I DIDN'T KNOW UNTIL I KNEW

"Watch o, she won't greet us o, she will just pass like an idiot that she is" my cousin whispered to me while her beautiful neighbor approached us one evening.

Truly, she didn't greet any of us, she walked past us with her head high up as if she perceived something disgusting and entered her flat which was adjacent to my cousin's.

I was loosing my cousin's hair at her veranda. We were fast to talk but slow with the hair loosing.

"But why is she behaving like that?" I asked my cousin.

"My dear, thank God you've come to spend some time with me o, you go follow me see characters for this compound" she replied

"How?" I asked

"You see that Brenda of a girl? She is one of the most irritating girls in this neighborhood. She brings different guys to her flat almost everyday.

She could have brought today, maybe the guy disappointed her or he'd come later. Just keep checking who enters the compound and you may see a guy coming straight to her flat.

She stopped talking to me simply because I once tried advising her. Ever since then, she saw me as one of her enemies and stopped greeting me or anyone that she sees with me." My cousin said.

"Hmm_ that's not good," I said.

If Brenda wasn't in good terms with my cousin, then I won't be in good terms with her either.

From that day, I saw her as an enemy. My cousin had injected me with the mindset that Brenda was a prostitute, even though she didn't say it directly.

So, after my conversation with my cousin, I saw Brenda in a different way. I observed every step she made and the people that visited her.

Though I didn't really see her with guys as my cousin stressed, except for one particular guy who visited her during weekends, I still saw her as a loose girl.

Whenever I passed Brenda by, I'd hiss or spit, just to make her talk, but she'd act as if she just passed by an inanimate object and walk on with her usal straight face.

My hatred for her grew as the days passed, yet she didn't give me any reason to fight or quarrel with her_ she was a perfect definition of a snub.

One evening, I got home from the JAMB tutorial I went for, and realized my cousin's door was locked. She wasn't back from work.

Confidently, I carried up the carpet in front of the entrance door, hoping to see the key as usual, but it wasn't there.

I called my cousin and told her I couldn't find the key. Few seconds after checking her bag, she told me pleadingly that she mistakenly carried the key with her.

I knew what it meant. I'd have to wait till 10:00PM before I could enter the house because that was the time she normally came back from work.

Worst of all, I didn't have a penny in my bag to get something to eat while waiting for her. I was damn famished. I checked my time, it was just few minutes to five and I wondered how I'd survive at the balcony till ten.




I sat at the veranda with my earpiece plugged in my ears and played some music, thinking it'd help me forget the fact that I was hungry.

But it didn't help, rather, the songs playing in my stomach were louder than the ones in my phone. So I turned off my music, rested my head on the balusters and slept off.

Few minutes after, a soft hand tapped me and I opened my eyes, thinking it was my cousin. But it wasn't. It was Brenda, my cousin's neighbor_ our enemy.

I realized I couldn't move my neck easily, then it occurred to me that I had slept off in a bad posture, hence, the neck ache.

"Are you sick?" Brenda asked. That was the first time she spoke to me, ever since I visited my cousin.

"No," I replied weakly. I explained why I was outside to her and I was very shocked when she told me to follow her to her flat and wait for my cousin. She obviously saw I was cold and hungry.

I couldn't resist. I followed her like a prodigal son till we got inside her beautiful house. It smelled very lovely.

The aroma of whatever she prepared in the kitchen was killing! I began to salivate unconsciously.

She told me politely to sit down and I did. My eyes roamed around the sitting room. It was warm and neatly arranged. The chairs were soft, I felt like lying down, instead of sitting, but I had to comport myself.

Few seconds later, the guy I had been seeing her with, came out of the kitchen, looking very handsome. He was the one that cooked, not Brenda.

Brenda introduced him to me as her fiancé. I was speechless. I felt very ashamed of myself for taking her to be a prostitute.

"What would you like eat?" She asked me. A question I'd been longing to hear.

I told her I'd take anything she offered me and she smiled and went back to the kitchen.

Few minutes later, she came back with a plate of fried rice and two big laps of chicken. She dropped it before me, walked to the fridge and brought a cold bottle of malt drink with a clean glass for me.

I thanked her and began to attack the food like a hungry lion. Within five-ten minutes, the plate and bottle were empty. I was so satisfied that my flat stomach bulged out.

"Thank you so much for the meal, I really enjoyed it," I said.

"You're welcome honey," Brenda replied.

Ha! She even called me honey. I felt more guilty than before. I couldn't even look at her. I just sat there like a statue while she packed my plate and the bottle.

She came back and sat beside me. I didn't know where to hide my face, so I just looked at the television as if I was following whatever program was showing, but I wasn't, not one bit.

"So, how have you been, Ima?" Brenda asked me.

Face down, I answered "Fine"

I didn't need anyone to tell me what to do, so I said "Sis Brenda, please forgive me for all the things I've been doing to you"

"It's fine," Brenda smiled "I never really blamed you because you obviously went by whatever your cousin told you about me, hence, the hatred" She studied me for a while before she continued.

"I muted your cousin, not because I had anything against her, but because I wanted her to realize her mistakes and probably apologise, because what she did to me was uncalled for," she said.

"What did she do to you?" I asked her.

"She kept embarrassing me each time my brothers visited. I have two brothers, my fiance knows them. They visit me once in a while.

The day my elder brother visited, your cousin had the effrontery to knock on my door and shout at me to repent.

She said a lot of things about me bringing different guys to my house. I don't know if she was possessed, but I warned her never to try that again.

She wouldn't listen. She did same when my younger brother visited. The day my fiance came with his friend, your cousin almost pulled down this house.

Even if I was a prostitute, is that the best way to preach for someone to repent? For peace to reign, I decided to mute her and everyone around her, knowing fully well that she'd gossip me to them.

That is why we've been like this. I don't blame you for believing whatever she told you, but next time, learn to hear from both sides before you judge," She concluded.

I was speechless. I fell on my knees and begged her to forgive me. She lifted me up and hugged me, telling me I could be her friend if I wished.

That was how I became friends with Brenda, my cousin's neighbor. When she got to know that I was preparing to write JAMB, she gave me some past questions I had been looking for. She was indeed an angel which I didn't know, until I knew.

NOTE: It is completely irrational to hear a story from one party and start judging without hearing from the other.

That person you label a demon because of "what you hear" about him/her might be an angel, if and only if you get to know him/her.
Be guided.

A fictional story by Ima Udott
#YourFavouriteStoryTeller.