Madam Shine is in her shop thinking of what to do. It has been two days since she had Amina and Wasiu arrested and they had insisted that they didn’t see her money even in the face of serious Police interrogation.
Her conscience begins to prick her that they may be innocent after all. She has also started missing their presence in her shop as the shop is now a shadow of itself without her two workers around.
After the arrest of her Amina and Wasiu, she has sent for her niece who just finished her secondary school to come and watch over the shop for her pending when she will employ new workers but her niece was always abandoning the shop. She is still engrossed in her thoughts when her niece walks in.
Vicky: “Aunty, good afternoon”.
Madam Shine: “There is nothing good about the afternoon when you abandon my shop and go out at the slightest opportunity”.
Vicky: “Ah-an! You are supposed to answer my greeting first, now. This one you are just attacking me like this”.
Madam Shine: “Are you crazy, or is something wrong with your head? Ehn, Vicky. Where are you coming from?”
Vicky: “I went to see a friend”.
Madam Shine: “How in God’s name can you abandon my shop and go to see a friend? Is that what I brought you here for?”
Vicky: “Aunty, please o. I am not your slave. Why won’t I go out because I am staying in your shop? Am I a prisoner”.
Madam Shine: “You are asking me if I you are a prisoner? You think jumping from one man’s bed to the other in the name of seeing a friend is the best for you? The thing that you are looking for in a man’s body, you will soon find it”.
Vicky: “Let me find it, now. Won’t I get married some day? You didn’t tell me I am coming to be your slave in the shop when you came to my house. I am tired of you trying to control me!”
Madam: “you dare talk back at me? If not that I didn’t give birth on time, I would have a child who is your mate. God, what is wrong with children of nowadays? Leave my shop immediately. I will see your mother in the evening.”
Vicky hisses, picks up her bag and leaves the shop without saying a word to her aunty.
Madam Shine: “This world has turned to something else. See small Vicky talking back at me. What sort of problem is this now, where will I see trustworthy people to employ in my shop?”
Amina sat in the cell crying and wishing for death. For two days she has starved herself and is willing to starve herself to death if they don’t release her from cell.
She knows that she didn’t take the money and she does not see any reason why she should agree to a crime she didn’t commit. Her fear is for Wasiu who is at the verge of confessing to the crime to stop the torture even though he knows nothing about it.
She remembers Kamal and she is embittered. She never imagined that he can abandon her at a time when she needed him most. She despised him for probably stealing her madam’s money and abandoning her to suffer for it but deep within her heart, she yearns for him. She yearns for his magical touch which always sends her to cloud nine. “If only I can see his face, touch him and feel his lips on mine, then I don’t mind spending eternity with him in this cell”, she said to herself. “Oh God, see what my over selective attitude has led me into”.
Her mind flashed back to when she was a young girl in her early twenties. Suitors were coming from North, East, South and West to seek her hand in marriage but she declined them for one reason or the other. At that point in her life, she felt at the top of the world and she never imagined that she could ever run short of suitors in her life. As a tall and beautiful girl with a radiating chocolate skin that looked like she had just applied Shea butter on it and a pointed nose that sits on her shapely face, the sky appeared to be her starting point in her selection of men.
She had just finished her secondary school and was expecting her WAEC results so she can proceed to higher institution when Samaila, a hardworking farmer who is known for his vast land and bountiful harvest approached her for marriage.
Samaila: “Yan Mata, I don dey look for opportunity like this one to talk to you”.
Amina: “Samaila, say what you have to say, you can see that I am in a hurry”.
Samaila: “I know, my Queen. Beautiful angels like you are always in a hurry”.
Amina: “What is it, na Samaila. Which one is this one that you are just beating around the bush? Say what you want to say before I walk out on you”.
Samaila: “Ina san in… Only say the thing dey heavy me for mouth, I no know as I wan take talk am”.
Amina hisses and begins to walk away when Samaila runs forward and blocks her. “No vex, abeg. I go talk now”, he says and waits for her to say something. When she doesn’t, he proceeds. “Amina’m, the only girl whose smile dey make me forget my name, the woman wey dey make me work hard every day for farm so that I go get enough food to give you when you come my house, marry me. I want make you be my wife and I promise say you no go ever suffer as long as I dey alive”.
Amina: “Heey”, she claps her palms together and lets out a long mirthless laughter. “Make una see me see local trouble o. Chai! Chai Amina you have suffered. So because I dey this village, everybody who has something daggling in-between his thighs can just walk up to me and ask for marriage.
See Samaila, local Samaila, Samaila the village farmer, Samaila that doesn’t even know the difference between F and P asking me, me”, she turns around in a stylish manner and continues talking “asking me Amina to marry him. Samaila, look at me very well, do I look like any of those village girls in this village? Can’t you see that I have the height and physique of a model and yet you have the audacity, the effrontery, the temerity to ask me to be your wife? An educated beauty like me who will soon be going to higher institution stoop so low as to even date you talk more of marriage. Impossible!”
Samaila: “Yarinya kenan, Amarya ta f azan mai da ki, kuma, I want you to go to school since me I no go so that people no go cheat me. I go train you until you finish any school wey you wan go for this life. No be small money I dey get anytime I sell my farm produce, I go use the money open account for your name since you sabi write, you go dey commot the money anytime wey you wan do anything. If you gree to marry me, I fit wait even if na 10 years for you to finish school”.
Amina: “Allah ya kyauta, will you keep quiet there, with your strong body wey you dey take farm. Who wan marry illiterate like you? I am even ashamed of anyone seeing me talking to you talk more of me being your wife, I can’t even think it.
You better face your farm work and look for a low life, illiterate girl of your class to marry. Your body odour seff no gree me breathe well as I stand here. Olodo!” she hisses and walks away, flaunting her hips at him. Samaila stares at her open mouthed too shock for words.
Few months later, after she had secured admission to study in the polytechnic, she begins to date a banker whom she met when she went to the bank to pay her registration fees. Less than a year into their relationship, the banker takes her out to a cozy restaurant in town and promised to marry her, he gave her a silver ring as a gesture of his love for her.
Amina: “Ah no, I can’t accept this ring”.
Banker: “Why, you don’t like it?”
Amina: “It’s too cheap, now. My friends will laugh at me when they find out that this is my engagement ring”.
Banker: “Fine, we will buy another one; any type that you want”.
Amina: “It’s not just about the ring, I can’t marry you”.
Banker: “Why? You don’t love me enough for marriage?”
Amina: “It’s not about love, now. How can I marry an ordinary banker like you? How much is your salary? Can you afford to take me round the world for shopping? How many designer wears can you afford to buy me in a month with your salary?”
Banker: “Hey, love, Rome was not built in a day. Besides, I am young and hardworking, the future is very bright. Let’s build it together and we will enjoy it together”
Amina: “No o, what are we building together? I don’t have that patience, Ikon Allah. You are just a poor banker who works from dusk to dawn. When will you have the time for me? Maybe when I want to cuddle in the morning that is when you have to rush out to work. No, o, abeg. Na so so ‘yes sir, yes, ma’ you dey tell your ogas for office.
Who want ‘yes, sir and yes, ma husband? It’s not like you are working with Central Bank of Nigeria, seff. Please o, fine young girl like me should marry a bank manager or a director in Central bank if at all I must marry a banker not some junior bankers like you. This type of my skin needs plenty money to maintain”.
The banker feels insulted and walks out on her taking his ring along.
As soon as Amina finishes her ND programme, she returns to her parents’ house to await her Industrial training. There, teacher Isah, one of the most intelligent Mathematics teachers around falls in love with her and asked her to be his girlfriend with the intention of marrying her.
Amina: “Mr. Isah, Meye haka? This one that you blocked me on my way to the café, what happened?”
Teacher Isah: “That is because I cannot control the level of adrenaline flowing into my medullar oblongata anymore. Your love has mesmerized me and I am nothing but a guilty prisoner of love waiting for judgment at the court of her Lordship the queen of the only castle in my entity”.
Amina: “All those English na for who? You never ready to talk”.
QUESTIONS: What did Amina reply Mr Isah? Why is Amina rejecting marriage proposals from her suitors?
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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