Sally here. I just want to drop a little note before you read. In the first episode, Kycee considered your complaints about her posts being short and made the next longer. Unfortunately, some of you were still not pleased. I know when you guys say it’s too short it means that you enjoyed it and want it longer or that the suspense is unbearable. But please be considerate. Kycee took your complaints to heart and went out of her way to elongate episode 3, which was totally unnecessary. It is hard to write. Really hard. So rather than complain about it being short, write some other comment, show appreciation. I might not bother when you say my posts are short but to other writers, they may not take it well and feel inadequate. Secondly, long posts are my thing. Other writers prefer theirs short. So please, be nice to her; this is the way she writes.
Omotore excused herself and left the sitting room. She knew exactly what was going to happen next and she was fed up of all the drama.
Odafe had only been back for like what, fifteen minutes and now this? She wondered sadly as she headed for the staircase. The voices in the sitting room were getting louder. Delilah must be up now, she mussed as she increased her strides to two stairs at a time.
It hadn’t always been like this, Omotore had to admit, as she walked further up the staircase glancing occasionally at the family portraits on the walls. There were the good times when her family had almost seemed perfect but that had been way before she was born, or so she’d been told.
She had been born late, nine years after Odafe and three years before Ejaife. From what she had learnt from one of the oldest housemaids, Greta, their mother had lost two baby girls (twins) when they were two years old to Leukemia two years before she was born. For Omotore, that must have been what began the bitterness in her home, she was sure. Despite all the wealth and riches, nothing seemed to have been able to wash away the sadness, not her birth and not even Ejaife’s.
Whoever had said money solved everything must have been a fool!
It had been much easier for Odafe though, Omotore recalled. He had always been the golden boy; the first child, the first son. And for some reason, that made everything possible for him unlike she and Ejaife who had to plow and sweat for everything they got. He was also disturbingly great at doing precisely what their parents asked of him. He never slept out late without their permission and was always home before curfew; never smoked, never drank and never fucked even when the girls were all flocking around him like wretched chickens.
He was a saint! And for that, Omotore could not begin to describe how much she hated him.
She had never been able to compete with all his self-righteousness and swift obedience which was quite suffocating but of course, their parents never saw it that way, he was the ideal child; the perfect child.
If anyone had told her that things would eventually become different, like that of a script being switched, where Odafe would become more like her: loud, arrogant, disrespectful, and stubborn in the future, she would have laughed hard at that person. It never seemed likely but then, good old brother Dafe travelled out of the country; London to be precise for his master’s degree and returned with Rhoda.
And then, everything changed.
It was like love had suddenly diffused him, bringing out the demon that had always resided in him. The thought of marrying Rhoda became quite obsessive to him while in turn, became more abominable to their parents and so, no sooner than later, the candle of peace in their home which had been blinking faintly ever since, finally went out.
Omotore knew she should at least blame Rhoda for bringing more wahala to the house; Who knew? She might have actually bewitched her brother! But really. what did it matter? Everyone knew it was no fault of hers. Their family had long been dysfunctional before she showed up. Odafe’s love for her had simply-how would she put it-exposed the frailness of it all. Their father’s reason for not wanting Rhoda into their lives had seemed very preposterous. Omotore scoffed.
How can you refuse a girl because she is an orphan? Is she the only one who’d spent their childhood in an orphanage? Omotore had wondered spitefully.
Moreover, everyone knew that Rhoda had been adopted when she was twelve years old by the Philips(details she had gotten from old gossip Greta) and they had done a pretty good job at bringing her up as their own; sending her to the best schools in the country and all that shebang, even though they eventually died in a car crash when Rhoda turned twenty-five.
From what Omotore had heard, that was like few months after she met Odafe. Rhoda, they said had been with him when the accident happened and she had been devastated yet their father seemed to think Rhoda caused it and even accused her of being the cause of her own birth parents’ death.
“A witch!” father had exclaimed “She will never be part of this family” and so the battle had continued.
Secretly, Omotore had marveled at how demeaning her parents could be, believing in all those superstitious nonsense. More baffling was the fact that Odafe was supposed to be their golden child.
What was the point of all the self-righteousness and damned obedience if in the end he couldn’t get what he wanted?
As far as Omotore was concerned, their parents were just useless people! Bloody and wickedly cruel individuals! Most especially, their mother.
Omotore snorted allowing the memories of their mother spiraled round her mind.
She hadn’t been clueless to how impossible it had been for their mother to love her. No, she hadn’t. It had always been Odafe. If anyone were to ask her, she would say she had never met a woman who was so cold-hearted, obdurate and jaundiced like their mother. It was like their mother had created an invisible fence around her that stood only for her and Odafe. No one else…not even their father.
Omotore was never going to forget the hell her mother had put her through and most especially the look of contempt in her eyes whenever she looked at her. However, Omotore knew she didn’t fail to reciprocate the sore affection.
The feeling was mutual, mother! Very mutual.
Arriving at her bedroom, she pulled the door shut and then glanced at the toddler sleeping soundly on her bed. She had known precisely what it meant to despise their parents and wage war against them. She had done so perfectly well.
She recalled the night she had stood boldly in front of them, five years ago, soon after Odafe had been pushed out of the house, to announce that she was pregnant with somebody’s child. The look on her mother’s face at the news had been priceless.
“I’m sorry, what?” Mum exclaimed as she stared unbelievably at her
Mother I don’t know why you are shocked, Omotore had thought…You have always known I’m wayward na
“I’m pregnant mum…isn’t it great?” She asked grinning.
“Are you mad?” Father jolted up from his seat. “Have you completely lost your mind?” he rattled in urhobo. “You are only nineteen for God’s sake. Nineteen and unmarried!”
“No dad, I haven’t lost my mind and I’m perfectly aware of how old I am. I also know that I am not married” Omotore answered still smiling.
“What kind of useless child have you given me God?” Mum wailed to no one in particular.
“Mum you should be happen for me. Didn’t you have your first child when you were nineteen too?” Omotore asked proudly.
“Omotore I’ve always known you were useless” Mum answered getting up suddenly from her seat… “But I didn’t think you were this stupid”
‘Jite, please don’t call my child stupid, abeg” Dad interjected shooting mum an angry stare.
“Can you not see what she is doing?” Mother retorted “Can’t you see what this nonentity is doing?”
“Eh we all know that what she has done is not good but the deed is already done. There is no need for insults” Dad complained ignoring her mother’s stunned expression. Mum looked like she was going to kill him. Omotore wanted to laugh but she soon realized that her father was talking to her:
“Who is the father of your unborn child?” He asked
Omotore grinned “I don’t know”
She didn’t know how it happened; all she knew was that she was suddenly at the other side of the room. The slap her mother had landed on her had sent her across the room. She was now on the floor holding her chin.
“Jite!” Dad yelled as he rushed towards her to see if she was hurt.
“Are you mad? Can’t you see that she is pregnant” Dad yelled, the muscles in his body shooting out from his skin but Omotore noticed how her mother had ignored his accusing eyes and was now addressing her with bitterness in her voice.
“You this rotten child!” She yelled. “You think you have humiliated me right? You think you have humiliated me by opening your legs for those wayward boys to get you pregnant. You think you have shamed me …You don’t know anything” Mum rattled.
Omotore remained on the floor brain-struck as she could see the hatred in her mother’s eyes in 3D.
“You see that rubbish inside your belly…I want nothing to do with it. You will nurture it yourself”. Mum continued obliviously to the giant scowl on Dad’s face.
“Jite” Dad’s pleading voice rang out.
“You will feed it yourself and you will cloth it yourself” Mum continued and Omotore felt tears well up in her eyes. What had she expected? That their mother would love her now that she was going to be a mother?
Her mother was out of the room before she could blink.
“Tore, don’t worry” Dad was now saying “Your mother is just angry…she didn’t mean want she had just said” he continued as he helped her up.
“No she does dad… She meant everything. Don’t you see it? Don’t you see how much she hates me?” Omotore asked, still effortlessly trying to keep her tears away.
“She doesn’t mean any of it Tore…she doesn’t. Your mother doesn’t hate you. I’ll talk to her. Trust me, you’ll see she’ll come around” Dad continued as he comforted her but Omotore knew. She knew there was no way their mother would go back on her words. She usually never does and she never did.
That was why Omotore couldn’t blame Dafe for going against her wishes or hate Rhoda for driving their mother mad. They could fight all they want but Omotore knew that Odafe had made the right decision. Disobeying their parents was the best thing that had ever happened to him and their mother dying was next to justice…well served.
The light blinking steadily on her phone caught her attention and she scurried towards the dressing table careful not to wake up the toddler. On the screen display was a text message which read:
“Meet me at Satellite hotels now, Room 345”
Scrolling to the bottom of the message, she recognized the phone number and then her heart skipped. She could feel panic sweeping over her as her heart began to race fast.
“Geezs! What now?” she soliloquized as she began to glance round the room for what to throw on.
Selecting a pair of jeans and red t-shirt from her closet, she donned them quickly, removing the black scarf she had on and replacing it with a black face-cap that was big enough to conceal almost the whole of her face. Satisfied with her appearance after looking in the mirror, she left the room, shutting the door quietly behind her.
Odafe wanted to remain in his bedroom if possible till the end of the funeral and then afterwards, he would gather his things together, hold his wife firmly by the arm and then head back to Lagos like he was never there, like he never came.
The spat he had had with his father that afternoon had been-to say the least-surprising. Not that he had thought to find a welcome party for him when he arrived; he had just foolishly thought that his father would have at least waited till when his wife was out of the room to begin his fuss.
By the way, what did his father mean by “Why is she here?”
Who else should be there with him?”
“A ghost? A lizard?
Odafe sighed furiously. Rhoda was his wife and the sooner his father and the rest of his family got used to that fact, the better it would be for all of them.
At the corridor, Odafe could hear the cry of a child calling out to someone. Curiously, he got up from the bed and after excusing himself from his tired-looking wife, he stepped into the corridor to find a tawdry-looking toddler glancing back at him with tears falling down her cheeks. At first, he stood speechless because it was like he was looking at a callow image of his mother, but from the corner of his eyes, he saw his brother rush up the stairs and shove the toddler into his arms.
“Huh? Brother? Is that you?” Ejaife asked surprised to see him, as he held the toddler tightly with one arm and pulled up his trouser which was almost falling to the ground with the other.
He hasn’t changed, Odafe grinned.
Even though his brother had added gravely in height, he still had those hard dark facial features comprising of dark brown eyes identical to their father’s, a straight long nose, one he had got from their mother and then the same coarse lips they had all gotten from their father . Still, Ejaife was the splitting image of their father. No wonder they are like five and six…
An apple never truly falls far from the tree.
“When did you enter?” Ejaife asked sweeping his gaze all over him. The toddler in his arm had wrapped herself tightly around Ejaife and was looking up at Odafe with sobered but yet curious eyes.
“This afternoon o!” Odafe answered grinning, truly happy to see his brother. He strode towards Ejiafe and suddenly hit him on the head asking “Where you go? I saw your car and thought you were in the house”
“For where!” Ejaife winced from the pain, laughing softly.
“I say make I walka small…I was in the neighborhood…went to see my guys na” he explained.
“Ehen? Ok o…whose child is this?” Odafe asked glancing at the little girl on his brother’s shoulder. She had timidly withdrawn further into Ejaife’s arm and was looking over his shoulder, obviously trying to ignore Odafe’s presence.
“Wait! You mean you don’t know?” Ejaife asked taken aback by the question.
“If I knew I wouldn’t be asking, would i?”Odafe answered smiling.
“Ok, well this is Delilah…Tore’s daughter” Ejaife announced proudly tinkling the child to look forward.
Odafe stood with mouth ajar. His smile had suddenly escaped his lips.
“Omotore’s what?” he exclaimed, confused.
“Tore’s daughter na” Ejaife insisted now chuckling
“Huh? When did this happen?” he asked still bewildered.
‘When you were off to sunset na…with ehemm..What’s that her name o!…ehemm Rhoda yeah” Ejaife explained chuckling harder now.
“My God! So you mean Omotore is married now?” Odafe asked curiously.
Yeah, the Omotore he had seen earlier looked at lot different but he had assumed it had more to do with the natural way of things; that she was simply grown up. He had no idea that she had been married off while he was away.
God! He shouldn’t have left, Odafe grumbled as he tried to wrap his head around the new information because he knew without any conviction that he wouldn’t have allowed it.
She must have been nineteen then? His thoughts rattled
Now he couldn’t help but wonder who his maniac of a father had married his sister off to; probably one of those his potbellied politician friends. Odafe felt his fingers crush together into a fist.
“Married? For where?” Ejaife asked chuckling “Tore never marry o! I’m sure she doesn’t even know who Delilah’s father is”
“What?!” Odafe exclaimed again and this time Ejaife roared into laughter.
“Brother no kill yourself o…all these what, What, What,…dey give headache o, abeg” Ejaife pleaded between mock teeth.
“My God! What did dad say about this?” Odafe asked as he couldn’t try to imagine what Omotore must have gone through especially with their parents. Disrespect, Disgrace, Disobedience, Shame and Embarrassment were vices his parents never handled well. He knew that firsthand. Omotore must have gone through hell.
Why didn’t she come to me?
“Dad?” Ejaife asked surprised at the question. “That one didn’t say anything; it was mum who showed her pepper. Abeg brother, you see this girl? She heavy die…make I take her go their room. We go yarn later” Ejaife continued, already striding down the corridor with Delilah looking at him over his shoulder. Odafe stared after them for a moment until they were lost in a corner. Shaking his head, he headed back to his room, lost in thought…