“Arrrgh, Monday again” Maryam said to herself as she opened her eyes.
Pulling her blanket to come off she felt a chill that sent her back under the covers. She mentally groaned. Harmattan in Abuja was not friendly this morning, it seemed to be getting worse every day. Even Kano wasn’t as cold as this. She summoned strength and bravery and pulled herself from her bed and wondered out of her room wrapping herself in her blanket as she went. She wished the holidays could just continue, she wasn’t really looking forward to going to work.
She walked down the stairs, passing the living room she saw the clock on the wall said 6.45am. One hour plus to prepare for work she thought as she went to the kitchen. She opened the fridge and picked one of the 5 large water bottles that had a fruit mixture in it. She poured herself a cup took it to the microwave and warmed it shaking her head. Her mom had lamented on the size of her hips and how she was becoming fat.
“For a northern girl you are big yarinya (girl)” her mother had said.
She was the one that recommended the fruit mixture drink. How it was supposed to help in hip reduction, Maryam had no idea but it didn’t taste disgusting and it had pineapple (her favorite fruit) so she decided to make her mom happy and make it one of the new things to do in the New Year.
Work!!! Maryam felt the rush of disappointment again as her thoughts went back to what woke her up. She had always loved animals and with the movies where she saw vet doctors in farms and treating animals she was excited when she got a job in a vet clinic in Abuja. She had thought to herself “look out world, badass animal doctor has arrived”. But after two months working, the excitement had died. It was like she was an intern, or a secretary, filing documents, sending patients to the older doctors, taking urine or faeces samples to the lab, handing the animals back to their owners when they arrived for pick up. Nothing really practical. The other vet doctor, a young chap who was in his 3rd year had noticed her and had advised she bid her time. Took him 2years and 10months before he was even allowed to hold a dog during operation.
“To have my own clinic, a dream come true” she said quietly to herself.
“What’s a dream come true?” Kevwe walked in. She seemed oblivious to the cold as she was clad simply in her usual night shirt and shorts. She headed straight to the cupboard and brought out a mug.
“Hey you, good morning” Maryam said “was just day-dreaming of having my own Clinic so I can go to work whenever I want”.
“That would be the life” Kevwe said smiling. Maryam nodded watching her as she put the kettle on the cooker to boil water and scooped two tea spoonfuls of coffee.
“What’s with you and this coffee” Maryam asked.
“O girl, you see my eyes” Kevwe pointed, Maryam smiled. It was obvious Kevwe was still sleepy.
“Half my body feels like that… as she feigned a faint …this is my pick-me-up” Kevwe finished her statement.
“Addict” Maryam said “you have allowed TV adverts deceive you.”
“Nooo, it works for me oh. I don’t fall asleep at work and most of the day my energy level is ….” Kevwe stopped.
Justin was at the kitchen door, track down trousers and bare chest. He quietly walked in and went to the fridge. Picked up a bottle of water and poured himself a cup.
“Morning Justin. Cold no dey catch two of you?” Maryam said trying to break the silence.
“Morning. The only thing about this weather is it is weather for two” he said smiling as he took his cup and left them. Maryam looked at Kevwe who was sipping her coffee looking outside the kitchen window.
“Hey!! Madam!!! What is so attractive on the backyard wall that you are looking there so intensely? And your mama no teach you to say good morning?” Maryam asked.
“How long will you two keep behaving like this?” Maryam asked. She had come back to hear the good news of Justin’s new job but no sooner had she arrived did she notice the thick cold ice between Justin and Kevwe. After much probing she got the gist about Kevwe’s outburst from Tokunbo. She was shocked and had tried to talk to Kevwe about it but she had waved off the issue each time it was raised. This had gone on for days.
“Why did you blow up like that now Kevwe?” she asked for the umpteenth time.
“Babe leave matter, I get work.” Kevwe said as she rinsed her cup.
“No, you are not dodging this time. We have come way to far, if you vex for me we will patch up, that one I’m sure so am going to disturb today” Maryam said blocking the door.
“It’s Justin fa. I know he can be pesky but come on Kevwe, I thought it was all fun?”
Kevwe stood one hand akimbo, head tilted looking at her friend. This girl who she had spent most of university with. She knew she couldn’t form outburst for Maryam. Maryam was one person who knew her well and was not moved by her intimidating behavior.
“See he had just been getting on my nerves. And Kenny and I had just had a fight before I came back so there might have been some transfer of aggression” Kevwe said avoiding Maryam’s eyes.
Maryam looked at her friend. She knew she needed to handle Kevwe carefully or she would just shut down. It was obvious there was something more.
“Okay fine. But you and I both know you should have apologized by now na” Maryam said.
“But nothing I said was a lie now” Kevwe replied stubbornly.
“But it was unkind. Haba put yourself in his shoes. He has been trying” Maryam said, “All the times I pass him on his laptop he is on jobberman or other Nigerian job sites, and in the house he still tries to make things lively. Always bringing Matthew and Pris in on our conversation making them feel welcome”.
Kevwe rolled her eyes and folded her arms as if bored. “He always tries to tease everyone when we are in a bad mood just to make us relax. Yes he is a lousy cook but think about it, apart from the obvious fact that he is lazy he makes noise about your cooking because you are a damn good cook” Maryam said smiling. Kevwe smiled at the compliment.
“E remain you to go professional” Maryam continued. “And you are already on the right path. Now, unlike you who despite your background, loves being independent, Justin has always been spoilt; by his parents, by Tok’s parents and by relatives. This new on-my-own phase is not easy. You need to apologize”
“You no see as him dey carry nose for air?” Kevwe said.
“Kevwe apologize” Maryam insisted as she went to the fridge. “This discussion has put me in a ‘be good to all’ mood. Am making breakfast”. Kevwe smiled.
“Won’t you be late for work? What will you cook?” Kevwe asked.
“Cook? I’m making bread and egg. I no send anybody come this house” Maryam said and they both laughed.
……………… ………………………….. ………………………..
“Pick three” Priscilla said happily. Feeling proud of herself. Justin smiled and picked three cards from the stack of cards they referred to as ‘market’.
It was evening and after a busy day Priscilla had decided to join the guys, Justin and Tokunbo in playing a game of Whot; a well-known card game; in the living room. It had been ages she last played and it was like she was learning all over again.
“See as this babe dey so excited about Whot” Justin said, totally amused at Priscilla’s enthusiasm as she dropped another card that made both him and Tokunbo pick from the market.
“Be careful oh Pris, it is in Whot you know your enemies” Tokunbo said looking at Justin who began to laugh.
“Why do you say so?” Priscilla asked.
“You will be thinking Justin likes going to the market till you say ‘last card’, that is when you will see ‘pick three’, ‘pick two’, ‘hold on’, ‘suspension’, ‘general market’. That’s what this yeye boy likes” Tokunbo said.
“Na strategy now” Justin said.
“Hey guys. Una come house early oh” Maryam and Kevwe walked into the house.
“Fine girls, how far? How was work?” Tokunbo asked.
“Fine” Kevwe said.
“Work was there joh. Cards? I’m playing next round” Maryam said dropping her bag on the 3-seater and running to sit between Priscilla and Tokunbo. “No way I’m sitting near Justin. Before he unleashes his wrath” Maryam said.
“You too?” Priscilla asked. Then looking up at Kevwe who was heading to her room she said
“Kevwe won’t you join us?”
Just ask Kevwe turned to answer she locked eyes with Justin who looked at her coldly.
“Yeah Kevwe” Justin said “too high and mighty to join an unemployed dude and the rest in a game of cards?”
“JUSTIN!!!” Maryam exclaimed. Kevwe turned and walked quickly to her room. “What was that for now?” Maryam asked.
“So she fit lash at me and na me suppose dey form gentleman abi? Not surprised you would side her though” Justin said coolly to Maryam, turning to Tokunbo he said “guy its your turn”.
“Haba Justin, am not on anyone’s side. You don’t normally hold things to heart now” Maryam said meekly “and she is sorry fa”.
“Well people don’t normally belittle, accuse and insult me now” Justin replied mockingly “and if she is sorry, she has a fantastic and unique way of showing it”.
Priscilla who came back with Maryam and heard what happened had decided to stay out of it and so remained quiet through all this.
“Hmmm, bro, you know I defended you against Kevwe, but this can’t go on” Tokunbo said, Maryam nodded in agreement. “We plan to live together till we are all established or get places of our own, or till I find that special babe and kick all your sorry asses out of the house” he said that part with a wink which made everyone smile and ease some tension.
“…But till then we gats live together PEACEFUL” he said.
“Fine I hear you make we play cards joh” Justin said dismissing the topic.
“Let me check on Kevwe” Maryam said. Call me when you guys finish this round. She stood up and was heading for Kevwe’s room when her phone rang.
“Hello” Maryam spoke into the mouth piece as she walked away.
“Ok I have two more cards so I’m to say ‘warning’ yeah?” Priscilla asked trying to act normal.
“Yes. If not you can’t check” Justin said. “Who formed that rule now?” Tokunbo argued.
“Dey there. If you like try am and ……” Justin did not finish his statement before he heard
Maryam’s scream. What was with this house and girls screaming, he thought. As they got up, both Maryam and Kevwe rushed out.
“Matthew just had an accident. He is in the hospital” Maryam said.
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Muyiwa blogs at htttp://abluntnigerian.wordpress.com
You can follow him on instagram/twitter – @mfadarated.