Written by Rejoice Jeremiah. C✅
When I became the palace maid earlier with the cleaning team batch, I wash toilets, clean kitchens, wah dishes, clean the throne rooms and the palace exterior.
I was never allowed to go close to the upper floor where the King, the Queen and the princess rooms are. Also the Prince room too but which had been empty for twenty two years because the crown Prince was sent to London when he turned five and haven’t returned since then.
They say he’s still studying.
‘A crown Prince is supposed to get all the education he needs in his father’s land.’
This is what my father always tell me whenever he talk about the palace and the prince.
Well that isn’t my business at all.
Well back to my job as a cleaner in the palace.
I worked hard and never stopped.
I needed money, enough money to further my education and there was no reason to stop striving.
Three years later, I unexpectedly got promoted to a private palace cleaner who only cleans the upper floor and my colleague became Ebere who’s one of my dearest friends in the palace too.
Also the princess got a likeness for me and it’s an honor for the princess to like a maid specially in the palace.
But because of that, Ebere got jealous of me and it cause us some quarrel few times so she was sent out of the palace. Few days later, we heard that she had left to the city with her uncle and that was the last time I’ve heard of or seen her.
I got a new colleague, Ujunwa and Uju turned out to be totally different from Ebere. Uju had nothing to worry about or get jealous of.
In fact, we became good friends and the Princess liked her too.
We are still colleagues and good friends and had never had a misunderstanding.
But unlike me who doesn’t live in the palace because I have an aging father to take care of, Uju is an orphan and only became a maid in the palace because she was forced to by her wicked uncle and his wife and every penny that Uju is paid at the palace goes into their greedy packets.
Her story is really hurting.
Well here’s a brief detail about my self. There’s nothing much to know about me.
My name is Ifeoma Okeke and I’m from Amaeze kingdom.
A great kingdom among others in the Igbo land.
Amaeze kingdom is made up of four villages;
Eziala – which is my village,
Umunta -which is Uju’s village.
In times of respect and sharing things, Obiala is the head village and the palace is situated there, then Eziala follows, then Amafo and Umunta as the last.
I started living without my mother when I was six.
My mother died from severe malaria and so it’s been just my father since then.
With my father’s struggle, I was able to finish up my secondary education but there was no more money to further my education so I had to work and that was how I became a palace maid and five years had passed.
I’m dark in completion because I took over my mother’s complexion which reminds me of her African beauty.
In fact, I’m a total outer replica of my mother and funny enough only has my father’s type of finger nails and toes.
But when it comes to hobbies, I took after my father’s hobbies and not my mother.
I love hunting with my father and playing the local flute as well and didn’t take from my mother’s singing and dancing talent. Don’t laugh to know that my voice is the tenor type.
Well I took after my mother’s body feature but not the inside. In the inside, I’m a total replica of my father.
I stopped fighting when I was eleven, my father made me stop it after I had an arrogant class mate hospitalized for days. A boy and not a girl.
It was my first and my last fight.
But there was another thing my father made me stop when I was eight.
I can’t tell you that right now or maybe later.
Right now, I need to hurry home..
The Road to my house was a narrow but tarred road with small bushes by the both sides.
It was dark with no moon in the sky so I had to see my way through by using the torchlight from my Nokia touch which I held on my right hand while I held a polythene bag of a packaged food which I’m taking to my father.
The time said 8:310pm and I hastened my steps.
I need to hurry home and serve my father the rich Egusi soup with good pounded yam.
I hastened my steps but suddenly slowed my steps.
I could feel some eyes on me.
From inside the bush… The left bush.
“Huuuaaaaaa!!” Came a loud voice and whoever that owns the voice jumped out of the bush with the intention to scare me but I felt nothing at all.
Moreover it’s Ikoro, the top notch drunkard from Obiala village.
I halted and pointed the torch flash directly to his eyes and he looked away in his drunken manner with a half gulped bottle of kain kain (hot Gin) in his hand.
“Ahhh remove that thing from my eyes. You don’t know your elder abi… Okwaya? If not for the love that I have for you ehn, I would have said the gods to paralyze that your hand you are using to flash that light to my face..”
I chuckled. “What did you just say? The love you have for me? Hia ohhh! What will I not see in this village.. Ikoro what are you doing in Eziala at this hour and what are you doing inside the bush?” I asked, looking at him from head to toe. He looked like mad man.
He laughed out in a drunken way.. “What else would I be doing in the bush which leads to your house if not waiting on you to pass. I can’t stay a day without looking at your beautiful endowed body.. Udara uto’m… You always scatter my head with the way you shake your buttocks whenever you are walking..”
“Oya Ikoro it’s enough. Never you try what you did minutes ago and never you talk nonsense to me again or else you won’t like what would happen to you, ewu mmadu (Human goat)” I said, hissed and continued my way home.
He stood there, ranting nonsense until I couldn’t hear him again.
“Papa!” I called as I entered into our small sitting room.
My father was sitting on one of our worn out sofas, reading newspaper.
‘Papa good evenimg, I’m back,” I greeted and he removed the newspaper from his face.
He smiled at me. “Welcome my daughter. You don’t look happy. Is everything alright?” he asked.
“Everything is fine papa just that I met that stupid drunkard Ikoro on my way and he was annoying.. Papa let me go and warm up this soup so you can eat..” I said.
“Oh.. Okay my dear.. Ehm Obinna came today and helped me cut all the firewoods.. That boy was a God sent to me today.. What a strong boy.” Papa said.
“Obinna? I thought I warned that Obinna not to come close to this house?” I said, pissed off.
“What is wrong with Obinna coming here? That young man is wonderful. He helped your father today so you should be grateful, you both should be good very good friends,” my father said.
“Papa, I just don’t like that boy around.. Please. He’s annoying!” I said and dashed towards the kitchen.
Now if you could remember the boy I said that I beat up when I was eleven?
That was Obinna.
After that happened, I got expelled from the school and had to get enrolled into another school.
I felt hurt and felt like that part of my image was tarnished which caused me into hating Obinna but just months ago, Obinna came apologizing and wanting to be friends with me but I don’t just want to.
He annoys me but my father sees him as a changed and hardworking man.
Obinna is from Obiala
That night, I spent half of my night, thinking of how to make Obinna stop coming close to me but there was no good enough idea. Obinna would never give up.
‘Or should I just be his friend?’ that was the last thought in my mind before I drifted off to sleep.
The next day, I did my morning chores, prepared for work and left after saying bye to my father but coming out of the house, there was Obinna coming with his bicycle.
“What? What is he coming here for this early morning?”
He smiled when he saw me and finally got to where I stood, waiting for him.
“Obinna, what are you here for?” I asked.
“Ifeoma I’m here to take you to the palace,” he said.
I shook my head. “Obinna it seem that you are really deaf. I made it clear to you that I’m not interested in being your friend.. You better leave me alone Obinna before I do something I might regret,” I said and walked away.
“There’s nothing wrong in enemies becoming friends Ifeoma,” he said.
I walked away.
From my house to the palace is a twenty minutes walk but I would have been just five minutes with the bicycle.
Oh whatever! Why would I even remember Obinna’s bicycle.
I hastened my steps.
I was going to be a bit late today so I decided to follow a short path.
It’s a short path that most people fear to follow especially in the dark.
As I walked on, I saw someone far away, he was on the ground and looked like his leg was stuck in a big trunk.
He was also screaming for help.
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed and ran hastily to him.
He really was in pain.
“Help me, help me pull this trunk off my leg” he said to me.
He was sweating furiously.
‘Phew this is going to make me go late.. I wonder which village he’s from and why did he get stuck in a trunk which had been staying on it’s lane ever since I knew this path’
I dropped my bah and walked closer to him.
“Hurry up! Pull it with every strength in you,” he said.
“Okay,” I said and placed my two hands on the trunk, I pulled hard. I pulled harder but the trunk was just too heavy.
“Pull more!” he yelled.
‘Why’s he yelling at me? I’m trying!’
I pulled more, in every way I could but it wasn’t working.
I got tired.
“My strength is not enough to pull this heavy trunk. I’m a lady you know that,” I said.
“Then go and call three or four men. Go now, don’t waste time. Go now!” he said.
It sounds like a command.
‘Tc.h! Is that a command?’
“What are you still waiting for?” he said.
I rolled my eyes.
“Can’t you add ‘please?” I asked him. “I’m on my way to work and I only followed this path because I was getting late and now you’ve even made it the worse lateness and you are commanding me instead of begging. If I leave you here now, do you think you are going to see someone in the next five hours? Or should I say that I’m even the only person that uses this path. Who are you sef? And what Village are you from? Are you even from Amaeze Kingdom?””
“Just help me, I’m gonna die here if you don’t. If you leave me here and later hear that I died, you’re gonna regret not saving me,” he said.
‘Why’s he speaking American grammar to me? What is gonna? Haa! He doesn’t even look like he’s seen the university talk more of America..’
“Fine, I will go and call some men, count yourself a lucky man to see me..” I said, picked my bag and took few steps then halted.
‘I can save this man with just a second of gaze at the trunk.. He Won’t find out and i’m not going to tell papa either. I don’t need to waste more time. I can do this! Just this one and no more… I promise..’
I turned back and he raised his brows.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Let me pull very hard this last time,” I said.
“What the damn, you can’t pull it!” he yelled.
“I can. Just keep calm” I said, walked back to him and dropped my bag.
I placed my hands on the trunk.
“See you have to close your eyes,” I told him.
“What? Why?” he asked.
“Just close your eyes. Your eyes…your eyes are the reason I couldn’t pull with all my strength,” I said.
“I see, my eyes are cute and really charming right that you would get lost while staring at them right?” he asked.
I hissed. ‘
I can’t believe he’s stuck in a trunk and still have guts to talk rubbish. So annoying’
“Just close them” I said.
“No problem, just pull it out this time,” he said and closed his eyes.
Pretending like I was pulling on the trunk, I fixed my gaze on the trunk… Another type of gaze which changed my brown eyeball to green which only last for two seconds and at the same time, the magic works.
The trunk pulled out and my eyeballs changed back to brown.
He opened his eyes with a gasp.
“You did it!” he said and smiled happily.
‘Well, he’s handsome…’
“I told you I would,” I smiled back and picked my bag.
‘Geez I’m so late for work. I’m dead!’
He tried to get up but couldn’t. He yelled out in pain.
I exhaled and stretched out my hand. “I will help you,” I said. I took his hand and helped him stand.
“I won’t be able to walk home alone. You’ve got to help me home,” he said.
“Then did you think of leaving me here. You aren’t so dumb to know that my leg is in great pain or are you?”
“What! I’m not dumb! Are you such an ungrateful being! You can’t even appreciate the one I did and you want me to take you home and you are not even being nice with your words! I’m late to work!!” I yelled at him.
“Where? Where do you work? Where ever that is, you can’t leave a dying man because of work. You have to save him first and you’ll be forever rewarded,” he said.
I scoffed! “You are so annoying!”
He crossed my hand over to his neck.. “Go on, walk miss,” he said.
“Go, take me to the palace. I need to be treated,” he said.
I raised my brow. “What? The palace, why the palace?”
“Do you need to know before you take me there?” he asked.
“You don’t expect me to take you to the palace without knowing why? What are you in the palace?” I asked.
“Well if you must know, I’m Ebuka, the new handsome manservant in the palace,” he said.
“This is pissing off!” I yelled at him.
“Why?” he asked.
“You annoying and ungrateful being can’t be a servant in the palace. I never wish to see you again after making me do what I never wanted to do!” I yelled at him.
I began hurrying to the palace, carrying him along.
“Hey you! Walk slowly,…”
“Did you not hear me?”
“I’m late for work!”
“I and your work, which one is more important right now!”
‘Fine, I’ve heard enough!’
I left him and he fell down.
I continued my walk.
“Hey! What do you think you are doing!”
“Walk to the palace yourself!” I said.
“What the h.ell!”
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