The proud roaster crowed at the early Wednesday morning sun; urging it on its lazy journey to the centre of the sky. The morning air was as gentle as it was cool and moist; a fading and yet refreshing reminder left from the previous night’s rain. The world awoken to the sounds of little birds perched on window ledges… chirping away in not so private conversations. The clinks of pots and pans from the kitchen below as well as the rhythm of brooms grazing cement and carpeted floors filled the air and awakened the senses. Eduvie’s eyes darted from one end of the room to the other, blinking as rays of sun light quietly brought to life Obiangeli’s simple and once gloomy corner room with splashes of gold hews.
She couldn’t sleep. She ached all over; in mind, soul and body. As much as she wanted to blame her insomnia on the absence of electricity, she knew better. She remained perfectly still on the thin vitafoam mattress that laid on the floor beside Obiangeli’s single bed… the one with the rusted strings. The restless baby in the crib beneath the window made mild noises as he slept… his tiny hands in a permanent fist. Obiangeli snored lightly, remaining undisturbed in her sleep.
Eduvie could feel the ground move and hum beneath her. The faint voices of the staff below were somewhat comforting… a reminder that she was not alone. She didn’t need to be alone… not now. Her soul burned with venomous rage, squeezing out drops of water from the corner of her eyes. She shut them tight in a futile effort as images of the traumatic night before flashed in her mind with each clink of the aluminium pot and pans from the kitchen downstairs. Her insides felt as sore as her breasts, her thighs and her now conquered pink fleshy gates. Even Obiangeli’s soft words or the promise of retribution were not enough to calm the turbulence that shook her to her bone. They were JUST words, fallen on deaf ears.
Her head turned slowly… her teary eyes fixating on the hairy nose of a medium sized rodent emerging from a dark hole in the corner of the room. Its tiny whiskers shook as its nose wriggled; frantically but carefully sniffing for any left over food. She stared… unafraid and seemingly unperturbed. The shy creature stuck its head out of the hole for a second and then its body followed but then froze at the sight of a large pair of eyes staring at it. For a few seconds they stared at each other; neither wanting to make the first move… or the first mistake. The sides of the creature expanded and retracted in tiny breaths, indecisive of its next move.
Obiangeli let out a loud but brief snore, scaring the rodent back into its hole. Eduvie sighed then blinked once more. Her eyes wondered around the room and rested onto her clothes that we piled right next to the toilet door. It was the dress she wore the night before. Her tattered white blouse laid lifeless underneath her blood stained beige coloured pleated skirt and ripped panties. She wanted those clothes burned, along with the memory… along with the man. Another tear raced down the corner of her eyes. She whimpered in her attempt to sit up. In between her thighs and her buttocks ached. She tried to stand but the excruciating pain shot through her like a dagger. Over and over she tried… quietly… biting her bottom lip with each painful attempt; not wanting to wake up Obiangeli and her baby but alas, Eduvie gave up. She sat still on her thin single mattress and sobbed helplessly.
“OBIANGELI! OBIANGELI!!! Where the hell is this woman??? OBIANGELI” Mazi Arinze’s voice rang through the halls, jerking Obiangeli into reality. She wiped the spit that oozed out of the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand, jumped out of the bed and rushed to door while adjusting the orange patterned Ankara she tied around her chest.
“Nna anyi!!!” She screamed as she turned the handle of the creaky door and rushed out into the hall way where he waited for her outside his room.
“YOU ARE SLEEPING??!!! Look, in the village your mates would have gone to the farm and come back by now with one baby strapped to the back and another in the front. Because you MANAGED to have ONE child Obiangeli… just ONE… the whole world should just stop for you abi???” He fumed.
“Nna anyi I am sorry….I was up all night tending to Eduvie”. She curtsied
“Ohoooo…” His eyes widened “… you will tell me whether it is she who brought you to Lagos… or whether it is her house you are living in that you would spend the whole of the night treating her for God knows what… afterall, when it was your turn, you did not need all this pampering. You women from the village are really going down in terms of quality, mscheeeeew” He shook his head in irritation.
“Nna anyi I am sorry. It will not…” she curtsied again but this time her face had tensed up and her eyes seemed less sincere.
“No… you are not sorry” He interrupted “… it is me who is sorry. Sorry for ever having married you. You are completely useless to me. Where is my breakfast… and where is the hot water for my bath… or am I supposed to do that myself now that you have a gossip assistant? By the way… where is she?” His tone was mocking and condescending.
“Who Nna anyi?” the confused look on her face only heightened his irritation.
“Don’t be stupid my friend! Your VIP patient…. Eduvie” His eyes searched down the hall.
“Oh… She is sleeping in my room Nna anyi …”
“Enh???” His head jerked in shock as he squinted “In your room!!!” He slowly drew closer to her with a subtle murderous look in his eyes. She gradually retreated, her shoulder raised in fearful anticipation “What is she doing there Obiangeli?
“She… she was in so much pain last night and I…” Her voice shook.
“…And so? When did you become the man of the house that she is sleeping in your room? Did you marry her or did I???” Obiangeli was speechless “ANSWER ME!!” He raised his right hand to strike her but managed to restrain himself.
“You did Nna anyi… you did” she crossed her arms in front of her face to soften the impact of the blow that never came. She whimpered…her face lost in a frightful frown.
Arinze’s chest heaved. His eyes were lost in a psychotic squint. “My mistake was being too soft on you women. I think its time I showed you both who the man of the house is. Get me my breakfast and hot water for my bath and then BRING ME EDUVIE!!!” he breathed over her. His voice was low and stern… not mincing any words; sounding more like a threat than a command. He slowly turned and gradually made his way back to his room. Obiangeli curtsied and did the same; “… and you better pray that I am not late for my meeting this morning… or else” he said over his shoulder before slamming the door behind him.
Eduvie had managed to crawl to the door and had heard every word of the confrontation. She had been feeling a slight shiver ever since she had heard the sound of Mazi’s voice. Her heart began racing, afraid at the thought of his eagerness to see her. Obiangeli rushed back through the door, her back pressed on it against it as it closed shut. Her eyes were shut tight. She quickly covered her mouth with her hands, trying to prevent her sobs and whimpers from escaping and waking Eduvie and the sleeping baby. She shook her head and breathed… fighting for composure and after a few seconds, she found some. Her eyes gradually opened and though they were teary,
the expressions in them were as cold as ice. They wandered round the little room until they finally settled on a scared Eduvie sitting on the thin mattress on the floor.
“Its okay” she nodded… giving off a weak smile as she composed herself “Its ok… go get ready while I prepare his breakfast”. She adjusted the wrapper around her chest.
“What?? Nooooo…. Please… you can’t send me back there…” Eduvie pleaded. “I’d rather die here… now”. She panicked.
“It will be ok” she sniffed and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Just look really nice” she grinned.
“No! I will not go back there…”
“DO AS I SAY!!!” her scream startled Eduvie and woke the restless baby whose cries tensed up the room. Obiangeli rushed to the crib and picked up the child, patting it lightly on the back and bouncing to the beat of an inaudible rhythm. “Shhh…..my darling… its ok.” She looked at Eduvie once more. “Do as I say… and soon, you will never have to be afraid of him… ever again”
Eva is a contemporary soul singer with multiple hits under her belt. You can follow her on twitter on @I_AM_EVAEZI
Listen to Her Music: www.reverbnation.com/evaezi
Also her new video Better Than Her is now showing on jaguda.com