Jolomi never knew or had a foresight that the bizarre bright yellow sun that peered out behind the evening cloud had a great message to tell. There were moments she wished she was a soothsayer, so that she could look into the future, to know what the progressive hand of the wall clock in her father’s palour would declare, and to see the dead-end of grandma. And this was one of those moments, when she longed to be a seer. Jolomi had buried impracticable thoughts in her mind that grandma was immortal, and that she would live forever until she found her feet at the door steps of the facade of her father’s house.
Her father’s eyes were swollen and red and at the instance her eyes suddenly met his, she beheld the tears streaming down his cheeks. It was the first time she would see him shed tears and she sensed that a time bomb, which would soon render her deaf with a massive explosion, was solemnly ticking around the corner. Jolomi’s father’s friend, Baba John, as fondly called, a gentle-looking man of about her father’s age, but whose face boasted of deeply grooved tribal marks, was lifting away her father’s hand from his head as soon as he returned them. Jolomi’s father’s head had become a carriage that lifted his hands above shoulder. This was an act her father would rebuke, saying it wasn’t a good omen. Her father was sitting on the floor and leaning against the couch, spreading his legs, putting his hands on the head as he shed tears profusely. Seated on the right arm of the couch was Baba John, patting and consoling him. At the moment her eyes met her father’s she swerved her look at Baba John and she invariably looked at the two of them for a moment, puzzled. Her school bag dropped and she ran and simultaneously crawled towards her father on the unkempt carpet in the untidy room.
Jolomi’s father sobbed harder and she could hear the nauseating sound as he s—-d up his running nose. She could still smell the saturated fear that had accumulated in the house over the years. If her household were dreaded by anything, it was her father. Jolomi’s father was fears himself. If he was coming back home, the news would have spread like wildfire beforehand.
“Your daddy is coming…..Your daddy is coming.” Her street friends would tell her and her brother, so that they could elude the evening lashes that would be administered on their backs. Especially, when her brother was playing football, he would flee like a marauding pest that came across a scarecrow when it had come to steal on the farm.
Jolomi’s gaze clambered up at Baba John to ask him what went wrong, but she couldn’t find her voice. Baba John’s eyes were speaking a language she was yet to understand. She went to the door on the right side of the living room, peeping to see if her step mother was at home. She wasn’t, Jolomi guessed as there was no sign of breath in that room. She drove her tiny legs back to father’s spot. Then, she noticed the curtain of mother’s room drifting, and grotesquely, a figure reeled in. It was her mother and facing her squarely when the sun had not gone to sleep was like seeing the moon in a broad daylight. It was a rare occurrence, rare like her father’s smiles. She fixed an astounded look toward her. She was bewildered, and her mother seemed to be too. Jolomi reluctantly fell into mother’s arms, laying her head on her bosoms. Mother was a bit taller. She patted her on the back as Jolomi leaned closer.
“Mummy, I miss you,” these words muddled up in a space between her throat and her tongue. She could only mutter her burdened question. What was wrong with father? She asked
“Grandma died this afternoon.” She said indifferently, “They called him from hometown.”
“Grandma! Died!” Jolomi exclaimed.
Mother turned to father’s friend. “Thank you so much, Baba John.” He was now on his feet and he was about vacating the mournful home.
“Take care of him.” Baba John told mother, “I will join you when you are going to Abeokuta tomorrow”. He faced her father too,” You are a man. So sum up your body as a whole. Thank God, mama was very old before she joined her ancestors. ”