Read part 1 here
When Atinuke woke up the next morning, it was madam’s voice that did the magic. From her musty room in the garage she could hear her voice ringing loudly like bells on a church tower. Her heels, clicked on the floor as she spoke, enunciating her words with as much authority as she could muster. “Atinuke! Atinuke! I hope you’re awake because it’s too early to be asleep. Make some pancakes for me and the boys, we have to be at church in the next hour”.
This Sunday-Sunday routine was one that Atinuke had been forced to get used to, having lived with madam for over a year. She was always the first to show up at church on Sunday mornings dressed in the most expensive lace material and a head gear big enough to obstruct the view of anyone who dared seat behind her. The boys, Kamsi and Kaito usually followed reluctantly, their pants clinging obediently to the rise of their buttocks. Their presence in church, this family, had little to do with faith or a desire to serve and more to do with an inclination to show off. Yes, Madam’s presence in church every Sunday was an opportunity to exhibit her uniquely expensive attires and drop generous wads of cash into the offering box when the time came. This stunt of her’s would get the right tongues wagging and solidify tales of her financial status in the social strata.
Atinuke never went with them on Sundays. After all, a house girl had no business contaminating the Italian leather seats of madam’s Bentley. Her duty was to stock them with enough pancakes for breakfast, make freshly stewed jollof rice that they would have for lunch when they got back, then, retire to her room where she would huddle in the corner flipping through the torn pages of old books till evening when Nnanna and the rest of the gang would come over to play FIFA. Then, she would have to come out and make light supper, watch them smack their lips as they ate, before retiring to the garage, huddled between some old blankets and the same torn books.
This routine, dull and frigid, had never been anything for Atinuke to look forward to, until today. Today was different; the shy flutter of her heart would be the careful dictator of her actions. Today, she would hastily prepare the stewed jollof rice in order to save herself some extra mins which she would use to braid her hair neatly into perfectly rounded bantu knots. She would have a good scrubbing before madam and the boys returned from church, put on the buba she had inherited from her mother then rub Vaseline on her tender lips till they shone. She would smile sheepishly and lower her eyelids as she opened the door for Nnanna later in the evening, praying, hoping that he noticed the efforts she had put into looking nice. She would finally make their supper with a renewed energy, taking extra care to put all the important spices in perfect quantity only because she knew that Nnanna was going to be eating.
Read part 3 here