Sheila didn’t show up for work the next Tuesday. Neither did she come on Thursday, and even Saturday. He didn’t know how to get in touch with her. He didn’t even have her phone number. He felt bad the way he had yelled on her. It wasn’t her fault that Lara treated him like trash. He should have kept his emotions in check. Well, he thought as he was coming back from work on Monday, things happen. He just had to get over it and move on with his life. And in order to do this, he first had to deal with his problem.
The bus dropped him and other passengers and he made his way dejectedly towards Mummy Akosua’s stall.
“Madam good afternoon.” He greeted her.
“Good afternoon customer.” She responded.
He sat down and played a bit with her kids. He asked for a plate of eba and some egusi soup and she placed a plate of food infront of him. He began to eat absentmindedly.
“Oga why your face come strong like this?”
“Madam, na stress of work jare.”
“Take am easy oh. You are still a young man.”
“Yeah, a young man who cannot perform” he thought. “Madam, do you know where I can get local medicine to cure opaeyin?” he blurted out without thinking.
Mama Akosua laughed. “Is your girlfriend complaining?”
He felt ashamed. “I just want something to cure my lower back pain.”
“I have one friend who usually comes by. She should even be here by now. She sells herbs for back pain, low libido, and other things. Maybe you can wait and ask her.” She said with a twinkle in her eye.
“Mommy, what is Opeayin” Akosua’s brother asked.
“Will you shut your mouth there?” her mother scolded him.
About 10 minutes later a rotund woman with a big bowl of stuff balanced on her head came walking by. The two women greeted and Mummy Akosua pointed him out.
“This young man needs something.”
She looked at him. ”Customer, what do you need? I have everything.”
“Well” Kunle said, scratching his head, “I need something for…you know….weak èrection” he whispered in embarrassment.
“Oh, your madam dey vex abi? Okay don’t worry. I have something here for you.”
She dug out a bottle of herbs and handed it to him.
“Just soak these in hot gin overnight. Drink just half a cup every two days. You will poo the whole thing out and I promise you will not be disappointed. You will come and thank me afterwards.”
Smiling sheepishly, he handed her the 1500 naira she requested for.
“Remember” she warned “just use it small small. The thing is very strong.”
“Thank you ma.” Kunle responded.
That night Kunle couldn’t sleep. He had to go to the toilet more than five times. By the next morning, he was so weak. He had to call out sick. But he still used his herbs religiously. By the third day his body had gotten used to it. His lower back no longer felt weak and for the first time in months, he was having morning wood.
Saturday morning, he was relaxing in bed watching a Premiership match when he heard the movement of a cart being dragged along the pathway outside. He quickly jumped out of bed and looked out the window. He was so happy to see it was Sheila. He quickly threw on a shirt and ran outside.
“Sheila. Where have you been?” he asked her.
She looked up at him at the sound of her name, a frown on her face. She hissed and began to push her cart away. Kunle quickly moved to where she was and held onto her arm.
“Sheila please. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said all those things to you. Please, I beg you.” He pleaded.
Sheila just stood there. She didn’t respond nor did she turn to face him. Kunle prodded more.
“I know I hurt you so much with my words, but I shouldn’t have. I was going through alot of emotional issues. At least let me explain.”
He led her into his room and sat her down. For the next half hour he talked, telling her about Lara, his problem, how he went to apologize to her, and the emotional insults he received.
When he finished she sighed. She removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes.
“So you went through all that and you didn’t tell me.” She finally answered, the first words she would speak to him since the day she left his room crying.
“I’m so sorry Sheila. I was an emotional wreck. I wasn’t thinking properly.”
“You should have at least told me instead of yelling on me like that.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Look I like you. I like you a lot. But what you did that day broke my heart. I had sworn I wasn’t going to come back here anymore, but I had no choice. I’m still pissed off at you, and its going to take a while before I get over it.”
“Is there anyway I can make it up to you?”
“No. I will get over it eventually.”
“Sheila please. I don’t want you to hate me.
I want to be your friend. Please forgive me and forget it” Kunle pleaded, going down on his knees infront of her. “At least let me get you something or take you somewhere to make it up to you.”
She sighed and averted her eyes from his gaze.
Her bust rose gently to her breathing.
“Sheila…please…I’m sorry. I promise it won’t happen again. At least tell me I’m forgiven.”
“Okay I forgive you” she replied bashfully.
He held out his hands, inviting her for a hug. She lowered herself into his embrace, squashing her jugs into his chest. He caressed her back and gave her a small peck on her cheek. He felt her fist slam into his spine and he howled in pain.
“And none of that. It’s too early.” she replied.
She stood up and looked at her watch. “I have to go now. Maybe if im not too tired I’ll come around and help you arrange here a bit. This place is messy.”
“I have a better idea.” Kunle offered. “Why don’t you help me clean here one in a while, and I pay you for it? It will help you with your savings and you don’t have to do as much work.”
She thought about it. “Well it depends on what you are offering.”
“I’ll pay you 5k for a month, if you come twice a week.”
“6k and I’ll consider your offer.”
“4k once a week then.”
They bantered a bit before settling for 5k every Saturday. That meant she would have to move her Saturday shift to Friday. She thanked him, wiggled and bounced her way out the door.