Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 1
Itohan has been having sleepless nights for the past few days. The burden of house rent has been on her. Her children have been home for lack of school fees. She has sourced for help to no avail. Itohan’s daily source of income comes from frying of Akara, yam and fish.
Few days ago, the landlord had told her husband to pay the rent. Truly the landlord had been patient with them. They owe him three and half years rentage and he had been threatening fire and brimstones.
Itohan looked at her sleeping husband on the bed then sigh deeply. Things have not been well with him since he was sacked from work. He leaves home everyday to hustle but whatever he brings to the table is barely enough to meet the daily and numerous needs of the family.
“Nosa! Nosaaa wake up.” She said shaking him.
“What?” he asked sitting up on the compressed mattress.
“I no fit sleep” she said with hands akimbo. “See as you dey enjoy your sleep.”
“You dey snore bad bad na”
Nosa smiled, then stretched his body nosily. He knew his wife can be so funny.
“Why did you wake me up?
“You no suppose ask me that kain question sef. You know sey landlord go come when day break. Na wetin we go tellam? I no want make him gather crowd here oo. Fear dey catch me oo.”
Nosa scratched his head then support his head with his right hand. He too was at a loss to what to tell the landlord when he eventually comes.
“Go to sleep itohan. When we reach the bridge, we go know how to cross am”
He watched her as she sighed, then climbed the bed. He followed suit but couldn’t sleep again. For it was a great challenge to be at the mercy of his landlord. Three and a half years, he has been begging, promising to pay but not fulfilling any of the promises. He knew that this time, the landlord would not listen to him. Nosa turned and noticed that his wife wasn’t sleeping.
“Try and sleep naa”
“My head and my heart dey busy but I go sleep when I ready” she said raking her husband’s hair with her hand.
He drew her closer to himself and started caressing her face.
“If luck smile on me and I make money, I will spoil you. I will take you to Dubai and places you never knew existed. Like a pillar you stood by me and covered my shame that I may not be exposed and be made a mockery. Don’t worry, this wahala will soon pass.”
Itohan smiled then slept in the arms of her husband but Nosa was far from sleep. His heart sank as he began to think of the kind of story he would tell the landlord.
Itohan does her business in front of the compound. She had been up so early to prepare for business. Her customers will soon start lining up to buy her tasty Akara.
A big frying pan with groundnut oil in it was already on the fire. She was mixing the beans while her daughter Osadebamwen was dicing onions and fresh pepper.
“Do quick na!” She said to her daughter
“Madam wetin happen today? a customer asked. “You no quick today oo”
“Abeg no vex. I over sleep” she said
“I no go fit wait be that. Next time oo”
The customer left hurriedly to the bus stop. Itohan was so carried away by her chores that she didn’t notice the landlord’s wife standing before her.
“So you no see me. Abi? Na so I come small reach?” the landlady asked.
“Aaah! No vex oo. My mind just dey wetin I dey do.” Itohan told her.
She greeted the landlady but she wouldn’t respond. Itohan knew there was going to be a tussle. She began to wish there was enough money to pay the rent to avoid embarrassment.
“You dey do business here but you no fit pay rent. Which kain business be that? For your information, my husband call me just now for phone. He sey make you no do business for him compound again. He sey if you want do business, pay wetin you owe am.” She told itohan.
Itohan stood up.
“Abeg give us small time to pay.”
“Shut up your mouth. Wetin be abeg? Na you give my husband money to build this house? You think sey he no get wetin he go use money do? Before I open my eyes, clear this place oo. Infact, we no want the money again. Abeg make una pack sef. Una Wahala too much ”
As Itohan apologized, Osadebamwen emptied the small bowl of pepper and onion in the mortar. This infuriated the landlady. She picked the pestle and threw it away then turned the mortar upside down thereby spilling the grinded beans. Itohan screamed. As if that was not enough, the bucket of water by the table, the landlady carried it and emptied it on the groundnut oil, then scattered the neatly arranged loaves of bread on the table. The landlady stood akimbo waiting for Itohan to react more.
“E pain you?” She asked Itohan. “Na so e pain me and my husband sey una owe us. Abeg make una pack comot from this house sharp sharp.” She screamed as she entered the compound in anger, leaving Itohan in a confused and depressed state. Itohan couldn’t salvage the beans. She sat on the chair speechless as she watched her daughter picking up the loaves of bread from the ground.
“God wetin be this? Which kain life be this one so? She said weeping.
Few people who witnessed what happened consoled her. Osadebamwen went inside and returned with a packer with which she packed sand to cover the spilled beans.
Itohan still crying, went inside and told her husband what the landlady did.
“The embarrassment too much” he said consoling his wife. “I nor no wetin I go do now. Even if she cut me now, blood no go comot from my body. I no get money for anywhere” he lamented.
The children watched their parents weep. The mood in the house was depressing. Nosa went inside the room and returned with his shirt.
“I dey come ” he said as he dried the tears from his eyes.
“Where you dey go na? The worried Itohan asked.
“I don tell you sey I dey come.” He said wearing his shirt and walking hurriedly out of the house.
*. . . **
Uyi was about locking his door to go out when Nosa greeted him.
“Ah Nosa. How are you?” He asked but Nosa didn’t respond.
“Why are you so gloomy this morning?he asked
“There’s fire on the mountain.”
Uyi pushed the door gently and ushered Nosa in. He lives in a two bedroom flat. A well furnished apartment. His wife had gone to her shop and his three kids to school. He lives comfortably with his family.
He brought out drinks from the fridge and served Nosa. He watched him gulped it and waited for him to start talking.
“I am in a deep mess” he said. “My life has no meaning again. Feeding my family has become a challenge and the landlord is on my neck.” He sighed deeply and closed his eyes.
He opened his eyes and dropped his glass on the table in front of him.
“My kids are not going to school. Everything turned upside down since I lost my job. If not for Itohan. Aaah! God gave me a good wife. She’s really a help mate oo. She covers my nakedness and shame. If I eat, wear clothes and shoes, she’s the one.”
Uyi shifted uncomfortably on his seat.
” But the kind of business she does, cannot fix all the problems in the family. Honestly, she has carried the load of the family beyond my expectations.”
Uyi nodded his head and consoled his friend.
“Sometimes, life doesn’t give us what we want or desire.”
There was silence as both of them picked their glasses and sip from them.
“You can actually do something about this.”
“How? I have seek for assistance but everybody has problem. Nobody is assisting anybody these days.” Nosa lamented.
“True but you still have someone that can help you. Nicole can! She’s wealthy Nosa. She wants to reunite with you and only you. Be wise! Use her to get out of poverty.”
“Hmmm! I left her for Itohan na. Itohan may not be educated but she has been there in my trying moment. She loves me as much as I love her.” He said.
“Leave love Nosa. Love will never fetch you money. Your pockets are dried with all the love she has been showing you. Nicole is your ticket out of poverty. You know she had loved you” he reminded Nosa. “Think of what I just told you and act on it before poverty swallow you.”
Nosa thanked him.
“Can you please help me with little cash?”he asked.
“No money oo.” He dipped his hand in his trouser pocket and brought out a thousand naira note. “Manage it” he said handing it to him.
He took the money and thanked him. He dragged himself out of the chair. As soon as Uyi locked the door, they bade each other goodbye and went their separate ways.