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Wednesday, 6 April 2016


As he drove back he smiled to himself. He had missed her, his Morganna. He chuckled. He liked her enough to marry her especially when his mother wouldn’t let him rest; Mrs Ekanem Briggas could make one’s life miserable. She had taken a liking towards Morganna since the first day he introduced them, surprisingly both women had very similar character. In one of the occasions his mother had made a deliberate remark. “You are the model daughter-in-law any mother can dream of.” She was actually saying this to give Ani, as she fondly, called him a hint. She loved Morganna; she was from a high class family just like them, very fashion conscious and classy, educated and beautiful and her manners were refined. Aniebiet wondered why his mother was rushing, he had his plans. He wanted to make more money before settling down so he could have ample time for his family but his mother kept reminding him of the fact that Morganna was having suitors daily. Well he was going to marry her, he would. After his string of girlfriends, he finally found someone he liked.
He was heading to the family house, not his own personal apartment which was currently under construction. He missed his sisters. Clarabelle and Seline had just returned from their holidays at Paris, it was going to be a full house. Just as he turned off the car engine, he spotted his very naughty cousin, Andy. He grinned from ear to ear as he walked towards the car. Mehn! This was going to be a full house. Just then he received a text message from the jewelry store where he had ordered for a ring of blue diamonds. It was ready and he was gonna do the gentleman deed.

“Guy howfa?” Andy poked his tommy. “See as you big o, you dey chop money,” he continued assessing his cousin’s body. “Andy, my man, longtime, how Lagos dey? You just forget me your brother for here.” Andy hugged him. It was good to get back together again. He missed this naughty cousin of his. Andy and him were best friends. They told each other everything, sometimes shared each others’ girlfriends–or stole rather but that stopped when Ani started dating Morganna. That one was not to be toyed with and Andy had noted that. Just as they walked in, they spotted mother and the sisters filing their nails near the swimming pool. “Look who we have here,” Seline screamed as she rolled her eyes, she missed her brother though but they quarreled mostly because of her domineering attitude. “Miss you love,” he whispered as he hugged Clarabella, pretending to ignore Seline. “My dear son is back to momma,” his mother pulled him for a bear hug. “Ani, don’t tell me you’re actually snubbing me o, Seline, don’t even try that’, he just smiled and hugged her. He missed his family; everyone but his dad was here. He had travelled to Netherlands on his holiday trip leaving their mom behind because she wanted to visit New York, but Engineer Tomson Briggas had refused because he needed a quiet place to cool down from stress. Being an adamant woman, Mrs Ekanem Briggas didn’t compromise her choice. She had given Seline her first child, that domineering attitude.
She had woken up and walked about the streets of Uyo, more determined than ever to make it. After helping her mother prepare the moi-moi, she had stacked her plantain in a tray neatly and hurried out so she could get customers. She stopped by Udi street, to take breakfast, she was very hungy this morning. Most times she hawked on an empty belly so she could save more money. Constant starvation had made her very slim. She stopped by the mai sha, an ordered for tea, akara and bread. As she ate silently, she watched the ash pigeons fly towards her, she almost ran, the Mai sha had to calm her down, speaking in poor pidgin that it is a sign of good luck for pigeons to fly near a person. She gulped her tea hungrily and asked, “Mallam are you sure?” “Gaskia wallahi, it is real, for my place for Kebbi, e dey give person good luck.” She smiled and paid him and took off, praying for that luck to manifest.        
As she approached the hawkers’ camp by the road, she noticed her friend Sara was not yet there, she wondered what went wrong and she had no phone to call her. The morning sun was becoming more visible and she couldn’t talk to the others; they hated her for no reason. She waited patiently but her friend didn’t show up. She took giddy steps towards Papilo, the popcorn hawker. He wasn’t friendly, neither was he harsh. “Good morning Papilo, abeg u don see Sara?” He eyed her for a minute and shook his head. “She no go come work today, she dey sick,” another hawker supplied. She went back to her stool and made plans to visit her later when she was done for the day.

As the Mai sha had said, she was truly lucky, she was able to sell all her chips. What excited her most was a family of four children who bought 600 Naira worth of plantain chips, the other hawkers rallied around her trying to advertise their goods but were met with disappointed, she folded her wrapper neatly and placed the tray in the leather bag and was about to leave for Sara’s when Mama Labito cursed her. “Yeye girl, so you feel say jazz na d only way wey u go use to steal our customers, I go show u peper for this place!” Others had joined in calling her names. She cried and walked away silently. It was already dark, she had to see Sara and return home, but their bitterness wouldn’t kill her joy. She had made profit today, she could start saving up at least for diploma program at the University. She was confident that she would achieve her dreams.
As she approached the route leading to Sara’s, she noticed something strange about the street, it was unusually quiet. She was a bit frightened but walked on, suddenly she felt a hand cover her mouth and her screams were muffled, she was being dragged into the bush nearby. When her captor had release her, he assessed her body quickly, then put his hands inside her brassiere as she tried struggling, she felt a heavy object crash on her legs and she screamed in pain. “Pontus, stop am, no be wetin we come for,” the other voice spoke harshly. It was dark so she couldn’t see. “Wey your money?  Give us money and u go leave here free!” “Oga abeg help me, I no get any money on me, please,” he ignored her statement and asked the other to search her bag. They quickly retrieved her little purse, gave her one hard blow on the head and ran off.

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