Monthly Archives: September 2016

To Love and to Hold – Episode 30

Fadeke woke up tired. This was becoming a norm and she wasn’t sure she could continue this way. Waking up early and driving to work which had previously been a necessity had now become a luxury. Her father had presented a car to her a week after her graduation party and she drove it herself. She did not need a driver to take her around; she had told her father. Right now, she was beginning to wonder if that request couldn’t be reopened. She knew she couldn’t talk to her father as he had refused to acknowledge her presence in the house since the Sunday morning he had instructed her to go for an abortion. She also tried to stay out of his way; waking up early to go to work and going straight to her room immediately she was back from work. Her mum had employed a cook and her meals were brought to her in her room.

As she stood up from the bed, she thought about putting in her resignation at work. Even though, the dizzy spells had reduced, she had been advised that she needed to take rests. She was working herself too hard; the in-house doctor had told her. She put her hand on her tummy. She was almost twelve weeks gone and she was beginning to show a bump. She had started wearing loose shirts to work and she did not want her colleagues to find out before she tendered her resignation. The sooner she did it, the better. She had to talk to her mother. Over the past few weeks, they had become closer. She knew her mum was disappointed and she did not fail to chip it in once in a while but she had accepted the present situation and was trying to make the best of it. She would ask her mum for a chat when she returned from work.

“I want to resign, mum”. Fadeke said later that evening. She was dressed in a loose blouse over a pinafore and her legs were stretched on a stool.

“Why?”

“I don’t think I can continue this way. My bump is beginning to garner a few stares from my colleagues”.

“Is that the reason why you want to resign?”

“Coupled with the fact that I get tired easily as well”.

“That is a norm once you are pregnant”.

She sighed. “This ain’t easy, mum”.

“You should have thought about that when……”

“Mum?”

“I’m sorry”.

“I don’t need this right now”.

Mrs. Peters was quiet.

“What do you think about my resignation?”

“If you can’t handle it anymore, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t. But you have to let your father know”.

“He hasn’t spoken to me in weeks”.

“You still have to let him know”.

Fadeke fidgeted with her fingers. “Mum, can I ask you a favour?”

“Go ahead”.

“I want to go stay abroad till I have my baby”.

Her mother looked at her astonished. “Why?”

“I…I don’t want Chinedu finding me in this condition”. She stammered.

“He is in Abuja. How is he going to see you?”

“He’s coming home in about a week or so”.

Her eyebrows rose. “How do you know that?”

“We had discussed about it before. He is taking his vacation and he wanted to come and see dad”.

“He better not”.

“I sincerely don’t know what he would do but I don’t want to be around when he comes”. She paused. “Can I go stay with Aunt Morayo in the states?”

“Till you have your baby?”

“Yes mum, please”. She pleaded.

She put her right hand on her head and looked at her daughter. She wished things did not have to be this way. Aunt Morayo was her cousin and would gladly take in her daughter. With four sons and no daughter; she treated Fadeke like the daughter she would have loved to have. Fadeke always stayed with her during her visits to the states so living with her now would not pose a problem. The problem however, was convincing her husband. It was bad enough that father and daughter now lived like strangers. Sending her out of the country was going to totally breakdown the relationship between them. Whatever the case may be, she wanted her daughter’s happiness.

“I’d talk to your dad”. She concluded.

“Thanks mum”.

“But you would have to do the talking as regards your resignation”.

She sighed. “Okay. I would try”.

“Your father loves you and wants the best for you. You do know that, don’t you?”

She dropped her head. “I know mum. I know he is disappointed in me and I accept that I made a mistake by falling in love with Chinedu. I hope he forgives me”.

“He would. He is just hurt”.

“I am sorry I can’t have an abortion like he suggested”. She looked at her mum as tears filled her eyes. “Deep down in my heart, I still love Chinedu even though he has hurt me so much”.

Her mother moved closer to hug her. “I know darling”. She put her hand on her daughter’s tummy. “This baby would always remind you of the love you had for him”.

As they both sat there crying in each other’s embrace; each had reasons for tears.

Fadeke; for her heart which was hurting. Her mother; for the relationship her daughter was losing with her father and the hurt they were both going through.

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Adeola gave his sister a hug. She was scheduled to leave on the 11p.m flight on Delta Airlines. At nineteen, he understood what the whole family was going through. He was studying Architecture in the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Ogbomosho, Oyo state. Being a five year course, he had one more year to go before graduation. Fadeke had called him two days ago to inform him about her trip to the states. He had been surprised as he wasn’t aware of the present situation of things. He however came home as he wanted to see his big sister and know what the sudden move to the states was about. They had both talked for hours last night.

Mrs. Peters looked at her daughter with tear-stained cheeks. After much persuasion, her husband had eventually agreed to let her go to the states to stay with Aunt Morayo till the birth of her baby. He wasn’t exactly in support of her having the baby but he had listened to the voice of reason from his wife. What if complications arose during the termination? She had asked him. His daughter would never forgive him. She pulled her daughter close and held her tightly. “Promise me, you would take good care of yourself”.

“I promise”. She sobbed.

“I love you so much darling. Don’t ever forget that”.

“I love you too, mum”.

“I’d visit you in the next two months”.

“Okay mum”.

“Enough of the pity party. You should get going”. Mr. Peters said irritated.

He was hurting and was finding it hard to express his feelings. This was not what he had planned for his daughter. He had been a proud father until some weeks ago. He watched his daughter grow up into a beautiful girl and had even been the envy of some of his friends. A few of them had joked about visiting him soon with their sons to seek for his daughter’s hand in marriage. That dream had however been dashed by the Igbo boy she had gotten pregnant for. He never imagined his daughter becoming an unwed mother. If he had known, he would have flown her out of the country to continue her education. He never imagined that Dupe would not handle the situation as appropriate. He wasn’t just upset with Fadeke. He was also upset with her. Her carelessness had resulted in Fadeke getting pregnant.

When she sought his opinion about having the baby in the states, he had been angrier than ever. She was meant to help her get an abortion, but she was doing otherwise. “Do you think I am glad that my daughter is pregnant?” She had asked him. He had walked out on her without a response. He had come back home much later that night expecting everyone to be in bed. But she had waited up for him. She had knelt down before him in tears pleading with him. It wasn’t her desire that things were going this way, but they had to look beyond the present situation and think of their daughter’s future.

Fadeke looked at her dad. “I’m ready to leave now”.

“The driver would take you to the airport”.

She stammered. “I…you…I mean….you ain’t going with us?”

“What do you need me there for?”

Fadeke looked downcast. “Nothing”. She paused. “I just wanted to give you a hug”. She said without raising her head.

Mrs. Peters looked at her husband with pleading eyes.

Mr. Peters moved closer to his daughter, lifted up her chin and hugged her.

Fadeke burst into fresh tears. “I’m sorry, dad. Please forgive me”.

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Chinedu flew into Lagos at 9.00am. He took a taxi straight to his house and headed out almost immediately. Today was the first day of his vacation and he couldn’t wait any longer. As he walked into the premises of the bank, he looked round to see who could attend to him.

“Good morning”. He said to the lady behind the customer service desk.

She smiled at him. “Good morning. Please sit down”.

He sat down.

“How may I help you?”

“I would like to see Miss Peters. Could you help, please?”

“Miss Peters?”

“Yes, Fadeke Peters”.

“Is it official or personal?”

“Personal”.

“I’m sorry. She doesn’t work with us anymore. She resigned two days ago…..”

“She resigned?” He interrupted.

“Yes, she did. If it is official or something I can help you with, I can refer you to…..”

“Don’t bother. Thanks”. He said as he stood up.

He walked out of the bank lost. What is happening? This had been his last hope of getting across to her. After the incident during his last visit to her house, he had decided that the best place to meet with her without any intrusion was her office. With the new development, he was left with no option than to go back to her house. He flagged down a taxi and gave him the address of the Peter’s residence. As he got to her house, he saw a Lexus Jeep driving out of the house with Mrs. Peters sitting in the backseat. He eased out of the taxi in a hurry and ran towards the car. Mrs. Peters saw him and asked the driver to stop as she wound down the window.

“Good afternoon ma”.

“Yes, how may I help you?”

Unsure of what her next reaction would be, he stammered. “I….I wanted to see Fadeke. Is she home, ma?”

Mrs. Peters eyed him. “What do you want from her again? Haven’t you done enough already?”

“I’m sorry ma. I still don’t understand what is going on. Please, I need your help”.

She laughed derisively. “My help? Did you just ask for my help? Look here Chinedu, Fadeke is far away from where you can harm her. Do you understand me?”

Chinedu stood transfixed.

Mrs. Peters wound the window back up and the car sped away.

What have I done to deserve this kind of treatment? What did she mean by far away from where I can harm her? I have exhausted all the options I have of getting across to her. Have I hurt her so much that she wouldn’t even give him an opportunity to defend myself?

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He was still standing there when the door man tapped him on the shoulder.

“Mr. Chinedu, Aunty Fadeke has travelled”.

“She has?”

“Yes, she travelled yesterday night”.

“Do you know where she travelled to?”

Haba, Oga Chinedu, dem no dey tell me dat kain thing nah. How I go know?”

“Okay. Thank you”.

He walked back to the taxi; as the man was still waiting to get paid. He eased into the taxi and gave him his address. This was too much to bear. Fadeke had travelled without a word. He had no one else to talk to.

Everyone he spoke to seemed not to know anything and those who knew had decided to keep mum.

——–

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

Blind Pact – Chapter 2

Hi,

Apologies for the radio silence.

The website went through a technical glitch but we are glad to be back.

Thanks for reading and following my stories.

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The Davies’ residence stands alone on a close which ends in a cul-de-sac. Houses dot the close situated a few metres apart from each other. The house is a modest bungalow with a pent-house. After putting in over twenty years of service in the banking industry, Femi Davies could boast of a house of his own. Building the house had not come cheap as he had taken a ten-year mortgage loan from the bank he worked for; but it had been worth the pain. In two years, the house was built and he had gladly moved his young family in. It lacked beauty on the outside as he had left a few finishing undone. He had not been bothered as his family had an abundance of beauty on the inside and made it a home. Few years later, one step at a time, he beautified the surroundings and made it his dream home.

As the principal’s car drives into the close, Bola notices a number of people going in and out of her house. This is unusual and she becomes more worried. Her parents lived quietly and tried as much as possible to keep few friends. The driver parks in front of her house. She steps out of the car and says thank you to the principal who nods his response back. The atmosphere carries an impending doom. Bola tries to look for an answer to the situation in the principal’s face but he only signals towards her house with his head. She looks at the house and her environment with people thronging in and out. She wonders if this is the same house she has lived all her life.

She walks towards her house like one in a trance. She sees different faces; some known, some unknown. Her entrance is greeted by pitiful faces and mournful looks. One nudges the other and the faces all begin to pave way for her to go in. She enters the living room and sees her mother sitting on the floor. She is surrounded by two women; her best friend and her only sister. Bola takes in the environment as she looks round her as if looking for someone. Banke sees her daughter and is instinctively aware that her daughter already knows. She stands up to embrace her and they both burst into tears.

“What…what happened to Daddy?”

“I…we…your…your…daddy”. Banke struggles to mumble before the tears start flowing freely again.

“It’s okay, mum. It’s okay”. Bola says as she hugs her mum tightly. She knows whatever it is, they will pull through it.

*******

“No, please don’t do it. Please, please. No, no, noooooo….” Banke screams and is jolted out of her sleep. She is sweating profusely.

Bola, who is lying on the bed beside her mother also wakes up with a start. She had been awakened by Banke’s scream. She sits up and looks at her mum in confusion. “Mum, what’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry I woke you up. I had a nightmare. Please go back to sleep”. She says to her daughter. She is still panting like someone who had been in a run.

“No mum. I need to know what happened to daddy”.

“Not this night, Bola. We both need to rest”. Banke pleaded.

“Mum, I have a right to know what happened to my father. And I want to know right now”. Bola asks stubbornly.

Banke sighs as the event of two nights ago flash back. “We arrived the country at about 5.00pm. We chartered a taxi at the airport. Since we had promised to check on you on our way home, the taxi was to take us first to your school, then take us home. The taxi had a flat tyre on the way and the driver asked that we get down so he could change the tyre to a spare one. As we got down, he suddenly brought out a gun and asked that we lie flat on the ground”. Tears roll down Banke’s cheeks.

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Bola’s jaw drops.

“The driver spoke good English and we guessed he was learned. We begged him to take everything he wanted but spare our lives. He said he would do exactly that provided we co-operated with him. Meanwhile, we had not taken note of a car that was parked some metres ahead of us. The taxi driver whistled and the person in the other car reversed towards us. Both of them started offloading our luggage from the taxi into the other car. As they were about driving off, your father raised his head probably to get the plate number of the car they were driving away in”.

“Ah, why?” Bola exclaimed.

“I heard the driver’s voice asking in anger why your father had to raise his head and then……Banke holds her head. “A gun shot and your father screamed”. The tears are coming down in streams now and Banke struggles to continue her story. “The…the taxi and the other person drove off. They drove off and left me alone. I had no one to turn to. The…the road was deserted. I…I told your daddy to allow me call my sister to pick us from the airport. He…he…he refused. You know how your daddy would always say he does not want to inconvenience anyone. If…if…if…I had known”. Banke breaks down uncontrollably.

Bola moves closer to her mum and embraces her as they sob on each other’s shoulders.

*********

The burial of Femi Davies is done quickly. Banke is not willing to prolong closure for herself and her daughter. She is supported by her sister and her best friend and a few of her colleagues at work. Her neighbours also make themselves available and Femi Davies is laid to earth. A few of his colleagues promise heaven and earth. Bola’s education will not suffer. They would ensure she is well taken care of. Her university education will be outside the country; because that is what Femi would have wanted. Her education would be sponsored to Master’s level. A job awaits her once she is through with her university education. Promises! Promises! Promises! But Banke knew better. Promises were easy to make; talk is cheap. Fulfilling them came with responsibilities.

Twenty years ago, she had met Femi Davies when she went to drop her resume at the bank he worked for. He had just been retained at the bank after his National Youth Service. He was sitting behind the customer service counter when she walked up to him. It had not been love at first sight and nothing had struck to give them lasting impressions. She had also just finished her Youth Service as a secondary school teacher. She had enjoyed the job but it was not financially rewarding. She had therefore dusted her Economics certificate and headed to various banks dropping them at their customer service desks. She also checked the dailies for job openings and applied for them with an expectant heart.

She got responses from some inviting her for tests. She had passed each one of them. Her joy was however short-lived during her interview sessions. They were either looking for experienced hands or someone with a second degree. How am I supposed to be experienced if I am not given a chance? How can I afford a second degree if I do not have a job? Her parents had done enough by sending her to the university. They were traders in palm oil and foodstuffs and she was not ready to impose additional responsibilities on them. Her younger sister who was ten years younger was about securing admission into the secondary school. They had enough on their plate already.

She had waited quietly in queue until it was her turn to go to the customer service desk. She smiled as Femi asked, “Good afternoon madam, how may I be of help to you today?”

“Good afternoon, I just wanted to drop my CV here”. She said as she leaned forward on the desk and spoke in a whisper.

Femi smiled. He was lucky to have been retained by the bank. A lot of his friends still roamed the streets with their CVs just like the lady sitting before him. Some of them had handed their CVs to him as well, while a few people still walked in just liked she was doing. He knew he had every reason to be thankful to God. “Okay, madam”. He said stretching out his hand to collect the single piece of paper from her.

“Thank you”. Banke said as she handed the CV to him.

Three months later, she received letters from two different banks asking her to write an employment test. One of the banks had been the bank Femi worked for. The interview sessions had also gone smoothly and both banks were willing to offer her a placement as a bank teller. She became confused on which to pick.

One day, on her way to the market, as she alighted at the bus-stop, she found herself standing face to face with Femi. “Hi. How are you doing?” Femi asked smiling.

Banke was at a loss. “I’m sorry. Have we met before?” She asked confused.

“Of course. Ain’t you Banke? You dropped your CV with me at Alájeséku bank a while ago”.

“Oh, I am so sorry. I am not good at faces”.

“It’s fine”. Femi says smiling. “Have you heard from them yet?”

“Oh yes. I have even been given an offer but I am yet to accept”.

Femi is surprised. “Why? I thought you really needed a job”.

“Yes, I do. I have offers from two banks”.

“Right! So you are confused, I guess”.

“Exactly. The take-home for both banks are about the same. Also I was offered the same position in both banks. So I am trying to look at other benefits and pick the one with better options. I am meant to get back to both banks with my acceptance or rejection next week”.

Femi smiles as he looks at her. “A brilliant idea”. He says.

Banke nods.

“So have you checked out all those benefits now and considered them?”

“I just did earlier on today”.

“And your final answer is….?” Femi asks raising a brow.

Banke laughs as she sees his expression. “I picked your bank”.

“Nice. So I get to see you every day”.

“Yes stranger”.

“My bad. My name is Femi Davies”. He stretches his hand.

She takes it and responds. “It’s a pleasure meeting you again”.

——-

Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

To Love and to Hold – Episode 29

Chinedu had tossed and turned all through the night. Sleep had eluded him and as he lay awake on his bed; streams of sunlight peeking through the curtains; he replayed the events of the last twenty-four hours in his mind. There had to be a missing link between Fadeke’s proposed visit to Abuja and her rush back to Lagos. What could possibly have happened that he wasn’t seeing?

After he left the Peters’ residence, he had gone home. His mother had been surprised to see him. He narrated the events that had taken place to her and she had also been at a loss.

“You said she came all the way to Abuja to discuss something very important with you?”

“Yes, she did”.

“So, how come she did not wait to see you before she left?”

“That’s the part I do not understand. Her friend, Kemi said that she was really broken”.

“Could she have succumbed to pressure from her father to give up on you?”

Chinedu thought for a minute. “If she had, she wouldn’t have left Abuja in tears. She was at my house but did not wait….”

All of a sudden, it dawned on him.

“What the …” He swore.

“What is it?” His mother asked alarmed.

“Tochukwu came to my house the day before Fadeke’s trip”.

“Who is Tochukwu?”

“Don’t you remember her? The lady I told you about; Fadeke’s roommate”.

She thought. “The lady that came to congratulate you and Kunle on your graduation?”

“Yes”.

“Okay. What was she doing in your house?”

His face was grim. “Oh mum. I hope I haven’t made the greatest mistake of my life”.

“Calm down and tell me what happened”.

“She called me on Friday morning and said she was flying into Abuja that evening. She wanted to sleep over at my place and I told her it wasn’t possible”.

His mum nodded.

“She said she would have stayed over at her friend’s place but that her friend was travelling early Saturday morning. I asked her what she was doing in Abuja and she said she came for an interview”.

“Okay”.

“So she needed a place to get dressed as the interview was scheduled to hold at 10a.m. I told her it would be advisable to stay in a hotel or in the alternative fly in with the first flight at 5.30. She flew into Abuja that Saturday morning and I asked my taxi guy to pick her up from the airport. By 6.30, she was at my place. I wasn’t ready for any of her troubles that morning, so I decided to leave home earlier than I had intended”.

“If you knew she was trouble, why did you allow her in your house in the first place?”

“Good question, mum. She obviously realized I was avoiding her. On my way out, she told me she and Kunle were back together. She asked for my forgiveness over all what she had done in school and she was even shedding tears”.

“Hmm. Crocodile tears”.

“I’m used to her tears, mum. They don’t move me one bit. I told her it was okay and just told her to drop the key to my apartment with my next door neighbour”.

“You left her in your apartment?” His mother asked with surprise.

“I did not have a choice. I know Tochukwu too well to have stayed there with her. I hadn’t spoken to Kunle in a while to confirm if they were back together and I wasn’t ready to wait and watch her spill tears that were scripted”.

“So do you think Fadeke met her in your apartment?”

“I don’t know mum, I don’t know. She has refused to speak to me”.

“Then we can assume that she must have met her”.

“Possibly”. He thought for a moment. “Do you think Tochukwu could have fed her with lies? She always had this beef with her”.

“What’s that?”

“You mean beef?”

“Yes. What does it mean?”

He smiled. “It means a grouse”.

“Since Fadeke would not talk to you, you could find out from Tochukwu if they met. Then you can be rest assured that Tochukwu is behind all this”. She concluded.

*******

Chinedu stood up from the bed and stretched. He had to talk to Tochukwu. She was most likely the missing link. He picked up his phone and dialed her number. It rang out twice before she answered.

“Hi dear”. She said groggily.

“Hi. Did Fadeke meet you at my house yesterday?”

“Excuse me!”

“I asked if Fadeke met you at my place yesterday”. He said getting impatient.

“What kind of question is that? Is that the reason why you woke me up this early?”

He was quiet for a while. “I’m sorry I did not realize you were still sleeping”.

“Now you know”.

“I just wanted to know if you were at my apartment when Fadeke came. She came into Abuja to see me and left without doing so”.

“No. We did not meet”. She lied.

Chinedu sighed. “Are you sure? I mean, you did not maybe see her on your way out or something?”

“Look, if you are not sure, why don’t you give her a call and leave me alone”.

“She has refused to pick up my calls”.

Tochukwu smiled. “Well, I can’t help you”.

“Sorry, I woke you up”.

Tochukwu dropped the call and smiled. Her plan had worked. The next step was ensuring that they never came back together.

If she couldn’t have Chinedu, neither would Fadeke.

**********

By 9.00p.m, Chinedu was back in his apartment in Abuja. This weekend had been his worst ever and he felt he needed a break. He was tired both physically and emotionally. What was he supposed to do? He had run out of ideas. He had tried calling Fadeke on different occasions during the day but as usual, she had refused to pick up his call. The only option he had now was to send a text message.

“Baby, I don’t know why you are doing this to me”. He texted. “What have I done wrong? Don’t you think you should at least let me know? You came to Abuja to discuss something very important and left without even waiting to see me. My love, please talk to me. I am down and out of ideas of how to reach you”.

After waiting for five minutes without a response, he sent another text. “My love, please talk to me. You are breaking my heart”.

No response.

He went to bed two hours later dejected.

Fadeke had seen the text messages. She was still upset. He had betrayed her love and her trust so why was he trying to reach out to her now. When she read the second text message, she broke down in tears. He wasn’t the one heartbroken; she was. She had given everything she had to him; body and soul. And she had to pay the ultimate price. She thought about her father’s threat earlier in the day. How could he be advocating for an abortion? She was torn. What was she supposed to do? What if she died in the process? She had heard stories of people who never survived one. No, she wouldn’t do it. If her father wanted her out of his house, so be it.

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Chinedu woke up earlier than usual on Monday morning. He hadn’t been able to sleep all through the night and he knew if he continued this way, he was probably going to break down. He got dressed early and stepped out of his apartment. The next flat was directly opposite his and as he tapped on the door, he prayed in his heart that his question wouldn’t sound silly to his neighbour.

“Hi Wale, I’m sorry to disturb you this early”.

Wale was knotting his tie as Chinedu spoke. “No problems. I hope everything is okay”.

“I just wanted to find out if you saw my girlfriend here on Saturday?”

“You asked her to drop the key to your apartment with me, didn’t you?” Wale asks.

“Erm…not exactly. I mean that’s not my girlfriend. She is just an old friend that needed a place to change; she had an interview that morning”.

“So, who else are you asking about?”

“Fadeke. Did you see any other lady come out of my apartment? I know it sounds weird but I really need to know”.

Wale thought for a few seconds and shook his head. “Nah…I don’t think so. I wasn’t taking note anyway”. He shrugged.

“Okay, thanks”.

“You are welcome. I hope no hassles. You don’t look like you’ve had any sleep”.

Chinedu rubbed his eyes. “I’m okay. Thanks”.

He walked back into his apartment and sat down on the couch. Who else could he talk to? He picked up his phone and dialed.

“Hi Chinedu”. Kemi said picking up the call on the second ring.

“I’m sorry if I woke you up”. He realized he was beginning to do that often.

“Not at all. I am getting dressed for work”.

“Quick question”.

“Okay”.

“Has Fadeke spoken to you?”

“No, she hasn’t called since she left. I tried calling her yesterday but I guess she must have been resting ‘cos she did not pick up”.

“If she calls you, could you please convince her to talk to me?”

“She hasn’t spoken to you?” Kemi asked surprised.

“No, she hasn’t. I had to fly to Lagos that evening”.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. I went to her house but her mum walked me out. I did not get to see her”.

Kemi sighed. “I’m sorry Chinedu. I really wish I could help”.

“Just ask her to please talk to me; that’s the help you can render”.

“No problems. I will”.

“I really appreciate your help. Thanks a lot”.

“You are welcome”.

With that done, the only thing he could do now was to look forward to his leave which was just two weeks away. He had asked for a four week vacation because he needed time with Fadeke. He had also intended to use the period to see Fadeke’s father but with the turnout of events, he wasn’t sure of anything anymore. The only thing he was sure about right now was that whatever had caused the friction in their relationship had to be nipped in the bud.

And that was exactly what he was going to do.

———-

Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

Blind Pact – Chapter 1

Bola is seated in the back seat of her father’s Peugeot 504 dressed in her red checked hostel uniform. Her father who is dressed in a navy blue buba and sokoto is standing outside the car while her mum sits quietly in the front passenger seat. A female porter walks towards the car to inform her father that Bola’s portmanteau has been placed at her corner. “Thank you”. Femi says as he dips his right hand into his sokoto. He hands over a five hundred naira note to the porter who dramatizes her thanks kneeling and bowing at the same time. “It is okay. It is okay”. Femi says in an attempt to dismiss her.

The porter walks away still looking back and bowing her head in thanks. Femi looks at his daughter and smiles. “Okay dear. It is time to go to your hostel”.

“Dad, I still have more time”. She pouts.

Her mother who had been quiet throughout the exchange looks back at Bola. “You know we have to get going. It’s a long drive back to Akure”.

“Yes mum”. Bola says unhappy as she steps out of the car.

Femi smiles as he touches her on the cheek. “Take care of yourself. No fighting…..”

“No troubles, no bickering and no gossips”. Bola finishes her father’s sentence.

Femi laughs. “Naughty girl. Anyway, have I settled you?” He asks.

“C’mon Femi, I thought you gave her some money at home”. Banke states.

“Mummy?”

“Yes?” Banke looks at her daughter with a stern face. “You keep spoiling her, Femi”. She says looking at her husband.

Femi smiles at his wife as he hands over some notes to Bola. “Be careful with it and spend wisely”.

“Thank you daddy”.

“What you have should be enough till your holidays?”

“Yes daddy. I love you”. Bola says hugging her father.

Femi nudges her and nods towards his wife. Bola walks towards her mum. She stands before her and smiles. “Mum, you know I love you, right?”

Banke stretches out her arms and Bola hugs her.

“Dad, don’t forget our holidays are in three weeks’ time. I’ll be expecting you”.

“Of course”. He says smiling. “Now off to your hostel, Senior Bola”.

They all laugh as Femi gets into the car. He starts the engine and Bola waves as they drive off. When they go out of sight, she walks towards her hostel.

*********

It is 3.00p.m on a Sunday. The students have just had lunch and are meant to be observing their siesta. While some lie on their beds reading, some sit in a corner gossiping while some are sleeping. The room has five double bunk beds making a total of ten girls in the room. Bola’s bunk is at the far end of the room. She lies on her bed reading a tract. She had earlier in the day attended the student fellowship organized by one of the Pentecostal churches which had a mission to youths, especially secondary school students. It was her first time attending and she had been blessed. She had been given the tract on her way out and she had shoved it in her uniform pocket. After reading it, she gets into a kneeling position on her bed and prays the sinner’s prayer written behind the tract. She smiles as she opens her eyes. Joy fills her heart and she can’t wait to inform her parents about the good news during her next holiday.

 

Bola’s parents are overwhelmed with joy when she shares the good news with them. They had been invited to an interdenominational programme a week before and they had also accepted Jesus and surrendered their lives to Him. It was a joyous day as Bola and her parents lock in each other’s embrace, praying and sharing from their bibles.

The one week holiday comes to an end and Bola is about to leave for school. She drags her portmanteau into the living room. She is dressed in her hostel uniform. “Mummy, Daddy, I am ready”. She calls out to her parents.

“A minute, please”. Banke replies from inside.

Bola rolls her eyes and shakes her head. She knows a minute for her mum is equal to thirty.

Femi steps into the living room trying to wear his wrist watch.

“Let me help you with that”. Bola says as she walks towards her father. When she is done, she looks up at her dad. “You know mum will take forever to get dressed, right?”

Femi laughs. “Better don’t let her hear that”. He says whispering.

Bola smiles.

“Your mum and I will be travelling next week. We should be back in a week. We would check on you on our way back from the airport”.

Bola looks at her dad sheepishly.

Femi sees her expression and laughs. “I know. I will get your chocolates”.

“Did I hear you talking about getting chocolates there?” Banke asks as she walks into the living room.

Bola looks at her mum with a wide grin.

“We are running late. We should go now”. Femi pulls his wife by the hand as he turns her towards the door. He picks up Bola’s portmanteau and winks at her. They both share a smile of victory.

 

Two weeks later, Bola is summoned to the Principal’s office. As she is ushered in by his secretary, she notices that the secretary avoids looking at her face. She wonders why the lady is quiet today. She is usually very chatty. The principal looks up from a stack of newspapers on his table as she walks in. The glasses on his face looks like it will fall off any minute but he pushes it back with his forefinger. He forces a smile which end on his lips. It does not reach his eyes.

“Good afternoon sir”.

“Afternoon Bola, please sit down”.

Bola begins to fidget. She has never been summoned to the principal’s office. She wonders if she has committed an offence. Her eyes are trained on the principal’s face.

blind-pact-1

The principal looks at her. “Your parents asked that we grant you permission to go home”.

Bola has a worried look on her face. “Go home? I don’t understand, sir. They promised to check on me on their way back from the airport”.

“Yes, I was told. They could not make it and decided that you came home instead”.

“I…sir….”

“I would personally drop you at home. You can go back to your hostel now to pick up your bag”.

“Okay sir”. Bola stands up. She is confused as she walks out of the principal’s office. It was strange that her parents would ask her to come home.

 

As she eases into the front passenger seat of the principal’s Mercedez Benz 230, the driver kicks the engine. The principal is seated in the owner’s corner behind.

“Excuse me sir, I hope there is nothing wrong. My parents have never sent for me like this”. Bola asks turning back to look at the principal’s face.

“Bola, you would be fine”.

She knows the principal knows more than he is saying but he is refusing to give her more information. She has a bad feeling about this but she cannot place her finger on it. She has no choice but to wait till she gets home. In the meantime, she can only do one thing. She clasps her palms together and says a silent prayer to God.

——–

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I thought you were the one!

She was 17 going on 18 when you met her. You warmed yourself up to her family and you dropped the toga of the guest and became a welcome brother and friend. You chatted freely with every member of her family. You were no longer considered a visitor. You became the perfect christian brother.

You asked her what she felt about the age difference in the relationship between Abraham and Sarah. She told you if it could happen in Bible times, it meant it could also happen now. You smiled. Only one person understood that smile and He was watching. You asked her to become your prayer partner. The deal was to wake up at an agreed time every night to pray. It would have been unholy to ask her to meet with you for such meetings. She willingly obliged. It was to wake up and pray, right? She always did that. So it was not a daunting task.

It was time to answer the call of the nation and you were gone for three weeks engaging in the drills and obstacle courses. You came back with tales and she looked forward to the time when she would also engage in them.

You called her aside one Godly evening. You were about to leave for a longer period to serve your nation and you did not want to leave your fiancee in limbo. She was surprised that you hadn’t introduced your fiancee to anyone yet. Then, you dropped the shocker. She was your fiancee!

Questions tumbled from her mouth like a tap that had lost control of its head. “When did you begin the relationship?” “When did you propose and she agreed?” “When did an ordinary brother/sister relationship become an engagement?” She wanted immediate answers. But your response was that you were now making it known. Oh dear! You thought because she was young and naive, you could play on her intelligence. True, she was young. But she was not naive. Yes, she lacked experience, but she was not easily cajoled.

deception

You found out quite soon. You assumed you could bombard her with bible passages, writing her long epistles quoting the whole book of Ecclesiastes 3. You had forgotten she also had a bible and could read up the verses without having to quote the whole chapter in a letter. For every letter you wrote quoting bible passages, you got an equal response in return. She realized you were the Abraham and she was the Sarah. Oh, why did you not just tell her then?

You pleaded with her to drop the prefix you had previously insisted that she put before your name. How could you have forgotten so soon? That prefix was going to remain there as far as she was concerned. You asked for it, so you got it.

You expected her to be subservient to you. You wanted a woman who had no opinion. A woman who listened only and never spoke. A woman with no dream or a vision of her own. She saw it and she detested it.

Finally, you understood. She could not be the one for you. Another epistle came forth. The courtship was one sided. God’s will was not being followed. She smiled when she read it. It took you too long to understand. She went back to being your younger sister. Deception was finally over.

———

Photo Credit: http://www.pd4pic.com

To Love and to Hold – Episode 28

Fadeke arrived Lagos at 1p.m and took a cab straight home. She had cried enough. Tears weren’t going to change the situation. She needed to think of the next step. Her life was going to take a different course and she needed to think. The one she loved had rejected her and the only person she could turn to now at this time of need was her mother. She knew it wasn’t going to go down well with her but she needed her.

 

As she sauntered into the house, she heard the hum of the blender and moved towards the kitchen. Her mum was making an apple smoothie and did not hear her walk in.

“Mum?”

She looked up surprised and switched off the blender. “I thought you said you were coming back tomorrow evening”.

“There was a change of plan”.

She looked closely at her daughter expecting more. “Okay?”

Fadeke looked away and was quiet.

“Is there something I need to know?”

Her mother knew her too well. She burst into tears again; invading her mother’s space and hugging her tight. She wept like a baby while she was rocked from side to side. When her sobs subsided, she looked up to search her mother’s face.

“Mum, I am so sorry. I know you would be disappointed in me”.

Mrs. Peters cradled her daughters face in her hands. “Fadekemi, I love you no matter what you may have done wrong”.

“I…I…I…went to see Chinedu in Abuja”.

“Okay…and?”

“I’m pregnant”.

Mrs. Peters hands dropped. “You are what?”

“I’m pregnant, mum. I’m sorry”. She broke down again.

Mrs. Peters looked on like she was in a trance. My own daughter pregnant? “Fadeke, how could you?” She cried.

“It was just once”.

“And you did not deem it fit to use protection? How am I supposed to explain this to your father?” She screamed.

Fadeke fell on her knees and sobbed. If only her mother knew the rest of the story. She did not think she could bring herself to tell her. She felt like her heart had been ripped apart. Her mother turned her back on her as she sobbed.

“What did Chinedu say?”

“I couldn’t tell him”.

She turned round to look at her daughter astonished. “What do you mean? Isn’t he responsible?”

“He is but…but….I met my roommate in his house”.

To Love & to Hold 41a

“What?”

“She said Chinedu had been playing games with me all along”.

Mrs. Peters raised an eyebrow. “And you believed her?”

Fadeke looked dazed. “Of course, mum”.

“So did Chinedu confirm what she said?”

“I did not wait to see him. I left with the next flight back to Lagos”.

She sighed. “You didn’t give him an opportunity to prove whether what she said was right or wrong. What if she had lied?”

“I know it is true. She said so many other things to prove that I had been deceived all along. I was devastated, mum. I couldn’t take it. I just had to leave”. She cried.

Mrs. Peters pulled her daughter close to her. Her sobs were breaking her heart as well. “Sssh….Go upstairs and take a rest, okay? You’d be much better when you wake up”.

She nodded as tears streamed down her cheeks.

***********************************************************************************

The plane touched down at exactly 5.30pm. Chinedu looked out of the window at the runway but his mind was far away. He had tried to figure out what Fadeke could possibly want to talk about which brought her all the way to Abuja. What could have happened between when she arrived his house and when she decided to leave but no ideas had come up. He was lost and he needed to find his way out.

As he stepped out of the plane, he flagged a taxi to take him straight to Fadeke’s house. He knew he risked meeting her father at home but she hadn’t given him much of a choice. If she could only pick up his calls; maybe he could decide on an alternative. He tried calling again. Her phone rang out again and he decided to give up. There was no use calling. She wasn’t going to pick up and he also did not have a choice; he was going to meet her.

 

He looked at his wrist watch as he stood before the expansive gate of the Peters’ family. It was a quarter to 7pm. He hadn’t even called his mother to tell her he was in town. That could wait. The matter before him was more important right now. As he pushed down the door bell, the door man looked at him through the pigeon hole.

“Yes, how may I help you?”

“I want to see Fadeke”.

The man looked at him surprised. “Now?”

“Yes”.

“Uncle, seven don almost nack oh and my oga dey house”. He said in Pidgin English.

Chinedu thought for a minute then answered. “What about madam? She dey house?”

“Yes, she dey”.

“Abeg, help me tell her say na me Chinedu”.

“I know you nah. I just dey wonder the time wey you dey come”.

“Please, it is urgent. Could you tell madam that?”

“Okay. I dey come”. He said as he closed the pigeon hole and ran towards the house.

 

“Come inside”. The door man said as he opened the gate. “She said you should sit down in the guest parlour”.

Chinedu nodded his thanks as he walked towards the house.

As he opened the door to the house, he met Mrs. Peters’ easing herself into a couch in the guest living room. He greeted her as he closed the door shut.

“How may I help you, Chinedu?” She wasn’t in the mood for pleasantries.

“I’m sorry I came to visit this late but I really need to see Fadeke”.

“She’s asleep”.

Chinedu moved closer to her while still standing. “Please, I need to know what is wrong. She has refused to pick up my calls. I am confused”.

Mrs. Peters’ looked at him and simply shook her head. “You know her father is home, right?”

“Yes ma. I was told”.

“So I’d advise you leave now. I only came to attend to you out of courtesy. If my daughter doesn’t want to pick up your calls, then you can be rest assured she doesn’t want to see you as well. Have a good evening”. She said as she stood up to leave.

Chinedu stood rooted to the spot. Was this really happening? He rubbed his eyes to be sure he wasn’t dreaming. Mrs. Peters’ who had shown him love in the past had walked him out of her house. This was a bad dream and he wanted to wake up from it.

***************************************************************************************

Fadeke woke up with a splitting headache. She looked at the little clock on the bedside stool. It read 4 a.m. She had slept for twelve straight hours. The events and the journey of the previous day must have taken a toll on her. She staggered out of bed towards the bathroom. She opened the essentials cabinet and took out two tabs of panadol. She walked back to the room, opened her bedroom fridge and took out a glass and a bottle of water. As she poured the water into the glass, it dawned on her that no one had awoken her for a chat. Did that mean that her mum was yet to tell her father that she was pregnant? She downed the water and the pain killers, dropped the glass cup on the fridge and lay back on the bed.

She put her hand on her tummy and thought. What is going to become of my baby? I am going to be an unwed mother. Everything about my life is going to change. What she wasn’t sure of was how her relationship with her father would fare. As she closed her eyes, she gradually drifted back to sleep.

 

Mrs. Peters peeped into her daughter’s room at 6a.m. She needed to talk to her. She had informed her husband about the situation last night and he had flared up. He wanted to go wake her up but she had pleaded with him. She had had a bad day; she told him. He was even more upset that Chinedu had enough guts to come looking for her at home. “I told you he was no good but you wouldn’t listen. The result is now in her tummy”. He spat. “You better take her to the hospital and get that thing out of her”. He had concluded.

She had been too dumbfounded to say anything. How could he be asking his daughter to have an abortion? She hadn’t been able to sleep all night. She had wanted to talk to Fadeke right away but she knew it would have been a futile effort. She was tired and needed to rest.

Fadeke was already awake but just lay in bed. She saw her mum peep in and lifted up to sit.

“Good morning mum”.

Mrs. Peters walked into the room and sat on the bed. “Good morning darling. Did you rest well?”

“I tried”.

She sighed. “Things have taken a turn for the worse, I must confess”.

“You told dad”.

“Yes, I did. He says you should have an abortion”.

“What? No way”.

Her mum just looked at her without a word.

“You are not in support of that, are you?”

“Honestly, I don’t know what I am in support of at the moment. I am confused”.

“I’m sorry”.

“I just wish you had been more careful, Fadeke. In this time and age, I’m surprised you could take such a risk. What happened to protection?

Fadeke bowed her head.

She sighed again. “We need to think this through so that we don’t take a decision we would regret later. Do you understand me?”

Fadeke nodded.

“Chinedu was here last night”.

Fadeke raised her head. “He was here? What did he want?”

“He wanted to see you. I had to attend to him in the lounge. Your father was upstairs and you can imagine what would have happened if he had seen him”.

“Mum, do you think he looked remorseful?”

“Do you want the honest truth?”

She nodded.

“He looked confused. He really doesn’t know what is going on and I think you should talk to him”.

“But I don’t want to”.

“Okay, fine. I can’t force you to, you know? Anyway, you should be hungry.

“I’m starving”.

“So, let’s go make breakfast”.

They both stood up from the bed and walked out of the room.

 

Mr. Peters was already in the living room watching the early morning news. It was a Sunday morning and they should normally be getting ready for church; but the events of last night had upset him so much that he wasn’t in the mood to go anywhere. Fadeke was walking ahead of her mother and as she entered the living room, she stopped short. She hadn’t expected to meet her father sitting in there so early. This was unusual. Her heartbeat increased as her father looked up from the television set and met her eyes. She was about to turn back when he spoke.

“Come back here Fadeke”.

She looked at her mum who was standing behind her with pleading eyes. She understood immediately and held her hand; walking her towards the living room. As her mum sat on the couch opposite her dad, she huddled beside her.

“So you still continued with your relationship with that Igbo boy? You see what it has caused you?” He paused and looked at his wife. “Have you arranged how to get that thing out of her?”

To Love & to Hold 41b

“My dear, let us think about this before……”

“Think about this? Hear yourself speak. What are you thinking about? She would not have that bastard in my house”. He scowled.

“You can’t ask your daughter to go for an abortion”.

“I am not asking her to. I am telling her she must have one if she is to remain in my house”.

Fadeke who had been quiet all along suddenly burst into tears. She knelt down and pleaded. “Daddy, please”.

He stood up infuriated. “Why are you begging me? You were so stupid to have given yourself to an Igbo boy. Pray that I don’t set my eyes on him ‘cos he would be as good as dead”. He stormed out of the living room leaving both mother and daughter dumbfounded.

———

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Blind Pact – Prologue

“Lord, what have I done wrong? Why is this happening to me? Where did I miss it? I need your help, Lord. Please strengthen me”.

Prologue

Banke looks at her daughter helplessly. Tears pool in her eyes as she sees her hurting. “Bola, I understand how you feel. But you cannot continue to beat yourself over this”. Banke says holding her daughter’s hands as she struggles to put her own emotions in check. She wishes she could erase the pain her daughter is going through. How did the course of their lives suddenly go downhill?

Bola looks at her mum but sees no one. Her mind is faraway. Tears stream down her cheeks and her mother looks away trying to hide her own tears which were beginning to make its way down her face. I have to be strong for her. I cannot breakdown. Oh Lord, please help her ease her pain. She closes her eyes as she does a little prayer within the confines of her heart.

Bola kneels down in a bid to pray but breaks down into uncontrollable tears. “Oh God, why-why do I have-have to suffer this-this way?” She struggles to say in between body wracking sobs.

If only the last few days of her life could be erased. If only destiny would allow her remake the turn of events in her life. If only her life could go back to being perfect the way it was about three years ago.

********

Three years ago, Bola attended an upscale secondary school in Lagos state. She was in Grade 12 and was preparing to write her certificate exams in a few months. Being the only child of her parents, they doted on her and gave her all she desired. She lacked nothing and in return, she ensured that her parents were never disappointed. She gave her best in her academics and stood out among her peers. She was the typical well-behaved, obedient and good child.

———
Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

Danfo Tales – Verse 2

I stand on the pavement as I talk on the phone. I am about to cross the road but this point is a bend. I walk backward so I can have a proper view of cars driving down. The road frees up a bit and I cross to the other side while still talking on the phone.

As I get to the bus stop, the conductors shout their destination at the top of their voices. I attempt to listen to them by straining my ears while the person on the other side of my mobile phone is still talking. Did I hear the conductor’s destination? I am not sure. But the guy collects the raffia bag in my hand, opens the door to the front passenger seat and ushers me in. I wonder if my destination is written on my face.

I ease into the front passenger seat. I am through with my call and I hear my destination being called by the conductor. Cool! A woman enters into the bus and sits adjacent to me on the next row. She is seated barely two minutes when she starts to shout. “Driver, abeg, move this bus nau. Na here we go sleep?” I look back at her. She just came in. Why is she in a hurry?

About four passengers get into the bus, then the woman raises her voice again. “Driver, if you no go comot for this place, I go get down. Ahn…ahn, you no fit carry passenger for road? The bus wey dey your back don go, you still dey wait”.

Danfo tales

The driver ignores her but when the woman makes an attempt to get down, the driver speaks up. “Madam, take am easy nau. Me and the bus wey dey for back no dey do competition. I waka my own, he waka im own”. I look back at the woman expecting her to be off the bus already, but she is seated. So what was all that for?

The driver is about to move when the conductor says “500, 1000, bring your money now, make I change am. I no get change oh”.

I look into my purse and realize that I fall into this category. I take out a 500 naira note and hand it over to the conductor. He gives it to a tout in uniform who is now standing by my side. I notice a lot of one thousand naira notes in his trouser pocket. “Àwön ti …… nìyën”. (They belong to ……) The conductor says looking at me.  What am I supposed to do with that information?

“Aunty, ë lo seat belt yín”. (Aunty, use your seat belt). He says. I look at him with a frown on my face. I am about to ask for my change when I hear; “I am also a human being like you. I say make you use your seat belt, you are looking at me like that”.

“Ta ló wò é nítorí seat belt. O ní pé o fé sé owó. O gba owó l’ówó mi, o ò fún mi ni change” (Who is looking at you because of the seat belt. You said you wanted to change money into smaller denominations. You collected my money and you are not giving me my change).

He suddenly realizes this is not about his face, his position or his job. “Aunty, no vex. I will give you your change”.

His attitude however got me thinking. I could have been frowning because I was having a bad day. I could have been frowning because of the call I just dropped. I could have been frowning because I was tired and hungry. I could even have been frowning because the sun was bearing down on me.

Question 1. How many times have we judged the other person just by their look?

Question 2. Is touting a job? The number of N1000 notes in the tout’s pocket could pass for half of my monthly salary.

Question 3. The seat belt was just a fashion accessory. It was not meant to restrain me in case of an accident. Who checks this?

On a lighter note, when I think about the conductor’s statement about being “a human being”, I laugh. Did he think he was an animal? 😅😅😅

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Photo Credit: http://www.gongnews.net