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LOVE ME.. EPISODE 2 & 3. ©AISHAT YAKUBU




CHAPTER TWO

NIFEMI DIPPED her hand into her handbag and pulled out her copy of the key to Felix’s apartment. He had forgotten to retrieve it from her the day he ended theirrelationship,andshewasgratefulshestillhadit.Shewasalsogratefulthe Principalhadgivenherthedayoff.Yes,thePrincipalhadadvisedhernottobeg Felix, but she just had to do something. She loved him too much to let him go withouteventryingtopatchthings..Maybeshecausedthebreak-up.Maybeshe was too demanding and antisocial. But she was going to do everything within her power to restore theirrelationship.
Sheunlockedthedooranddustedthedoormatagainsttherailbeforegoinginto the apartment. She took a long breath at the sight of the living room. Felix’s living room looked like an exhibition hall—there were stacks of clothes on the two-settee, lots of shoes scattered on the floor. A saucer with tiny crumbs of bread and a cup half-filled with leftover tea laid on the diningtable.
Nifemi shook her head and placed her handbag and lunch bag on the dining table. She picked up the saucer and cup and went into thekitchen.
The stench that came out of the kitchen as soon as she opened the door was enough to make anyone pass out. She pressed her nostrils against each other withtwofingers.Sheaddedthesaucerandcuptothepileofdirtyplatesalready in the sink. It was just Monday, and Felix’s house already looked like a pig’s abode. She had to admit she didn’t know anyone who was as dirty as hewas.
She pulled up the neckline of her blouse to cover her nose. She walked towards the two-phase gas stove and removed the lids of the two pots on the stove simultaneously. She stopped breathing immediately. She slammed the lids on the pots and sped out of the kitchen.

She gasped for air as she entered the living room and banged the kitchen door. Her stomach had tightened, she squeezed it with her fingers, took out herwater bottlefromherlunchboxandgulpedinsomewater.Sinkingintotheemptysofa, she rested her back, coughed a few times and heaved a sigh of relief as her stomach graduallyloosened.
“Gosh! Why would a person’s house be this dirty and unkempt?!”
She looked up at the wall clock. It was thirty minutes past midday. She figured shehadenoughtimetocleanupthehouseandstillprepareFelixadecentmeal beforehegotbackfromwork.Shehobbledintothebedroom anditwasjustthe wayshehadimaginedit,justasmessyastheotherroomsintheapartment.The wardrobe door was ajar with some clothes hanging on it. The bed sheet, a wet towel and a visibly dirty boxer laid carelessly on thefloor.
Nifemi scampered through the wardrobe, picked a short and T-shirt, and changed into them.
She folded Felix’s clothes neatly and arranged them into the wardrobe. Within thirty minutes, she was done cleaning the bedroom, including mopping it. She sprayed some air-freshener, smiled at the tidy bedroom, and moved to the bathroom.
It took Nifemi another four hours to tidy up the bathroom, living room and kitchen, which included ironing the work clothes Felix had stacked on the sofa and hanging them neatly in the wardrobe. She had to rest in between cleaning to keep her backbones from fracture. All the rooms in the apartment were now sparkling clean with refreshing smells.
Nifemisoakedherselfintheshowerforafewminutesanddressedupinherown clothe. It was twenty minutes past five in the evening. Felix usually returned from work between seven and eight in the evening. She hurried to the street’s mini market and got some soup ingredients which included tomatoes, vegetables, dried fish and chicken amongothers.
She hurried back to the house and started the meal. She cooked a pot of stew and stored it in the refrigerator. She prepared Felix’s favorite for dinner– Poundo-yam and lots of vegetable soup garnished with dry fish and assorted, just the way he liked it.

It was twenty minutes past seven when Nifemi started setting the table. She placed two small wraps of poundo yam neatly in a food warmer and lots of vegetable soup in a separate food warmer; she set the warmers at the center of the dining table, with a bottle of water, two tumblers and a wash hand basin containingsomewater.Sheinspectedthetable,andthenhurriedtothekitchen to get two dishes, a table spoon and a napkin. She placed them neatly and meticulouslyonthetable.Sheexaminedthetableonemoretime,satisfiedatthe arrangement; she went into the bathroom to freshen up. She brushed her hair, applied a little make-up and sprayed some perfume over herbody.
She took another look at herself in the bathroom mirror and dragged her feet into the bedroom. She felt like every ounce of energy in her had been drained. Shestretchedherbackonthebedroomfloorandstaredattheceiling.Conflicting picturesracedthroughhermind.SheimaginedFelixbeingsogratefultoherfor cleaning up his apartment, admitting he was wrong about her, and apologizing forsayingawfulthingstoher.Shegrinned,butherexpressionsuddenlychanged into a scowl as she pictured Felix gripping her wrist and dragging her out of his house.

***
Nifemi was awakened by the sound of the entrance iron door banging against thewall.Shehadsleptoff.Shelookedupattheclock.Itwasthirtyminutespast eight. She had been sleeping for about one hour. She quickly sat up and pulled backthestrandsofhaircoveringhereye.Shegotupandstraightenedherskirt. Shewasaboutpullingbackthebedroomdoorbutsuddenlydrewbackherhand andtookafewstepsbackward.Didshejustheartheclattersofalady’sheelson thetiles?Shetookfewstepsforwardandplacedherearclosetothedoor.“Wow! It’s a nice place you’ve got here.” She heard a ladysaid.
“What!” Her chest stiffened. She reminded herself to breathe.
Shehadlockedtheentrancedoorandremovedthekey.Theplanwastosurprise Felix. But it turned out Felix was the one to surpriseher.
Felixhadtakenhisnewgirlfriend-LINDAoutonadinnerdatethatevening.She was his colleague at work. He’d been crushing on her for the past two months, sinceshegottransferredtohisbranch.Shewaslight-skinned,attractive,and

had curvy hips. She was classy, social, outspoken and had a great sense of humor.Shewasfuntobearound.Hehadalmostaskedheroutimmediatelybut decided to be her friend first. After a month of being just friend with Linda, he was convinced she liked him. Not that she mentioned it. But she ceased every opportunitytobearoundhim,andevenaskedhimtobeherdatetoherfriend’s birthdayparty.
It was on their way home after the birthday party, in a taxi he had hired, that Felixaskedhertobehisgirlfriend.Shesaidyesafterjustaminutethought,and the new relationship was sealed with a brief kiss at the back seat of the taxi. Felix had been so excited about his new-found love that he couldn’t hide itfrom his colleagues at work. He had even taken Linda to hang out with his close buddies and had introduced her to them as his girlfriend, something he never did with Nifemi throughout the eleven months they’d dated. His friends had instantly approved of her and had commended him for his perfectchoice.
It was their fourth dinner date that evening. They had a swell time at an expensive restaurant which Linda had picked. Linda sure had a great and expensive taste. They ordered a three-course meal. The starting meal was Chicken noodle soup; lemon chicken with couscous for main course and strawberry jam butter cream for dessert. Their evenings out usually had a reducing impact on his purse, but every naira spent on Linda was worth it. Or so he thought.
Linda had insisted on visiting his house that evening. Felix had initially turned down her request, knowing the bad shape he left his apartment. But Linda was not the type to take no for an answer.
Felix had no choice but to bring her over. Well, she was going to find out eventuallythathishousewasn’tastidyandorganizedashelooked.Itwasbetter she knew what she was getting early, hefigured.
He almost couldn’t hide his astonishment when he entered the living room. Thank goodness, Linda was busy taking an inspection of the living room that shedidn’tnoticetheshockonhisface.Foramoment,hethoughthewasinthe wrong apartment, and then he remembered Nifemi still had the key to his apartment. “Oh, the key!” he thought outloud.

“Whatkey…howdoyoumanagetokeepthisplacesocleanandcool?”shewalked to the dining table and uncovered the dishes. “I think someone made dinner for you.” Linda said inquisitively, her eyes searching his forexplanation.
“Actually, sometimes I leave an extra key with my neighbor’s younger sister to
help tidy up the house and prepare some food.” Felix said without thinking. “Really?”
“Yes. I pay her for the services.”
“Oh, I see.” Linda said, though not totally convinced. “How come she made you dinner? I mean, we made plans like two days back to go out tonight on adinner date.”
Felix shrugged. “My bad. I forgot to tell her not to make dinner tonight.” “So, what’s going to happen to the food?”
“I will just preserve them in the refrigerator.”
Linda turned towards the bedroom, “that’s the bedroom I guess.”
Felix nodded and prayed silently that she wouldn’t go in. What if Nifemi was in there?
Nifemi had overheard Linda confirming if that was the bedroom and had quietly picked up her bags and shoes and tiptoed into the bathroom, her heart in her mouth. Even she didn’t know why she was hiding. She left the bathroom door open and hid behind it. She could hear her heart beating in rapid successions.
Linda walked towards the bedroom and Nifemi could hear the clanking sounds of her heels against the tiles as she got closer.
Lindapushedthedooropenandtookaglanceattheroom.“Cool.”Shesaid.She tooksomestepsforwardandthenhesitated.Sheleftthedooropenedandwalked back to join Felix who seemed glued to a spot but was grinning stupidly to hide hispanic.
“It’s a nice place.’ she said.
“I’mgladyouthinkso.”Hesaid,finallysummoningsomecourage.Hemoved
closetoherandcircledhisarmsaroundherwaist,sendingchillsdownher

spines. He was only a few inches taller than her. “Thanks for making my night…”
He stared into her eyes, “…I hope you enjoyed the dinner?”
Linda smiled and encircled her hands around his neck. “Every course was delicious and memorable. I had a good time.”
“Me too,” He moved his lips closer to hers, “I love you.”
“I love you too.” She said, welcoming his lips. She felt his hand moving up the small of her back and gently disentangled. “It’s getting late, Felix. I shouldleave now.”
“That’s true. I wish you wouldn’t have to go.” He shrugged.
She smiled as she marched on her six-inch shoes towards the front door.
Felix remained still. “Really huh?” She turned. “Come on, Felix.”
“Not until I get one more kiss.” Felix said playfully. “You are really naughty…”
Felix winked at her. “Don’t blame me… You are too beautiful to resist.”
“Well, weren’t you the one who didn’t want me coming over to your place some thirty minutes ago?” She marched towards him, “so now it’s hard to let me go, right?” She planted a soft kiss on his lips and pulled his ears. “Now be a gentle man and come get me a taxi.”
Felix giggled. “Okay ma’am.” He placed his hands on her shoulders, grinning
behind her as they walked to the door and exited his apartment.

***
Nifemi’stearswereuncontrollable.Shecouldn’tbelieveallthatplayedoutinthe living room. It had to be some bad dream, and she needed to wake up already. Felixhadbrokenupwithheronlythreedaysago,andhewasalreadyconfessing hisundyinglovetoanotherlady?Shehadsuddenlybecomehisneighbor’ssister who he paid to clean his house and prepare his meals? Really? He might have aswellreferredtoherashisservant.Thatwaswhoshewas.Shehadneverbeen that humiliated in her twenty-seven years on earth. She literally made herselfa

servant for this guy. Only she didn’t get paid for her services. She came around almost every weekend to help tidy up his apartment, and prepare foods that would last him through the week. She did all that because she loved him. Butit turned out Felix had been using her all the while, and playing games with her emotions. The Principal was right after all. Felix never loved her. Her love had been unrequited.
Whywasitsodifficultforhertofindsomeonewhowouldaccept,loveandadore her? She thought she had found one already, only to wake up after eleven months and found out it was all a mirage. None of it was real. None of it was love. One minute, Felix was confessing his undying love for her and showering her with praises for always taking good care of him and helping to keep his apartmentclean.Anotherminutehewastellingherhowlacklustershewasand confessing his unending love to another. She sat on the floor and rested her backonthewall.Shehuggedherkneesandsubmergedherheadbetweenthem. So, this was it. It was over. He had moved on. There was no need begging him.
Felix pulled aside the bedroom drape and stared at her for a few seconds. She lookedsopathetic—hethought.Whatpartofitwasoverwasshefindingdifficult to comprehend? He was grateful she came around to clean his apartment. Thanks to her, his girlfriend was impressed. He made a mental note to retrieve his key from her thatnight.
“Hi.” He said, moving closer to her.
She raised her head and stared at him without saying a word.
“Areyouokay?”Hereyeswerebulging,liketheycouldfalloutanymoment.How long had she been crying? And her nose was runny. She looked disgusting and even more pitiful. He gave her a nonchalant expression but suddenly his eyes looked lost in thought. He wondered where she was when Linda camein.
“Don’t worry, your girlfriend didn’t see me. I hid behind the bathroom door.” He nodded. “Thank you.”
She gave him a cynical smile and got up. She could barely move her legs. Itwas hard to tell if her exhaustion was the consequence of spending hours cleaning Felix’s apartment, or wasting eleven months loving him unrequitedly. She staggeredtothebathroom,washedherfaceandstaggeredbacktothebedroom.

Thewateronherfacedrippedonherblouse.Shepulledoutahandkerchieffrom her handbag and wiped the water off her face. She replaced the handkerchief, brought out the key to Felix’s apartment and hurled it on the bed. She slid her feetintoherflatshoes,straightenedherskirt,andcombedoutherhairwithher fingers.
Felix watched her silently. He didn’t know what to say to her. She brought the situation on herself. It wasn’t his fault that she got hurt. He already told her it was over, only for her to show up uninvited at his apartment.
She took one last look at him. “Thanks for everything. Have a good life.” “Mm…lemme…let me see you off.” He stuttered.
“Never mind. I can manage.” “Are you sure?”
Sheogledhim,“Iam.”ShelimpedoutofthebedroomwithFelixfollowingbehind. “I still need to pay you for the food. I saw the stew in the refrigeratortoo.”
“Consider it a…. hmmm…a parting gift.” Nifemi said softly. “Really? Thanks so much. You are such a life saver.”
She nodded. He was about following her as she exited the apartment, but she
raised her hand in objection. “I’m fine.”
Felix waved at her as she descended the portico and looked back at him briefly. He went back inside and locked thedoor.

***
It was past 10pm when Nifemi got home. She stood outside the gate, her back leaning on the fence. Her legs were shaking. She was tempted to sit on the bare floorbutdidn’tsuccumb.Thegatewaslockedasusual.Shehadcalledhersister to come open the gate for her. She could tell her sister was disappointed by her toneonthephone.Nooneinthehousestayedouttill10pm.Notevenhersister’s husband.
Moyo opened the gate and peered outside.

Nifemi staggered in. She hit her ankle against the rod that connected the gate and almost fell on her face. She let out a short cry in pain.
Moyo held her shoulders and pushed her back until she regained steadiness. “Youlooklikeamess.IfIdidn’tknowanybetter,Iwouldhavethoughtyouwere drunk. What has come over you,Nife?”
Nifemi limped inside and Moyo locked up the gate.
“Talkingofgettingdrunk,IwishIcoulddothatrightnow.Atleastallmyworries woulddisappear.”
Moyoshookherheadsympatheticallyatherkidsister.“Forsomemoments,you meant.”
“Even for some moments would be okay.” She limped towards the staircase. “Moyo, I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
Moyo figured it wasn’t the right time to reprimand her for making a mess of herself and staying out late. She knew her sister well. She fell in love very fast. But when it came to falling out of love, she was as slow as a snail. She sighed and took the bags from her. She helped her up the stairs.
Paulshookhisheadasthetwosistersstaggeredintothelivingroom.Hegotup, without uttering a word and went towards the bedroom he shared with hiswife.
“I’m sorry.” Moyo called out to her husband.
Nifemi coughed several times like she was going to throw up.
“Do me a favor please? Don’t throw up here.” Moyo pleaded as she dragged her
towards her bedroom
Nifemi swallowed and robbed her fingers on her eyes. Her eyes were hurting terribly.
Moyo flew opened the door to Nifemi’s bedroom, Nifemi limped inside and fell on
the bed—lying on her face.
Moyo dumped the bags on the reading table. Her hands on her waist, she stared at her sister. “You could use the shower right now, you know.”
“I will pass.” Nifemi buried her head in the bed.
“I doubt you would be able to make it to work tomorrow”

“Myheadisspinningrightnow,mylegsandeyeshurtterribly.Iwillcallinsick.” Shepulledherselfupandrestedherheadonthepillow.Shestillfeltlikecrying, but the tears wouldn’t come out anymore. Maybe she had finally exhausted the water in herbody.
Moyo sighed and helped remove Nifemi’s shoes and hand chain. She sat on the bed and ran her fingers through her sister’s hair. She had never seen her this broken. Yes, she’d experienced some heartbreak in the past, but this was the worstofthemall.Shefeltsorryforhersister.Tearstrolleddownoneofhereyes.
Nifemipushedbackthepillow,andthenflungitonthefloor.Shepulledherlegs up, hitting Moyo’s thigh in the process. “Sorry.” She said in a whisper. She felt very restless. She opened her eyes and caught Moyo’s. “Are youcrying?”
Moyo rubbed off the tear from her cheek.
“Please don’t pity me. You know how much I hate being pitied.”
Moyo glided upward and lifted Nifemi’s head onto her lap. She smoothened her hairsoftly.“Nifemi,thisisn’tpity.Iloveyou,andIcanfeeleverybitofyourpain.”
Nifemi closed her eyes and Moyo stroked her to sleep.
As soon as Nifemi slept off, Moyo went into the bathroom, soaked a small towel in water, squeezed it slightly and went back to Nifemi’s room. She folded the towel and placed it gently on her forehead, down to her temples. She pulled up the quilt over her legs, turned off the light and left the room.

CHAPTER THREE

NIFEMI OPENED her eyes to the rays of sunlight glaring through the satin windowcurtain.Sheshuthereyesimmediatelyandrubbedherfingersonthem. They hurt less terribly than the previous night. She was cold. Every part of her bodyached.Shepulledupherknees,andthenthebedsheetoverherface.She coughedafewtimes.Sheheardherbedroomdooropened,followedbyfootsteps.
Moyo smiled and sat on the bed. She had a small white envelope in her hand. She pulled the bed sheet down Nifemi’s face and frowned. Nifemi’s eyes were swollen. She placed her palm on Nifemi’s forehead, and it was blazing hot. “You should take a cold shower.”
Nifemi shook her head. “I can’t. I’m cold.”
“Butyourtemperatureisabnormallyhigh.Youneedtocooloffandyourmuscles need to relax too. Some cold water over your body would go a longway.”
Nifemi widened her already bulged eyes. “Wait! What’s the time?”
“It’spastteninthemorning.Don’tworry;IalreadycalledyourPrincipaltoinform her of your ill health. She sent herprayers.”
“Oh, thanks…And amen to the prayers.” She pulled the bed cover over herface.
“Comeon,Nifemi.Youcan’tstayinbedallday.”Shebegged,butNifemididn’t
oblige.
Moyo stood up and pulled off the bed sheet. “You need to take care of yourself, plus I have something that would interest you.” She waved the envelope in her hand.
Nifemi frowned, clearly uninterested in whatever was contained in the mysterious
envelope. “I just want to be left alone. Is that too much to ask?”

“Yes.” Moyo said, flinging the bed sheet on the floor. “You are no longer allowed to lay brooding on the bed.”
Nifemi sat up. “And who made that rule?” “I did… this is my house remember?”
Nifemi nodded. “Right. Thanks for reminding me.” She sneezed and got down the
bed.
“Hey Nifemi, I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean any offense. I just want you to get a
grip on yourself and live. No one’s worth putting your life on hold for.”
Nifemi pulled off her work clothes. She had slept in them the previous night. “Youknowwhat?MaybeIshouldchangemyname.TheLiteralmeaningofNifemi is ‘love me,’ maybe that’s the reason I keep begging to be loved. No one seems to love me.”
Moyo tossed the envelope on the reading table and moved closer to her sister. She placed her hands on her shoulders and squeezed them softly. “Why would you say that? You are loved, Nife. I love you. Your niece and nephew love you. Even my husband loves and cares a lot about you.”
“Hmm…I’mtwenty-seven,sis.IsitsodifficulttobelovedbackbythemanIlove? Or am I unlovable? Maybe I’m not attractive enough. Or social enough…I don’t know, but I think there’s something wrong withme.”
Moyo looked lovingly into her sister’s eyes. “You are lovable, Nifemi. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. This is you. Don’t be pressured to change your personality just to keep some man. There’s a man out there just for you. He would love and appreciate every part of your personality.”
“You think so?” “I know so.”
“But when will I meet that man?”
“Soon,Nifemi.Verysoon.Justconcentrateonbeingyouandpursuethosethings you are passionate about. Never put your life on hold. Pursuing your passion would even make you look more beautiful and attractive… Come here.” She pulled her insecure sister closer and hugged her tightly. “I love you, littlesis.”

Nifemi smiled as she put her arms around her sister and hugged her back. It was her first sincere smile since the evening Felix broke up with her. She felt so secured and loved in her sister’s arm. She held her tighter. “Thank you.”
“Babes, I can’t breathe.” Moyo whispered into her ear jokingly.
She chuckled and pulled back. “I’m sorry.” She rolled her eyes. “How come you are at home though? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”
Moyo grinned. “I took the day off to spend time with my one and only sister. What
do you think?”
Nifemi was all shades of happy. She had never doubted her sister’s love since theywerekids.Shehadalwaysknownshetrulylovedher.“Ithinkyouarereally sweet.”
“Aww…thanks little sis.”
MoyoandNifemiwereraisedbytheirmaternalgrandma.Theirdadhadmarried their mom against his parents’ wish. Their parents couldn’t even have a proper wedding because their paternal grandparents never liked their mom. They believedherfamilywascursed.Theirmaternalgrandpahadbeeninvolvedinan argument with his friend over a piece of land; he’d gotten overwhelmed with anger and shot his friend dead in the process. Realizing what he had done and the consequences that would follow, he shot himself in the head too. It was a horrible and perturbed day in their usually peaceful small town, and that incident had labelled their family accursed. It turned out that their dad was so muchinlovewiththeirmomandwouldn’tleaveherforanyreason.Hemanaged to pay her dowry and proceeded to take her to his home in Lagos as wife. They were so much in love with each other and adored each other. They were very happy together. However, their happiness got terminated one terrible Tuesday evening.Adrunktruckdriverranintotheirdad’scaronhiswayfromwork.The car was squeezed against the road barricade, so much that their dad was unrecognizable. The plate number on the car and his personal belongings, including the groceries he had promised to buy on his way from work had convinced their mom that her loving husband was indeed dead. Moyo was five years at the time, and their mom was pregnant withNifemi.
Their mom became a shadow of her own herself after the accident that claimed her loving husband’s life. She literally stopped living. But for the growing fetus

in her womb, she was tempted several times to end her life. She believed her husband was her life. He had great plans for her and their family. She thought no one could ever love her like he did. She started eating less no matter how hard she tried. The smell of food would always make her nauseate. Suddenly, she began to lose weight and faint often. She was ultimately rushed to the hospital. She was seven months pregnant with Nifemi at the time and was diagnosedofpsychosomaticdisorder.Theirdiabeticsixty-year-oldgrandmahad toshufflebetweentakingcareofheronlydaughteratthehospitalandattending to the needs of five-year oldMoyo.
Two days before Nifemi was born, their mom’s condition had worsened. A Christian nurse prayed for her and guided her to believing in Christ, triggering hertosmileforthefirsttimesinceherhusbandpassed.Shesuddenlywentinto labourbutwastooweaktodeliverthebabyonherown.Acaesariansectionwas doneonherandthebabytakenoutprematurely.Shewentintocomaduringthe surgery. To the surprise of the doctors and nurses, the baby was perfectly healthy and weighed five pounds, and there was no need to keep her in the incubator. It was amiracle.
Their mom came out of coma after three days, much to the relief of everyone, especially their grandma. Sadly, their relief only lasted a few hours. Their mom was still weak and in great pain. She held her little baby in her arm and named her OLUWANIFEMI, which meant GOD LOVES ME. Even though she was in pains, her eyes shone at the realization of how much she was loved by God. It waswhyshegavehernewbornthename.Shewantedherbabytogrowupwith the same truth she just got to grasp on her dying bed—the fact that God loves her!Shehandedthebabyovertohermom,sleptoffafewhourslaterandnever woke upagain.
Their paternal grandparents didn’t want to have anything to do with the kids and they never showed up, even at their mom’s funeral. Their grandma had to leave Nifemi at an Orphanage in town. She just couldn’t combine taking care of two kids with her ill-health. Their mom was her only child after several miscarriages. None of her relatives was kind enough to help take in the kids. Thoughafewofthemgavehersomecashanddroppedoffsomegroceriesather place for a shorttime.
However, Moyo made sure grandma took her to the orphanage to check up on her baby sister every weekend.

WhenMoyowasten,shepleadedwithhergrandmatobringherlittlesisterhome already.Afterseveraldaysofcryingandrefusaltoeatwhichearnedsomespanks of grandma’s cane, she remained adamant and eventually ran to the town’s reverend father. The reverend father took pity on little Moyo and promised to assist grandma with regular cash for the kids’ upkeep and school fees. He did make good his promise until they both graduated from the University. He was their angel. He didn’t only give them money, but also taught them morals, discipline and hard work. He was a father to them. He was the reason they still visited their hometown even after their grandma passed away two yearsago.
“Less I forget…” Moyo said, walking towards the reading table. She picked up the
envelope and held it up high.
Nifemi rolled her eyes. “What’s in the mysterious envelope?” Moyo beamed with excitement. “Just guess.”
“You got a promotion at work?”
“Nope. Give it another try… It’s actually yours.”
“My great grand aunt willed her estate to me alone?”
Moyo let down her hand. “Really? That’s a wishful thinking. None of your great grandaunteverownedanestate.Comeon,getserious.”Sheraisedtheenvelope up again. “Something to do with your passion…” She said, giving her aclue.
“Okay…Mmmm…”Nifemipushedupherchinwiththeindexfingerofonehand andstaredintotheceiling.“Wait!”Shegazedintohersister’seyes.“Igotthejob! I’m going to be a Chef at Hallopins Hotel! Is thatit?
Moyo held her eyes soundlessly for a minute and then yelled “YES!”
“Oh my God!” Nifemi jumped up and then hugged her sister tightly. She pulled back and collected the envelope from her sister. She tore it open and unfolded the letter.
Moyo laughed. She was as excited as her sister. Cooking was Nifemi’s greatest
passion. She even had many recipes of her own.
“I can’t believe this!” Nifemi said excitedly as she read through the letter.

“You have to cook them a convincing meal first. I don’t see that as a problem in any case.”
Nifemi laughed. “Of course not. I will absolutely wow them with my cooking.
“I trust you little sis. Can I get a high five?” Moyo raised her right hand.
NifemislappedtheflatofMoyo’spalmwithhers,andhuggedheragain.“Youare the best sister in the wholeworld.”
“I know… but girl, you stink. You sure could use a bath right now.” Moyo teased.
Nifemi withdrew and scowled playfully. “Really?”
“Sooorry.” Moyo shrugged. “The truth is; you’ve been taking my breath away since I entered your room.”
Nifemi threw the envelope on the bed, got her towel and walked out of the bedroom quietly.
“Come have breakfast when you are done.” Moyo called out amid laughter.

***
The atmosphere in their apartment had changed for the first time in threedays. Every member of the family had been affected by the breakup—including the kids. It had been literally difficult for anyone to laugh. Dinner time had been awfullyquiet.
After breakfast that morning, Nifemi was determined to be happy and move on. Felix had moved on obviously. She wasn’t going to brood over him no more. So, she decided to make a special two-course dinner to appease the family and celebrate her new job. Apparently, her brother in-law had shared some of her cookingvideoswithacolleagueatworkwhoseelderbrother-MR.DELE,wasthe manager at Hallopinshotel.
“Mr. Dele was literally awed by the videos.” Paul had said. Nifemi cooked like a professional. Her confidence was obvious through the way she handled every fooditemandcreativelyturnedthemintoattractivemeals.Hecouldtellthefood weredelightfuljustbyseeingthevideos.Hisbrotheralsoconfirmedhehadeaten someofhermealsandtheyweredelicious.Mr.Delehadimmediatelyinstructed

oneofthefrontdeskofficerstogetNifemi’sappointmentletterready.Theywere short-staffed in the kitchen as three of their chefs had recently resigned. However, he instructed the front desk officer to include the condition of Nifemi cooking a meal first in their presence to convince them, and then the job would behers.
It was Nifemi’s childhood dream to become a Chef. The job offer was a miracle and a dream come true. Cooking had always been her hobby. She usually hung around her grandma in the kitchen whenever she was cooking; while Moyo on theotherhandwouldburryherselfinherbooksandrarelywentintothekitchen whenever grandma was cooking. Nifemi usually got into trouble with her grandma though. Most times she would chase her out to go read her books like her elder sister was doing instead of hovering around her in the kitchen. Her persistenceeventuallypaidoff,hergrandmalatergaveupandallowedherlearnt the arts ofcooking.
Nifemi started cooking when she was fourteen. Even though Moyo was grandma’sfavorite,Nifemiwouldalwaysbegratefultohergrandmaforteaching her the basics ofcooking.
Nifemi had her first degree in Home Economics, and during her one-year compulsory national youth service following her first degree, she did a one-year culinary course in both local and intercontinental cuisines. Her dream was to own a chain of restaurants and culinary schools someday.
“Enough of the filming sis.” Nifemi said as she turned off the gas. It was Moyo’s idea to always capture Nifemi’s cooking moments on a video camera. She’d got herthecameraonherlastbirthday,andwantedhertostartaYouTubecooking channel,butNifemihadnevergottenaroundit.Shehatedthespotlight.Shejust liked to do her own thing quietly in the kitchen, not for the whole world to see. She must have thought the whole world would follow her on YouTube. However, Moyo had faith she would change her mind someday, and she made it her duty to be Nifemi’s cooking videographer every time she was available. And that she had been for about a year. She would usually edit the videos and save them on her laptop, hoping that someday soon, Nifemi would agree to put them out on YouTube.Herdecisiondidpayoff,becausesomeofthevideoshadgottenNifemi the new job at Hallopins Hotel. The hotel was four-star rated; so, the job was a great deal forher.

Moyo turned off the camera and placed it gently on the kitchen cabinet. “Well, I guess I can help clean up.”
Nifemi glared at her. “Yea right. You literally made me do the cooking all alone, as always.”
“Don’tblameme.It’sthefirsttimeyouaremakingroastedvegetableswithpasta. I’dtocaptureeverystepofthepreparation.”Moyoremovedthelidofthepotand breathed in the aroma. She swallowed. “This is reallyyummy.”
Nifemi smiled. “I know. Can we clean up already? Wait. Did I just say we? You
should do the cleaning alone since I did the cooking alone.”
Moyo replaced the lid on the pot and gave her a contrite look. “Don’t be mean. What are sisters for?”
Nifemichuckledashersisterhurriedtothekitchensinkandimmediatelypicked up asponge.
“Let’s do this together. Please…” Moyo begged with a wink.

***
“All of your offenses are forgiven, Nifemi.” Paul said as he gobbled in the last spoon of dessert. “Dinner wasawesome.”
Well, even if he never uttered a word, it was obvious from the way he attacked the main meal and then the dessert that he enjoyed every bit of it.
Moyo laughed. “Darling, how did you know the food was a peace offering?”
Paul chuckled and got up, causing the chair to screech. “It’s not every day we get a two-course meal for dinner. Thanks a lot, Nifemi. I did enjoy the meal. Consider your offering accepted.”
“Thanks for forgiving me, brother in-law. And I’m so sorry about the whole drama.”
“That’s okay. I’m glad you are fine now.”
“Me too.” Moyo said with a grin directed to her sister.

Nifemi clasped her palms and held them high up to her face level. She looked fromherbrotherin-lawtohersisterandthentohernephewandniece.“Thanks family.”
They all smiled at her.
“You are always welcome.” Paul said, pushing in the chair. “I hate to leave you
guys. But I happened to have brought some work home.” Moyo glared at her husband “And that is news?”
Nifemi let out a quiet laugh and quickly covered her mouth with her palm.
Paul walked over to where his wife was seated and squeezed her shoulders
gently. “Come on, my love. It’s not every day I bring work home.”
Moyo nodded in sarcasm, “you might as well make our bedroom your office annex.”
Paul gave her a kiss on the forehead. “I have a presentation to the board-of- directors tomorrow. So, I need to get all the figures right.”
Moyo nodded without a word.
“Good night guys.” Paul said after kissing his kids on their heads. “Good night daddy.” The kids said in unison.
“Aunty Nife, can I take some avocado pie to school tomorrow?”
“Sure.” Nifemi said, putting an arm around Grace’s tiny shoulders. “Me too.” Seth said from across the dining table.
Nifemi smiled at her nephew. “You can have some too. I will make sure to preserve the left over for you my little cuties.”
“Thank you.” Seth said, bubbling with smile.
Grace looked up tenderly at her aunt. “Thanks Aunty Nife.” She said in her tiny
voice.
“It’s my pleasure dear. And I’m so sorry for breaking Sally’s arm.”
Grace shrugged.
“Do you think you can find it in your heart to forgive me?”

“I forgive you, Aunty Nife.”
“Thanks, dear. Can I get you another Sally?”
“Don’t worry. I will just play with Banny and Micky.”
“Awww, you are such a sweetheart.” She gave Grace a kiss on her cheek. “I love you Grace.”
“I love you Aunty Nife.” Grace said with an endearing cute and honest grin.

Author: Oni Ifeoluwa Joan

Lover of God, God’s BAE. God is involved in my race, that is why I am an EPITOME OF GRACE. Bringing to you colourful display of real life situations through my writings with the help of God.




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