Tony winced a little, he felt like easing himself, he had pressed the beeper for more than twenty times now but Lara is yet to show up.
He wondered if she was trying to punish him, because on a normal
day, she’d have cleaned him up and served him his food..
He pressed the beeper five more times but she didn’t come.
He decided to help himself into the wheel-chair standing by his bed side. He pushed himself towards the bed’s edge, he took hold of the wheel chair and attempted to hop in. He lost his balance and almost
“Hey! What are doing?”
It was Lara, he didn’t look back, he wasn’t sure if the scowl he saw yesterday was still there.
“Errrm…” he tried to speak as she balanced him on the wheel.
“Morning to you Tony…” she wheeeled him towards the door.
“I was answering a call when I heard the beeper…”
“Here…steady…sorry…easy…” were her words a she helped him into the the bath tub.
“I’l be back in a jiffy” Lara said looking away, she could bear to see him unclad.
Tony smiled, she’s too shy he thought.
“I want you to stay…” he smiled revealing his teeth.
“No thank you.” lara left the bathroom.
“Ehen! Deji what’s there in life that you should forget me na!” Lara queried.
“Nooo, bestie, its not like that na!” Deji laughed as she sipped her glass of juice.
“Eh is like what? Tell me! Deji too bad!” Lara laughed again flopping beside her friend.
“Girlie, yan me, I heard Tony is sick?” Deji began to say in a mocking tone.
“yes, he’s been ill.” Lara said carefully.
“I heard the only snake in his forest is dead?” Deji asked again.
“Now Deji, don’t start! That’s so cruel…”
“So cruel?” Deji mimicked her.
“You don’t know how happy I was when I heard the news! I danced
ehn!” she looked excited.
“Deji!” Lara gave her a reprimanding look.
“What? Isn’t it worth celebration?” Deji laughed
“This isn’t fuuny” Lara frowned.
“You’re happy at the misfortune that has befallen my marriage?”
“Which misfortune? When that man was fraternizing with all the women in town, isn’t that a misfortune!” Deji made a face.
“Deji please!” Lara looked offended.
Just then the beeper made a shrill sound.
“Excuse me bestie, Tony needs me now!” she got to her feet in a hurry.
“come o!” Deji held her dress.
“so you don turn dog wey na beeper dem dey use call you shey?”
the shrill sound came again, louder this time.
Lara pushed her friend’s hands away, rushing towards Tony’s room.
Deji watched go, she clapped her hands in gossip fashion. She quickly tip-toed after her friend.
“I’m just tired of being in here, can you take me outside please?”
Tony pleaded peering at Lara.
Lara wished she wouldn’t take him outside, she feared Deji’s razor tongue.
“Lara? Anything wrong?” Tony patted her arm.
“Errrm, yea…no ” Lara helped him into the wheel chair.
“okay…” Tony smiled as she wheeled him out of the room.
They were at the hall way when they met Deji’s mocking gaze.
“Good afternoon o, Mr Tony!” Deji made sure her voice was loud and clear.
“Af’noon Deji, its been a long time.” Tony smiled.
“Yes o! I heard about your illness…errm…I mean the paralysis of your legs and ….and…..your…” Deji replied a mischievously smile playing
on her lips.
Tony didn’t miss the message she was trying to pass across to him.
“lets go!” Lara whispered as she wheeled him out trhought the back
“I’m sorry about Deji’s attitude…” she apologised as she balanced him on the grass in the mini-garden.
He simply nodded.
“You need a snack or something?”
“No, I’m okay.” he was reading some invisible things on his palm.
“you don’t need anythin, anything atall?” Lara searched his eyes.
“Yes, you can go now, your friend is waiting.” he waved her off.
“Okay!” She sighed walking on the balls of her feet out of the garden.
“welcome back! Iya Tony!” Deji quipped as her friend walked in..
“Seriously what you did Deji was really bad! Do you have to remind him of his problems?” Lara feigned anger.
“Atleast he got the message!” Deji bit into her meatpie.
“Deji…do you know you are too bad?” Lara sq££zed beside her.
“Oh yea! You need not remind me! Anyways, we’ve gotta enjoy our lives o.” she quipped and they laughed in unision.
Lara combed her hair and oiled it properly. She had earlier on called her hair stylist that she’d be coming that morning.
She wondered what hair style she’ll plait, she loosed shuku yeterday,
maybe this week she’d use two-step or sade…
“Lara?” Tony called out interrupting her thoughts.
She rolled he eyes
“oooooh, pesin won’t rest again ni?” she hissed.
she hissed again, she was beginning to get sick and tired of Tony.
“Always Lara,Lara,Lara…na wetin sef!” she frowned.
“Lara are you there?” Tony called out again.
“Ooooh, free me jor!” she whispered.
“Yes? I’m coming!” she put in a lot of effort for her voice to become polite.
“Here am I.” she forced a smile.
“I can see…just wanted you around me.” he was smiling too.
See this one o! When did that one start? Lara thought.
“are you going out?” he asked.
“Erm, yes, I’m going to make my hair.” she explained
“Hmmm, I’d be alone then…” he said in despair.
“Well, I need to go now.” she started walking away.
“Okay.” he sighed.
He was sure going to miss her.
Tony looked from Funke his mother in-law to his parents, he wished Lara was at home; maybe she might defend him some how…
“Thank God your wife is out, so we can discuss properly.” Ifiora began to say.
“Yes, her absence is very essential.” Funke chirped in, she personally thanked God Lara was absent, she couldn’t bear those looks on her face.
“Errrm..Tony, what has your wife got to say about your illness?”
Ifiora asked. Tony looked away, what does he want him to say…
“Tony, your father just asked you a question.” Amara said
“Nothing.” Tony replied.
“What do you mean by nothing?” Funke asked eyeing him.
“I think she should be in the best positin to answer that.” he frowned. He had never had an atom of respect for his mother in-law.
“Tony, you’l be travelling out of the country next two weeks for your
“I know that already.” Tony cut his father short. He wondered why they all gathered a meeting without informing him earlier.
“Good! What matters now is Lara, we can’t keep her like this, she has a future.” Ifiora ignored his son’s rudeness.
“What’s your point?” Tony asked grithing his teeth, he was losing his temper.
“The point is you should divorce Lara, you fool!” Amara shot at him.
Tony held her cold gaze for a while, he wondered when he and his beloved mother became enemies.
“I can’t divorce her!” he spat out.
“Why?” Funke sneered
“She is my wife, and I love her, our marriage is sealed. Gerrit!” He glared at Funke.
“listen to me Tony! Love or no love, seal or no seal, you must divorce lara! You can’t saddle her with your disability! How far do you think she can cope?!” Amara said menacingly.
“That’s none of your business! I wonder if anyone has ever asked you to divorce your husband!” Tony shot at her.
“You dare talk to me that way?” Amara made to slap him but for the timely intervention of her husband.
“No darling, you can’t do that, look at his condition” Ifiora forced his wife back into her seat.
“We’re here to rule out some case, not to fight. Tony, Lara’s mum came to us, she wants you to divorce her daughter…” Ifiora gestured
“Yes o! Be ni! You must to divorce my daughter o! My daughter can’t marry an impotent man o! Lai lai!” Funke started to rant.
Amara exchanged looks with her husband.
“I meant it o! Its me Funke that talk it! I need grand children, and they don’t fall from heaven shey you know that! A man must to perform ni, and when you can’t perform, we’ll look elsewhere.”
Funke’s body shook as she ranted, her gold bangles making chiping sounds.
Tony bit his lower lips. Life could be cruel sometimes.
“that’s so rude! We are not quarelling here!” Amara tried to pacify Funke.
“Robb ke! Mentholatum ni! The quarell has just begun niyen o! Tell
your impotent son to divorce my daughter o!” Funke turned to face Amara agressively.
“Please calm down.” Ifiora told her.
“See who is talking! Like father like son! Who knows maybe you too is an impotenti?…”
“You don’t dare insult my husband!” Amara shot back at her.
“How can you become this lousy? Is it how you yoruba’s behave?”
“Behave ke! You will soon see behaviour! Let me go and tell her father’s people that’s when you’ll see the real Yoruba behaviour.
Oshi!” Funke yelled at her before stamping out the room.
Amara gaped at her. People change so easily, could this be the same woman whom they lavished so much money on?
“Good day!” Lara smiled as walked into the sitting room.
“Welcome.” Tony replied, he didn’t return her smile.
“How have you been? Hope I didn’t stay for too long?” she squatted beside him.
“Fine.” he looked away.
“Are you okay?” lara noticed the worried look on his face.
Lara watched him for a while, she knew definitely this bad mood wasn’t cos of her, perhaps something went wrong.
“I heard your parents came alongside my mother while I was away…” she tried again.
“What did they come to do? I mean what did they say?” she asked.
“Nothing…they just came to say hi to us!” Tony was still avoidng her eyes.
“thats not true!” Lara knew he was lying.
Tony bit his lower lip.
“please tell me what happened.” she pleaded patting his arm.
“your mum wants this marriage to be dissolved.” he blurted out. She laughed quitely
“So is that why you’re moody?”
“yes…she called me names…even my parents got their share of the insults!” the words seem to come out through his teeth.
Lara rubbed her forehead…her mother was impossible.
“Don’t mind her! Okay?” she tried to sound calm.
“Lara…its just that…I errm….don’t..don’t want you to leave me,
you’re all I have now…please…” he sq££zed her palms.
“I’m not leaving” she assured him.
Their gaze locked for what seemed like eternity, till Lara looked away.
“Lemme get you something to eat, care for some fish peppersoup? I bought fresh fish from the water side…” she tried to sound cheerful.
“I’m already salivating.” Tony rubbed his stomach.
“Now you’re joining me in the kitchen…” Lara laughed as she wheeled him towards the kitchen.
Tony’s eyes followed Lara, as she walked up and down the room, trying to get his things ready for the journey.
His father would be there in no time to accompany him.
He sighed and sipped his heavily creamed coffee. The night had been a tough one, he was thinking all through.
He had imagined what it’ll be like if he got treated well- how life would be with Lara then.
He thought of the probability that he didn’t get well, would Lara continue to stay that way…
“What are you thinking?” Lara jolted him back from his thoughts.
“Ehn?” he smiled, he had learnt that word from her.
“Your mug have been hanging halfway to your lips for a while now.”
she said zipping his bag.
“Hmm.” she looked up.
“When are you coming back?” she walked to the bed side.
“I guess three weeks minimum.” he replied.
“minimum three weeks? Maximum should be one year then.” Lara’s eyes ogled out.
“No…not more than a month.” Tony laughed.
“I can’t stay here all alone…” she made a face.
Tony sighed, what was he going to tell her? His worries?
“now c’mon, its just for a little while, okay? My mum would come to check on you regularly, you can even call your friend Deji to come
and stay with you.” he petted her.
“Okay…” Lara sighed.
They heard a car honked!
“Your dad is here…” she helped him into his wheel chair.
“G’morning sir.” she said as her father in-law took over the wheel chair.
“How are you?”
“Fine.” she followed them closely with Tony’s bags.
“bye and take care.” she said as they were about to drive away.
“Lara?” tony said gently.
Their eyes locked. Tears filled his eyes.
“Pray for me.” he whispered.
“I will.” her voice was weak too.
“I love you Lara, and I’ll miss you.” he sniffed, before the car moved.
Lara waved at them as they left the compound, tears streaming down her face.
Lara sat, her eyes glued to the Tv. She watched the indian girls dance, she knew she was addicted to Bollywood.
There was a knock on the door, she felt reluctant to open it. The knock came again sharply.
She hissed, put the Tv off, before sauntering towards the door.
“Who’s there?” she asked opening the door.
“Can we come in?” Funke asked coldly.
Lara stood barring the door, her mother wasn’t alone, she came with an old man and three young men.
“Lara can’t you see people are waiting? Let us in na!” her mother said again.
Lara shifted for them to get in.
“So mum who are they? And how may I help them?” she asked closing the door behind her.
“ehen/ the old man is ermm…the younger brother to your paternal grandfather, his name is Baba Lagbaja…” Funke began her introduction
“These ones are you father’s cousins…errm..yes…beni, this one is Soji,..this one is Dele, this one is errm Tunde…they are all from your father’s village.” Funke continued.
“So what are they doing in my house?” Lara asked sternly.
“Ah ahn! Lara ki lo de! Shey an ja ni! Are we quarelling? Serve them drinks first now.”
“What’s your mission” she asked the Baba Lagbaja as she served.him.
“They have come to take you!” Funke announced.
“Take me? How?” Lara laughed as she sat on a settee.
“Omolara my grand daughter…” the old man began.
“you are the only female child in our family, we value you alot.”.
“Yes!” tunde, soji and Dele chorused.
“You are the only one left to continue your father’s lineage, you can’t
let your father’s name die like that.” baba Lagbaja said coughing at intervals.
“So?” Lara frowned.
“We have come to take you out of this marriage, we need children to bear Popoola’s name.” he further explained.
Lara laughed uncontrollably.
“You don’t laugh when an elder is talking.” Tunde yelled at her.
“She’s stubborn o.!” Funke chirped Lara ignored her mum and faced Tunde.
“You don’t yell at me, else I’l throw you out of my house.!”
“Baba…”she turned to face the old man
“I’l go with you if only you can do something for me.” she said politely.
“Name it omo mi.” Baba Lagbaja said
“If you can return all you’ve collected from Tony and his parents, then I’l follow you.” Lara assured him.
“What are those things?”
“To start with, my mother must return the one million naira she collected for bride price, then all the jewelries and ornaments, then
all the clothes, the house they bought for her, all the gifts they showered on her…alll..the…”
“Ehn!” The old man screamed interrupting her
Ehn!” Baba Lagbaja exclaimed again.
“Yes o! Including the two jeeps Tony’s Father gave her, and the…”
“Wait!” he stoped her, turning to Funke.
“Funke! N gbo? You collected all that? Are you trying to sell your daughter? You’ve sold her already I rather say!” he yelled at her.
Funke shifted uneasily on her seat.
“My daughter, sorry to have troubled you o. ” Baba Lagbaja told the smiling Lara.
“Young men let’s go!” he said angrily and they rose to leave.
“Wait wait! I’ll pay!” Funke was desperate.
“I’l pay in installments, little by little.”
“When you sold your daughter to them, did you give her to them in installments?” Baba Lagbara shrieked at her.
“Don’t ever come to me again o! If you do Sango would strike you dead! ” he cursed before leaving the house with his group.
Funke was confused! How could her daughter become so mean.
“hey mum! You’ve got another plan?” Lara laughed at her dejected mother.
“Well, I’m afraid, you’ll have to die without a grandchild o. As for me, I can easily adopt as many children as I want o!” she jeered.
Funke threw her handbag at her in anger.
“Ouch!” Lara winced as the bag hit her belly.
“Please o! Be careful, Tony’s Babies are in there!” she laughed some more.
“Lara, you’re doing this to me your mother! What’s your gain?”
Funke asked tears staining her eyes.
“My gain?” Lara looked sobber.
“My gain, is that, I can make you feel bad after all you did to me!”
Tears welled up her eyes too.
“Omolara! I’m leaving you! Continue to ruin your life!”
“Yea! I’ll continue from where you stoped” Lara spat out.
“Don’t ever come to look for me! I’m no longer your mother.” Funke fumed heading towards the exit.
“And I’m no longer your daughter!” Lara shot back.
Funke turned round astonished.
“Lara?” she whispered.
Lara walked into her room, leaving her to stand there like an undecided ghost.