Chekwube couldn’t get her mind off the incident that happened yesterday and in class, she was distracted.
“Can anyone explain what we learnt last week?” The social studies teacher asked the class.
There was silence as no one seemed to respond.
“Anyone?” The teacher stressed. “Alright then, let Chekwube answer the question and disgrace all of you again as usual.”
Chekwube’s mind was far away, she stared at the board but wasn’t listening to what was being said by the teacher. Her seat amte nudged her.
“Chekwube!” The teacher called.
Chekwube still didn’t respond.
“Is Chekwube in this class or has she suddenly become as absent minded as the rest of the class?” The teacher asked. “Chekuwbe!”
Chekwube startled and stared at the teacher.
“Yes…yes ma…” She replied.
Mickey let out a loud laugh from the back of the class, she sounded so happy. The teacher walked up to Chekwube and looked at her.
“Are you alright? Did you sleep well?” The teacher asked in concern.
Mickey laughed and said something and some of the students laughed.
“Yes, ma.” Chekwube replied.
“Once the class is over, I need to see you in my office.” The teacher said.
Chekwube nodded and stared at her books on her desk in silence.
Gbenga’s mind too was elsewhere all through the day, he kept replaying in his head all that had happened in his house since his mother came. This morning, he had woken up to the aroma of a tasty breakfast and his mother had come into his room to make sure that he was up and ready for school.
“Good morning darling.” She’d greeted as soon as she opened his door.
“Can’t you knock?” Gbenga asked as he put on his shirt.
“There’s nothing to hide, I saw you naked before…”
“That was when I was a child.” He’d spat.
“Gbenga, I know this is awkward because I’ve been away for so long but I’m here…I’m here to bridge the gap.” She’d said.
“For how long?” He asked looking at her.
She looked at him and walked up to stand in front of him.
“For as long as you want me to. Since I left you, my life has never been the same. I never go to sleep at night without thinking of you. You are everything…to me and I am here to prove that to you. Studies show that children who come from broken homes don’t turn out so well and…”
“Really? I’ve turned out well…I don’t know what you’re talking about besides, my dad takes good care of me.” Gbenga said.
“You need a mother’s touch.” She insisted.
“My friend Akin, lost his mom when he was five and he’s my age now. He’s doing really well…” Gbenga said.
“Are you trying to say you don’t need me?” His mother asked with tears in her eyes. “I flew all the way from Brazil to be with you. Don’t you appreciate that?”
Gbenga was a bit unnerved by her tears.
“Please excuse me.” He said as he’d walked away from her and headed out of the room.
Jermia looked at Bunmi and shook her head, she was standing by the window and looking at the pool downstairs.
“Your ex is pretty rich, you know. How could you have busted a life of luxury for the slums of Brazil? I mean, my dad doesn’t even have a dime to his name.” Jemira said to Bunmi.
Bunmi was staring at the ceiling, she was lying on the bed and darting her gaze at the four corners of the ceiling.
“When I married Felix, he had nothing…he was promising but he didn’t have much. Yes, his parents had money but he refused to take anything from them. He wanted to strive and work for his money and I wasn’t ready for that.” Bunmi said still looking at the ceiling.
“Hmmm…It’s obvious your son doesn’t like you.” Jermia said.
“Don’t be too sure about that. That boy is so vulnerable, he definitely wants me in his life.” Bunmi said.
“Do you think you’d be able to get your hands on his inheritance that easily? I mean…the boy doesn’t…”
“Will you shut up?” Bunmi snarled like a tiger. “The reason I brought you here is to help influence him. We agreed that you’d be close friends with him and teach him to love and accept me…so that I can find my way int his life without problems.”
“Well…we only came yesterday.” Jermia started.
“I’ll ship you back to Brazil if you can’t do the simple task that I’ve given you.” Bunmi spat at her.
Jemira looked at Bunmi and looked away, she wanted to tell the woman what she thought of her. She wanted to tell her that she was nothing but a wicked and angry woman who was never satisfied with life and who didn’t care who she used to get what she wanted including her own son but she kept silent.
“When my son gets back from school…I want you to make friends with him.” Bunmi said in fierce determination. “I came to Nigeria broke and I intend leaving with my bank account filled with money.”
Jermia stared intently at the pool below, she wondered what would happen to Gbenga if his mother succeeded in her ploy.
The social studies teacher sat at her desk in the staff room while Chekwube walked in to stand beside her.
“You were very quiet in class today, you didn’t answer any questions. Is anything the matter?” The teacher asked.
Chekwube shook her head.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes…yes ma.” Chekwube said in a disappearing voice.
“You are very brilliant and I’d hate to think that you’re being distracted by boys or something else.” The teacher said.
Chekwube stared at the teacher.
“If you know that there’s something that’s weighing you down, you can talk to me or the Guidance Counsellor.” The teacher stressed.
“I am fine ma.” Chekwube said as she was in hurry to leave the staff room before she runs her mouth and risks her sister’s marriage.
Chekwube wasn’t stupid, she knew that Ola had refused to speak to her husband about what had happened at Broda Stanley’s room because she was hiding something. Now, all thanks to her sister, she’ll be scared of her shadow all her life.
“It’s okay…I just want you to be more active in class from now on.”
“Thank you, ma.” Chekwube said and left the staff room.
As Chekwube made her way home that afternoon, she felt as though a lead had been glued to her feet. The journey home mostly took her about fifteen minutes or thereabout but today, she was sure that it took her more than an hour. She walked for a while and stopped, then, she started walking again and stopped, turned back and headed towards the school, then when she reached the school gate, she realised that she was supposed to be headed home and turned back again. She did this thrice and when she eventually got home, it was almost five o’clock.
She opened the door to the room and saw an elderly woman seated on the chair in the room laughing and talking to her sister and brother-in-law. Chekwube genuflected in greeting.
“Auntie Lizzie, this is Chekuwbe, Ola’s sister…I’m not sure you’ve met her before.” Nosike said to his aunt.
“Ohh…hello…how are you?” Auntie Lizzie asked Chekwube.
“I’m fine ma.” Chekwube said in a low voice.
“My aunt lives not too far from your school, she’s my maternal aunt and she’s a retired teacher.” Nosike said. “She couldn’t make it to my wedding with your sister because she has been in Ghana with her daughter and family.”
“Welcome ma.” She said.
“Thank you, auntie, for coming, I knew that my husband wouldn’t have rushed home if it wasn’t a family member who’d come to visit.” Ola said in their native language.
“My house is so lonely, I live alone in the bungalow with my husband’s nephew and the boy that works for me. I miss my family and when the house was full.” Auntie Lizzie lamented. “How I wish my husband was still alive, we’d have been together….”
“Auntie…stop doing this to yourself. I am sure that uncle Dike, wherever he is won’t be happy to know that you’re unhappy and lonely.”
“Chekwube, quickly go to the kitchen and check the food on the fire.” Ola said.
Chekwube stood rooted to the spot, she didn’t want to go anywhere, she was too terrified to leave the comfort of the room. What if she saw Broda Stanley and he tried to take advantage of her again?
“Chekwube! Go to the kitchen.” Ola said.
Chekwube stared at her sister, she couldn’t move.
“Are you okay? Is everything alright?” Nosike asked in concern.
“I don’t know what is wrong with her, look at the time she got home today. Her school dismisses at three pm and she gets home two hours later.” Ola complained. “Now, she’s refused to go to the kitchen to check on the food.”
“I understand Chekwube, she’s really tired. Her school is actually far from here and we don’t give her transport fair…” Nosike said to his wife.
“What school is that? Do you mean the government school not too far from my house?” Auntie Lizzie asked.
“Yes, that one.” Nosike said.
“If it’s too far from here, she can move in with me…besides, my house is big enough. She can come here on weekends .” Auntie Lizzie said.
Chekwube felt as though everything was suddenly working for her own good. There was no way she could stay in this compound after what had happened yesterday.
“Chekwube doesn’t really like staying with people she doesn’t know and my parents think that she’s with me and that’s why they consented to have her here.” Ola said quickly.
“I’ll go…I’ll stay with you.” Chekwube blurted to Auntie Lizzie.
To be continued next week.
Teen Series comes up on Mondays and Tuesdays.