This is a piece by a good reader of this blog, who is also a writer. His name is Gere Ochuko and he names this one Crying Diva. You guys should check his story out. And his blog is at the end of the piece.
Crying Diva 1
Hey there, you guys may know me through my stage name: Crying Diva but my name is Jumoke Korede. I don’t know who my biological father is, my mom took care of me all her life till she eventually died. A good woman called Mrs Adewole Fiona took me in, although she’s married with three kids, she and her husband always treated me as one of their own. I call her Maami as a sign of respect and gratitude.
I’m a student during the day and a singer at night, i combine studies with my chores in maami’s local restaurant and my job at Lake view bar so i can earn a living and assist maami. It’s really tedious but what choice do i have? Maami currently has issues with her husband and is staying with me till things settle down. She opened her restaurant when she started living with me. She insisted she could not stay at home doing nothing.
Salome is my friend. I met her shortly before my mother died. We became instant friends. She was born and bred in the ghetto and thus has a very tough personality. She acts like the boss around me and is always looking to protect me. I guess that’s her way of showing she cares.
I stood there, beside the busy express road, staring jealousy at Onyinye’s billboard. “When will my picture up there?” I sighed and looked away. Onyinye is an upcoming actress but she was already very famous. I will make it to the top too someday and unlike her I won’t have to soil my name. I looked at my watch, I was almost late. I stopped a cab and got to the bar just in time for the Crying Diva.
‘This is my life right here, it doesn’t get any better than this ‘I thought to myself, maybe i’m being too hard on myself… My present job pays the bill and provides for my basic needs, what more can i ask for? Am deeply sorry i complained Dear Lord. Thank you for everything, am grateful’
I raised my head up and scanned the audience find my two besties: Salome and Femi. I instantly spot them, i smiled. I adjusted the mic took a deep breath before speaking.
“Good evening everyone, tonight’s song was inspired by someone very special to me. I don’t know if the lyrics of the song i composed will mean anything to you but it did to me……. So here it goes, the title is Today.”
All eyes were on me as i sang my heart and soul out. As usual tears flowed, not tears of sorrow or regret but tears of joy. You know there’s a saying that do what you love and you will never get tired of working. To me singing was my thing, though am not studying music, it’s my favorite thing to do. While am singing i forget my pains, sorrow, my needs, i let everything out and revile in the moment.
My voice sounded somehow different that night, maybe it’s because of my fight earlier with Onyinye or am just overwhelmed, i can’t really place. The song ended in a high pitch note, there was applause pouring in. “They loved the song, that makes both of us” I said smiling.
I descended the podium to go continue with serving when i spotted Femi as usual standing in front of my changing room with roses.
“I could really get used to this you know” I smiled approaching him.
“You look gorgeous as always”
“Thanks, give me a minute lemme change” I said entering my changing room. I had barely remove any clothing when Salome stormed in without knocking scaring the daylight out of me. I thought it was someone else.
“Salome! Geez. You scared the daylight out of me. I thought it was someone else”
“So? Abeg make i hear word” Salome retorted. I rolled my eyes and got a really painful punch on my shoulder.
“Awool, it hurts”
“Ajebo, mcheew” She hissed before continuing “Fast joor Maami needs our help o”
“Any news from Onyinye?” Salome asking drinking the juice Julie brought me earlier.
“Hey, that’s mine…” I said trying to save what’s left of my ex-juice. But her strength comes into play and i watched her sipped the last drop with a smug look plastered on her face.
“Dey go gym, see how fried plantain strong pass you”
“Keep on showing all strength on me”
“Talk jare, Onyinye come back”
“After you mouth trashed her, she will have to recuperate and come back bitter. I don’t want her trouble, i want a quiet and peace life not fighting or beating up anyone” I told Salome yelling but she didn’t give any listening ear. She got up, hissed and walked away.
I sat on the edge of the long steel facing the city, I opened my laptop to do some research for school. I couldn’t seem to concentrate. I hate it when i fight with Salome, i know she’s protecting me but nothing gets settled with violence. I know this will make me be on Onyinye’s hate list because Salome opposed her.
I heaved my shoulders heavily, as i continued surfing the net. A shadow hovered me, i looked up to find Salome holding my favorite: Donuts and a can of miranda.
“Is this your way of saying sorry” I said with a smile.
“I knew you would be here, maami said you were doing studying so i brought these for you” Salome said giving me the snacks. She sat besides me staring at the view in front of us. I know that when she speaks in a really low and quiet voice, she’s not cool with me.
“Am sorry i shouted on you” Salome didn’t say anything, she just kept staring. I ate quietly and continued surfing the net. After about two hours, i was done but Salome hadn’t say a word and it was really getting to me. I know she extremely quiet when she’s angry but maybe it wasn’t all me.
I sighed, closed my laptop and looked ahead. The view is incredible, one can see the whole city from up here. It’s like you being able to see everything and remain invisible course no one will know you’re there. Maybe that’s why i chose it as my spot, you can see everything and really vent out any bottled up feeling.
“Am not upset at you because you shouted on me, trust me i will get back at you for it. No hurt feeling” Salome said chuckling breaking the silence. She paused. “Am upset because you don’t stand up for yourself, anyone can walk all over you, put you down, reduce your self confidence and esteem. And i don’t like it, i won’t always be there to stand up for you”
“Salome, it’s not like i don’t stand up for myself i just don’t want any issue with anyone. I want to be at peace always”
“Peace comes from within you not around you” Salome said still looking ahead.
“You are not peace and you know it. You still think about her…. You wish your mom wasn’t violent. And you lost her”
“I just don’t believe that violence solves anything”
“We live in hard times where violence comes in at times and when it comes, i want to be here to protect you” Salome said reaching out to hold my hands.
“Onyinye will probably stir up trouble for you, be careful”
“Becky said same thing”
“Me and Femi are covering an event tomorrow, you should come and…..have told maami already”
I was cleaning the table when my head started aching outta no where. I sat down clasping my head, rubbing vigorously hoping the pain subsides. The more i rubbed my head, the more i felt my head was going to explode. I was groaning in pains when Mr Pierce, the owner of the bar walked in.
“Jumoke?” He asked walking towards me. He squatted in front of me checking my body temperature with the back of his hand.
“What’s wrong? You should get some rest, I told you it’s not ideal studying during the day and working through out the night. You are too young for this Jumoke, I told you i will assist anyway i can. You’re stressing yourself and taking yourself to the extremes. There’s only so much the human body can take”
“You have done a lot already and am grateful” I manage to say.
“Don’t be silly, what am i here for?” Mr Pierce said standing up, pulled me up also and gave me a full bear hug.
“Thanks a lot for everything Mr Pierce, you have been understanding and really helpful” I said with a smile.
“I feel like an old man when you call me Mr Pierce” He said chuckling
“Hey, Mr P what about your wife? How’s she? Being a while i saw her” I said holding my head hoping it doesn’t fall in any instance.
“She’s good, thanks for asking. You should take something for your head” He said and went to his office.
After cleaning and taking stocking, i head out to help out Maami. Maami’s resturant is a couple of blocks away thank God for that, at least no transport expenses getting there or going to the bar afterwards.
I arrived and saw a large crowd, Femi was there already. Maybe Maami called him, I shrugged my shoulders and swung into action.
We were washing the cooking utensils when Salome arrived with a worried look etched all over her.
“Maami, lovely evening ma” Salome greeted kneeling.
“Salome….. How are you? how’s work?”
“Erm…. Fine ma” She replied impatiently, beckoning me to follow her. I rinsed my hands and followed her.
“Becky called me, she said you’re the topic of discussion in the bar”
“How?” I asked, she showed me pictures of me and Mr P hugging and ki…kissing? No way! I could never….ever do such a thing.
“We hugged that’s it. I’ll never have an intimate relationship with him. He’s married, we didn’t kiss. It’s the angle of the person who took the picture so it would seem like we are kissing but we weren’t” I said supposing the tears welling at the back of my eyes.
“You don’t have to explain to me….. I know you would never do such a thing but half of the employees in the bar thinks you’re his mistress. They said something about having proof now to show the whole world.” Salome said holding my hands. I couldn’t think straight, i removed my hands from her grip and paced. I couldn’t fathom what their accusation and words….. Mr P, he has helped me so much. He would think i did it on purpose to get money out of him.
“What will Mr Pierce think? He will think I’m the culprit behind it”
“He won’t think that but…..”
“But?” I asked impatiently.
“I hear say the bar don get two sides, your followers and Onyinye’s mininons. I sure say na one of her mininons snap una that picture, even Becky talk the same thing” I nodded almost immediately. It had to be someone she knows and obviously hates me like she does.
“I think all the employees in the bar are on her side. It’s just Becky and Akpevwe that hang out with me” I said with a sad tone, Salome hugged me.
“Na their own na, na them dey miss out”
“Salome….. My…my eyes are irritating…….” I said as tears flowed. I find something to lean or sit on, i can stand any longer.
“Are you for real?”
“Yes….. It started couple of days ago then it got worse. And i haven’t received my paycheck, i would have collected in advance but with this pictures gone viral, i won’t be able to” I said leaning on a wall sobbing.
“Have you told Maami?”
“No…. She has lots of expenses this month and last time she paid for everything. I don’t want to tell her, I don’t want her feeling bad that she can’t take care of me or providing for my needs”
“I will give you the money” Salome replied standing in my front wiping my tears.
“I owe you a lot already both in money and kind”
“I go collect am from your bride price, so dey help me calculate am” Salome said chuckling.
Salome makes light a situation, makes sure i always smile, makes sure am happy and always by me. At times i feel it’s too good to be true but i know it’s real and true. Her kind are rare and few. She’s really a true friend, this won’t be the first time she comes to my rescue and hopefully it’s not the last.
“Jumoke…..Jumoke!” Maami called.
What could be so urgent this early? I have to finish preparing half of the food, go to early morning lectures and i also have to see my ophthalmologist, then go to the bar later on. I have lots of things to do and maami just won’t stop screaming my name. I sighed
“What’s up with her? What’s so-” I asked myself going outside to join her but I quickly take back my words on seeing Mr Pierce’s wife, standing beside her car in front of the restaurant.