MY BEAUTIFUL NEIGHBOUR #3 (SHORT STORY)
The Story So Far:
Ebony, a handsome bachelor, moved to a new apartment in a different part of Enugu to avoid unwelcome female attention and the complications therefrom. However, his married neighbour (Mama Chinonso), is drop dead gorgeous and she shows him unusual kindness. Ebony contrary to his earlier protestations begins to nurse some sensual fantasies about the lady. Will Ebony snap out of his lust before it’s too late or is history about to repeat itself at his new abode?
This episode provides the answer and introduces us to a new intriguing character in the story. Read, laugh, comment, share and be blessed!
MY BEAUTIFUL NEIGHBOUR #3
IN THE BLUES
The day after our shopping excursion, Mama Chinonso, whom I’d learnt her real name was Anastasia woke me up again, this time by 6:30 a.m. If this was going to be a pattern, I’d rather she did it at closer quarters from the other side of the door, I thought.
She had on an azure skirt suit and a handbag to match. Her feet were encased in two and half-inch sandals and her makeup consisted of red lipstick and grey eyeshadow to match her shirt and sandals. Her hair was neatly pulled into some kind of braided bun.
“Whew!” I exclaimed. “You look like an air hostess.”
“Maybe I can apply while on board. I’m going to Lagos to see my husband. I’ll be away for two weeks. By then, Chinonso and her brothers will be on holidays and I’ll bring them home.”
Two weeks! I was gripped with panic. It was then I noticed the black suitcase on her welcome mat. What will I be doing till she returns in two weeks? Why in h#ll did she have to be away that long? I should offer her a ride to the airport.
“Please, don’t go!”
A horn blew and she turned. “My ride is here,” she announced, all smiles. “Here’s my key in case you need anything. I have yams which will probably rot before I return, some soup in the freezer and you can watch as much TV as you want. The subscription will expire in ten days anyhow. Bye and take good care of yourself.”
I was in a daze. She pressed the key into my right palm and moved to pick up her suitcase. I was rooted to the spot. She was waving back from the Audi that came for her before I realised I hadn’t said goodbye. I hadn’t even said thank you for the food and free cable viewing she had offered or carried her suitcase to the car.
“Idiot!” I addressed myself. “Shameless idiot! Begging a married woman to cancel her trip to see her family! Idiot, idiot,” I repeated, hitting myself on the head.
“Nna men*, you’re a total f#ck-up!” I continued berating myself as I entered my flat. “Back to business! Gbado anya* on the mula*, forget about women.”
Thankfully, the families living upstairs were either stuck-up or my “good name” had preceded me. They barely responded to my greetings. After a while, I got fed up and ignored them altogether.
To say that I missed Tasia (my pet name for Anastasia, I couldn’t bring myself to call her Mama Chinonso, not while she looked so hot), to say that I missed her would be an understatement. It was worse than anything I’d ever been through. The first few days were horrible. I could hardly eat, move or sleep. I couldn’t get her out of my mind and the specifics of my thoughts were well, unprintable. I wondered if that was how it felt to be under a spell, although I wasn’t making any effort to break free.
By the fourth day, I had an unexpected visit from my younger sister, whom we call Razor due to the sharpness of her tongue. I call her CIA because she’s the most secretive person I know but you can’t hide anything from her. She’ll ferret it out somehow. I hadn’t told her my new address but she wormed it out of someone who heard it from the young man who helped me move. How she knew who to ask I cannot imagine.
Razor is seventeen months younger than me. That would place her age at 27 but she doesn’t look a day older than 16. She is a spitting image of our late dad: short, fair-complexioned with the eyes and agility of a cat. She gave up school after her O’levels, complaining that it was a waste of valuable time. But she is more knowledgeable than most people I know (she certainly knows a lot more than me) because she’s an avid reader and well travelled.
Much of Razor’s life is a mystery to me and everyone else. Her residence is a secret. She’s never in short supply of cash and fashionable clothes but she doesn’t seem to be working anywhere. I stopped prying when she made it a condition for bailing me out when I’m in the red.
Razor picked the lock of the back door and let herself in when I didn’t answer the front door after a few knocks. She took in the mess I was and assumed I was mourning because I’d lost a bundle on a Ponzi scheme. She ordered me to get a bath (yes, she does that too, giving orders and getting compliance even from her elders). Her tone brooked no argument and I knew she was crazy enough to drench me with water where I was if I didn’t move.
While I was bathing, she made some oatmeal in my kitchen and you guessed it, she ordered me to eat it when I came out. She then opened all the windows in the living room, dusted the furniture (which consists of a dog-eared black leather sofa, two arm chairs in a similar state and a centre table with a fading and cracking green formica top). When she was through, she told me to come and sit with her on the sofa.Talk with someone when you're blue. That may help you see things through. Click To Tweet
“Tell me why you want to kill yourself.”
“Don’t be stupid, I don’t want to kill myself.” I hesitated but I thought I might as well volunteer the information because she’ll get it out of me anyway. “I’m in love.”
She exploded with laughter.
“Don’t deceive yourself. You are too devious to be in love.”
“Is that what you think of me, your own brother?”
“I think you met a smart girl who won’t let you get under her skirt and you’re confusing your frustration for love.” She resumed her laughter.
“I think you should leave. If you have such a low opinion of me, why are you here?” I made to stand.
She held my left hand in a vise-like grip which said, “Sit, I’m not through with you.” I hate this girl. I hate that she is this strong. I’ve never been able to best her in a fight and believe me, we’ve had quite a few, even as adults. I sat back.
“Tell me all about it,” she said in a somewhat placating tone. “Who is the lucky lady?” She meant this last part as a joke but I didn’t care. I needed to talk to someone in any case to help me process my thoughts.
“She’s my neighbour and she’s married.”
“That’s a good one. Karma is a b*tch!”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Think of all the girls you’ve broken their hearts. It’s your time to pay.”
“I don’t believe in karma,” I protested. “I’m a Christian.”
“Sure, you’re a Christian when it suits you, but you go around promising girls marriage and letting them down. Which commandment of the Bible tells you to do that?”A life of faith is not a light bulb you can switch on and off when it suits you. Click To Tweet
“You’re not a good one to preach because I am far better than you. What I do is known, but you are into something deadly that no one can pinpoint.”
“Does that make you feel better, that my sins are more or, as you say, worse than yours?”
“I am a Christian and I will prove it to you.”
“Go ahead, I’m all ears!”
“Not today. Come back in one month and check my life. You will see that I am a Christian in word and action.”
“Wanna bet on it?”
“5K* a piece. I’ll be watching you three weeks from now to the month. Any slip and you pay me in cash, no excuses.”
“That’s paltry. Let’s double the wager. I’m tired of the life I’m living anyhow and if you want to pay me for changing, that is fine by me.”
“Wouldn’t that be just up your alley? Wayo man! I’m out of here.” She stood and picked her purse from the centre table. “Count me out of your betting sh*t. It’s none of my business what you do with your life.” And she left the way she came.
That conversation had taken an unexpected turn. I couldn’t go back to brooding but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do: devise a means to get intimate with Tasia when she returned or become a better man as I’d boasted to Razor that I could.
To be continued
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2017
*”Nna men” is a mix of Igbo and Pidgin English meaning, “Old boy” or “Mate”
*”Gbado anya” is Igbo for “focus”
*”mula” is slang for money
*5K is slang for five thousand
*Wayo man means trickster in Pidgin English
LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Is there any of your siblings or cousins with whom you have a cat and dog relationship like Ebony and Razor’s? Care to share any of your more memorable encounters or exchanges?
Besides the lessons portrayed in the graphics, is there anything else you learned from this episode?
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