The following day, i called Jordan and apologised to him. He said he did not know that i was going through hell and made a slave in my own house already. He also said he thought i will be living like a queen now that my mom is dead and am left with all the wealth but reverse was the case. Even though Jordan’s words came as an insult than concern to me, i did not react to it. He accepted my apology and i ended the call. I also called kelvin and he said i should not be depressed instead i should read and make sure i pass the exam.
Lizzy came to my room and promised to plead with her parent to allow me continue with school. But i refused, in order not to cause conflict in the house. After lizzy departure to school everyday, i would wait in my room for uncle mike and his wife to leave the house as well. Once they are gone, i would go to the kitchen, make breakfast and keep some for lunch. I read mostly in the afternoon when am alone in the main building. Sometimes i read at night when am not too scared of the dark.
This was my daily routine until one Thursday, Aunty Nike came back early that day from shop and met me cooking. I was making yam and egg sauce for myself. Immediately she entered the house she came to the kitchen. I greeted her but instead of responding she rushed toward the pot on fire. She checked the yam then the egg sauce and she started to scream. “Jesus! I had ordinary bread and tea for breakfast this morning and here you are making yam and egg sauce for yourself? I can see you have been growing fat on what you did not work for. This laziness must stop today. Go inside right now and dress up! You wil start working as a sales girl in my supermarket till you gain admission! Ok?” Aunty Nike ended her speech, but i stood, rooted to a point. I heard her perfectly well but i could not believe she could be so mean to make me a sales girl in my mom’s supermarket. “Will you move it before i decend on you!” Aunty nike’s voice brought me back to reality. I hurriedly turn off the gas cooker and rushed to my room. I was yet to dressup when i heard Aunty Nike call my name. I pulled my dress over my head quickly and rushed downstairs, i got into the car and the driver zoomed off to the supermarket.
I was going back to my mom’s super market, the same place my mom was heading to before she met her untimely death. In the past, i would go there either to shop or to be with mom but that day, i was going there to start working as a sales girl. Tears rushed down my cheek as i thought about the irony of my life.
We got to the super market and i discovered that just the way our house workers were sacked, the workers at the super market were replaced as well.
Aunty Nike called the other girls and said ” I called you all here to introduce a new employee to you. Her name is Nancy and she will be the errand girl. She is spoilt and lazy,but make sure you report her to me whenever she disobey you. You can all take your leave” Aunty Nike ended her speech and all the girls went back to their duty post. I was made a massanger in a supermarket owned by my mom, that was the effect of death. I did not know what more to expect but i planned not to give up.
During lunch all the girl dropped different food container size with different order and instruction for me to get them food. I did not know where to get food from so i asked one of the girls and she described the way to a local food canteen along the road.
The food containers were too heavy for me but i managed to carry them after getting their orders. I was stil struggling with the containers when i heard some call my name, i turned and it was ‘Aunty oyinkan’ (khole’s mom). ” Nancy what are you doing here? Are not suppose to be in school? Who sent you all this?” aunty oyinkan questioned. I did not know what to say, i just started to cry. Aunty Oyinkan collected the food conteiners from me and led me to her car where I narrated my predicament to aunty oyinkan and she was furious. She wanted to drive down to the supermarket and battle words with my uncle’s wife, but i pleaded with her to let peace rein. Aunty oyinkan then held my cheek and said “Nancy i know you are trying to cope,but if you ever think you are too tired and cant take the pain anymore, do give me a call, i promise to be there for you. This was the same promise i made to you when lillian died and am not backing off now”.
Aunty oyinkan took me to a resturant and ordered food for me. She watched me while i ate. After eating she gave me her card and dropped me close to the super market before leaving.
This was how i started working as an errand girl in my mom’s super market and i was left with limited time to read for my exam.
It was a week to my jamb examination, but i was yet to cover most of the areas i ought to have covered. Every morning i would go with aunty Nike to the supermarket and run erands on foot. Most of the time i come home lately and tired which makes me unable to study.
My jamb examination was fast approaching and i had no idea of how i would transport myself to the examination center. I was scheduled to have my exam by 8:00am which means i had to arrive the center early in the morning. Kelvin was out of town so i had to call Jordan. I called Jordan and asked for his help in transporting me to my examination center and he promised to be in my house on time to pick me up.
On the day of my examination, i woke up very early in the morning and went through my book before i dressed up for school. I said my prayer and went to inform my uncle and his wife of my departure. I met lizzy preparing for school when i went to bid her goodbye, she asked if i needed anything and i said no. I called jordan to inform him that i was waiting for him and he said he was on his way. Minutes later Lizzy left in her car. I waited for thirty minutes without seeing any sign of Jordan, i called again and his line was switched off.
I was baffled and confused on what to do. He was my only hope and i had no money with me. I thought of who to call again and Nelly came to my mind. She picked the call after the third ring and I informed her of my present situation. I asked if she could help me get to school and she said her exam was not scheduled for that day and she was with a friend not at home. I ended the call with Nelly and i checked my wrist watch, the time was 7:40am. My exam was scheduled for 8:00am and i was yet to get a transport down to school by 7:40AM. I was scared of missing my examination and confused on what to do. I could not call khole or aunty oyinkan. The examination would have ended before they arrive my house. I had no other person to call than Lizzy. Lizzy picked my call at the first ring and immediately i told her i was stranded, she said she would turn the car around. I was checking my time as i continued to dial Jordan’s line without luck of reaching him.
This was an examination i could not afford to miss. Missing this examination will cost me another year of slaving in my mom’s super market. I doubled my step and started to trek toward the examination center. I was almost at the junction of my street when i sighted lizzy. She pulled over beside me and i got into the car. Immediately i got into the car, lizzy zoomed off without us saying a word to eachother. Lizzy was speeding so high that i would have cautioned if i was not late for an examination. I knew she was doing everything because of me but i could not bring myself to thank her at that moment. I was sad and lost in thought.
We got to my center and i quickly alighted from the car, i got to the examination hall and the other students were just going into the hall. I joined the line hurriedly and made into the examination hall.
We started the examination by 9:15AM after which the computers were been checked. Most of the questions were difficult and unfamiliar because i could not study hard for the examination, i did my best and left the rest for God.
I came out of the hall and to my surprise lizzy was outside waiting for me, immediately she saw me, she rushed at me and hugged me before asking how the examination went. I sincerely told her i did my best but could not answer most of the questions. Lizzy told me not to worry and in a bid to console me, she got me lunch at Mr.biggs before taking me home.
I did not go to the super market that day, so i had the whole afternoon to myself. During my free time,i called kelvin and told him about the incident that happened to me in the morning and he asked if Nelly and kelvin were close friends. I did not know why he asked that question but i told him they were not really close. Kelvin changed the topic and consoled me, he told me not to worry about anything apart from my education. I took kelvin’s advice and hoping to do well in my examination.
I was about to sleep that day when Jordan called. I rejected his call severally and he ended up sending a text “Swidy,am so sorry for not coming to pick you up as promised. My car brooke down and i had a flat battery. Am sure you were able to sit for the exam. I know you are angry with me, i promise to make it up to you
and always remember that i love you so dearly. (Jordan)” that was the message content. I was stil contemplating on trusting Jordan or not when he called again. I accepted his incoming call and i could hear him breathe a sigh of relief. He told me he was very worried when i did not accept his calls and he went on and on to apologizing for not keeping to his promise. I accepted Jordan’s apology and he made new promises, to be there for me and stand by me through thick and thin. I felt love again and was happy to have Jordan by my side in the absence of Kelvin and Khole.
The week went on with me continuing my normal routine as an errand girl. It was not a good thing to do but i was beginning to get use to my duty. On sundays we do no open the supermarket, so it was a free day for me. On our way to church the following day, Lizzy told me the jamb result was out and she would check for mine when we come back from just. I went to church feeling anxious. I used all my strength to pray and dance in church,hoping for a good result.
Immediately we came back from church, we met uncle mike and his wife in the living room, we greeted them and went to lizzy’s room. I told lizzy to check my result for me but she said her period just started and she was out of pad, so she needed to get herself a pack of always immediately. Lizzy went out to get the pad and i decided to make lunch for myself in a bid to keep myself bussy. I was about to go to the kitchen when i saw aunty Nike cooking, she looked at me and said ” have you checked your jamb result? Or you have failed thats why you have refuse to tell us?” I told her i was yet to check it and she said “I knew you will lie but am ready for you this afternoon, go and get me your sit number and examination center number, i have the scratch card with me” my heart skipped a bit and i was confused. Though i was anxious to know what my score was, i wanted to find out before anybody in the house inorder to prepare for the worst if i should fail. I prayed to have a high score with the whole of my heart as i went to get my sit and examination center number.
I came back to the living room where my uncle and his wife were sitted. I gave aunty nike the requested numbers and she got bussy with her system. My heart was beating fast as she checked for my score. I knew it will be a thing of joy for her if i fail, so i prayed to put her to shame. I did not write well during examination but i was hoping a miracle will bail me out. “Yes! I knew it! I knew you would fail. Come and see with your eyes, your score is not even up to average. Useless, thats what you are! Come here and check your score!” aunty nike’s voice brought me back to reality, but i was hoping everything she was saying was a lie as i slowly moved towards her to see things for myself. I got to her and she pointed at the screen where my score was boldly written.
Immediately i saw my score my heart brooke into a million pieces, this was my last hope. How will i gain admission into the university without an average score? I asked myself as tears rushed out of my eyes. To make matter worse, i would have to continue to slave for my uncle’s wife for another year.
As if the pain i was feeling because of my failure was not enough, my uncle stood up with full force and gave me a slap. My eyes went blur for a minute. I was not expecting the slap. Before i could come out of the shock of the first slap, he gave me a second one and i lost my balance. I fell on a couch close to me. Uncle mike did not stop at that, he continued to hit me all over as aunty nike sang him praise song for what he was doing. Lizzy was not home and their was nobody to save me. I was loosing my strength and if i should receive the beating without running for my life, i might end up loosing my dear life. ‘No, i cant die now! I must make it in life and write my success story someday!!’ i thought. I remembered my parents and the thought of making them proud someday as kelvin told me gave the the strength to escape. I pushed uncle mike with the whole of my strength and he landed on his bare ass. I could not go back inside since it would warrant more beating, the only option was for me to run outside. I quickly unlocked the door and ran to the gate. I could hear aunty nike screaming my name and accusing me of killing her husband as i unlock the gate. I got out of the house and i ran as fast as my legs could carry me, far, far, far away from home.
…to be continued