I was confused. “Who forced you?” I asked but she simply reached down and wiped her face with the end of her gown. She swallowed hard and more tears streamed down her face. I felt anger from the pit of my stomach. I was furious.
Who did this to Zainab?! Who has dared to take advantage of her?! Who was the scumbag?! I stared at Zainab and scrutinized her for a moment, she looked emaciated and her hair was very unkempt. I almost felt like breaking down in tears.
“Obim…” Zainab touched my arm and pointed into her open mouth. “Obim, I hungry. I hungry welly-well.” She frowned in hunger then caressed her stomach. “Baby eat too much.”
“What have you eaten all day?”
“Blead… Strong blead and butter… And one purewater.” She told me. “My stomach paining me… Me having fever, no medicine… My back and waist paining me bad bad…”
I sighed. I had to set my anger aside for now. I opened the other door of my car and told her, “Get in.” I’ll take you where you can eat. She hesitated but when I assured her that she will be safe in the car, she got into it and I went around the car, got in and drove off to a local food joint.
There were few customers eating under the shade of a big tree in front of the shop. Curious gazes turned to settle on us as I got down the car with Zainab. I took her by her hand and led her to an empty table where I sat down with her, ignoring the curious stares we were getting. Some were already whispering and murmuring.
“Who’s here please?” I called out and a woman came beaming at me, “Customer!” She said cheerfully but suddenly slowed her steps when she saw Zainab and her frown vanished.
“Who brought this mad girl here?!” She asked angrily.
“I did.” I said boldly “…and I want her to be attended to like every other customer.”
The woman looked away and said, “Ha, Oga, we no dey serve mad person for here o, you wan spoil market for me?”
“If you are not going to attend to her, then we can as well leave.” I stated and started to rise.
“Oga, no vex na, just si-daun. You wey just come from America, you no wan spend small dollars for my shop? Abeg, si-dawn… Obiageli!” She called out to her server.
To be continued…
© Angela Okoduwa