It was all his mother’s fault, Gbenga thought as he stared
at his phone. If she hadn’t given his father sole custody of her son, things
might have been different. He thought. If she never left his dad, things would have been different too. Mothers were the ones who pleaded with fathers whenever they made unreasonable decisions regarding their children. They were more emphatic because they went through childbirth and knew what it takes to bring forth a child into the world. He wished his mother was here with him.
He pulled open his drawer and brought
out a framed photograph, it was a picture he’d taken with his mother when he
was one year old, he’d been chewing a straw and standing beside his birthday
cake while his mother stooped beside him with a smile. He wanted to cry, he
wished he could but there were no tears; even though he knew that growing up
with his mother might have helped balance his life, he really had no reason to
miss her. His father provided him with everything he wanted and much more. He
was still staring at his mother’s picture when he heard a rap at the door.

“Come in.” He said gruffly not bothering to put the picture
away.
The door opened and his step-mother walked in.
“Gbenga, you still haven’t eaten anything.” She said to him.
“What’s the use?” He asked.
She walked up to him and sat beside him on the bed, she
noticed the photograph in his hands and asked.
“Is that her?”
He nodded.
“You know that even if she’s not here with you, I am still
your mother….and I can fill her shoes.”
He looked at her and shook his head.
“You couldn’t even speak to my dad about the school. You couldn’t
even change his mind. If it were my mother, I’m sure she’d have done that and
more.”
She looked away.
“It’s for your own good Gbenga.”
He flared.
“My good? What’s for my own good? What do you know about me?
You joined this house barely two years ago and you feel you know all about me
when you don’t.”
“Calm down, Gbenga! We both know that you’re not doing well
in school. Look at you! Your mates are already about to graduate and even my
cousin who’s just two months your senior is writing her WAEC this session.”
“Don’t compare me with that boring cousin of yours.” He said,
referring to the nerd girl with big glasses who came visiting once in a while.
“We all want the best for you.” She said to him.
“Well…apparently, no one does. The only person who wants
the best for me is, myself.” He said and stood up from the bed still with the
photograph in his hands.
He walked to his wardrobe, pulled it open and brought out a
bag.
“What are you doing Gbenga? Where are you going?” She asked
him.
“I’m running far away from here and I’m not coming back till
my dad changes his mind about that school.”
His step-mother began to panic, she quickly brought out her
phone and made a call to his father. The phone rang for a while but there was
no answer.
“Heiiii…pick your call now…” She said in panic as she
paced the room.
Gbenga knew that this was the stunt that would definitely
change his father’s mind for good as regards his education, besides, he was the
man’s only child and he won’t want anything to happen to him right? He threw in
some shirts and shorts and zipped the bag. He had no idea where he was headed
but knew that his father would stop him before he stepped one foot outside the
door.
His step-mother called his father’s phone frantically and
when he finally answered the call, she screamed into the receiver.
“Do something! Gbenga is on his way out of the house! He’s
leaving….he’s running away.”
Gbenga stood there, waiting for his step-mother to tell him
that his dad wanted to speak to him and beg him. He felt so happy that he was
about getting what he wanted.
“Take the phone, your dad wants to speak to you.” She said,
handing the phone over to him.
Gbenga hesitantly took the phone and placed the phone
against his ear.
“Good afternoon sir.” He greeted sulkily.
“How are you Gbenga?”
“I’m leaving dad…I’m leaving until you change your mind
about that school.”
“Okay…I’ll tell the gateman to open the gates wide for you
so that you can march out into the streets unhindered.”
“Huh?”
“I’m sure you don’t want the gateman to ask you where you’re
headed right? I’ll call him right now and ask him to open the gates for you.”
Gbenga didn’t know what to say, he’d thought his father
would beg or threaten him to stay.
“Dad…”
“Yes son.”
“I am leaving the house for good….and I’m never coming
back.”
His step-mother began to wail at his words but his father
answered him as though his words had no effect on him whatsoever.
“That’s why I’m telling you to go ahead. Look Gbenga, I
lived away from my parents from the time I was fifteen, which means I was one
year younger than you are when I left my family to stay with my uncle. Even
though yours is different because you are running away and going to God knows
where I think you’d learn a lot from the experience. I mean, you will soon
exhaust your pocket money, you’ll roam about the streets for a while, and maybe
sleep under the bridge, do a bit of pickpocketing, join the bus conductors association
and what have you?”
Gbenga’s mouth stood open.
“I won’t stop you my dear, so, you can go.” His father
concluded.
“I…am…your only child dad….I am the only child you
have….the only one….” Gbenga cried.
“So?I’d rather have no children than have one child who’s
unreasonable and very stupid.”
Gbenga couldn’t believe it, he’s dad was wicked, he
concluded.
“What are you waiting for Gbenga? Give your step-mother back
her phone and leave the house already! I want to turn that room of yours into a
mini newspaper library. I want to start gathering newspapers and pilling them
up somewhere in the house for keepsake.”
“You really want me to leave?”
“It’s your choice, Gbenga….now, give your step mother the
phone, I want her to prepare a very delicious dinner for tonight.”
Gbenga was stunned, he handed the phone to his step-mother
and listened to her speak about the food ideas for dinner. He walked over to
his bed and sat on it while staring at his toes.
That night, when his father came home from work, he was at
home.

 

To be continued next week…..

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