The Family Part 5
Thank you for going with me on this journey, I appreciate all your feedback. I have a couple of announcements:
1. The series will continue on Tuesday, May 3rd. I do not post on weekends and public holidays.
2. A winner has emerged from the draw that was conducted during the last online book tour! Congratulations to Teekay, an active participant on the website! See the announcement by the Tour Coordinator here
Now you may enjoy today’s post! 😀
The children of the younger Afonja wives were all watching television. It was their favorite time to watch television, after dinner and when their mothers were resting in their rooms.
Only Yimika couldn’t be bothered by what was showing on television. It was too noisy for him, he didn’t like this particular noise. His eyes settled on Gbenro’s toy car, he reached for it and began smashing it on the tiled floor. The noise didn’t bother his siblings until it was too late, the toy car was unrecognizable. Gbenro screamed and ran all the way to his mother who came tearing down the stairs shortly.
“You possessed boy! What is your problem? Ehn? Why did you destroy my son’s toy?” she reached for the boy’s ear and twisted it hard until he began to cry.
“Ehn why are you so destructive? See the way he’s looking at me, ehn, he can’t even talk as old as he is!”
Rhoda came down the stairs shortly upon hearing her son’s cry.
“My senior wife what happened…”
“Caution this son of yours. See the way he destroyed Gbenro’s toy! Why is he so destructive?”
“Sorry.” Rhoda simply said and shook her head at Yimika who was slapping his hand on the floor and crying hysterically.
“He shouldn’t be playing with other children.”
“Ah ah Mama Ayo, didn’t I explain the situation to you?”
“Ehn ehn? Does that mean we should just stand by and watch him destroy things? Discipline him and he will behave! After all, foolishness is bound in the heart of a child.”
Mama Ayo promptly ordered her children to her room and walked away with a long hiss.
“Mummy, what’s wrong with Yimika?” Elizabeth asked sadly.
“Hmm…” her mother simply said and walked away before her tears spilled out from her eyes.
Niniola was sweeping the floor early the next morning when Chief Afonja sauntered into the sitting room.
“Good morning sir.” She greeted on her knees.
“Morning.” He replied, stretching out his legs and sighing.
Niniola knew it wasn’t her place but she couldn’t ignore the look of absolute despair on the chief’s face.
“Is everything alright sir?”
He smiled sadly and shook his head. “I’m not alright. I’m in deep trouble.” He said softly.
Niniola stood listening to him, knowing that was all he needed.
Chief Afonja felt relaxed in this young girl’s company, there was something about her that made him feel safe. In her company he wasn’t under any pressure, he knew she respected him.
“I might lose all my money soon, and it’s all because I didn’t listen to my intuition. I was listening to expert advice!” At this he laughed and stretched out further, scratching his stubble. “So I hope you’re learning fast from your aunty, you might have to go back to your home soon.”
This made Niniola worried, going home without achieving her goal was her worst nightmare.
“Don’t give up sir. Sometimes we give up when we’re closest to our miracle.”
“Is that so?” he replied sarcastically and observed the girl closely for a while before he shook his head. She was such an optimist, he didn’t like optimistic people much, they lived in a dream world.
“So why did you leave your home? If you are so sure that we give up when we’re closest to our miracle, why did you leave?”
Niniola bowed her head, the chief would get no answer to this question.
“You’re not saying anything?”
This time she shook her head. The chief could see that he had touched a nerve, she was hiding something from him.
“Did you do something bad? You stole?” he tilted his head and observed her. She looked more sad than ashamed. Just then his phone rang.
“Hello?” he waved her away.
Rhoda was staring at Yimika, oblivious to the customers who had overwhelmed Niniola and Bebeto with their requests. He was bawling inconsolably.
“Bring two more tins of that milk!”
“Where is the sugar now?”
“Don’t you people have that spaghetti anymore?”
“This change is not complete o! Come and calculate everything again.”
Rhoda shifted in her seat, thinking of what Mama Ayo had said to her yesterday when he had destroyed one of her children’s things.
“I’m telling you this boy is possessed. Take him for deliverance. All that medical jargon the doctor was telling you is not what is wrong with him. He’s a spoilt boy and needs discipline and deliverance.”
Rhoda thought of the many times she had beaten him and felt guilty because she knew that she was merely carrying out her frustrations on him. Again she was moved to tears, wondering what to do. What had she done to deserve such a child?
“God what is my crime that you had to give me this boy?” inwardly she wished that she had miscarried him, if only she had known!
“Madam give him what he wants now!” someone said irritably, looking sternly at the boy and his mother.
“I wonder o!” An elderly customer said, holding several rolls of tomato puree. “This is why I don’t like coming here, her son is always making noise. I find it hard to think straight.”
Rhoda resented the child with each passing minute, he was turning her whole life upside down. She knew her husband didn’t care much for her, telling him that her son was abnormal would only make him despise her more.
“Baby boy don’t cry now.” A middle-aged woman said, going over to the boy and carrying him. The boy struggled against her violently and bawled even louder. He kicked and screamed until he was let down. The woman was horrified, never had she seen such behaviour. She shook her head.
“Madam, you have spoilt this boy o! He’s not too young to be disciplined.”
Rhoda smiled tightly. “Just leave him.” she replied weakly.
“Na wa o, he is acting as if…” someone muttered and promptly paid for her goods.
In the corner, Niniola looked at her aunt and sighed.
“But what happened? How did this happen?” Chief Afonja asked excitedly.
“The government made an announcement two days ago about the importation of textile…”
“Yes, I heard about it.”
“That’s what happened.”
The chief leaned back and exhaled happily. “You can sell my stocks now.”
“Sir?” Lanihun said surprised by this impulsive decision.
“I said sell them now.”
“But chief why don’t we wait? It’s bound to go higher…”
“Lanihun! Sell it now, I have a good feeling about this.”
“But chief it can go up to as much as ninety naira by next week…”
“Lanihun! Is it your money? Please do what I have said and stop questioning me unnecessarily. I have other plans for my money.”
“Yes Chief.” The broker conceded disappointedly.
As Chief Afonja watched Lanihun leave his office he thought of what Niniola had said to him earlier in the day.
Don’t give up sir. Sometimes we give up when we’re closest to our miracle.
The girl had been right, just when he had been about to sell some of his other investments to buffer the loss he was expecting the stock price had gone up.
Biola Afonja was outside her supermarket, watching her workers offloading the goods it had brought. It was a cool afternoon but she was uncomfortable, Chief was still neglecting his wives and she was getting really tired of it. Something was going on and she wondered what it was. He had said that they had to be thrifty in their spending, was he bankrupt? Biola made up her mind to find out what was really going on. She was too used to the prestige and comfort of being married to Chief Afonja to live below the standard that she and her children enjoyed.
“Good afternoon Madam.”
Biola turned to see Gbenga the young charmer standing behind her. The man had never looked more gorgeous to her, he looked like he had just come out of the shower.
“You look lovely as always ma’am.”
“Oh!” she touched her hair self-consciously “Thank you.”
“But you look a little tired again today.”
She smiled. “I just have a lot of things to do.”
“Then you need a break. Why don’t I take you out for a drink?”
Biola looked at him, surprised at his audacity.
“It’s just drinks.” He held up his hands. “Just to make you feel relaxed.”
Biola shook her head as if she was trying to shake away his suggestion. “I…”
“Can’t have a drink? In a public place?”
“I’m a married woman…”
“I’m aware of that. What does that have to do with taking drinks? Okay, maybe I should buy the drinks and bring them to your office. How about that?”
Biola was too tired to argue, besides she enjoyed the man’s company.
Biola laughed out loud and heartily. It had been a while since she laughed that way.
“You look beautiful when you laugh.”
She smiled. “Yes, my husband says that a lot. Well, he said that a lot before he married that illiterate.”
“He married someone else after you?”
“Yes he did.” She took a bite from the snacks that he had also brought. “Let’s forget about that please.”
“Of course… Well, I hope you like the food?”
“I do.” she wiped her mouth and looked at him. “What do you want?”
He put down his cutlery and looked intently at her. “I just want to make you happy.”
“That doesn’t answer my question. Besides, I’m married. It’s not your job to make me happy.”
“I know but if your husband isn’t making you happy why can’t someone else?”
“And how do you know that my husband isn’t making me happy?”
“An unhappy woman is like a red ball in the midst of blue ones.”
“You’re saying I look untaken care of?”
“I’m saying you look sad.”
“I can’t entertain the attentions of another man.”
“You can’t or you won’t?”
Biola shook her head. “I don’t even want to talk about this anymore. I have children I’m responsible for…”
“You know what? Take some time to think about this okay? There’s no rush, I’m going nowhere okay.” Biola smiled. “I’ll just keep coming back.”
“I know you will.” She laughed.
Gbenga packed up the leftover food and got up. “Have a wonderful day Mrs…”
“Call me Biola.”
“Alright then Biola, have a wonderful day.”
“You too Gbenga.”
As she watched him walk away she started to ask herself what she was enjoying as Chief Afonja’s wife apart from his money.