INSIDE BANKER:The book: pt2

12:02 PM

The air was cool but dry. It flowed freely through the windows into the
room, lifting up the curtains, such that it almost touched the ceiling.
Outside, the gentle wind, which the contradictory scents of dry leaves,
perfumed flowers and the half-eaten fruits left over by the birds in the
garden had tainted, caused the branches of the trees to sway from side to
side, like adoring fans listening to a soft ballad. It all added up to give the
atmosphere a pleasantly exhilarating feel.
Nene’s family gathered in the main parlor, trading stories and poking
fun at one another, she looked around the room and saw all her loved ones
in one place, it was surreal.
Two months earlier, her Father had requested everyone to come
home to Enugu, to spend part of the holiday with him. “Even, if it’s for a
couple of days.” He had pleaded.
Her father always had a way of getting them to do his bidding
without being pushy, he even succeeded in convincing her only sibling and
older brother, Chike, to come home all the way from Kaduna where he was
stationed in the army. His presence was not as much a surprise as his
attractive escort, a woman in her early twenties. Being an only son had
earned him subtle pressure from his parents to get married early, his
decision to join the army increased the pressure in a not so subtle way.
During his youthful days in Enugu, he was ‘a man about town’
keeping strings of girlfriends, having all yet having none. When he decided
he was joining the army and leaving for Kaduna, he had left a long trail of
broken hearts in his wake. After all the water that must have passed under
his bridge, it was hard to tell if this relationship was real or if the girl’s
presence was a ploy to appease his anxious parents.
Chike hastily introduced his escort, so fast that Nene did not catch
her name. She was fair complexioned, had a round pleasant face, small
firm breasts with a very long torso that extended downwards beyond a
narrow waist expanding unexpectedly to form an unusually wide pair of
Nene had also come home with a companion, and she introduced
Tolu as just a ‘friend’.
“You are Yoruba!” blurted out her Mother almost accusingly, and
then caught herself. She tried her best to keep a straight face all evening.
“Yes madam.” Tolu had replied, not taken aback by her. Nene had
told a myriad of stories of her mother’s irrational phobia for intertribal
“You must find an Igbo man to marry!” her mother had warned
countless times in the past. Nene knew it would break both of her parent’s
hearts to know that Tolu was not just a friend but also her lover.
Well so far so good, Tolu was trying to be as charming as possible,
even offering to help her and her mother bring out the food from the
kitchen when it was ready.
While they were in the kitchen, wide hips entered and offered her
help, probably realizing what the folks expected of a future daughter-inlaw.
She tried to make small talk with Mrs. Okezie. She was flicking her
long bright fingernails about and speaking loudly with elaborate hand
gestures, much like a teenage girl seeking for male attention.
Nene unconsciously glanced at Tolu to catch any suggestion that
wide hips was being fancied, but a childhood photo of Nene that was
placed on top of the fridge had completely caught Tolu’s attention.
Nene looked away, thankful that her look was not caught and
ashamed of her lack of confidence. If only she could exhibit the same kind
of self-assurance that she did on her job in their relationship. Tolu was here
making every effort to appear domesticated and she was busy being
paranoid about them.
Fifteen minutes later, with the food safely on the table, the rest of the
family was ushered into the dining room. Some guests had joined them.
Nene did not know they were having guests over, she quickly
checked her hair in the shining silver bowl she was carrying.
The spread was quite impressive but it had a strange smell. Not a bad
one just smelt unknown yet pleasing.
On the massive dining table, the same one Chike and Nene had so
often quarreled at as teenagers, were nametags placed besides each dish for
every person. Nene ended up finding herself seated in front of the water
dispenser with someone that looked like her cousin Nnamdi to her left and
an elderly woman to her right, Tolu sat directly in front of her, with wide
hips to her lover’s left and her childhood classmate, Emeka to the right.
A single file of five men in tuxedos entered the room and introduced
themselves as their waiters for the night.
“Don’t hesitate to ask for anything,” their leader ended with a
The serving dish before Nene was different from all the others,
instead of dainty white chinaware; she had a big wrought iron cooking pan
placed before her. On reveling the dishes, everyone had something
different, with the exception of her ‘friend’ Tolu and her mother who had
the same flaky wheat like meal---very boring looking.
Wide hips had what looked like flowers in her plate; Emeka’s food
looked like pudding and Nene was having mixed vegetable.
Nene wondered what happened to the fried rice she helped her
mother prepare.
There was a loud sound from the kitchen, like fine china against a
concrete floor. Mrs Okezie dropped her cutlery and rushed to the kitchen.
Ten minutes later her Mother came back with a crushed look on her
face. “I’m not hungry anymore,” she declared “Nene please take away this
As Nene rose to take the plate to the kitchen, wide hips was instantly
by her side “Let me help.”
In the kitchen, wide hips and Nene picked at her Mother’s food, it
tasted like a cross between spaghetti and fish fingers. Nene tasted wide
hip’s dish of flowers and it tasted like pepper snail, but instead of it being
crunchy, they melted instantly on her tongue. She emptied the remaining
scraps of food into the bin then washed the plates.
Returning to the dining room, Nene found to her dismal that a little
girl in pigtails, whom she had not noticed all evening, had chopped up all
her vegetables with a pair of scissors.
“That’s my food!” she shrieked and instantly felt hot inexplicable
tears streaming down her face. Everyone stopped what they were doing
shortly; several faces with diverse expressions looked back at her.
Without another word, Nene carried her plate to the kitchen. Once
alone she pecked at pieces of her chopped up food and to her absolute
bewilderment, it tasted like plastic.
As she turned her head towards the dining room to protest again, the
lights went out and the room was silent, suddenly she realized she was
lying down, naked and all alone.

About the Guest Author:
Nigerian Novelist
based in lagos Nigeria
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