Bunmi was so sure that once her son sees her, he would jump right into her arms; right from childhood, he’d always been clingy, needing the affection she couldn’t offer herself, least of all, him. With her luggage in the booth of the taxi cab and Folake and Jermia seated at the back of the cab, she alighted and made her way towards the gate of the large house.
Folake had done a bit of investigative work and had found out where Bunmi’s son and his father lived. She stared at the house which was a twenty times bigger than the house she lived in Brazil and shared with seven other people from different African countries. She remembered the fight and tussle for everything within the small apartment and suddenly, this house standing before her seemed like a breath of fresh air.
Before she had made her way out of the taxi cab, Folake had said to her.
“Bunmi, please don’t take it the wrong way but there’s no space for you in my house. I think you should go to a hotel.”
“Why would I do that? I have a son and he lives in a house or doesn’t he?” She’d asked.
“I heard…I heard that his father has remarried about seven times and I’m sure that one of his wives lives with them in the house.” Folake had said quickly.
“It’s her house…you can’t go there and …”
“Watch me!” Bunmi had said.
“Ahhh… don’t go and find trouble ooo….”
“My son still remains the only heir to Felix’s fortune! Let them try and stop me so that I can have them show me the fruit of their union with my son’s father!” Bunmi said with eyes ready for war.
Folake had kept silent after the statement.
Bunmi marched up to the gate and pressed the bell. The gate opened and a man in security uniform stared at her.
“Good day madam.” He greeted.
“I am not your ma’am and where is my son?” She asked.
The security man stared at her in confusion.
“Yes, my son, Gbenga!” She said.
The security man looked at her for a moment and shook his head.
“Can’t you speak? Are you dumb?”
“Madam…” He started.
“If you call me ma’am again, I’ll slap your face. Take a good look at me, I can pass for a twenty-five years old woman.”
The security guard looked at the woman who was obviously well into her forties and didn’t say anything.
“You will have to wait for my oga to come back and…”
“Look here, my son is the heir to this place and everything in it. I can have him sack you in the blink of an eye.” Bunmi said.
The security man quickly shut the gate. Bunmi’s face contorted in horror as she pressed the bell and suddenly began to bang at the gate, hard.
“What’s going on?” Folake asked, walking up to her.
“The stupid security man just slammed the gate in my face!” She spat.
“The taxi man is already asking for his money, he says he will start to charge extra if we keep him waiting.” She said.
“How much is his money?”
“Five thousand.” Folake said.
“Yes, pay him. I don’t have naira on me…I’m just coming from Brazil.”
“Pay ke? If you knew you didn’t have money to pay, we would have taken public transport.”
“Folake, pay the money and I’ll do a refund besides, I didn’t remember to change currency at the airport and you were dumb not to have reminded me.”
Folake looked at her cousin and sighed, a side of her blamed herself for coming all the way to the airport hoping that her cousin had changed for the better but deep down, she knew that it would be so good to be true because a leopard never changes its spots.
Chekwube stepped out of the school gate with her new friend, Aline. She saw Gbenga get into a car and watched the car drive off.
“Isn’t it nice to be rich?” Aline said. “Imagine us lounging at the back of a cool air conditioned car and going home instead of trekking under the hot sun.”
“Huh? What did you say?”
“I’m just imagining the kind of life that Gbenga must be living. He’s obviously from a rich home and his family just sends him here for quality education.” She said.
“There are private schools.”
“It’s common knowledge that most private schools don’t have half the facilities that government schools have.” Aline said.
“Well…maybe you’re right. Maybe his parents decided that sending him to a rich fancy school is a waste of money and at the end of the day, we’ll all sit for the same examinations.” Chekwube said.
“That’s true.” Aline said. “Your face is swollen, what happened to you?”
“Mtcheww…it’s Mickey ooo…that annoying girl fought me.”
“Ha! Mickey! Don’t try to get in her way ooo…that girl is too notorious.”
“Do you think I don’t know that? I live in the same compound with her.”
Aline looked at Chekwube and shook her head.
“Ha! God forbid that I’ll live in the same compound with that wild animal.” Aline said.
“Don’t speak too loudly or she’ll hear you.” Chekwube said.
“Do you notice that she likes the new boy?”
“What new boy?”
“Who else? Gbenga of course.”
“What’s funny?” Aline asked.
“It’s impossible! You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that a relationship can never work between the two of them.”
“Is it because he’s rich?”
“No…but c’mon…look at her and look at him. They are very different. Mickey can kill him.”
Aline looked at Chekwube and burst out laughing.
Gbenga stood at the gate of Amanda’s house with a beautiful card and a single rose and pressed the bell. A security man answered.
“How can I help you?”
“Sir, I’d like to see Amanda please.”
“She’s not home yet.”
“When will she be back home?”
“Who are you? You’re not her school mate.” The security man said taking in his school uniform.
“We used to be school mates.” Gbenga said. “Please, can I wait for her?”
“Are you ready to wait all day? Amanda doesn’t come home till six or seven pm, her parents enrolled her in a private tutorial school in preparation for her junior WAEC.”
“Oh really…okay then, can I leave something for her?”
The security looked at him and nodded. Gbenga handed him the card and rose flower.
“Please tell her that it’s from Gbenga.”
As he walked back to the car, his shoulders slumped in defeat.
Gbenga and Uncle Soji were shocked to see some people sitting outside the gate as though they were some sort of refugees in a camp.
“Who are they?” Gbenga asked. “What are they doing at our gate?”
Uncle Soji horned and the gate was opened, one of the women hurried to the car and rapped on the driver’s window. Uncle Soji wound down and gasped.
“Bunmi!” He exclaimed.
“Sojistic Soji! How far?” The woman greeted in a booming voice.
“It’s been ages…I mean…how…where have you been?”
“I’ve been out here a long time and I need a glass of water to drink first before I answer your question. Where’s Gbenga?” She asked.
Gbenga wound down his window and stared at her in confusion.
“Why are you looking for me? Who are you?” He asked.
The woman looked at him with a smile and with emotionless-looking eyes.
“Gbenga, my darling…it’s me, mommy. I’m home!” She said.
To be continued next week…..