Tokunbo was sitting at the back of the car
with the driver when Chinwe finally joined
him in the car, she was holding her brother’s hand tightly. He did not seem to mind or want to let her go either, they held each other at the door of the car. He was saying something
quietly into her ears, which she was nodding to, he later pulled her phone from the back pocket of the jeans he had on and placed it in her hands.
“I installed candy crush for you and Scrabble, and also some other games”Tokunbo managed to hear part of the discussion.
“Thanks, will you come to visit?”
“As soon as he travels, but we will chat until then.” He was obviously referring to his father, he seems to be afraid of him also.
This got Tokunbo wondering how they lived together this far.
“okay,” she hugged him again before finally taking her seat beside him, not sparing him a glance as she buckled herself in. the driver started the car and she watched as they moved away from the gigantic house that has been the image of her misery but has been
her safe haven at the same time.
The street lights on the road made the night yellow and lively as the car sped by so many people still walking the streets, the woman selling recharge cards at the end of her street caught her attention and she wondered if her daughter has now finished her secondary school exams? Her mind wandered and
sampled different thoughts altogether, but she refused to dwell on the obvious one staring her in the face. Or better still, sitting calmly beside her with a stoic expression.
The drive to their house took 30 minutes;
Tokunbo spent the whole time wondering how he would handle the situation he found himself in. How does one welcome a bride who tried to escape their wedding back to the house? How would he live with her and make
her happy? How would he get the information he needed the most from her? He wondered what sin he had committed that made her run
far from him because he has gone through every possible details of their months together and even hours together before the wedding
and he could not come up with tangible
reasons why she escaped.
He wished there was something he could do just to put an end to the entire nightmare.
Tokunbo turned his head to where she quietly occupied, wondering if she was sleeping.
That has always been her greatest ability, Tokunbo once asked how she does it, falling asleep in the midst of some obvious chaos and he
fondly recall her response; which was a smile and a change in her position as she continued to sleep.
He likes her a lot and he is so sure she felt
the same way before the wedding, but what has changed?
The drive was smooth and as much as he felt the tiredness in his body, he wished the drive would continue, at least, it would postpone the inevitable awkward situation that was bound to take place.
The driver honked gently at the gate of their house, the house they picked together and she even supervised the furnishings, the place he would have loved to call home but unfortunately, the heart of it wants out and it is now just a house to him.
He wondered if he should open the door for her or if he should ignore her, but he would like to welcome her to their house, to hell with what she thinks he has done.
“Welcome home honey, I hope you will be happy and safe here” Tokunbo said gently as he leaned to open the door for her from inside instead of doing the obvious of rounding the car too her side to open the door for her from
outside. Their arms brushed and he could
sense her shrinking into the seat to avoid
Tokunbo released a rush of air he did not
know he was holding and went on into the house before her; she climbed out of the car and walked after him, ignoring the driver who was trying to get her bags from the booth. She did not even know she had anything left in her father’s house.
As she walked into the living room, she was surprised at the beauty of it all, the furniture, the blinds, the lightings and the little nothings that added something to the whole beauty of the house, she looked round the room and could not find a trace of Tokunbo.
The beautiful house would be her prison till her father dies or better still till she finally dies.
Tokunbo came out of the kitchen which is
adjoined to the dining room; a section of the living room to the right, he had seen her from his angle in kitchen where he went to get water and also for her to be the first person to choose where she would be sleeping, he would not want to get into the bedroom first and make her choose the guest room or vice
versa. Not that it looked like they would be sharing a room anyway.
Tokunbo treaded gently to the room that
would have been their bedroom and was
surprised to see her there, sitting on the
dresser with her back to the mirror as if she was observing something on the wall opposite her.
Tokunbo walked past her into the
bathroom and placed an extra toothbrush for
her while he removed his as well as his other personal belongings from the bathroom, when he came back into the room; Chinwe was
sitting on the bed, removing her sandals.
“If there’s anything you need or can’t find, let me know, the domestic staff are not yet employed” he said simply as he exited the room, not waiting for her reply.
Chinwe took her sandals to the compartment beside the large wardrobe and placed her sandals there wondering if she would get to ask him for anything, she went to the bathroom and was surprised and amused that a fresh toothbrush was la!d out for her.
She went about the process of brushing like a zombie and bathed in a very hot water to jolt her senses on what could be happening to Clara, Joseph and Davis, wondering if her father had made good his promise of not getting the police involved.
After bathing, now wrapped in a large towel and feeling refreshed, she sat on the bed and picked her phones, transferring the numbers
of her friends from the smaller phone to the bigger one her brother just returned to her.
She dialed Clara first and was beginning to
get worried when she did not pick at first;
she dialed again and with a sigh of relief,
when she heard her friend’s voice over the line.
“Hello Chi, how are you?”
“I am fine, I should be the one asking that, did anyone come there to harass you, and how is Henry?”
“Nobody came, Henry is sleeping, I was
putting him to bed when you first called, what is the situation of things now, hope your dad did not get too upset with you”
“He has been upset since I was born or long before that, don’t worry about me”
“How can I not, I am so worried I have been useless to myself since you left, I was scared too.”
“I am fine, and I am sorry for the troubles I caused you, thanks for being my friend”
“Thanks for being my friend too and for
willing to foolishly throw everything away
because of me, I know I should have kept
quiet, but I just hope…”
“I wish you would stop saying that, we have already gone through that, please, I just wanted to be sure you are ok, let me let you rest, hmmm?”
“Thanks, you should call Joseph and Davis too, they were here and we all were worried, trying not to call too”
“I will, thanks, we will talk again soon, bye”“bye”
The call ended and she placed the next call to Davis, who picked almost immediately as if he
was expecting her call.
“How did you know it was me, I never gave you this number”
“True, but I got it from Clara, she was worried too but we decided not to call just yet till we are sure of things”
“How are you?”
“I am fine, just a bit worried about you, but I guess I’m better now that I have heard your voice”
“is Joseph there with you?”
“Yeah, he is dozing off already”
“Must have been a long day for you both”
“Trying day more like it, where I had to
choose between my mother and my friend, my very good friend” Chinwe could not pretend she did not notice the way he emphasized on the friend both times and smiled fondly.
“What is happening there, I hope all is fine, where are you now”
“With him, I was forced to go back with him”
not bothering to elaborate on the “h im”,
hoping he knew who she was talking about
“Wow, did you not tell them, at least your mum what you told me, she could see sense in your decision”
“I could not and I would like to keep it this way, just don’t worry, I have this under control” she said assuredly
“What is the plan, I hope you are not
planning to run away again?”
“No, my mother suffered too much because of the first one, I can’t make her go through that
“Divorce?” he offered slowly
“It is too early to apply for one, we have to wait at least 6 months”
“Really, does that apply in Nigeria?”
“It does, when my father is involved”
“Oh, I guess that is true”
“Have you called your mum?”
“Why would I call her, I’m sure she arrived safely, since you must have been on the same flight with her to Lagos”
“Yeah, the plane my dad came with took us both to Lagos, your dad was there too, but I
could not get to see his face clearly, given the situation of things”
“Your father chattered a plane down?”Davis asked almost unbelievably
“Wow, now I know the magnitude of what my mum was saying, but anyways, she got to enjoy a private jet too, and as for my old man,
I knew he would not waste that opportunity,
given the other benefits he would get from your father for being the one who ‘found’
“Don’t be too harsh on them, they did it to protect you and I don’t blame them”
“I hear you, my mother yes, but my old man, forget it, that man is selfish”
“Dave, just drop it, I am tired and just wanted to be sure you guys are ok, we will talk again soon”
“Yeah, sorry, my big mouth running fast, you should rest, take care.”
She ended the call and placed the last call to her brother When he did not pick she left him to sleep, giving the time of the day, but as she changed to her t-shirt she travelled down in, finding nothing else of hers in any of the drawers,
her bags from days back still lying in the
corner of the room, he called her back and
“Hi dude, I thought you were sleeping”
“I was with mum, she needed something”
“Ok, how is she, and how are you, I hope he did not transfer the anger on you”
“see you, I am used to it now, what’s the worst he can do than what he has been doing or what he did those days you were missing, mum is sleeping by now I guess” Nkem said
“I am sorry, I am so so sorry, I wish I could make up for it”
“No problem, mum bore most of his wrath”
“Did he beat her?”
“Of course now, twice I guess”
“Animal, I just wish he would die”
“Me too, but God does not kill bad people, he prefers to take the good ones like our dog shey?” He tried his joke on her and it worked like magic. That has been their survival pill,
his sense of humor and her willing ears.
Whenever they could afford it, they would
gather, with their mum and laugh at his silly jokes till their father returns.
One would always take Nkem to be a geek, with his willowy stature and a thick glasses set on his nose, but he is the sweetest, most caring and loving brother one could ever ask for.
They talked some more, with Chinwe asking most of the questions and he giving her the answers, often times telling the funny sides of some family members who came to sympathize with them but ended up asking for money or taking some items from the house, some asking for her personal belongings to make her return, they ended up taking her beautiful clothes, shoes, jewelries,
one of their aunts even asked him to give her the phone she left behind, saying she wanted to take it to a prophet to pray on it.
“I wondered if the angels needed it to track you down like the CIA”
“You are not serious” Chinwe could not help but laugh out loud.
Not noticing the man at the door, calmly
watching her at wondering what he could do to make her laugh like that with him,
Tokunbo retraced his steps back to the guest room to get some rest that he doubted he would be getting, especially since the woman he always wanted is back and obviously hate him and he can’t fathom what he did to warrant it.
Chinwe fell asleep as soon as her head
touched the pillow, while Tokunbo tossed and turned and was counting the time with the second hand of the clock on the bedside drawer. He was awake till around 3 am in the morning and slept after that…