It was days since Laraba got to Enugu. Her Boss had insisted that she was the best person to head the project there. She didn’t like it, but it was work. To think that she’d be here for another month was annoying! Everyone here just assumed you spoke the language.
One evening after work, as she lay on her bed chatting with Hamma, there was a knock on her door. She called out to know who it was because she wasn’t expecting anyone-no one knew her here except members of her team and most of them were putting up in another town. She heard a male voice. It sounded a little familiar at first, until she heard “room service”. She shouted through the door; “I didn’t order anything”. The knocking became more insistent. She got mad and opened the door to give the waiter a talking to. Standing there, was Chuks! Butterflies did a dance in her stomach. Maybe it was because she was so far away from home that she was this happy to see him. She held herself back from hugging him.

“Won’t you hug me, my Queen? Abi, aren’t you happy to see me?” I came all the way from Lagos, because of you. I tried to stop thinking about you but it’s too hard. When I didn’t see you at the canteen I asked some of my guys and the rest is history. He dropped his bag and held her face up and kissed her. She forgot everything and kissed back. He held her closer and they kissed some more. Reality hit Laraba in the face. She remembered that, that was not how a Hausa girl was to behave and that it was bad that a man came to the door of her room. She quickly shut the door and sat on floor looking into space. It was wonderful! She never felt like that with Hamma, not even once!

Chuks begged her to open the door, till he got tired and left. She didn’t see him again until after a few days. He had gone back to being really quiet. His room was a few doors away.

Laraba couldn’t sleep. She found herself getting up quite late in the night. She knocked on Chuk’s door. He opened the door and just stared at her without saying a word. Laraba pushed him out of the way and slid into his bed. They watched TV without a word. He held on to her as if he’d done that may times before. She didn’t say a word. The days after that were wonderful. Apparently, Chuks was from one of the villages around. He took her around and introduced her to some of his cousins. He taught her a few words in Ibo and she learnt how to eat Nkwobi and Isi-ewu.

…to be continued

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I envision Hilda’s Shoulder to be a relationship park-a place you go to learn, vent and share. I have another understanding of the word relationship -I don’t think it is for people dating only. A marriage is a relationship too, and one which needs great rela- tions in the SHIP called home!
Hilda’s Shoulder is a place where we virtually hold hands like - real friends should. If you want to come anonymously...we understand ..still come! Hilda’s shoulder is here for you!


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