14 Days: The 6th Day
The 6th day was a bit troublesome.
She is standing in a sitting room that looks as old as time itself (okay; maybe I’m lying). She looks tense. She’s thinking about her hair and how long it’s been since she did anything to or about it. I need to fix my hair – or at least wash it.
She is standing facing a couch on which two people are seated. They look somewhat familiar, particularly the man who’s seated right next to the grandfather clock. He has soft features – almost as soft as hers, only the harsh lines of the steel-grey spectacles he’s wearing gives his face some kind of ‘hardness’. The woman seated next to him is round; round and fresh. There are hardly any lines on her face yet, her body still looks quite firm. At first glance there’s hardly any resemblance between her and the girl standing, but if you looked deep enough…
“So whatever reason you had, you sha did not show up,” the older woman says.
The girl shrugs. “Maami, you know better than anybody else how much I loved Shayo. You know, how much I still miss her. I just don’t think I want some ritual remembering of a sister who meant the world to me…”
“Akin,” ‘Maami’ speaks, addressing the man beside her. “Akin, do you hear? You hear what your daughter is saying to me?! Speaking grammar – “ritual remembering of a sister who meant the world to me,” she mimics her daughter’s manner of speaking in a high-pitched funny way.
“Maami, I’m just saying that – I miss Shayo every day. Every day I wake up, I think about her and…” she pauses. “Maami, I’m sorry but I don’t like the remembrance thing. That’s why I did not come,” she finishes.
Her father finally speaks. “I understand – but you need to understand what your mother is saying. She misses you. We miss you, dear. Your remaining sisters and brother – I don’t doubt that you somehow see each other…but how about us? Do we not count anymore?”
She looks at her mother who has her arms folded across her ample breasts and is looking away. She walks to the woman, kneels down and buries her face in the same breasts that fed her all those years ago.
“Maami…” she feels her voice start to shake and goes quiet.
The woman stiffens at first, and then relaxes and puts her right arm around the kneeling girl and the left on the bowed head.
“Omo rabata, omo apon layo aso layo, omo gbegounde, omo didan bi epo, omo amoloju…” she speaks, reciting her daughter’s oriki or traditional salutation. The girl smiles against her mother’s breasts.
A few minutes later, everybody is feeling warm and in love all over again. She declines her parents offer of lunch, smilingly answering “I’m watching my weight” and takes her leave, promising to come around more often. She runs to the car, flashing attractive legs at nobody in particular and drives out of her parents’ house. She wants to do some shopping – and also she’s supposed to connect with her Engineer later in the day. Then she remembers that her boyfriend called her earlier but she had not picked because she was driving. She makes a mental note to call him as soon as she can.
All these men in my life sef, she thinks.
She thinks about her boss and a tiny frown appears between her eyebrows. He had been saying something about a trip out of town…but she had not really been paying attention. Probably it’s the stakeholders’ annual meeting. Well; dat one no consaign me.
She giggles happily and drives on, turning up the volume of the Jodie cd playing in the car deck. And then, as though in response to the noise, her phone begins to ring. She reaches over for her bag and takes the phone out to look at the screen. It’s Toke calling.
She starts to feel afraid…because Toke hardly ever calls. They see each other every day after all.
But there she is now. Calling.