S.K Modupe’s Apparel sat off the popular Dada Estate .Oluchi insisted her Aunt had made such a poor choice in location. “We would make twice our earnings if we were on the express Mami,” she would say.Modupe didn’t think the same especially as her clothing store was the largest in Osogbo and women from all walks of life stopped by in numbers daily.It was well stocked, its external finish with green carpets, bright artificial flowers of yellow and red, which Modupe had shopped from @jazzmakinteriors, gave her space the most elegant touch. The serene atmosphere that radiated within its walls gave the relaxing ambience that got high profile women in the Government stopping by as well. No one could ever guess Modupe, the plump dark-skinned Modupe who had never received Western education owned the most popular clothing store in Osogbo.”Tonty tere, tonty four, tonty five.. oh!”She dropped the bundle of Naira notes she had been counting, placed her hands beneath her jaw, staring angrily at the door now. She walked slowly it was typical of her , her weight could barely allow for swiftness.“Kini problem?”she asked , facing Oluchi now who had blocked the entrance with her petite frame..“Ma, the sanitizer,”Oluchi said, refusing to let the fair woman who had been standing a distance from the other waiting clients get in.She bent to meet Modupe’s gaze.“Ah ah ah….. Mummy Ayo, ewole jare’Modupe turned to face Oluchi with a silent stare that begged for reasons why she had not allowed.“Venza” come in.Modupe named her clients by the cars they drove and reserved their names for when she spoke to them in person if she wasn’t tagging the married ones by the names of their children.She had travelled the world, for business, vacations, without a degree, the kind Oluchi was here in Osogbo striving for.Obafemi Awolowo University had closed down as a result of the pandemic that had ravaged the world.The slender lady walked around the shop, piling clothes in her sizes on Modupe’s glass table.Oluchi feared the glass table would have it’s parts littered all over if it had to bear one more stack of clothing,  but she had lived with Modupe long enough, since her husband’s demise years ago to know she couldn’t express such displeasure in the presence of a client, the ones who had their nose in the air and won’t relate to Modupe if she wasn’t the filthy rich business woman.Oluchi began to pack the clothes into a branded bag that had Modupe’s picture boldly above her brand name. Another poor choice Oluchi was weary of speaking of.“More blessings, ese ma”, Modupe said, carrying her fifty year old frame to the door as she saw her client off.“Oluchi, kini problem, Venza?”“Ma, I asked her to sanitize and use her face mask before entering the shop”.“But this is Venza, Venza don’t mix with common people”“Ma,”  Oluchi called out pointing to   the ” no mask,  no entry” signal on the doorpost.Modupe hissed, walked to her desk and turned to Oluchi again.“See, all these for the government, no Covid in Nigeria, only China, Italy, sun here, kill everything”, she said moving her index finger over her lips.“Ma, this pandemic is real, alot of lives, lost!”.Modupe looks away, she tries to imagine where to begin with convincing Oluchi who to her was just as stubborn as her younger sister  back in Onitsha. She shakes her head, pouts and resumes .“Oluchi, bird flu come and go, ebola come and go, Covid-19 will go too’.“Mami but simple things, sanitize, wash hands regularly, avoid contact”“Your type cannot give husband peace. You argue  much. Anyway, if anything at all my anointing oil from Jerusalem, still remaining”She says relaxing into her gold chairs and resumes her counting.“Tonty tere, tonty four, tonty five..”“But, Mami , faith without works is vain!”Modupe stares spitefully and ignores Oluchi this time who sets out to get their lunch from @anikee.o She had barely gotten into a cab when she felt her phone vibrate in her denim skirt.It was her mother she had began with the regular pleasantries and said so much about sending a dirty slap from Onitsha if she did not obey  her Madam who was responsible for her schooling.
Oluchi had said little lately, personally observing prevention procedures. Modupe would laugh loudly whenever she saw Oluchi  in the well fitted face mask made by @gabys_concept , when she sanitized her hands too. It was an outburst  that left Modupe almost choking on her way to Church when she found Modupe conducting Sunday School over her small laptop .Oluchi was usually out before Modupe whose church was an hour farther, rising in the early hours had become a norm since she was appointed the new Sunday School Teacher at The Kingdom Campus Fellowship.Modupe laughed off her feverish symptoms as well and couldn’t hide her irritation when Oluchi had suggested she gets a proper check up at the hospital after she had complained incessantly of a headache that left her bed ridden.“Fimi le jare,” Modupe snapped, sweating profusely. She  found Modupe’s lifeless body on her bed when she  checked on her in the middle of the night.She had cried her eyes out even at the isolation centre.“Negative”The NCDC official said to her after series of questions that had him placing a thermometer close to her forehead.It was an ugly feeling, a subdued joy that engulfed her as she left the isolation centre days later.‘Mama, we are leaving now,” Oluchi said over the phone as the driver started the bus.”Iji mask?”‘Yes mama’‘Chukwu gozie gi’, her mother prayed as she journeyed to Onitsha immediately the interstate lockdown was relaxed, she would tell of her last moments with Modupe and how she was laid to rest in Osogbo, she knew her mother would weep so bad, it would break her.

           Merit  Gogo-fyneface

N/B This is a work of fiction, any similarities with real life characters is purely a coincidence.
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