With determined steps, Imabasi entered the cab and slammed the door without saying a word to Victor.
He smiled slightly as Imabasi watched him converse with Miriam delightedly.
Moments later, Miriam joined her in the car, as the taxi guy drove off.
“You took a lot of time talking with that cheat and his ugly looking girlfriend,” Imabasi said with a tinge of anger in her tone.
Miriam gave a loud laugh and then drew in a deep breath. “You’re just jealous.”
“Me, jealous? I am not jealous of him. I am only angry, that all those while he was after me, he had a girlfriend he was getting married to.”
“That’s not true Ima. Victor just met this girl a few weeks ago.”
“He should have waited a bit longer!” She squealed.
“He waited enough!”
“I don’t wanna sound like I’m jealous, but that girl is really ugly. And she talks too much, what sort of a woman is that?”
Miriam glanced at her with a sardonic twist to her lips. “That girl is beautiful. For a white girl, she is Beautiful, and your supposed boyfriend is madly in love with her. He told me so.”
“Who cares?” Imabasi said disgustingly with a wave of hand.
“If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t be talking about it.”
“I don’t give a damn about Victor or his ugly white girlfriend. What exactly do Nigerian men find in white girls?”
“Because white girls love unconditionally without citing their flaws to their face!”
Without a word, Imabasi crossed her arms across her breasts, as pains kept hunting her thoughts.
Few weeks to Miriam’s Wedding; Imabasi, Miriam and Richard were all set for Nigeria.
Imabasi was arranging some piles of clothes in a big box, while Miriam had the boxes cleaned with a rag.
“My mom said I shouldn’t arrive Nigeria without perfumes and Hannah Montana shower gels.” Imabasi said shrilly.
“It’s good she didn’t tell you not to come back without a husband this time.” She grinned at her in a funny way and chuckled.
“You’re now making fun of my single life because you’re getting married right? If I didn’t bring you to London, would you have met a cute white dude like Richard ever in your life? Not even in your dreams. But suddenly, I have turned to someone you would make a joke out of.” Imabasi said with a deadly calm voice.
“Aw hell. You keep bringing up this ‘bringing me to London gist.’ I am tired of hearing it. I have thanked you enough, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t joke as friends.”
“I helped you. You shouldn’t make jokes out of my single life. I ain’t stupid.”
“I am about to help you too,” Miriam said as she pulled out a brown file out of a box and handed it to her.
“That’s a letter of acceptance for a job at the most expensive boarding school in London. The salary is awesome. They have a beautiful staff quarters, so you won’t need to pay rents anymore.”
Imabasi collected the envelope reluctantly and opened it.
“How did you get the job?” She asked after reading the paper.
“Well, I used your name to apply online. You will be interviewed in one month. They will email you when the time for interview comes.” Miriam reeled off.
“Thank you,” Imabasi said as she hugged Miriam tight to herself. “You’re my true friend and the sister I never had.”
“It’s okay. I am paying you back for your love. At least, you will stop nagging about how you brought me to London.”
Imabasi slapped her back playfully. “You know I say these things out of anger. I never meant them. Sometimes you piss me off.”
Her heart was filled with joy as she thought of working at her new school. It was the best job she would ever have in London.
Miriam’s wedding was exclusively colorful.
It was one of the best and organized weddings in the city of Uyo, Nigeria.
At the reception, Imabasi made a toast. She cleared her throat and then said, “I am going to miss my best friend. I can’t imagine living alone without your companionship, you will forever be my best friend. I wish you and Richard a blissful matrimony, and may the good lord shower you with beautiful kids. Happy married life.”She said excitedly, but softly as she lifted the glass of wine in the air. Only sounds of glasses hitting each other and exciting murmurs were heard for a moment.
Imabasi walked slowly towards her seat in the midst of applauses.
“You’re making a toast at your friend’s wedding, when is yours coming up?” Her mother whispered into her ears.
Imabasi closed her eyes, pretending not to hear her.
“You need to see Prophet Ntekim before you leave for London. He is a great man of God. He will pray for you. The last time he prayed for me, he told me that your great-great grandfather married all his grandchildren spiritually. And that he placed the head of an old woman on you, so any man that sees you, sees the face of an old woman instead. God is wonderful, he sees all things.”
Imabasi spooned rice into her mouth, she was sitting cross-legged and holding her plate on her lap.
She took a bite of the chicken and nodded in approval, not looking at her mother’s face.
“Are you listening? Prophet Ntekim is a great man of God. He told me that I should bring you to him as soon as you arrive Nigeria. Thank God that Mimi’s wedding is over, tomorrow you and I will be going to Nsukara, so that he can give you a spiritual bath and cleansing. He will wash away that ugly face.” Her mother said firmly with a serious face.
Disappointment hit Imabasi like a fist as she dropped the plate on the table and said, “mom, nothing is wrong me. You’ve been deceived again.”
Her mother’s mouth clamped as she whispered, “This is Nigeria. What do you know? Do not bring that British mentality here. Your father and I despite the fact that we are stunt Catholics, we still run around other churches for healings and deliverance.”
“Healings from what Mommy?”
“Healings from the family’s demonic covenant. Your brother isn’t married, you are not married.” Her gaze got glued to Imabasi’s face.
Imabasi snagged a passing waiting carrying a tray of champagne.
She gulped the champagne down her throat and took a deep breath.
“Mom, I need fresh air. I am tired of you and your men of God. They are extorting money from you in the name of helping you.”
“What do you know?” Her mom asked.
“I don’t wanna know anything that has to do with those fake men of God. I am not interested. I have given up on getting married for now.” her reply was noncommittal.
Her mother suddenly cried out. ” Pastor Ntekim said it o..He told me that the devil will hinder you at first before you agree to come.”
Imabasi laughed, and then stood to her feet as the classic music for nuptial dance was played.
Everyone smiled as they watched the couple dance under the trellis of roses and ivy.
Imabasi’s feet hurt and her face was stiff from smiling.
“Mom, your prophet was wrong. I am not even following you there, not ever! There is nothing wrong with me.”
“I am ashamed of you. I will beat the breast of my chest for you! your father and I didn’t send you to London to become foolish. Look at your childhood friend” she pointed at Miriam and Richard. “She is married, and you are shamelessly disapproving my orders.” Her mother scolded bitterly.
“Mom, I am not a teenager, I know. I need fresh air. Excuse me.” She said as she danced away towards where the couple had their nuptial dance.
With absolutely no warning, a woman’s shrill scream trembled everyone.
She was an older woman. She fell on the floor with piles of souvenir jotters on her body.
“What happened?” Imabasi’s mother asked shrilly as she tied her wrapper firmly again on her waist, walking towards the scene.
“The women of Utu ikot ekpuk have not been given Souvenir and a cooler of white soup. I came to take it by force since the souvenir people were ignoring Me…”
“Excuse me?” Imabasi’s mom interrupted, totally unaware of the of the undercurrent.
Imabasi had returned back to London with Miriam and Richard.
They were in the airplane when Imabasi remembered her mother’s words. She chuckled and took a deep breath and then turned to Miriam, who was sitting right beside her.
“My mom wanted to introduce me to another pastor. ugh, this time a prophet. She said that the man of God revealed to her that my great-great grandfather had married all his grandchildren spiritually.”
Miriam laughed aloud and then said, “Our people still believe in those things?”
“Yes. And I think my great great grandfather was gay to have married all his grandchild spiritually. Which means he married my brother too.”
Miriam gazed at her and gave a loud laugh.
“Is everything fine baby?” Richard asked. Miriam nodded while laughing. “Ima’s granddaddy was gay,” she whispered into Richard’s ears. He chuckled as they all laughed out so Loud, waking the other passengers who were already asleep.
For a long Moment, Imabasi’s mood changed. She was now calm and quiet.
“Are you okay?” Miriam asked softly.
A long moment passed before she nodded.
“I will miss you when I resume work at my new school.” She said in a low tone.
They laced their fingers together and stared at each other’s hands.
“I will be visiting you. You will like it there.” Miriam said.
Imabasi frowned, looking into her eyes as if she could find the truth reflected there.
“Victor must be married by now,” Imabasi said as she took away her gaze to the window.
Miriam squeezed her hands.
“I don’t think so. They didn’t fix a date yet. You still think of Victor?”
She shook her Head.
“Not really. I just suddenly started liking him. Don’t worry, I will get over it soon.”
“Richard is taking me to Australia for our honeymoon. Perth Australia!” She whispered into Imabasi’s ears.
“Wow. Australia is beautiful. My brother did a one-year medical program in Sidney, Australia.”
“Nice, I will be there too.” She said lyrically as she dropped her neck on Richard’s laps.
Imabasi realized that she was exhausted and feeling sleepy.
Briefly, her eyes closed and opened again when she saw Victor kissing Monica in her imaginations.
She squeezed her eyes shut, and played with her imaginations, this time she was the bride, while Victor was the groom.
She Imagined kissing him and holding his hands. She imagined her mom dancing with the Catholic women organization in her church In London.
She thought about the kiss she had with Victor in her imagination until she got to London.
Sandville boarding school smelt of something Imabasi didn’t like. She didn’t like the way the students stared at her from their classroom windows.
The staff quarters’ manager led her to her apartment. She took several deep breaths as she walked around the one bedroom flat that was built with bricks and woods.
She loved the house, and she had imagined how Miriam would have felt if she saw the house too; she would have liked it.
“Thank you.” She said softly to the staff quarters manager as he dropped her box on the floor.
“The proprietor will like to see you now Miss. He said politely as he showed Imabasi the way to the proprietor’s office.
She cautiously climbed the stairs and took a deep breath when she finally saw ‘The Proprietor’s office’ pasted on the door.
“Sir, Miss ‘imorbossi’ is here, the new teacher. ” The quarters’ manager said aloud, mispronouncing Imabasi’s name as a frown tightened her face.
“Let her in.” A bold voice said from inside the office.
“He is ready to see you now Miss.” He walked away, leaving her alone in front of the office.
She covered her eyes for a moment and shook her head.
She walked slowly into the office. She was standing near a table where a world globe was. Her eyes widened as Victor’s gaze swept her off, he turned his chair, facing her.
“Hel, o new Teacher?”
She took a deep breath before answering him furiously.
“I am here to see the proprietor.”
Victor seemed undaunted. ” I am the proprietor. This is my family’s business. My mom being British got this place before I was born. Respect me for that, I am now your new boss.”
“Miriam never told me that you owned this school.”
“Was it really necessary? All you needed was the job right? and not to see my face.”
She stood for a moment undecided, and then looked up at Victor and saw the strained expression on his face.
To be Continued……………