The caller ID shows the name of my eldest daughter ‘Kemi’. I bought them one phone to always call me anytime they need anything or to talk to me whenever they feel like and vice versa. So I cut the call and called her back
‘Hello darling’, I said when I picked the call
‘Daddy, mummy said you are back. When are you coming to see us’ she asked with that voice that sounds just like her mums’. God this is painful, how am I supposed to face them tomorrow and tell them everything is fine.
‘Dear I’ll come over tomorrow and we came all go out and have fun, how those that sound?’,
‘Yeeeee that would be great dad’ she said and immediately asked ‘will mummy be joining us?’
‘I don’t know sweetheart, let’s wait and see’ I replied and asked her ‘where is my princess Lola?’
‘She is sleeping dad’
‘And why are you not sleeping by this time?’
‘Cos its weekend and granny said I can stay up till 11 o’ clock’ she replied categorically. I can picture her standing and putting her small hands on her waist the way her mum use to. I laughed and ask her to give the phone to her grandma.
‘Good evening ma’ I greeted when she took the phone from Kemi
‘My son, good evening’ she replied in our native tongue
‘How is work, I hope this good for nothing people did not disturb you and your work’ she asked
‘Why didn’t u come to the house to stay?’ she continued in her usual way of shelling you with questions and giving you little or no time to answer them, and I remember what my father use to say about it. He said ‘when your mother start asking her questions, just relax let her finish and then you can start answering them and anyone you forgot she’ll remind you’
‘Mama am fine and work is great, actual we are very safe and as for not coming to the house, I wanted to surprise you all’ I answered all her questions.
‘So where are you staying now, because I know it’s not in your house? She asked
‘Staying at a friend’s, we have something to do this evening’, I lied and I don’t like lying to my parents ‘but tomorrow morning you will see me’ I concluded.
I asked after my dad and was told he travelled and was informed that my elder sister was around.
Ijeoma was the closest to me in the family apart from James. She was a good 12 years older than me. After my parent gave birth to their second child (Kate), it took them ten good years to give birth to me, in between there were miscarriages (3). So by the time I came and God decide to let me stay, everybody was mothering me.
I have to hang up now or else if I keep talking something will slip out and am not ready to tell them anything yet and from the look of things Shade hasn’t said anything also. I wished them goodnight and dropped the call.
As I dropped the call and hit the hotel bed as tears roll down my cheek and again the crime scene in my house, on my bed came back to my mind. I have stopped drinking six years ago when my first daughter was born but this night the urge was so strong. I called up the receptionist and demanded for drinks, by the time the girl came up with my drink I was already drifting off. I paid her for her troubles and ask her to return the drinks. I went to bed this time thinking of my daughters.
The next day I skipped church service and went straight to the house. I know my mum and kids will still be at the church but I know Ijeoma will be at home. She likes the early morning service so that she can return home early and do all the house work and also prepare food for the family.
I knocked at the door and was shocked and surprise to see my wife opening the door for me. She might have skipped church also knowing that am coming to the house this morning. From her face you can detect that she has been crying since last night, she looks tired and exhausted. We stood there looking at each other, anger from one and anguish from the other.
Ij perceived there was trouble but she doesn’t want to get involve so she called me from behind Shade where she was standing. Shade gave way for me to pass but not before she said in a very low voice ‘Please we need to talk’. I just nodded and walked pass her.
‘I hope am not intruding on anything?’ Ijeoma said as she saw me giving Shade the code treatment.
‘haba sister Ij, you are not intruding o!’ Shade replied.
I went straight to the parlor and sat down pretending to be watching the Tele-Evangelism going on. Ijeoma came into the sitting room and sat close to me and asked ‘Hope no problem?’
‘no problem, we just had little misunderstanding that all’. I said and quickly change the topic if not she will interrogate me till I spill everything.
‘how are you doing? And the family and work’. I asked.
‘we thank God; He has been wonderful. Work is going well and my family is really great’
All the while we were talking, Shade just sat at a corner chair and was looking at me. Ijeoma stood up and went to check on her food that she was preparing. Shade used to opportunity and knelt down before me and started crying and begging although her voice was low but I can see and feel the visible shaking of her body.
‘please stand up this is not the place nor time for this’ I said lifting her up
‘will you come home with me then?’ she asked.
‘which home? That house doesn’t represent home to me again’
‘Am sorry, jowo dariji mi’ she said. But before I could answer her, we started hearing children shout at the door. My mum and the kids are back from church.
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