by Treasure Momoh
Like snails on algae-infested walls, dust was gliding gracefully into my nostrils. The cupboard was undeniably rusty, but then desperate times called for desperate measures, I whispered to myself as I stayed under the wings of this ragged-looking structure.
I heard his footsteps clearly, squishy as usual. If only Nana was here right now she wouldn’t blame me for always wondering what this man placed in those enormous feet of his. The spider on my eye lids seemed to agree with me as it danced round my nostrils. Oh well, I wasn’t really much irritated; being in compromising situations have been my trademark since Maami left.
Yesss! Maami! I really needed to go and see her concerning our landlord’s issue; it was becoming too unbearable for Nana and I. “Yes! Tomorrow would be a great time,” I whispered to myself as I listened to our grumpy landlord’s footstep exit the door.
“Demola! Demola” the voice sparked memories in my head. It was my little sister, Nana. She had barely stayed fourteen years on this unfair planet…what’s the name again? Ooh Earth. Don’t blame me, dears; I’m not the clever type, sorry to disappoint you.
Dark patches of anguish and premature struggle tried to suppress the Ghanaian blood in her veins, but her physique seemed to disagree as her hips and features took the upper hand.
“I saw Grumpy talking to Akwaba by the tank at the back,” she said jolting me out of my reverie, “He ordered him to throw us out if we don’t pay up the seven hundred cedes for rent by tomorrow.” She continued in tears.
“Calm down Nana. We’ll survive” I told her in obvious pretense.
“Oh please… Demola, we both know we’ll die,” said a drained, half-baked teenager as she shrugged into the room.
“No! I have to do it now!” I said as my bare feet moved swiftly in agreement with my words.
It was seven in the evening. I had thirty minutes to talk to Maami about the life-threatening situation. I’d tell her about the fish pond Uncle Ola had snatched from us and how Grumpy had come to the house and gave Akwaba a standing order for our eviction. Yes I will! She’ll be forced to do something this time! I reasoned within as I stepped outside the gates.
“Oluwa, how dem take dey live for this place?” I said amidst grumbling, my Ghana accent obvious. Today made it three months and two weeks Maami left the house, and two months since I visited her…Today seemed different from the last time. For some reason everybody seemed so peaceful unlike the last time when this place was choked up like where we dey buy saaka for the nighttime.
“Wetin you dey find?” A voice said. I turned. I recognized the face – the weird-looking man that always seemed to lurk around.
“I dey find Maami” I said in fear.
“Enter inside the second hall. No disturb o.” I nodded my head in anxiety and entered the hall. This place had always been quiet. Nobody seemed to talk to each other; they just lie down with their eyes upwards maybe minding their businesses.
I wonder how Maami take dey survive for this place because she like to dey talk well well, I said to myself as I walked briskly towards where Maami was, my heart skipping beats. Forgive my language, my dears. I no fit stop to dey mix deh English with deh pidgin. Na so Maami train me for the water side.
I got to where Maami lay down, her Mary-Kay seemed so obvious than normal. Who know where she dey go? I talked to her about our situation, wondering if she was even listening to me.
“Maami, Grumpy wan pursue us o. Wetin we go do? Nana wan..”
“Heisss!” A voice interrupted our conversation. It was the weird man” Time dun reach. I wan lock gate. Begin comot.” He concluded angrily.
“But I never talk finish… Abeg give me small time! E dey urgent. Matter of life and death, Uncle” I said in my tear-clouded voice.
“No extra time for here, ma boy” he said, “No problem wey your Maami fit solve for you… Her time dun pass. If you no fit survive, you die.
“After all, this life na turn by turn” he said as he closed the cemetery gates behind me.