I heaved a tired sigh when I was finally done with the last dress, my eyes felt like they were stuck on a drooping mode, I couldn’t open them widely I felt more like someone who was high I wonder if that’s how they really feel. I stuffed my things in my bag and rose up my legs felt like jelly I plopped heavily on the seat and blinked fighting off the sudden dizziness, Mansa shook her head in sympathy and held my arm “Go home take some pain killers and rest, cos you really need it” she scoffed out, I felt like strangling her but she was right, I really needed to rest, I waved at them and stood a cab outside, I couldn’t walk to the bus stop, that’d probably push me to an early grave, I gave him the name of my area and leaned my head on the headrest “Maame we’re here which route should I take……..hey ” I heard loudly startling me awake, I blinked my eyes numerously trying to adjust it to the sudden brightness, “I was asking you the route I was going to take you’re delaying me” he huffed out tsking I swallowed hard and looked around me “Take the slope to the left after the next three lanes” I uttered in my sleepy voice, he started mumbling I zoned him out and looked ahead. I liked around me it was still morning and the area was very quiet, after dawn prayers most people go back to sleep, the junkies among them mostly go for their fix around this time, I hate this area so much I held my head in my left hand and started massaging it slowly, I felt like I was coming down with something “please alight me at the fifth house, the fenceless one” I said rummaging through my bag to pay the fare, I handed him a 10 cedis note and held the door handle to get out, “Do you think this is enough for picking you from that area to this place” I heard him say making me release the handle, “that’s the normal fare for dropping” I retorted, “Then add 5 cedis to it, cos I can’t drive that distance this early morning for just 10 cedis” I sunk my hand into the bag but thought otherwise “I’m sorry but that’s all I have” I pleaded “Obaa fo, tutuuni (useless lady, prostitute) do you think I’m working for your father” I breathed in deeply and got out of the car, the noise he was making had gathered us quite a number of audience, I held my bag tightly and held my head up, I left him and walked majestically toward the house, for each step I took I wished the earth would just open and swallow me up.
I closed my eyes and leaned my head on the door, what did I ever do to deserve this, how will I ever get out there to go bathe when I’ve given this women the opportunity to insult me, cos I’ve clearly validated their claims. I looked around my single room and the kichennette at the side of the door and shook my head, I dropped my bag at the door and hurriedly went to the kichennette and prepared a little maize porridge, my eyes were drooping by the time I was done, I dropped on the bed after I was done.
Days rest turned into a week and some days, I’ve not gone to work and I’ve still not heard from Adam and Assad, I looked at my reflection in the mirror content at how long my natural hair had grown, I tied it in two Afro puffs and smiled, that was how mom used to do my hair when I was a kid, I started relaxing it in high school, then shaved it after senior high and now look at how grown it is. I frowned at the rapid knock on the door then tied my head with a scarf, I frowned when I didn’t see anyone then I fell down when a figure jumped in front of me startling me, I raised my head when I heard the light chuckle, ‘Shakeel’ I clenched my jaw and squinted my eye, then forced a smile on my face, “Come pull me up” I said with a smile raising my hand up, “Don’t try anything Marie I didn’t mean for you to fall like that” he pleaded entering the room hesitantly, “Hurry I think I fractured my hip bone” I blurted closing my eyes tightly in feigned hurt he reached his hands out to me I groaned and stretched out my hand pulling him down I straddled him and started hitting him with a rolled paper I took on the floor, “Don’t you ever scare me like that again” I warned as I hit him “Sorry” he apologised repeatedly covering his face. I sighed and stood up then pulled him up and hugged him “I really missed you” I said my voice tearing up a bit “I missed you too that’s why I came to see you” my smile widened and my eyes probably as huge as saucers I squealed in delight and seated him on a small stool let me wear something so we can go out I looked down at the ankle length halter neck dress I was wearing “I think this will do I pulled a boyfriend jacket from my bag and wore it over my dress and took my purse and headed to the door, “Let’s go somewhere special” I said smiling at the choice of place I had in mind.
“Come back here Shakeel I just want a little scoop please” I whined as I ran after him, “Please” I was panting but I still chased after I him, I stood trying to catch my breath, why was I even chasing after him when I know he’s an athlete but I really love chocolate ice cream and mine was finish, he turned back and held the cup of ice cream up, then scooped a spoonful and swallowed, I rolled my eyes and turned around I smiled when I heard the thud of his feet, slowly turned around and snatched the bowl from his hands, he shook his head and pulled me into a hug, “I miss this, I miss mom and dad, I miss all that we used to be” I blinked my eyes willing the tears that had welled in them away, I felt a lone tear trickle down and pursed my lips tightly “We have each other now and I know they will be very proud of us and how far we’ve come” you have come I wanted to say cos I know they’ll be very disappointed in me . The park wasn’t crowded today but we still had a few prying eyes giving us awkward looks. We prayed Zuhr and Asr there, “So why are you home” I asked in a sober voice suddenly sobering from all the excitement, I watched his adam apple bob, I squinted my eyes a bit, giving him a mean look, “Uhm we were giving some days off after winning the inter-schools super-zonal games” he blurted hurriedly giving me his megawatt smile. I didn’t totally believe him but I nodded and intertwined our fingers, let’s go home or we’ll miss the bus, “Marie I’m not going home with you I have to go for my notes from my friend we were only asked to stay home a day, so I’ll go for it if you don’t see me I’ll be already in school, but I’ll give you a call when I get to school” I stopped abruptly making him collide into my back I turned slowly looking at him intently , “Shakeel you’re making me suspicious tell me what you’re up to or so help me God if I find… ” “God Marie you’re really getting on my nerves acting like my mom when you’re nothing but my sister and only a few years older than me” my eyes widened when I saw him hold his cheek “Shakeel I’m sorr-” “Save it Marie I’m not ready for your tantrums and you know what forget about the call” he roared out and left, I shook my head in disbelief what was happening I was too stunned to believe what happened, I held all my emotions in and walked to the shed at the bus stop, I slowly eased into the seats and blinked back the tears that was stinging my eyes.
I slowly entered the bus and leaned my head on the glass making the tears fall freely, I wiped my face when I got to my stop and took the long route home, the ladies started speaking in hushed tones when they saw me, I brushed them off and slowly walked to my room.
The day was going painfully slow today, and the night much slower, my head throbbed a bit from crying all night, I woke up late in the morning and did my prayers then went back to sleep, I tried the number Shakeel contacted me with but it wasn’t going through, I held the phone to my ear and ran to the door when I heard a knock. I had a hopeful smile on my face which dropped when I saw Adam at the door.