Maintaining In Maintenance: Aunty Thelma
'No wonder...', Thelma hissed after her lengthy musing as she stared at the soapy lines almost drying on the plates that needed attention in rinsing.
'No wonder', Thelma hissed again, this time around, the hiss was long enough to spite the devil.
She rinsed the plates and went back to her phone to resume her Instagram session as she was not done snooping, or 'researching' as she called it.
First on the list to be 'observed' today, like every other day was Oyin, the natural enemy that lives next door. Though they had not shared more than the usual Maintenance 'hi' and 'hello', Oyin was what Thelma described as a thorn in the flesh.
For Thelma, it was not bad enough that Oyin rented a whole room in SHG to herself; or that she seemed to have contact lenses for every weather. What irritated her was how Oyin went about 'acting friendly'. To her, that was the greatest form of arrogance. She attributed Oyin's staying alone to the Maintenance unwritten law of 'mind your business' and yes, there was 'boyfriend intimidation' game which Thelma couldn't play because she broke up with her boyfriend. She recently saw a controversial snap where one of campus's biggest moneybags declared Oyin as his legit girlfriend.
Thelma whose registration and matriculation name was Nkiru found the need to 'step up', thereby digging up her baptismal name which she felt sounded smoother and more befitting for a Maintenance babe. Due to her almost-humble background, raising the money to get a bedspace was trying, but then she thought to herself "what's the point of staying in maintenance if I can't stay in one of the freshest hostels?"
Later that night, Thelma's sleep was cut in half by a distant commotion. She checked the time, it was 9:53pm. As she made to step out of her room, she nearly collided with her roommate, Success, who came running up to call Thelma. Downstairs, they met with Oyin, just alighting a bike, half naked and all blue from bruises. She ran past them towards her room. Everybody seemed to be talking at once, excitedly. It's not everyday a 'public figure' appears like that.
It wasn't until the next day that Thelma got the full gist from a male friend of hers who stays in the same hostel as Victor, Oyin's moneybag boyfriend. Oyin came visiting and met Jude, a friend of Victor's who was staying with him for the day. He had some foreign currency and original gold chains which Oyin felt obliged to steal from.
Jude was apparently a chill-less guy and Victor, not your regular boyfriend, for he watched on as Jude dealt a few slaps on Oyin after finding the money in the inner pocket of her blazers and the gold chains in her underwear. Victor who had already lit a smoke began to fume and rant about how he had been wasting money on a thief and put out the cigarette on her back. It was then her screams attracted neighbors who came and pleaded that she be let go while a good Samaritan helped get her on a bike.
"It's why I rarely get envious of what someone else has. I don't know the price they paid to get it nor the price they are paying to keep it", Success said to Thelma from the kitchen.
"Well, she wasn't worth the beef after all', Thelma replied, trying to act unconcerned but she couldn't help but feel angry at herself for the time wasted and needless efforts.
This is one of the the many tales unfolding in the high gardens called Maintenance. Like I always advise; stay in your lane, you'll do just fine there.
Meanwhile, I'll keep maintaining in Maintenance.
(Nikhil Lagh is a Student of Political Science at the Obafemi Awolowo University and a Member of the OAU Peeps Team.)