‘I’m just about to start’, I shouted from the bathroom. This was not the kind of communal life I was called to; I thought to myself. He knocked on the door again and said, ‘Do fast, abeg’. I rolled my eyes. The things that get me angry are the tiniest things. Like when Junior makes that craw-craw sound with his throat when it itches him; or when the meat seller cuts my meat into two unequal portion; and like now, when someone knocks on the door of the bathroom even after they know that I’m inside.
I shifted myself to the far right, away from a hole in the door, and commenced my bathing ritual: sing, play with sponge and soap, drop sponge and soap and pour water on the body, pick up sponge and commence scrubbing, rinse half-heartedly and restart a second round of scrubbing (oh… keep singing), rinse less half-heartedly, follow the directions by the voice in the head on where to re-scrub, re-scrub, rinse whole-heartedly, pack-up soap container, pee for the last time, rinse whole body till the water finishes, you’re tired or they keep knocking.
This was my exact plan the day he kept knocking on the bathroom door. But because of the annoying behavior, I decided to take my time just to teach him a lesson. He kept knocking and saying, ‘Sister, please maybe if you stop singing ehn?’, ‘Abeg na, I’ve been here long na.’ ‘Please hurry’. But I took my time and had a good bath. At some point, I did not hear his voice outside the bathroom door and I honestly missed him (I mean, he was the only reason I put up with that disease smell in the bathroom that long). He returned few minutes back and said (more to himself), ‘She has not finished? Ay.. God’
Finally, when I had started sweating in the bathroom (I spent about 45 minutes there), I tied my towel, carried my bucket noisily and opened the door. Looking at him in a ‘don’t you ever try that’ way, I walked away slowly, happy I had taught him a lesson.
Later that afternoon, one of our neighbors knocked on my door and I stepped out to greet her. She looked all dressed up and like she was going to burst if she did not say what she had come to say. As soon as we exchanged pleasantries, she said, ‘Ah! God will save us o!’. I replied her ‘Amen. For what?’. ‘The evil people don’t have evil on their faces o! It’s in their hearts. And it’s only God in heaven that knows people’s heart. Humans can just look at…’ I had to cut her short and ask her what happened. She sighed and said, ‘You know brother Kazeem? The quiet one that lives two rooms away from yours. (the one I showed pepper that morning).’ I held my breath, ‘Yes’, I said. Then she said, ‘His wedding was today o. That’s how I heard that he did not come early. They waited for him for one hour. He picked call once and said that he was coming; that someone was delaying him. Who will delay you on your wedding?! The wife sha waited for him for like 1 hour and left in tears. They say he ran inside the church just after she left but you sef know say groom wey enter church after the bride no wan marry again.’
I just stared at her and nodded.
This was yesterday.
I can’t bring myself to take even a shower right now.