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Fiction: Gossip in the Sunlight

Fiction: Gossip in the Sunlight
The Eyand’isu market was not calm like still waters – instead, it was running like the hardworking hands of the grandfather clock. The market was another world on its own. Traders were buying and selling, sellers calling out to potential customers with enticing words; even the animals were not left out in this half-chaotic-half-normal world – it seemed like some of them were calling unto God to save them from the call of the soup pot, and the rest had accepted their long-known fate already. Eyand’isu market was a very big market, one could even get lost in the market, especially if such person had never been there before. It was said that in the days of the ancestors of Oloto town, in which the market was situated, there was a man who ate the food of the gods placed in the market place and immediately he did that, he turned into a tuber of yam. From that day onward, the market was referred to as Eyand’isu, which means “a person turned into a yam”. Also, the people of Oloto town stopped eating yam from that very day, for fear of eating a human being or a charmed food; it was a tradition that was upheld till date.
The market had different sections where different goods were sold. It was in this market that Abeni, Akanke and Abeke sold their various wares. Abeni was selling rice, beans, garri and flour in bags, Akanke had a shop where she sold the soap she made daily while Abeke was involved in selling different kinds of drinks. These three were best of friends, and even their husbands were forced to become good friends. Their shops were adjacent to one another, so they saw one another every day. But these friends had a shared hobby which they engaged in when they were not busy in the market place. This hobby was none other than gossiping. The three ladies were popularly known as “Àjẹ mẹta” as they were always found together, when not working, in the business of gossip.

One fateful day in the market, these three friends were found sitting together in Akanke’s shop, enjoying the cool breeze in the marketplace. As usual, it was time to analyze the people passing by- predict their past, present and future, and talk about the latest happenings in town.

Just as they were two minutes into the meeting, a lady passed by. This lady wore a yellow gown and a black beret, she also had black shades on. She was a little bit above the average height, quite busty and her skin looked “multi-coloured”. She completed her dressing with a black handbag coupled with yellow and black heels to match. As she passed by, Abeni burst into series of laughter, holding her stomach as she laughed as if there would be no room for laughter the next day. Akanke and Abeke shared a mischievous look and then started laughing too. Heads turned towards the direction of the laughter; some people shook their heads and smiled, having known the character of the three women, while others questioned their sanity by the look in their eyes. After a minute of continued laughter, they finally came back to their senses and Akanke asked the big question: "Why are we laughing, Abeni?". With raised eyebrows, Abeni answered back with a question: "So in this Oloto town, you people are telling me that you don't know who that lady is?, Wawu". "Ehn, we don't know. Just gist us, Abeni, at least we can't know everything. Ko possible", replied Abeke.
Abeni then proceeded to tell the reason behind her laughter, as her two friends listened with rapt attention. She explained that the lady was quite popular among the area boys, and she was known as “Pepe”. “That girl you’re seeing, in fact, she’s a grade one ashawo, seriously oo”, she started. “Almost all the boys in this area have slept with her – imagine, all those useless, good-for-nothing nincompoops with no future ambition. I even heard that ehm, what’s that chief’s name again oo? , chai, I have forgotten”, she continued. Abeke asked “Which chief are you talking about? Describe him so we can at least guess the identity of the person you’re trying to tell us about”. “He’s not too tall like this, he is as black as charcoal and he drives that old Volvo that sounds like it wants to collapse”, she replied. Akanke quickly made a sound that seemed like that she remembered something; Abeni and Abeke turned to her, expecting an answer. She answered them by saying that she had remembered the name of the chief, and she stated that he went by the name Chief Aroro. With that, the three of them laughed once again as Abeni said “Exactly, that’s his name. It befits him, that stingy man that doesn’t like to spend money. He’ll now be pricing goods as if we buy them for free, nonsense. Akanke and Abeni hissed at the same time, as if it was planned, and they all went into another fit of laughter.

Abeni then continued her narration: “Like I was saying, that shameless chief has also had his share of Pepe’s cake”. “Ewo, you don’t mean it o”, interrupted Abeke. “I’m serious o, very serious, I caught them with my two korokoro eyes acting all romantic – Pepe was rubbing that man’s head repeatedly as if she already had juju in that palm of hers. It was quite disgusting, I even heard from Mama Tobi some weeks ago that someone told her, that Chief Aroro, theChief Aroro we know gave a whooping sum of twenty thousand to that ashana.” At that point, Akanke and Abeke had their mouths open in surprise, and they quickly closed it as Abeni continued the interesting story. “Naso I see am too o, my friends, I was as shocked as you two are now; for that man to give the girl twenty thousand, when his children are on the verge of having kwashiorkor, I concluded that the Pepe girl is a karishika. Anyways, to cut the long story short, Pepe’s life is fried already o”. “Fried, how do you mean?” , asked Akanke. “Hmm, it is true that a man reaps what he sows – a woman in this case; Pepe is now reaping the fruits of the bad seeds she has sown. I heard that she now has syphilis”, Abeni continued. Akanke and Abeke started to laugh, and Abeni joined in. After the laughter had died down, Akanke said that she deserved it while Abeke was of the opinion that it was good so she could change and turn from her loose ways.

“The point is that our young ladies need to stop being promiscuous because Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are very real”, added Abeni. Akanke and Abeke nodded and they prayed that God in heaven would help the young ones.

As they wanted to continue their discussion, the clouds became dark all of a sudden and raindrops started coming down, little by little until it became heavy. The three friends quickly dispersed as they went to cover their exposed goods from the heavy rain. So, it was that the clouds had adjourned their little gossip assembly, and the rain had seconded the motion.

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