Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Bukky Alakara Episode 1

All rights reserved Copyright 2017
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Bukky Folorunsho had to move in with her aunt due to the challenges her parents were facing. She had no formal education and the search for her daily bread was nightmarish.
Gbemiga Phillips was the first child and only son of his parents. His family believed that he was destined to bring them out of poverty.
Like ripples, the different seasons they encountered in their lives spun several unstoppable events that led to a cascading end.
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Episode 1
Bukky and her mother’s younger sister, Kike, got down from
the bus. It was about seven in the morning. She was
surprised to find the market place crowded with people. She
followed her aunt and tried to keep up with her.
“This is where I make ends meet every day,” Kike addressed
her niece.
Bukky glanced at her. The woman was a little bit taller than
her. One inch taller to be exact.
“I carry loads for as little as fifty naira, I fetch water for as
low as ten naira per gallon, sometimes twenty naira per
gallon during water scarcity. I assist buyers to get around the
market for a token and I also help the sellers to look for
customers. In a day, I make as much as three thousand naira
and as low as five hundred naira.”
She nodded her head, taking in all the information.
“This is how I pay the bills, feed and clothe,” Kike directed her
dark gaze at the average height girl.
Bukky nodded again.
“You have to fend for yourself. I can provide shelter, but, that
is as far as I can go,” the note of finality in her voice wasn’t
lost to the young girl.
“I understand aunty mi.”
“Good. I have to go now. We will meet at home around seven
in the evening.”
“Okay aunty.”
“Beware of pick pockets and all those jobless touts,” she
waved a warning finger.
“Yes aunty,” she watched her leave.
Eighteen year old Bukky looked around her. A slight tremor
ran through her spine. Where was she going to start from?
Her tummy tightened in vengeance. She wished she was still
living with her parents. Things had gone from bad to worse
for them that year. She and her siblings had been shared
among relatives in order to ease the stress on their parents.
Her father had lost his job and her mother didn’t make much
from the sales of vegetable in the local market. It had
become difficult to feed and pay the bills. She hoped they
would get back on their feet soon enough. She wanted them
all to live together as one family again. She said a quick
prayer and merged into the crowd, looking for how to make
money for her next meal.
xxxxxx
Gbemiga Phillips towered over his parents and siblings. He
was the tallest, about five feet eight inches and the darkest. It
was a very happy day for them all. Their beaming dark faces
looked up at him. He had just received a letter from the
Ministry of education. He had been given a scholarship to
study Economics and Statistics in the Lagos State University.
He had passed his GCE and JAMB examinations with flying
colours. It had been a relief that his parents wouldn’t have to
suffer to sustain him in the higher institution. They had gone
through thick and thin to get him educated. He was the only
one who had completed the Secondary School education in
his family. They couldn’t afford to add his younger sisters to
the list. His father was a Security guard at the home of a rich
man in Surulere. His mother and sisters worked as cleaners
in Onward Paper factory. It would be difficult, but as far as
the government paid for his school and accommodation
fees, he had only feeding and books to worry about.
“God has answered our prayers, e se baba, baba e se…” Remi
began to dance in circles and her daughters joined her.
“I am so proud of you,” Baba patted him on the shoulder.
“Thank you sir,” he bowed in respect and grinned. He was
happy that they were all happy for him.
“By the time you graduate and complete your service year,
you will get a good job, and move us out of this hell hole,”
Remi eyed their surroundings, “My enemies will be put to
shame.”
“Yes o!” Lola and Kemi chorused.
Baba and Gbemiga exchanged glances and began to laugh.
He caught the glimpse of a dark slim average in height young
lady walking past them. She mumbled a greeting and walked
straight into one of the twenty rooms in the bungalow. He
knew everyone that lived in the compound. He could swear
on his grandfather’s grave that she was new. He had seen her
with Aunty Kike that weekend. Were they related? Was she on
a visit?
“You must stay clear off all those bad boys,” his mother
pointed a warning finger at him.
He glanced back at her.
“Yes,” his father nodded in agreement, “There are dangerous
cults in that school. I have heard a lot of stories.”
“Brother Gbemiga is not in their level at all,” Lola, his
immediate younger sister smiled at him.
“Yes o. He doesn’t have time for such nonsense,” Kemi, the
last child, chimed in.
“Born again lomo,” Lola chuckled.
“Yes o,” Kemi added.
Their parents began to laugh.
xxxxxx
Kike and Bukky sat on the mat and ate from a bowl of amala
with ewedu soup.
“I am surprised that you made one thousand naira today,”
she beamed at her niece.
She looked up at her aunt and swallowed the food in her
mouth.
“I can still remember my first day out there, I didn’t make a
kobo. I returned home and slept on an empty stomach,” Kike
lamented. She didn’t like recollecting such painful memories.
Bukky dipped a lumped of the plantain flour into the
peppery soup. She didn’t make a dime that day until about
six that evening. She helped a woman to carry her purchase
to the car and she was rewarded with a handsome tip. If not
for that, she would have returned home without a penny.
She had never worked a day in her life. Her parents had done
their best to take care of her and her siblings. If only wishes
were horses. She wished God would give back her father his
former job so that things would return to normal.
“Once you are finished eating, go and fetch water and fill up
our drum. That crazy tap might decide to go on strike
tomorrow morning. You know we need to leave the house
very early.”
Bukky nodded in affirmative.
xxxxxx
Gbemiga placed a bucket under the tap. He was in a black tee
shirt and a pair of brown three quarters khaki trouser. He
turned on the tap and waited for the bucket to fill up. His
heart missed a beat immediately he saw the person walking
towards him, carrying about four plastic buckets. His eyes
darted left, right, up and down as he searched his blank mind
for what to say to her.
Bukky dropped the buckets on the concrete and looked up at
him, “Good evening.”
“Evening,” he mumbled without looking at her.
“Congratulations.”
He glanced at her.
“I hope to be in your shoes one day,” she smiled and looked
away.
“Thanks…” the whole neighbourhood must have heard that
he was given a scholarship. He lifted the overflowing bucket
away from the tap.
She placed one of her buckets under the tap and waited for it
to fill up.
“What’s the name?”
She looked up at him, caught unawares. He was about three
inches taller than her.
“My names are Oluwagbemiga Philips,” he stretched out his
right hand.
She looked at his hand, and then back at his dark face,
“Oluwabukola Folorunsho,” she shook his hand.
Their gazes locked. The air became still. The background
noise faded away. She felt pulled into the dark calm pool of
his eyes. He took a step closer, drawn to her like nails to
magnet. He brushed his left hand over the side of her dark
smooth oval face. She s----d in breath. The light touch had
ignited sparks within her. She stepped back and he dropped
his hands. He carried his bucket of water by the handle and
walked away. She exhaled and turned around. He was gone.
Bukky walked out of the house, clad in a blue jeans and a
blue fitted tee-shirt. She held her small black hand bag close
and headed down the street in a black low heel sandal. She
took the turning that led to the bus-stop and saw Gbemiga
afar off. Her heart missed a beat. She had a flashback of the
other night. The way he looked at her and the intense feeling
that coursed through her body when he touched her face.
She closed her eyes and tried to block the memory. She had
heard her elder sister talking with her friends about how she
had, had a crush on a boy in their area. What she described
was a bit similar to what she was experiencing, although hers
seemed a little bit too fast. She had only known Gbemiga for
a couple of days and the sudden likeness seemed too soon.
The attraction made matters worse. Was it possible to feel so
strongly for someone one just met? Maybe it was one of
those things and it would fade away. What if it didn’t? She
had never dated anyone before. She had been asked out a
number of times, but, she had decided to wait until she was
older. She was eighteen now. Was she old enough? The little
she knew about relationships was what her elder sister and
her friends discussed. The fact that several girls got pregnant
and became single mothers in her former neighbourhood
had back-pedaled her plans. Many had also died while trying
to get rid of their pregnancies. She opened her eyes and saw
him approaching her, he was grinning from ear to ear.
“Morning Bukky,” he halted in front of her, blocking her way.
“Morning Gbemiga,” she looked towards the bus-stop.
“Heading to work?” he followed her gaze.
She nodded.
“Can I see you off to the bus-stop?”
“Okay.”
They walked side by side.
“Are you related to Aunty Kike?”
She glanced up at him and nodded, “She is my mum’s
younger sister.”
“Oh! Okay. How long are you staying with her?”
She pressed her lips together. She had applied lip-gloss on it
that morning.
“I don’t mean to pry,” he tried not to sound desperate. He
had hoped against hope that she would be staying in the area
for a long while.
She shrugged, “I don’t really know.”
“Okay, but, will you be here till Christmas?”
She shrugged again.
“I hope so,” he sighed heavily.
She looked up at him, wondering why he wanted to know if
she would still be around during the holiday season.
“I will be resuming school in September. I hope you will still
be around when I return home for the Christmas holiday,”
he met her gaze.
Bukky looked away. She had no formal education. Her
parents could afford to give them shelter, food and clothing
in their early years, but, getting educated was like wishing for
a house full of gold. Things had gotten worse when her father
lost his job. She hoped her siblings were living well with her
father’s siblings.
“I believe that you can get into the higher institution too.
Don’t give up,” he encouraged her.
“I have never seen the gate of any school. Going to the
university is far-fetched,” sadness glinted in her dark eyes.
Gbemiga pitied her. There were several people in his area
that had no form of education too.
“I have always dreamt of going to school,” she tried to smile.
“Don’t give up. Whatever you place in God’s hands, he will
perfect it.”
She nodded in agreement. She was going to take God up on
that. They stood at the bus-stop and waited.
“I will be twenty in August, I am not celebrating or anything,
but, I will like to spend that day with you.”
She looked back at him in surprise.
“What?”
“My birthday is also in August too.”
“Splendid! Mine is on the 15 .”
“Same day,” she turned away and gave a shake of head. It was
weird meeting her birthday mate.
“No way!”
She smiled back at him.
“Wow!” his head bobbed with excitement.
She heard a bus conductor shouting ‘Mushin Olosha’, “My
bus is coming.”
“Okay. Our birthday is next month. I am going to save
towards it. Maybe we can celebrate with cup-cakes and ice-
cream or suya and drinks.”
“You barely know me,” she eyed him.
“That is why I want to spend that day with you; it is part of
getting to know you,” he stressed.
She wasn’t convinced.
“I like you,” he opened up.
She directed her gaze at him, “So? I believe I am not the first
girl you have liked.”
He started to laugh, “You are right. You are not the first girl I
will be asking out either.”
She eyed him. He seemed too smooth for her liking. Why did
guys who were easy on the eyes think they could smooth-talk
any girl into a relationship?
“I know you like me too. There is something special about
us,” his dark eyes bored into hers.
She rolled her eyes and waved down the bus heading for
Mushin.
“So, what do you say?”
“As in?” she observed him.
“Come on girl…” he shifted on both feet.
“Not interested,” she got on the bus.
He watched the bus leave. He scratched a spot on his head. It
had been a long time since he had been turned down by a
girl. Maybe he acted too fast. He should have waited. She was
right, they barely knew each other, but that night, what he
felt, he could bet the whole world that she felt it too. He
turned around and headed home. He needed a better plan.
xxxxxx
Kike walked into the compound carrying a sack filled with
yams. Gbemiga was seated outside the house, playing a game
of ludo with some of his friends in the area. The moment he
saw her, he ran up to her and relieved her of the heavy sack
and dragged it into the building. He followed her into her
room and placed it beside the waist length cupboard.
“Thank you very much,” she beamed at him.
“It is a pleasure aunty,” he bowed his head in respect.
“Bukky come and give me some of the mangoes I bought
yesterday.”
His eyes widened in surprise. Was she in the room? He
looked around and found her seated on the mattress. She
met his gaze, turned away and got up. She had on a pink
spaghetti top with a red and brown coloured wrapper tied
around her waist. She picked a few mangoes from the bowl
on the table beside the window and approached him. He
collected the fruit and smiled at her. His hands brushed
against hers; her eyes flew up and met his intense stare.
“God will bless you. I am so tired. Bukky what did you cook?”
she walked towards the paper-thin mattress and settled on it.
She stepped away and glanced at her aunt, “I prepared yam
porridge.”
“Please give me some. I am so hungry,” she pulled at her
scarf and threw it on the bed.
“Good night ma,” he headed out.
“Gbemiga thank you,” Kike called after him, “Is the porridge
still hot?” she directed her gaze at her niece.
“I don’t think so.”
“Go and warm it for me,” she kicked off her sandals and lay
on the bed.
Bukky opened the cupboard and brought out a plate and a
pot. She hurried out and headed for the kitchen which was at
the back of the twenty room bungalow.
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To be continued..

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