“And the best actress of the year goes to Caroline Odafe.” Mr Michelson announced on opening the little white envelope in his hand.
Caro stands up from where she’s sitting in the crowd, smiling brightly, tears springing down her eyes. She walks up to the stage gracefully and climbs it like the star she is, waving gracefully to her adorable fans.
“Caroline Odafe do you have anything to say to your beloved fans out there, watching you on TV and right here live.” Mr Michelson says handing over the mic to her.
“Caro! Caro! Caroline, you still dey sleep. Caro wake up, you no go sell market today.” Mama Caro shouts waking her sleeping daughter.
“Ooh, mama why are you my enemy of progress, ehn, see dis sweet dream na that I was having, you don come scatter am. Mama why? Mama why na.” Caro says waking up from her slumber, frowning at her mother.
“Will you shut up that mouth and go and hawk, I’m very sure if I ask what your stupid dream is about, you will tell me is about that your actress dream, I’ve told you times without number that you will never become an actress not under my watch. You’re going to become a lawyer so you can take back all those properties your father’s brothers took from us.” Mama Caro says eyeing her daughter.
“Mama I’ll keep on saying this, I am not going to be a lawyer. You all should free me in this house oo, leave me alone.” Caro replies standing up from the small dainty bed and then walks out of the room.
“Who’s holding you, I hope it’s pepper you’re going hawk, cause you won’t eat the akara and akamu I brought back this morning.” Her mother yells after her.
Caro mumbles words unheard as she carries her tray of pepper ready to go sell, she sighs as she passed the road watching the luxurious and extravagant cars driving by. This is her dream to ride in them one day, to be a famous actress and then care for her mother and her brother. She would make sure she makes it, she would show everyone doubting her talent that she Caroline Odafe can become a somebody.
“Mum what did the landlord wants.” Caro asks dropping her empty tray on the kitchen floor.
“What else does it wants if it’s not the rent money.” Mama Caro sighs and bends down to blows the stove fire, she had made it a note to buy some rope for the stove.
“So what did you tell him.” Caro asked making herself comfortable on the kitchen stool.
“Well I’m going to see if I can borrow some money from mama ada and add to the money your brother gave to me and pay half of the rent. Where’s the money you made today” Mama Caro says placing a pot of water on the fire.
“Here is the money, erm talking about brother, hasn’t he come back yet, it’s already 7:00pm” Caro asks handing her mum the money she made from selling cooked corn, she sells fresh pepper in the morning and then cooked corn later in the day.
“Yeah that’s true, he should be back by now, oh talk about the devil.” Her mother exclaim as Mike walks into the kitchen.
“Brother welcome.” Caro says and taking a bite from the corn, remaining from the day sells.
“My child welcome, any luck today.” Mama Caro asks lovingly, watching her tired son.
“No, I didn’t get the job but I carried some blocks at a site today, at least the money gave to me, we will be able to use it to buy jamb forms for Caro.” Mike informs and Caro frowns.
“I’ve told you guys that I’m not becoming a lawyer, it’s never going to happen.” Caro says frowning.
“Shhhh, we’ve talked about this before.” Mike whispers in Caro ears and she only frowns in return but remained quiet.
“And if it’s any condolence, there’s an addition going on tommorow, I brought the forms for you.” The frown on Caro face turns into a big smile and she hugs her brother.
“Thank you, thank you, brother. You’re the best.”
“What are the both of you conspiring over there, ehn.” Mama Caro asks eyeing them suspiciously.
“It’s nothing mama, erm what’s on fire, I’m really hungry.” Mike complains.
“I’ve already cooked soup, ehn, it’s only Eba that’s remaining, go and keep your bag inside and freshen up, by the time you get back, food will be ready. You to Caro, go and have your bath, why do I have to be the one to always remember you on when to take your bath, you have been under this hot sun hawking and you don’t know that the first thing you should do as a lady is to have your bath, get out of my kitchen, smelling cow.”
“Mummy leave me ooo, and I’m not smelling, beside why would anyone want to baff in that smelling public bathroom.” Caro mutters.
“Go and build your own bathroom, if you’re looking for a sparkling private bathroom, see her mouth, will you leave my kitchen before I stone you with this turning garri.” Mama Caro says and raised up the turning garri only for Caro to run out of the kitchen, immediately.
“Brother, can I sit.” Caro asks, standing next to the bench Mike is sitting on.
“Of course sit.” Mike says smiling lovely at his sister, after the death of thier father, he had took it upon his self to take up the role of, man of the house, doing everything within his power to make his mother and sister happy.
“Brother dis wan you have brought me a jamb form. You know I don’t want to be a lawyer, like mama wants so what are we going to do with the form.” Caro asks sitting next to her brother on the bench.
“Caro even actors goes to school.”
“Well not in this Nigerian, you that went to school, you’ve not even seen a job.”
“Caro have told you a lot of times, that just because school didn’t work out for someone else doesn’t mean your fate and that person fate is the same, is good to go to school and still acquire other skills, okay. It’s already late I’m going to bed now, you should also come inside to.” Mike says standing up, he placed a comforting hand on Caro shoulders before walking into the house.
Hmm, why is life like this, the ones that goes to school, end up not getting work. Look at her brother a first class graduate, carrying blocks on sites and then all this rich men children that didn’t even know anything will be getting the better jobs, maybe if i had rich parents then my life wouldn’t be like this. Just look at the state I’m leaving, when papa was alive, then we could at least pay for our rents, but now I’m afraid with the way my mum is borrowing money up and down she might end up in prison. Caro thinks. She looks up at the sky and then whisper, ” I wish I had rich parents.”
Caro stares at the sky for a while before standing up from the bench and then walks into the house to get some sleep.
Cassy and Caro
Two girls Two diffrent worlds, A wish, An Exchange