It was sunny when they arrived Lagos. The sound from the cars on the road was deafening , and a mass of commuters were struggling to find a way out of the traffic…. The taxi driver manoeuvred his way until he got to Marina where Onome marveled at the tall buildings that lined the road. “Is it oyinbo people who built theses houses?” she asked Mrs. Sylvia. Mrs Sylvia smiled and said ‘for some, Yes.’ In fifteen minutes, they were home…..Onome was ushered into the house by the maid called Clara, from Akwa Ibom. That evening while serving dinner, Clara served Onome alcoholic wine; Mrs Sylvia was too busy with her food to notice Clara’s mistake, and Onome feeling like she just had a taste of heaven ate all she was given. when Mrs Sylvia commended her for finishing all she was served, she said ‘ah thank you aunty, you know it is only a visitor who loves you that leaves the plate she was served with empty ‘ ,this gave Mrs Sylvia a good laugh, Onome slept well that night and found it difficult to get out of bed the following morning., Her aunt had to go check on her to ensure she was okay, and it was then Clara opened up that it was probably the drink she had at dinner yesterday. Mrs Sylvia was furious and warned Clara not to ever give Onome alcoholic drink until she approved of it.
Two weeks later, Mrs Sylvia was due to take a trip to Dubai. Before travelling she handed over Onome’s O’level results to her friend who works in University of Lagos, Mr. Adetoye, to help with the painstaking admission process. She left for Dubai instructing Onome to heed to Clara’s advice as she was older and more accustomed to Lagos., Onome nodded, and agreed to do all she was instructed to do. Clara who is a beautiful lady had a short temper and stammered. She also had a boyfriend, Titus, who comes to see her when Mrs Sylvia travels. Two days after Mrs Sylvia left for Dubai, Titus came to see Clara, who served him with Mrs Sylvia’s choicest wine and made him a delicacy of his choice. Onome saw Titus and they exchanged pleasantries. She thought he was one of the boys who worked for her aunt, but became suspicious because of the way Clara hosted him. when she asked Clara who he was, she told her he was one of the people working for her aunt at her site .Onome smiled and thought to herself, ‘ I might be a village girl, but I have common sense’.
Mrs Sylvia returned a few days later, Onome was glad as she had a lot to disclose to her aunt.) Clara and Onome helped her unpack and she afterwards sent Clara to the market to get a few things.,While Clara was away, Onome told her aunt about Titus’s visit. At the mention of the wine, Mrs Sylvia rushed to the living room, she was furious!When Onome noticed the change of her countenance she immediately knelt down to beseech her not to allow Clara know she told her. Mrs Sylvia told Onome to calm down as she was adult enough to handle the situation without getting Onome involved. She gave Onome some things she got for her and told her to keep an eye on Clara anytime she was out of the house. Onome looked at the clothes her aunt bought for her, they were all revealing. She said ‘thank you ma, but I am not used to wearing such’. Her aunt laughed and asked her not to worry as that’s the way people in Lagos dress. She reluctantly accepted them and went to her room to try them on. An hour later Clara got back from the market and Mrs Sylvia asked her to serve that particular wine during lunch, Clara became jittery knowing very well that her boss will notice the reduction in the wine, she suggested to her boss to try a new wine she got on her birthday recently. Mrs Sylvia insisted on that wine and when Clara brought the wine, she asked her to explain why the it had reduced so much.Clara was scared, she couldn’t utter a word. “ Do you now drink Clara?” Mrs. Sylvia asked her. “No ma”…… Clara answered. Mrs Sylvia called out ….O.N.O.M.E…….!
Did you drink out of this wine in my absence?
Onome answered, “No aunty, I didn’t”
Mrs Sylvia asked Onome to go back to her room. Before she could say a word, Clara went on her knees confessing that she was the one who drank the wine. Irritated to some extent,Mrs Sylvia asked her how she managed to consume such a large quantity of alcohol as she always took a little when she was offered.
‘Madam, that day I was just tired and didn’t know that I consumed that much’, Clara said
You mean you drank this (showing her the bottle) all alone?, Mrs Sylvia asked.
: Ok, madam the truth is that my cousin came to visit me and I gave him a little, she answered
Really? You now have a cousin in Lagos that I don’t know about? Your parents didn’t tell me that when I took you from Uyo!, Mrs Sylvia responded, getting angrier.
Yes ma I have a cousin in Lagos, Clara responded.
Very well Clara, I will deduct this from your monthly allowance.
Later that evening, Onome decided to act the ‘dumb fox’)while she and Clara were cleaning the kitchen.,Clara asked Onome if she told her aunt about Titus’s visit, Onome told her she didn’t and went on to say ‘ of what use is it telling her, you said Titus works for aunty , so I’m sure aunty knows he would be here ‘ Clara smiled and said to Onome ‘ we could be best of friends you know?
Onome: (looks away) we already are….