Yesterday, we began the countdown to the release of Nike Campbell-Fatoki’s Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon. Read the first excerpt if you have not done so already. The story is continued below.
My shift ended at 7 a.m. I enjoyed the graveyard shift unlike Damon and Leroy, my colleagues. They preferred to spend their nights partying. I reminded myself that they were just in their early twenties and I had a good ten years on them. My shift gave me an opportunity to search for jobs once I got back to my hole-in-the-wall apartment. Now that I had graduated after six years of part-time school, I needed to get a professional job.
When I opened the door to my apartment, my eyes locked with the beady eyes of the black rat that had been tormenting my life for weeks, nibbling on my bread, tearing into my sofa bed and leaving droppings all over the apartment. It was perched on top of my sofa bed. I dropped my lunch bag and ran towards it. It was faster. It ran into the kitchen and disappeared behind the stove. I pulled the stove out of its spot and bent down to look. It had escaped through a hole into my neighbour’s apartment. I pushed the stove back in place. I feared I had spilled my lunch of leftover peppered chicken when I hastily dropped my lunch bag onto the floor to catch the vermin, but it was still intact when I opened it. My phone buzzed in my pocket. It was my younger sister, Titi. Her tiny voice sounded frantic.
“Brother Ade, Mama is sick! She has typhoid but the hospital won’t keep her. They need a deposit.” She started crying uncontrollably.
“Typhoid? How did she get that?” I screamed into the phone. A heavy thud from the floor followed. It was Mr Savoy. He lived in the apartment below me. He hit the ceiling with his walking stick whenever he heard a pin drop.
I sat down on the wood floor, not caring about the noise I made.
“I don’t know. Brother, we don’t have the money for private hospital. And you know it’s better to keep her at home than take her to the General Hospital.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll get some money across. Just go and borrow for now and I’ll repay it. Tell whoever you ask that your brother in the US will refund it, with interest. Just get her to the hospital.”
“All right. I –” The call cut off. There was no more credit on her phone. We had talked for too long anyway. I have to remember to include money for phone credit when I send the money for the hospital bills.
I spent the rest of the day cooking a large pot of designer stew. The aroma filled the apartment. The smell of naija food made me feel close to home, especially at a time like this. I had learned how to cook while growing up because my parents would leave for work at 5 a.m. and return at 7 p.m. I had to either warm meals or cook for my sister and me.
Cooking for Tamuno happened by chance. I was eating behind the receptionist counter, next to the waiting area when he walked by one night. He sniffed the air and walked up to me as I gulped down my balls of garri wrapped in ẹfo riro. He asked if I was Nigerian.
Pre-order a copy of the book here for a limited time only at a 20% discount.