“I still don’t understand your crying o Nadi, we can afford a good place , am even tired of that place, you are crying as if you were going to stay there for……”, she quickly kept quiet when she saw the look on Nadia’s face. “Sorry” she said and then kept quiet. But Nadia broke down crying even heavier than before, Ruth could not understand. “Nadia I said am sorry, I didnt mean to make you cry the more, please am sorry”. Nadia turned and looked at her before standing up and talking.
”Ruth I know you don’t understand, but that uncompleted building is my home, that building gave me shelter, joy and happiness, when we lost everything that building welcomed us with opened arms, it was our only solace, and now I’ve left her behind, I left her there.”
“What are you talking about?” Ruth asked, you are getting me confused the more, please make me understand”.
“My mother” Nadia replied, “my mother and I found that place, we struggled together in that place, and she died in that place.” Then she reduced her voice as she said the last line, “I buried her in that place”. She broke down again crying. Ruth understood everything immediately, she held Nadia close, she didnt even know when she started sharing tears too.
“Ruth all my life memories are in that place and I just left like that, I don’t even know if I will be able to visit my mom again”, she sobbed even more , Ruth held her and comforted her and after about 10minutes, she stopped crying. It was time to move forward. Firstly they made up their minds to visit their mini savings collector, to collect their money. Nadia knew she must have saved about 230,000 while Ruth knows she has about 170,00, they decided that once they collect their money. They would get a good place to stay.
They hurried to the market as they needed to find a new house fast, they quickly went to the collectors shop, they saw a crowd of people there, some were sitting on the ground, some were standing, Ruth didnt know what was going on and so she went close to a lady standing and asked what was going on.
”So you never hear? Was her response,
”’ hear wetin?” Nadia asked,
” collector don die, collector die for accident yesterday when she day go house, okada nak her fall carry bag of money when she don collect run leave her for road”. Nadia stood like a zombie looking at the Lady, it was Ruth who after recovering from her shock that managed to ask the lady,
“sister abeg nor vex what of our money when dey with her? The woman looked at her sarcastically and responded,
”your money dey her hand too? Oya find chair carry follow those people when day there so, siddon make you dey cry, I dey tell you say person die you dey talk of money,dead body dey pay debt? Abeg this small girl leave me alone make I think my life, 300k nor be 300naira. The money don die follow am.
Nadia fell to the ground and was looking like she’s just been stabbed with a long dagger inside her heart. Ruth started wailing and throwing her hands in the air.
“My money o, our money o, my sister money o, eh God we don finish……” The entire market was in chaos. Nadia finally got her voice and asked if madam collector had no relatives who could talk to them properly on the money and how to get anything at all from it, and she got the biggest answer of a life time.
“Madam collector was a Ghanian who came over to Nigeria and got married to a man who later abandoned her, she couldn’t go back to her people because they were against her marriage the first time, and so she cut ties with them. They don’t even know where she was. And so it was the council people that carried her body to the morgue and nobody knows what will happen after worth.”
After looking around for sometime Ruth went back to Nadia,and asked what next?
“We don’t have a house, no money,nothing, we don’t even have hope.” Nadia smiled and told her,
“we have hope, we may have nothing but we have hope”, Nadia picked her bag and started walking away to an unknown destination.
”Where are we going to now Ruth asked
” I don’t know” was Nadia’s reply. And without saying a word, Ruth followed in silence, but then she remembered that she has the money the man gave to them before they left the uncompleted building. She hasn’t even counted it. So she stopped Nadia and they both sat at one end of the road and counted the money it was 20, 000 naira. Ruths face lit up as she told Nadia that they really did have hope. The girls went in search of a house that they can afford.
After moving from one end of a road to another, they finally got to one compound, it was a big compound with an opened space at the middle, the surrounding was neat, an old woman who was not looking smart was sitting outside, Nadia walked up to her and greeted her before asking if there was any vacancy there. The woman pointed to an empty room that was just at the side of the building, Nadia then asked again if the empty room was affordable. The woman looked at the young girl and answered her that its 1000 naira a month and then directed them to another compound where the caretaker of the house was living.
Nadia before going to the compound the woman showed to her asked the woman about the place, if it was safe, how many tenants were living there, the toilet and kitchen and few other questions, the woman who seemed ready to talk with this two small girls smiled at the wisdom of such a small girl, she answered them in an all positive answer, and so Nadia and Ruth went to see the care taker, they introduced themselves as sisters and after a long talk they finally paid a total of 12,000naira to the man who handed over the keys to the one room apartment to them. The girls happily moved into their new house. They had no properties just the single bag that Nadia carried that contained her clothes and some vital things.
They still had 8,000naira with them, and so they listed out some things which were unavoidable, like a stove and some pots. Ruth ran to the market and got the things they needed and some food stuff. She thought about her life with her aunty and her children. She has not set her eyes on them since she left the house. They probably think she is dead by now.
She can never forget how they maltreated her in their house and called her all sorts of names. They never failed to remind her of how her mother abandoned her to die and how she was probably a prostitute, they never failed to tell her that she will end up a prostitute like her mother and die. She looked at the scar in her hand, she had received it from her aunt for forgetting to warm the pot of soup and allowing it get spoilt. She didnt only give her that scar, but locked her out to sleep outside for three nights.
Today she finally has a house that she can call her own, she has a sister whom God gave to her at a platter of gold. God has changed her luck story. She was grateful to Nadia, and she was grateful to the man who gave them that money, most especially she was grateful to God for making her meet Nadia who has changed her life .
Meanwhile Nadia sat and prayed to God thanking Him for giving them another opportunity to have a roof over their heads, she thought of the few events of the month, how she lost her mom, and how God didnt allow her to be alone for a minute, she thought of how God brought her Ruth to be a sister to her and a comforter and now they have a house they can call their own.
She looked at the neck chain her mom gave to her, she held it to herself and thanked her mom for not abandoning her.
“Mom” she said, “I know you led Ruth to me so that I will not be alone, thank you so much. I might have left you in that place, but I promise to be back for you I promise”! She carried her bags to carefully keep it then the ID card fell off, it was same ID card she picked from the night she met Ruth, she picked it up and took a look once more at the handsome guy who was on it, she wondered how such a fine boy could be an armed robber. He was a young guy and from his looks Nadia could access that he should not be more than twenty years old.
”You are probably dead by now” she said to the ID card before keeping it back in her bag. She could not understand why she was keeping the card, but somehow she just felt connected to that card and the face was very familiar to her. She kept it and walked outside to take another look at the area where she will be staying for the next one year. Just then she saw Ruth smiling and returning from the market with the things that she has bought. They went inside and sat down. They still have about , 4000naira with them. Tomorrow they will resume their pure water business. They sat down in silence as they fixed their new stove together preparing to cook but yet lost in thoughts of what the future holds for them.
What does the future hold for Nadia and Ruth?