Chekwube was on her way home when Mickey fell into step with her, she couldn’t rub the ecstatic look on her brother in-law’s face away from her mind and as she made her way back to Aunt Lizzie’s house, she trembled.
“Hey…village girl.” Mickey said hurrying up to walk beside her.
“I’m not in the mood, Mickey.” Chekwube said.
“Mood for wetin? What are you talking about?” Mickey asked.
Chekwube stopped and turned to face her.
“What do you think?” She spat. “You showed me a picture of my married sister and your hoodlum brother, how do you expect me to feel?”
“Is that why you’re shouting? Shebi I said I won’t show anyone the pictures as long as I tag along in your study group.”
“You don’t get it, do you?” Chekwube asked.
“I’m not really bothered by you, showing the picture to anyone, I am more bothered about what the news has done to me. It has shifted my focus from thinking about other matters to thinking about it.”
“Oh…” Mickey said.
“I need to go, I’m just so disturbed.”
“Wetin dey disturb you? Why you dey drink panadol on top another pesin headache?”
“She’s not just another person, she’s my sister…” Chekwube said.
“She’s the one that decided to date my brother while being married to her husband, how’s that any of your business?”
“You are talking this way because you’ve never really connected with anyone before…even your siblings. I have eight siblings and in all of them, Ola is closest to me, we are like twins…it’s almost like we are peas in a pod.”
Mickey looked at her and didn’t say anything.
“I don’t expect you to understand…besides, you are in a house filled with brothers who don’t really connect with you so, you can’t understand what it means to have a sibling you love so much, make a huge mistake.”
“How dare you say that? Do you even know me? Don’t talk as if you know me because you don’t!” Mickey said with unshed tears in her eyes and turning around, she ran off.
Chekwube was taken aback by Mickey’s reaction, she stood there and stared as Mickey ran, wondering what in the world she must have said to have provoked an emotional reaction from the iron Girl.
Gbenga was trying to study but try as he may, he couldn’t get the first sentence from his Social studies textbook into his head. There was no use spending over three hours, staring at a book and hoping to learn from it when you didn’t understand it. He slammed the book shut and stood up from the chair. He turned to leave the balcony and stopped in his tracks. Jermia was leaning by the door and staring at him.
“What are you? A ghost? What are you doing standing there?” He spat.
“I was watching you study and from what I observed, you hadn’t even turned the pages of your book in over thirty minutes.”
“Mind your own business!” He spat at her.
“I would have helped you study but it’s boring.” She said.
“Thank you but no thanks.”
She laughed, it was a tinkling sort of laughter and Gbenga hated it.
“When are you and your companion, leaving my house?” He asked.
“Do you mean your mother? Well…we’ll go when she decides to leave but right now, she wants to bond with you and from what I see, you’re not ready to bond with her so, I’m going to be here for a long time.”
“You guys should take your bad habit and get out of my house!” He spat.
“What habit are you talking about? Do you mean the fun you witnessed when you came home from school? You should join us one of these days.”
“That’s not going to happen. I’m going to speak to my dad and we’re going to kick you guys out of this house.”
“You know you don’t want to because if you really wanted us out, you’d have spoken to your dad ages ago. Your dad isn’t fond of us but he’s letting your mom stay because of you. Once you tell him that you don’t want her here anymore, he’ll toss her out.”
Gbenga looked at her, he didn’t speak.
“I thought as much. You’re such a mommy’s boy at heart.” She laughed.
“Excuse me…” He said as he made his way to the door.
“C’mon, stop running from me. I don’t bite, do I?” She smiled. “Tell me, what do you do for fun? It’s the weekend and I hear that the clubs here are lit.”
“The what?” Gbenga asked, not understanding what she was saying.
“I’m talking about the clubs in Lagos…I hear that they are so much fun.”
“How old are you?” He asked.
“Eighteen going on thirty.” She said.
“You shouldn’t be clubbing at your age.”
“What do you know? You’re just a pampered boy who has lived life, having everything at the snap of his fingers.”
“What’s your point?”
“If you let me, I’ll teach you how to have real fun…the kind that will make girls swooning at your feet. I noticed that you don’t have friends over at your place…it’s unlikely for guys your age.”
“You can’t teach me anything that I’d like to do.” He said and made to walk away but she held onto his elbow.
“I can teach you to have the fun of your life and also, to have girls swooning at your feet. Look at you, you’re so bleh and boring…can’t you see that studying isn’t really your thing? C’mon, let me show you the beauty of life.”
Gbenga yanked his hand out of her grasp.
“No thanks.” He said and walked away.
There was a lonely path beside the canal at the back of the house where people hardly trod except some mischevious few who went there to litter the place with faeces. Mickey crouched there and sobbed, Chekwube’s words had hurt her badly.
“Brother Harris…” She sobbed. “You were the closest friend and brother I had…we connected at different levels even though you were my eldest brother and we were far apart in age. You taught me everything I know…you taught me how to defend myself and how to step up if I was ever bullied.”
She stared at the weeds growing in the canal and wiped the tears with the back of her palms.
Ever since her brother died, there had been a hole in her heart and with the pain and rage she felt inside, she fought back at any and everything. Before her brother had died, Mickey had been a calm young girl who loved the world and made friends but as soon as he passed away when she was ten, her world changed and she directed her rage over his passing to people around her. Now, Chekwube had opened the wound again and it hurt so badly. She stood up and wiped her eyes again with the back of her palms and made her way out of the canal, promising to beat Ranti, Mummy Mofe’s daughter, for spilling a little of the water she had fetched and placed outside the bathroom, that morning.
Ola forced a smile at her husband, she didn’t know what to do. Her heart beat so fast that she could hear the sounds coming from her chest.
“You should rest.” Nosike was saying. “I’ll go and get you fruits to eat.”
She nodded and watched him leave the room. The news that Chekwube had heard about her affair with Baba Tee only worsened the situation and she was afraid that before long, she’d have a heart attack.
“Heiii…Chekwube ooo…what am I going to do? Whose child is this?” She cried, while staring at her flat stomach.
She sat there contemplating on what to do, then, standing up from the bed, she wore her slippers, picked up her purse and made her way out of the room.
To be continued…..