Iya Bukky’s shop is literally opposite the gate of my house. She knows I have been ill since last Friday. She has even complained about my weight loss. I haven’t been cooking, because I have no appetite.
As soon as she saw me opening the gate, she shouted from across the narrow road of our street that she was coming to check on me.
I appreciated that.
She just failed to mention that someone else would be tagging along.
“How old are you”? Pastor Adeleke asks after they had told me “E pele” countless times, as if their chants of “Sorry” will stop the drumbeats in my head.
I recline on a two-seater cushion chair, while they perch on the other single chairs.
“She is 35 years old,” Iya Bukky replies. She knows I won’t answer.
“You live here alone?” Again, my mouthpiece answers for me, “Yes.”
She already knows when I’m irritated and am ready to walk someone – anybody – out of my house.
Mr. Scammer – that’s the pet name I have already given the man – is either playing ignorant or genuinely doesn’t notice how disgusting I find his questions.
“Is she married?” He faces Iya Bukky this time.
“No o. She’s never been married, oh,” she replies on my behalf.
“Hmmmmm,” Mr. Scam clears his throat. Then he continues, “Emi mimo so funmi pe oye ki e ti marry.” He turns to Iya Bukky again, to ask if I understand Yoruba.
“The Holy Spirit told me you ought to have been married long ago, like when you were 21 years old”.
I stifle a giggle and my headache temporarily divorces me.
“But the wicked people who have been wearing purple dresses on you in your dreams are behind this. Haven’t you been wearing purple dresses in your dreams?”
I decide to play along. “Yes,” I reply, meekly.
“And what does the colour purple signify?” he demands.
I keep mute.
Mr. Scammer dials someone and relays the question.
The idiot at the other end says that purple signifies violence. I almost burst into laughter. I find the melodrama interesting. Anything to ease my pains, no matter how tentative, is appreciated.
It isn’t difficult for my mind to wander.
Isn’t it recorded in the bible that even the soldiers who crucified Jesus, dressed him in purple to mock him as king of the Jews?
Isn’t it in the book of Proverbs, that the virtuous woman is described as draped in purple?
Everyone mentioned in the bible, who wore purple was either wealthy or royalty.
Yet, this man is standing in my living room, coming up with psuedo-spiritual connotations for one of the colours of the rainbow. Mr. Scammer doesn’t know I’m a pastor’s daughter who simply chooses not to choke myself with religion. He probably thinks I’m desperately in need of salvation, of a brand that only he can offer; that’s how many religious people refer to my kind.
He is now through with his fraudulent phone call, and looks at me in a manner I find awkward. “You heard the man of god. Purple signifies violence. We need to do vigils to break the marital curses placed on you.”
“I want a sharp cure for this wicked headache right now. Marriage will come at God’s own time.” I regret my words as soon as I say them, because Iya Bukky pushes away the bowl of semovita and meat-filled egusi soup she has brought for me. This woman pushes my hope of sustenance, out of my reach. “Haa. Don’t try it,” I say to myself.
“Our daddy in the lord is correct, the marital prayer will cure even the headache. You’re thinking too much,” she chides.
“You see, I haven’t asked, and the fact that you think too much, is being revealed. Isn’t it marriage you’re thinking about? You’ve gotten accustomed to being single but it’s not of your making.”
I know it is in my interest to keep mute, while they spit gibberish.
I want water. I would like to descend on the sumptuous meal, that is just out of my reach. And I would like to do so in peace. So, I will not ask anyone to leave – lest the food takes a walk with them. I won’t argue, not even to refute their ludicrous claims or save myself more of a headache.
Almost anything they say is permissible, until I’m done with the food, I say to myself …
EROBOT ON TRIAL is a serialised, true story.
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