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A Story written by Durodola OLAWALE YUSUPH (Durodolad9ty7@gmail.com +2348166920449, www.penprimus.com Info@penprimus.com)

PRESENT DAY “That was how everything ended.” Pa Patrick said. “Coming out clean before the family is the only way.” Pa James adviced. “so help me God.” He prayed Barrister Olu stared at his daughter for a while before he smiled. “Why do you want to know?” He asked “l don’t know, but you said you have a son somewhere which makes him our step brother. Can I see a picture of him or even know his nam replied “What do you need that for?” Her father asked. “He is my brother now. My step brother rather.” Tawakalit said. “Your mother sent you to do this?” Barrister Olu asked suddenly know I am more closer to you than mum. Mu e for a start” Tawakalit “You m and I are always at loggerheads. There is no way she could have sent me to question you.” “You are closer to me indeed.” Barrister Olu laughed. “Meaning?” “You knew your mother was arriving the country and you kept mute like your other sisters. Even Habi bat whom I drove to Lagos that day and back home didn’t mention anything of such to me.” “Like seriously dad! It was meant to be a suprise. And moreso, I got to know after mum had landed in Lagos. The whole thing was bottled by Habibat who knew of mum’s mo vement and Juliet who put in place before leaving Lagos on friday. She got a cab ready among other things.” She explained to her unconvinced father. “l wouldn’t have known if not that Mum needed to call Juliet immediately she landed, but Juliet’s number wa sn’t connecting and Angela was in school and Habibat was with you which left her with no other choice than to call me and I helped her give my phone to Julie.” She added. “l see” Her father retorted. “Believe me dad.” She said pouting her lips like she wan ted to cry. “Okay, I do. But where is your Hijab?” Her father expertly changed the topic. “Its in my room. Why asking?” She replied a little bit suprisedBarrister Olu family was one with so many rare features. Begining with Olu’s marriage to a muslim pra cticing woman, Aminat and after their wedding, each was allowed to practice his/her religion. Extended family members and outsiders anticipated a tough battle when they have their first child, with the child expected to have a dominant religious name. And when the couple first had the first girl, Olu agreed to name her Juliet, being a man who loved a female child. The couple’s expectation was a male child as the second, but alas, they had a girl and his wife named her Tawakalit. Due to the total resemblanc e between Habibat, the third child, the couple agreed to name her a muslim name like her mother and the last daughter of the family was named the christian way without fight or quarrel much to the chagrin of the two families. Another strange thing about th e family was, while Barrister OILI a practicing christian was very much closer to his muslim named girls and his wife a devout muslim was closer to their christian named daughters. “Okay, go put it on first before you can hear anything from me.” Barrister Olu instructed. “Dad! Its not good o.” Tawakalit cried. “Just do what I want and shut the door on your way out. If possible, lock it from outside and keep the key with you”, Tawakalit reluctantly walked out of her father’s study, knowing that whatever conv ersation she intended having with her father has ended for the day. “Dad, bro Dave is your son?” Tawakalit asked in shock. “Yes darling.” Barrister Olu replied “Bro Dave. Our cousin? Serena’s brother.” She asked “Now your brother.” Her father replied. “Ho w come? How did it happen?” aaJULY 1987aa A younger Oluwole Thomas drove his 1980 model vesper motorcycle into the venue of a party. A young Anita sat astride the bike just behind Oluwole, “Here we are.” Oluwole said as he brought the motorcycle to a halt and they both got down “Is this your family house?” Anita asked. “Yes. Any problem?” “It is very big.” She remarked. “Oh! Our family has special likeness for big things.” Wole replied. “Just the way I like you.” “Am not big o.” Anita said smiling “Yes, y ou are not big. But in the real sense, you are a big fish. N He replied and two lovebirds bursted into laughter. “Can we go in now?” Anita asked amidst laughter. “Am sure inside the house will be crowdy. So, you will sit down under the canopy for now while I go in search of my people.” Wole led her to an empty chair under the canopy. “I’ll be back before you know it.’ the FIVE MINUTES LATER Anita was still seated under the canopy like an outsider that she was, shaking her head to the music being played w hen a younger Olu Thomas came around to greet her. “Good morning’ He said as he took the seat beside her. “Good morning uncle.” She replied. “l am Olu Thomas and you must be Anita.” He said “Yes sir.” Anita replied respectfully. Afterall, he is a Thomas an d if she was to be accepted into the family as a wife, she must be in the good books of at least seventy percent of the family members. “Why are you sitting alone and where is Wole?” Olu asked with brows raised didn’t even serve you food and drinks, W “He ole is drunk o. I’ll be back in a jiffy ” And with this, Olu stood up and left, only to return less than three minutes later with a young lady who had a tray, on top which a plate of food sat, as well as drinks, “Don’t tell me you don’t eat rice o, because that’s all we have left. Except you want Edikaikong.” Olu said. “l won’t mind,'” Anita said as she dug her spoon into the food and Olu watched her in admiration. “What a beauty.” He thought. “Join me sir.” Anita said curtly “No no no. Enjoy your meal. I have eaten enough for the day.” He replied. “Not even a spoon?” Anita asked. “You feed me.” Olu replied and they both bursted into laughter.

To Be Continued…

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