“Be mi fun kini? (beg me for what?)” Mr Ayodele asked.
“Daddy e ma binu si wa, a mop e ati se yin sugbon dariji wa… (daddy, please don’t be offended, we know we’ve wrong you but please forgive us…)” mummy Tomiwa was saying before Mr Ayodele raised his hand to silence her.
“E o se mi o, emi o binu si yin o, mio de mo nnkan ti e wa be mi fun (you haven’t offended me, i’m not angry with you and i dont know what you’ve come to beg me for).” He said
“Daddy wa e jo sah (please sir).” Mummy tomiwa said and went on her knees and iya Ruth did same since Tomiwa had been prostrating all through.
“Ah, ah, ah, stand up o, don’t put me in trouble o, what will people think if someone walked in and saw all three of you like this, I said you’ve not offended me and I don’t know why you’re begging me neither am I angry with you so please stand up.”
“No sir, let us remain like this.” Tomiwa pleaded and Mr Ayodele laughed, in my opinion, I think he was enjoying the attention and the feeling of being a very important father in-law but hey, I’m just an observer, I really don’t know what’s on his mind.
“If it is about the wedding, don’t worry, I’ll be there, I have even called my tailor and he’ll be here later this evening to take my measurement, don’t worry, it is settled abi am I God that all of you ar kneeling before me, please stand.” He said and they all obeyed. After a brief chat on what was expected of the Ayodele’s towards the wedding, Tomiwa and his mom thanked Mr Ayodele and left the house. Tomiwa made his mom promise not to tell Hannah of their little visit to her parents because he knew she’d be furious but he felt he’d done the right thing, two wrongs, they say, don’t make a right and two stubborn heads and minds would never lead to any form of progress. Tomiwa was glad that he’d done what he did because he felt it was the right thing but he would keep it from his wife for as long as he could because he knew Hannah only too well, telling her would only signal the beginning of world war three and he clearly wasn’t ready for that sort of drama. After dropping his mum, Tomiwa rode straight to the market to be with his wife. As expected, Hannah was surprised to see him but she was glad that her husband had come to pick her and she enjoyed the attention she got from other market women for the thirty minutes Tomiwa was around before they headed home.
“Baba, e ba se suuru (baba, you need to exercise patience)” iya Ruth said to her husband. It had been two weeks since the tunmigbe ceremony and Mr Ayodele was furious that Hannah had not called to thank him for attending, iya Ruth had been optimistic that she’d call but her optimism had dwindled as the days went by.
David, the Ayodele’s last and only son, sat quietly observing his parents, he’d always hated moments like this when talks about his sister were brought up, he’d only dropped by to say hello because he was in the area and his father had started ranting. David shook his head, he wasn’t sure how his parents would react but he had a few things on his mind to say. He moved closer to his mother on the cane couch but was intent on talking his father.
“Baba, maami…” he began “… I have a few things to say.” He added as he looked from husband to wife and back but was forced to drop his gaze because the look on Mr Ayodele’s face was nowhere near friendly.
“Go on, we’re listening.” His mother urged.
“Baba, I really think you and aunty mi are taking this issue too far as in you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. We all know that aunty mi is very stubborn and can be childish at times but baba you are mature, if she doesn’t call then you should call her, that simply shows you’re older and honestly speaking, I don’t know why you’re still angry since boda Tomiwa has already called you and maami.
“I know I’m the youngest in this family but at least I have a functioning brain, baba your attitude towards aunty mi, and I’m not sorry to say, is very immature, you are her father and you should learn to let some things go, this cold war between you guys has taken too long baba and it needs to come to an end.” David said as his parents stared at him in awe, Mr and Mrs Ayodele were particularly shocked at their son’s words because the David they knew was a very quiet and shy boy but now, with the way he’d spoken, they had to acknowledge that he was now a man.
Iya Ruth smiled to herself because David, in a few minutes, had just voiced her thirteen year old thoughts, she was glad that his three-year old marriage was beginning to change him or maybe fatherhood was the cause. She looked in her husband’s direction and was shocked to see the hint of a smile hidden at the corner of his lips, she knew her husband to well and knew he was definitely feeling like a proud father. The silence in the room was killing, it seemed like it had a very sharp knife and was gradually slicing iya Ruth’s delicate skin, she decided to do something about it and speak.
“Oshey ok mi.” she said to David who looked unsure of himself as though he thought his father would slap him or something. Mr Ayodeji looked at his son, he was proud of him, David had never talked back at him or disobeyed him and he was beginning to think of him less of a man but with this speech, he could proudly say that he had a son; he’d even secretly wished David was like Hannah not for any spectacular reason but because he just thought he’d feel better.
Baba cleared his throat and looked straight at David who still didn’t have the courage to look back at him.
“David…” he began “… David, my dear son, to say I am not surprised with the way you spoke is a big lie, infact, I am shocked but not in a bad way, I am proud of you and very glad with what you’ve said, indeed you have spoken well. Truth is I have long forgiven your sister but her hard head is what is killing her, I would be glad if you can talk to her in this manner too.” He said and the whole room brightened, the tension disappeared and David and his mother smiled. The family chatted awhile then David went home.
“Oga give me my money now.”
“Bros, I no get change.”
“Ehn, how much dey your hand make I go find change come.”
“No be that kain change I dey talk, wetin I mean be say I no get bar.”
“Oga wtin be this now, you for tell me for park now.”
“My guy no vex, I go give you latest by next week.” Tomiwa smiled, so he had to wait till next week for ordinary fifty naira.
“No worry, dey go but next time e go better make you tell the driver before una comot park, no be everybody fit free you.”
“My guy no shaking, no worry I no you wella, I go give you your money, thank you ehn.” The passenger said, tapped Tomiwa on the shoulder and walked away; Tomiwa shook his head, he couldn’t count the number of passengers he had carried for free. He turned the tricycle round and went back to the park. On getting there, a garage tout walked up to him.
“Wos, wobi ogbeni…” he said and Tomiwa obeyed “… That passenger wey wear fez cap, the one wey you carry nanow, hin pay money?” Tomiwa smiled, how did it concern a garage boy whether his passenger paid or not.
“Yes now, hin pay now, before nko.”
“You sure, if hin no pay, talk now o make we go treat hin f up.”
“Alaye, the guy pay, na fifty naira hin gimme.”
“Okay, no wahala.”
“Em, alaye, no vex o, the guy do you bad before?”
“Oga ade shut up, na the thing way I ask you make you answer.” Tomiwa knew he had to keep quiet at this point so I raised both of his hands in salute until the tout walked away. He pondered on the episode briefly and casually brushed it off his mind as one of those things that happened in the garage. After seven more trips, Tomiwa decided it was time for him to go home, he’d promised to buy sliced bread for his children and he did that then filled his fuel tank in preparation for the next day and headed home.
When he got home, he met Korede crouched and crying in a corner of the room while Yejide, who obviously had failed to pacify him, rushed to greet him and collect the things he’d bought. Tomiwa walked to the crying eleven year old boy and lifted him in his arms, he had to admit that the boy was growing faster than he’d imagined.
“Akanni, what’s wrong?” he asked
“Mummy beat him.” Yejide supplied while Korede sniffed.
“Senior advocate of my brother, thank you ma, I wasn’t talking to you.” Tomiwa replied jokingly since Yejide had always said she wanted to become a lawyer and the latter smiled.
“Mu-mmy tore m-m-my draw-i-i-drawing book.” Korede stammered and Tomiwa shook his head, Hannah always complained that the child was wasting her money when in actual fact she was the one wasting money by tearing and sometimes burning his drawing books, Tomiwa made up his mind to talk to his wife and try to find out the basis of her hate for arts. He dropped the boy, who by now had calmed down a notch, and held him firmly on the shoulders.
“Akanni my boy, don’t mind your mummy ehn, I will buy two new drawing books and one poster colour for you and I promise that your mother will never touch your stuff again so cheer up.” He said and his son smiled. Minutes later, while he was playing with the children, his wife came in carrying a pot of food with a torch light firmly secured in her slumber net.
“Yejide!” she shouted “… see your useless life, I’m in the kitchen and you’re here playing, wait sef, you want to tell me that you didn’t hear that I was calling you since abi.” She added with a fierce frown on her face, the air in the room seemed still as though everyone stopped breathing; anticipating Hannah’s next line of action . a scared Yejide jumped to her feet while Korede snuggled closer to his dad on the bed.
“Hannah, Hannah, I don’t like the way you shout at these children o, you should take things easy now.” Tomiwa advised in a surprisingly calm tone.
“Ehehn, sorry o Mr father of children, I will take things easy when you stop pampering them. Oya two of you, before I open my eyes, go and bring the remaining things in the kitchen, if you like waste time but if anybody steals my things peren, you will smell your yansh.” She hissed and the children rushed out of the room with Yejide leading the way with a torch light.
“Sha rora. (be careful)” Tomiwa said and sat up on the bed.
“Good evening, welcome, how was work today?” she replied.
“Work was fine o, I had no idea I deserved any greeting tonight.”
“I’m sorry, those children have been annoying me since I got back.”
“Okay, I see, that explains why you tore yet another of Korede’s drawing books.”
“Don’t even go there o Tomiwa, don’t go there, the boy will be wasting my money and you expect me to fold my hands abi, that’s how you will do do do that you will spoil them so much that they won’t know the value of money.”
“Ehehn, I didn’t know wasting now has another meaning o because from what has been happening, I thought you were the one wasting money since you’re always tearing the drawing books the child bought with money.” Tomiwa said with mock seriousness.
“Tomiwa please o, I am not ready for this.” Hannah replied shortly and Tomiwa raised his hands in surrender and grinned.
“Okay ma but tomorrow, I’m buying two drawing books for my son and I must not hear that one mummy tore it o.” Hannah knew she’d lost the argument so she smiled; Tomiwa was a man of little words and she knew that she sometimes took him for granted but that was no excuse when it came to him being serious and in this case, she could hear the seriousness in his voice. She smiled again realising that she was falling in love with her husband more and more every day. By now, the children were back in the room; with dinner served, the family got down to business, said their night prayers and went to bed.
…to be continued