Episode 8 - (BEANS AND PLANTAIN PALAVAR)
"He slapped me because he thought I was cheating, then...then from the way I tal...tal...talked he se...sensed I might be working aaaaa...according to your ah...aaaa...advices, that was when he called to warn you, after which I told him about the pregnancy. Then...then, he wa.wa.wa...was sober till I left his place, I came here from the Chemist shop where I diiiiii.di.did my test, I have waited since mo.moorning to get my result."
Three weeks later, when we were rounding off our second semester exams, I just finished a very tough paper around 2pm, albeit, we sat for it since 11am.
I was supposed to meet someone at the new Art Faculty building beside MPH. My wristwatch said 2:45pm, which meant that three o`clock was very eager to come and I haven’t eaten since morning. Normally, I would’ve preferred to eat at the back of Bakkassi, my Faculty. But since my host said we were gonna meet in Art Faculty, I chose to eat at a restaurant close to that place, I chose Bamboo for it was just a stone throw to our rendezvous.
Kplu luu loooo! My belly perturbed me as I sauntered along bank side, and headed to Bamboo. As I walked in, a lot of business men and women bellowed on me to come patronise them.
Print your Remita, school fees printout, online registration, bla bla bla!. The look on my face signalled them that online stuff was nothing I came for, it was as if some other people started bellowing:
Meat pie, Zobo, Soya Milk is here!. I looked at them with a bit interest, then searched through my mind, down to every organ in my body and my mind finally told me that snacks and drinks wouldn’t be a better idea, considering the kind of hunger which attacked me. I looked around and saw people selling food. I lurched in and ordered for food out of hunger, and that was how I met my ordeal.
My stomach was swollen like that of a pregnant woman as I sat on one of the chairs in Garuba Square. It took me time to see a yellow, nerdy guy walking up to me like someone who was looking for a person; his phone in his hand as he tried to dial my number. That was when I waved my hands for him to see me. He walked majestically in his Law suit, dropped his bag on the desk and looked into my ball-like eyes, after which he peered at the exam question paper in my hands and nodded.
"Guy what is your problem?" Paul often spoke English than Pidgin. At first I didn’t answer him, he giggled at how uncomfortable I sat. "I know you`ve destroyed yourself with food as usual." he picked the piece of food hanging on my collar and flicked it off, with the tips of his fingers.
Paul was the guy whom I met in one of the seminars I attended; he was the guy I earlier said was in Law Department, who wore glasses. The same guy who later fell into the trap of Satan through his desperate girlfriend. Oh! Paul the scholar.
"Guy you no go understand" I looked away.
"What is there for me to understand? Is this place the Art Faculty we scheduled?" Paul always smiled even when he wasn’t happy. But despite that, I understood he was upset.
I snapped – "You need to see how embarrassed I felt today." He giggled at the way my heavy self made my voice sound. Then, he wanted to say something but I continued, "you better talk waitn you wan talk make we commot here sharpaly"
"Guy na your voice be this?" he spoke Pidgin English for the first time since he came: "Waitn come happen? Yarn me now, no be your guy I be again?" his ugly, fair face parted into what he regarded as a smile. His stretched cheeks became pink in colour.
I hissed and began: "Just as I say make ah come Bamboo chop beans, while I wait for you and the package way you talk say you get for me. I hol enough money, but me never chop since day before yesterday, hunger don knack bullshit comot my belle, so I been dey H like mad. Na im I enter oo, tel the woman make she put beans and plantain, she talk say na #200, I tell am say make she make am #300 own, say ah go pay, say I don dey H since two days ago. Two fine babes wey dey for corner just dey, dey look me, dey laugh. I no know waitn dey laugh dem, the other one tall, come slim and she too talk. The other one kwa too laugh. I come take am say, dem dey feel me, say I dey chop #300 beans when others dey bargain for #150 own. I no know waitn tanda for me until the woman load the food finish, the height come tall like 5 decking. Na im ah look am, come loose my belt, come balance, come tel am say make she bring big Pepsi join" I paused, and Paul
s face was getting ready to burst into laughter; in fact I knew he was holding himself so that I wont get angry, I knew he can`t wait to mock me, but I didn’t mind.
"Yes, yes, so?" he managed to say as his face beamed.
"Na im I shuk spoon inside oo, " I sounded pathetic now. "Come collect the beans load for mouth, the thing come sweet me eeehn. I shovel am again, carry am shuk inside mouth. I come dey do am sharpaly sharpaly without even stopping to breath. I even come dey gulp down the Pepsi as per person wey don vex. B4 ah notice am, my belle don full oo, but the Pepsi stil dey for half-bottle, the beans still tanda for plate like say na #200 food remain sef. Omoh I mad"
"Hua hua hahahaha" Paul couldn’t hold himself anymore. But then, I didn’t mind either, sharing my pains was one of the means I got them off my chest.
I continued. "I come look myself, heat dey rush down like shower. The hotness of the beans no dey here. My nose don dey comot heat join sef, sweat come full my feet and hands, where d sweat waka come - I no just know. Na that time my mouth come begin dey pain me, my belle be like say e wan burst. I come realize why those girls been dey laugh me, I come turn look dem, see as dem dey laugh, almost falling for ground, another girl don join dem sef. Mtcheew! The thing pain me die"
Paul`s laughter was soon interfered by a call, which came to his phone. "Tonio eeh, you funny die, u no go kiiii me"
"Pauloo no be joke matter. It was hard for me, I kuku pay, comot for there. I jumped into Keke and comot – vooom!!! B4 dem go mark my face. Na why I decide to wait for you for Garuba Square instead" I concluded.
Still laughing, Paul raised his forefinger to me and said: "Excuse me" then he picked the call. "Hello there, yes, yes. No, we are at Garuba Square instead. Oh!.. Heiyaa, sorry for the inconvenience. Ok. will be waiting for you" he hung up.
"Who was that?"
"Tonio, calm down, ehee you were saying something"
"No Pauloo, don’t come again with this your suspense thing. Tell me who is coming here to meet us" he was just silent and smiling, so I added: "And the way you sounded, the person seem to be a SHE, so who is she?"
"My childhood friend" he unbuttoned his white shirt and neatly dropped his jacket on top of his bag which looked more like a portfolio, Paul was good at packaging and looking good; no wonder girls flocked after him. "She has been disturbing me for over a month now. Saying she has an apology to make to you"
"WHO kwa? What are you talking about Paul, please come straight, I don’t have time for your beating about the bush"
"The babe you took over at Fayrouz Club, when I went to ease myself and..." before Paul could finish an alto voice interrupted us from behind.
"Hy guys, good evening"
"Oh, thank heavens, she`s here already" Paul snapped.
I turned to behold a plump, fair pretty bombshell. Her face was a face I wouldn’t forget, her hair was still dense and black, and her pink lips trembled. She hadn’t changed much, she smelled of a fragrance so familiar to me. We had only spent a few hours in a night and a few hours in a day, and I knew all that about her. Her waist made a round shape under her white lace gown, the gown stopped somewhere above her knees, revealing smooth long legs, fair and fascinating.
Helen smiled and whispered: "How was your exam today?" she took my hands, hers still felt soft like newly baked bread in mine. I swallowed saliva.
...To be continued
We are passengers of life, who came naked from dust and shall return to dust. Beyond HERE is a Paradise for saints and Doom for sinners, but before this train of life transits us, there`s still little time to decide.
© Nwoye T. Anthony 2016
(CHRONICLES OF TONIO LAWREX)