Hard Way. Full Story

  They said nothing lasts forever, not even the smell of a he-goat. All the ordinances of life could have hardly been null because Patricia has applied the rules yet the tomorrow she wished is

 

They said nothing lasts forever, not even the smell of a he-goat. All the ordinances of life could have hardly been null because Patricia has applied the rules yet the tomorrow she wished is still too far.
One would wonder what her tomorrow could  be, life is in phases, men are of sizes. Daniel did not like when she talked about it but she was a boy that she harboured in her house. Had he been sent from her village to spite her? Whenever she cried about the thorns life bring and his attitude, her blame had no one to hold. Blaming God was out of the question, on herself, she will laden all criticism, regrets, torture and punishment. She will always end up with, “Patricia, how did you allow this to happen?”

Two women were gossiping, “If no be say person dey mind him business. But them do her?”
“You dey ask me? Na plate I hold like this dey go beg her garri o.”
“You get mind o.”
“My mind better pass your own. At least I still be her friend. Make she bring, we go chop.”
“Two boys, brothers dey live inside the same house with you… Abeg… This matter don finally reach be careful.”
“Oya be careful.”
Chatted her neighbours. Two of them had worn-out wrappers around their body, tied firmly around the breast. It was another morning in a compound full of immigrants that have come to fizzle into the city life. On the last statement, they laughed falling on each other.

Akpe also wanted his family to live in the township as he often called it. In his village, people had began running off to their state capital and had often returned with stories of success. Okala’s daughter had even bought a motorcycle for her brother to be riding in the village. Akpe found it worthy to imitate the man by sending Patricia her daughter to the city. He won’t send Chima, Chima was still very helpful at home especially with clearing the farm land for farming season. Chima was not also very excited about traveling, he had a sweet girl in the village that he chased about. So off went Patricia. As her family was waving her goodbye at the junction when she had entered a white and green bus, her father kept shouting, “Be careful o. Try o. If there is any problem, call me. I am capable.”
Her mother also added, “If your garri wants to finish, send messages to us through Jimmy.”
Jimmy worked in the local government so people that needed to send word home or a simple parcel usually went to his office to meet him. Jimmy was a very cheerful and funny man that requested no money from his kinsmen on account of these errands. He usually said to them that he was not an Igbo man.
So the family of eight shouted and waved at their daughter. What a city person on the bus will find very local. Your parents and siblings all waving and shouting so loud that if you should need garri or cocoyam, you should send a message.

Patricia will not find that embarrassing yet, she loved her family and the fact that she was going to the city first. Akpe had the excitement of a man who thought he and his family were progressing to the extent of going to the city. He shared local gin and sauced dried fish with his friends later, happily recounting how he had got a room for his daughter to live in township with the help of his cousin’s son.

Patricia landed in township, loaded with enough food ingredients and money. She left in the morning so by afternoon, she had found a way to the market to purchase buckets and other necessary items. She took time to make her meals, sing village songs in front of her one room while doing anything. She conversed with whoever talked to her but didn’t do that much, she wasn’t conversant with pidgin yet, she managed broken English and that made some persons laugh. She ate eba and soup anytime, even in the morning and also wished there was a place she could pound fresh foofoo and eat. Every month, her father sent her money that was very enough for her. It was as if he sent her to simply stay in the city because she wasn’t doing anything really. Akpe said he didn’t have any money yet to send any of his children to the higher institution but was insistent on keeping her in the city. There was no economic importance or intellectual realisation to what the local man was doing. He only needed to be among the fathers that had their children in township.

 

It was in the easy life of cooking and eating that Daniel came close to her laughing, came closer consuming her food, came closest into her skirts. Patricia did not know that people in the city were very hungry people. She open heartedly gave things to her neighbours and the boy she had harboured. Daniel had lied to her that he was stranded, happily she took him in. After two months, he brought another boy and said he was his brother and that he was stranded too, Patricia still helped out. She cooked, cleaned, washed their clothes and somehow Daniel got into her at night but mostly in the day when his brother had gone out. Patricia did not know that Daniel stayed four miles away, in the streets with his family but only came to hustle out things from her, so wicked of him that he had to also bring his brother. No one really knew him but they were aware of the kind of person he was. A parasite. Only Patricia was the stupid mouse. While roaming the city, Patricia came to admire a business she would love to do. Selling recharge cards. Daniel didn’t like it, he said she should tell her father to send her money for her to start school. Patricia did not do that, she loved to sell things, she sold her family’s farm produce at the market so she was open to business. The neighbours looked on as those two brothers milked Patricia. They hated it most since she was now concentrating on feeding the boys and not giving them much like before.

“You are pregnant.” Said one of the women in the compound. She had called Patricia into her room one afternoon.
Patricia rubbed her neck.
“I’m not pregnant!”
She shot and walked out.
She entered the room to find that Daniel’s brother had pushed down the clothes she brought from the lines to the floor and occupied the bed. She was a little upset together with what the woman had said. She slowly went to sit at the front of the room and rested her chin on her hand.

A young girl in the compound soon called her in and told her the same thing. At that time, she listened because she was beginning to feel weak and dizzy. She would have ended up miserable, had the girl left her alone.

The drugs she had taken ached her all through the week, Daniel and her brother left the house and told her they were coming. They disappeared. Patricia suffered the pain and anguish alone. She bled till she began to emaciate rapidly. After 12 days of bleeding, the woman she had been rude to found her weak and empty on her doorstep. Patricia was quickly taken to the hospital and that kept her alive. She was learning life the hard way. The compound people gossiped but also advised her that she should shine her eyes, she was in the city where people cheated one another for fun. The money her father sent her later went to paying the person who paid her bills in the hospital. Patricia began to lack, it made her cry and loath on the city.

Daniel returned after a week, Patricia stupidly let her in but the fox didn’t stay long since there was no longer what to eat. The big quarrel came when Patricia saw him talking to another girl down the street. She did not know what came over, she sternly ordered him out of her house. It was the pain that happened for almost two weeks that she remembered, although she cried so much that period, she still stayed open to life.
The woman advised her to look for a job but Patricia insisted on the recharge card business. She had gone to ask a girl who sold airtime at the junction all about the business and loved everything she heard. At nights, her wishes revolved round a yellow table, a stool and a large yellow MTN umbrella to go with it. Most times, she stayed awake all night calculating the profits she would make at the junction she had chosen to stay. In those times, her father’s money were becoming too small for her. Her eyes had opened to other complex but beautiful city life. The irritation of it all was she contracting a sexually transmitted infection from Daniel the last time he came. The discomfort in her private part bothered her. All she needed was money to help fix her life. Her father’s five thousand naira was not amounting to much again. Food stuffs had become less. Patricia wept in silence and confusion. In the following weeks, she eventually got a job in a supermarket as a sale’s girl, that paid her five thousand naira.

She managed for a while and could afford weave-on on her hair and other newly acquired sophistications. Her one and only business did not still depart her head. Things became tougher when words came to her that her mother was ill. Patricia only prayed for her but could not travel. Her job didn’t have that allowance, she also worked on Sundays. After two months, her father’s money stopped coming. Patricia was left to herself and her God. There was no way she could even ask about her mother from Jimmy, he worked only during weekdays, she couldn’t make anything work. Her stone-hearted employer paraded the supermarket everyday to supervise her.

It was a young man who had come to her work place one day to buy perfumes that struck her life. He had bought two perfumes and given her one. Patricia was very thankful and excited, it was her first time receiving a gift and borrowing a sweet scent from a bottle. The young man had insisted she attends a party the following Sunday and promised to buy her a dress she could wear. What sweetened her most was that he said they will be paying the girls 30 thousand naira cash for attending. Patricia danced and praised her God for presenting such opportunity to her. On Friday night, the young man brought a beautiful white dress for her. Patricia was lost of words, at that moment, she trusted the young man more than her own self so on Saturday she told her boss that she won’t make it to work the next day. 

She lied that she was travelling. She even wept for her boss to feel poignant. Only a village girl like that would believe such giveaway stunt like paying girls for attending parties. She trusted the people in the city like she was trusting her village girls in the stream when she told them, watch my basin of water, I am coming. Patricia had not still realised that she was in a mad place.

At 3pm that Sunday, she was already on her way, carefully following the direction on a paper, although, the party was at 5pm. Patricia was just like the other girls waiting impatiently for the party to begin in the hotel. She had thought she will meet the man who invited her but he wasn’t present. She could have asked the young man attending to them but she suddenly realised that she didn’t know his name. They sat in a lounge, eating what had been given them. Patricia concluded that if that was how people were always treated in a party, eat, drink and get paid, she will certainly stop her job and begin to attend parties. The little girls waited for 30 more minutes before the young man began to call them out one after the other. The girl signaled, followed the young man to God knows where and never returned. The girls waited eagerly for their own call. Finally, came Patricia’s turn. She was led into a beautiful room.
The woman in the room was naked, stack naked! Her breasts dangled heavily upon her protruded stomach as she came to Patricia.

 

The little girl was pinned to the ground in bewilderment. Before she could find how to react, the woman’s mouth was in her mouth, kissing and touching her all over. Patricia managed to scream. The woman placed a finger over her mouth and silenced her. A gun was on Patricia’s stomach. Hot tears flew than her cheeks right away. The naked woman pushed her to bed and ordered her to undress and spread her legs. 
In that fleeting moment, Patricia began to recall the faces of her family members, her friend Chidinma and Ezinwa in the village. Her spot at the church choir. When she used to ride bicycle to the village market and make good sales. She didn’t want to remember anything about the wicked city. Her spirit gladly escaped her body after she had peeled of the gown and her panty. She spread her legs apart slowly. The woman smiled wickedly and came to her. Patricia checked around with her eyes for the gun but couldn’t see it. The gun was not also in the woman’s hand. She wondered if she should start fighting the woman. Every thought on her head flew in fast and replaced one another that she couldn’t choose which to do. Shock had exhausted her. Her predator dragged her close, parted her legs more widely that she flinched before lowering her head to her woman body. Instantly, the woman raised her head up and told her to put on her clothes. Patricia jumped out of the bed and obeyed hastily, facing the woman fearfully to see how she will bring the gun out and shoot her.

To her chagrin, the woman only sat down. The young man appeared.
“Give her her money fast fast, she dey smell. Hah!” The woman spurted.
He dipped his hand into his right pocket, provided a bundle of 500 naira notes and gave it to Patricia before leading her away through another door. When Patricia was alone, outside the fence, she looked around and saw that she came out through a small gate behind the hotel. She began to walk slowly with the money in her hand, when people started passing her by in the street, the money disappeared into her brassier for safety. Her heart was telling her to throw the money away. She went home to cry in her room, she was disobeying God by keeping the money from that kind of woman. As her tears soaked the top of her white gown in the dark, Patricia prayed fervently for forgiveness. She felt like she had committed the highest sin on earth. On Monday, she would go and buy Nokia 3310 to begin her business. After weeping for hours, she kissed the money.

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