“Mummy I’m leaving” Effiong called from the bedroom door
“Oh alright, have a nice day. So, I’m picking up the children from school abi?”
“Yes ma, if that’s alright with you.”
“Of course it is! Take care!” she replied and waved him good bye.
Olayinka was wiping off imaginary dirt from her pajamas, afraid to look her mother in the eye. The woman never missed anything and by now she knew that all was not well.
“Olayinka what is going on in your home?” Her mother asked gravely, as soon as she got back into the bedroom.
“Ma?” she replied feebly, her mother had always been the one person who knew how to handle her.
“Don’t pretend not know what I’m talking about!” she snapped. “What is going on between you and Effiong? Why doesn’t he speak to you or sleep in the same room with you? What did you do?”
“Why would you assume that I was the wrong one? We just had a slight misunderstanding”
“Why do I assume? I’m not assuming Olayinka I know you must have done something wrong to cause a major fight. Anything that makes your husband leave the bedroom for you is not a slight misunderstanding!”
“Mummy please relax, we’re sorting things out.”
“Really? Is that why he didn’t even acknowledge you when he was going out?”
Olayinka sighed, she didn’t need this now.”Mummy, we’re working things out. Please just let it go, we’ll be fine”
Her mother laughed dryly. “I don’t know why you can’t tell me what it is, after all the worst thing you could have done is to cheat on him and I know you can’t do that,” her mother said gathering up the dirty clothes.
“We’ll be fine Mummy” Olayinka said quietly.
They were in their hundreds and they walked towards him holding up shiny cutlasses and chanting silently “We kill you!” He shivered in fear crying “Please! Please!” his body tied to a tree as they drew nearer to him and the face of his brother emerged amongst them. “I said I would kill you!”
“Please!” he moaned from his sleep and finally woke up, his body drenched with sweat. He got down from his bed and ran to his parent’s room where they were both snoring, oblivious to their son’s entrance.
“Mummy, Mummy!” he cried shaking his mother’s arm.
“Posi, what is it?”
“I had a bad dream”
“Ehn ehn? Pray about it and go back to bed” Ronke said groggy with sleep.
“I want to stay here!” he cried.
“Posi, you’re no longer a baby, go back to your room!” Ronke snapped and went back to sleep.
Posi retreated to the door crying fearfully, heading towards the sitting room where he lay on the couch staring at the light bulb he had turned on. Peace now slept in Joke’s room after their mother discovered that she watched TV when everyone had gone to bed.
“If you tell anyone I will kill you!” Ayodele had said to him the day he caught him sleeping with the maid.
“You’re sure about this?”
“Yeah…there’s no other option” Obiora said resignedly.
“Alright if you say so”
“Thanks” Obiora said shaking his friend Mark’s hand.
“You’re welcome man…” he was going to say more but changed his mind, the atmosphere didn’t call for anymore words. Obiora waited for him to drive out and then closed the gate. Helen was going to be furious with him but there was no other choice; it was a choice between his ego and his wife’s honour.
“What are you doing here?” Peace asked Ayodele who stood outside the door.
“Let me in!” He replied hurriedly pushing his way in to the house.
“Is someone chasing you?” she asked looking outside the door.
“Close it!” Ayodele snapped at her, slamming the door shut.
“What is wrong with you?” Peace asked him concerned.
“I didn’t want anyone to see me coming back.”
Ayodele rolled his eyes, this girl was really dumb. “Everybody saw me going out with Mummy and Daddy, I don’t want them to know that it’s only the both us at home.”
“But why did you even come back?” Peace asked bewildered.
“To spend time with you of course!” Ayodele responded annoyed that he had to spell it out to her.
Peace sighed heavily, set the broom down and sat on a stool. “I don’t think we can do that thing again”
“Why, is it because Posi caught us the other time? That was because we were not careful. Posi is not around today, it’s because of him that I told my parents that I was going to study at Lanre’s house.”
Peace shook her head, she wasn’t convinced. “I am not doing it”
Now Ayodele was angry. “But I came back because of you!”
Peace shook her head again. “Somebody will catch us”
“Who will catch us? Don’t you want to be my girlfriend anymore? You’re not even happy that I came back to spend time with you. Let me go back” he said reaching for his backpack.
“Don’t go! Do you promise me that nobody will catch us?” Peace asked apprehensively.
“Aunty please I want to go and collect my book from Peace.”
“Okay don’t be long”
“Yes ma.” Joy replied happy to be able to go out and talk with her friend. She stepped out of the house and walked hurriedly up the stairs and was about to knock on the door when she heard noises in the sitting room. She knew everyone had gone out so who was Peace talking to and why were they making such noises?
“Peace!” she called out. The noise stopped. “Peace!” she tried again.
“Y… Yes?” Peace replied from within.
“It’s me, open the door”
Peace and Ayodele looked at each other then scrambled to put on their clothes.
“Okay… I’m coming!” Peace answered panting.
Mrs Adepetu hadn’t spent three decades teaching human psychology for her not to know that there was something wrong with her daughter’s marriage. Even Effiong wasn’t the same person she knew anymore and even though she had made up her mind not to ever interfere in her daughter’s marriage, she decided to make an exception now.