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A Room Full of Flowers: Fiction by Aoiri Obaigbo

Image: remixed

“Are you a lesbian?” Faith asked.

“That was my very first kiss with a woman. You are in fact the first woman I have been close to since I matured into a woman.”

“Why did you kiss me?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. Just an impulse I couldn’t resist. Maybe because I’m not used to female company. Sorry about that.”

“Will you resist the next?”

“I hope so. I can’t afford any weakness.”

“Did you enjoy it?”

“I panicked.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Usually, I’m a predator. For me, sex is always an extraordinary magical performance where I am the puppeteer. My heat, my wetness, my postures, my gestures, my moans, my words and even the state of my nipples are controlled by images in my head and are designed for my purpose. I panicked when I felt pleasure I did not permit coursing through my body.”

“I had a girlfriend before I fell in love with Ibadan.”

“You don’t have to divulge anything.” Eve held up her hand.

“You opened up to me. It’s only fair.”

“I don’t want you to feel obliged.”

“I’m comfortable telling you everything about me.”

“It’s okay as long as it’s your choice.”


“Please tell me how you met Chief.”

“He was called Fredo in those days. He also lived in Maroko. Fredo was a bartender in Ikoyi club. He had what people called a poultry in Maroko. It was a shanty of wood and zinc sheets where he received pregnant teenagers. He catered for them until they delivered. Then he would sell the babies to wives of big men. That is how he wormed his way into the good books of the upper class. He had a reputation for treating the girls well and paying them handsomely.

The day I wrote my last paper in form three, my mathematics teacher invited me to her home. I was her favourite student, according to her, for beating the boys in the first and second terms Mathematics examinations. However, this invitation was not for Mathematics.

‘You are pregnant,’ she declared. ‘Go for a test tomorrow and report back to me. Do not let anyone know except the father, if you know him.’

She was right. I was six months pregnant. I did not expect ovulation before age thirteen. I was two months shy of age twelve and my abdomen was flat. Scorpion was glad to see my tops standing up to be counted but pregnancy was not within his contemplation… He bolted without taking an extra shirt. I waited for one week before I realised my sweet brute was never going to return to our little home.

My maths teacher brought me to Fredo.

‘She is a brilliant girl. Please help her. She could still resume class 3 with her classmates.’

I never did. My abdomen looked like I had a little too much to eat the day I delivered a baby boy. I was not allowed to touch the baby before it was sold. I never saw him again. A week after, my training began.

‘Close your eyes,’ Chief said.

I obeyed.

‘What can you see?’

‘I can’t see anything.’

‘Well, I can see mansions, private jets, exotic places and gold mines,’ Fredo said.

‘I can’t see a thing, sir.’

‘I hope you know you are extraordinary?’

I did not understand.”

“But you are extraordinary,” Faith affirmed.

“Thank you, Honey. I did not half look like this in those days. I saw my face sometimes in the furniture maker’s shop near my primary school. My eyes were too large for my face. I did not feel pretty. I remember my father making and tending my hair every Saturday. My lush hair was my consolation as a child. But my father used to say I got that asset from my mother whom I hated for deserting me. So I had a beef with my hair. Three years in Scorpion’s little room, a mirror was not one of our assets. I did not realise my face was catching up with my large eyes. My lashes used to look like feathers and my lips like they belonged to an adult. In three years and after a pregnancy, my whole aura had changed.

I knew nothing about these changes until Fredo took me to a place in Obalende. Some people fooled around with my fingers, toes, hair, face, neck. Honey, when they started to wheel me into another room, I grabbed Fredo’s trousers with all my strength and wished Scorpion was with me.

‘Relax, Evelyn. They just want to change your clothes,’ Fredo said.

‘What’s wrong with this one?’

‘You will never wear these kind of ordinary clothes again,’ Fredo said.

I decided to trust him.

In a blazing red dress, bedecked with jewelleries, mounted on high shoes that I could not walk in. Two ladies, holding my hands, propped me. I could stand as long as I did not attempt to move.

Fredo smiled. He whipped off a covering from a frame and I saw a stunning young lady in the mirror. I took a puzzled step forward and lost my balance. Fredo caught me like a bride.

Was that me?

He planted a kiss on my cheek. The first and last of such tender gestures.

‘I told you. You are extraordinary.’

I believed.

Fredo was driving a Volkswagen beetle in those days. He drove me to a place along Cooper Road in Ikoyi. One of these colonial legacy buildings with well tended lawns and flowers. I saw a Rolls Royce for the very first time in that house.

Unable to walk in the shoes, I held on to them. I wondered if Fredo was bringing me to the owner of the house for sex. I had not had sex since the early morning of the day my maths teacher unveiled the pregnancy. I would not object.

The house was owned by a woman. An elegantly dressed old lady who rose up from her throne and towered over both of us. She was huge. Her breasts were like water pots and her hips curved out by almost a foot. But her abdomen was flat and she was upright. Her long white hair had a sparkling tiara perched on it. Fredo knelt like a knight and kissed her offered hand which had diamond rings on all fingers.

‘My Queen,’ Fredo greeted, ‘this is the little princess I told you about.’

Dr. Ekaete Brown. That was her name. She was heiress to a staggering fortune in real estate, steel, oil and gas and shipping bequeathed her by her last husband. She was a celebrity courtesan in her prime who catered for colonial masters. She became my mentor.”

“What does courtesan mean please?” Faith asked.

Eve took another sip from her wine.

“I prefer the word prostitute. One uses only her body. The other entraps with her mind and all her gifts. I prefer not to make a distinction,” Eve explained.

“I see.”

“She said nothing. She flowed back to her throne and perched on it. Crossing her legs, she took a long dissecting look at me and gestured for me to turn around.

‘Keep turning,’ she ordered.

I was feeling the first wave of dizziness before she issued her verdict: ‘Young. It’s hard to tell how she’s going to turn out. Whether an artisan or an artist. Uncut


diamond. Will it be fantastic or flawed? Because it’s mostly a mind game. More of what you know than what there is to show.’

The feeling that I was extraordinary evaporated.

‘She was on scholarship.’ Fredo said quickly. ‘And she beat all the boys in Maths, French and English languages. She did very well in Integrated Science and all her subjects.’

‘Can you sing?’ she asked.

‘I can sing very well,’ I replied.

‘Confidence. That’s compulsory. That’s good. Can you dance?’

‘Yes, Ma.’


Was she going to approve or not?

‘Fredo, she has potentials. I owe you a favour anyway so I will take on this challenge. Not strictly for you though. Night is here already. Won’t be right to blow away without investing in someone deserving. I can ignite the energy of our craft in her but art requires inspiration from her own soul and success comes when talents and luck locate each other. She’ll be with me until she’s ready.’

That is how I found myself on the biggest and most comfortable bed I had ever lain on but was unable to sleep. I was too excited. Sleep was eluding me for the first time. I played my lifetime over and over again.

Why not try those stupid shoes?

I got up and strapped them on and I crawled to the chair in front of the dressing table. I was happy with my face and physique. They encouraged me. By sunrise, I could walk in the shoes. I felt ready for the training and slept off on the soft floor. I had a dream that morning. I saw Dr. Brown arise from the sea. She handed me a glass bowl filled with wedding rings. As I walked away, more wedding rings were dropping into the bowl until it was overflowing.”

Faith turned her face from watching the sky to gaze at Eve. Eve was staring at the sky as if there was a screen up there showing her narrative.

“What manner of a dream was that? Was she a mermaid?” Faith asked.

She was weaned on mermaid tales by her Ijaw mother.

Then came another spell of silence.

Eve got off her hammock and beckoned to Faith to follow as she cat-walked seductively.


“Do you ever walk normally?” Faith asked.

“I normally walk like this.”

“Do you walk like this in your lecture hall?”

“Everywhere, Honey. I can’t believe I am having this inquisition.”

In the ensuing icy silence, Eve led Faith to the ornate outer door to her boudoir. The door was an elaborate frame with classical floral relief in gold. There was a replica of the oval shaped painting, The Turkish Bath, in the middle of the imposing white door.

Faith stood there staring at the painting, trying to count the women in the harem. About two dozen women, without any inhibitions.

Faith noticed a lady in the harem touching her mate intimately so she took a step backward and glanced at Eve. Another kiss from her could be too steamy a vortex.

Why is the past stalking the present?

After getting involved with Ibadan, she had taken a long walk with Joe Macho and declared that she preferred guys. She had not looked back nor visited Josephine Senayon since then.

“This is what men want of us,” Eve sliced into Faith’s pondering. “They want us in competitive slavery, naked and available on demand. As ticklish feathers for their egos and as clutches for their insecurities.

One woman can sniff away a gang of men in one night and yet the wisest of men usurped the lives of a thousand women for his libido. That is the irony of a woman’s existence in the chronicles of men.”

Faith was uncomfortable with the seriousness in Eve’s voice.

“You mentioned mermaids awhile ago. Witches, sirens, priestesses, lamiae, amazons, prostitutes have one thing in common. They are icons of unease for men. The women who have combined their mental powers with their disarming physical potentials to control events in their environment have always been stigmatised. Against all the odds, women have been breaking down barriers to emerge queens, bosses, even captains and presidents over men. Brute force is losing out. The Brain is ascending over the brawn. The rise of women is inevitable. Just like water wears away rocks over time, the true history of women is gradually emerging from centuries of lies, half-truths.”

Faith was also uncomfortable with the subject matter. She always avoided gender issues.

She was persuaded that the so called inequality was decreed by God. Her mother said so. She never argued with her father and there was peace in their home.

“I have not heard anyone calling our VC names,” Faith said.

“How about Iron Lady?” Eve replied.

“That is more like praising her, isn’t it?”

“Interesting. If you look under the sheets, you will realise that that ferrous title refers to a witch who’s also a bitch. If you have the ears, you will hear echoes of the inquisition. Who are the Iron lords you know among her fellow vice chancellors?

To bridge the gap between the idea that we are lazy and wasteful dating back to Greek myths, men just have to mix some iron in ladies to explain our proven leadership qualities. And you think they are praise words. Have you heard them calling Ronald Reagan an iron lord? They are condescending when they brand us. They are always eager to say things with hidden barbs about us, when the usual bitch or witch would be obviously disingenuous.”

“Are you trying to convert me?”

“I just don’t want your mother’s opinions to be all you ever heard.”

“I never mentioned anything about my mother’s opinions so you are up to something, aren’t you? Please don’t tell me my mother’s opinions are written on my face.”

“What would you rather believe, Honey? Witchcraft? Listening to the mind. What is that? Are you for real? Be careful what you believe. Men, in the toga of priests, prophets and princes created two name tags, bitches and witches, as excuses for beheading millions of talented women. How many wizards were hounded down? What does the ratio say? Women are more prone to evil? Which gender has the trophy for wanton destruction and massacres? And what do we call men who leave sorrow, tears and blood in their trails? Patriots and heroes.

“And we who are victims of their unending intrigues get to choose between bitches or witches. Unless we are married like your beloved mother.”

“Please. Can we ice this topic?” Faith requested.

The door opened and Eve led Faith into a broad corridor. Both walls of the corridor were concealed completely by mirrors. There were paintings of gorgeous ladies from past centuries. The works were framed with the same ornate gold design. This was a gallery of ladies in ancient clothes. Names were gilded under the images but none of them was familiar. Except Bathsheba taking a bath.

The first was the relief of the statue of a beautiful lady without arms. Venus de Milo was gilded beneath. There used to be a body cream by that name.


Faith was about to move to the next work when Eve started a story.

“The Greek called her Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, love, pleasure and procreation. In the beginning therefore, men acknowledged that women had qualities to be idolised. The Romans called her Venus. The real work is in the Louvre museum in Paris. My first lecture under Dr. Brown started in front of this famous statue in Paris. Three days after I dreamt of wedding rings pouring into my bowl, I, a slum dweller found myself in an aircraft and landed in France. Looking out through the window from my room in the luxurious Hotel du Louvre on the bank of the Seine, my vision of the world exploded into a million sparks and a new magical feel of existence emerged.

That flight and a night of five star view of Paris turned me into a sponge, eager to soak in all I could from Dr. Brown’s incredible fount of knowledge. In the morning, Dr. Brown led me to this statue.

‘If they could worship her.’ she whispered to me, ‘You can make them worship you. How do I mentor you from a Maroko maid to a celestial being like Venus? There’s no way on earth. You have to catch the fire from inside you to ignite passion wherever you appear. There are other ladies, flesh and blood, in this wonderful museum and other places whose stories should inspire you.’

“These ladies in my gallery are some of the iconic women, all slandered by men, whose stardom shone through to our generation. I soaked in their essences to get myself a bright place in the sky”

“Are they like Idia, Moremi and Queen Amina?” Faith asked.

Eve did not reply.

Next was the painting of a vivacious lady holding up a burning torch by the name of Thais.

“What is Thais up to in this painting?” Faith asked.

“Thais accompanied Alexander the Great throughout his campaign in Asia Minor. In 330 BC, Alexander burned down the palace of Persepolis after drinking, roused by a powerful speech by Thais which convinced Alexander to burn the palace.

“The original is in the Musee du Louvre. Dr. Brown was focused on specific artworks. Pick a weapon from each of these ladies, she told me. After whispering the story of Thais in my ear, she asked me:

‘What weapon are you reaping from her?’

‘My Queen, she has the power of persuasion,’ I replied and she took me to the next learning point.

It took me one year to persuade Scorpion to avenge me. Thais moved Alexander in one speech. I was eager to learn. I couldn’t have had a better teacher than Dr. Brown.”

Faith was not happy with Thais for burning down a palace through manipulation but she did not want another argument with Eve of the golden anklet.

Faith moved past the painting of Bathsheba taking a bath to the next painting: The magnificent portrayal of an elegant woman with the name Madame de Pompadour gilded beneath. The painter captured the fashionable lady taking her eyes off a journal to tease onlookers with her stare.


“Is this also at the Louvre? Who was she?” Faith asked.

“Jeanne Poisson. That’s her name. Famous as Madame de Pompadour. Her portraits are in The Louvre, of course. She was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745. She was trained from childhood to be a mistress, and learned her trade well. She could recite entire plays by heart, play the clavichord, dance, sing, paint and engrave. She also became an accomplished actress and singer. What I treasure from her story, apart from her readiness to read and learn, is that as soon as she got her break, she took charge of the king’s schedule and became indispensable and influential, even in politics.”

“What was the value of her education? Did she develop her talents just to wind up a mistress?” Faith was puzzled.

Eve smiled and shook her head. She moved to the next frame and waited. Faith was not finding the selective responses amusing. She did not want to express her irritation directly so she attacked the work on the left wall of mirror.

“This is just a drawing. Imperial la Davina. Another educated mistress?”

“According to Dr. Brown, the word courtesan was created initially for this lady. Why was education required for her vocation? I am sad that a 500 level student of medicine, a young woman for that matter, never paid attention to history but I will tell you.”

“We read history right up to form three. But we read from textbooks. Not a museum. Certainly not about courtesans.” Faith was happy with this response.

“Your curriculum was designed to promote only half of mankind. Men and their misdeeds passed on as patriotism and heroism.”

“I am not comfortable with history please. My focus is on those patients in the wards. I don’t care whether they are male or female? Besides, my father was a good man. Honest and just. Most of my teachers were good men. My boyfriend is a good guy. I have also met some wicked women in my life. Good or evil is not about gender.”

“Very grand. Very fair. But then, you are a woman. We are grand and fair. That is our strength. It’s also our weakness in that men have more often been far from grand and have not been fair in managing our talents nor prudent in including our contributions in their school curricula.”

“The future is more important for me.”

“Through parents, men have been flying this kite for centuries. By the way, Faith, was your father fair in managing your mother’s talents?”

Faith was furious. She took a deep breath and sighed. Then she felt calm. Something she learnt from her mother.

“I am sorry I descended to that level. It is because I have been strictly among men since I graduated from Dr. Brown’s academy. They are crude. They can draw a gun to cow a cat. I am so very sorry.”

“I was beginning to feel like I looked like men. Or like their lawyer,” Faith replied. Everything about Eve is an enactment. The laughter this time was a perfect enactment of happiness for Faith.

She had no idea what Eve felt was funny but it was infectious. They had a good laugh.

“What was it we were supposed to be laughing about?” shouted Faith above the laughter that had built up and filled up the gallery.

“Who cares?” Eve sang.

“What if we are unable to stop laughing?” Faith screamed.

“That’s a scary question,” Eve replied, recomposing herself instantly. “Let’s return to our walk through history, Honey. The history of the women excluded from your school curriculum.”

“Cool. Just for the laugh. Okay.”

“This drawing is from Galatea by Raphael in Villa Farnesina in Italy. The model, Imperia La Davina was born as the daughter of the butler of Pope Julius II.

In the 15th century, the courtiers of the Papal court used to hire female escorts to accompany them in court life. They were banned from marrying but the women had to be educated and know their etiquette to be able to converse and participate in formal court

life. Imperia became the famous fore runner of this new class of prostitutes in Europe.

The banker Agostino Chigi, the richest banker in the world at that time, was her main client. He financed both a palace in Rome and a country villa outside the city for her.

She made the mistake of falling in love with one Angelo del Buffalo who caused Imperia to commit suicide by poisoning herself.”

“That is a sad end,” Faith said.

“Death is not a sad event if you lived out your dreams. Death is the curtain to a grand and brilliant performance. Life and death are mere illusions. Imperia created a place in the sky for herself. Some women lived to be a hundred but mostly have no imprints in the sands of time.”

“Are you living your dream? Is this your dream?”

“I never forget that my father fought for his country but died of poverty. My dream is to be wealthy in my old age. That became my only dream when my father died. I am living the only dream Life offered me.”

“Did you learn all these things from Dr. Brown?”

“She was a genius. Very resourceful. Only Dr. Ekaette Brown could have discovered a madman like Professor IQ who teaches lizards and butterflies when there is no human to listen to him. She took me to a village near Bonny where I was subjected to the ceaseless ranting of a dirty hermit for two whole years. Professor IQ knew every subject under the sun and could teach in twenty-four languages including Latin. Lunatic alright. Sleeps on books, talks and argues with books, talks compulsively.

After living with Professor IQ for two years, I took the GCE and did exceptionally well in all subjects including French, fine art and Mathematics.

Of course, he went far beyond the syllabus. Learning without boundaries. That is what he calls it. He was responsible for my mental stimulation.”

“He taught you everything you know, right?”

“Just the mental stimulation. I had numerous trainers and teachers. How to walk, how to sit, make up, graces, grooming, etiquette, music, diet, men, knowledge of poisons and antidotes, the forgotten herbs, cultural diversity. Dr. Brown knew the best hand for each subject or skill but she herself taught me how to enter the heads, the hearts and minds of powerful men. That moment when a man glances down to admire my golden anklet, with his eyes off my face, I capture a snap shot of his hidden personality. Dr. Brown taught me that. The errors are slim.”

“You could be anything with your bags of knowledge and skills,” Faith commented.

“All I want is wealth. My father died of poverty. The tyranny of lack. He didn’t get ill. Under the siege of penury, my father caved in and found solace in death. According to Margaret Thatcher, there can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty. In this country, the national cake is the only source of fabulous wealth and I am a fabulous reason for any man to loot the treasury.”

“Don’t you want to settle down someday?” Faith asked.

“Marriage is a compromise I can never settle for. My liberty is my happiness.”

“What of children? What of old age?”

“I have two boys for two of the richest men in this country. I had one that was sold. Marriage was designed by men to yoke women to their whims. In my old age, I will live on the banks of the River Seine in luxury and write about the men I conquered until I pass away.”

“Excuse me. Why did you skip that picture?” Faith asked, pointing at the painting of The Lady Elizabeth.

“She was not a courtesan,” Eve replied.

“But she is in your corridor.”

“Because she never compromised.”

“You mean she never got married?”

“Yes. She lived and died a virgin. One of the first women recorded to enjoy true power.”

“I am interested in her story, please,” Faith urged and walked back to Princess Elizabeth.

“Okay, but she throws up one of the most obnoxious men in history who defamed and beheaded women in his quest for a son,” Eve remarked.

“I am interested in her story,” Faith insisted.

Pointing to another painting, Eve announced,

“Let’s start with this lady. She’s her aunt. Mary Boleyn was courtesan to her father king Henry VlII,” Eve said.

“I don’t understand how that is possible,” Faith said.

“It is difficult to understand men from where you stand. Anyway, it was a man’s world when brute strength ruled. Warriors could suddenly descend on a peaceful village and cart away women for their pleasure. A king was virtually a god. King Henry could have any woman he chose. Mary Boleyn was one of the ladies waiting on his queen. He had his way with her. He later annulled his first marriage and married Mary’s sister, Ann Boleyn.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Faith asked.

“No. You haven’t heard anything yet. When he could not get a male heir from Ann, he framed her. Anne was executed on Tower Green. Next day he was engaged to one of her maids, Jane Seymour. Seventeen months later, the new queen died of delivery complications some days after labour for Prince Edward, the future King Edward V1. Are you sure you want to go on with this?” Eve asked.

“Can we just go to the story of the Lady Elizabeth?”


“The first two queens had two beautiful daughters between them. The Lady Mary and the Lady Elizabeth. They were disregarded and set aside.

However, the kingdom was destined to be ruled by women. To showcase the untapped potentials of women for the good of Mother Earth. Edward passed on, Mary was sacked and this elegant lady came to the throne of England. Take a look at her, Honey. Men are superficial in assessing women. We were born beautiful, grand and fair. We have a right to celebrate that. But we are more. We also are warriors. When this pretty lady came to the throne, using a woman’s gift for listening and her instinct, Queen Elizabeth the First stabilised the kingdom until she passed on in old age.

Have you heard of the Spanish Armada?”

“May be. I already told you I did not pay much attention to art subjects.”

“Never too late, Honey. Anyway, Philip the Second of Spain and Pope Sixtus the Fifth teamed up and set sail from Lisbon with 151 deadly ships. The virgin Queen whipped their butts black and blue. Now, that is girl power. Men are quick to tell you that men fought the actual battles but here’s a woman who mounted a horse and led her own battles.”

Eve led Faith past images of Coral Pearl, La Belle Otero, Tullia d’Aragona…

“Look! She is stark naked. Tullia d’Aragona. What is that?” Faith enquired.

Eve did not pause until she got to the painting of Begum Samru. Faith walked up to Eve.

“Tullia d’Aragona. What’s your beef with her body? You saw some flaws you want to share with me?”

“She is fine. But stark naked,” Faith complained. “A woman’s body is for her husband only, right?”

“We are talking about decency here.”

“Her body is indecent?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Honey, it would have been indecent to hide all that beauty from humanity. More importantly, that lady is a published poet. Her poems have lived through the years. She can’t be judged by the exposure of her skin but by the quality of her thoughts.”

“I still think…” Faith began.

“A woman’s body does not belong to any man. Your body is yours. You can choose to hide it or flaunt it.”

“Doesn’t Begum Samru look more decent all dressed up?” Eve asked.

“I assure you Begum Samru had her naughty days. Walter Reinhardt Sombre, a mercenary, came to the red light area and fell for the charms of a girl called Farzana. The dancing girl helped Sombre in those times of intrigue to survive and succeed. She inherited his army and won many crucial battles commanding the troops by herself. Farzana survived battles on horseback and got branded a witch in the war front. She died at age ninety, stupendously wealthy. Farzana made history as Begum Samru. Honey, these are some of the ladies whose stories liberated me from the mind-set of Maroko.

No lady has come this far into my lair. Except Idara. I am Queen here. And men are happy to honour my wishes.”

Eve pushed the inner door open with a flourish.

The room was like a scene from a dream. The floor was completely covered with roses and so many other pretty flowers. Faith had never seen so many flowers assembled before.

The room was brightly lit with sweet smelling candles. More candles than she ever saw burning together. A huge circular bed, a beautiful throne and a marble statue of Eve undressed, with a fully drawn bow and an arrow aimed at the doorway were in the centre of the bedroom.

Does Eve imagine herself to be a goddess?

Faith surveyed the breath taking beauty of the expansive room. Silk drapes ran from the ceiling of mirror to the floor which was flooded to the ankles with flowers. The entire wall opposite the door was a giant aquarium with numerous gold fish. An array of golden goblets, Ornate vases and beautiful stilettos.

Flustered, her eyes roved over the dressing table and the rows of leather bound books. Suggestive artworks, decorations, satin and silk fabrics and the way the mirror ceiling duplicated everything gave the room a sublime attribute. Faith realised why Eve had referred to her boudoir as a lair. Everyone should feel like a prey in here.

Faith was reversing her panning stare across the room when she noticed what she had missed inside the giant aquarium. There was a glass bowl on a gold stool filled to the brim with wedding rings.

She recalled the dream that Eve had narrated. The glass bowl overflowing with wedding rings. This glass bowl inside the aquarium contained hundreds of wedding rings that real life married men had given up to Eve for a tumble.

This place is more of a shrine, she almost cried out.

Faith found it disturbing. She backed off slowly and decided to leave. Eve was laughing. But Faith was too uneasy to enjoy Eve’s sonorous mirth.


(Excerpted with permission from The Wretched Billionaire, a novel by Aoiri Obaigbo.)

Image: remixed.

Aoiri Obaigbo
Aoiri Obaigbo
Aoiri Obaigbo was editor, Mister Magazine, and Associate Producer, Energy this Week on Africa Independent Television. The author of Proverb Child, shortlisted for the ANA/Cadbury Poetry Prize in 1992, and a play, Re-incarnation, a BBC World Service finalist, Obaigbo attended the University of Benin and received his Masters in Literature from the University of Lagos. His latest work, The Wretched Billionaire, was published recently.


  1. This is mouth-watering! The history and information packed in this extract is great stimulant for thought and reflection on how far the cause of women has come especially today where we are generally encouraged to complacency…

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