“Shut the door behind you,” Onyinye flippantly remarks, Demola had been at the door scratching is scruffy beards for a few minutes. Probably this hostile approach would make her Dad rethink his judgement. Demola holds on to the door and lingers for a bit, he turns round to see Mama and Dupe in cohort, he could tell that his mother was stiffly on Dupe’s side.
“You know I had no choice Onyin, you can’t just beat up your mom on the streets.”
“She is not my mom, and I didn’t beat her, she attacked me like a dog!”
“That’s enough!” Demola responds and slams the door shut, he paces, two steps back and forth just next to her bed, not sure if he should scold her sitting or standing. He resolves to stand.
“I can’t believe you and the way you talk about Dupe, she is at least old enough to be your aunt and as long as she is my wife, you owe her some respect!”
“Okay,” Onyinye replies unaffectedly, she turns to a Sidney Sheldon novel on her bed and pretends like her father was just a part of the room that she could not fix.
“He will never know how annoyed he makes me feel, mom has not even been interred more than two years and he is holed up with another woman in their matrimonial bed, men, that’s just how they are.”
“what? Did you say something?” Demola responds to her grumbles, but she stays mute.
“Very well then, you are spending the whole holiday indoors!”
“I don’t care,” she sneers while he stalks out stumbling into Dupe whose ear had been glued to the key hole.
“Even you sef,” Demola gestures at the other woman, she pouts and grabs her wrapper, dragging it after herself so that he could see her big butt massaging the sleek material, “no point fighting that,” he thinks.
The sounds and life around Yaba are a pure blend of trade and deeply intellectual milieu. You could see the creeping traffic stall, students in a haste for lectures, touts running after buses to collect their garage charges.
There were the sudden outbursts of “aye e maa baje ni” and the rapturous shrieks of returning students, seeing their friends afar, girls would desert their bags and run off to consummate a hug. The energy was palpitating, sudden family hugs and good-byes at the school gate. Unilag gives you that feeling that schooling is serious business, the Agberos at the gate also understand this and so they promptly bring in the crowd to replace those leaving for town.
Private cars hoot as they crawl through the gate into the clean tarred school road, the buildings are flying by, her eyes are glued to the side mirror, where she watches the excitement on Onyinye’s face. Demola had been dutiful enough to wake up on time for the big day, their daughter would be writing her biggest exam in a few hours, he woke Cassy with a kiss, she could feel his excitement and anxiety.
They drove silently and Cassy could only imagine the joy written all over her daughter’s face.
“babe, how far?” Cassy swings round to query Onyinye,
“Mommy, I don’t know.. I have not seen where they said we will write the post jamb, I am not going to know anybody, let us come back tomorrow, or okay will you and Daddy stay with me till tomorrow after the exam?”
Cassy chuckles before patting the girl’s cheeks, “You will be fine babe, you know mummy and daddy love you, but we can’t stay with you. Don’t worry, I will check you tomorrow. We just want you to get familiar with the school, Chinenye will take care of you, I spoke with your aunty and she has promised to also raise you with some cash if you pass ehnn.”
“oh, that is if you don’t collect the money. Wait how old is Chinenye?” She asks her mother.
“She is your cousin, ask her when you meet.”
Demola laughs out at this point, he nods and whistles along with the tune playing on the car FM radio, he does not bother to follow the song, he glances at his daughter and winks mischievously. “You become a big lady today Onyinye, I am sure you will be first to get admitted.” she giggles at the mischief in his tone, playfully punches his arm. The car slows to a stop in front of a student hostel, the girls are like industrious ants, the hostel is crawling with them.
The sitting room is all dark, the TV screen flickers on and off, Demola is bent over on a sofa, eyes blank and staring at the moving images, tears trickle down his face.
Onyinye walks in on him, he quickly makes to wipe the tears, but then he looks at her and her uncanny semblance with his late wife break him into pieces. Daughter and father reconcile amidst tears and hugs.
“I miss your mother Onyin,”
“I know Dad, I miss her too, I am sorry.”
“Will you follow me to her grave, let’s take a picnic tomorrow,” Demola asks eagerly.
She could feel his urgent request was an attempt to cash in on their reconciliation, but she had other plans. Chidera had agreed to help, she needed to meet up and find a way to get rid of Dupe and get her father back.
“I am sorry Dad, I just remembered we have some course materials to collect on campus, I will have to go tomorrow before it’s weekend.” she replies. Demola’s face falls, his shoulders droop.
“Daddy can I please take your car, pleaaassseee…” she begs, those puppy eyes always got her Dad, she had used the same look to convince Chidera. The unholy alliance between the two girls had never made sense to their colleagues, they had always been poles apart. Everyone knows Chidera is a man whore.
Just in case you missed the first episode, HERE IT IS.