Convinced that her plan was the perfect one, Atinuke trudged silently behind Nnanna as he walked up to join the boys, her eyes fixated on the ground. She had no idea what she was doing, nor the amount of courage it would take for her to speak up when the time came. As much as she tried to rehearse the speech in her head, she found her thoughts were occasionally being interrupted by the perfect view of Nnanna’s derriere, swinging gallantly with each step forward. “How could one be so perfect?” she thought to herself, “How could he possibly have such an effect on her? “How could he be related to, yet so different from madam’s boys?”
A loud thud jolted Atinuke back to reality. Lost in thought, with eyes fixated on the floor, she had walked straight into madam’s crystal vase of white rosebuds and knocked it right over. “Yeparipa! Mo daran!” she yelled as she fell to the floor trying her best to match the pieces of broken crystals. Kamsi took one look at her and burst into laughter, rolling over his tummy as if in an epileptic fit. “What the hell was that? So uncivilized”, he commented and turned around to continue playing FIFA as though nothing had happened.
The living room suddenly became a convulsion of emotions; Atinuke wailing, Kaito snap-chatting nonchalantly, Kamsi laughing and Nnanna, uncomfortably silent. The entire situation was extremely confusing to him. He could not understand why Atinuke was so heart wrenched over a piece of glass or why the boys were so cold and unresponsive to her tears. The dynamism of the madam-house help relationship was one he could not fully comprehend. “That’s enough, Ati… Ati… step away from the glass.” but Atinuke would not respond. Instead, she dug harder into the shards of glass until she bled, hoping for a miracle, praying that madam would see her scars and spare her the untold beating that already awaited her. As she gathered and patched unsuccessfully, her deep red blood began to seep through the cracks in her skin, crawling onto the crystals and tinting it to a transparent red. Nnanna jumped at the sight and grabbed Atinuke in to his arms. “I said that’s enough! Oh my God! Guys, she’s bleeding where’s the first aid kit?”
Kamsi and Kaito could care less than to respond to what they had unanimously termed the village girl’s problems and Nnanna had more sense than to respond to their extreme pettiness. Taking Atinuke by the shoulder, he led her to the bathroom where he rinsed out her hand and began apply alcohol. There was so much going on in this moment; the warmth of his hands on her skin, the feel of his breath on her neck,the kindness in his eyes and the tenderness with which he gently dabbled the alcohol but, Atinuke was in too much pain to fully bask in any of these and Nnanna, in fear of how much blood she was losing, could not bring himself to respond to her pleas to stop. “If this doesn’t work I’ll have to take you to the emergency room he said.”
The emergency room wasn’t an option, sure, Nnanna knew that, her meager house girl salary was merely enough to send to her family back home and how could she incur more charges on madam after breaking the vase crystal already. She made to protest but it was too late, Nnanna was already turned around rushing to go grab his key. Atinuke stretched out her hand and grabbed his shirt immediately hoping to stop him before the boys realized what was happening but totally unprepared for the paralyzing bolt of pain that shot through her entire body immediately. The mixture of fear and concern in Nnanna’s eyes was the last thing she saw before everything turned pitch black.