She wakes up weak, pale and blank. The emptiness she feels is choking. The problem is farfetched. Is it the ukwa she ate last night or the sex of last month when her fiancée came? She wouldn’t know.
Her phone rings, she looks at the phone and it is her fiancée.
She says with a clumsy tone.
“How are you today babe?”
Nnamdi her fiancée asks.
She replies with a You-need-to-pet me tone.
“I am just there jare”
Nnamdi refuses to notice the stunt she is trying to pull at him with her voice. He replies hastily as though he only wanted to be sure she woke up that morning.
“I will get back to you later” he says and hangs up.
She walks to the mirror with her night wear. She stands before the mirror looking into the mirror as though there is a figure on her face she is trying to decipher. She removes the gown, unhooks her bra and her breasts sigh in relief. She looks at her nude self on the mirror- her sizeable breasts, the taut nipples and her ever-bouncy behind. She turns around still fixing her gaze on the mirror trying to look at her behind.
She walks to the fridge naked and tries to yank the door of the fridge and the handle dismantles. She heaves her shoulders and sighs.
She is sitting on the edge of her bed sipping her banana smoothie and hugging her bouncy pillow in her left arm. Her mind strays like arrows shot in the market square by a drunken blind man. She is unsure of the choking heaviness she is experiencing. She needed to know what the problem is. She had many problems.
Maybe her body system is reacting to Lagos water, maybe it is the stress that comes from living in Lagos. Maybe it is the endless ritual of sleeping and waking up in a bus stuffed with humans going nowhere because of the gridlock that plagues Lagos. Maybe it is just the frustration that came with the loss of her job because she refused to have sex with her boss. These could not have been her problem.
Her name is Nwanneka, a beautiful woman with the color of a setting-sun. Her face carefully carved with utmost precision. Other embellishments came with the face such as a pointed nose, sleepy eyes that men called ‘sexy’ and a tiny lip curved like a reserved crescent moon.
She had left her family house in Nnewi to run to Lagos in the quest for freedom because her parents would not stop to ask her when she would get married. That question that scatters her system like one who drank tramadol in the stead of Panadol, that question she so much dreads, that question that she finds devilish more than senseless. She runs away to Lagos where those devilish questions will not be a mantra in her ears any longer.
She runs to Lagos to live her life and make peace with her soul. Nnamdi finds a job for her where she works as a secretary. The work was cool and had plausible prospects until her boss refused to stop looking at her behind.
He asked her to dinner with him; she excuses herself by saying she had stomach cramps. He asks to drop her off; she says her house is a stone throw. He asks many things but she had many other things to tell him in return.
One Tuesday evening, her boss walks into the file room and tip-toes to the place she is bending packing files and holds her waist pulling it closer to his groin. She snaps and attempts to slap him but she reconsiders. He is an old man, he is her boss, and she has respect for him.
He is breathing heavily as though he ran a marathon.
Maybe it was his expectation to indulge in a sexual marathon with Nwanneka but it was a failed attempt.
He looks into her eyes and bites his lower lip pulling closer. He whispered,
“Let us do”
She looks at him; his pot belly, his squinted face, his protruded crouch, his wrinkled face, she shakes her head and sighs at his un-romantic lip and says.
His face squeezes- his nose crunches up in a conditional disgust, he takes a deep breath and manages to squeeze out an un-sincere “Okay”
Nwanneka helped him complete the sentence;
She walks to her table without saying a word, carries her hand bag and slams the door on her ex- boss un-apologetically.
This was how she lost her job. She did not feel a singular remorse for her action. It was expedient to walk out on that pot-bellied nitwit!
She stands up, drinks the final smoothie in her cup and smiles into the glass as though it reminded her of something. Maybe the days she saw smoothies as drinks for ndi oga. Perhaps, she was now an oga.
She walks to the calendar and the date is 20th. Her menstruation was supposed to flow before the 15th. She rubs her tummy and smiles, picks up her phone and phones Nnamdi.
She says “Hello father of my baby”
Nnamdi chuckles and replies
“How are you mother of my kids”
She is happy.
Nnamdi is happier.
She walks to the kitchen hunting for food. She opens the pots and the only food available is spaghetti. Spaghetti irritates her to the last. Her mother had told her how she called spaghetti earthworm when she was younger. She is not younger anymore but the feeling is the same. Spaghetti looked like cooked earthworm to her.
She lets go of those thoughts and forked the spaghetti and they wriggled like gleeful earthworms, goose bumps as hard as rice appeared on her skin, she closes her eyes and swallows the first spoon. She loved it. She tried another spoon and she longed for more.
She loved the way the softness of the spaghetti felt in her mouth-The way it squished in-between her molars and premolars, the way those spicy strands races down her throat. She loved every bit of it.
She finished everything in the pot.
Something in her had changed. It was a new dawn in her life. She ate spaghetti without throwing up.
Maybe her baby liked it.
Maybe spaghetti was the only food pregnant women ate.
Maybe it was something she doesn’t know.
Mark Anthony Osuchukwu will be publishing his first book in 2016. Read more from his blog