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Sleeping With Yesterday (Episode 5)

Posted by on September 8, 2016.

Sleeping With Yesterday


Then a knock comes on the door. “Honey, I’m home.”

Nnafuka turns like a serpent whose tail has been stepped on. She snaps the book close, stands up; throws it under the sofa and turns around to meet Dayo’s face.

“What is wrong, Nnafuka?” The question in his eyes is more than this.

“Nothing, dear. You’re welcome back.” She takes Dayo’s briefcase but he does not let go. She looks at his face to see that the answer she has given is not satisfactory.

“Mama Rashidi was here.”

“What?” Dayo lets go of the briefcase. “Are you okay?” His hands are on her shoulders. “Are you okay?”

Nnafuka sits, hugging the briefcase to her chest. Dayo sits on the arm of the chair, holding her shoulders – his own way of comforting. He squeezes them gently.

And that evening comes running back into Nnafuka’s head like electricity.

They were in the sitting room, eating roasted corn and coconut. It was after Dayo teased her about asking him to get her mango during her pregnancy when, really, mango was out of season. She was laughing, holding her belly when Abdul struggled through the door, body slightly wet, a heavy-looking bag on his head. He set down the load and greeted them, “Good evening, oga, good evening, madam.” Dayo opened his mouth to ask for answers when he heard a voice he knew very well.

“Ojo yin sha, ko fe kin wole si ile omo mi bi mo shin kuro si Oshogbo?”

Dayo turned to Nnafuka. “Mama!” His eyes wide, his mouth a passage hole without an end. Nnafuka jumped on her feet, straightened the caftan she had on, touched her hair severally and put on a smile. Dayo went past Abdul who was grinning wildly and threw the curtain open, saying “Iya?”

When Iya stepped in she beat her wrapper with her free hand as though that was going to dry it and said, “E wo mi.” Dayo chuckled.

“Iya, good evening. You are welcome.” Nnafuka came closer, side by side with Dayo.

Iya turned to her. “She still has not learnt to speak Yoruba?” were her words to Dayo. In her loss, Nnafuka sensed that these words came unaccompanied by an expression of approval, accompanied by a face that seemed to weigh and say ‘Let’s just keep it down. We just arrived.’

Iya went back to beating her wrapper, clinging still to her handbag. Dayo took it and Nnafuka received it. Iya’s lips twitched but she did not say anything. Dayo placed his hands on her shoulders, rubbed them gently and said, “Ekabo, Iya.”

Iya pointed at Abdul, “You,” she pointed at the bag, “Kitchen.” When Abdul left for the kitchen with the bag she threw her arms up and said, “Nibo ni omo obirin omo mi wa?”

Nnafuka blinked rapidly to recover the composition she had lost at Iya’s loud voice and, as Dayo pointed upstairs causing Iya to shoot forth towards the staircase, Nnafuka asked him what she had said.

“She wants to know where her granddaughter is.”

Nnafuka forced a smile and said to Iya’s back, “The playhouse.” At the foot of the staircase, Iya made a turn and made straight for Nnafuka. She grabbed her handbag from her and went up the staircase, her slippers slapping mud against the marble floor.

Nnafuka looked at Dayo. Dayo shrugged.

But now Dayo shivers. With his hands on her wife’s shoulders and his briefcase in her bosom he is thinking too of that evening when his mother arrived with the rain, that evening when she brought in that metaphor for tears. It was as though by beating her wrapper with her hand that evening that she had spread woes in their home and these woes had floated through the air and perched on the four corners like invisible bats looking down on him and Nnafuka, waiting to see that new born, Seun.

“Let’s not dwell on Mama Rashidi, Nnafuka. A friend came to my office this afternoon. A new house is up for rent in GRA.”

“What kind of house?”

“A bungalow. Four bedrooms. Actually I followed him to the place. I like it. I think you’ll like it there too. There is enough space at the back for you to start a little garden or have a small coop if you want.” Something falls like light on Nnafuka’s face. Dayo looks closely and sees that it is a little smile, almost undetectable but still there. He presses on. “The family living close to the house has a new baby, a girl.” He smiles.

On hearing this, a cloud gathers over Nnafuka’s face. She tightens her grip on the briefcase so much that the plastic makes a little crack.

“I would love to meet this family and the new baby.” She stands and leads him upstairs.

To Be Continue

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Categories: Blog Columnist

One Response

  1. Interesting

    by tolani on Sep 9, 2016 at 11:16 am

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