Wasiu, her male colleague who has been listening to music with his ear piece chips in. “The woman na witch na, the Mallam say she be spirit and that anybody wey give her anything don give away im destiny be that. Na so so problem and disappointment the person go dey experience and after some weeks, the person private part go disappear. E be like say you don dey mama Basira side already when the Mallam come talk am.”
Amina: “Yeeehh! I am in trouble! See what being a Good Samaritan has caused me. A voice told me not to give the woman the food but I ignored the voice. Even with the destiny, see how my life is, now that it has been taken, I am in for the worst”, she says sobbing.
Wasiu: “Even seff, Adamu and some security people pursue the woman after them hear wetin the Mallam talk, but them no see the woman and her pikin because them don disappear. But, the Mallam say him go come market in five minutes time come pray for anybody wey give the woman something so that their destiny go come back”
Amina is still buried in her thoughts when her phone begins to ring. The caller is Mama Rashida, her neighbor.
Mama Rashida: Aunty, run dey come house now now o. Your boyfriend dey fight with landlord wey come ask of him house rent o. The fight serious so tey your boyfriend carry knife dey pursue landlord say e go kill am because landlord wake am from sleep to ask of money.”
Amina: “What! Oh no! Not again. Kamal fighting with my landlord? Does he want the man to throw us out? Why I’m I so unlucky with men? She makes to pick her bag when she remembers that she needs to wait for the Mallam to pray for her to get her destiny back from the landlord, she remains standing not knowing what to do.
Amina makes up her mind and decides to rush home to stop Kamal from committing murder. She knows that she has to act fast if she doesn’t want him to put her in trouble. The Kamal she knows will not hesitate to harm the landlord if she does not intervene. She makes for the door.
Jummai: “Ah-ah! Where you deygo like this, now. It’s not time for closing yet abi you wan go meet the Mallam for im house?”
Amina: “I need to rush home; my attention is needed urgently in the house.”
Wasiu: “You want to do what? No try am o, the Mallam will soon be here. You really need those prayers to get back your destiny, else if you wake up one morning see say one of your breasts has disappeared, you are on your own“.
Amina: “How is that your business, ehn? You people should mind your business in this shop o, I am not anybody’s mate here, if not for condition, I know where I would have been by now”, she storms out.
Amina gets home and meets a group of young men holding Kamal down. Kamal is panting, struggling to set himself free from their grip, as he curses and threatens to butcher the landlord with his knife.
Amina: “What is wrong with you, sweetheart. Do you want to put me in trouble? Please put the knife down lets go into our room.”
Kamal: “Allow me teach the old man some sense. How can he wake me up because of ordinary 3months rent that you owe him? Are you the first person in the world to owe your landlord?”
Amina: “That is not enough reason for you to threaten to kill him. You can get arrested for that”. She collects the knife from his hands and leads him into her room. When they get into the room, she sees that some plates have been broken during the course of the fight. “Sweetheart, why do you keep doing this? You know that I don’t earn much and yet you keep destroying the little things we have in the house.”
Kamal: “Are you trying to insult me? Who said I am the one who broke the plates? See, I have told you not to worry, there is this contract that I am doing with Amuze, when they pay us, I will just rent a bigger house and marry you right away.”
Amina: “Well, I don’t need anyone to tell me that you are the one who broke them after all you are the only in this house.”
Kamal: “Okay, I will park and leave your house; it seems that you are tired of me.”
Amina: “No, now. How can you say a thing like that? You know I love you right? Please don’t go away.” She gives him a peck on the forehead and goes to get the broom to clean up the fragments of the broken plates. As she is sweeping, they hear a heavy knock on their door startling them. Before she can answer, the landlord enters the room with two fierce looking policemen.
Landlord: “That is the bastard who threatened to kill me, arrest him”, points at Kamal.
Amina turns to the landlord and kneels,
Amina: “Oga landlord, it hasn’t gotten to this now. Please, leave the police out of this, let’s settle it out within us. Please forgive us. See us as your erring children, eh? Please.”
Kamal pockets the hands and hissed,
Kamal: “Why are you begging him? What did we do to him? He thinks he can walk in here and scare us with policemen? I have lawyer friends and I know my right”. Turning to the policemen, he said “Officers, what is my offence, why do you want to arrest me?”
Policeman: “Young man, you shall know when you get to the station. I advise you to keep quiet as whatever you say or do will be used against you in the court of law.”
Amina: “Ah! Court, abeg o. Where will Kamal see money to get a lawyer? Don’t mind him o, he doesn’t know any lawyer. Please, Oga landlord, have mercy”
Landlord: “I am going with them to the police station, before I return, I want you to move out of my house. Take the three months’ rent you owe me and leave my house. If I meet any of your things in this room when I come back, my boys will throw them out.
As they are talking, Kamal makes for the door to run away when he is intercepted by the policeman at the door who grabs him on the waist while the other handcuffs him.
Amina: “I am finished; Kamal has put me in trouble, where do I begin from?”
As they drive away to the police station, Amina stops a bike and is about following them to the station when her phone begins to ring. It is her madam at the shop calling; her heart flew to her mouth.
Madam Shine: “Amina, where are you? Is this how you leave my shop before closing time and yet I pay you complete salary at the end of the month? If you don’t get back here in the next five minutes, you are fired!” she ends the call.
Amina is confused, torn in between going to the station or returning to work; she knows that she owes Kamal the obligation of going with him to the police station so that she can plead with her landlord to drop charges against him. She also cannot risk losing her job as she knows that her madam does not give empty threats.
Question: Will the landlord agree to drop charges against Kamal? Should Amina abandon Kamal and go back to the shop which is their only source of livelihood? Is Kamal’s love worth her sacrificing her job? Where will she pack her things to?
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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