Tag Archives: tragedy

Two Hearts

“Eko Idumota, Eko Idumota!!! Mi ò ní change o, wölé pèlú change ë. I no get change, I dey talk my own now oh.”

Adeola froze when she heard the voice. She was on her way to the market to buy black clothes for her mother. Her mother had never liked the colour black as she associated it with death.

Growing up, Adeola had been warned many times by her mother against wearing black. Her mother was of the belief that the colour was a bad omen and attracted evil. She and her mum always had a running battle over this, as Adeola loved the colour black. She sometimes dressed in all black while she was in the university and was unbothered by the strange looks she sometimes got.

Her mother who never wore black was now forced to wear it. Her husband’s body was lying cold in the mortuary and tradition expected that she was garbed in the colour black.

******

“Aunty, comot for road if you no dey go make another person enter my moto jo. Eko Idumota!!!” The voice boomed above the other voices shouting their various destinations. A passenger trying to get into the bus shoved Adeola to the side and she turned.

Their eyes met. Shock registered boldly on their faces and they stared at each other.

“Eko….” He stopped mid-sentence; his eyes locked on hers. The bus was about moving and she flagged it to stop.

“O n wölé.” The conductor shouted and the bus halted.

Adeola entered the bus as she continued to stare at the conductor.

The conductor was speechless as he also couldn’t take his eyes off Adeola.

“Bèrè sí gba owó mí o.” The driver shouted at the conductor.

The conductor began to collect the fares from the passengers. Adeola stretched a two hundred note to him but he refused to collect it.

“Collect your money, Deolu.” Adeola said.

Deolu ignored her as he turned his back to her.

“Deolu!” Adeola called out again.

Deolu burst out into tears. He began to wipe off his tears with his hands, embarrassed by his sudden breakdown in the presence of strangers.

“Ahn…ahn, wetin happen?” One of the passengers sitting beside Adeola asked.

“Wetin you tell am wey he dey cry?” Another asked.

Another passenger looked at Adeola and looked at the conductor. She opened her mouth wide and exclaimed. “Olúwa ò.”

“Wetin dey happen for dia? Kí ló dé?” The driver shouted. He took his eyes off the road briefly. “S’ó ò lè sòrò ni? Mo ní kí n ló sëlè níbè yën?”

“Driver, take am easy oh. You no look the face of your conductor and this girl.” Another passenger said.

“Wetin do dia face wey I go dey look am?”

“E be like dem be family?”

“So how that one take consine me?” The driver snorted. “Me I no get family too?”

“Driver, ó wà o.” Adeola said. She turned to Deolu. “Daddy is dead, you can come home now. The burial is next Thursday.”

Deolu shook his head as his tears flowed freely down his cheeks.

Adeola touched her twin brother’s shoulders as she made an attempt to alight from the bus. “Please come home. Maami’s heart has been broken since you left. Don’t let her die without knowing you are still alive. Please!” Adeola pleaded.

Deolu nodded as his sister alighted and watched the bus zoom off  to its destination.

——
Photo Credit: https://www.vectorstock.com

Tears, Blood and Death – Part 2

He closed his eyes as tears streamed down his cheeks. It seemed like it had happened just a day ago as the memories came flooding back.

The face he saw yesterday had been so familiar. He had juggled his memory since he met him. As he stood inside the ruins of the old house, it all came back to him. He recognized the face that had haunted him the past twenty-one years. It wasn’t a dream. It was the face that had been etched in his memory. A face he wished he had forgotten. A face he wished he never met again.

********

He had brought his car to his workshop for repairs. The man had mentioned that he had been referred by other people who had been impressed with his job.

He was unable to sleep last night. He tossed and turned as he kept thinking about the face that had come to his workshop in the morning. He eventually dozed off in the early hours of the morning and had a fitful sleep. He woke up at 5a.m and said his prayers. He had a quick bath and instead of setting out to work, he took a trip to father’s house. His mind raced back to the last time he was there.

********

After the men left, he burst into fresh tears as he banged on the door of the toilet. There was eerie silence. He continued to bang on the door until he heard mother’s whisper. She was calling him. He put his ears close to the door to listen. She called him again and he said a silent thank you to God. She was alive.

Mother dragged herself on the floor to the toilet door.

“Màámi.” (My mother). He called when he noticed movements outside the toilet door.

“Ökö mi.” (My husband). She cried.

“Màámi, open the door.”

“The key is not on the door.” She replied.

“Check daddy’s pocket.”

He heard mother grunting as she dragged herself to where her husband lay still. He heard her burst into fresh tears and his heart broke. He wanted to know what was happening outside the darkened toilet.

Mother opened the door of the toilet and he took a while for his eyes to adjust to the bright light. He had no idea how long he had been locked in. When his eyes became accustomed to the environment, he saw mother on the floor. She was bleeding from her leg. He immediately removed his tee-shirt and tied it around her leg. He had seen it done so many times in movies when people were shot.

He got a pillow from the couch and placed it under mother’s head. He then walked over to grandma. There was a bullet hole in her head. He shivered as his lips trembled. He walked over to father. He was bleeding from the neck.

He ran outside the house and went to the neighbour’s house. He banged on the gate continuously until someone came out shouting. “Who is banging my gate like that at this time of the night?”

“It is me, sir.” He said crying. “Please help me sir.”

The man had been their neighbour in the last two years but kept to himself most of the time. He worked in the bank; leaving home very early and arriving very late at night. He lived alone.

“What is wrong? Why are you crying?” The man asked as he got to the gate.

“Please help my mother. Please help me.”

“Your mother?” The man asked.

He dragged the man by the hand towards his house.

********

Mother was rushed to the hospital. The doctors battled to save her life. Father’s brothers came to the hospital and accused mother of killing their brother and their mother. They asked why she wasn’t also killed. According to them, it meant she planned the attack. Mother became miserable as she cried every day and hoped for death. He became a wretched child as none of father’s family was ready to have anything to do with him. He was labelled the son of a witch and a murderer.

Three weeks later, mother died. She told him she had no reason to live any more. He begged her to stay with him but she said her spirit had left her. She felt betrayed that father’s brothers could think the worst of her. She said life had lost meaning to her. He sat by her side all through the night pleading with her but she died in her sleep.

Mother’s younger sister decided to take him in but she had four kids of her own and was just a petty trader. Her husband was a mechanic and he told him that he could not afford to send him to school. He asked him to join him in his workshop and start learning the trade so that he could make money on time to fend for himself.

“You need to grow up.” His uncle had told him. “There is no time for spoon feeding.”

He took his uncle’s advice and became diligent in his work.

********

He walked out of father’s house and drove back to his workshop. He wanted to know this man. He arrived at his workshop at 10:30am. The man was already waiting for him. Even though, he had aged, the features he saw that night were too evident for him to ignore. The man chatted with him as he got to work.

“Sir, did you ever live around Festac?” He asked him as he got his scanner to diagnose the car.

“Yes, I did but that was in the 90s. My son even attended a primary school there before we moved out of the area.”

“Oh right. What is your son’s name?”

“Adeleke Adegbami….”

That was all he heard as his hand stopped moving. He kept looking at the screen of the scanner but he no longer saw the prints on the screen. He saw his best friend’s face smiling at him as they sat down together.

“My daddy is coming tomorrow.”

Will you bring something for me?”

“Of course. You are my best friend. My daddy will bring goodies from abroad.”

The old man kept talking…. “He is in the states now. He is doing very well with a wife and two kids”….. but he no longer heard him. His mind was faraway locked up in the darkened toilet in father’s house.

He got his slide and rolled under the car. He opened the brake valves and began to flush it.

He rolled out. “Your car is okay now, sir.” He said.

“Thank you, my son.” The man said as he paid for his services and entered into his vehicle.

——-

The End

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Tears, Blood and Death – Part 1

He stood before the ruins of the old house. The house was a complete shadow of itself. It was a white duplex but the paint on the outside had totally peeled off. He pushed back the low gate and walked in. The compound had become overgrown with weeds and a big rat scurried away as he stepped forward. He looked up at the louvres on the right and his mind raced back to when he sat on the railings of the balcony turning it into a swing. This action always got him a scolding from mother.

The door was broken down. He walked into the house. The interior looked like a hurricane had happened in there. The cream leather settee that always sat on the right of the living room was no longer there. A cool breeze blew into the room and he began to hear the sound of the wooden rocking chair. He smiled in spite of the situation. He closed his eyes and saw grandma seated on the chair. As it rocked gently, she knitted and hummed a song. She looked up at him and smiled.

“Come here darling.” She said as she patted her laps.

He walked forward and stood before the rocking chair. She would lift him up as she dropped the knitting accessories on the side stool beside her on the right. He looked there and noticed the stool had been upturned. He bent down to lift it up. He placed his hands on it gingerly as if it was an egg that could break. He closed his eyes and a tear slid down his cheeks. The stool was grandma’s favourite.

He heard the sound of clinking glasses and looked towards the kitchen to the left of the living room. As he walked down, he passed by a blue teddy bear lying on the floor. It had become dirty and the colour was hardly recognizable. It looked more brown than blue. It had been his tenth birthday gift from father. He held the teddy bear by the hand and headed towards the kitchen.

“Food is ready.” Mother sang as she held his two hands and danced to an imaginary tune. It had become her signature. “Get seated.” She would say and he would run to set the table ready. Grandma always said the prayers at dinner.

********

“My daddy is coming back tomorrow.” He told his best friend. They were both ten and sat together in class. They were in Primary five.

“Will you bring something for me?” His friend asked.

“Of course. You are my best friend. My daddy will bring goodies from abroad.”

********

Mother was restless as she jumped every time she heard the sound of a car. She had asked him to go to bed as there was school the next day but he refused. He wanted to see father before going to bed. They heard the honk of a car and mother ran to open the curtains. Light from the headlamps reflected into the living room and mother began to dance. Her husband had arrived home from Spain.

Grandma dropped her knitting pins and lifted her glasses from the rope around her neck. She placed the glasses gingerly on her nose as she awaited her son.

Father paid off the taxi driver that brought him home and trudged in as he rolled his travel luggages. Mother ran to give father a hug and a kiss.

“Káàbò, olówó orí mi.” (Welcome, my crown).

“O sé. Sé àláfíà ni gbogbo yín wà?” (Thank you. Are you all well?)

“Adúpé l’ówó Ölórun.” (We thank God).

Father prostrated to greet grandma as he came in and she began to pray for him. After grandma’s long prayers, father hugged him and asked him why he was still awake.

“Don’t mind him. He refused to go to bed because he was waiting for you.” Mother said as she laughed heartily.

They heard the sound of a car parking outside.

“You should go to bed now.” Father told him.

“I want to see what you bought for me.” He told father.

He had promised to bring something to school for his friend and he wanted to fulfill his promise.

The gates outside opened slowly and father looked towards the door. He looked at mother and grandma. “Are you expecting anyone?” He asked.

They both shook their heads.

All of a sudden, the front door was kicked with so much force that it broke into splinters.

Father’s movement was very swift that he hardly understood what had happened until he saw himself in the toilet and he heard the door lock behind him. He knelt down by the door and peeped through the key hole. What was going on?

“Where is the money?” A male voice asked.

“Which money?” Father responded.

“Give me the money before I blow off your head.”

Father looked at mother and grandma with a hard stare. They were the only people who were aware that he was coming home. He had never seen father look at them that way and he wondered what mother and grandma could have done wrong.

“Please my son, don’t do this. He doesn’t have any money.” Grandma pleaded.

“Shut up mama. Tell your son to bring the money he brought back.”

He strained his eyes through the key hole to see what was going on. Grandma looked at father with tears in her eyes. “Which money is he asking for?”

He noticed there was another man in the room. The man pointed the gun at grandma and pulled the trigger. The shot was silent. Grandma fell back like a sack of potatoes hitting her head on the stool. He heard mother’s scream and saw father struggle with the man who had pulled the trigger. He heard three more muffled shots and then silence.

Tears streamed down his cheeks as he peeped through the key hole. He touched his lower body. It was wet. It dawned on him that he had peed on himself.

“Why did you kill them?” The first man shouted at his partner.

“Can’t you see that he wasn’t co-operating and he was even trying to collect my gun?” The man replied as he pulled off the black mask on his face.

“Just carry the boxes and let’s get out of here fast. This was not the plan.”

As the men walked out of the house with the same travel luggages that father had brought in some minutes ago, a black car reversed from the beginning of the street to the front of the house. As the car got to the men, the boot had already been opened. They dumped the luggages into the boot and and the car sped away with lightning speed leaving sorrow, tears and blood behind.

….To be continued

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Fatal call

Tunde was driving at 60km per hour on the third mainland bridge. He bobbed his head to the music blaring from his radio speakers. As he descended at the Onikan end of the bridge and was about to circle the roundabout to face Awolowo road, his mobile phone began to ring.  He put the earpiece attached to his Bluetooth into his ears as he tapped the receive button.

“Hello.”

“Bròdá mi, Bàámi ti kú o.” (My brother, father is dead). The person on the other end cried into the phone.

Tunde took his eyes off the road for a few seconds and in those seconds; everything seemed to happen swiftly. He failed to notice the truck coming from his right at top speed and by the time he looked up, the sound of metal on metal was the only thing he heard. The impact of the hit threw Tunde’s car onto the opposite side of the road and it settled on its head with its tyres in the air. Cries rent the air as onlookers rushed to his rescue.

“Bròdá mi, bròdá mi.” Sewa called.

*****

Mama Tunde walked out of the room she shared with her husband. Her eyes had bags under them and they were red and swollen. She looked at her daughter and called out to her.

“Sé ègbón ë lò n pè? Bèrè ibi tó wà ko tó sö fun.” (Are you calling your elder brother? Ask for his location before you tell him). She asked her daughter who still had her mobile phone placed by her right ear but looked like she had just seen a ghost.

Immediately, Sewa realized she had made a grave mistake. She had heard the impact of the hit and the cries before the call suddenly dropped. Her body shook as fear engulfed her. The vibration from her phone startled her and she looked at it. Her brother was calling back. She took quick steps out of the house and picked the call when she was out of earshot.

“Bròdá mi, kí ló sëlè?” (My brother, what happened). She asked.

“Hello, hello.”

Sewa realized the voice on the phone wasn’t her brother’s. “Hello, please can I talk to my brother?” She asked.

“Hello madam, good afternoon.”

“Good afternoon, give the phone to my brother. I want to talk to him.” Sewa said impatiently.

“You will talk to your brother, madam but you need to calm down.”

“Don’t tell me to calm down.” Sewa shouted. She took a deep breath before speaking again. “Please, I beg you I want to speak to my brother.” She pleaded as she spoke quietly.

The man on the other end of the phone sighed and Sewa’s heart skipped a beat. “Your brother was just involved in an accident. An ambulance was around the corner, so he was picked and rushed to the hospital. Your number was the last received call, so I decided to call you.”

Sewa asked for the details of the hospital and thanked the caller. As she dropped the call, her knees suddenly became weak and she sat on the floor. Fresh tears ran down her cheeks and she ground her teeth to stop herself from screaming and drawing her mother’s attention.

She looked up to heaven and cried. “Oh Lord, please save my brother. What am I going to tell my mother? Ha! Her first child and only son.” She lamented as she placed her hands on her head. She stood up and bit her finger in regret. “Oh Lord, help me.” She prayed as she walked back into the living room where her mother was seated with her head bowed.

—–

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

The Hospital Visit

Tosin looked at his wristwatch. It read 9.45pm. He stood up and stretched. “Good night.” He said to his colleague sitting in the cubicle next to him.

“Good night.” Bayo replied.

 

As Tosin drove home, he touched the right side of his head. He had a pounding headache. He knew he needed to go to the hospital as the headache had been persistent for the past three days.

I will go tomorrow; he thought.

He got to his estate in about thirty minutes and honked for the security guard to open the gate.

He hardly acknowledged the greeting of the security guard. It was his usual way.

He took out his keys and opened the door to his flat. He dropped his laptop bag on the centre table and slumped into the couch.

He put on the TV and watched the moving images; his mind shutting down slowly.

 

********

Bayo resumed at his desk at 8.00am the next morning. Tosin was not at his desk and he wondered why as he always came in very early. Maybe he was running late; he thought.

By 11.00am, Tosin hadn’t arrived in the office but Bayo was so engrossed in his job that he hardly noticed. Their Head of department was on vacation and apart from Bayo, no one noticed Tosin’s absence.

At 10.00pm, Bayo looked at his wrist watch and noticed Tosin’s desk was empty. He realized he hadn’t put a call to Tosin all day to find out why he wasn’t at work. He picked up his phone to call Tosin, but the number was switched off. Hmmm….strange; he thought as he packed up his laptop and prepared to go home.

 

The next morning, Bayo resumed at work and met Tosin’s desk empty again. Something is wrong; he thought. He tried to call Tosin’s number  again but it was still switched off. He decided to close early so he could stop by at his house on his way home. He tried to remember the direction to Tosin’s house as he had been there just once. He was sure no other person in the organization knew Tosin’s house as Tosin hardly made friends. He couldn’t call himself Tosin’s friend, he was also just a colleague.

 

Bayo closed from the office at 6.00p.m. After a number of missed turns, he arrived at Tosin’s estate in an hour. The security guard queried him on his mission and he mentioned Tosin’s name. A call was placed to Tosin’s line but the response was still the same; the number was switched off.

Had anyone seen Tosin? Did he come out of his flat the previous day? Bayo began to ask questions but the security guard could not provide an answer. Tosin lived alone and hardly interacted with the other neighbours; the security guard told him.

Bayo asked the security guard to go with him to Tosin’s flat so they could see what the problem was. They banged on the door and pressed the door bell but there was no answer. They eventually got a carpenter to break open the door.

 

********

Tosin was lying down in the couch and was in his work clothes from two days ago. The TV was still showing images. Bayo called his colleague but there was no answer. He touched him and realized he was cold and stiff. Bayo noticed his mobile phone beside him and picked it up. It had been switched off.

No one had made an effort to check on him to find out why he had not gone out early to work as he usually did. No one had made an effort to find out why his car was parked for two days on a weekday. No one had an idea of what had taken place two nights ago when he came home.

 

As Tosin’s body was moved out of his flat, Bayo remembered Tosin had mentioned having a persistent headache which had refused to abate. Bayo had also been feeling tired of recent but had kept postponing his visit to the hospital. He left Tosin’s flat immediately and drove down to the hospital.

As the nurse checked his blood pressure, she had a grim expression on her face as she looked at him. “Hello sir, you need to slow down if you want to stay alive.”

——–

Photo Credit: http://www.mycity-web.com

Love, Lies and Murder – Part 3

The secret affair between Taiwo and Mojirayo continued; both of them taking pleasure in themselves anytime Kehinde stepped out of the house. Mojirayo continued to fulfil her wifely duties to Baba Ibeji even though she still generated sneers from her co-wives. Taiwo and Kehinde gained admission some months after into the Lagos State Polytechnic to read Agricultural Technology and Marketing respectively. Baba Ibeji insisted he wanted them close by; therefore staying in the hostel on campus was out of the question. Taiwo smiled sheepishly on hearing his father’s instruction. As long as he went to school from home, he had unfettered access to Mojirayo. Due to the difference in their courses and lecture timing, Taiwo took full advantage of the situation and left the campus premises most times without his brother.

About eight months into their secret relationship, Mojirayo realized she had missed her period for two consecutive months and was beginning to feel sick. She had not been consistent with her birth control pills for a while and it dawned on her that she might be pregnant. She became confused as to who the father of her unborn baby was. Was it Baba Ibeji or Taiwo? She tried to do a calculation backwards to deduce who she had laid with during her most fertile period. Her mother had taught her how to check her fertile period, ensure she laid with her husband during the season and note down the date in a diary. By her calculations, she realized Taiwo could be the father of her baby. The thought gave her mixed feelings and she became more confused. She was carrying a baby for her husband’s son. She sighed as she began to think of a plan.

Taiwo came in early from school as usual. He went into his room, dropped his knapsack on his bed and faced Mojirayo’s room. He eased himself quietly into her room without knocking on the door. Mojirayo was about getting dressed when Taiwo grabbed the dress and held it away from her.

“Not so fast.” He said as he encircled his arms around her waist.

Mojirayo smiled but snatched her dress back from Taiwo. “We need to talk.” She said as she wore her dress.

Taiwo shrugged. “What’s there to talk about?” He asked smiling.

“This is serious, Taiwo. I am not joking.”

Taiwo noticed the change in her countenance and sat on her bed. “What is wrong?”

“I’m pregnant.”

“You are what?” Taiwo shouted as he stood up from her bed.

“You heard me Taiwo. I said I am pregnant.”

“So why are you telling me? Shouldn’t you be giving the news to Baba Ibeji?”

Mojirayo sighed as she blew air through her mouth. “I don’t think Baba Ibeji is the father.”

Taiwo guffawed as he looked at Mojirayo. “So who is the father?”

“You are.” Mojirayo said as she eyed Taiwo.

“You can’t be serious. No, this is a very expensive joke.” Taiwo said shaking his head as he paced round the room.

“Taiwo, do I look like I’m joking?”

“I’m not ready to be a father. Besides, you are my father’s wife.”

“Really? You didn’t think about that when you were sleeping with me.” Mojirayo said with sarcasm as she rolled her eyes.

Taiwo breathed deeply as he sat on her bed. “Okay, let’s think about this clearly. I know we are both upset. What can we do about it?”

********

Kehinde sauntered into the house tired. He went into his room and dumped his knapsack on his bed. He went to the next room to check on Taiwo and found out he wasn’t there. He wondered where he could be as he had told him he was going home. He however, noticed the knapsack on the bed. Maybe he has gone out again; he thought. He was about going to the kitchen to look for something to eat when he heard voices emanating from Mojirayo’s room. Could Baba Ibeji be back so early? He tiptoed towards Mojirayo’s room and realized he could hear a man’s voice. As he moved closer, the man’s voice became clearer and it dawned on him that it was Taiwo talking. What was he doing in Mojirayo’s room? He was about to place his hand on the door handle when he heard….

“Baba Ibeji is ready to be a father. I would tell him I am pregnant so that he thinks the child is his.”

“You will pass my child over to Baba Ibeji?” Taiwo asked.

“I thought you just said you were not ready to be a father.”

“Fine, fine. But this remains a secret between us. It must never be heard by a third party.” Taiwo warned.

“I know. Has anyone found out about us up till now?” Mojirayo sneered.

“Okay.” Taiwo said as he stood up. “I need to go to my room before the house gets full.”

Kehinde slipped away quietly towards his room. What had he just heard? Mojirayo pregnant for Taiwo? How come? Was that the reason why he never stayed back in school and was always in a hurry to go home? How long had this been going on and he never knew? He shook his head as he thought about his twin brother. Was he seduced? He remembered how much Taiwo fought for Mojirayo whenever her co-wives treated her harshly. So this was the reason? He thought about what he could do. Should he tell Baba Ibeji the truth? Mojirayo was a traitor and needed to be treated as such. He sat down on his bed and thought of a plan. Mojirayo needed to be exposed.

The next day, Kehinde told his brother he wasn’t feeling well. He told him he would not be able to make it to school and would like to rest at home. Taiwo nodded as he left the house. Immediately he stepped out, Kehinde went to Mojirayo’s room and knocked on the door. Mojirayo was surprised as she wondered who could be at the door. She knew Taiwo should have left for school. Besides, he no longer knocked on her door. She opened the door and saw Kehinde standing before her.

“Yes, Kehinde. Is there a problem?”

“Yes, there is.” Kehinde said. “Can I come in?”

“Erm….can we talk about it here or maybe in the living room? I will meet you there.” Mojirayo replied.

“It won’t take long. I promise.”

“Okay.” Mojirayo said as she stood at the door.

“I can’t talk while standing here. If it was Taiwo, you would have quickly welcomed him in with open arms.”

Mojirayo looked to the left and to the right of the hall to be sure no one was around or heard Kehinde’s statement. She stepped back immediately and let Kehinde in.

“What do you want?” She asked once Kehinde was in her room.

“You.” Kehinde smiled sheepishly as he rubbed his palms together.

“I don’t understand what you are saying.”

“Okay. Let me put it in a way you will understand. I know you are pregnant and that Taiwo is responsible. I know your plans to pass the baby off as Baba Ibeji’s. Are you following?” He asked with a wicked grin on his face.

Mojirayo looked at him without a word.

“So, if you want me to keep my mouth shut, you would play ball with me. I want to have a taste of what Taiwo has been eating.”

“You are mad. Do you realize I am your father’s wife?”

Kehinde burst out into hysterical laughter.

Mojirayo walked towards the door and shouted. “Get out of my room.”

Kehinde continued to laugh as he walked towards the door. “I will leave you to think about it. You know the way to my room when you are ready; or else, this night, Baba Ibeji would hear the truth.” He said as he slid his palm on her cheek and walked out of her room.

Mojirayo slapped his hand away and slammed the door behind him. She began pacing her room in anger. How dare he threaten her? What rubbish? She took a deep breath as she tried to calm herself down. She had heard that getting upset hurt the baby. She sat down on her bed as she thought of what to do.

A few minutes later, Mojirayo took out her phone from her beside drawer and dialed Taiwo. He picked up on the first ring. “Please come home earlier than usual today.”

“Why? What is wrong?” Taiwo asked.

“It is urgent.”

“Just give me an idea of what it is. Is it about the baby?”

“Yes, something like that.” Mojirayo said.

“Okay, I’ll be home soon.” Taiwo replied as he packed up his books and put them into his knapsack. He left the campus in a hurry, wondering what could be wrong with Mojirayo’s baby.

He got home, dropped his knapsack in his room and quickly walked down to Mojirayo’s room. He made a mental note to check on Kehinde later.

Mojirayo was lying on her bed when Taiwo walked in. She stood up immediately to hug Taiwo and he noticed she had been crying.

“What’s wrong?” Taiwo said as he searched her face. “Is anything wrong with the baby?”

Mojirayo shook her head as she sniffed.

“So why are you crying?”

“Kehinde threatened to tell Baba Ibeji the truth. He must have heard our discussion yesterday. He says I must sleep with him to keep him quiet.”

“What?” Taiwo shouted. “He said that?”

“Yes. He said he is waiting for me in his room once I make up my mind.”

“No!!!” Taiwo shouted in anger. He opened the door of Mojirayo’s room and stormed towards Kehinde’s room.

Mojirayo ran after him as she tried in vain to calm him down. “Taiwo, wait.” But Taiwo was already in front of Kehinde’s door.

********

Kehinde had headphones over his ears as he listened to music from his phone. His eyes were closed and he did not see Taiwo storm into his room. Taiwo yanked off the wrapper he had used to cover himself and realized Kehinde was stark naked. For a brief second, Taiwo was shocked. Kehinde removed the headphones and looked at Taiwo in anger.

“What is the meaning of this?” Kehinde shouted.

Taiwo threw the wrapper back at him so he could cover his nakedness. “So you were truly waiting for Mojirayo to warm your bed?”

Kehinde wrapped his lower body as he sneered. “Haven’t you been enjoying it so far? What is wrong with me having a share of it? I’m sure she would even enjoy me better.”

In an instant, Taiwo’s fist landed on Kehinde’s face and he staggered backward. Kehinde put his palm on his face, brought it to his eye-level and saw blood. His nose was bleeding. He lurched forward to hit Taiwo as Mojirayo screamed. Taiwo was faster and moved away just before Kehinde’s fist landed. Kehinde punched the wall and his hand started bleeding as well. Taiwo hit his brother in the stomach and Kehinde doubled over. Mojirayo stood as she shook wondering what she should do. Should she run out and call the neighbours? Or should she leave them alone to themselves? She was confused.

Taiwo was gaining the upper hand as they both rolled on the floor. Taiwo sat on his brother and squeezed his neck. Kehinde struggled as he tried to push his brother off him. He flailed his hands but Taiwo squeezed his neck even tighter in anger. All of a sudden, Kehinde became still and stop struggling. Mojirayo was the first to notice and she tried to pull Taiwo off his brother. Taiwo still held his brother’s neck and Mojirayo started hitting Taiwo asking him to get off Kehinde. The expression on her face was that of fright and shock as she bent down to place her hand on Kehinde’s chest. Taiwo was still fuming and heaving and Mojirayo had to call his attention. Taiwo’s countenance changed when he saw the look on Mojirayo’s face. He knelt down and tapped his brother as he called his name.

“Get up Kehinde.”

Kehinde was still and Taiwo held his hand up. Kehinde’s hand fell back on its own accord.

“Stop this. It is not funny.” Taiwo said as he shook his brother. “Kehinde, I said get up.” He said; his voice becoming a little shaky.

“He’s not breathing.” Mojirayo said as tears streamed down her cheeks.

Taiwo fell on his haunches as he looked up with a blank stare. “What have I done?” He soliloquized.

Voices began to emanate from downstairs. Taiwo and Mojirayo looked at each other. Mojirayo’s co-wives were beginning to arrive from their shops to prepare lunch for the younger kids. Taiwo put his two hands on his head. Mojirayo folded her palms under her chin as she looked around in confusion. She saw a bottle of beer sticking out from under Kehinde’s bed. She took it and looked away as she hit the bottle on the wall. It splintered and she put it in Kehinde’s limp hand. She tore the dress she was wearing at the bust and started screaming. Taiwo looked at her confused. Has she gone mad? What was she doing?

Mojirayo’s screams generated commotion downstairs and everyone ran upstairs towards Kehinde’s room. As the women burst into the room and saw Kehinde on the floor, they looked at Taiwo’s face and saw Mojirayo crying and struggling to cover up her bust. Kehinde’s mother screamed as she knelt down and lifted up her son. “Kehinde, Kehinde?” She shouted. “What did you do to my son, you wicked girl?”

“He tried to rape me.” Mojirayo said as she cried uncontrollably. “He dragged me from my room, tore my dress and tried to rape me. He also wanted to stab me with the broken bottle in his hand, so I pushed him and he fell down and didn’t stand up again.” She said all in one breath.

Taiwo was astonished. His mother looked at his face as if to confirm the story and he nodded his head. He was at a loss. His tongue was tied and he just continued to nod his head. Iya Kehinde broke out into another scream as she lamented.

The other wives shooed the younger children who were standing by the door back to the living room. The oldest wife spat towards Mojirayo’s direction while the younger wife cursed the day Baba Ibeji brought Mojirayo into their house. As the oldest wife walked out of the room, she took out her mobile phone from her waist pouch and placed a call to Baba Ibeji to find out if he was almost home. He confirmed in the affirmative. She told him to come with the police and gave him details of all that had happened. Baba Ibeji could not believe his ears. He asked his driver to move faster so he could get home on time.

********

Baba Ibeji walked into his house and met Mojirayo seated on the floor in the living room. She was still in her torn dress and everyone stayed away from her like a plague. He looked at her and asked her to tell her story. The oldest wife stood up in anger. “Baba Ibeji, so you think I would lie against her?”

“Woman, sit down.” Baba Ibeji shouted.

“Kehinde did not go to school today. He said he wasn’t feeling fine. After everyone left the house, he came to my room and wanted to sleep with me. I told him I am his father’s wife and he can’t do that.”

Baba Ibeji nodded.

“When he refused to listen to me, I told him I would call you and report him to you. He got angry and tore my dress.” Mojirayo said as she released her hand from her dress and her bust became exposed. “He dragged me to his room, locked the door and undressed. When I tried to open the door to run out, he broke a beer bottle and wanted to stab me with it. I was afraid so I pushed him. He fell down and didn’t stand up again.”

Baba Ibeji took a deep breath, closed his eyes and bent his head backwards.

“Baba Ibeji, what are you waiting for? Call the police to get this wretched woman out of our house.” Iya Kehinde shouted. “I regret the day you brought her into this house. Ah, Baba Ibeji, you have killed my son. You have killed my Kehinde.”

“Enough.” Baba Ibeji shouted her down.

“Hmm….mmmmm.” Iya Kehinde hummed and cried as she shook her feet impatiently.

Baba Ibeji called Taiwo and asked him to go down the road to call the police to make an arrest. Thereafter, he placed a call to Mojirayo’s parents to come urgently. Mojirayo’s parents arrived in a jiffy thinking there was another gift to be received. They got to Baba Ibeji’s house and noticed the tense atmosphere. They met Taiwo outside and asked him what the problem was. Taiwo pointed into the house without a word. Everything that had happened still looked like a dream to him. Mojirayo was carrying his baby. Baba Ibeji was still unaware of Mojirayo’s situation and now she was getting arrested.

He still could not comprehend the motive behind Mojirayo’s lies. Would Mojirayo reveal that she was pregnant or would she decide to terminate the pregnancy? If she decided to have the baby, what was the future of the unborn baby in detention? Would they ever find out that Mojirayo was arrested for a crime he committed?

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—————————————————- THE END ——————————————————

Love, Lies and Murder – Part 2

Baba Ibeji knew that the exams ended two weeks ago because his twin sons also wrote the same exams. He had waited patiently for Shina to bring Mojirayo to him. Six weeks ago, he started buying trendy clothes, make-up and other fashion items. He had an idea of how he wanted his trophy wife to look. He moved his youngest wife from the room closest to his and gave her another room down the hall. Every day he went out, he came back with a new item which he put in the room and locked up. That was going to be Mojirayo’s room. She needed to be close to him. The other wives had lost steam and he needed someone fresh to make his blood boil and awake all his senses. His youngest wife did not understand what was going on but her seniors did. Was that not how they were also bounced to rooms down the hall when she took over?

 

Baba Ibeji had been reminiscing on his first night with Mojirayo. He had played the night over and over in his mind. He imagined Mojirayo was a virgin because he had never seen her with those riff-raffs who lived in his face to face apartments. It was like a dream come through when Shina approached him to seek for funds for her exams. This was his opportunity and he would be foolish to make it slip off his hands.

He went back home with Shina’s promise. He dared not refuse to fulfill it. They would be thrown out of his house before they even spelt Baba. He went to bed joyful. Tomorrow night would be the night. The night he had dreamt of the past six weeks.

 

Shina fulfilled his promise and took Mojirayo to Baba Ibeji’s house. Omowunmi prepared her daughter for the life of a married woman telling her never to reject her husband’s advances. She told her never to consider family planning as having many children would stamp her authority in her husband’s house and make her a woman to be reckoned with. She reminded her that she was the youngest wife and therefore, the favourite. She told her to make the best use of her status and better the life of her family as soon as she could. Mojirayo listened to her mother with a blank stare. She had been trained to be an obedient and responsible child and so she would remain for the sake of her family.

 

Mojirayo’s first night with Baba Ibeji was painful. Her mother told her not to reject his advances; she forgot to tell her that the result of those advances would hurt her. Baba Ibeji thought he was being careful with his new wife, he had forgotten that his calloused hands from years of working on the farm would graze her skin. He was too much in a hurry to take his wife whole as his excitement had built up immediately he touched Mojirayo’s full bosom and squeezed them as if he was milking a cow. He wondered why she insisted that he turned off the lights but it didn’t matter to him. She was standing right before him and she was all his for the taking. Mojirayo bit her lips till they bled as Baba Ibeji drove into her grunting and panting like a man on a race track and in two minutes, it was all over. Baba Ibeji was well endowed and he took pride in it. He lay on Mojirayo and she had to struggle to push him over. His mouth odour slapped her face when he asked her if she enjoyed it. Since the room was dark, he failed to notice that his new wife had tears on her cheeks. Mojirayo wiped her tears as she coughed a yes. The next three nights were visiting nights for Mojirayo. It was the same routine. Baba Ibeji’s grunting, his loud snores after and Mojirayo’s crying as she hurt all over her body. She however, endured the pains anytime she remembered her family’s living conditions. She was bent on not conceiving for Baba Ibeji and she used pills everyday which she kept at the bottom of her box.

 

In nine months, the fortune of her family changed. Her father got the Toyota Camry he wanted, her siblings changed schools and her mother changed her line of business. Even the room they lived in received an upgrade and her father rented another room; making their abode a room and a parlour. Things changed for the better for her family but Mojirayo lived in misery. Her senior wives also made life a living hell for her. She however received sympathy from Baba Ibeji’s twin sons. They had taken note of her immediately they arrived from a vacation at their cousins. Their father had sent them there two days before Mojirayo’s arrival and he had asked that they stayed there for about six months. They were just two years older than Mojirayo and they found it strange that their father had taken a young girl as a new wife. Their first three months at home, they had watched Mojirayo like an eagle would watch over her young chick. Taiwo noticed every move she made and soon began to take a liking to her and tried to make small talk with her while Kehinde, even though also liked Mojirayo was indifferent towards her.

Baba Ibeji’s elder kids lived on their own while the younger kids were in school, leaving the twins and Mojirayo alone at home during the day. The three wives all had businesses they ran while Mojirayo was confined to stay at home and be beautiful.

Over the next six months, Taiwo gradually became attached to Mojirayo. He knew Baba Ibeji must never find out about his dalliance with his wife, he therefore stayed in his room once his father returned from his farm.

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

One sunny afternoon, a friend of the twins decided to pay them a visit. Mojirayo was watching a movie in the living room. She stood up to open the door for him. Adeniyi was struck by Mojirayo’s beauty and for a few seconds, he was tongue-tied.

“Hello. How may I help you?” Mojirayo asked when she noticed the guy just stood before her like someone lost in a trance.

“Erm….I want to see Taiwo and Kehinde.” Adeniyi replied almost in a stammer.

“Okay, come in.” She said as she turned her back to lead him in while Adeniyi looked at her as if she was a newly acquired statue. Mojirayo called the twins out of their room and retreated into hers. Adeniyi continued to look at Mojirayo as she walked away. Taiwo sensing what was going and uncomfortable with the way his friend gawked at Mojirayo, slapped him on his hand.

“She’s taken.” Taiwo said angrily.

“By who?” Adeniyi asked as he rubbed his hand.

“Baba Ibeji.” Kehinde responded.

Adeniyi looked at them with shock. “How can your father take such a beauty away from young boys like me?”

“What did you come here for?” Taiwo asked getting irritated.

“Haha! I came to visit you nau. Am I not welcome in your house again?” Adeniyi asked.

Kehinde shrugged while Taiwo refused to give his friend an answer.

 

Forty-five minutes later, Adeniyi stood up to take his leave and Kehinde offered to walk him out. Kehinde also mentioned to Taiwo that he needed to get to the barbing salon down the road and would be back soon. As Adeniyi and Kehinde walked out, Taiwo stormed towards the rooms upstairs and banged on Mojirayo’s door.

“Why are you banging on my door?” Mojirayo asked as she opened the door.

“Next time, please don’t open the door for Adeniyi.”

Mojirayo looked at Taiwo confused. “I don’t understand.” She said as she walked into her room.

Taiwo followed after her and closed the door behind him. “I don’t like the way he was staring at you.”

Mojirayo raised her hands and shrugged. “So, how does that affect me? He is your friend.”

“He is not my friend. He is Kehinde’s friend.”

“Well, he asked after both of you. Was I supposed to tell him you weren’t home?”

“Just don’t let him in next time.” Taiwo said angrily.

“I don’t understand why you are getting angry. If you have a problem with him, why don’t you sort it out with him or your brother? Abeg, leave my room. I want to sleep.” Mojirayo said as she walked towards the door.

Taiwo was however faster than her. He held her back and grabbed her waist as he kissed her lips roughly. Mojirayo put her hands on his chest as she resisted him by pushing him back. She slapped him on the face but Taiwo was undeterred. He pulled Mojirayo into his arms and hugged her tightly. She initially tried to struggle out of his grip but relaxed when his arms became too strong for her.

“I’m your father’s wife.” Mojirayo said as she breathed heavily.

“I know but I am in love with you.” Taiwo said as he whispered into her ears. “And I know you have the same feelings for me but would deny it.”

He was right. Mojirayo had fallen in love with her husband’s son but it was unheard of. He was totally different from his father. With him, there was always something to talk about. They shared gists about school, watched the news together and sometimes discussed his plans to go to the university in a few months. She knew her education ended in his father’s house and that there was nothing she could do about it. She had been confined to Baba Ibeji’s house. Taiwo also showed her love and care every day. In Baba Ibeji’s books, those words took a different meaning.

Taiwo kissed the nape of her neck and Mojirayo melted in his arms. They kissed passionately and in an instant, Taiwo lifted her as he placed her on her bed gently and teased her sensitive spots with kisses. Mojirayo hugged him tightly as her body throbbed with passion. She had never felt this way and Taiwo had just given her a different definition of pleasure. She gave herself wholly to him and Taiwo proved he was a man.

As Taiwo stood up to get dressed, he kissed Mojirayo’s lips. “No one must find out about us including Kehinde.”

Mojirayo smiled as she nodded. Taiwo left Mojirayo’s room and entered into his just as Kehinde walked into the house.

——
The story continues…

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Love, Lies and Murder – Part 1

This Monday, Olubukola’s Thoughts serves you another African love story broken into three parts. 

Please enjoy, drop your comments and don’t forget to use the share buttons below.

Thanks 😊

*********

 

As the police led Mojirayo away from the scene of the crime, she looked at the faces of her parents. Her mother put her hand on her head as she threw herself on the floor in lamentation. Her father who she expected to be man enough to handle the situation wasn’t any better. He was crying in broad daylight. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he looked at his first daughter. His pride, the one who was meant to take them out of the depth of poverty. The one who was meant to be the shining light to her nine younger siblings. The one he had given out in marriage at the age of sixteen because he needed to provide a better life for his family.

Mojirayo raised her head high. She wasn’t sorry for what she had done. She showed no remorse. This was not the time to be sorry. This was the time to be happy. The time to jubilate because she had finally been delivered from the hell she lived in. Yes, it was hell but her parents thought otherwise. Even though she hadn’t planned what happened, it had worked perfectly in her favour. Baba Ibeji was a pain she endured the past twenty-four months. He had a pot belly that irritated her anytime he tried to hug her. He had a terrible mouth odour that nauseated her and made her puke when he kissed her. After retching, she washed her tongue with her toothbrush vigorously so that she did not also become a victim of his terrible sickness. When he visited her room to satisfy himself, he grunted like a goat during his height of ecstasy and snored like a generator that was about to knock its engine immediately after. Most times, she picked up her pillow and went to the living room to sleep. When he awoke in the morning and asked if she enjoyed him, she faked a smile and nodded like an agama lizard. Her three senior wives would hiss and spit at her for the next three days. She was the intruder. The one who had come to reap where she did not sow. The one who had come to take advantage of their husband’s goodwill to better her own family. The selfish, bad-mannered girl who was old enough to be a daughter to them but was sleeping with their husband and keeping him away from their rooms for the most part of the month.

**********

Twenty-six months ago, Mojirayo was about to write her SSCE exams. Every day, she reminded her father about the payment for the exams but she got the same answer each time; he did not have the funds. Shina was an okada rider who lived in a one room face-to-face apartment with ten kids. His wife was a petty trader who sold Ugwu leaves for a living. Mojirayo once asked her mother why she had to give birth to many children when they could not afford to cater for them. She had received a resounding smack across her face as her response. She was told never to stop the flow of God’s blessings. Family planning had never been an option. As far as her mother was concerned, it was a sin.

But Mojirayo had overheard their neighbours making jest of them many times. They were the butt of the neighbours jokes in the building. They said Shina could barely feed himself but never ceased to get his wife pregnant. They said he was either trying to prove his virility or was too stupid to look for another form of recreation besides the bedroom.

 

When Mojirayo refused to allow her father rest, he decided to approach members of his okada riders association for a loan. He however received sad stories from everyone. They also had obligations to their various families that they couldn’t fulfill. This denial made him take a visit to Baba Ibeji’s house which was a stone throw to theirs. Baba Ibeji was their landlord. He was a big time farmer who dealt in cassava plantation, fish farming and piggery. He had a number of employees working for him and he built the face to face apartments with the proceeds from his business. Shina had pleaded with Baba Ibeji to loan him the money for his daughter’s exams. Baba Ibeji had gladly accepted to oblige him but under a condition. Shina had promised to accept whatever condition it was. He had assumed that Baba Ibeji would probably ask for a free supply of Ugwu to his family or ask for his monthly rent to be increased to cover the cost of the loan.

He was however in shock when he heard Baba Ibeji’s condition. He wanted to make Mojirayo his fourth wife. Shina had stammered and asked if Baba Ibeji was serious. Baba Ibeji had gotten upset and walked him out of his house. Shina had gone home dejected. How could Baba Ibeji want to take Mojirayo who was old enough to be his own daughter as wife? What about his other three wives? Shina had been unable to sleep that night. He had tossed and turned on his tattered mattress. Even when his wife, Omowunmi had tried to touch him, he had turned his back to her. She had been surprised as Shina never refused her advances. They always practiced Proverbs 5 verse 18 – 20 and Ecclesiastes 9 verse 9 to the letter.

 

The next morning, Mojirayo greeted her father with news. She wasn’t going to write the SSCE exams because she was yet to pay for it. She had been told in school the previous day. Shina made up his mind immediately. He went to Baba Ibeji and agreed to his conditions for the loan. Baba Ibeji smiled as Shina almost prostrated before him. He had eyed Mojirayo for a while. She was a stunning beauty and he felt she should live a happy life; away from the poverty of her parents. He gave Shina cash on the spot and asked him to bring Mojirayo to his house immediately after her exams were over. Shina nodded as he collected the cash and left Baba Ibeji’s house. Baba Ibeji smirked in a self-satisfied triumph. He touched his nether region and licked his lips. Mojirayo was going to be his trophy wife.

 

Tears streamed down Mojirayo’s cheeks when her father told her about his agreement with Baba Ibeji after her last paper. Shina had thought it wise to allow his daughter write her exams without any distractions. Mojirayo told her father that she would have rather missed writing the exams than get married to Baba Ibeji. According to her father, she needed to look at the bright side of the situation. Baba Ibeji was rich and he would offer her a better life. She would be able to have the nicer things of life which she would never have access to under his roof. She would be able to help him send her younger ones to school which he could barely afford to do at the moment. She would make all their neighbours envious and he would have the last laugh as they would all love to be in her shoes. There was nothing Mojirayo said that made sense to her father. As far as he was concerned, this was a dream come through for them. Mojirayo was their ticket to a life out of abject poverty.

 

Two weeks after Mojirayo’s exams, Shina was yet to take his daughter to Baba Ibeji’s house. He knew he was meant to fulfill his promise but he wanted to have his daughter for one more day. He told himself he would do it tomorrow but tomorrow never came. He noticed his daughter’s countenance had changed since he told her of his agreement with Baba Ibeji. She wore a sad face permanently and looked as if she was waiting to be taken to the slaughter house. Even though, he also felt bad about the agreement, he consoled himself that it was for a better life. Once she became Baba Ibeji’s fourth wife, their fortune would change. All those neighbours who taunted him would see the other side of him. He would make sure they apologized for all the insults they had heaped on him all through the years. He would stop riding an okada because Mojirayo would urge her husband to buy him a nice Toyota camry 2001 model which he would use as a taxi cab. His other nine children would change their school and move to a private school in the area. Omowunmi would stop selling Ugwu leaves and start doing supplies like Baba Ibeji’s first wife. She would rub shoulders with the big women who tied their geles like a satellite dish every Saturday. She would supply party souvenirs, canopies and chairs and maybe even start cooking for large parties. At least, she loved to cook and the aroma of her food anytime she was cooking was the reason why she was called “Ìya Mojíráyò, Ölówö síbí” by their neighbours.

He had just finished a bowl of eba and edikaikong soup as his mind played around with ideas shooting them into the goal post. He smiled and picked his teeth with a broom stick as he thought about what he would do once he became rich. A hard knock on his door jolted him out of his reverie. He wondered who could be banging his door that way at this time of the night. Another bang on the door got him upset and he stood up to accost the intruder.

He opened the door and standing before him was Baba Ibeji. He had an angry stare on his face which highlighted the tribal marks on his cheeks. Many of the kids in the compound whispered to each other whenever they saw him that he must have fought with a tiger to have such terrible marks. Shina knew the wait was over. Baba Ibeji asked him to pack his family and wretched belongings and leave his house the next morning or fulfill his promise. He pleaded with Baba Ibeji and told him Mojirayo would arrive at his house first thing the next morning.

——
The story continues…

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The Wait – Chapter 2

Ajoke and Kokumo remained friends all through their senior secondary class. They studied in class and walked the long journey home together. Even though, Kokumo could afford to take a public bus home, Ajoke couldn’t. Her parents were struggling to survive and told her that transportation fare to and from school in the next village was a luxury. Therefore, she had to make do with long walks every day. Ajoke was however, not deterred. She loved to go to school and education was a priority for her.

Kokumo’s parents could afford to transport their son to and from school but he preferred to walk the long trek home with Ajoke. Kokumo used his transport fare back home to buy snacks and water which he shared with Ajoke as they chatted, sang and sometimes danced on the road. He knew most times, she was hungry but she never once complained about her parents not being able to give her money to buy lunch at school.

By the time they were in their final year in the senior class, they had become inseparable in school. They were teased by some of their classmates that they should get married immediately after school but Kokumo wanted more than that. He mentioned to Ajoke that his dream was to become an accountant. Ajoke had smiled and wished him well. She knew her education terminated after the secondary school level and there was no point having dreams that were not going to come to fruition.

“So you won’t even bother to make any attempt at the university by writing Jamb exams?” Kokumo once asked her. They had gotten to the forked junction before their villages but decided to sit down under a palm tree off the road.

Ajoke shrugged. “What is the point of writing an exam when the result of the exams would be useless?”

“At least, make an attempt.”

“Kokumo, both of us know my parents cannot afford a secondary education much less a University. We eat from hand to mouth at the moment and my father is waiting for my brothers to start fending for the family so the burden on him can be reduced.”

Kokumo sighed. “I wish there was something we could do.”

“There is nothing that can be done. Don’t bother about me.”

Kokumo looked at her as he cradled her face in his hands. “Don’t say that. I love you and I want us to get married someday. But I want to go to the university, so that both of us can leave our villages and have a better life in the city.”

“I know.” Ajoke said smiling. “I love you too and I look forward to the day you will make me your wife.”

 

They sat for their school certificate exams three weeks later and their results had been impressive. Kokumo had straight As in all the nine subjects he had written while Ajoke had As in six subjects and credits in the other three. Kokumo sat for his Jamb examinations and also passed with very good grades. He was offered admission into the University of Lagos to read accountancy just as he had dreamed of. Kokumo was overjoyed when he received his admission letter from the University. He couldn’t wait to get home to tell Ajoke and his parents the good news.

He took a public bus from the University gate as he danced and sang. A few passengers in the bus looked at him strangely but he cared not. On getting to his village, he ran towards his house but noticed a strange calm in the environment. He looked left and right and noticed that the traders who lined the road to his house all avoided his eyes or refused to acknowledge his greeting. This was unusual; he thought. They all seemed to be in a hurry to pack up their wares. He looked at his wrist watch. The time read 5.30pm. The traders usually sold their wares till 7.00pm. He wondered why they were all packing up at this time. He scanned through the market looking out for his mother’s stall but noticed that she wasn’t there. Her stall looked untouched; the same way she left it every evening. He stopped in his tracks. Why did my mother not come to the market today? He had left home as early as 5.00am to make the journey to the University. His mother was already up as she had insisted that he ate a small meal before leaving. She had prepared a bowl of eba and egusi soup for him and his father. He hadn’t been able to eat much as he had been anxious to leave.

The airs on his neck rose as he inched closer towards his house. There was an eerie feeling in the environment which he couldn’t shake off or place his finger on. He got to his house and saw his mother seated on a low stool on the front pavement. She had her arms across her chest as tears streamed down her eyes. She was lost in thought and did not see her son walking towards her. Kokumo noticed that she did not acknowledge his presence.

“Màámi.” (My mother). Kokumo said shaking his mother by the shoulders.

She shook all of a sudden as she saw her son. She burst into tears as she stood up and hugged him.

“Màámi, kílódé?” (My mother, what is wrong?) Kokumo said tearing himself away from his mother.

“Bàba Kòkúmó ti kú.” (Kokumo’s father is dead). She said as she put her hands on her head in lamentation.

Kokumo stood still unable to grasp what his mother had just told him. His father? Dead? He looked around him for an explanation. How could his father who was hale and hearty when he went to bed yesterday night be dead? The traders who had ignored him at the market started trooping into their compound to commiserate with his mother. Some walked in crying and lamenting while others shook their heads in pity. Was this a dream? He had been happy a few hours ago about his admission into the University. His admission letter still sat untouched in the knapsack slung across his shoulders. He had brought good news home to his parents; only to be welcomed with the opposite. No, his father could not be dead. He started walking away from his mother and everyone around him.

“Kokumo! Kokumo!” His mother called. He looked back at her strangely before turning back to walk away.

“Ë má jè kó lö o.” (Don’t let him go). Someone shouted amongst the now teeming crowd.

Kokumo continued to walk away without looking back. A man ran after him and grabbed him by the hand. Kokumo flung the man’s hand away as he continued walking.

Iya Kokumo stood up and started shouting. “Ë gbà mí. Ë má jè kí ömö mi lö.” (Please help me. Don’t let my son go.)

Two men ran after Kokumo and held him firmly. Kokumo tried to struggle with them but was overpowered. They dragged him towards his mother and made him sit at her feet.

Kokumo was not allowed to step out of his house that evening. His mission at the University was also not discussed. For three days, Kokumo looked at his mother as she wept. He was unable to console her as he was also yet to come to terms with his father’s death. His mother told him that after he left for school, she had gone to wake up his father. It was unusual for him to sleep for so long and she had been worried. He had woken up and complained about a headache. She gave him the meal of eba and egusi to eat and asked that he stay home and not go to the farm. He had nodded as he ate. She also decided to stay home and take care of her husband. He took some herbs to ease the headache after his meal and he went back to sleep. He never woke up.

The burial rites began in earnest as Kokumo’s paternal uncles took over the responsibility. A week later, Kokumo’s father was buried in his house. Two days after his father’s burial, Kokumo took out his admission letter and looked at it. Was this the end of his dream? He still had the letter in his hands when Iya Kokumo walked into his room.

“Kínì yën?” (What is that?) She asked him.

“Ìwé tí mo lo gbà ní school ní öjó tí bàámi lö?” (The letter I went to collect in school the day my father died).

Iya Kokumo sat down gently on the low mattress in his room. “Kí ló wà nínú è.” (What is written inside?)

Kokumo sighed. “Wón ti fún mi ní admission sí University.” (I have been offered admission into the University).

“Hmm….Yunifásítì t’èwo? (Which University?)

“University ti Èkó.” (The University of Lagos).

Iya Kokumo took a deep breath and bowed her head.

“Màámi, èmi náà mò pé University ò sé lö mó. Màá ló wá isé ki n lè rí owó rán ara mi lö sí ilé ìwé.” (My mother, I know going to the University is no longer possible. I will go look for a job so that I can sponsor myself to school).

Iya Kokumo looked up at her son as tears spilled down her cheeks.

“Màámi, ë jò ó,  ë má sunkun mó.” (My mother, please stop crying). Kokumo consoled his mother.

“Ah, Bàba Kòkúmó, n kan ta jö sö kó nì yíi. Àdéhùn ta jö ní kó le léyìi o.” (Baba Kokumo, this is not what we talked about. This was not our agreement). Iya Kokumo lamented as she bit her forefinger in tears.

Kokumo pulled his mother into a hug and rocked her like a baby. “Ó ti tó Màámi.” (It is okay, my mother). He said repeatedly.

When Iya Kokumo was spent from her tears, she removed the end of her wrapper and untied the knot. She took out all the cash she had in the knot and gave it to Kokumo.

Kokumo shook his head as he looked at his mother. He held her hand and said; “A ma jëun, Màámi.” (We will eat, my mother).

Iya Kokumo looked at her son as her body shook with sobs. Kokumo wrapped his arms around his mother again as he looked heavenwards. Baba Kokumo had left but he was going to make sure his mother did not suffer.

 

The story continues…….

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

 

The journey ahead

Adigun looked at the baby girl cradled in his arms. She was sleeping peacefully oblivious to what her entrance into the world had brought upon him. A tear slipped down his cheeks and he quickly wiped it with the back of his palm. At 21, he should not be seen crying like a baby. He was meant to take charge. But the turn of events in his life the past three months was too much for him to handle emotionally.

The baby girl whined as she turned her head towards his body aiming to suckle. He looked up at the nurse standing by his side. She gave a sad smile and walked towards the baby bag on the table. Her hands worked deftly pouring and mixing the contents of the bag. She strolled towards Adigun and stretched her hands to receive the baby but Adigun held tightly to the little tot.

The nurse handed over the bottle to him and helped put a pillow behind his back and another under the baby to raise her to a comfortable height for her feed. Adigun smiled his thanks and proceeded to feed the baby.

As she suckled, different thoughts ran through his mind. How was he going to take care of the baby? He was only a student in his final year in the Secondary school and up till a few hours ago depended solely on his mother for support. Did the arrival of the baby girl mean an end to his schooling? He was preparing to write his final exams in a few weeks. How was he going to read with a new born baby in his care? He had no one to go to for financial support; how was he going to feed and take care of her?

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Aduke had been both happy and surprised when the doctor confirmed she was pregnant. She had already given up on child-bearing. After having Adigun 21 years ago, she and Ajagbe had tried in futility to have more kids. Each time she took in, she miscarried. She wondered why; as Adigun’s conception and birth had been an easy ride.

After six miscarriages over a period of ten years, she decided to heed Ajagbe’s advice to give up on trying. It had been difficult to accept. She wanted another child. She longed to have a daughter. But Ajagbe constantly reminded her that God had given them a son and it was enough reason to be grateful.

Ajagbe had been overwhelmed with joy when Aduke told him she was pregnant. He pampered her silly and made her feel like a first-time mother. Even Adigun had shared in the joy of having a baby sister. The few friends he told had teased him that he was not having a baby sister but a daughter; as he was old enough to father the new baby.

Three months ago, Ajagbe had gone to his farm as usual. He had tilled from morning till night and harvested a few tomatoes that he intended to blend with his grinding stone for the day’s supper. He flagged down an okada and was about crossing the road to board it. All of a sudden, another speeding okada emerged from the bend. The rider saw Ajagbe too late. The impact of the collision flung Ajagbe across the road with tomatoes littered all over.

The pain had been too much for Aduke to bear. She struggled with her pregnancy in the last trimester. The doctor at the primary health care centre had admonished her to get enough sleep as her blood pressure had risen. But Aduke stayed up many nights crying and willing Ajagbe to come back home.

She had fallen into labour last night and Adigun had rushed her in the dead of the night to the health care centre. Hours later, the doctor informed Adigun that his mother would have to be induced as labour was no longer progressing. He looked at the doctor with tears in his eyes. He had no idea what the doctor meant. All he wanted was a safe delivery for his mother.

Aduke put to bed in the early hours of the day after a difficult delivery. She smiled as she looked at her daughter. The daughter she had waited so many years for. She took a deep breath and she was gone.

———

Adigun looked at his baby sister. She had fallen asleep again and had released her mouth from the teat of the feeding bottle. Drops of milk dripped out of the sides of her little mouth. Adigun wiped it carefully with his tee-shirt. The nurse was back and this time, Adigun handed over the little tot. He watched as the nurse took her away.

the-journey-ahead

What did the future hold for them? The journey ahead was definitely going to be a long one.

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Photo credit: http://www.truelovedates.com