The pipes leading to my lungs got thinner and rusty. It was difficult to breath, like Kaduna was running out of air—even the sticky and adulterated form. I wanted to quit. Leave this little space. Place my heart on newly plowed fields, sprinkle water and let the sun stitch it. It is what you do to anything broken, everything shredded.
After Halimah tore my heart into bits, I wanted another Hausa girl. I wanted another shot of those rippling moves with bare skin on tiled floors, those noses carved into life with fine woods stained with chocolate, those eyes that deceive us into believing they are trustworthy things. Then, I would pour many spoons of Nescafé into boiling water and drink when things are broken so the bitterness will make me feel nothing. I wanted my heart back. A revenge could fetch me at least a quarter. A revenge on any educated Hausa girl. After all, same blood runs through all of them. At least fine pieces of sameness exists.
When Uncle Denis’ wife left him after four years, four dark years behind the door of that single face-me-I-face-you apartment, he impregnated 11 girls and ran away. They said that was the defining moment of his life. This revenge has a way of placing people on their front foot. Make them reach new heights. Evil and burning heights. I wanted a bit of it.
The first day Godiya walked in, I placed my two hands tightly on each arm of the chair and locked my jaws assuredly to hide my ravaging excitement. The ecstasy fired impulses and it kept going like I had little drops of some kind of organophosphates in my dark coffee. Is it this easy for God to answer prayers or evil wishes? This evil I silently wished for. This scapegoat. May be God also wanted this. Maybe this scapegoat had just shaved another Samson, this time maybe his pubic hairs, because that is where their strength lies these days. So, maybe he was sending her to her Waterloo.
Keta walked her to her sit. The scapegoat. My soon-would-be dinner under red light, and music with no soul, washed down with dripping eyes and a heart transformed with mother’s mortar and pestle. But this thing was nothing like Halimah. Her lips were thick and serene like freshly cut bamboo—the very soft ones. Her eyes were hollow and naked like a dark, empty dream.
I turned and said ‘hi’. She blinked twice, lashes flapping like falling termites, with a faint response before leaving behind a wryness. ‘This would be a goat meat. Sweet and foolish.’ I said to myself. It didn’t take a minute before I jumped out from my chair. Patience only endure with wholesome hearts. It tarry with chubby village girls. I was neither.
‘Welcome to Azid Hub. Give me the honour of adding you to the company’s Whatsapp group’. That is all it takes to get a girl’s phone number. Keta looked at me from his corner of the office, brows furrowing out of curiosity and an underlying urge to be a lippy elder brother. The type that dishes advice like thick Ogbono soup. What has time got to do with evil plans? You strike when the moon is light headed and the night is damp.
I returned to my seat like a priest on robes, turning the chair to either sides, both evil and its mirror images concealed perfectly. The atmosphere got sour with silence. It takes less than a minute to create a whatsapp group.
‘Welcome Godiya’. I read Keta’s message.
Godiya typing….I waited. Everything waited for her. The dripping gloss on her lips, too, like red stalactites. The mildly damp air leaking from the old Panasonic AC, too.
‘Thanks dear’. Then an image. I downloaded it and watched my lids fall over my eyes. A light headache followed. It didn’t stop. They say when you have heart breaks in quick succession your heart becomes a stone. I think they lied. Mine was dry gin and choking.
‘Invitation! Congratulations ooo’. I raised my brows to Keta’s lips sketched into mother’s plastic grater with rough pores.