suitors lately?’
Simi couldn’t take it any longer. She had to pretend there was poor network. ‘Hello.’
‘Yes I can hear you. Hello.’
‘Hello. Hello.’ Simi ended the line and blocked the number.
Why can’t people just mind their business. If they want to eat rice, they should go to the market and stop disturbing her.
Simi was unable to go back to sleep. ‘How can somebody just decide to spoil my mood on a Monday morning?’
She picked up her bible from the bedside and flipped through the pages until she got to Colossians 1. She began to read slowly but couldn’t concentrate. She closed the bible and lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling.
God, what’s going on? Why is David withdrawing from me?
She first noticed David’s change in attitude when she brought up plans about their wedding. They’d been dating for a year at that time. They had good jobs. There was nothing stopping them from moving on with wedding plans. Each time, she brought up marriage, he asked her to be patient but for how long? When she kept bugging him about it, he stopped picking her calls.
She returned to the bed and pulled out her earpiece from her bag. Her mood was all messed up now. She wished she had ignored that call.
Later that afternoon on her way home from work, Simi stopped over at her mother’s place to drop some toiletries. When she told her mother about the call, the woman jumped to her feet and clapped her hand.
‘Simi, why did you pick the call? You should not be talking to that evil woman!’ She put her hand on her head. ‘Yetunde, you will not get any of my children. You have failed. Your charm will not work on my family. Never.’
‘Mummy, calm down. It has not gotten to that.’
‘Someone is trying to ruin my family and you say I should calm down. I will not calm down! She killed your father and now she has come for you. God forbid! It will not work!’
‘I thought dad died from a heart attack.’
‘Ahh. You think that death was normal? I have reliable sources who tell me she is behind that death. What exactly did she say to you?’
Simi immediately regretted telling her mother about the call. This was the fourth time she’d been asked that question.
‘I’ve already told you what she said. She wanted to know if I was engaged. I didn’t give her a straightforward answer.’
‘Don’t ever pick her call again. I want you to run as far away from her as possible. You must not have any connection with your father’s family. They hate us because your father was the first person to break loose from their poverty lineage. Before I had your elder sister, we went to see your grandmother and that night, I saw two men enter the room and beat me black and blue. By the time I woke up, I had lost the baby. That was the last time we ever went to your father’s village.’
‘You didn’t tell me this story.’
‘Please I’m begging you with God. Stay away from those witches. In fact, now that she has resurfaced, we’ll need to get stronger protection.’
Simi stood up and walked towards the door. ‘Mum, I’m not going with you to those prophets.’
‘I’m fat and ugly.’
Lola stood in front of the mirror rubbing her big stomach that has refused to go down. The birth of her son had come with great difficulty. After two days of intense labour, she had been rushed into the theater.
For weeks after delivery, Lola was depressed. Tosin, her best friend said it was postpartum depression but all she knew was that darkness covered every part of her body.
Her mother had tried to cheer her up but it didn’t work. Lola couldn’t sleep. She had panic attacks and felt worthless even while holding her baby. At a time, her brain began to send wrong signals to her body. Because how do you explain a mother who drops her five-month old baby on a table confident she is placing him on the bed?
When the depression finally lifted, Lola swore never to have another child.
Now, the darkness has returned. This time in a different way.
‘I’m a shapeless bitch.’ Lola muttered under her breath and stepped away from the mirror.
She pulled out a scale behind the shoe rack and stood on it.
Angry, she walked over to the treadmill Kola bought for her at Christmas and began to run on it so fast she was panting hard.
Benjamin was crying in the next room. Lola pretended she didn’t hear him. Her husband’s voice filled her thoughts.
‘You are very lazy. Just take a look at the bathroom. You can’t even clean it properly. All you know how to do is eat.’
‘Can’t you even see how Temi looks so in shape even after giving birth to three children. You just have two.’
‘Don’t touch that cake! You don’t even like yourself. See how horrible you look and you still want to munch cake. Don’t let me see you touch that cake. When last did you look at yourself in the mirror.’
‘Why should I cuddle you? Maybe when you get back in shape I’ll change my mind because with the way you are, my hand can barely go round your waist.’
Lola got down from the treadmill and sat on the bed, frustrated. ‘God, but I’m trying. I just get so hungry after breastfeeding.’ She wiped the tears already forming in her eyes.
The door opened. Nene entered with Benjamin in her hands. Her effort to sing to the child wasn’t working. Lola reached for her son and began to breastfeed her. A drop of her tears fell on the child’s cheeks.
‘Aunty, you are crying?’ The twelve-year old househelp asked.
Lola kept her gaze on Benjamin. ‘Nene, have you finished cleaning the kitchen?’
‘Have you done your assignment?’
‘No. But I’ll do it. I want to stay here with you. But Aunty, why are you crying?’
A car horn interrupted their conversation. Nene ran out of the room to see who was at the gate. Lola glanced at the clock. 1p.m. It was still early for her husband to return from work.
She returned her attention to her baby who was now sleeping. At least, for some hours, she’d be able to catch her breath. She took him to his room and quietly laid him on the bed.
‘Who dey house o!’
Lola peeped into the living room and there, her best friend sat, looking radiant. She rushed to hug her.
‘This is a big surprise. I’ve missed you. You didn’t go to work today?’
Tosin shook her head. ‘I started my leave yesterday. How are you?’
Lola’s eyes danced towards Tosin’s bag. There was something wrapped in aluminum foil. Lola’s mind screamed, ‘cake!’
‘Tosin, What’s that?’
Tosin smiled and unwrapped the foil paper revealing a large piece of brown cake.
Lola couldn’t take her gaze away. ‘Tosin, this is not fair. You brought the temptation right to doorstep.’
She tore a small piece and threw it into her mouth. The moment it got into her mouth, it was as if some nuts in her brain had let loose. She grabbed the whole piece and began to eat like someone starved of food for months. Tosin just sat there watching in horror.
Lola looked from the crumbs in her hands to her friend and a deep sadness covered her face.
‘Lola, please. Don’t take the guilt trip. I made this cake using a low-fat recipe. See babe, losing weight is a gradual process. We take it one day at a time. You simply enjoyed a delicious piece of cake abi?’
Lola didn’t say anything. Her husband’s words were back.
‘Don’t let me ever see cake in this house! I can’t have you looking more shapeless than this.’
She relaxed on the sofa, listening as her friend talked about a job interview she had attended the previous day and how her seat mate in secondary was the HR. Lola wished she could be relaxed like Tosin. She was always hopeful and full of life.
Lola turned to find Nene standing at the door that led to the Benjamin’s room. There was panic in her eyes.
‘The baby! Something is wrong.’
The ladies jumped to their feet and ran out of the living room.
Benjamin’s breath was forced. His face was red and his hand limp. Lola grabbed her child and ran of the house.
As she opened the driver’s side, Tosin stopped her.
‘Give me the keys.’
Lola obeyed. Her body was trembling as she climbed into the back seat. Nene stood at the entrance, crying. Tosin sped out of the house.
Click here to read Episode 3
Read: Who will marry you?