Youthful Storytelling In Nigeria
WILL YOU EVER TAKE A STEP TO HELP?
“When I thought I had finally found the sister I never had, everything came crashing down. It was her wails of agony that often marked my stay-at-home moments, more often than not.”
Remi was curled up on the couch, a little shaken from the rememberance of the occurrence which she’d been trying to bury for days.
On the television another news detail was being covered, different from the story that had scarred Remi’s healing heart, again.
“I feel so guilty and can’t seem to get over it.” Said Remi to her distant cousin, Tola, over the low audio of the plasma television which had been gifted to her by Grace, one Christmas. Tola had just moved in with Remi in preparation for her National Youth Service Corps.
“Sis, let’s talk over dinner.” Tola said, inviting her cousin over to the table. Dinner was Remi’s favorite~hot custard to be served with akara which Tola had fried just before Remi returned from work.
Tola poured evaporated milk into each bowl of custard, a bit more milk for Remi who loved her custard very creamy, despite the lots of sugar.
Remi lived in Jikern street along the seaside, up south of West-Town, a place pleasantly withdrawn from the hustle-bustle of the town. When Remi had been hunting for a perfect apartment, not too far off from LR Enterprises where she worked as a manager, she had received numerous housing recommendations from family and friends, not until a colleague at work whose brother-in-law lived a street away from Jikern had assured her that the quality of life at Jikern would be to her taste.
Growing up in a very quiet locality and in a home where unnecessary noisemaking wasn’t encouraged, she’d learnt the art to a serene life and needed somewhere to keep up the standard.
Remi pulled out a black leather dining chair, sitting across Tola who waited for her to be seated before saying prayers.
“You were sharing a story with me, Remi. Can you continue, please?”
Some weeks after Remi had moved into Jikern lane was when the initial occupants of House 12, the Adeolas, moved away after the loss of a son and for about four months, there was no one occupying the apartment because it was one of the most expensive buildings in the street and because of a myth that was casted on the apartment before the Adeolas evacuated.
The Adeola household was made up of a very nosy mother who loved poking her nose into everyone’s business in the neighborhood, a father who was the exact opposite of his wife, a very reserved man who didn’t like getting caught up in the drama around the neighborhood, they had three children, alongside relatives who were squatting with them, owing to Mr. Adeola’s generosity. He was a man who believed in giving back to humanity the kindness and educational sponsorship which he had gotten back in the days, as a young boy.
Thanks to Mrs. Adeola, Mama, as she was often called, couldn’t stop her mouth from running, the neighborhood was well aware that their second child had died after battling several illnesses that later claimed his life and that they would be moving away because a Yoruba Prophet claimed that their son had died as a result of many spiritual attacks from evil spirits that dwelled in the Pawpaw plantation in the backyard at House 12, where Mama had planted some vegetables, too.
Mama was of the opinion that their son could have been saved if only her husband had earlier taken heed to her advise of going spiritual over their son’s health issues but being a man who had little to no belief in spirituality, Mr. Adeola had rebuked the idea. With words like “God forbid!”, “Olorun maa je!”.
For reasons best known to her, Remi didn’t believe Mama’s tale of the evil spirits. Remi couldn’t be blamed when Mama had sometimes spread fake rumours about her, painting her egoistic, just because she preferred staying indoors on weekends when she was at home, other than relating with other women in the neighbourhood who sometimes gathered at House 12 in the evening hours in the airy sitting room, with refreshments to go, most times it was with cabin biscuits and chilled bottles of Sprite.
They would often share stories and gossip about others who weren’t in their clique, sometimes, sharing stories like one Mr. Chukwu in House 6 who claimed that his daughter who lived and schooled in Abuja, was prettier than Mrs. Walter’s daughter.
There had been a priceless look on Mama’s face when she met Mr. Chukwu and his daughter outside the gates of house 6 one day, the girl with a nose so wide like the brim of Mama’s straw hat which she wore that Friday.
“Can you believe the comparison to my daughter whose face was specially sculpted by God, perfect in every dimension, arewa mi, my precious Florence.”
Mama didn’t hesitate to hiss, “My dear sister! If only I had stared a bit longer, I am sure that I would have seen my future through her large nostrils.” And they all erupted in laughter.
When the Adeolas had moved away, Remi was relieved that all the melodrama would melt away with the initiator now gone.
One evening in March, upon Remi’s return from work in her silver Toyota Camry, she couldn’t help but to notice a big truck driving into the wide opened Gates of House 12 and as she drove into her flat, she just hoped that the new neighbor wasn’t going to be a nuisance. When she laid on her bed that night, ready to sleep, she made a mental note to stop at Priceless Hour mall on her way back from work.
Written by Elizabeth O. Ogunmodede, teen author of four books and poet.
Written on August 23rd, 2023.
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*Post Derived from the original page of Elizabeth O. Ogunmodede