A Story Written By Stag…
you sure you want to wait for him, Keppy? There is no need to do so oh’ said Segilola. She and Keppy had spent day together after she had shown him around their ‘office’ as Derin had ordered that she should do.
Keppy had been full of enthusiasm when they had gotten to the office. He’d had clear ideas on what they could do differently and how they could make the fellowship a more modern one thereby attracting younger people. He had told her he would build a website, and also ensure that their social media platforms were managed properly. He’d educated her that every organisation needed to have a strong media network to remain relevant in these times and said a fellowship was no different.
The first few hours at the office had been a bit tense, but when they’d began to brainstorm on what should be on their internet page and social media, they both relaxed with one another, as it was easy to do when sharing ideas with another person. When Keppy and Segi had discovered that they both had the same quirky sense of humour, she’d felt free enough to ask him personal questions.
‘So where are you from? Especially with this kind of name?’ she’d asked
‘I’m from Akwa Ibom State’ he’d answered smiling
‘You are probably the tallest person I’ve seen from that State’ she’d said, teasing him about his height
‘Oh really? Funny enough, we are all quite tall in my family, you should see my sister’ Keppy had responded
‘Ah I see’ she’d said as they’d lapsed into silence again
‘Are you married?’ asked Segi, still curious about him
‘Ahhh no o, I’m not’ he’d said laughing, displaying his ringless fingers
‘Why are you laughing?’ she’d asked perplexed ‘Is it a strange question to ask and is it every married man that wears a ring?’ fired Segi, smiling
‘I’m still a young man o, I’m a confirmed bobo’ Keppy had answered with a cheeky grin of his own
‘A Bobo?’ she’d asked, as she burst out laughing ‘Who told you that?’ she teased
‘Ah ma, I’m a bobo oh’ he’d re-emphasised
‘Did your girlfriend tell you this?’ she’d asked, probing, wanting to know his relationship status
‘Errrm, I don’t have a girlfriend’ Keppy had answered
‘No girlfriend? Were all the girls at your university and at the Youth Corps blind?’ she’d asked, surprised
‘No they were not.’ he’d said, tongue in cheek
When his meaning dawned on her, she’d burst into uncontrollable laughter, glad that she had some company in the office. Derin was hardly ever at the office with her, so it seemed that the idea of this PA for company was not altogether negative. The young man was full of ideas, smart and obviously willing to learn. She’d identified only two problems. What was his reason for coming here and what could she do about the dreams? Segi was convinced she would be able to comport herself around him, after all, she was older than him and had to be the more responsible party.
‘So Keppy, why are you here?’ she’d asked him suddenly
The question had come to Keppy as a surprise, but he’d kept his expressions schooled ‘I think I’m here because I want to grow in the knowledge of God, as well as do something that can add to my life’s story’ he’d responded calmly
‘And you are willing to do this without pay?’ she’d asked
‘Absoulutely, for one year’ he’d responded
‘Do you have plans of being in the Ministry or becoming a pastor?’ she’d asked
‘Truthfully, I don’t know’ he’d answered honestly.
‘Hmm I see. I would just chalk you down as a pastor-in-waiting. Otherwise, it makes no sense’ she’d said and they had both smiled.
That conversation had happened earlier on in the morning and they had both gone home in the hope that Derin too would meet them there, but after waiting for long hours and watching television in companionable silence, Segilola had tried to convince Keppy to leave, but he was adamant about waiting until his boss arrived. After all, he’d reasoned, it was his first day at work and he had to make an impression.
Segilola excused herself and left him in the living room as she went into the room for a quick nap after preparing supper for herself and her husband.
‘Shtt! What should we do now?’ asked Derin in a loud whisper, perplexed. He had not bargained for this
‘Shhhh’ hushed Oyinda who quickly looked around the room, trying to think fast. She had to find a place to hide Derin. Agreed, her mother could be annoying, but, she could not stand to see her mother saddened by this act. She knew how highly her mother thought of Pastors.
To Mrs Robert, pastors were equal to celestial beings who could do no wrong and if she ever witnessed this, it would break her heart.
‘Hurry, come in here’ Oyin said as she dragged him into one of her walk in closets. ‘Don’t worry, she won’t be here for long’ said Oyinda as she pushed him in.
‘Oyin! are you okay?’ yelled her mum’s voice from the door. ‘Nneka, call Peter for me, we might need to break this door’ she heard her mum say. Oyin looked at the cupboard door she had just shut and knew that there was no way her mother would discover him there. She was determined to hurry her mother up.
‘Mummy’ she said as she opened the door, stifling a fake yawn ‘why have you been knocking so frantically?’ she asked
‘Ha, Oyinda’ her mother yelled, ‘I was scared oh, what kind of sleep is this? I have been knocking this door since’ said her mother
‘I just said I was sleeping mummy’. She said to her mum’s back because the woman had already burst into the room. In Oyinda’s panic, she had not noticed that her mother had changed from her day clothes to a night dress and had removed every trace of make up. When Oyinda noticed this, she was at rest, for she knew this meant that her mum would soon retire for the night. The woman sometimes turned in early.
‘So how are you feeling now? You know that I have been very worried about you and quite frankly, I felt very guilty for leaving you at home when you seemed so unwell’ started her mother ‘But it was Bosun’s only child’s engagement. She would never have forgiven me for not attending. Thank God I could leave early. So how are you?’ She asked touching Oyinda’s forehead
‘I’m fine, mummy’ replied Oyinda who was fidgeting, She needed her mum out now!
‘What is wrong with you dear?’ asked Oyinda’s mum as she made herself comfortable on the bed
‘Nothing’ said Oyinda
‘Anyway, I’m here to come and sit with you and care for my baby’ said the woman, smiling.
‘I’m better mummy’ said Oyinda
‘No, its okay. You should not be shy. I’m here to take care of you and show you the motherly love you missed out on when you went to school abroad. After all, you are the only one here now and Its the least I can do.’ said her mum who refused to take the hint and leave,
‘Mummy, its not necessary. I’m fine’ said Oyinda, who realised too late, that her tone came out sharper than she’d intended
‘Haba, Oyin, I was only trying to do something nice’ responded her mother who sounded hurt ‘why is everybody always turning me away? Is there something about me that puts my own family members off? My husband won’t come home, my children won’t call or visit and when I travel to see them, they won’t even have the courtesy to stay at home. Now, I’m only here to spend sometime with you, yet you turn me away’ said her mother in a really hurt voice
‘Mummy!, its not like that’ responded Oyin, ‘I just need to be on my own for a little bit.You know I’m used to being in my own space, all of this isn’t necessary’ she said in a softer tone
‘You sound just like your daddy’ responded Mrs Robert, still hurt as she turned around towards the door with her shoulders slumped
‘I’m sorry mum, I didn’t mean to hurt you’ said Oyinda as she walked toward her mum and hugged her from behind. That singular action was her only undoing as the woman burst into tears, heaving sobs as fat dollops of tears rolled down her face
‘Mummy, what is it?’ asked Oyinda as she led her mum back into the room. there was no way she could leave her to go crying like that.
‘I’m so tired of being pushed away Oyinda. I’m so alone’ wept the woman
‘Don’t cry mum. It’s not that serious’ said Oyinda
‘It is. I’ve had so much on my mind but no one to tell it to. Your dad is never at home, he keeps trying to activate a long dead political career. Your brother won’t speak to me because I do not approve of his white wife and the other one too doesn’t not want to speak to me because I’m pressurising him about getting married. Yet, in the midst of this, I have my health challenges. As for you, each time I come here, you turn me out as though I stink’ finished her mum who was now sitting on the edge of the bed where Oyinda had settled her.
‘What health challenges mummy?’ asked Oyinda, her interest piqued
‘When you tease me about courting pastors, I’m sure you think I’m foolish, but it is because I believe in the efficacy of prayers and having pastors around can strengthen my faith’ said Mrs Robert. ‘I have resolved to be available for all of my children while I am here, and yet live a very fulfilling life’ continued Oyinda’s mum as though she hadn’t heard her daughter
‘Mummy, calm down okay? I said what health challenges?’ asked Oyinda again, quietly. She felt guilty because she and her siblings had truly formed the bad habit of brushing their mother off all the time. The woman had seemed to turn meddling in her kids’ affairs a life’s goal, so it had become a habit to stop her before she went on a roll.
‘My enemy found a lump’ said Mrs Robert in a very quiet voice
‘What enemy, mummy?’ responded Oyinda who did not quite follow
‘We have to be very careful with what we confess with our mouth’ responded her mother, who had walked over to the mirror, lifting her arm, ‘It is not my portion to have a lump, but come, feel it here Oyinda’
As soon as her mother’s meaning hit home, Oyinda felt as though she had been doused with ice cold water. What did this mean? She felt as though she was in a trance as she walked towards her mother to feel for the lump by herself and unbelievably, it was there.
‘Mummy!’ said Oyinda, worried ‘have you seen a doctor? It doesn’t feel so big. Are you sure your Bosom hasn’t always felt this way?’ she asked questions upon questions, hoping their fears were wrong
‘I’ve seen a doctor,who said I should do a test here before he refers me to a specialist abroad’ responded her mum
‘What do you need a referral for? You can go to the clinic you’ve always used in America’ said Oyin
‘And who will pay for it?’ asked her mother
‘Daddy of course’ responded Oyinda, in a very assured tone.
‘When last did you see or hear from him, Oyinda? I’ve spent the greater part of last month trying to track him down and between him, his secretary and his Abuja girlfriends, I have been given the run around. I do not have the financial resources to pay for medicals on my own. He withdrew all the foreign cards from me the last time he was upset with me and has not given me back’. said her mum who wore a sad smile.
‘I will pay with my credit card’ said Oyinda, who was determined to do her best for her mum ‘or I will call him tomorrow’
‘All the best with that. Anyway let’s get the result here first, then we will know the next thing to do’ said her mother
‘When do you get the results?’ asked Oyinda
‘Tomorrow evening’ she responded
‘Are you scared?’ asked Oyin
‘Very. Not all my children are married, I don’t have grandkids yet and this’ said Mrs Robert
‘It’s okay, don’t be worried mummy. The results will come out fine’ said Oyinda
‘Amen’ responded her mum
‘What can I do now?’ asked Oyinda
‘Don’t turn me away. I need a friend and you are the only one I have told. I don’t want to be by myself tonight’ said Mrs Robert
‘That’s okay. Let’s go to your room’ said Oyin, who had an ulterior motive. She wanted her mother out of here, so Derin could leave, but her mother was not budging.
‘No, let’s stay here. It’s a novelty to spend more than five minutes in your room. you’ve been turning me out since you entered boarding school’ said her mum, smiling
‘I’m sorry mum. No more turning you out, I’m going to love you and take care of you. It will be good news from tomorrow’ Oyinda said
‘Thank you dear. I need to make some calls to Pastor Akintunde and his friend Pastor Derin to pray for me’ said her mum who moved toward the window as she dialled Akintunde first.
Whilst her mum was on the phone saying Amen to prayers, Oyinda sent off a chat to Derin.
*Can you hear us?* she texted
*Yes** Derin responded
*It seems that you are here for the night. Are you hot in there?* she asked
*No. Shtt* responded Derin
*She’s wants to call you. Please put your phone off so she can’t reach you, save us from the embarrassment* said Oyinda
To Be Continued…