“Na wah for you o Uche”, Sijuade remarked disapprovingly snapping her fingers. “All this was going on and you didn’t even deem it fit to tell me?”
“Sssshhh, don’t shout na.”
I dragged her away from her door post farther down the hall to avoid anyone catching on, on the conversation that was so serious Siju had to excuse me in the middle of a movie.
“I was just overwhelmed by all of it and I didn’t want you to talk me out of it.”
I whispered but the dark empty hall echoed and amplified every word.
“Ehn, sheybi your eyes have seen what they’re looking for now?”
I felt bad Siju had to hear from another source but seriously, I do not know which is worse. The fact that it happened or the fact that I don’t know how to justify my stupidity. I just stood there. A little remorseful and a little indifferent while she poured out her indignation. Besides, her words can’t do anymore damage to my shattered heart and daunted ego. I know she meant well. Although she’s not the type to mince words just to make you feel good.
She told me she was making her braids in the salon when girls from the neighbourhood raised the topic. She had to excuse herself cunningly before she could be associated with me,she came home to confront and also to scold me.
I felt sorry for myself, the way my fame spread around the neighbourhood like wildfire about how I’m such a giver. Its either he didn’t stop talking or his friends didn’t. Whichever way, one party didn’t stop the other because all of a sudden I became cheaper than pure water getting gibes and cat-calls from every Tom, Dick and Kola. Atleast now I’ve got the attention I’ve been longing for, except this is not how I pictured it.
I took a long gaze at the rat poison at the back of the couch in the living room feeling more pathetic than the worn-out upholstery with enormous dirt patches on the handles and head rest, due to sweat from sitters. Suicidal thoughts pushed my buttons but I thought about my father. Although he’s become old and sickly, he’s yet to retire from driving his rickety commercial bus across Lagos axis so that I can have a life. It will be too selfish of me to pay him back by taking my life.
I broke down and wailed so loud you would think I was in labour. In a way, I was.
Three months passed…
Siju got over my “betrayal”. She has more experience where boys are concerned so she tried to nurture me back by spending extra time with me. She even slept over at times when my dad wasn’t around but I would not bulge till she decided it was time I got weaned.
“Why are you being so stupid? I bet Tosan is already done with the second girl since he dumped you, and you are here killing yourself over someone that does not give a f#*k about you… Abeg I’m off jare… Hian!”
She slammed the door and would not come back to my apartment that night though I kept calling her. She might carry on like that for days but she always come around. She was right, I have not seen him; neither has he called since the incident in his house. It was time I stop hurting those who still care about me because of my selfish want. I started working it out literally. I engaged in so much domestic chores I started helping neighbours out. I would knock on doors within the hall and ask to help for a token. It wasn’t much but it helped me get by to and fro while I took computer lessons.
I had just finished with one of the neighbours’ really huge laundry and was hanging it on a line… You see, I was wearing this bum-short and a top that revealed my belly button and curve. Normally, that’s how I work. It made me comfortable and made my work easier. Until today when this man sitting on the aboki’s bench in front of my… ‘our house’ kept staring at me and made me feel as though I was naked. My intuition told me he had heard about my infamous deed and was curious about my notoriety. He got up and started walking towards me.
I am ready for whatever, I thought to myself.
“Hi”, I responded politely but I remained on guard.
“Sorry for disturbing u…”
“Here we go”. I rolled my eyes, almost saying the phrase out loud. I continued picking and hanging the soaked clothes.
“…but have you ever thought of modeling?”
“Okay gentleman, I don’t know what you’ve heard about me and I don’t care so whatever you’re implying, the answer is no! I won’t end up in your bed. I’m not a whore, whatever you heard was a mistake, its not who I am and it won’t happen again!”
I held a steady, stern and firm gaze at him and anticipated his response for another round from my spitfire.
He smiled. He reached into his pocket and extended a card to me.
“I’m a scout for the agency on that card. Call me. The offer only last for so long I must warn.”
He smile warmly and walked away without a second gaze waving at the aboki as he passed him.
“Oops!” I covered my mouth with my wet palms holding the card between my fingers.
“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere”
If you Missed Mannequin Ep -1 Click here to read –> Mannequin E01
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