The night wind flowed through the open window of Etini’s hostel. She could smell the pungent odors of sage and creosote bush and rain, all mixed with dust–a familiar aroma.
She wondered again if Miriam was crazy to have knelt before a man. She stared at the window and watched the rain pour, splashing water on the window and splattering on her face.
Nkoyo was deeply asleep. She turned around several times and then covered her body with her duvet.
“It’s cold,” she muttered.
“Why are you still awake Etini?” Gloria asked.
“I love watching the rainfall sister,” Etini replied shrilly.
“Come take coffee with me,” Gloria said as she poured water into two mugs and mixed coffee and milk with it.
Etini had wanted to say ‘no’ but she remembered that her mother wasn’t there, watching her with her widened eyes. Etini needed the coffee, she wanted to taste it for the first time in her life.
“It’s Danish coffee. My father bought it from Denmark and shared it to all of us. You will like it,” Gloria said as she handed over a mug of hot coffee to Etini.
“Thank you sister,” She said softly as she sipped it a bit. It burnt her tongue, the bitter taste of it circulated her tongue. She sighed and said shyly; “it’s nice.”
Etini was disappointed. She had wondered what the hype about coffees was all about. She tasted it for the first time, and thought it was going to be her last time. But she sipped it until it finished. Not because she loved it, but because she didn’t want to waste the coffee from Denmark.
“I know you don’t like it. That’s why I made very little for you. But finish it. It will warm your body to sleep,” Gloria said soothingly.
The rain kept splattering on the louvres. Gloria got up immediately and closed it perfectly.
Between Etini and Nkoyo, Gloria loved Etini most. Etini was a perfectionist. She did things right at all times, and conversed when it was necessary. But Nkoyo was a spoilt rich teenager who loved sleeping and was quite lazy. Etini helped Gloria wash her clothes most times, fetched water and even cleaned her corner.
“I want you to read and pass your exams very well, so that you can make it to America,”Gloria said sipping her coffee.
“What happens there?”
“Snata Day celebration. Three students always win a trip to America every year for the trip. The condition is, you must have a high grade.”
“Have you ever been there?”
“And you saw snow and white people?”
“Did you see President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama?”
“No. I didn’t see those ones,” Gloria replied smiling.
“But you visited beautiful places and made snowman with the snows?”
“It was too cold out there. I couldn’t. But I took pictures in the snow.”
“Exactly what I will do sister. I will take pictures in the snow and make a big frame of pictures of me in the fine streets of America. I will put it up on the wall of my father’s room and he will be proud of me,” she said thoughtfully. “Are there poor people in America?” she asked.
“Of course. They have poor people in America, just like we have here.”
“At least, their poor people will be fine and not have pale skin like ours. They will eat good food and drink good water,” she muttered.
“Do they have…”
“No more questions Eti, go to bed,” Gloria cut in tiredly. “Read well, and make sure you pass your exams so that you will make it to America this year, and then you will tell me your own experience about the trip.”
“Goodnight,” Etini said in soft whispers.
She smiled when she heard Gloria call her ‘baby’. It made her feel special like a little child who was being pampered by her mother.
As Gloria slept off, Etini opened her eyes and watched her sleep peacefully. She was beautiful. Just like her school sister Nkoyo, she was chubby. And from their conversations, she had realized that Gloria was also from a wealthy family. It was only very wealthy people who visited countries like Denmark and came back with their coffee.
Etini slept that night, thinking of America, the snows and the beautiful places she would see when she goes there. She’d already become hopeful of passing her exams and visiting America for the first time.
After morning prayers, the next morning, at the chapel, Etini could still feel the cold in her spine. She wore her caretaker’s big sweater, and it swallowed her entire body, leaving just her small face and head.
“Etini,” Kokomma called her name softly as she held her hands and they both walked out of the chapel.
“That my friend Fatima is in trouble,” she said sadly.
“What kind of trouble?” Etini asked looking worried.
Kokomma brought her mouth towards her ear and whispered; “Fatima is pregnant.”
“Jesus! When? How?” Etini asked in amazement.
“The man her father gave her to marry, he raped her countless times at night. She had to run away to her mother because she couldn’t bear it anymore. Now she is pregnant and she just knew of it.”
Etini looked at Kokomma in the eye for long moments, mute and heartbroken.
Next Chapter: |Chapter 7|
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6||Chapter 7||Chapter 8||Chapter 9||Chapter 10||Chapter 11||Chapter 12||Chapter 13||Chapter 14||Chapter 15||Chapter 16||Chapter 17||Chapter 18||Chapter 19||Chapter 20||Chapter 21||Chapter 22||Chapter 23||Chapter 24||Chapter 25||Chapter 26||Chapter 27||Chapter 28||Chapter 29||Chapter 30||Chapter 31||Chapter 32||Chapter 33||Chapter 34|