“What did you see?” Her uncle asked as soon as she stepped
into the sitting room.
“What is she expected to see?” Her step-mother sniffed as
she stared at her.
Tara held the paper in her fist and felt it crumple as it
fell to the ground, her tears couldn’t stop any longer, it flowed fast.
“What’s wrong? Yemisi! Tara! What did you girls find?” Aunty
Felicia asked as she walked over to them and bending low, she picked up the
crumpled paper in her hand and examined it.
“What is it?” Granny grans asked.
Aunty Felicia smoothened the paper and read, her eyes
widening at its contents.
“Tell us…” Granny grans coaxed.
“Temi has run away … with a man!” Was Aunty Felicia’s
reply.
****
They arrived Akure at about seven pm that evening and Temi’s
back ached, her feet were sore and her buttocks limp. She looked around and
couldn’t hide her frown.
“Is this the place?” she asked.
“What place?” He answered sounding gruff.
“The place you promised to take me to, trumpeting over its
beauty and grandeur.” Temi said in a mocking tone.
“Say whatever you like, this is my hometown and I am proud
of it.”
“Please give me a break! Here I was, complaining about my
family house and Lagos as a whole not knowing I have been living in pure
luxury.”
“Are you ready to be my wife or not?”
“Do I have a choice?” Temi snapped already irritated.
“Please don’t use that tone on me, you remind me of my
mother!”
“I don’t like this place, it’s just seven pm in the evening
and everywhere is pitch black…there’s no electricity and I doubt there’ll be
water as well.”
“Look at you…forming all Lagos born and bred, is Lagos your
true land? Didn’t your ancestors migrate from Ile Ife during the late
eighteenth century?”
“That’s not the point and oh…so my story is now used against
me. I made up that story you know.” Temi defended herself.
“Drop the attitude Temi, Akure is one of the finest places
to be in Nigeria. We are a proud people and we still associate ourselves with
our roots. We don’t go about building huge houses, we’d rather build strong
long lasting friendships and for your information, we’ve got electricity.”
“Hmmm…”Temi snorted.
The luggages were disloged from the bus and the passengers
waited eagerly to take their luggage. Her boyfriend hurried to pick their
luggage and as soon as he was out of sight, the two women who had spoken to her
earlier came to meet her again.
“Are you sure you are safe with this man?” One of them
asked.
“Ofcourse I am.” Temi replied.
“Really? After the heated argument you both had minutes ago?
I don’t think so.” Said the other woman.
“What’s your problem? Don’t couples have problems? The world
isn’t a bed of roses you know?”
“Could we have your phone number? We’d like to keep in
touch.”
“I don’t have a phone.” Temi lied.
“Okay we will give you our numbers, call incase you need
help.” One of the women said as she tore a piece of paper from her diary with
their numbers inscribed already.
“Hmmm…” Temi replied disinterested.
The women shook their heads and left, whispering to
themselves.
“Na wah ooo…. Parents need a firmer hand where their
children are concerned. In our days; who born you well to run off with a man?”
“My dear, that’s what the world has turned into, they watch
a lot of these movies that give them the notion of a life of bliss in elopement
and the idea sinks into their heads for a tryout. I know she’ll regret her
decision but I hope it doesn’t ruin her either.”
As soon as the women left, Temi crumpled the paper and threw
it away.
****
“I have said that this girl is evil…how could you have known
that your sister was harboring secrets and was even seeing the most notorious
lady in the area and you refused to tell us. You saw this coming! You did, you
evil witch.” Shouted Tara’s step-mother as she pointed her fingers at Tara.
Tara recoiled, she stood before her family members and
trembled, her feet shook and her hands were unsteady.
‘Ahh ah Shola…you shouldn’t say things like that?” Yemisi’s
father cautioned Tara’s step mother.
“Why shouldn’t I blame her? Her mother snatched my husband
and now she has misled my child.” Tara’s step-mother sniffed.
“Don’t you dare shift the blame of your callous parenting to
the shoulders of this poor girl! Give her a break Shola! We all know that Tara
is better behaved than every other girl in this household despite the fact that
her mother is not here.” Aunty Felicia said.
“I object to that! I give my kids quality training and they
are better behaved than anyone else in this compound especially Yemisi.”
Yemisi’s mother chipped in.
No one paid her heed, Tara’s father made incessant phone
calls while her step-mother cried bitterly.
“Have you called the police?” Granny grans asked Tara’s
father.
“I’m still trying to reach them, I’d rather go the station.”
Tara’s father said as he signaled to Yemisi’s father who jumped to his feet in
a bid to following him.
“Ah…where are you going?” Yemisi’s mother asked her husband.
“Where else? We have to report this case at the station.”
Yemisi’s father said, he looked so young and fit as he walked up to stand
beside his brother, one would hardly know the two men were barely two years
apart in age.
Yemisi’s father had just suffered a rare condition as
related to his bowels and had returned from the hospital two months ago after
an intense surgery operation. Recovery was crucial for him as he had quickly
lost ten pounds during the time of his illness.
“Station? Ahh… you know you just suffered from a rare
illness and don’t have the strength to go places just yet.” His wife whined.
“What are you implying?” Granny grans asked, almost choking
in anger.
“I’m just saying that it’s too dangerous for my husband to
be outside the house this late…Lagos is not safe anymore.”
Granny grans stood up in anger and was held down by Aunty
Felicia who looked at her sister-in-law in disdain. Yemisi’s mother didn’t
flinch, she had spent the past eighteen years trying to warm her way into the
cold hearted Dolapo’s hearts but all she got were insults and rebuffs. She
wasn’t ready to risk her husband’s life for Temi’s sake, besides they wouldn’t
do same for her daughter if such ever happened to her.
“It’s okay, I’ll be back soon.” Yemisi’s father gave his
wife a reassuring nod. “Oni…you are a man now, do you care to go with us?”
Tara’s father said.
Oni Dolapo had been in Tara and Temi’s house all along and
it wasn’t his particular flare, he wasn’t good at being sympathetic but he
needed something. Money! Since he had been sent warning signals some weeks
back, he had spent his days looking behind his shoulders. The drug people
weren’t the best people to mess around with especially when it came to money. Stealing
a glance at his family members who were already too absolved in grief, he
quietly snuck into the rooms treading carefully to avoid being noticed. He had
been in Tara’s house on too many occasions so he knew where her father’s
bedroom was located. Slipping into his uncle’s room was easy as it wasn’t locked,
he turned on the lights and appreciated the vastness of the room. His gaze was
drawn instantly to the huge vertical mirror adjacent the door and he nearly
caught himself at his strong resemblance to Yemisi’s father. They both were of
the same height and since he had tried to please his grandmother, he had long
cut the hair he used to strut about and was left with a skin cut just like his
uncle’s. He stopped staring at himself in the mirror and hurriedly ran towards
his uncle’s cupboard in search of money. His palm had just touched a huge wad
of notes when he heard the loud gunshot. He stiffened in response and leaving
the cupboard open with the money still intact, he rushed out of the room and
ran into the sitting room. His family members were in panic mode as they
screamed in terror and ran to barricade the doors.
“Armed robbers! Oh my God! Armed robbers are in our street.”
Cried granny grans.
They were proved otherwise when they heard Tara’s father
shout his brother’s name.
“Bayo!”
The family rushed towards the door and pushed it open,
running outside to the scene of the crime, agony and despair written on their
faces. They rushed outside to see Tara’s father holding a figure in his arms
and crying loudly. Yemisi and her mother ran to her father’s side screaming.
Oni froze in shock as he stared at what would have happened to him, had he
stepped out with his uncles. He knew those behind the shoot-out and he also
knew he had to pay them their money soon or next time, he wouldn’t be so lucky.asn’t good at being sympathetic but he
needed something. Money! Since he had been sent warning signals some weeks
back, he had spent his days looking behind his shoulders. The drug people
weren’t the best people to mess around with especially when it came to money. Stealing
a glance at his family members who were already too absolved in grief, he
quietly snuck into the rooms treading carefully to avoid being noticed. He had
been in Tara’s house on too many occasions so he knew where her father’s
bedroom was located. Slipping into his uncle’s room was easy as it wasn’t locked,
he turned on the lights and appreciated the vastness of the room. His gaze was
drawn instantly to the huge vertical mirror adjacent the door and he nearly
caught himself at his strong resemblance to Yemisi’s father. They both were of
the same height and since he had tried to please his grandmother, he had long
cut the hair he used to strut about and was left with a skin cut just like his
uncle’s. He stopped staring at himself in the mirror and hurriedly ran towards
his uncle’s cupboard in search of money. His palm had just touched a huge wad
of notes when he heard the loud gunshot. He stiffened in response and leaving
the cupboard open with the money still intact, he rushed out of the room and
ran into the sitting room. His family members were in panic mode as they
screamed in terror and ran to barricade the doors.
“Armed robbers! Oh my God! Armed robbers are in our street.”
Cried granny grans.
They were proved otherwise when they heard Tara’s father
shout his brother’s name.
“Bayo!”
The family rushed towards the door and pushed it open,
running outside to the scene of the crime, agony and despair written on their
faces. They rushed outside to see Tara’s father holding a figure in his arms
and crying loudly. Yemisi and her mother ran to her father’s side screaming.
Oni froze in shock as he stared at what would have happened to him, had he
stepped out with his uncles. He knew those behind the shoot-out and he also
knew he had to pay them their money soon or next time, he wouldn’t be so lucky. 

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