Three months now felt like three years to Efe. Stockholm weather was a changer for sure without warning. The sunlight reflecting from outside was quite deceiving; it felt warm when indoor but standing outside was a different situation. Lagos harmattan could not compare to Stockholm weather. To put the icing on the Cake, Aunt Schola husband showed up unannounced. He was a dark-skinned, tall and heavily built man. His potbelly was a typical representation of Lagos men that spent their hard earned money at the beer parlor. Efe could hear Aunty Schola and her husband arguing about something, but she could hardly understand what they were saying.
Efe and Osasis went out to distribute Newspaper for the night. It was not a pleasant weather to have such job, and it was too early to listen to people screaming . She got up because the noise was too much and managed to enter the bathroom and sat on the toilet. Nothing came out, she got up and washed her face in the sink. She stirred at the mirror for a few minutes and started remembering the argument she had with her father before she left.
That day was the worst day of her life, and now she can’t stop thinking of it. She noticed a teardrop, and she quickly tore a piece of tissue paper to wipe her face. She walked out of the toilet angrily.
“Good morning ma !” She spoke in a deep voice.
“Morning, dear!!! Aunty Schola gradually releases her right hand from her husband shirt. She smiled and started laughing and seriously nothing was funny to Efe”.
“How are you doing? Na, my husband, be this, he just came back o”.
“Brother, good morning” Efe was disappointed at his dressing. She could easily tell that he was trying too hard to dress like a young man. His denim jacket was tight, and his Khaki pant was too tight. All she could think of was Shrek.
“My pikin how you dey?” He replied.
“Am fine o, it just cold” Efe still had the bitter tone in her voice.
“Honey why don’t you go inside to freshening up.”
Efe looked down and shook her head because she has seen this behavior a thousand times. Nigerian women are good at masking their marital problems.
Her mother once told her “when you marry, if you have a problem with your husband, don’t wash your dirty laundry for everyone to know. You know you children of nowadays think you know everything“. She remembered how her mother and father fought every time and once they saw the kids, they suddenly start smiling and when the kids left they continued.
“Ok, no problem madam” The husband replied Aunt Schola with a strange look on his face.
Aunt Schola husband walked into their matrimonial bedroom, placing his small Nike duffel bag on his left shoulder while rolling the other two pieces of luggage with both hands.
Aunt Schola smiled and said, “what do you want to eat?”
“I do not know; but this work won kill me. The weather is too cold to be throwing paper, and these Swedish people are not nice o.”
“We all started with that job, and I threw newspaper for one year before I became a Personal Caregiver. I thought I was going to die in 1992. The kind of snowfall that time is worse than today’s cold. I am grateful for this global warming thing o Chai! I suffered that time my dear. Hmmm!”
“I quit, I am not going tomorrow,” Efe said without remorse.
“Na you know! What I know is that no job is easy sha. She turned to the gas to start preparing oatmeal.”
Aunt Schola started singing her favorite Christian song unexpectedly
What a marvelous God
What a marvelous God
He has done marvelous things for me,
what a marvelous God
what a supernatural God
His yet to do marvelous things for me.
“Sister I want to go to a better the school, this Swedish school thing is not working for me. My mate for Nigeria done graduate and am here learning ABC for the Swedish language like say I bi small pikin.”Efe interrupted Aunt Schola singing.
“Hmmm!”Aunty Schola replied.
“Sister is not a matter of hmmm oh. How can I get into the university here? I have done Jamb and Waec in Lagos, and I have everything to enter university, but I do not know where to start from, and you do not know anything. I came to this country to better my life and so far am stressed out and frustrated. I do not want all my dreams to just die like that na.”
” Efe you need to be patient, I beg you do not compare your life with other people’s lives,” Aunt Schola replied in a sad voice.
“You just came, and you are already complaining. You children complain too much, and you people do not know how to appreciate good thing” Aunty husband walked into the kitchen screaming at Efe as he spoke.
Efe was surprised that he was screaming at her early in the morning.
“Who is this stranger ?” she thought to herself.
“My husband do you want oatmeal ?” Aunty Schola was attempting to defuse the situation.
“That is the problem in Nigeria today, all these young children they want to be rich overnight. Nobody wants to work anymore, only to complain.
Be grateful that you are in a country that will shape your future.” He sat down at the dining table, and he looked at Efe.
Efe was still flabbergasted by how he spoke loudly at her.
“Sir, I was talking to my Aunty on how to better my life and eliminate stress.” She said and exhaled.
“You see what I mean, ” He said.
“Franklin, Honey! Here is your oatmeal” Aunty Schola placed the bowl of warm oatmeal by him and placed a silver spoon by his right hand.
“No respect at all from these children nowadays, when you speak to my wife, you are talking to me too.” Franklin still screaming at the top his lungs.
Efe got from the table and said: ” Am tired of this place.”
“Then go back to Nigeria and stop complaining” Franklin screaming back at Efe.
Efe turned back, eyed him from head to toe and hissed.
Franklin got up in anger and landed his hand on Aunt Schola face when she stepped in the middle to stop him.
“You slapped me, Franklin, eh?”
” Why did you come in the middle eh? I want to teach this small thing about RESPECT.”
” Did your father not teach you anything.”
“Please do not bring my father into this” Efe responded angrily and she still did not get why he was so mad at her for no reason.
” Get out of this of this place, you ungrateful imp!” Franklin replied her again.
” Everyone STOP !” Aunt Schola screamed out.
“Franklin, wetin this pikin do you now ?”
“So you are supporting her now eh? I do not get you at all” He threw the bowl of oatmeal on the floor and walked away from the kitchen.
” I do not like this girl, make sure she leaves my house.”
” I AM THE MAN OF THIS HOUSE ” He screamed from the corridor and slammed the bedroom door.
The morning breakout from the sunlight shun through the large kitchen window accompanied with a cold winter wind, the vertically shaped frosts at the corners of the window was more visible now. The usual morning routines would be to start with getting the kids ready for school and preparing launch for the afternoon. But today was not an ordinary day, oatmeal splashed across the floor and this created some stains at the bottom of the refrigerator. Efe carefully gathered each piece of the broken plate with a red long-handled broom. And Aunty Schola was on her knees cleaning the floor with a blue rag.
“Mamma, vad som hände i det här köket? ?” Osamudiamen said while robbing her eyes and staggering sluggishly.
“Be careful, look at a broken piece ” Aunty Schola warning Osamudiamen from stepping on the broken bowl on the floor.
“Good morning, Aunty Efe”
“Aunty wetin I do your husband?” Efe asked while she was assisting in cleaning the mess on the floor.
” I do not know but SHUT UP! ” Aunt Schola replied.
“Är pappa här ? ” “När kom han tillbaka ?”
“Today, Dear! He is resting now.”
” Abeg, Osamudiamen speak English na ?” Aunty Schola was looking up to talk to Osamudiamen; she was still on her knees cleaning under the dining table.
” Mum, sorry, are you guys fighting again?”
“Osamudiamen go get ready for school and wake up your sisters too.”
“Okay mummy.” Osamudiamen was still inquisitive about everything as she left the kitchen.
Efe was done gathering all the pieces and emptied it into the dustbin. She was having a hard time holding back and had more questions for Aunty Schola. But Aunty Schola was focused or pretending to be cleaning the floor to avoid any more conversation.
” Wetin they go on? Is something wrong ?”
Aunt Schola pretended like she did not hear anything. She got up and emptied the dirty bowl of soapy water into the kitchen sink. Then opened the bottom cupboard to throw away the blue rag into the dustbin.
” Am going to get ready for my school then.” Efe walked out the kitchen.
Aunty Schola gently slid her body on the cupboard and fell on her butt, opened the bottom cabinet and hid her head inside. She held her mouth with both hands as the tears rolled down her face continuously.
“What has gotten into this man ?” She thought to herself and how was she going to face him. The shame and humiliation in front of Efe, how am I going to explain it? She wondered and cried silently.