DANIEL: I never envisioned in this planned adventure of mine,that one rookie girl would have the guts to humiliate me to the cor..That morning I had woken up early, but as usual I took my time in the bathroom, forgetting I was not in the comfort of my spacious bathroom back home.. My roommate was so glad he had his bath before me..
But then I heard the alarm and a senior was heading to our room already.. I couldn’t tell if it was a female or male, so I quickly reached for my trousers before the guy entered.. It was actually a male, but it would seem awkward to pull off my trousers in his presence.. The guy would not even let me do any other thing than put my white polo on and follow him out..Now I was breathing so hard, burning in flames..”that Nadia has touched the lion’s tail..ooohhhh and it gonna bite her hard, and chew her up..and crack her bones!”I ranted and paced to and froAkin, my roommate could only laugh and laugh till his eyes were red..”Dude what’s funny?”I asked with bitterness in my tone”Mehn, how are you ever gonna recover from this one.. I never knew you had a black ass until now..like she tore your trousers open and you didn’t know? Are you stiff or something?”His question was indeed one to ponder on..I wasn’t stiff, back there I was in another world..God, her scent..she smelt so good..
The electrifying passion her body and skin were transacting.. Any guy in my shoes would feel the same way.. I was lostThere I go thinking of her again..No, I quickly waved the passionate part, back to my initial anger..”All interns report back to class”The instruction was normal..but was really abnormal to me.. Like two hours just ended like that? So soon? How do I face the group?NADIA: My mission wasn’t complete..and I was sure Daniel was gonna bounce back..Part of me warned”Nadia you are bigger than all these pranks na, I thought you left them in school”Eh, I did but the guy pushed me..We all gathered to meet Brenda, I was actually trying to spot Daniel..and I found him trying to sneak Into the Hall unnoticed..”Daniel, you are late”I announced..and in unison, just like they’ve been waiting for him to surface, they all burst out laughing..whispering among themselves until Brenda cut them shut”Pick your aprons and let’s get to work”She instructed and we followed..©onyeneke AbelI was getting scared now, Daniel red eyes were on me, to the extent I almost missed my steps”The name hawawshi would create an awkward dish in anyone’s mind who hears it for the first time, but be rest assured that it’s one of the most delicious pie you’ve ever had”Brenda started, I was paying full attention, this was what I paid the sum of 200thousand for..”Wilson, you.. I will show u shege”I thought and reached for the chopping board as Brenda requested and began the preparation-How to prepare hawawshi-Add flour, black pepper, salt and oil to a bowl and mix-mix very well-Add warm water and mix well with your hand-Now your dough is ready.. Divide the dough into parts just asyou want it ..but for this lesson, divide in 16 parts-now start preparing the vegetables, cut two big tomatoes..Note:without tomato seeds-cut two big green pepper-cut one big onion and one carrot and some chopped celery ifavailable-Add salt, black pepper, spiced boiled beef, and paprika to the beef-mix all chopped vegetables to the beef e.g carrot, tomatoes,celery and green pepper-Now divide the mixed beef Into the 16 parts like the dough-put on the table some of the oil to prevent it from being sticky and a ball of dough-roll out the dough as a circle-put your mixed meat in the middle-roll the meat ball as a circle-close the dough on the meat-put it in the oven (300) for 15 to 20mins- serve hot with vegetable saladWithin an hour we could all savor the aroma of the Egyptian hawawshi.. I was salivating already.. But then my stomach reminded me of our past struggle so I relaxed and took just one to eat..
Later that night, I actually found Joyce, my roommate to be interesting when I Met her crying..I wanted to ignore but she wouldn’t keep quiet”Aaarrrrggghhh!What’s wrong Joyce?”As if she has been waiting for the question”He broke up with me..after all we’ve been thru..after all this while”Oh, I was guessing it was that her lover boy she always called..and they would be using ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too’to disturb my ear..judging from her explanation.. I was thinking their relationship would have lasted for years”How many years?”I asked as I sat down with her”Just two months”Her reply almost prompt me to pinch her mouth”Mtcheeeww, just two months and you are crying like a baby..my friend wipe those tears before I slap them from your face”With immediate effect she did when she saw my Stern face..I was thinking it’s high time I recruit a new gang in this academy, after all..its a school too..first I will recruit this cry baby, Joyce
I wasn’t foolish this time, I slept early, but never failed to thinkof what Daniel might be planning now..only for my phone to ring and disturb my precious sleep..I angrily snatched the phone and was about to switch it off when I recognise the number..It was Wilson..God should I pick this call?
NADIA CONTINUES: I didn’t have to think twice, I picked the call…there was no way I would see Wilson’s call and ignore, ah! for what? I wouldn’t dare”Hello?”I called out when I picked”Nadia, how are you? Where are you? Everyone has been searching?”He asked, I was a bit disappointed. He didn’t really hit the nailI was expecting. There was no’Nadia, I miss you. Please come home’If he had said that, I don’t mind abandoning whatever goal I had and hurry back to him.I cleared my throat and replied with the most polite tone I could think of”Am fine Wilson, I can take care of myself”He was quiet, and it felt awkward. So I chipped in”Am in a food academy, am learning how to cook”.He remained quiet, and then all of a sudden he burst out laughing. I wondered why, foolish me I laughed with him. Thinking he was actually happy for me until he burst my bubbles.” Nadia, we both know you are horrible at that, what could you possibly learn? You would still come out a failure. Or probably make a fool of yourself”.
My heart rent in two, his words went deep into my membraneand stuck there. I dropped the call and buried my face in my palms”You would still come out a failure”It kept repeating in my head.He called back, but I wasn’t going to pick this time.A tear dropped from my eyes and another, and another, till I was now sobbing”Hey, look who’s crying”Joyce tapped meI quickly sniffed and wiped my tears, trying to hide the fact that I have failed as a leader of my supposed gang”I heard everything, your phone was on loudspeaker bae”Shit, I didn’t even notice, I was just too excited and eager to hear from Wilson”He doesn’t love you, forget him”She finally said and went into the bathroom.It was 4am already, so we had to get ready for our lessons.Although I expected Daniel to somehow have his revenge, I didn’t realise it would be sooner than I expected.Just metres to our training Hall, I was bathed with a mixture of substance whose stench was probably the worst in the whole wide world
I was close to the Hall already, and everyone could see this. Daniel raised the alarm”Is that Nadia?”Brenda hurried to take a peek, I looked like someone who escaped from a sewage dung..Brenda stopped everyone from laughing and instructed I sit out that particular lesson”Go and change, you look disgusting”Daniel gave me that wink, I didn’t bother, I just felt I deserved it anyway. I was too broken to even fight back.
I just bowed my head as people gave way, holding theirs noses to help escape the stench I was emanating.I was close to my room when I bump into someone, we both fell.”Am sorry ma, am sorry”She was an old woman, God what was I thinking? She was holding a broom and dust bin. But it was all spilled when I bumped into her. I didn’t even watch where I was going.
My guess is she was one of the cleaners.But what would a woman this old be doing with this kind of job? She has got no grown up children to take care of her?”Don’t worry my child, I can take care of these”She suggested when I attempted helping her gather the dirt I had spilled. But I persisted and helped her till we’ve gotten to where she was to dispose themI was still wondering how she was able stand the stench on me”Thank you”She smiled at me, I smiled back and hurried back to my roomto freshen up
DANIEL: The remaining part of our lessons that day was on how to design the Egyptian hawawshi.Trust me it was fascinating, as Brenda designed it into different shapes”Appealing people to your meal, is not just by the taste, but bythe appearance and packages. You can make them salivate for it even before having a taste”I agreed, it was really true. The way she placed it carefully on different tray, one marched with a vegetable salad, another with a fruit salad. The last with a cup of coffee. I was salivating just as she as presumedMy mind trailed off to Nadia, I had arranged for some boys who could be bought with little change to bath her with disposed sour foods just when she was close to the Hall. They did their job well.My mum was a psychologist, so I learnt from her, and I was able to understand what I saw .My planned revenge didn’t seem to have any effect on her, I felt bad. I felt guilty. Because she was broken even before my attack.
NADIA: Face it ladies, there this one guy in the whole world who we’ve given that power to smash our whole world, trusting them not too. Bad news is, they always take advantage and eventually break our heart. And until you learnto break free, they would still have that hold over you.My hurt was turning to anger, Joyce was taking it funny now when I repeated the same words Wilson had said”The guy really hates you bae”I went out for a walk, Joyce was adding more fuel to my anger, I had to resist the urge to break her scattered set of teeth. And the only way to do that, was to go out for a while”You again?”That old woman bump into me again. It was my first time strolling out. I didn’t know if it was allowed, but I didn’t care. I was so scared, and so when I bump into her, I didn’t need a prophecy to tell that my skeleton would jump out of its skin.”It’s ok, come with me. There is something I want to show you”I hesitated for a while, but then a guard shouted and hurried towards us”Who’s there?!”I quickly followed her? What can this old woman possibly do to me? If she tries anything stupid, all I have to do is just give her one heavy blow, case closed.”Why do you want to be a cook, Nadia?
“Jesus? How did she know my name.Immediately I remembered all those Nigerian movies I had watched about familiar demonic spirits.And horrific part is they are all old women.I stopped and took a step backwards”Don’t be scared, I knew your name today, you are popular already, when you tried to cook a fruit salad”I didn’t know when I laughed. So my fame is building up.”So answer me, why do you want to be a cook?”I boldly followed her, although I still resolved in my mind to carry out my plan If she tries something fishy”To have revenge on my ex husband”I muttered out when we entered her supposed room..It was the most beautiful in the whole academy. Stocked with kitchen equipments of different types.I gasped In shock”Wrong answer, if that’s your motive, you’ll never learn. And you’ll fail”I nodded my head. My eyes was still surveying my present environment.She took off her coat and ordered me to seat”Allow me teach you Nadia. Be my private student”Without thinking twice, or even once, I jumped at the idea”Of course ma, of course!”
DANIEL: I was back in the comfort of my bed. Akin was fast asleep already and I was so happy for that.
I had planned to call All my side chicks that night, and I didn’t want any interruptions.
But then, my mum called. The most devastating call I could ever think of at that moment. It took me another 5minutes, and an endless dials after 4missed Calls, to finally pick the call.
But then it wasn’t my mum on the line.
My heart missed, did something happen to her?
I frowned now, it was my uncle. We where never in good terms, I just feigned to flow along with him. I knew he had eyes for my place in kayode’s kitchen.
You can imagine that guy trying to steal what he didn’t work for. And I know quite well, that the only way he would achieve that is if am dead
He was actually whispering.
“I just found out something, I’ll text it to you. Your mum confiscated my phone because of this”
He ended the call, keeping me in hot suspense. Like water heated for more than 30minutes
NADIA: You know how God works? How he picks the neglected and good for nothing, just to shame the enemy?
That was my testimony. A private teacher? My hopes were so high. I forgot to ask her name. I forgot to ask her aim? I forgot to ask for the prize in return.
I forgot that all favor comes with a prize.
I got back thru a secret tunnel she led me thru..
I was back in my floor within few minutes
“See you tomorrow, 7pm. Same place”.
She smiled at me. Although I was a bit nervous. It seems she knows too much? Who is she? How did she even know about this tunnel?
Why she working as a cleaner with such a extravagant apartment?
All these questions welled up in my mind as I watched the grin on her face.
But then, I smiled back
” Thank you ma”
Two days was for Banga soup.
As I approached, I was wondering what Daniel would look like now.
I had succeeded in recruiting two more girls to my crew.
And our most dreaded rule which enacts outright expulsion from the crew was
“Absolutely no one! No one! Is allowed to fall in love with any guy in this academy”
We’ve all been cheated by the man we gave our hearts too, in one way or the other.
And so as I wrote love out of my dictionary, I expected them to do the same
“Is it just me, or Brenda looks smaller today?”
Ok that’s Jenny, the critic. She finds fault in anything.
“Emm, Jenny I think your eyes has grown black feathers”
Sharon said, we couldn’t help but laugh.
That’s Sharon, the comedian.
I guess you all know Joyce. The talkative. And she had to get us in trouble
“Joyce and emm Nadia.. You four, you would represent us in this weekend’s competition”
Brenda announced.. She has been noticing Joyce blabbing to the ends of the earth.
It was then I remembered the old woman.. I had completely forgotten.
After the boring lessons, with a promise to go Into the practical the next day. I tried to search for Daniel. He didn’t attend that day lessons.
7pm that night I hurried to the old woman’s apartment..I almost lost my way but then when a guard shouted at me again. I instantly remembered.
What I saw next, well.. I wouldnt call it cooking. She was manifesting. She had a scotches egg in her pan. A bread in her hands.
Like a speed of lighting she threw the fried egg up. My eyes went wide, of course it’s gonna fall, but then she caught it with her pan.
She threw it again and this time caught it in between her bread.
I took my steps towards her. Her circus show was alluring all my senses.
She poured a little quantity of oil into the pan and added vegetables:
Tomatoes, garlic, green pea, green pepper, cabbage and a pinch of salt.
While it steamed she placed the bread with the egg in it. Straight into another pan with oil and used a big spoon to compress it.
She was actually toasting it. But she had a toaster, I could clearly see it. Why didn’t she use it.
She looked back to her steamed vegetables, poured it out into a ceramic plate and placed her bread beside it. she had a boiled coffee already, so it took her a minute to prepare a coffee tea which she added a tin peak milk too
My dear readers..I was SALIVATING..
I swallowed hard countless times and licked my lips subconsciously.
She acted like she didnt even see me..
She stopped eating to look at me
“Welcome, you are prepared for your lessons?”
I nodded. And God knows I prayed so hard to just have a bite. If I had known this would happen, trust me.. I would have fasted and prayed ahead.
But to my greatest surprise, this woman downed the food, to the last crumb, she dried the cup and made sure there was no drop remaining. And then she turned and extended the dirty plates to me
“Let’s start with you washing the dishes”
My head went loosed
What? You must be kidding me!
©onyeneke Abel .
DANIEL: The reason I got into this storyline was because, I got twisted with Nadia in complicated ways I couldn’t imagine.
I had gotten back to the Academy late in the night. I would have to sneak in but my problem was at night, security was tight.
I was praying so hard I make it to my room alive.
Who knows, all those Hausa soldiers that smokes dry weed can just fire me thinking its one stray rabbit.
And I was right.
I froze at first. Waiting for the angry man to get to me. But the guy cracked his gun. It was then I realized he wasn’t approaching me to hear my explanation. I took off and he pursued.
I found a dark tunnel and without thinking what I might encounter while going thru it. I ran inside.
And you won’t believe this man followed.
My initial plan was to hide there for a while and then later come out when he was out of sight.
But plans change. I hurried to the other side.
To the glory of God I came out in our floor. But it wasn’t my Hall.
I noticed a door open, I ran in and shut the door.
Ok, listen. This is were our original story started from. Because I actually ran into Nadia’s room. Only to discover there was an unconscious lady, bleeding. From frying pan to fire.
NADIA: The shock that overwhelmed me got me startled for the next 2minutes. It wasn’t my fault. The horrific tales I heard from the mysterious old woman had created fear in my mind already.
I didn’t know I had not even locked the door until the person I least expected rushed in
“Jesus! God no..God no! Why me today. Why do they want to kill me?!”
Lord of heaven. My heart had left me. My thoughts were the people responsible had come to finish the Job. But It was just Daniel. What was he doing in my room. He was sweating profusely. He was panting and fidgeting like a scared rabbit.
Before I uttered another word I heard a knock on my door. He quickly hid behind the door and signaled me not to sell him out.
Sell him out keh, when I have my own case to hide.
“Sir there is no one here. Please I am naked”
That was the word to convince the man.
When he was finally gone. I rushed to Joyce and applied pressure to her chest. She was pleading from a slight tear on her forehead. She must have hit her head somewhere. Thank goodness I knew exactly what to do. Am a Doctor nah.
“What do we do?”
I asked Daniel who has been standing afar off by the door. He made sure there was a very reasonable gap between us. I knew he was thinking I did the damage.
“What’s we? You and who?”
He quickly replied.
“Mr man. Whether you like it or not. We are in this together now. Except you want me to call back the security”
I threatened. After he hesitated for a while he gave in.
“Take hold this scissors. I have to sew her up”
I made sure all my medical kits were with me. I had taken them with me to the academy.
He was quiet as I sew her up and made her lie on her back to stop the bleeding. Slowly I could sense life coming back to her.
We couldn’t sleep. he sat opposite me, with his back against the wall.
I had a lot as to say. A lot to ask. And I knew he had something to say to. But we sat looking up to the ceiling. Like there was something special in it.
“So you tried to kill her”
He finally spoke out.
“Kill who? Is like there is something wrong with you. Or I should be scared that you want to kill me. What are you doing in my room at this time of the night?” I fired back immediately. I had been expecting him to say it. I had been prepared.
He was quiet again.
“That’s why you tore my trousers the other day”
He shot again.
“After you planned to disgrace me. And for the record you bath me with sour food so what’s the big deal”
Silence again. Till he asked another question, the one I least expected.
“What happened Nadia. You were broken that day. Who hurt you?”
I opened my mouth but no words came out. I felt he was trying to read me, so I turned my face before I found the words to reply.
“None of your business”
I expected him to say something else, but he didn’t so I asked
“Where are you coming from by this time. And why was the security after you?”
My mind was telling me he had went clubbing.
And I had the right to know since he took refuge in my room. But then, the guy had the guts to reply
“None of your business”
And we stayed quiet all night. I even fell asleep and woke up to still see him in the same sitting position. It was almost 4am. Now there is trouble. Because Joyce had not woken up yet.
“Daniel, she has not woken up”
I muttered, i was panicking already.
He asked. For a while there he didn’t understand till I gesticulated at the time.
“Ok ok. Am out of here”
He stood up and started towards the door.
“It seems you’re forgetting something”
“That any guy found in the ladies Hall is outright expulsion”
He sat back.
“God, why is this happening to me? Which kind wahala be all this one”.
He lamented. That’s not my business anyway. We are in this one together, whether the Devil likes it or not.
I remembered I had Robb with me. I quickly applied to her nose continuously till she sneezed and jerk up.
” let me go! Let me go!”
Daniel rushed to her like the flash and held her mouth even before i made a move.
“What’s wrong with you. It’s like you want to expose us”
I hit his hands off her.
“What’s wrong with you. Can’t you see she is hurt?”
He held his head and looked up to heaven
“God, let this cup pass me by”
He lameted again
I hissed and turned to Joyce.
She held my hand and muttered.
“It was our supervisor. Brenda”