Indigo Hassan peered out of the window of the massive kitchen, the morning time was her favorite. Indigo stared at the racoons jumping from one coconut tree to the other, they also fought for nuts. She stared at the colorful birds that swamped the beach palms that fenced the Shola residence.
‘Hmm, so beautiful.’ She purred dreamily while admiring the blueness of the skies and the fairness of the weather.
The light sun rays penetrated the window and fell on her caramel brown skin, her eyes took in their golden rays and substituted them for her deep brown color Her face was a map of smiles as she caught one of the racoons staring at her, it was so beautiful and she couldn’t keep herself from waving.
‘Hello there! You’re so pretty.’ She smiled and wished she had a good phone so she could take a picture of the animal and share it with her Facebook friends.
‘You should be working on breakfast, you know how mean Moremi can get especially when she is hungry.’
The sharp voice and the terseness with which the words were spoken interrupted Indigo’s precious morning fellowship with the works of nature.
‘Huh?’ She snapped out of her communication with the racoon and turned to face Anabel.
‘Well, the potatoes are still on fire, she likes them really soft. I’m still boiling.’ She quickly explained.
‘And the tea? You know she likes it before breakfast?’ Anabel asked.
‘Water on fire too.’ Indigo clasped her hands together and bowed her head, a mocking gesture that always cracked Anabel up, but when Anabel ignored her, she knew something was wrong.Indigo took a deep breath and marched towards the pot where she had boiled the sweet Potatoes, she fetched a fork from the cutlery basket and cut into the potatoes, to see if they were well done.
‘Almost ready, ten minutes tops.’ She announced confidently, but Anabel seemed uninterested.
She was working on the spinach leaves that were meant for the sauce, while humming a song quietly.
Indigo decided she was in a bad mood and needed some space.
Indigo and Anna had been friends for six months since Indigo started working for the family of Chief Martins Shola, who was the Chief Judge of the High Court for the State of Jos.
She had bonded with Anabel easily as she had no friend and sibling, she never knew her parents and had grown up with her grandfather, whom she fondly called, “Papa.”
Anabel was taller than she was, she had a milky white skin, reddish lips and light brown eyes, hence the sobriquet, “Mamiwata,” which Indigo fondly used whenever she was teasing her.
Indigo ignored her friend too and pondered on her own problems, she was not the type to carry her problems on her sleeves or allow her moods to affect her relationship with the people around her.
No, Indigo was far from that. Papa had thought her to treat people the way she would love to be treated; and she hated it when others made her feel uncomfortable just because they were having a bad day, just like Anabel was doing.
They were both College Students at the College of Building and Architecture, Jos, but they were schooled part-timely, due to financial constraints.
Indigo was a student of Contemporary Architectural designs, a course she had always wanted to read. She had fallen in love with buildings since when she was a kid and her grandfather noticed this. He didn’t have much money to cater for her needs, but he sold his personal belongings to help her pursue her dreams.Papa…’ tears welled up in her eyes as she thought of her grandfather’s love for her. He loved her more than anything in the world and he could give up his own life so that she would live.
He had been a Security man for the Forest Reserve, but due to his health condition, he had retired early and without pension, so she had started fending for herself from the age of fifteen.
Indigo had worked five places before the Shola Residence and they had always sacked her for one reason.
‘Indigo!’ She shuddered as Moremi’s loud scream pierced her heart.
When she realized, what was going on, she noticed something was burning. The kitchen was stuffy and an acrid smell of burnt potato filled the air.
‘Oh no, no no…’ her heart was beating fast, she quickly turned to Anabel to ask for some help, but she noticed she was all alone in the kitchen. Anabel must have left while she was still thinking about her grandfather.
She turned off the cylinder and scooped a generous amount of water from the water drum into the pot. When she looked in, she grimaced. Everything was completely burnt! The potatoes had been burnt brown and this was her fault.
Moremi Shola was her boss’ daughter and she was a no nonsense type of lady. She was authoritative, had a cruel tongue and had no respect for the domestic staff.
How would she explain to her that her breakfast was burnt?
‘What am I going to do?’ Indigo could hear light footsteps approaching the kitchen. She poured in more water to repel the odor of burnt potatoes.
‘Indigo!’ Moremi reached the kitchen, she stood at the entrance hands akimbo.
‘Madam, Good morning.’ Indigo smiled sheepishly.
‘I don’t care about the morning, I am hungry and what’s that smell in here?’ Moremi sniffed the air.
Indigo’s mouth was parched, she was terribly nervous just from the icy stare she got from Moremi’s large brown eyes.
‘Are you deaf?’ Moremi raised a brow.
‘Yes, um, no.’ Indigo shook her head.
‘I need my breakfast in five minutes, otherwise consider yourself fired!’ Moremi hissed angrily and stormed out of the kitchen. She never liked Indigo from day one. There was something about her dancing brown eyes and the way she blabbed whenever she was talking.
‘No!’ A tear trickled down Indigo’s cheek as she stared at the pot, she couldn’t get fired another time because of her clumsiness. It had taken her six months to get this job and it was a good one.
What is it? And why is the kitchen so stuffy?’ Anabel returned with more leaves, she had a smile on her face now.
Indigo couldn’t reply, her tears had taken the place of words, she slumped to the tiled floor and began to weep.
It didn’t take Anabel long to understand what trouble her friend was in, that explained why the kitchen reeked of burning substance.
‘Does Moremi know?’ Anabel asked gently.
‘She wants it in five minutes else I am getting fired. I don’t know what to do.’ Indigo wept as she remembered how worried her grandfather was, anytime she lost a job. He had sold everything personal to him and there was no more to sell.
‘You know what? Just make her a cup of coffee and tell her I went to get more leaves from the garden for the sauce.’ Anabel thought up an idea.
But Indigo was not convinced it would work out, ‘That doesn’t solve the problem, she wants her potatoes!’
‘Just make her the coffee, I’ll take it from there and be really sweet and submissive when talking to her, you know how much she likes that.’ Anabel walked towards her best friend and gave her a hug, ‘I am sorry I was so cold earlier, Seun broke up with me, but now I’ve thought about it, he was doing me a favor. Just give Moremi her coffee, everything would be fine. We have a lot to talk about.’
Indigo felt better after talking to her best friend, she had faith that she was not going to lose her job that day. She mustered up courage and strength and moved to make the coffee.
She added no cream but a little honey, Moremi loved her coffee black and she was not about to get the lady of the house upset.
She served it in a tray and trotted out of the kitchen in shivering legs, not knowing what awaited her in the dining room.
She overheard Moremi making a phone call, from what Indigo observed, Moremi was a very busy person as she was mostly on the phone giving out orders. Though she didn’t know a thing about Moremi’s line of work, she admired her hard-working nature and her serious mindedness.
She was a step away from reaching Moremi whose back was to her when her phone rang. She had wanted to ignore it at first, but she remembered she was having a lecture earlier today, maybe the Professor in charge had given a test or something. She decided it was necessary to check things out for herself.
She gently transferred the tray into her left palm and placed the phone hurriedly against her ears.
‘Indi is that you?’
‘Yes?’ the voice sounded familiar and serious.
‘It’s me, Sonia, you need to come to Bethsaida immediately.’
Indigo’s brows came together as she pondered on the woman’s weird request, Bethsaida was one of the biggest hospitals in Jos and it was close to the Low-Cost Estate where she lived with her grandfather.
‘I don’t understand, what’s happening there?’ Indigo asked.
‘It’s your grandfather, he vomited blood and slumped. He needs you urgently. Hurry before it’s too late.’
‘No’ Her heart stopped as she imagined the old man in pain, the unexpected news jolted her heart and unsettled her at once, her hands gave way and the tray and its contents crashed into pieces before her.
Just in time, Moremi finished her call and moved her head to see where the sound was coming from.
Her eyes flashed angrily as she stared at one of the oldest coffee pots in the house being smashed into unrecognizable pieces.