Simi saw Black Friday’s approach in everything that happened around and to her.
When Mama screamed that Simi should not forget the soup that was simmering on the fire and let it burn because she was “pressing” her phone, Simi quickly minimized her Blackberry messenger and put her chat with Janice about what they would buy during the Black Friday sales on hold. She dusted her behind and faked a run to the outdoor kitchen to stir the soup, squinting and complaining about the smoke that peppered her eyes from the open fire.
Black Friday was Simi’s best day on the calendar. She ticked off days till the dawn of that glorious day. Jumia, Konga, Kaymu and their likes, were going to feel her “rage.” Simi boasted often. It was the only other thing she knew how to do apart from sitting down, all day, and gossiping about the latest bags and the girls who had them.
And, yes, she knew how to cook soup well, with a little more salt than was usually necessary. Mama would always attribute Simi’s lack of kitchen skills to her constant “pinging” and her nonchalance towards household chores.
“If you do not know how to cook, na you and your husband go settle am. At least, he will eat my food during the wedding and know that I am a good cook. Na you go explain where you learn tha wan from.”
Mama had a way with words. She would begin her admonitions in good English to let us know that she, too, had had a university education—even though what she had attended was a polytechnic—and then, she would branch off into street pidgin to make us aware that she, too, was a woman of the streets. Mama’s words had a way of sticking to your subconscious, at least, until the next opportunity to do wrong appeared. But this time, mama’s words had no effect. The lecture on what husbands expect of their wives usually left Simi feeling remorseful, but not this time. All Simi said was “if mama understood the importance of Black Friday, she would not be saying all this rubbish anyhow.”
Simi only gave a hoot about talk of Black Friday.
It had taken Simi the whole year to save up in preparation for the Black Friday shopping. She had cut down on her expenses, saved up ninety percent of her monthly allowances (and that is saying something, seeing that Simi shopped more than she ‘chopped’ food) and even did ‘runs’ to raise money. Simi looked forward to the many bags and clothes she was going to buy, the laptop she would finally own and the shoes she had wanted for so long.
Every single thing that happened prior to the Black Friday sales was important to Simi. Someone tried to borrow money from her and that person immediately became a sworn ‘enemy of progress.’ I tried to dissuade Simi from her shopping, and I became a threat to her success. Even when PHCN interrupted the power supply in our neighborhood, she cussed on them as hard as she could, not minding the fact that papa was a staff in PHCN. In fact, she started suspecting a conspiracy in the house. She termed it MY BLACK FRIDAY CONSPIRACY.
Soon, mama became worried. She would complain to Dapo, our eldest brother, that this Black kini shopping should comman go so that some people will return to their senses, and brother Dapo, as we called him, would reassure her that it would soon be okay with Simi.
“That’s how it is with young ladies. They would not spare any chance to show off. Just put up with her mama.” And mama would heave, that heave that said “I have heard” without words. She would heave heavily, and her shoulders would slump. Her face would twist, and her lips would press tightly against each other in a fiendish kiss. Then, she would almost believe that Simi would come back to her senses soon enough.
But Simi never came back to her senses. On Friday morning, Black Friday morning, after mama had prepared tea and fried eggs for breakfast and had ascended the stairs to serve ‘madam’ Simi her own breakfast in her room, a clattering sound echoed around the house. It sounded like metal and cement floor arguing over who ate more fufu. It sounded as though it would raise the dead grass in front of the house. Papa, who was preparing to leave for the office, paused and cursed under his breath before declaring that the person that will make him deaf in his house will first run mad. Brother Dapo ran out of his room and landed a slap on my face without question and as I opened my innocent mouth to explain my innocence, a piercing scream filled the house.
“They have killed me oooooo!!!”
It was mama’s voice. Distinct like it is usually bound to be. It was mama’s voice, calling the world to the scene of her only daughter, sprawled on her bed, her chest burnt by a phone plugged to a powerbank. Dead.
Image by Francisco Huguenin Uhlfelder via flickr
About the Author:
Covenant Chimnonso is rounding off his Bachelors degree in English and Literature at the University of Benin with hope of furthering in Creative Writing, Journalism and Theatre Management. He has written stories and poems on social media and is currently learning the art of spokenword performance. He hopes to influence his society with as much reality as he can muster.