Naija Stories


Dorcas was looking at the world from the window of her room. She sat quietly on the wooden bench, pondering over her life. She was heartbroken. She watched as the world moved by. People walked up and down the street. Moving cars revved up and down too, the honking of their horns, dead to her hearing. She feared that soon, hardship would yank life out of her. When she looked into the sea of pedestrians, she wondered if any of them had tasted her type of predicament.

She turned her gaze into her room. Her eyes swept through the room. At one corner, was a rickety thin mattress laid on the cemented floor. Beside the mattress was a small wooden table. On top of the table was some pile of papers, and a small mirror that leaned on the greasy wall. There was also a molded pot at the other corner. She drank from it. The wooden center table had lost a leg, to which she had used a stool to prod, to keep it from toppling.

She stood up and made for a ‘Ghana must go’ bag. The bag sat closer to the pot. She tugged out of it; a yellow gown. It reeked of age. She was getting ready to move out. Every day was just another she would go hunting for two things—a menial job and John. She would go out wearing high hopes, that one day, the either would arrive. She had prayed and fasted. Her most prayer point had been to see John again. John was the man who crawled into her lowly life like a snail. The man who shook his head bitterly in pity when he learnt that she was only but an orphan. The man who had promised to fight by her side. The man who had promised to love her, come rain, come shine. The man who was a lion in sheep clothing. She should have known that he was a bag full of lies. She should have known that he was a gold digger, who had come to fleece her and make away with all her life savings. But she thought she had found an undying love in John.

The day the manager of the Five Star Hotel she had worked for, called her to his office. She stood a tad away from the gigantic desk. Her hands clasped, to knot loosely just above her knees. The hands swung freely as she waited for him to drop the call. The manager scowled at her, “Here is your termination letter.” He stretched his sturdy hand to offer her the white envelop. At this, she froze at the spot. She felt her heart slam against her chest and her legs dissolved under her. Her mouth dropped, but had no words to speak. She knew what to say, but her lips had lost the ability to move. She knew her offenses, even though she had lost count of the times she repeated them. She remembered those times she was absent from work. John had fallen sick and needed her care. She remembered borrowing money from the hotel which she requested be deducted from her salary when she was due for payment. She felt clearing John’s debt would bring back his charming smiles. And so on. The company had had enough. She had to be relieved of her duties. After all, no one was irreplaceable. The company would always find a person as hardworking as Dorcas but not as nonchalant as she was.

She came back home that day in a somber mood. She met another white envelop on the table. It contained a letter and the content tore what was left of her broken heart. John had written it. Dorcas dropped the letter when she had gained the knowledge that the rent of the two room apartment had expired, and that their relationship was over.

From that day, Dorcas would roam up and down the small town, walking in and out of restaurants, applying for the post of a waitress, in her yellow gown, with no streak of luck. When the day fell into night, she would crawl back to the dingy apartment with cracked window. Men with square faces and owl-eyed would prick the monster in her because she had seen John in them. All she did was to wait for the day fate would cross their path again. She had harbored and natured curses that she would like to rain down on him. She wanted to hurl the curses while he stood and looked into her eyes. That way it would be more effective, so she thought.

And it came that day. It was a stretchy day. The clouds had parted and the sun had decided to make its appearance. The scorching heat was ripping Dorca’s back as she ambled out of this restaurant. As usual, her request had been turned down. The creases on her face had burrowed into a frown as her flip flop tapped away on the coal tar. She was about hitting into the street, when her ears pricked, and she gleaned what the manager of the restaurant had said. “Who would like to patronize me, when I employ an old woman of 35 years as the servant”

Some part of her wanted to go back and tell the manager that she was only but 25 years. But when she saw her reflection on the glassy window, she stifled the urge. She saw the wrinkles hardship had left on her face. It was enough to have added 10 years to her age.

She turned and made few strides away before she stopped. She stood to steer clear of the trailing Prado SUV jeep, which pulled to a stop some feet behind her. The man that came down seemed to recognize her. He fixed his gaze into her face as he walked up to her, and a lady with a protruded stomach pacing up from the other side of the car to catch up with him. Dorcas mouth dropped like a panting dog. She stood transfixed. Her heart melted into her stomach. In no time, her eyes had swollen with tears. She shook her head and they poured down her cheeks. Now was the perfect time to rain the curses on him. But her eyes kept sweeping from John to the woman with protruded stomach and back to John. Her mouth became dumb. She shook her head again and more sobs slipped out of her lips instead.

John raised his dropped head to flash a glance to her face. His hands reached to grab Dorcas’s hands. But she jerked and retracted her hands. There was an oncoming vehicle. She took to a race into the road to make a cross. It was too late for her to dodge the vehicle when she saw it. A piercing screech rose to fill the atmosphere. John’s hand rose to cover his dropped jaw. The pregnant woman let out a piercing scream before the car, in its full velocity, decked Dorcas, sending her flying into the air, and she came crashing into the jagged edges of the gutter. With her head first, bursting like the head of watermelon smashed under foot, before her life began to fizzle out.

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