READ EPISODE 1
Daniella was covered in cold sweat on the sofa in her bedroom. She had just finished doing yoga and she felt better than she did before she started. It was hard concentrating as she worked through the poses but eventually she was able to clear her mind. She reached for her phone on the bed and collapsed back on the sofa, it is Saturday and she has some personal errands to run, her hair – she pulled at the thick mass on her head – needed some TLC, she needs to get some groceries and then check up on friends. As she surfed through her Instagram feed, a picture of Chisom smiling while she posed for pictures with her twins came into view. Chisom’s picture appeared on a fashion page with the caption ‘funky yummy mummy’ she logged off Instagram immediately and went on Twitter
Just because you are not celebrated doesn’t mean you are not awesome, life has a funny way of making things look like they weren’t at times #DanyO. She tweeted.
She placed her phone face down on the bed, turned on the music on her Apple Beats Pill and walked languidly into the bathroom. Minutes later she was swallowed by the huge bath in the pristinely white and gigantic bathroom ‘I want to come in here and see heaven’ she had told the interior decorator. An oval vanity mirror leaned defiantly against the wall, arranged beside the mirror is an array of body wash, astringent, exfoliating creams, soaps, moisturizers, face mask, natural hair products – conditioners, mask, shampoo, dudu osun, Cantu hair products.
Daniella took her time in the bath, she heard her phone ring like 7 times but she wasn’t bothered. She’d deal with those calls later, she sank further into the bath and closed her eyes to the soothing warmth, she might have drifted for few minutes before she woke up with a jolt.
She hurriedly wrapped up herself in her bathrobe and rushed into her bedroom, careful not to slip on the tiles. ‘I have a lot to do’ she murmured to herself as she picked up the phone lying on the bed.
‘Hello, have you delivered the package I asked you to give to Madam Obaseki?’
‘Yes ma’ the voice on the other end cracked. ‘What about Alhaja Tejuosho?’
‘We couldn’t give her the package because she wasn’t at home, she went for Hajj’ the voice answered.
‘Good, tell Clark that I asked him to go over the new building materials we just ordered, tell Zainab to display the Hermès bag Cynthia rejected and… Don’t forget Amanda and Fancy still haven’t paid for the wristwatches they got and also, I noticed the porcelain house ornaments has chapped ends, make sure someone look into that and then…’ the receiver on the other end listened careful not to show signs of laziness. ‘And then, tell…’ Daniella went on and on not repeating what she said and not stopping to make the person she was instructing take notes. She doesn’t care, she expected her staff to be up to the task and whoever doesn’t meet the cut gets cut.
She let out a sigh when she was done with the call and looked around her bedroom. There are times she feels overwhelmed by her dad’s fortune, there are times she wished she was never a part of all the wealth that has consumed them, there are times she imagined how it would have been if things were different… Totally different.
* * * * * * * ** ** * * * * * * *
The sun glared at her as she got out of her car. It was just 11:30am but the sun was out already beaming in all it glory. A woman accosted Daniella as she made her way towards Nancy Naturalistas Salon.
‘Aunty pls help me eat’ the woman pointed to her mouth and stomach as she said this. She was dressed in a pink blouse which has faded to a depressed paleness, her Ankara wrapper was haphazardly tied around her waist, the balance Daniella have often associated with the Iro wasn’t there, one end was high up while the other was below, a tattered hair net was balanced on her head. Daniella dug her hands into her bag and gave her a two hundred naira note.
‘Thank you o aunty’ the woman said with a voice laced with discontent. Daniella nodded and began to walk towards the salon, she was about to enter when she felt a tug on her cloth. She looked back in alarm and saw a pudgy baby dressed in dirty overalls, she was still recovering from the momentary shock she felt when she saw another waddle towards her. Grinning and exposing two front teeth and pink baby gums, the second baby held it hands up to be carried.
‘Nah my children dey greet you aunty, dem be twins’ the woman she had given money said and looked at her expectantly.
Sighing, Daniella dug into her bag again and counted 5 two hundred naira notes, ‘Take, that is for your babies’ she said. The voice of the woman stopped her ‘Aunty, but no be dis one tasan I fit take feed these pikins now.’
Daniella turned in disbelief and looked at the woman now standing with one hand on her waist and the other holding out the 5 two hundred naira notes at Daniella.
‘Mama Ejima! How many times have I warned you about staying in front of my shop!’ a deep voice bellowed. It was Nancy, the owner of the salon. A big boned woman in her forties who is ‘allergic to nonsense and ingredients’ she snatched the money from Mama Ejima and shooed her out of the salon’s premises.
‘I am so sorry about Mama Ejima, that is how she behaves I am not even sure she is the owner of those babies’ Nancy said as she returned Daniella’s money.
‘It’s okay’ Daniella smiled faintly and fished out her phone, she replied some emails and sent some.
‘Hmmm, as I was saying Aunty Shade, they said the thing is true o. That Otunba had an orphanage which he shut down all of a sudden in the 90s’ Nancy said as she deftly twisted her customer’s kinky hair. ‘Nah wa this people o’ Shade said stylishly proding for more details.
‘Shebi, they said even the wife of the Otunba is involved in strong juju‘ another customer added, a slim woman who should be in her late 20s or early 30s, she sat in a corner almost invisible until she brings out her neck time to time like a tortoise to join the conversation. ‘I heard that one too o, and the woman is nice. That her daughter is her carbon copy’ Nancy added.
‘That her daughter is a dog! No be Teniola? The idiot used Kayan mata to snatch my friend’s husband’ a woman sitting under the dryer said ‘we are waiting for the day we would see her and beat her up. Useless girl’ the woman fumed.
‘The husband nko? She won’t beat him too?’ Nancy asked in mockery.
The woman under the dryer pretended to be busy with a magazine and played dumb. ‘But come to think of it o, is this Kayan mata thing real?’ Shade asked ‘Because I used to have a friend then, she is very ugly but men always swarm around her. They give her everything she asks for and she used them to play suwe, she confided in me that it is Kayan mata she uses’ Shade added.
‘That thing works o. Ha, the day I used it ehn Daddy Yo wan kill me for house’ Nancy laughed heartily as she said this. ‘Who is Daddy yo?’ the woman under the dryer asked. ‘My husband of course’ Nancy laughed again.
‘If this thing works true true, why do some men still cheat? Hausa women use it the most but their husbands marry up to four wives, why?’ the slim woman asked.
‘Abi o, and some men follow those opelenge idiots’ the woman under dryer said. ‘Some sleep with their workers’ Shade added.
‘Some sleep with their housemaids’ Nancy said and cackled. ‘Some with their wife’s sisters’ She cackled again.
‘Some with their daughters’ the slim woman said and clapped her hands.
A stifling silence fell over the salon as she said this. Daniella sat still as her thick hair was coated with warm essential oils like she wasn’t listening. Nancy gave the slim woman a serious side eye and made gestures with her hands while mouthing ‘Nah your mouth go kill you.’
The silence in the saloon was overwhelming until Shade asked excitedly ‘Is it true Don Jazzy is getting married soon?’ there was chaos as she said this and everyone of them began talking at once.
Daniella felt naked, like a thousand eyes were watching her under dark-rimmed sunglasses. Her stomach churned. How long will it take before her little bruise becomes an open wound.