Curse of the Rose (Episode 9)


“What is wrong with you Nkoli?”

Nkoli sat leg-crossed on her favourite chair. She had seen the red chair on sale in one of those furniture shops at the mall and had bought it on impulse with the excuse that the red would blend with the dark chairs in her sitting room. Shaped like an egg she was sure it would be an uncomfortable chair, but after she carefully placed it by the window and sat on it to try it out, she had been shocked by the softness of the cushion. Now, it was her favourite chair, from there she stared out the window, at the cars parked in the lot below, sometimes she counted them, or simply took note as the neighbours came home from work and staggered tiredly into their buildings. It was those times she was glad she didn’t have a 9-5. Now she wasn’t looking down at the parking lot, she was staring at the dark sky, it was going to rain and she should be curled up in bed with that book she hadn’t gotten around to finishing , Night Dancer by Chika Unigwe. Hell, she should be anywhere else but here listening to Salam breathe down her throat. She wasn’t particularly ungrateful of Salam’s mothering, she was always there for her, to pick up the pieces whenever her life crashed to her feet, but sometimes she was just outright annoying. Like now.

-          I don’t get you. One minute you were all over the place about this guy, the next you’re running away from your engagement party. As if it’s not enough that you already broke the guy’s heart once!
-          I need to get some sleep. Nkoli said and stood up
-          Yeah walk away. Go on! But let me tell you, I’m done with you. I’m jumping off this stupid merry wheel. My head is beginning to spin.

Nkoli stared at Salam shocked, she was taking this thing too far. It’s not like she was related to this guy by a long pole. What’s her own? She should be loyal to her friend, that’s what friends did right?

-          You are one selfish friend, everything is all about you. So you are broken, so what? We should all rally around you and help parch you up, our own problems don’t matter. You don’t care”
-          What…
-          What, what? When was the last time you asked anything about me? What do you know that is going on with me? Do you even know that I no longer have a job? When was the last time you heard me talk about work? How many times did I come here during work hours? Did you ever ask? Did you?

Nkoli stared at Salam shocked. She thought her heart had stopped because she couldn’t feel anything, not her feet on the floor, not the tears that travelled down her cheeks.   

-          Salam… Her voice was a whisper that only travelled the space in front of her before Salam slammed the door.

Nkoli didn’t know how she got into the couch that Salam had been sitting on. The room spun until she drifted off into that space between unconsciousness and arousal. She replayed all that happened since she walked into her house that morning. Her mother had stood over her in the red chair and yelled into her face, while her father sat on the other side of the room, his head bowed, shaking from side to side. Salam stood by the door, arms folded across the chest as she threw daggers at Nkoli. When her mother finished yelling, her father picked up their luggage stacked above each other by the door and walked out the room without throwing her a glance. Nkoli could still hear her mother’s sob down the corridor as Salam walked over, sat on the couch and began what seemed like a monologue while she looked out the window at the dark skies.  Now she was alone, really alone, and for what? For choosing herself?

***

Nnadi watched his wrong decisions play out in front of him. It presented in a fight between his girlfriend and the new girl from the office. They’ve been at it since his girlfriend walked in and saw the new girl making herself comfortable in his sitting room. That was what, 30 minutes ago? He wasn’t sorry, not really, they had both showed up uninvited. All he could do was open the front door and hope they used it soon or he would have to himself. He stopped listening to their yelling when he started to hear words like ‘whore’, ‘demon’.  He looked at his phone, he had never needed Afoma more than he did right now. She would have known how to deal with this. Finally, the new girl from the office walked through the front door, slamming it behind her. He stared at his feet praying his girlfriend will follow suit and leave, but while he thought that he should cut his nails or even get pedicure while he was at it, he heard sniffing. He slowly looked up and saw the girl sitting on his chair, her head in her hands. Nope, no tears would move him anymore. Tears got him into this entanglement in the first place. But he hurt her. What did she ever do but love him, take care of him. His demons were not her fault, he couldn’t blame her for that. He’s the one with the issues. He took a few steps towards her and the girl jumped to her feet.

-          Don’t come close to me you wicked man. I only came to pack my things.

She sobbed and Nnadi stood staring at her in surprise

-          You couldn’t wait for me to be gone before inviting her. Is that how much you really wanted to get rid of me?

Nnadi could have told her that he hadn’t invited the girl over. That she had just showed up at his front door and forced herself in. that he had left her at the sitting room and locked himself up in his bedroom with a book. That he had only come out when he heard them both yelling. But maybe it was best she assumed the worst. Maybe it will take care of all this.

-          Did you not even have feelings for me?


She started sobbing as she walked into his bedroom to pack her things. He looked around, wondering what to do with himself. He should probably sit down and watch some TV. No. he didn’t want to be there when she came out. He should go to the visitor’s and stay there until she left. For what? This was his house. He was a man, he wouldn’t hide from nobody. He sat on the couch and put on the TV.

To Be Continued next Friday...




Story written by +Nnedinma Jane Kalu 
Nnedinma studied Biology but works as a freelance scriptwriter. She lives in Enugu from where she sees the world in the pages of books. She is a co-writer at the Radio drama series Purple Tinz produced by Flint Productions. She participated in the Writivism writing program 2014 and is an Alumini of the Farafina Creative Writing Workshop.

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a writer, entrepreneur, blogger, public speaker and an all-round knowledge junkie who likes to view life from different angles.

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