Yesterday Lives – Chapter 1

The traffic light turned red. The grey Peugeot 405 inched slowly towards the white line and waited. The time on the dashboard read 7:45pm. Aderemi tapped her feet and the steering wheel impatiently. Her father had warned her not to stay out late but she had been so engrossed in her gist with Folake that she lost track of time.

Folake was leaving for Canada in two days and her parents had decided to throw her a farewell party. They had recently graduated from the secondary school and Folake had gotten admission into a University in Canada. Even though, Aderemi was happy for her friend, she was also sad that she was leaving. She had pleaded with her father a number of times to allow her study in the United States but he had insisted that she was going to study in Nigeria. She had just been offered admission into a private university.

As she bid Folake farewell, her eyes filled with tears. She held on tightly to her friend as she hugged her. She knew her father was going to be upset with her as she had stayed beyond the agreed time but they had not even realized that time was far spent. Her father had asked Mr. Solomon, the driver to take her but Aderemi had stamped her feet as she told her father she was no longer a baby. ‘Besides, Daddy, I don’t need a chaperone. Do you want my friends to laugh at me that instead of a boyfriend, I brought a body guard?’ She had asked as she pouted her mouth. Her father had reluctantly allowed her to go alone but with a promise to leave early. ‘Well, leaving at 7:00pm was early.’ She said to herself as she considered her other friends who were still at the party. She was engrossed in her thoughts as her mind unconsciously counted down the seconds on the traffic light and waited for it to go amber.

Suddenly, she was shaken from her reverie with a bang on her wound-up window. Terrified, she turned to see a gun pointed at her face through the glass. She started shaking as she looked at the face and dropped her eyes to the gloved hand holding the gun. A finger signaled to her to look in the other direction and she saw another person standing at the passenger window with a hand movement telling her to roll down her windows. She fumbled with the power button beside her in trepidation and a gloved hand dipped its hands into her car and retrieved her handbag and her mobile phone which were lying carelessly on the passenger seat.

Just like it had happened, she was left alone and she saw the traffic light turn green before her. For a few seconds, she sat in shock with her leg still on the brake pedal. The honk from a car behind her jolted her and she sped away. What had just happened? She kept on thinking over and over.

In ten minutes, she was at the entrance of her house. She honked continuously until the gateman rolled open the gates to let her in. She parked the car, switched off the ignition and jumped out as she broke into a run towards the house.

‘I’m sorry Daddy.’ She said as she ran smack into the father who was fuming at the door.

‘Aderemi!’ Mr. Johnson called out to his daughter who was running towards her room. ‘Will you get back here?’ He shouted but he got the slam of her bedroom door as a response. ‘What is wrong with her?’ He soliloquized as he stormed towards her bedroom in anger.

Aderemi rolled into a fetal position, covered up herself with her duvet and burst into tears. She replayed the events of a few minutes ago over and over in her head. She should have listened to her father and taken Mr. Solomon with her. She should have left earlier as she had promised her father. She should have been more observant of her surroundings; her father had told her that times without number. Her father opened her bedroom door and she jumped.

‘Aderemi, what is….’ Mr. Johnson was saying and stopped short when he saw his daughter’s face. His countenance changed immediately and he walked towards her bed. He stretched out his hands and Aderemi sat up and fell into her father’s embrace. ‘Aderemi my love, my princess, the joy of my world.’ He said as he lifted up his daughter’s chin and wiped her tears with his thumb. ‘What is wrong?’

‘I was robbed Daddy.’ Aderemi said as the tears streamed down her cheeks.

‘Robbed? Where?’

‘At the traffic light at Kingsway junction.’

Mr. Johnson sighed.

‘I’m sorry I came home late Daddy. I should have listened to you and allowed Mr. Solomon to take me. I’m sorry.’ Aderemi said sobbing.

Mr. Johnson pulled his daughter closer and hugged her. ‘It is okay, my love. It is okay. I’m glad you are home and safe.’

When Aderemi ceased from her tears, her father asked her to take a hot bath and go to bed. She nodded quietly as she obeyed her father.


Two hours later, when Adeleke Johnson was sure his daughter was asleep, he retired to his bedroom. As he lay in bed, his mind travelled to when Aderemi was just six years old and expecting a baby sister from her mother, Grace. She had been excited as she saw her mother’s tummy grow into a big ball; as she called it. Each day, she put her head on her mother’s tummy as she talked to her baby sister. She was already in love with the unborn child and she showed it daily by kissing the big tummy. She was a precocious child and everyone including her mother marveled at her wisdom.

Grace’s labour had come in her thirty-eight week and everything had seemed normal. She put to bed a healthy baby girl and Adeleke had been filled with joy. His joy was however short-lived when Grace and the baby developed complications the next day. The doctors battled to save the life of both mother and child. Adeleke was confused. What could have happened between when he left them the night before and the next morning when he came to see them? Doctors ran from one room to the other as they struggled with each patient. After about two hours of frenzied activities, the medical director called Adeleke into his office. He had both good news and bad news.

Adeleke asked for the bad news first. They had lost Grace. The good news was his daughter had survived the ordeal and was hale and hearty; even though she was still under observation. Adeleke had bowed his head as tears streamed down his cheeks. His daughter was discharged two days later and he named his daughter after her mother.

He tossed and turned on the bed as he thought about Grace sleeping in the room next to his; separated by an interconnecting door and Aderemi in the room opposite his. After the death of their mother, Aderemi became a recluse and struggled with nightmares. Even at the tender age of six, she understood that her mother was no more. It had taken him years of constant love, care and trust to get her out of where she had hidden her emotions. He refused to send her to a boarding house for her secondary education as he wanted to be a part of her everyday life. His job as an automobile engineer allowed him time to take care of Grace and still do school runs with Aderemi every day. Over the years, the three of them formed an unbreakable bond. He steered clear of relationships as he did not want to risk breaking the bond he shared with his girls.

As he began to doze off, he prayed in his heart that the event of this night would not herald another set of nightmares for his daughter. He also prayed that she would not go back into the deep where he had had to get her out from years ago.


The story continues…….

2 Replies to “Yesterday Lives – Chapter 1”

    1. Thank you Temidayo.
      I’m glad you find it interesting 😊
      Do let me know your thoughts on the other chapters.
      Enjoy your read!

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