Later that evening, I headed down for dinner but as I walked past the sitting room, I noticed Aunty Titi was silently sobbing away on the sofa. I grabbed a box of Kleenex and held her as calmly as I could.
‘It’s okay Aunty. God always has a good reason why he makes these things happen’ I whispered softly.
‘But why Bolatiwa? Why couldn’t he save Bolatiwa?’ she asked in an unearthly soft of tone, not like she expected an answer to the question.
‘I do not know Aunty. But we can’t question him. Remember he makes the rain to fall on both the good and the bad’, I replied, quoting one of her favourite bible passages.
‘He does things in ways only He understands’
We sat there together in silence for a good couple of minutes, until I noticed her body had stopped racking with sobs, and she had fallen into a light sleep.
Propping her head properly on the pillow, I exited the sitting room to go check on the little ‘terrors’ I had left to their devices in their play room. As I walked through the hall way that led to their play room, I could already hear their excitable voices as they played with one another. And I smiled for the first time that evening. You can’t help but fall in love with the kids and as I stood in the doorway watching them take turns at throwing pillows at one another, the memories came flooding in again.
Me, being my parent’s only child. Doted on by a loving mum. Adored by the best dad in the world. Back then my best friends were Ken and Barbie. Growing up I noticed I was different from the other kids in school. When I alighted from dad’s car during the morning school run, I would notice 3 or 4 kids getting out of cars parked at the school gates, and would sometimes wish I had a brother or sister to go to school with. I remember once asking mum ‘why am I an only child?’, and all of a sudden, a look I couldn’t place, would fall across her face.
Then I felt a pillow hit me, and peals of laughter followed.
‘Who threw that?’ I asked aloud as I peered slowly into their eyes, making certain they could see the glint in mine. But all I got was silence in return. These kids have a way of always watching one another’s back, I reminded myself.
‘Oh well then’, I said. ‘Since no one’s talking, I would have to take my revenge on all of you’. In the twinkling of an eye, I had thrown pillows at all three of them. And before I knew it, we were all running around the small room, engrossed in our pillow fight, for me not to even notice Aunty Titi standing by the doorway.
‘Oh hi Aunty’, I muttered to acknowledge her presence. ‘Mum’, the three tots screamed in unison before taking turns to hug her. ‘Come join us, come join us’, they pleaded in their tiny voices.
‘Maybe some other time, but now, it’s time for dinner’, Aunty Titi said, before turning to me and asking me to come join her to set the dinner table.
Laying out the dishes and the cups at the dining table, I took the time to ask my aunty who Aunty Bolatiwa was while also acknowledging that she must have been someone very dear to aunty for her to have cried as much as she did. But instead of explaining, aunty pleaded with me to give her some time, and that she would rather we talked about a more pleasant topic. The next few words she uttered took me by surprise.
‘How come you haven’t mentioned Jide’s name since you’ve been home?’ she asked.
By Femi Adeyemi