“We are not taking corpers.”
Adanna stood mouth gaping, at the woman who sat in front of a computer typing away. She didn’t even get the opportunity to introduce herself or say what course she studied. The woman simply saw her in her uniform and turned her away.
“Ma… But ma, I was told…”
“Didn’t you hear me? We are not taking corpers.”
“Okay, sorry to disturb ma.” Adanna turned and wiped her forehead with her handkerchief. She didn’t even stay long enough for the air condition in the office to cool her hot body. How cruel could people be? Adanna eyed the water dispenser and contemplated if she should just ask for a glass only.
As she walked out of the building, the security man shouted “Ajuwaya! Did they help you out?”
“No! They said they are not taking corpers.”
“Eya…” The man sympathized. “But they took a corper yesterday.”
Adanna looked sad “Well, they didn’t take me.”
“You know most of these organizations, it all depends on who you know.”
She nodded and started to take her leave “Thank you sir.” She squinted and wiped more sweat off.
“Ajuwaya!” The security man called her again.
Adanna turned around and faced the man that hurried to meet her. “Let me just buy you water.”
That simple kindness almost made her cry. “Thank you sir.”
“No problem I understand how Corper life is not easy.”
She smiled has he purchased 20 naira pure water and handed one to her, while he tore the second and gulped it. Adanna received the water with gratitude. “God bless you sir.”
He waved her off and as Adanna wanted to go he stopped her again. “You can just give me your number so we can chat on whatsapp and get to know ourselves.” The man winked at her and smiled broadly revealing scattered set of teeth.
Adanna felt disgusted. Is this what she had been reduced to? Because she was a corper, every dick and harry assumed they could take advantage of her?
“Take your stupid pure water.” She pushed the water to his chest and hissed before storming off.
“Baby, it’s not like that na. Come, I can take care of you well.” He gloated and then laughed as he admired her backside. “Chai!!! See Gobe!!!” He looked some more before he opened the water Adanna had thrown back at him and drank it all.
Adanna was fuming as she matched down the street. What nonsense? What rubbish? She was mumbling under her breath, when a sleek car slowed beside her. The windows went down automatically and the driver smiled at her. It was a married man. “Corper!”
Adanna looked at him and wanted to immediately walk away when he stopped her again.
“Do you know where NNPC towers is?”
He only wanted direction. “Good afternoon sir. Sorry I don’t really know Abuja so I can’t help you with the description.”
“Okay. No problem.” Adanna was about to walk away when he stopped her again “So what is your name.”
Just be nice Adanna, she encouraged herself “Adanna.”
“Ow fine girl. Give me your number now, I will like to know you.”
Adanna looked at his hand on the steering wheel and saw a wedding band. So this fool was even married. “No thank you sir.”
She started walking away and he man drove slowly till he had caught up with her again. “Common, girl! Why all these shakara? Okay look, let me give you some money eh?”
Even if she knew she had only little money, the man infuriated her “With all due respect sir, I don’t want your money and I am not interested in knowing you. I will not help you destroy your marriage! I will not be your side chick and I will certainly not be a baby mama. So if you don’t mind, you can ask someone else for directions to NNPC towers. That is if you are really going there.” She continued walking and immediately she saw a cab, she waved it down. “Asokoro.”
“Enter 200 naira.”
“200 naira? It is 100 naira. Asokoro just here?” she knew that if you didn’t act like you knew where you were going, he cab drivers will exploit you. The NYSC uniform was both a curse and a blessing. Well, she had only seen the curse part. She could only hope for the blessings.
Adanna quickly jumped into the front seat that was vacant and the cab zoomed off. The cab stopped several times to drop and pick up people but Adanna didn’t pay attention to what was happening. She thought about all she had done that day and all the places she had gone to. She pulled out a piece of paper from her bag, where she had scribbled the names of organizations to check out and started striking them out one after the other. Some had turned her down totally, while some asked her to drop her number in case something came up.
She sighed and looked at her reflection in the side mirror. She looked awful and sweaty but it was all part of the hustle. She wondered if the government or the president understood the struggles of corpers in the country. She wondered if they were aware that some people did not have accommodation, that some people did not have places to work. Where was the opportunity to showcase what you could do, if you didn’t even get the opportunity to introduce your name? She was deep in thought, completely unaware of the conversation going on in the cab, until she decided to pull her head out of her saddening thoughts.
“E be like say the sun dey sit over Abuja.” Everyone at the back seat of the cab laughed as another person spoke up.
“And this driver come squeeze us like sardine for back.”
“Oga no vex o! na change cause am. Before na 3 people dey for back, but now, boys gat to make moni. If we say make we increase the fare, nobody go enter again.”
“Abeg no increase am o.” A man spoke up and everyone laughed again.
“So na Buhari change cause this one abi?”
“Yes now.” The cab driver replied. “As he bring change come, na so we too change dey go. Man must survive o.”
“Even the heat? Is it Buhari’s change that caused the heat?”
“Yes!” A woman said. “The sins of Nigeria has made God angry.”
“Abeg madam no bring religiosity here.”
“Didn’t you hear that people have been dying of meningitis? Even my neighbor’s daughter just died.”
“I heard the vaccination is very expensive o.”
Adanna was quiet, listening to the whole conversation and wondering why it was from one problem to another.
“Even the air blowing is hot air, why won’t people fall sick?”
“I wonder how hot places like Maiduguri will be.” The woman said.
“You fit go and check for us.” One of the men at the back replied and everyone laughed.
“Maybe the heat there will kill all the Boko haram.” The woman added and that made everyone laugh again including Adanna.
The cab stopped again and one of the men at the back dropped. He came to Adanna’s window to pay and gave the driver 200naira. “For me and the corper.”
Adanna wanted to protest but what the man said next was kind enough. “Because we are all suffering doesn’t mean we cannot help others.” He looked at her and smiled. “Corper don’t mind us o. you will enjoy Abuja.”
“Amen. Thank you sir.” And there was the blessing. 100 naira worth, but a blessing nonetheless.
The cab drove away and that simple kindness, with no strings attached touched Adanna and it brightened her day. If only people were that nice to others, they could forget about their suffering for a while and be happy.
On getting home, the house was dead silent as always, since she started living there 2 weeks ago. Adanna put on the Air conditioning so the room could get chilled before she locked the front door back and headed upstairs to her room. She stripped down and got into a very cold shower, then dressed in a light comfortable gown that stopped above her knee.
She went back downstairs to put on the television, before entering the immaculate kitchen. Since she was the only one that entered the kitchen, it was always clean and exactly the way she left it. She went back into the sitting room to scroll through the channels before leaving it on sound city. She turned the volume up and went back to the kitchen to get dinner ready.
This was her routine every day. The house was more or less hers because she was always the one at home. She and the gateman who was always at the gate. Julian was always out. She came back between 6pm-7pm. And when she returned all she did was to eat, watch television or use her laptop to browse for hours before she went to her room for the night. Julian was okay, she was not a bad host, neither was she extra nice. It was more like a professional relationship between Adanna and Julian. Julian spoke to her when necessary and it was only to give her instructions or compliment the food Adanna had cooked. One day, she told Adanna that she would love to learn how to prepare the pancakes Adanna had made for breakfast. But Julian never came around for Adanna to actually teach her. Adanna didn’t have a problem with Julian. She wasn’t expecting to make a best friend out of her employer, so it was cool.
Jude on the other hand, Adanna had not seen with her two eyes since the day she arrived. How was it possible to live in the same house with someone and never see that person? Well, it happened with Jude. He came back home very late at night and was out very early or very late after Adanna had left for her PPA hunting. She knew this because, she saw his car in the drive way but never the owner. Well, she wasn’t complaining, it made things a lot better for her.
Jude had just finished a meeting with his father. Or rather he had walked out on a meeting with his father. Why did his father think he could rule Jude’s life? It was a constant battle with those two. Jude’s father was one to wait for Jude to mess up so he could tell him ‘I told you so.’ Jude on the other hand was fighting desperately to avoid that from happening. He wanted to prove to his father that he could make it without his influence, without his input. But his father was always there, putting his input whether Jude liked it or not.
What caused the quarrel that faithful day, was when his dad pulled out his bank statement and began questioning him about every one of his transactions. Jude had voiced his resentments in a calm way. It was his money and his to spend not his dad’s so his dad had no right to do that. His father’s defense was that as a politician, your financial life style was under the scrutiny of the public.
As Jude drove back home, vexed at his father’s involvement in his life. He had totally forgotten why he avoided his own house all these while till he got to the gate.
“Is my sister around?” He asked the gateman.
“No sir, just Adanna.”
Jude ground his teeth together in anger. That girl!! How can she come to his house and make him, the owner sneak around? In order to completely avoid seeing or talking to her, he had been coming home really late but no more!
He used his key to let himself into the house and was bombarded with the loud music from the Television. Korede Bello’s song ‘Do like that’ was playing and as Jude followed the noise he heard in the kitchen, he heard Adanna’s off key voice singing along. At least now he knew she wasn’t perfect. That thought brought a smile to his lips but he quickly replaced it with his anger from the whole day, coupled with the loud music she was playing.
He stood at the kitchen door and stopped abruptly by what he saw.
“I like the way you dance for me, I like the way you dance
I like the way you dance like say you want to greet your mummy
You bend like say you want to pack your money
Just bend like say you want to kneel for daddy…” Adanna sang along, twisted her slim waist, whined and danced so low that the back of her gown became shorter.
Jude completely forgot why he was there and he just stared. What was this girl doing to him? His tie all of a sudden became tight and he loosened it and cleared his throat loudly. Adanna was startled and turned around to see Jude looking at her with that piercing eyes of his.
“Errr… goo..Good evening.” Adanna greeted and dried her hands nervously on the napkin. She didn’t expect to see anyone, especially not Jude.
“So this is what you do in my house when no one is in right? Turn it into a personal club?”
Adanna wondered what she had done wrong. “I am sorry I didn’t expect anyone back.”
“Exactly my point. So this is how you behave when we are not around? Dancing and shaking like a jellyfish?” jelly fish that turned him on.
“Very soon you will start inviting your boyfriends to my house.” He took quick steps towards her till he was towering over her. “Let this be the last time, such will ever happen!”
She wanted to argue, she wanted to defend herself and explain that no one is ever around, so she tried to keep herself company. She loved listening to music while working. Why was he just angry and wicked?
“Is that clear?” He asked as he walked out.
Jude stood, with his back to her “Sir! From now on you address me as sir.”
Adanna wanted to laugh, she wanted to smack her hands together and say ‘wonders shall never end…’ she wanted to tell him to his face that he was a womanizer, a liar. But instead she rolled her eyes and said “Whatever you say sir!”
She turned around and continued cutting the vegetables when she heard his next command “And don’t EVER! Wear that gown again.”
“What? You can’t tell me what to wear! This is not camp.”
“Even worse! It is my house and I said so.”
Adanna wanted to protest, and Jude knew it so he walked out before she had the chance to. That girl had too much fire in her for him. It infuriated him so much so, that all he wanted to do was shut her up with a kiss.
To be ccontinued…