Short Story: The Last Trip Down The West by Nancy Olakunle
A thousand and one things ran through Mary’s mind as she packed her things for the twelfth time in twelve years. She was used to the procedure and she felt little or no emotion as she watched the little children who ran across the sandy courtyard bare backed and bar footed.
They all had bulging abdomens and all had scanty, tiny short and knotty hair. They all looked like her, they were all related to her by blood… all fifteen of them.
She looked at the far horizon beyond which the world she was now accustomed to lay. Waiting, calling to her. That place of a mixture of heaven and hell. A mixture of Pleasures and pain. When she had first set out for that place, she had done so with so much hope. So much aspiration, so much faith in fate. But now as she looked at her now matured, well rounded body, the body that had been raped, beaten, punished, tortured, starved, maltreated in all forms of ways that only she could imagine, she knew that she would never be that hopeful or faithful again. She had come to realize that the world out there was really a world for the brave. Weak people get eaten by the sharks of this world.
Her life up to this point had been anything but easy and the proof of this statement could be seen in every inch of her body. She was a girl of about 5ft, maybe less. She could pass for a pretty girl if only she would smile. Her face was a square box with sharp corners and an oily appearance. Her hair was short and kinky. She had a well rounded figure that betrayed her age even though her height did not favour her at all. The light pink undersized dress she wore barely covered her ample and supple bosom. What was worse was that it also barely covered her well rounded ass. But for the black, out of place skirt that she wore on it, she would have been the center of attention for all humans with a third leg.
Mary would have passed for a fourteen year old if she didn’t have the body she did. She had the face of a twelve year old and the voice of maybe a slightly older person. Her manner was timid and she had the air of one of those people that you dismiss with the wave of the hand.
Underneath the person described above was a very contrasting personality. The Mary of the flesh was a timid young girl who was being used as domestic help from one place to another. She never saw her wages and she never dared ask. The Mary of the inside was a twenty three year old girl that had spent most of her life being a servant to people. She had seen a lot and knew a lot too. She knew secrets of rich powerful people and she could read and write. She could do simple arithmetic and could tell the time. She was a girl who could tell the kind of person a person is just by looking at them, a skill she had acquired over the years in the service of rich men and women who didn’t even know that she could speak proper English and pretend to be anyone she wanted.
This Mary was highly skilled in lie detection and she often used it when she could. This Mary was now going to Lagos for the twelfth time and as she mentally bade farewell to the crumbling building that housed her and her family, she knew that she would not be coming back.
“From the time of john the Baptist, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and only the violent take it by force”
She thought to herself as she resolved to become the predator and finally stop being the prey. She was tired, exhausted and quite ready to try a whole new different form of living. She would not be the victim anymore. Never never never…
She snapped her small carry all box shut and smiled with bitterness. After twelve years of slavish labour, this was all she could get herself. She still wore mostly the same clothes and the ones that were not old were hand- me- downs from either her employers or their children. Was she going back to live that life? She wondered but really, she needed no wonder because she had the answer to that question. She knew what she had to do… and in a way, she was excited.
“This will all end soon”
She thought to herself as she stepped out into the streets and was led to the waiting vehicle by her “uncle” the man that took her to rich people to be used as domestic help… the man who got her payment and never gave her a dime. The man who had taught her early in life that her position in life was to serve. More importantly, to not expect a payment for her services besides feeding and a roof over her head. That man…
To be continued……