Story

Here We Go!

Hello everyone 😀. You may remember I shared some major news last week. As promised here’s the first part of the snippets I’ll be sharing. Enjoy and let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you all!

Don’t forget, you can get the full book from Smashwords and the Okadabooks mobile app.

So…. here we go🤞🏾! Keep in mind that these are snippets.

*********

1997

She took a deep breath that turned into a sigh. Her own birthday was coming up next month – her eighth birthday and her mother wouldn’t be there.

Angry tears stung her eyes at the unfair situation and she wiped them away with the back of her hand. Her throat hurt so much with all the tears she tried to swallow back, but she had to be strong for herself and Dave. That was all she was concerned about.

Sighing, she glanced at Mike and wondered at how much older than his eleven years he looked but then again, they all looked older. A frown deepened her brow as her eyes rested on him. So much would be different if he weren’t here. As far as she was concerned, Mike was a mistake and a ticking bomb.

Feeling weary, she sat up, stretched her back and turned to the Uncle who was presently speaking. She just couldn’t take it anymore. She was totally wasted both physically and emotionally and maybe mentally she thought as she got to her feet and made her way to the middle of the gathering. At the back of her mind, she knew that if all was well, she wouldn’t even be thinking what she was actually doing.

“Enough!”

The sound of her voice startled her but blinded by her unbearable and long suppressed pain and fatigue, she faced all the heads that turned to her. Every one of them mirrored one of the many emotions she was feeling.

A moment after she left, the group of adults began to murmur in disbelief. With disapproving, unashamed stares they turned to her father as they waited to see how he would handle this.

Jim couldn’t believe what had just happened either, but he had little time left to wonder as she came out of the building with Dave like a sack of potatoes in her arms. Some cousins trooped behind her helping with the bags. Her threat echoed in his head and though he hardly believed it, he was glad for the opportunity to leave. He took a deep breath to convey his anger at her behaviour and then he got up.

Clearing his throat, he tried to maintain a convincing balance of sincerity and anger in his tone, “I’m very sorry about that. I promise I will talk to her and we’ll get back to you all soon. Mike.” He called his eldest son and they started for the car together.

They met her and her little brother waiting inside the car and without a word or glance back, Jim started the car and drove off headed for their home which was about 8 hours away.

2013

“Hello,” David picked up on the second ring. “Hey Sara, what’s up?”

“I got your message.”

“Are you pacing?” David chuckled, trying to lighten the conversation.

“David, don’t try to change the subject!” She scolded mildly. The way she had always done while he was growing up.

“I’m not trying to change the subject,” David laughed. “It’s just that you pace when you’re worried and there’s nothing to be worried about now. So stop pacing.”

“Fine!” Sara stopped in the middle of the room “You leave me a message saying Mike called you and I shouldn’t be worried? What did he want? Was he in trouble again? Why did he call you?” She started pacing again.

“Calm down Sara. He only called to tell me where he is. He wanted to send me some money, I said no, thanks. Asked what he was doing now but I felt like he didn’t want to talk about it so I dropped it. He also wanted to know how Dad is doing and he asked after you.”

“Where did he say he is?” Sara asked quietly, absorbing what he’d just said. Mike hadn’t made contact with any of them in almost 3 years and she considered no news excellent news where he was concerned.

“Kaduna. Says he’s okay. He even said I could call him if I need anything.”

“Do you think He’s genuine, Dave? Last time we heard from him, he was sentenced to kirikiri prison in Lagos for 7 months. Did he talk about that or the other jail sentences? Dave, I want you to stay away from him. Don’t call him, okay?”

“Sure Sara, if you think that’s important.”

David’s weary sigh was audible but Sara couldn’t care less at the moment. “Yes, I do. Send me his number, I’ll talk to him.”

She continued in a soft voice, “It’s Friday night, Dave. Don’t tell me you’re planning on staying home throughout. Go out and have fun with your friends. You’re 17, enjoy it while it lasts.”

David chuckled, “I’d love to but maybe some other time, I need to stay home with Dad and moreover I need to study – secondary school leaving exams are starting soon. Don’t worry about me. Are you going out tonight, with Kolade maybe?”

“Don’t you dare change the subject, David Emeka Okoro!” Sara started pacing again. “You don’t have to stay with Jim, he can very well take care of himself and your finals are still two months away!”

“Dad just got back home after three days, Sara. He needs me.” This was one of the subjects they never agreed on – Their father.

“You shouldn’t let him steal your life because that’s what he does, he steals away people’s lives, little by little.” Sara pressed on, standing still and staring at nothing.

“He isn’t stealing my life, Sara. He’s my father and yours too. He needs us now. He needs you too.”

“Whatever. Just be careful and call me if you hear from Mike. Goodnight and take care of yourself Dave.”

“Love you, Sara. Goodnight.”

She slid the phone back in its cradle and collapsed into the only couch in her modest sitting room with a sigh. She just didn’t know why Dave chose to stay with their Dad. He could come live with her anytime, she’d told him that much but he was adamant about staying with Jim.

Sure, she lived in a little one-bedroom apartment which was a compliment of her job but she wouldn’t mind demarcating the sitting room just so he’d have his own space. Nothing like his room back home but it’ll be better because there’d be no Jim. She shook her head and wrapped her arms around herself as a cool breeze came in through the open window.

Her father, she thought bitterly, was the reason she’d missed out on her childhood. As a teenager when all her friends went out she’d had to stay home with David. Jim was the reason Mike turned out the way he is. He was the reason their mother died- even if nothing else she didn’t think she could ever forgive him for this one. He and Mike would always share the blame for this in her mind. He was the reason she felt so helpless, miserable and scared.

At times, she wished Dave was still a little boy so she could force him to come stay with her but that wasn’t the case and the boy simply had a mind of his own.

*****

©Ọrẹolúwa Matẹ̀milọ́lá 2021 All Rights Reserved

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