The only time peace and quiet reigns in Iyabo’s household are when the tenants fall asleep. At all other hours of the day noise is a permanent lodger. If it is not the pots banging against the pans, then surely it is the screaming matches over the phone between relatives. For it is said that you can take a Nigerian out of Nigeria but you can’t take Nigeria out of… actually it doesn’t matter because wherever one travels to in the world, Nigerians are always there.
It was one of those rare moments where for hours on end there was nothing but stillness and pitch-black darkness. A constant flashing light accompanied the juddering; the vibrations and resounding chimes broke the silence of the night. Iyabo half opened her bleary eyes to reach over her shoulder. Blindly searching through the air, then the dressing table, to bring an end to the alarm. Pressing the stop button, she shut her eyes whilst her lips moved in a foreign manner.
“Father God, thank you for waking me, thank you for the blessing upon blessings, I know you love me more than anybody that’s why you show me your grace and favour.
Lord, I am not worthy; make me cleaner and whiter than snow,
Look not upon my sins.
Anybody wanting to take my children’s name or mine to a witchdoctor let them rollover and die!
Protect Bolanle and Fadeke; do not let me see their end.
Let them find good husbands, do not let them marry witches or wizards.
Let me eat the fruit of their labour,
You are a mighty God,
Iyabo rolled out of bed, rubbing her eyes, yawning as she proceeded towards the bathroom. Placing tissue around the edges of the toilet seat to relieve herself. Twisting the knob of the hot water enabling the bucket to fill itself. Nearing the basin, she cupped her hands to amass cold water to splash over her face. ‘Where has the years gone?’ A passing thought as she stared into the mirror. Pulling out a toothbrush from the plastic vessel, smearing toothpaste onto the bristles. She cleaned her teeth, and all along her tongue, resulting in choking sounds. Ridding the sink of her phlegm mixed with liquid remnants of toothpaste. Iyabo stretched a leg into the bath and felt a twinge in her knee. The pain in her joint was all too familiar. She cautiously allowed the other leg to follow. Using a sponge and soap over her body. Towelling herself down, quickly she got ready. Iyabo left the house before either Bolanle or Fadeke woke from their slumber.
The bus dropped Iyabo outside the skyscrapers. Showing her pass to security permitted her access. Barry was lurking upon her arrival. She wandered to him as he waved her over, “E-ah-bow, I must admit, I’m not happy with the way you cleaned yesterday. You’re going to have to do a better job of the toilets today if you want to stay on. I’ll come round at the end of the day to have a check. Oh yeah… your payslip for the month.” Barry looked at his watch. “Okay sir,” was Iyabo’s response, graciously turning to leave. Heading straight for the ladies, she went into the middle cubicle and opened her payslip. Normal hours plus overtime had amounted to a total gross pay of £1,365.89, after deductions, £1227. “I can finally buy Bolanle a maths set and Fadeke new school shoes.” A smile coated her face. Iyabo began humming worship songs as she put on rubber gloves to clean, ignoring the pains in her leg.
By Delboy @delewrites