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Sleeping With Yesterday (Episode 17)

Posted by on September 14, 2016.

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Dayo has been up on his feet, walking from one end of his house to the other. He has been to the kitchen, to their bedroom, to their toilet. He has been wringing his hands, peeping out of every window. He has gone out and asked Abdul, “Any show?” When Adbul says, “No, oga,” he comes back into the house, words in his mouth, his voice his own companion.

“What could have happened? Where are they?”

The pressure he felt the day Nnafuka entered the labour room is nothing compared to the one he feels now on the delayed return of his wife and Helen. That day he had walked with little consciousness along the hallway, had sauntered across the hallway until he could not bear it. He had gone to the door and placed his ear on it. He had cringed at every grunting which came from the room. Every scream that scraped the door seemed like a long nail being hammered into his ear. He had held his hands together in prayer until the cry of the baby had dissolved his anxiety into sheer joy.

Now, he fears that whatever is called joy is far away. It is 8 o’clock in the night and he has not heard Helen’s car grind into the compound. All he hears is the cry of the crickets and the occasional barking of a dog in the neighborhood. He slumps into the couch and looks across the room at the telephone seated listlessly. He goes to it and picks up the receiver. He fixes his finger on the plastic plate and makes to turn it but he has no number in his head.

READ ALSO: Proposal Series: Prelude To A Proposal

Dayo drops the receiver and shoves his feet into the slippers. Outside, his key in his hand, he shouts, “Abdul, open this gate.” Abdul opening the gate leads him into the streets. He drives from one block to another, trying over and over again to tell himself that it is a lie that there is no police station around, that the government has finally one where he can table his report at least.

He drives back to his house, parks his car but does not go in to the sitting room. He sits there on the steps that leads to the door and slaps his leg severally with his car key. That is until a flood of light creeps under his gate into his compound. He jumps on his feet, holding himself from running forward to open the gate. With the gate open he peeps, moving his head from side to side, squinting at the light which is coming close to him. When the car has properly parked, Dayo sees that it is not Helen’s. He tries to remember where he knows the car from but all his head grabs at is haze.

A man steps out with a beard that almost covers his lips. Abdul who is trying to understand who this visitor is raises his voice and a hand and says, “Assalam alaikum.”

“Wa alaikum assalam,” the man replies. Dayo remains standing as the visitor walks up to him.

“Assalam alaikum.”

Dayo replies, “Good evening.”

The man’s beard stretches to both sides, a sign that he is smiling. “Are you Dr. Aregbesola?”

“Yes.”

“Please can we go inside and talk?”

Dayo opens his door and walks in, holding the curtain for the visitor to pass under. Once inside the man goes straight to a couch and stands in front of it, sitting down only when Dayo has taken his own seat.

“I am Mohammed Hanifa.”

Dayo nods.

“I am a sheikh.”

Dayo wonders where he has heard that expression before and what its meaning is.

“Why are you here?” Dayo does not have time for the patience this man exhibits. Mohammed smiles. He fumbles in his pocket and brings out something, a card, and hands it to Dayo. Dayo looks at the card. It is a medical card from the Federal Medical Centre, Bida. The name on it is Nnafuka Aregbesola. He jumps on his feet. “Where is my wife? Where is she?”

Mohammed stands too. “Please calm down, sir. Sit and hear me out so you don’t hurt yourself.” When Dayo takes a seat, his face reading impatience and anger and anxiety at once, he continues, “We found that card in your wife’s bag. I took it to the medical centre and was given your home address.”

“Where did you find it? What happened? Where is my wife?”

“There was an accident.”

Dayo stands, his hands visibly shaking. His lips trembling. Mohammed stands and moves closer to him as though ready to stop him from whatever action he might take; then he adds, “It is true that you are not a Muslim but just know that Allah gives and he alone takes.”

To Be Continue

 

Dayo has been up on his feet, walking from one end of his house to the other. He has been to the kitchen, to their bedroom, to their toilet. He has been wringing his hands, peeping out of every window. He has gone out and asked Abdul, “Any show?” When Adbul says, “No, oga,” he comes back into the house, words in his mouth, his voice his own companion.

“What could have happened? Where are they?”

The pressure he felt the day Nnafuka entered the labour room is nothing compared to the one he feels now on the delayed return of his wife and Helen. That day he had walked with little consciousness along the hallway, had sauntered across the hallway until he could not bear it. He had gone to the door and placed his ear on it. He had cringed at every grunting which came from the room. Every scream that scraped the door seemed like a long nail being hammered into his ear. He had held his hands together in prayer until the cry of the baby had dissolved his anxiety into sheer joy.

Now, he fears that whatever is called joy is far away. It is 8 o’clock in the night and he has not heard Helen’s car grind into the compound. All he hears is the cry of the crickets and the occasional barking of a dog in the neighborhood. He slumps into the couch and looks across the room at the telephone seated listlessly. He goes to it and picks up the receiver. He fixes his finger on the plastic plate and makes to turn it but he has no number in his head.

READ ALSO: Proposal Series: Prelude To A Proposal

Dayo drops the receiver and shoves his feet into the slippers. Outside, his key in his hand, he shouts, “Abdul, open this gate.” Abdul opening the gate leads him into the streets. He drives from one block to another, trying over and over again to tell himself that it is a lie that there is no police station around, that the government has finally one where he can table his report at least.

He drives back to his house, parks his car but does not go in to the sitting room. He sits there on the steps that leads to the door and slaps his leg severally with his car key. That is until a flood of light creeps under his gate into his compound. He jumps on his feet, holding himself from running forward to open the gate. With the gate open he peeps, moving his head from side to side, squinting at the light which is coming close to him. When the car has properly parked, Dayo sees that it is not Helen’s. He tries to remember where he knows the car from but all his head grabs at is haze.

A man steps out with a beard that almost covers his lips. Abdul who is trying to understand who this visitor is raises his voice and a hand and says, “Assalam alaikum.”

“Wa alaikum assalam,” the man replies. Dayo remains standing as the visitor walks up to him.

“Assalam alaikum.”

Dayo replies, “Good evening.”

The man’s beard stretches to both sides, a sign that he is smiling. “Are you Dr. Aregbesola?”

“Yes.”

“Please can we go inside and talk?”

Dayo opens his door and walks in, holding the curtain for the visitor to pass under. Once inside the man goes straight to a couch and stands in front of it, sitting down only when Dayo has taken his own seat.

“I am Mohammed Hanifa.”

Dayo nods.

“I am a sheikh.”

Dayo wonders where he has heard that expression before and what its meaning is.

“Why are you here?” Dayo does not have time for the patience this man exhibits. Mohammed smiles. He fumbles in his pocket and brings out something, a card, and hands it to Dayo. Dayo looks at the card. It is a medical card from the Federal Medical Centre, Bida. The name on it is Nnafuka Aregbesola. He jumps on his feet. “Where is my wife? Where is she?”

Mohammed stands too. “Please calm down, sir. Sit and hear me out so you don’t hurt yourself.” When Dayo takes a seat, his face reading impatience and anger and anxiety at once, he continues, “We found that card in your wife’s bag. I took it to the medical centre and was given your home address.”

“Where did you find it? What happened? Where is my wife?”

“There was an accident.”

Dayo stands, his hands visibly shaking. His lips trembling. Mohammed stands and moves closer to him as though ready to stop him from whatever action he might take; then he adds, “It is true that you are not a Muslim but just know that Allah gives and he alone takes.”

To Be Continue

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