Vote Nnenna! Entry #4 Baba Isheri Has Gone Deaf

Vote Nnenna
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Bimpe was in the market getting her hair plaited. Toke her friend of fifteen years and best braider in town, had assigned her other customers to her assistants so as to concentrate on her. 

“Today is my wedding anniversary but I doubt he remembers,” Bimpe lamented.

“Happy anniversary Ore mi! I actually bought you that set of combs I promised you. Let is serve as your anniversary gift.” Toke whipped out the packet from under her stool.

“Thank you!” Bimpe cried and hugged it to herself, beaming. “You are a wonderful friend.”

“Now cheer up. I’m sure Baba is planning a surprise.”

Bimpe snorted. “Surprise ke? I am the one who will surprise him. Since Aunty Yemi has refused to speak to him about his behavior, I will stop complaining.”

“What did she say?”

“She said a happy marriage is the union between a deaf man and a blind woman.”

“Can you imagine? What sort of talk is that?”

“Mtsheww…Since he is deaf to my cries for his attention, I have become blind to him. Let me look outside.”

“Wait…Bimpe…What are you saying?’ Toke dropped her comb and swung her friend around so that they faced each other.

“He doesn’t hear me so I will blind my eyes to him as well.”

Toke had never heard her friend sound so cold, so bitter. She began to pray under her breath for the right words but the market was too rowdy for them to have an intimate conversation. It would have to be at another time.

“What would Jesus do?” she asked finally.

“Jesus would have laid hands on him and commanded the deaf spirit to come out,” Bimpe replied, straight-faced.

Toke burst into laughter.

“Bimpe Oh! Bimpe you will not kill me!”

Bimpe rolled her eyes before laughing as well. “Deaf husbands will not kill us in Jesus name.”

Baba Isheri was talking on his phone when she got home. “I can supply any quantity you want. Let me tell Juwon to expect you. He is at the farm right now.”

Bimpe stood before him hoping he would notice her new hairdo. When their eyes met, she curtsied and greeted him. He acknowledged her with a nod and turned away to continue his call. She felt like someone who had just received a slap ‘Tawai!’ from a military officer.

“How can I be married yet living single?” she wondered. “In the past, he would have handed the farm over to Juwon for the day so that we can spend today together. Last year, he took me to the newest restaurant in town for a nice meal. I doubt I am getting anything this year.”

Baba Isheri had ended his call and begun to type a message on his phone.

“Baba, happy anniversary,” she said.

He stopped, dropped his phone and looked up. The stormy look on her face made him stutter when he replied. “I forgot…”

“I know.”

He sighed and lowered his head into his hands. “What do I do now? I promised to co-ordinate bible study class for the men’s fellowship tonight,” he said.

“Go well my husband.”

“Are you sure you don’t mind?”

“Of course not: The work of God comes first, after work on the cocoa farm of course,” she spat.

His eyes narrowed, concerned by her tone.

She rose. “Should I serve your meal? I told Nike to feed the children if I returned late.”

“She served me as well. The children went to buy pencils to do their assignments or something.”

There was an awkward pause while she stood there willing him to say something, anything to redeem the situation.

“Happy anniversary Bimpe. I love you,” he said finally, smiling.

“Happy anniversary, Baba.”

“Bimpe your hair is beautiful!” Bolatito exclaimed.

Bimpe smiled and preened. “Toke made it yesterday.”

“All this shakara just to drop your children in school?” He raised a brow teasingly.

She laughed. “Which shakara? I just did something simple. It’s not even…”

“I love the way it shows off your forehead. It’s so nice. Turn let me see the back.’

She turned slowly, deliberately, flirtatiously. He whistled.

“My goodness! It’s too much…”

“Don’t flatter me please.’

“The truth can never be flattery. What are you doing this evening? We have a meeting at the hall. I have been inviting you for months but you keep claiming you are busy.”

“And who said I am not busy?” She folded her arms across her chest. “I am off to Gbogbo Supermarket to apply for a job. I hear they need more hands.”

“They do? The manager is my younger brother, Kola.’

“Kola is your brother?”

“Yes, well, he is actually my cousin but we grew up together. He can’t refuse me anything,” he boasted.

“Will you put in a word for me then? I need the job,” she pleaded.

“Of course I will!”

She screamed her excitement, not minding the fact that they were standing on the road by Denrele’s shop.

“Thank you Jesus! I knew that all my midnight prayers were not in vain. My God is a miracle working God. I really appreciate this Bolatito.”

He smiled and reached for her hand. “You know I would do anything for you, don’t you?”

She was startled by the intensity of her gaze. He didn’t look away for several minutes, even when she cleared her throat to remind him of where they were.

“Ummm…thank you,” she croaked.

“Let’s go and see him right away.” He turned, still holding their hand so she had no choice but to follow him. It was early and there were few people on the road. Most of the shops were still closed.

He kept their conversation on mundane things as they walked. She tried to focus, squelching her discomfort at the way he was rubbing a pattern on her palm.

“I should stop him but why must I? Since Baba Isheri has gone deaf, let me be with the one who hears me.” 

Nnenna is an author, blogger, online course creator, mom and medical doctor. Her 2nd book "Ginika's Adventures" was long-listed for the 2019 NLNG Prize for Literature awarded for Child fiction. For years she has written Christian fiction on her blog Dr. N's Musings, using it as an outlet for her passion to invite many into the Kingdom of God through storytelling just like Jesus did. She lives in Lagos with Simeon, her husband of 10 years and they have 4 children.