Sepia Memories

Written by By Irenosen Akharele

Eseohe tried her best not to creak her daughter’s front door as she stepped into the house with a faint smile on her face. She had decided to surprise both her daughter, Ivie, and granddaughter Mali, with an afternoon out. Her friends said she was overcompensating, but she did not care. Being in the same city as her family again was a blessing she would not take for granted. 

When she entered the house, a tense silence greeted her, ears immediately perking up at the sound of distant argument. It was not an unusual thing to find Ivie and Mali fighting but the energy in the house felt different. After taking off her shoes, she walked across the carpeted parlor floor to eavesdrop and the words she heard made her stomach turn. She had to do something before it became too serious.

Sighing, Eseohe walked out of the house and pretended to walk in again, announcing her presence loudly so the fighting would stop. Lunch was very awkward, her granddaughter’s eyes avoiding the general area her daughter was in as best as she could. It hurt extra because she could remember a time when this was her and Ivie, quarreling for weeks at a time over silly men who made promises they did not intend to keep. 

By the time they had finished eating the too spicy jollof spaghetti, Eseohe had made up her mind that she would drag Mali on a needless journey making excuses about needing help and her frail old bones. Luckily Ivie was only too ready to have the house to herself. 

As Eseohe drove out into the busy streets, she studied her granddaughter’s face as the young girl seemed deep in thought.

“I overheard your conversation with your mom,” she started, the vaguely foreign accent she tried so much to hide slipping out. “Can I tell you a story?”

Mali looked at her grandmother, shocked. She expected to be yelled at or even given some advice but Eseohe’s honey brown eyes and warm smile said something of safety.

“Okay,” the girl nodded and settled into her seat. She was ready.


Eseohe had just turned 20. She had stopped selling pure water on the dusty streets of Benin a week ago and her smallies had put together some cash from their meager salaries to treat her to a session at the local salon. Her short feather braids framed her face beautifully, the layers making her already long neck seem even longer. Her nails were painted blood red and longer than she preferred but this was a special occasion. 

Osato Bar was packed to the brim on her birthday and the owner, Mama Osato, allowed Eseohe to be her chief server so that she could make some extra money for her Lagos fund. 

“You sure say you wan go? You know say future bright for you here, i fit even hire you as my second.” Mama Osato aimed a heavily drawn brow at the girl standing in front of her.

“Lagos no dey smile and you too fine for the kin hustle you wan do oh.” 

Eseohe laughed, her wide gap toothed smile instantly lighting up her spotted caramel face. She assured aunty Osato that it was what she wanted. Ovie street had nothing to offer her and her beauty was not the kind that picked her out of the crowd. You had to be looking for something to change your life. 

It was what David said the first time he saw her. He had come from a friend’s funeral and was in the mood for something spicy. Osato bar had the best peppered snail around and she was his server. After he introduced himself, Eseohe found herself drawn to him, this Lagos man with his air of superiority and gentle voice. 

That night he asked Eseohe back to his hotel and aunty Osato told her that she would be a fool not to go so she did, clad in a whisper thin black dress the woman had pulled out of nowhere. 

David was a big talker making Eseohe promises that she scoffed at until he made her scream his name three times consecutively using only his mouth and fingers. 

“Let me pay for your lifestyle, Eseohe. Whatever kind of life you want, I will provide for you.” David said the night before he was to leave. They had just broken one side of the bed during a particularly vigorous round of fornication and laughed their hearts out. 

“Follow me to Lagos.” 

Eseohe didn’t need to think about it. So far he had made every promise come true and her body sprung in response at the smallest touch of his fingers. And he had money. What was there to think about?

It was perfect, he was perfect. Life was perfect and Lagos was busy but nothing she wasn’t used to, until she found out David had a wife and three children when they visited from London and found her in nothing but his shirt, on her knees with his cock so far back her throat that she choked on it.

This story continues here.

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