Goodness, I love you guys! Thank you for heartily welcoming Room 1045 the way only awesome readers like you can. Special shout outs to Etsey, LorettaAbby and the others who wanted Wednesday to come early. I am glad you like the characters you have met so far. It is interesting to see how people are already volunteering for the photoshoot even before the story fully unfolds. Full disclosure: once again, I have no idea how the story is going to end. Like I always say, we are on an adventure- you and I, and I can’t wait to see how things turn out. If you missed out on Episode 1, here you go! If you want to send someone all the episodes at once, you can share this link: https://kenikodjo.com/tag/room1045/ . Happy reading. The conversation continues online: #Room1045
She didn’t need to reach for her phone to see what time it was.
Not 4. But 4:05.
Her eyes always opened at 4:05 like clockwork. In her mind’s eye, she could see her mother barking orders to her workers as they got ready to open their shops. She also had people who sold smaller quantities by the roadside.
That’s what everyone called her.
Understandably so, because she made sure everyone had eaten before business started at 4:30. On Mondays, it was Hausa Koko and koose. On Wednesdays, it was boiled rice, an egg and wele stew. She liked Wednesdays. Maa Rakia made the best wele stew ever.
She and her mother weren’t particularly close.
It was something that bothered her, even to this day. She was kind to her workers and gave them loans without interest. She rewarded those who worked hard and pushed those who lagged behind to do better. She was a great businesswoman, but Maa Rakia could not see her. Like really see her.
Sala didn’t think it was deliberate.
This was the life Maa Rakia knew.
Work, pay workers, order more things, sleep, repeat.
Her grandmother had done it. Her mother had done it. And now, she was also doing it.
Maa Rakia worked hard. Very hard. Her family only had one store, but thanks to her, there were now 4 other stores, in addition to a hundred other workers. She didn’t intend to get pregnant. Casmel just had a way with words and he didn’t try to get money from her. He just enjoyed her company and she enjoyed his. The baby was a surprise. Knowing that it could slow her down, she said nothing to Casmel. The last thing she wanted was a man who would ask her to stay home to take care of his child and be intimidated by how much money she made each day.
She loved her business. The smell of the new clothes. The ability to spot a profitable set of goods. The ability to anticipate trends. The ability to read the market. She also loved the way the relationship manager at Barclays fell over herself to make sure she was comfortable anytime she went to deposit the sales for that day. People like the relationship manager looked down on her in the past, but the hard work paid off.
She loved Sala. Everything she was doing was for her future. She just wasn’t close to her simply because she didn’t think she had much to offer her daughter.
Abbas sighed and opened his eyes. Sleeping in his wheelbarrow under the shade of the neem tree was one of the highlights of his day. Business was a little slow today. Most of the students had already moved in. Apart from the odd errand here or there, there was very little to do, so he slept. He needed to be alert for his night security job at the Vice Chancellor’s residence. The VC had caught him dozing once at 2am. He was determined to make sure that it didn’t happen a second time.
‘Abbas, come and see la!’
Kuma was clearly not taking no for an answer.
Abbas saw the reason why, as soon as he got up and started walking towards Kuma.
‘This guy walks as if we are begging him to do the ground a favour. What I don’t understand is why the girls are dying for him. Look at that nice girl in 1045. The guy beats her as if he is making sheabutter. She too, mumu. She will go back to him.’
‘Ah, but can’t you see the car he drives?’
‘Kuma, is it car that you will use to exchange your life? What are you saying? If he kills her right now, will the car follow her into the grave? I am sure even her father has never hit her before. Because of love, nansins!’
Chukwu sauntered past them, with his workout bag slung behind him. He was still sweating from the cardio workout but he insisted on showering in his own room. He didn’t want to share a bathroom with the other guys. Besides, it was easier to lie under the AC and dry off after his shower.
He hated living in Ghana, but Baba insisted that it was safer for him here than in Nigeria. The political games he played as Governor made his children an easy target, so he had shipped them all off to different schools around the world. The twins were in a boarding school in Switzerland. Ijeoma was in Russia. How he ended up in Ghana was still a mystery.
‘My son, it makes sense to keep you in Ghana. You are my first son and if anything happens, you are the one who will inherit everything. I can’t have you too far away.’, Baba explained.
Chukwu nodded and even smiled. He could read between the lines- ‘You are not smart enough for me to spend this much money on you. Ijeoma is going to be a doctor. Your younger brother wants to be President. Your youngest sister is studying to become a lawyer. I won’t spend that much money on you for you to come home with a Third Class.’
Then there was the issue of Kesewa. He had never thought he would ever hit a woman. Baba started hitting his mother the day she found out about the mother of the twins. She didn’t leave- mainly because of the money and the prestige. She wanted to hold her Christmas parties, make huge donations at fundraisers and appear in the Ovation magazine; so she stayed. She looked the other way while he brought in other women to the house. When he made love to prostitutes in their bedroom, she slept in one of the other rooms or went to visit one of her friends. Baba’s money and prestige allowed him to get away with anything and everything.
The first time he slapped Kesewa, he didn’t know how his hand landed on her face. Her screams jolted him back to reality. When she stormed out of his room, he sat on his bed with his head in his hands, wondering how he got there. After 30 minutes, he got a text from Kesewa.
‘I know you didn’t mean to do that. I forgive you. Coming over in 5 minutes so that you can pamper me with something nice. Love, Kess.’
He stared at the phone in disbelief. Kesewa and his mother were cut out of the same cloth.
Once he realized that she could not leave him, the beatings were more frequent. Sometimes it was because of her tone. On other days, it was because she didn’t pick up when he called her. He wasn’t stupid. He knew that there were other guys gunning for her attention. Infact, he wasn’t going to date a girl that other guys didn’t want. But no matter how often he hit her, she stayed. There was nothing that a shopping spree or an expensive gift couldn’t fix.
Joan rolled her eyes.
This honestly feels like torture.
It was Wednesday again. Dr Johnson was sitting in his chair, dictating notes in that same boring monotone. He wore the same dull green and brown tie and dye shirt every single time they had the class.
Today she didn’t really feel like copying notes. Besides, she could always get a photocopy from Vincent, the class prefect who clearly had a crush on her.
In fact, speaking of class prefects, let me make sure he is copying his notes.
Craning her neck to catch a glimpse of the class prefect, her eyes met some otherguy’s eyes. His lips had slightly parted and he had squinted like he was in shock. From where she was sitting, she could not see much but he looked like he was tall.
Cute!!! He looks a bit too innocent for me though. Probably a church boy. We can work with that, I guess. That way, if he already has a girlfriend, I can become his ‘sister in Christ’. Mmh, I wonder why I haven’t seen him before. He is too cute to not notice.
Nii Okai couldn’t believe his eyes.
God must have a sense of humour.
Last night, on his way back to his room from prayer meeting, he had halfheartedly asked God to show him who his future wife was. After all, the leader had said that he could ask for anything believing that God had heard him and his request would be granted. Ever since he had decided to take his walk with God seriously, he likes to practise the things he learnt at every meeting.
And here he was, staring right back at the girl he had seen in the dream. Same forehead, same smile, same glint of mischief. Yep, same girl.