© Kayode Odusanya
The week went by fast and he hadn’t run into Mrs. Salami since the incidence back at her house. She had sent him a message the very next day asking him to come over, but he hadn’t responded back. Then she sent another asking him not to be scared of her husband. He still didn’t respond, and that was the end of their communication; she never bothered him again. He closed early on Friday, and as he walked into the compound, he saw her sitting at her usual spot, just outside her door. It was weird seeing her in traditional Yoruba iro and buba attire. He guessed she had gone for a function. The deep blue colored dress accentuated her flawless light skin. She greeted him warmly and asked how work went. He responded with “fine” before walking off. He had expected her disposition towards him would be different, and was happy she could just let them go back to being neighbors.
“Uncle Jack!” He heard a little girl shout out. To his right, through the space between the parked cars, he saw little Sarah running into her house. He laughed lightly and continued his walk to his apartment.
After taking a quick shower, and putting on shorts and t shirt, he walked into his living room too to turn on the TV by the wall. He had gotten a movie from his friend at work on his phone through Xender and wanted to watch it on his big screen. He plugged his phone to a cord behind his TV, and walked over to the long couch, facing the TV.
He grabbed the remote control from the table, and took his seat. New Line Cinema appeared on his TV screen after he clicked on the movie he wanted to watch. It was a comedy movie titled The Life of the Party.
He didn’t know if the movie was boring or he was just tired, but he started dozing off ten minutes into it. He tried to keep himself awake by changing his position on the couch, but at some point, sleep won the battle.
When he woke up a few hours later, power was gone and everywhere was dark. The loud noise of heavy duty generator sets filled the air. As he robbed his eyes and stretched, he heard movement outside his apartment. He checked his watch and saw it was 11pm; scared robbers were trying to gain access into his apartment, he picked up his phone and tip toed to his room, thinking of his next move. Light from the house behind his cast a shadow on his room window. It was the figure of someone smoking. When he looked closer, he saw it was a female from the curves of the upper body.
Could it be Mrs. Salami? He thought to himself. He walked out of his room, into the living room and opened the front door gently. Barefoot, he walked to the back of his apartment. The person was backing him, but he was sure it was not Mrs. Salami now. The person was wearing a short black gown, and she appeared to be a teenager. “Hello.” He said, but the noise from the generator sets drowned his voice. Then he decided to tap the girl.
“Shiit!” She exclaimed in shock, turned around and hit him with the back of her hand before running off. She hadn’t gone far before hitting her head on the metal part of a clothes line and falling backward into his arms. He laid her down on the ground, and tried to see if she was injured. “Are you okay?” He asked.
“Who are you?” She asked as she rubbed her forehead in pain.
“I should be asking you that.” He said.
She was sitting on the floor, leaning on the wall with iced sachet water pressed up on her forehead. He was ducked down beside her and they were having a conversation. Jack had learnt that she was the Salami’s daughter, and she had come home after her school was closed down that same day. It was hard for him to believe Mrs. Salami had a kid this big. She was at least in her late teens. Mrs. Salami must be older than I perceived, he thought to himself.
“When did you move in?” She asked after a prolonged silence.
“Umm! About two weeks ago.”
“Sorry…I actually didn’t know anyone had occupied the BQ.”
“It’s okay.” He said and smiled.
“Did I burn you?” She said and leaned forward to look at his face. “Oh my, I think I burnt you.” She added as she ran her hand through the little part of his cheek the lit end of the cigarette she was smoking had hit. He lost his balance in the crouching position he was in and fell backwards. She also lost balance, and fell on him. “Oops! I’m sorry.” She said as she got off him. They both laughed at the embarrassing situation as they stood and dusted sand off their body. He got a good look of her now. Like Mrs. Salami, she was also light skinned. She was a bit taller than average, slim and but busty. The tight black gown she had on gave her body sort of like a funnel look.
“Won’t your mom be looking for you?” Jack said after a few seconds of awkward silence.
“My mom? Nifemi is not my mom. She’s just my dad’s wife.”
“Oh. Sorry for assuming she was.” Jack said, lost in thought.
“She’s a cool stepmom though.”
“So…you call her by her name?”
“Well, not in front of everybody. It’s complicated. I actually knew her before my dad married her.”
“Mmm! Okay.” He said and just then the last generator set in the area went off, making everywhere suddenly extra quiet and dark.
“I should go now.” She said in a whisper. “Sorry for the troubles. By the way, I’m Damilola.”
“Okay Jack. See you around.” She said and turned around to leave, but stopped like she forgot something. She turned back around and said, “Please don’t ever bring up this situation with my dad.”
He smiled before saying, “Okay.”
To be continued tomorrow