Written By Shalomdee
Inside Mama Jane’ s sitting room, the two sisters talked about Jane’ s future and the welfare of her son , Junior . Mama Jane suggested they meet Pamshak’ s mother, who lived in the next street to convince her to contribute for her grandson ’ s welfare . Jane rejected the idea, she did not want anything to bring her close to Pamshak. She would rather stay close to Aunt Gloria and help with the store . What about her education ? The two women asked . God would help her , Jane answered . She would look out for any business she could do or any job she could take that would enable her save for her tertiary institution .
Jane along with Junior followed her aunt back to Terminus that day . Her mum reversed the curse in their presence and prayed for her daughter to do well in life .
Jane became a sales girl in her aunt ’ s provision store. Her aunt gave her 5 thousand naira every month . She bought toiletries for herself and her child and saved 1 thousand naira in the corporative bank . Her search to find something better to do was slow and yielded no result . She dropped resumes in schools and eateries to be cleaner or cook but got the we-will -get -back -to -you reply . At the end of six months she became frustrated and disappointed . She stopped submitting resumes .
A year passed and Jane with her son who she had renamed Isaac had added weight compared to how they were when they just came . Isaac was now 2 years and could talk to some extent as well as understand when people talked to him . He called Aunt Gloria Mama and called his mother Mummy . They all spoke English to him but he could understand Hausa as well because it was spoken in the house and by the kids in the compound . One day after Isaac ’ s second birthday, Jane had finished attending to a customer when Aunt Gloria entered the store .
“There is a wedding coming up Jane”.
“Whose wedding ?” Jane asked .
“You know Uncle Davou ’ s first daughter , the one who went through Nursing school and was working as a nurse in Airforce hospital ?”
“Oh , I know her well , Rahila ”.
“Yes , Rahila . She is the one getting married in the next three months . ”
Jane tried to picture Rahila . Rahila was her cousin who was older than her with ten years gap or so . The last time they met was when she , Jane was in SS 2 . It was during the Christmas break and Uncle Davou had invited her over to his house in Rayfield. She had been overjoyed knowing that meant she would stay in a big man ’ s house , in a big man ’ s area and eat big man ’ s food .
Rahila was a beautiful classy girl as she remembered and she hardly spoke to Jane. Every day Jane saw girls of Rahila ’ s age come to the house to see Rahila . Some were in Nursing School like her cousin had been while some were studying in UniJos or working as nurses in a hospital . None of them would even take note of her, they would think she was the house maid . Jane would sit in the dinning room listening attentively to their discussions, fascinated at their mannerisms and idiosyncrasies. She would watch one eyed as they exchanged their black berry phones and talked about the latest things; latest phones , latest songs , latest Hollywood movies and latest fashionable styles .
Jane would leave when Aunt Fatuh called her or when her male cousin who was her age mate came to the dinning with his own friends . She had always fancied Rahila , snub though she was , and thought someday she will be like her.
Now Rahila was going to be married . She had waited till she was 30 , had waited till she had climbed her academic ladder, had waited till she had accomplished her career goals . She was probably still chaste and her beauty was still intact . She would get married in pomp and glamour , wear a beautiful wedding dress , hold a bouquet of flowers and walk gently in the arms of her father with everyone ’ s eyes on her, her fixed eyelashes blinking excessively from shyness , eyes fixed on a man who had paid her bride price . She will be wedded properly while, she , Jane, with all her academic brilliance had messed up big time by cohabiting with a useless boy who did not even know how to tie his belt properly , who had given her nothing to show for other than a 2 year old son who wailed all the time .
Very beautiful Jane, you have really done it this time , haven ’ t you ? She heard her subconscious mock.
Aunt Gloria caught the change in her mood and tried to make her feel better . “ I know what you must be thinking ? You must be thinking that you failed yourself by rushing to get pregnant for a nobody while your elder cousin took her time and is now going to be married to someone responsible in a proper way . True. But then don ’t worry yourself , you can still achieve your dreams and settle down with a good person, someone who will wipe away your tears and make you happy all the time . ”
“But it won’ t be the same thing as marrying without a child born out of wedlock . ” Jane reasoned aloud .
“Rubbish , so what ? Will you allow your child spoil your happiness . He is a gift from God . You are going to be happy in life , okay? Just let that sink into your mind. It does not matter how bad you may have messed up , what matters is you have come back to your senses and you are ready to move forward , and you will . ”
Jane smiled. At least here was someone who believed she would do well in life . Maybe things were really going to get better , she had to start seeing positive things as well.
“I have gotten the material for the relatives from our own side . Look at it, is it not pretty ?” Aunt Gloria produced a silk material with gold , pink and white designs .
Jane felt the material , she knew nothing about the worth of Nigerian wrappers but she knew certainly this particular one was really beautiful . “It looks pretty , Auntie ” .
“I had to pay 8 thousand naira for eight yards, I want you , me and my two daughters who are coming to sew something from the material” .
“That ’s good Auntie , thank you for including me . ”
Aunt Gloria smiled. She was very fond of Jane because she reminded her a lot about herself as a young girl. She was really happy Jane was no longer with Pamshak, she felt her niece did not deserve to be tied down too early in life without her dreams fulfilled and without quality education. What was worse was the fact that Pamshak was not responsible at all and had disgraced her family. She could not do much anyway for Jane, but she tried in little ways to please her young niece who was now 21 . Every night she prayed for a miracle to happen so Jane could further her education . If only she herself had gone far in school . She had only gone as far as SS 3 and had married when she was 22 because she believed there was no longer a need to go to University since her husband was successful in business . Now her own husband was no more alive and she had to use the rent from the house to settle her two daughters school fees .
School was very important for every child regardless of sex or ethnicity. That was what she always told girls around her .
Jane’ s hopes for a brighter future on the other hand dwindled every passing day . She had gotten in touch with some of her class mates in high school and they seemed to be doing better than her. Planang now lived in Abuja with her uncle and was studying Accounting in UniAbuja . Some of her other mates had even graduated and were waiting to be called for NYSC . It was a pity all she had to be proud of was a good school leaving result. Her best friend Planang would call her every Sunday. They would talk for some minutes and she will greet little Isaac who she called My Angel . Planang was the one who still encouraged her and told her not to settle for anything less than what she was worth . That meant relationships as well, Planang made it clear to her that she , Jane, had no business dating a guy who could not offer her a better life .
“You have to learn from your mistake Jane ”, Planang will say , “I am sure you don ’ t want any man living off your hard work? You owe Isaac a better life ” .
In the evening when they had closed the shop , Jane sat in the kitchen making jollof rice for the three of them in the house while Isaac was making a whining noise in the sitting room because she had refused to give him a sweet from the
the shop saying too much sweets would give him jedi -jedi. There was a knock at the door , Aunt Gloria went to see who it was and there stood Terry from the next compound .
“Please I want to see Mummy Isaac ” , he said .
Aunt Gloria looked him up and down . So even Terry had started asking her niece out ? Terry, who did not even know how to greet his elders and did not like paying his credits , when will someone more responsible ask her out for a change ?
“What for? Is there something important ?” She asked .
“Yes , please” .
The door closed . A minute later it opened and Jane came out and stood outside with Terry.
“Ehe?” Jane asked .
“I wanted to inform you of Sony ’ s birthday bash this evening , remember I mentioned it last time ?”
“See, Terry , I am busy inside cooking , I don ’ t have time for any party ” .
“It ’ s not an ordinary party oh , it is a bash , I ’ m talking pool party with fireworks, loads of drinks and live performances. He even invited Jessy Jags and T- Dawg. ”
“Whatever !” Jane said waving her hand in front of Tessy just the way she saw young girls do on T . V . “ I have told you to quit bugging me . I am not interested, sò tìgbô? Look , Tessy or whatever you call yourself , I cannot date you because you ain ’t on my league man . So, excuse yourself , jôôr ò!” She turned from him smartly and banged the door. She was so angry she did not even notice her aunt moving away quickly from the window where she had been eavesdropping .
To be continued
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