You guys asked for fiction 🙂 so here’s one for you. Thanks for always reading.
Sometime in the blistering Harmattan of 2006, Adunni resumed a new job in the flamboyant city of Abuja. She had never been to Abuja. She didn’t realise either that though it was a hot city on a normal day, it could get really cold too, especially at nights. Her only connection to Abuja was her classmate Jane, who had served there after school, three years ago.
All Jane told her was all she knew. Well apart from the bits she read in the papers. Abuja had massive roads. Abuja was where all the government money was. All the street lights worked. Abuja had no traffic like Lagos. What Jane forgot to tell her though was that to walk by the side walks could be a bit embarrassing, especially during lunch time or closing time. Everyone sped past in their air conditioned car, no matter how small. Jane had said it was very easy to get taxis. So when she walked to the junction of her uncle’s house where she was staying on the morning of her first day at work, and all the taxi drivers were charging #400 to Maitama from zone 6, she knew there was going to be a problem. Sooner or later.
Her first thought on arrival was that she’ll get a house in the Maitama area, or Wuse 2. Somewhere close to the office at least. But Audu laughed at her and said he wished her luck when she first mentioned it to him. Audu was a new recruit like her. But he had lived in Abuja pretty much all his life. He explained to her that getting an affordable one bedroom would mean living out of town and being in traffic daily, whether coming in or going out. She didn’t plan to live with her uncle for more than 3 months. So all of the talk from Audu was beginning to get frustrating.
After 8 months of looking for an affordable one bedroom in town to no avail, her immediate boss suggested she got a shared rented apartment. That way she wouldn’t have to cough out the million million all the landlords and agencies were asking for. She had twice found a house that was though over her budget, but the house owners had told her outrightly on both occasions that they couldn’t give the apartment to a single girl even if she had cash. Single girls cause too much wahala, the first land lord had said. Atleast have somebody, even sugar daddy, so I can know you are responsible to someone. She didn’t even know what to make of that statement, so she let it slide.
Over the months, she and Audu had gotten quite close. Infact Audu was her wing man in the house hunt ordeal. So he was the first one she told to help her find a flat mate, when she eventually decided to go with her boss’ idea.
I want a Yoruba person o she told him quietly after work one day. Not Igbo, I don’t want. Their own is too much. Not the one that they will ask for diesel money for generator and she will disappear for days… Ok do you want “mallo chic” then? Audu asked as he laughed at her reference to Igbo babes. Hmnnn even mallo, with all their perfumes everywhere. But I guess I can manage. As long as she limits it to her room. Before they both headed home, Audu asked about the possibility of a male flatmate, to which she vehemently said NO.
When Adunni eventually moved into her room with her TIV, male flatmate in Area 8, it was well over a year since the first day she stepped foot in the capital city. She arranged her room just the way she had imagined it, but she didn’t paint it. The painter was asking for 20k, and so she decided it wasn’t worth it. She walked out of her room to go to the kitchen and met Nege in the Living room. She reminded herself she would have to get used to living with a guy. She hoped he was a guy who didn’t like kitchen or food. That would make him stay in his room more. She and her friend Audu had searched and waited for a female flatmate. Infact she had lowered her standards. She didn’t mind an Igbo girl anymore. She didn’t even mind any girl. But apparently other house hunting girls had standards too. She had called Jane in on her plan and hoped that Jane would gladly pay half the rent and be her flatmate. But Jane was already living with her boo in Zone 1. In the last two and half years she had never had to buy diesel or pay for light or DSTV. The only thing she had ever really contributed was the once-in-a-while indomie noodles, egg and sometimes 300 naira dispenser water she bought, usually when her boo Sanmi had travelled. She wasn’t about to pass off that champagne life to go live like a peasant because of friendship. This is why she stood by Sanmi, through thick and thin, through everything. He disrespected her sometimes, but she didn’t care. He brought friends over all the time during the premier league weeks and she always had to be their maid and clean up after them. There was a time she suspected he was even cheating on her but she did nothing. The free house and ride to work was comforting enough.
It was after Adunni had become really frustrated that she decided any flatmate was welcome. As long as the person didn’t cramp her style. Audu was the one who found Nege and sweet talked him into getting a flat with a girl. A decent, Yoruba girl. He actually didn’t care much who he shared the house with. He just wanted a room to call his own. Most Fridays he was off to Kaduna anyway, to see his family.
She continued her walk into the kitchen and made a mental note to call the carpenter to fix one more shelve compartment to fit her stuff.
Over time, she eased into the idea of Nege as a flatmate. She often left some food for him whenever she cooked. Other days, he bought chicken suya from Yahuza for them to eat with garri. Their symbiosis was great. Very great infact, until the Friday night that hell broke loose, about 6 months after living together…
… To be continued shortly…