Written by Amah
I wasn’t myself through out that day, I keep wondering how the money disappeared, I couldn’t say who among my two room mates took and how possible was that, I only told Ada at work and she said i should return it or give it to her to return for me of which i told her i will return it myself and i never did, and she didn’t even know i took it home until i called her this morning and asked her if she happen to see the missing purse and she was angry with me for asking her such question when i never told her i was taking it home, I called Bibi and she sounded surprise with the news and said i should still search properly I may probably see it, I can’t accuse her because she sounded innocent enough to me and she was asleep and it couldn’t be her, so who then? I keep asking myself that question, did the bag develop wings and fly away while everyone was asleep, I was still shock as i dressed up for work but knowing what i will face, how can i even explain it, my regrets was if i know i would have returned it to the manager or give it to Ada like she suggested for her to take it to the manager, now how do i explain that the bag and the money disappear, even Ada is very angry with me for not listening to her knowing well she has being in the job before me and knows better, and she’s the one that took me to the place,
Alot of thought was hitting my conscience like a stone as i arrived at work, I quickly changed over to my uniform, Ada and Bibi were getting ready to sign out, Immediately Ada noticed i was around she came to the changing room
“you are here Uju, dress up fast and come out the manager is calling you”
“wait Ada, did you tell him, you told him about the bag… Why do you think his calling me?
“Uju, go and find out yourself, stop asking me, but remember whatever happens you brought this on yourself
“I know you are angry with me, I’m sorry Ada, please don’t leave me now, you know you are the only one i know over here”
“you should have thought about that before being greedy, before trying to act smart or to go ahead of me, you actually thought you are smart.. I asked you to give me that bag to take to manager and you agreed to take it to him yourself only for you to you cornered it without even telling me, I will show you how stupid and foolish you are, I took you from the village to have a better live and you think you can outsmart me Ujunwa, you actually think I’m stupid or blind to see how desperate you are, your plan is to outsmart me…hahaha…i will beat you to this game because before you even take a step I’m 100miles ahead of you… manager want to see you and the owner of the purse that contains the cash you took is also here, today is your judgement day, I warned you didn’t I?
“oh my God, Ada why are you being so mean, I always give you every of my tips, both the one you know and don’t know, I contributed my own part to the house, sometimes even more, I never said or had it in mind to be ahead, I was only trying to fend for myself and save up for my family too just as you are doing, anything I’m not sure of i always call your attention to it before telling anybody because i believe you know better than me in this job or in Lagos life as a whole, you are my friend and we are age mates, why do you say I’m trying to outsmart you… You are like a sister to me please don’t deny me now that i really need you, the money disappeared and i don’t know how, still can’t tell how…
I later went out to face my jury, it wasn’t easy at all walking down, every step was dreadful to me, I finally got there and saw the manager and the purse guy with few others, Ada was also there looking at me as if it was her money i stole, the manager started with
“Tracy, this young man was here last night, his face is regular here, I guess you know him, he lost his purse here and he’s sure it was here he lost it, I know you were one of the staff in charge of the VIP lounge this week and you were also the person that attended to them, I doubted him at first because i know that no staff here can keep such thing without my information, we don’t steal here, I was trying to convince him when Ada came to tell me you picked it and i wondered how you can pick such item and keep it to yourself, Tracy the young man is here for his purse, we will talk about why you keep such huge amount like that just as he mentioned without reporting it, Ada said she asked you to bring it to me but you didn’t, just get the purse and hand over to him, we will talk about why you did that later, let’s return his purse to him first,
“I….. I…saw it…but…but i don’t know what happened… I told Ada about it…after which….i..
“Tracy, what are you saying…i don’t think any of us understand what you are saying…let me clear you…the reason why we keep things for customers is to show transparency, so that they can keep coming back if they see how we handle things like this, so please go and bring it so that this guy can have trust in us again ” Ada will receive her reward for being a good staff and telling you to return it, she will get an increment in her salary for being a good staff, so Tracy we are waiting for you”
I stammered again, not knowing what to say, what can i even say, no reasonable word came out from my mouth as i tried to explain myself that i don’t know what happened to the money, Ada surprised me further and said to everyone surprise
“Obianaujunwa, go and get the money na, stop lying because i know you very well and know how much you can lie…
As Ada called me my full name in front of the people present, I wanted to disappear, I wanted the ground to open and swallow me, nobody knows I’m Igbo, and majority thought I’m from Kenya, like i lied to them, I started wishing i have stick to my real name, people looked from Ada to me, they asked her who she was referring to with that name, she looked at me and i gave her a pleading look, the missing money was enough trouble i don’t want another one but she was determined in seeing me put to shame as her mouth keep running like tap water, bibi came and joined the mini crowd growing and also tried to give Ada sign to calm down but she wasn’t listening
“everybody, her name is not Tracy, her real name is obianajunwa, we cut it short by calling her Uju, she’s typical Igbo girl from my village, forget all the lies she told you, she’s actually a good liar,
The manager just looked up at me with a disappointed look while others laugh and chorus my name as if it was a song , the manager later said
“okay o, hmmnn we don’t care what her name is what that matters now is the money, we will also put the lies she told all of us to book later, so where’s the money Obianaujunwa, Ujunwa, Uju or better still Tracy which ever one you like, my own concern is the money, enough of all this drama, please answer us
I was already prepared for anything, I thought my real name was left with mama in the village never know i will still hear it within a year of leaving home
I still wondered how the money disappeared, who took the money was what i keep wondering,
I became strong for myself because i only got me, I have to be strong for myself, I told them what happened but no one believed me except the owner of the purse he just suddenly stood up and left and told the manager to forget the money because this is not the first time he was loosing money in the club that he believed me and and will try to be careful next time because is his fault ,,he left with the guy he came with,
The manager still want to know what happened to the money after the guy left.
But who took the money, how did it disappear?
I was sent home with some security guard to search the house, they searched the whole house and still nothing, after long and hard investigation on me they finally let it go but not without a sack, I was actually sacked after the whole drama, i became jobless,
As if my trouble wasn’t enough for Ada, she gave me one week to leave the house and get my own place, where do she expect me to go, I don’t even have enough money to feed for a month, I don’t have anybody in Lagos,
I pleaded with Bibi to beg her for me since she won’t listen to me no matter what i say, Bibi tried and pleaded on my behalf but she was stiff necked, she refuse to listen to anyone, she said she will soon be packing out of the house to a more better place and i can’t follow her to her new apartment and i can’t stay in the old one because I’m jobless and won’t be able to renew the rent and she doesn’t want anybody to insult her because of me,
I go out everyday in search of job , so that i can convince her to leave the place for me,
Probably if she sees that I have a new job and can pay the rent she will leave the house for me while she move in with Bibi to her new apartment, I wasn’t begging to go with her and Bibi to her new luxury apartment, all i wanted is for her to let me stay in the old one, but she won’t listen, I was still hoping she was probably playing when she started burning some of her old stuff and giving out some to neighbors around, I watch her and Bibi burn and give out their things, with the excuse that they have alot of new ones and won’t be needing the old ones, they go shopping everyday without taking me along or buying anything for me despite they knew that i wasn’t working and i was using the little money with me to feed and transport to drop my curriculum vitae, in some places that has vacancy signs and search for job, I was running out of cash and they just enjoy watching me suffer as Bibi later joined Ada and doesn’t pay attention to me again, Ada was treating me like a stranger and doesn’t talk to me again,
After one week just like play they packed up their stuff and there was a car parked outside waiting for them, probably a cab man that came to carry them and their stuff to their new apartment, I was hoping Ada has finally have a change of mind until she asked me to pack my stuff outside that she want to lock the door and return the key to the landlady, who lives within, I was still trying to understand what she was saying, she started throwing my things outside after which she cleared the room and pushed me outside and asked Bibi to lock the door of which she did,
“Ada, what have i done to you to deserve this, I have said I’m sorry uncountable times to you, yet you aren’t satisfied, is it just because of the missing money or there’s more to it because this is pure wickedness, I thought you are my friend, do you bring me here to disgrace me, now you have thrown all my things outside where exactly do you want me to go, where….knowing well that i don’t know anywhere or anybody here, i don’t have any family member here, Ada please reconsider, remember where we are coming from, if something happens to me will you be happy? I’m not saying i want to go to your new apartment, no, not that I wouldn’t like to, but in other not to have problem please allow me to stay here, with time i will start work and start paying the rent, please…i don’t have anywhere to go to, please let me stay here, I will work and renew the rent i won’t bother you if that’s what you want…i promise to get a job soon I’m making lots of effort towards that, please… Bikonu…eeeh!
“if you like you enter rat hole, anywhere you like go and live but not here, not this house Uju, beg for money and go back to the village that’s where you belong, I made a huge mistake by agreeing to help you, you came and took all my personal customers, those men that give you tips that you will later give me small as if you are doing me a favour, some of this guys were my potential clients, in a day i know what i take home, then you appear like Jezebel and they no longer give me attention, only you Uju, you cornered all the rich guys to yourself, I watch you walk seductively and they flirt with you and give you money that was suppose to be mine, you think your hips that you swing for them can save you, let it save you now….do you even think you are more beautiful than me, so you think you are even fine at all, those men that admires you are only trying to deceive you because you are not even close to being beautiful, if i stand with you who do you think they will pick first…me because I’m the real definition of beauty, you are a big girl like me so save yourself, you see why i will always be ahead of you, I’m moving to my well decorated, furnished apartment, I paid everything with my money because I’m a classy rich girl while you are homeless ugly beggar, I have stripe you of everything i help you to get, you are jobless, homeless and even your abducted or stolen name, trashy or Tracy has being taken from you, you are only left with what you came from the village with, which is Obianaujunwa, I saw the way you hated that name and hate it when your mother calls you, now that’s the only thing you got…let me see you build yourself from the scratch that’s if you survive the street life you are about to enter, in 5years or 7years time i will probably call you to be my housegirl or My kids nanny because by then i will be married to a handsome rich guy and have kids while you will either be in the village by then struggling with your palm win tapper husband that’s if you are able to even get married or you are a prostitute in one of those cheap brothel, stupid girl see where your smartness has finally gotten you, I keep telling Bibi that you don’t know me because if i deal with you you will run once you see me, i also told Bibi that your cup will soon full, Bibi told me that is village mentality that is disturbing you and she was right about that, gradually like that you fell into the well set trap i kept for you, now you deserve whatever you get foolish girl….
I listened to her i didn’t even know what to say again, I looked at Bibi and she looked away, maybe her guilty conscience is disturbing her, Ada was really wicked, obviously she’s not the type you can mess with, never knew she has being holding so much hatred for me all this while and gossiping with Bibi behind my back, she left me there when she was tired of insulting me and entered the car with her friend Bibi and they left,
People saw how i was humiliated some showed concern after they left while others sigh and laugh but no one want to at least accommodate me, i understand them because most of them are married and will be scared that i may probably collect their husbands if they agreed to take me in, I saw the fear written in their faces and i don’t blame them, Ada has already painted me black before then them,
if i had that money that developed wings and fly away i would have use it to get an apartment and probably open a business and quit club job before they quit me, I would have given Ada and Bibi share too,
now I’m just sitting down here no house no money no job,
Who knows how Ada got the money she used in getting a new house and other expenses, she probably took loan from work plus her new increased salary and probably those her customer she said i took from her assisted her too, I don’t know why she’s so wicked to me,
I wish i know how that money disappear,
i wish for alot of things right now but most importantly is a place to stay and a job, i knew within me i will get one, I’m a strong person and Ada throwing me out without a place to go won’t weaken me,
I sat there and tried to smile but tears poured down my check i quickly wipe them off and try to think on my next move.
I scroll through my phone searching for who to call, I quickly remembered a guy, they call him Kala, he was so interested in me when i was working at the club, he also tips me whenever he comes to the club and will beg me to visit him or be his girlfriend but starting a relationship wasn’t in my vocabulary, i have not being into any relationship and even if i have to start something with any guy not with those chronic club guys that comes to club with different girls and even the ladies with them will not mind or be jealous as they flirts around and it makes me wonder if they think I’m blind, or i don’t see them come and go with any ladies, and even those girls don’t even care about who they carry, all that matters to them is to catch their fun, after clubbing and having fun they move on with their lives,
Kala was one of those guys, I quickly called his line, when he picked he sounded happy to hear from me, he ended the call and called me back immediately, I told him about my current situation, that i just need a place to stay for sometime to be able to get a job and get my own place, he was willing to help and later sent an address to me, I quickly went over to his place, although it was difficult at first locating his place but i finally got there,
He hugged me on seeing me and showed me a spare room where i put my stuff, I was so grateful to him, he said i should feel free and stay until i can get my own place, he later went out that night to clubbing, I stayed in the house, writing applications and sorting out cloths incase I’m called for an interview anytime, i will have cloths i can quickly lay my hands on, the following day i was called just as i have anticipated, I was there so early before people started coming, I found out i wasn’t the only one for the interview, but i was the second person they attended to, majority of the work is through computer and i wasn’t even computer literate, and it has not occur to me that it was important, I didn’t get the job not because i wasn’t good but because i don’t know anything in computer, I sadly went home.
I told Kala about it and he said he would have love to teach me with his laptop but he doesn’t have time, but i should get a place to learn and he will pay for it, i thanked him, and started my search on the nearest computer training school I can register, when i found one i happily told Kala but his response was discouraging, he said that i should hold on that he has things to do with cash, when he has he will let me know.
Kala still goes to club but not like before, he gradually reduced going out and with time his female friends also reduce, just some guys coming around and he always tell me to be in my room, he doesn’t want his friends to start making nasty comments about me or trying to make passes at me, I don’t know the kind of work he does for a living but he is always with his laptop and even his friends comes with theirs too,
One day one of his friend came, this one was calm and doesn’t join them in whatever work they do with their computers, it was the first time i was seeing him, he was also good looking and doesn’t talk fast, he speaks very slow and not much, i asked Kala why his new friend is always quiet, Kala told me he is the only friend he trust that i can always come out and sit in the sitting room whenever he was around, he won’t disturb me, he said his name was Victor, and his parents are very rich, but his father is late is just him, his younger sister and his chuchy mother, he said they are looking for a cook, they have other maid but their cook just got married and resigned and they are looking for another good cook, if i know anybody i should let him know,
I always serve him drink during the few occasions he came but he will say no, he hardly even looked at me, probably he thought I’m one of Kala’s girlfriends, which I’m not he was only accommodating me until I’m able to get a job and a place to stay, Kala doesn’t even disturb me about getting my place but he sometimes look at me strangely, and looks at my back, anytime I’m walking he will like to stay behind me so that he can be looking at my buttocks, I noticed it a lot of times and i can’t say or do anything because he was presently my saviour, one day i mustered courage and asked Victor about the cooking job, Kala wasn’t in the sitting room then, he was with one of his friend in his room doing something with their laptops, Victor was just watching TV and i joined him and he still didn’t say anything or looked at me, his eyes was focused on the screen, i greeted him he just replied and still didn’t look, i wanted an opportunity to ask him about the job but when there was non coming i decided to take the bold step to ask,
and he responded fine, he said that the person will stay in the boys quarter like other household workers and won’t work on Sunday and Wednesday, and the salary is just almost same thing with others just a little more, that they need an upright, godly person and also a good cook, he asked me if i know anybody that want to apply, I thought for sometime before answering him
I told him that i was interested, he looked at me like i have spoken some strange word before asking me if i have worked as a cook before, that they need somebody with experience, I lied and told him my last job was cooking for a big family and i worked there for three years, so i have enough experience, he then asked why I stopped working for the family i told him they relocated to America, he was quiet for sometime i was praying that the lies sound convincing enough to him and it actually did, he said i should come around within the weekend and meet his mother and try some delicacy for them I gladly hugged him without thinking i was so excited, he gently pushed me away and told me he hasn’t given me the job yet and i shouldn’t be over excited that is after his mother has confirmed me and my food thirst good that’s when i can start rejoicing but not on his body, I apologized and walked away happily, he later left.
I was looking forward to weekend because it was just Monday and weekend is far off, I have reminded Kala about the computer school again and even ask him to borrow me the money i will pay ones i start job but he hasn’t even said anything he just said i should calm down, he was expecting cash soon, but i watch him spend lots of money on drinks and Wears everyday with his friends, I later stopped bothering him, at least him accommodating me and feeding too is enough for me,
he later changed and started disturbing me everyday and night for sex, he said if i allow him he will give me money for computer school, he showed me wads of cash he will give to me if i let him do, i told him no, I wasn’t attracted to him in anyway, I can’t even tell how he makes his money because he’s mostly out with his friends or at home with his laptop, and sometime girls visit him different ones and they stay in his room, I hardly come out during then just as he warned me not to, he has always make sexual advances at me but i don’t take it personal until he started disturbing me for sex which graduated to threats, he will threaten to throw me out if i don’t allow him, this was happening within the week and he doesn’t know anything about the cooking job interview i was going at victor’s place, I never told him because he may not allow me, Victor is his friend.
Today is Friday and he went out clubbing as usual and told me to get ready for him when he comes back,
what I’m i suppose to do now I’m going for interview tomorrow, where do i run to or should i allow him do it and move on with my life, after is not a big deal , alot of ladies are doing it,
but how do i even tell him I’m a virgin, I use to worked in the club and I’m above twenty people thinks I have slept with every man around but that’s not true I’m actually a virgin, i have never had sex with any man but i can be mistaken for a whore when i was working at the club because of the way i have to act and dress just to have more money, and the last money i thought will change my life for good i disappeared in from the room where i hide it like thin air,
if i have that money now i won’t be in Kala’s house and i will still be in good terms with Ada who will equally receive her own share and also Bibi,
now I’m stuck with Kala’s quest for sex, my cooking interview coming this weekend and i know i can cook African delicacies, and Victor’s family is even Igbo which makes it easier for me,
now I’m confuse, please somebody should tell me what to do I’m in serious dilemma.
To be continued
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