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THE LOVE TANK
(Written By: Oyekunle Lizzy Oyebola)
It stunk really bad!
I could perceive pap, used diapers, dustbin, urine and some other concoctions of odour!
‘Who am I seeing?” Debbie exclaimed as she looked into my face with glee!
She left her baby on a cushion and ran towards me, planting some fish smell on my sweetly scented body.
I hugged her anyways but it was repulsive!
Her baby started a very ear-piercing cry and she ran to pick him up, talking loudly as she did
“My friend my friend, chai, its nice to see you again o. How is Zack nah? You just forgot me. You no dey…” She continued with her gist as she breastfed her baby boy.
My mouth was left suspended as I looked round the whole big sitting room. It was even bigger than my sitting room and more sophisticated but the germs inside, even though I couldn’t see them but the perception I had of them o, if they were soldiers, they could wipe away the whole world, I tell you!
I looked at a side of the house, just behind the cushion and found a dustbin there filled with cans and bottles and leaves she had probably used to wrap moinmoin.
“Ore mi, what is the dustbin doing in the sitting room, ehn?” I asked, unable to resist the feelings
She laughed as she reached out for the handfan beside her
“My friend my friend o, hehehe, Gideon, come and carry this dust bin away” She called out and then her small boy came inside. He started dragging the dustbin to the door.
As he dragged, leaves fell and he picked them up again leaving some moinmoin particles on the floor. I shook my head
I looked at my friend from head to toes and I felt pity for her.
She looked so haggard!
Let me give you a vivid description of how I met her. She was tying a wrapper round her chest but as she breastfed, she made all her endowment bare!
Dan would never love that! He had always envisaged a very fashionable lady…chai!
Her hair looked so impoverished and unkempt and she had pap stains all over her face and arms. She looked darker than she used to be and she looked very fat.
Her baby had stopped crying and she carried him in her hands as she threw him up and caught him, giggling so happily as she did.
Afterwards, she took the baby and planted her mouth on his nose and sucked and sucked
I cringed and watched what she was going to do with the whole thing in her mouth but I was shocked when I saw her throat move as she swallowed
“Debbie!” I called out and she looked at me
“My friend, my friend, sorry jare. What would you like to take? We have Kunu, Zobo and cold water in the fridge. I made them today and they should be chill by now.” She said and I shook my head.
As much as I loved these things, I couldn’t take them at the instant! I was irritated
“Debbie, why would you suck the baby’s nose and swallow it?” I asked, irritation vivid on my face
“Fi mi sile oooo” She said and smiled as she dipped her hands in a bowl and wiped her baby’s body
“I won’t leave you at all. Its not good. Its not hygienic either. Also, I am sure your husband won’t love it” I said and she shot me a weird look
“Which husband? Abeg, leave that side jare. You are a mum yourself and you should know that mucus blocking little babies’ nose can’t be…” She was already taking it all personal
“I know Debbie. I know but there are better ways to do it. My mum also taught me this method and I tried it really but I spit out quickly afterwards yet my husband didn’t like it. He told me and I had to find another means” I explained but she didn’t seem to be interested in my talks at all. She looked hurt already.
I smiled and looked around for the children
“Gideon and Gift” I called out and the children came running to me from a room nearby
I dipped my hands into my bag and brought out some goodies I had gotten them on my way home
“Ese ma” Gideon said
“Eseun ma” Gift said and I couldn’t close my mouth at what I heard
“Speak English!” I exclaimed and they looked at me as if I was speaking Latin.
“Leave my children jare. Oya, e maa lo” She signaled to the children to go inside and they ran inside, speaking deeply in Yoruba
“Ah, can’t the children speak English?” I asked and she looked up at me as if I was saying something absurd
“I am Yoruba, Baba won is yoruba why can’t they speak Yoruba?” She asked and I shook my head
“I am Efik and my husband is Ibira. My kids speak both language well but English is the main thing. See your children speaking Yoruba to me as if I understand Yoruba” I argued and she smiled, shaking her head
“We are too different people dearie. You are Zoe and I am Debbie. The difference is clear” She said, obviously offended.
That was another thing that Dan wouldn’t love!
I kept taking notes of my cogent points.
I yawned and sighed as I stood up.
“Are you going?” She asked, her face looking worried
“Of course, why won’t I go when I didn’t meet what I expected to meet? Why are you getting offended by all I am saying? Aren’t we friends again? Why are you defensive?” I asked, frowning slightly
Her face changed a bit as she quietly laid her sleeping baby in the cushion next to her, patting his bombom so he could sleep.
“Zoe, why wouldn’t I be defensive? I was just so happy to see you. I was very glad but the first things you started saying were negative! You were just finding faults! Why won’t I be defensive?” And like the sanguine she was, tears had started gathering in her eyes but she hid her face as she patted her baby’s bombom on.
I was glad because she was broken! That was the best time to let her speak to me, I thought
“I am so sorry dearie. But I was very excited to come and see you but it was the stench that greeted me first. I knew you to be a home keeper but I was so shocked at what I saw. If I see, you know I must talk especially if you are my friend” I said and she looked into my face as her tears fell
“I cannot come and kill myself o Zoe. I have three kids to cater for and then I can’t die! I won’t” She was saying when I sat down again
“But your husband…” I was saying when she cut in
“Leave him out of this! Just stop!” She exclaimed and I calmed down a bit
“You sound hurt. Is your marriage fine?” I asked and she nodded
“Its fine. Thank God” She said bluntly and I smiled
“I am happy for you darling” I said and she nodded, knitting the sides of her cheeks together and forced a ‘Thank you’ out
“Let me help you to quickly clean the house before your husband comes back. It is not going to be fine if he…”
“Stop it Zoe! What is it with husband and husband and husband? Ah ah, is marriage all about husband?” She asked angrily and I shook my head in shock
“I thought it is darling. Is it not?” I asked and she shook her head
“For me, marriage is all about my children. If my children are fine, glory to God! I don’t give a damn about no husband!” She exclaimed and I watched on in shock
“For me anyways, My marriage is all about my husband and I. His likes, his dislikes, his joy, his sorrow, his health, his….” I said on and she stood up
“Zoe, I have tolerated you enough! You are in my territory as long as you step in here. You should leave out your achievements and let me languish in my failures!”
“Yes! As far as I am concerned, this is the worst day of my life! How could someone leave the comfort of her home to come and ridicule me? You are a mother, do it the way you want to do it! I am a mother, let me do it the way I want to do it” She said and I sighed deeply
Oh my God!
“Zoe, please leave my house!” She exclaimed, her eyes burning like fire.
“What!” I exclaimed as it dawned on me that my first attempt at intervening in their family matters had failed
“I am sorry Deb…” I was saying when she carried my handbag and took it outside
She came back inside afterwards.
“Please, leave before I do my worst!” She exclaimed and like a gentle lamb, I walked to the door.
“Can I give you a hug?” I asked and she hissed, her lips shaking in anger
“Go and give it to your husband” She said angrily and I smiled at her, carried my bag from the pavement where she had left it and went directly to my car.
She banged the door after me and something fell off.
As I entered into my car, I turned the ignition and switched on my A/C.
I started using my hand fan when that didn’t seem to work!
I picked my file after a while and tried to scribble some things but I couldn’t go any far as my hands were shaking like a leaf on the riverside.
I was pained!
It was not the embarrassment of being chased out of my friend’s house that hurt me, no! It was the pain in her eyes that pained me!
She didn’t want to admit that she was pained but she really was and the choleric me was determined to get to the root of the problem no matter how long it would take.
I reached for my lunch box sitting on the back seat and picked a bottle of water. I gulped down my perched throat.
As I tried to select my gear, my leg on the clutch, my phone beeped and I picked it up
It was Dan
DAN: I am so sorry for the embarrassment Zee. Can you see how bad the whole thing is? I don’t know where the problem lies. I am sorry once again and sorry for the disturbance
I smiled as I could imagine the look on his eyes as he typed
REPLY: Its no disturbance Dan! God will take control” I typed and sent to him.
I let out the clutch and gave gas and off I sped!
I kept sighing and sighing and at a point, I closed my heart and talked to my Master….
My own strength has finished! Lord, come in!
WATCH OUT FOR 3