CHAPTER THREE PART TWO
CHAPTER THREE PART TWO
“Your father always steal part of the money thinking I won’t notice. He is the reason why I started saving in a bank. He used to money he stole to my cigarettes and alcohol. He is always drunk day and night. It’s 10 in the morning and your father is already drunk and I can’t live with that. When I noticed he started taking out of the money, I took out of the money to save for foodstuffs and you girls school fees and left the rest for him to take. I should have left since, but I stayed because of you girls”
“If you love us then take us with you”
“I wish I can, but I can’t”
“Mummy please. Let’s go with you” She pleaded with tears falling uncontrollably.
“I’m sorry but I can’t. You know he’s married and he hasn’t told his wife that I will be moving in. I just don’t want to bring in four children with me unexpectedly especially when I don’t know how the wife will react”
“It’s still better than staying with dad” Abidemi said.
“You don’t even know how the wife will react when she sees you. Mummy, are you comfortable being the 2nd wife? Are you comfortable in ruinig your boss’ marriage?”
“He’s already uncomfortable in the marriage and he shouldn’t be in pain alone. We both love each other and I will accept whatever happens when I get to his house.”
“Just go mum. You just showed that you don’t care about us” Abidemi told her and she walked out of the house.
Their mum looked at the room and cried as the thought of her daughters sleeping on the mats came into her mind. She looked at her left where dirty and clean pots, plates and cutleries were stacked up and she turned to look at Kikelomo when the sight of the room became unbearable. She signaled for her daughters to give her a hug and they rushed to her, begging her not to leave.
“When will you come back?” Anuoluwa, the youngest child asked.
“Soon. I promise”
“I don’t want you to go”
“I know you don’t want me to, but I will be back for you girls. Take care of your dad”
“So what are you going to do about the school fees? You know dad doesn’t work”
“I will call you when I’ve sent it to the bank. So all you have to do, is go to the bank and do the necessary things”
4 MONTHS LATER
It’s been a week since Kikelomo graduated from secondary school and while she’s meant to be happy, she’s sad. The last time she spoke to her mum was three weeks ago and she wasn’t pleased with their conversation. The phone call was rushed and it seemed to her that her mum doesn’t want to speak with her. She tries to come up with reasons why her mum wouldn’t want to speak with her, but she can’t wrap her head around it. She tries to calm herself down by saying she’s probably overthinking it and her mum is probably busy since her boss upgraded her. She has been so excited about her mum coming to her graduation and she had been talking nonstop about it. The last thing her mum told her on the phone is that she would cone for her graduation, but she never came.
During the graduation, she kept checking to see if her mum was sitting or walking into the auditorium but there was no sign of her. She asked her dad if he was interested in coming to the graduation, but he told her he had more important things to do and her mum would be there. His statement made her to tear up and she felt angry rush through her body. She wasn’t angry at her dad, but herself. She kept asking herself why she asked him since she knew what his reply would be. She told her herself she shouldn’t have said a word about the graduation to him. She could have kept quiet but the truth slapped her in the face. The truth hurts so badly and she realizes that all hope in making her father who he used to be is gone.
“Kike, what’s wrong?” Temi asked poking her hand.
“What did you say?” She asked looking around.
“I asked what’s wrong and wait” She paused. “You’re crying. Why are you crying?”
Her sisters sat on the floor and looked at her expectantly waiting for her to speak.
“I’ve just been thinking about a lot of things that has happened” She said with tears.
Her sisters hugged her while comforting her and she cried the more.
“Let it out. Let it out” Moni told her.
“Why are all these happening to us? Why can’t we have a normal life? Mum isn’t picking my calls and it seems like she doesn’t want to have anything to do with us”
“Don’t say that. Mum loves us and you know she has been promoted so she’s probably busy”
She let go of her sisters and stood up putting her hands on her head in exasperation.
“Stop making excuses for her. I’m tired of making excuses for her. Making excuses makes us to run away from the truth. We are her daughters. We are her children. You can’t tell me she hasn’t seen my missed calls for the past week. Her phone isn’t even switched off. She’s definitely avoiding my calls and what hurts is that I don’t know the reason. If she doesn’t want to have anything to do with us, she should tell us and we will know our place. We can’t have our parents acting like we’re non-existent. I thought mum had our back, I thought she would be there with us forever, but it seems that all my thoughts are in shambles” Kikelomo told her sisters.
“Please stop crying. We are going to figure everything together. We are not alone. We have each other and that’s enough” Moni said hugging her.
“Moni is right. If mum doesn’t respond as time goes on, we will find a way out together like we always do” Abebi said.
“I love you” Kike told her sisters hugging them tightly.
“We love you too” They replied.
“Are you ready to see what’s inside the envelope?” Ireti asked Kike.
Kike went to the post office today and she saw an envelope which she thinks might be from one of the universities she applied to. When she held the envelope for the first time, she was so excited that she could have opened it and read the contents in the post office, but she decided to open it at home and share the moment with her sisters. Her sisters were so excited when she told them that they almost opened the envelope, but she told them she had to open it first.
“I’m so scared and excited. What if it’s a rejection letter?”
“Don’t say that. It can’t be a rejection letter. You had the best result in your WAEC so what are you afraid of? There’s no school that wouldn’t want to accept you” Abebi told her.
“You’re about to make me cry. You guys are the sweetest. I love you”
“Don’t cry. I don’t like seeing you crying” Temi, the youngest said.
She opened the envelope with shaky hands and looked at the letter with admiration when she brought it out.
“Dear Kikelomo, it is with a great pleasure that we offer you an admission to the Dickson University class of 2021” She read out and her sisters screamed with joy.
She was so happy that she didn’t know how to express herself. She never thought she will get this far because of the crises at home, but her hard work and determination paved through for her. Even though it seems like her dad didn’t care about them, she wanted to do so well that one day, he will see the potential she has. Her mum has done so much for the family that she made sure she made her proud, but she’s missing out on the good news for unknown reasons.
“What is going out? Why are you shouting?” Some of the neighbors asked.
“Kikelomo is going to university” Abebi shouted.
“Yes, I’m going to university” She shouted and danced with her sisters with joy.
No, it couldn’t be coming at this period. She’s celebrating. Couldn’t it come at a different time? The thought floods her mind and she tries so hard to push it back, but it seems impossible.
“There’s no money. Your mum isn’t picking your calls and answering your messages so where would you get the money from? Are you sure you will be able to go to university” Everything rings in her head.
All of a sudden, she gets dizzy and she feels herself falling. Everything around her becomes blurry, the shouts of her name becomes distant and everything becomes dark. She feels something cold her face and she opens her eyes.
“Thank God you’re okay” Ireti said while looking at her.
She looks around and she sees her sister and some of her neighbors looking down at her.
“What happened?” She asked. “Please can you all move out from my face? I’m fine”
“You fainted” Temi replied.
“Are you okay? We were so worried” Moni said.
She looked at her neighbors who were staring at her with pity and said, “Please can you excuse us? We’re about to have a private conversation”
“You’re so rude. No wander your mother left you” Sade, their neighbor said to her.
Sade and Kike have been neighbors for two years and the situation hasn’t been good between them. When Sade first moved there, Kike tried to talk to her but Sade ignored her. Kike thought that Sade was feeling uncomfortable in the environment she will be staying in and that’s why she was unfriendly towards to her, but she later realized that they both can’t be friends. They have different personalities and she can’ be friends with someone who is rude and obnoxious. About a year ago, Kike overheard Sade’s mum talking to one of the neighbors about the reason they moved. Sade’s mum said her husband got them into a lot of debt and they had to sell their house and car in order to pay the person. They had to look for a place that was cheap and fits the money they have left.
Kike found out months ago that Sade’s dad has a lot of expectations from her and if she doesn’t do it as he pleases, he tends to raise his voice at her. Sade’s dad puts a lot of pressure on her especially when it comes to her academics. She has felt sad for Sade a couple of times and wanted to check up on her to see if she’s okay and wants to talk about what’s happening, but the scenarios of Sade being unfriendly to her makes her to mind her business.
“Come back. Where are you going to?” Abebi asked Sade.
Abebi walked after Sade in a rush and pulled her by her braids as she was about to enter her room. They live in an area where most of the houses have fifteen rooms or more than with each of the houses opposite one another. It’s only few houses that aren’t like that and it’s those that are financially okay than them that lives there. Sade and her parents live in three rooms opposite theirs.
“Please leave me alone” Sade begs as Abebi holds on to her hair. “When my parents get back, I will report you to them”
“Sade, who do you think you are? Everyone left without saying a word but you decided to talk because you’re Folashade who talks without thinking if her words will hurt other people’s feelings. You know we’re the same age but you act like you’re older than me. You act like you’re living a better lifestyle than I am, but we are the same. You aren’t better because if you are, you won’t be living here. I know the way you act is just a façade. You’re embarrassed with the way you’re living so you try to act like what you aren’t and create something in your head that is way more different from reality. You should be thankful that I haven’t told people in class that what you’ve been telling them is a lie. So Sade this is the big duplex with seven rooms and a lot of dogs that you live in? I overheard your mum talking to someone about what led to you all living here. It’s sad and I understand it’s something to be embarrassed about, but right now you have to accept the truth and live with it
“You can’t change the past but you can change the future. You can make sure the past doesn’t repeat itself and make the future a better place. This fake life isn’t it because the truth will definetly come out and you won’t like the outcome. Right now you have the opportunity to make amends and come at peace with everything. I’m not saying all these to be your friend but you need someone to tell you the truth. A lot of times I wander what I’ve done to you that makes you to act the way you do to me. I’ve done nothing to you but I’ve realized that not everyone will like me and people will dislike you for reasons known to them. I go through a lot of drama at home that stresses me and I end up getting sick and you add your drama from school and at home. You humiliate me, make fun of my clothes, shoes and hair when you know what I’m experiencing at home. I have heard your dad shouting at you a lot of times so I wander at times the reason why you act the way you do towards me. You’ve felt what it’s like to not have things going well for you at home but I think you are trying to be who you are not and that’s not good. Try to be yourself and you will feel much better. You should keep your faux sympathy because the last time I checked, you don’t care about me and my well-being. Also, I hope you are able to forget about the pressure your dad is putting you on and next year you will be able to do excellently in WAEC without any stress”
“Kike” Sade said as Kike and her sisters were about to leave for their room.
“It’s Kikelomo” She corrected sternly.
“Sorry. Kikelomo. Can I talk to you?” She asked nervously.
Kike held in her smile and she was about to laugh. She was surprised that Sade is scared to talk to her. It has always been the other way round. Kike congratulated herself because it felt like all that she said to Sade had an impact on her.
“She isn’t talking to you. Let’s go inside” Abebi said pulling Kike by her hand.
“I don’t know about that. I will think about it” Kike shouted to Sade as she got inside the passage that leads to their room.
“You’re not planning on talking to her right?” Abebi asked as they sat on the mat in their room.
She didn’t reply her sister and she looked down playing with the straws on the mat.
“She’s definetly thinking about it. Look at her, she isn’t saying anything” Moni said.
“Look at me Kike” Abebi said to her holding her chin up to face her.
“You’re not going to talk to her. After all she has said to you, especially what she said today and you still want to talk to her? Stop with you trying to playing nice. It’s not everyone that deserves your kindness and some will take your kindness for granted. Sade is trying to use you because you’re kind and you’re an easy target to use for whatever silly games she’s trying to play. I can’t be fooled and I’m not going to let you sit here and be naive” Abebi told her.
“It’s seems like she has changed”
“Oh my goodness” Abebi said with a face palm. “Even though you’re intelligent, your naivety is as high as your intelligence. Someone doesn’t change their bad character in some minutes. It takes a lot of time for them to change and adjust to new beginnings. She wants to use you and I will not let you be the center of what she’s planning. I thought you don’t want to be her friend, so what’s going on? You don’t need her for anything. We’re enough for you and you don’t need Sade or anyone. Do you understand?” She continued slowly like she’s talking to a child.
“Okay, I understand. Can we just stop talking about it and let’s talk about something else?”
“Talking about something else. Why did you faint? What was going on?” Ireti asked.
“I realized that we don’t have money so I won’t be able to go university. Mum isn’t picking my calls or replying my messages so how will I get the money? I wish I got a job earlier, but I didn’t know mum would act like this. I can’t even borrow money from anyone because there’s no way I will be able to pay the money back. This is so frustrating”
“Since you’re resuming school in two months. We can all start to work and the money we get, you will use it as the school fees” Moni said.
“What about the fees for the other semesters? Where will the money come from?”
“While you’re in school, we will be working to save money” Moni replied.
“No, no” Kike said shaking her head. “I can’t let you girls do that. You need to focus on your academics and not working. Also, you girls are too young to be working. I can’t let that happen”
“We’re not young. Abebi is 16, I’m 14, Ireti is 13 and Temi is 11. Maybe Temi is the only one that’s too young” Moni said.
“None of you are working and that’s final. We will look for a way out”
“How much is left in the bank?” Ireti asked Kike.
“10 thousand naira and we’re not touching it. The money is for foodstuff and other things we need to buy for ourselves and the house”
“Abebi, what’s going on? You’re unusually quiet” Kike asked.
“I have a plan. We’re going to visit mum at her office tomorrow. We need answers and we’re going there to get what we need” Abebi said and looked at Kike with a disapproving look while shaking her head. “No buts Kike. This isn’t debatable. You’ve been the one that has been complaining about mum and you’re the one going to the university, not us. I don’t want you to say we’re showing up at her office unannounced, she won’t like it. That’s what she deserves after ignoring us and I don’t care if she’s angry or not”
“How do you know that’s what I was about to say?”
“You’re my sister. You’re an open book”
THE NEXT DAY
“Good afternoon. We’re here to see our mum. Mrs Adedeji” Kike said to the nurse at the reception.
“Adedeji? Five of you are her children?”
“Yes, we are. We won’t come here and lie about that” Abebi said.
“I’m not saying you’re lying. I’m just surprised. I never knew she had a lot of children”
“Is she here or not?” Kike asked in annoyance.
“She isn’t here”
“When will she be back?” Kike asked.
“She won’t be coming back. She is gone”
“Jesus is Lord. Mummy” Ireti shouted.
Kike stood in disbelief with tears rolling down her face and said, “No wander she wasn’t picking my calls or answering my messages”
“How did it happen? Why didn’t anyone contact us?” Abebi asked looking at the nurse with tears falling down profusely.
“Please calm down. I think you’re getting it wrong” The nurse told them.
“We’re getting it all wrong? You just said she’s gone. What’s there to get wrong?” Abebi asked.
“She wasn’t trying to say your mum is dead. Your mum relocated to Canada” Another nurse told them.
“Canada? When?” Kike asked.
“Last week” The second nurse replied.
Last week. Graduation. The three words rang in her head as she sat on one of the chairs in the reception.
“Mum promised to come for my graduation. She promised. She made me happy. She made me think I will have a parent to support me on my big day. I thought I wasn’t going to be alone on that day. What I didn’t know is that she was planning her trip to Canada” Kike said to herself.
“What about your boss? Where is he?” Abebi asked the first nurse.
“Is that his name?” Abebi asked Kike.
“I don’t know. I don’t think she mentioned his name”
Kike sat with her hands on her knees thinking of any period her mum mentioned her boss’s name, but she can’t remember.
“Did Mr Adesoji and my mum have sexual relations with each other?” Moni asked the second nurse.
“I don’t think we should be talking about that”
“Please tell us. We need to know if it’s the same person we’re talking about” Moni pleaded.
The nurses looked at each other and the second nurse replied, “Yes, they were doing things with each other”
“Mr Adesoji has relocated to Canada with your mum” The first nurse told them.
“Did my mum ever get promoted?” Kike asked.
“No, she wasn’t. She has been the head of the pharmacy for years now” The second nurse replied.
“What did mum tell you?” Abebi asked Kike.
“She said she was promoted to be the head of a department in the hospital and when I asked her about the promotion, she said she didn’t want to talk about her promotion but me and you guys. It’s all making sense now. I had a feeling something wasn’t right but I shrugged it off thinking I was just overthinking”
“So mum lied. Wow” Ireti said.