The Family Part 29
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“You and your siblings will handle this business for me.”
Comfort had just shared her business plans with Niniola. It was becoming unbearable working with Mrs Gbolahan and she had finally decided that it was time to start to plan her way out. She had managed to save up some thousands and spoken to a carpenter who had agreed to build her a kiosk where she could display her wares.
“I don’t intend to work for Mrs Gbolahan for the rest of my life. You must make sure that you can account for everything we’re selling and be courteous to anyone who comes to buy.”
“Yes ma.” Niiniola replied. There was an uncomfortable silence between them.
“I hope you have stayed away from that boy?”
She got up to leave and remembered something.
“So have you given up on going to school abroad?”
“No ma … I just think that I was… I might not pass the exam…”
“I heard it’s very difficult and people hardly pass it.”
Comfort looked at her daughter and wondered how she had become so pessimistic.
“Do the people who pass the exam have two heads?”
“So why do you believe that nonsense talk?”
“It’s that foolish boy who told you that isn’t it?”
Niniola couldn’t respond.
“Can’t you see that that boy doesn’t have your best interest at heart? Can’t you see that you make him feel inferior? Can’t you see that you’re repeating my mistakes?”
Niniola just stared at her mother.
“You’re better than this. Dust your books and start reading again, You’re going to write that exam and pass it.”
Mama had been raised in a rich family, she had watched her own mother organize the family business and learnt the value of having the family under control. There were family rules that had to be obeyed in order for things to run smoothly, in order for the existing structures to remain. Having an outsider who had more influence than the matriarch was a problem. And having a son out of the family, away from the family’s influence was equally disastrous. Therefore, the idea of having two sons, and twins for that matter was worrisome to Mama who had just thought that all threats to the sancitity of her son’s family had been eliminated.
“I want you to return to your husband’s house.” She said to Rhoda over the phone.
“Is that so?” she replied sarcastically.
“Yes, we paid your bride price and those children are for my son. you can’t give another man our children.”
“And so what about Elizabeth and Yimika? Are they not children too?”
“Because Elizabeth is a girl and Yimika is autistic right?”
“What you think about the matter is irrelevant, our sons are ours and you must return home.”
“God forbid that I will return to your son’s wretched house. You chased me away and I will not come back. Ah ah Mama you’re very bold o! You’re the one who insisted that I abort these babies, or have you forgotten so soon?”
“Mama Eli you’re not listening to me…”
“You’re the one who’s not listening to me! I’m not coming back, I’ve moved on with my life. Chief will not see the boys and you won’t either!”
“Rhoda, are you cursing us? Do you wish us death?”
“I wsh every one who has ever frustrated me nothting but ill luck!”
“Rhoda it is me, have you forgotten how I fought for you in my son’s house? Have you forgotten how I insisted that he must marry you?
“No I didn’t forget, but I aso haven’t forgotten that you’re the one who chased me out of the house. Look Mama I’ve given you a response. I’m not coming back.”
She hung up.
Lekan had grown to love Biola and he couldn’t wait to be with her exclusively. He didn’t have as much money as the chief but he knew he would love her beyond her expectation. The only challenge was her marriage and the indefiniteness of it.
“When are you going to leave chief?” He asked as they reclined on a couch together.
Biola sighed. “You know I want to leave.”
“I know that but what I’m asking you is when you’re going to do so.”
“Lekan it’s not something I can just decide to do. I have to think of my boys.”
“I understand that but is there a time frame?”
“Ah… Lekan where is this coming from?” Biola sat up, suddenly uncomfortable.
“I want you Biola, and I’m too old to be messing around. I need to know if you’re willing to be with me.”
“But Lekan, I am with you.”
“You’re partly with me. I don’t want you to have to go back home to him when you can be with me!”
Biola smiled awkwardly. “Lekan what are you saying?”
“I’m saying that I’m right here, if you want me. I’m available, I can be your Prince Charming. You can leave him.”
Biola just sighed.
“I’ve told you several times, we don’t have bastards in this family. We all stay together! No child of yours should be away from you. Especially when it’s a boy, twin boys for that matter!”
Chief Afonja sighed and leaned forward. “I don’t like that woman.”
“You don’t have to like her. Take your children.”
The chief laughed. “Rhoda will never agree.”
“Are you not a man? The father of the boys?”
Again the chief sighed, his mother just didn’t understand how intense his junior wife could be.
“What? There’s no way those children are coming into this house. How are you even sure they’re yours?
“Ah ah Biola…”
“It’s true! How do you know they’re yours? Mama Eli is a very cunning woman. Besides, who will take care of them? I hope you’re not thinking of me?”
The chief was dumbfounded, he hadn’t thought through his plans.
“Stand up to your mother for once! How many more children will you have?” She asked scornfully.
“Okay I’m sorry.” The chief said, going over to her and stroking her arms.
“Stop it!” She pulled away from him. “This is what got you in this mess, you’ve never been able to control your urges!”
Chief Afonja was surprised. Why was his wife so merciless?
Mama Deji still hadn’t found a solution to her immediate problem. Chief was drifting further and further away from her, and she saw how he almost relied on Biola for everything. On several occasions he had asked for Mama Ayo’s cooking instead of hers.
But this didn’t bother her as much as the fact that her and her children were gradually becoming irrelevant in the scheme of things. All she had worked for with Chief would go to a strange woman.
Sitting in her car in the car park of a bank, she wondered what she could do to salvage her son’s inheritances. She stared ahead and watched people come in and out of the bank. A handsome middle-aged man with a sprinkling of grey hair in his afro walked regally towards the park. She watched him walk to his car, open the door and close it.
It had been just aboit two minutes, but it had been enough for her to see him stroke the cheek of the woman who had been waiting in the car. The woman her husband wanted to sacrifice everyone for.