I raced into his arms without thinking. I held him so tight as hot tears fell from my eyes. Apparently my running off attracted my aunt as she abandoned her boyfriend and food to come see what was after me. She was surprised!
The look on my dad’s face spoke more of displeasure. He ran his hands through my face and shoulder and kept asking me questions; “What’s this mark on your face? You look unkempt! What happened to your shoulder?” The questions kept pouring in as I walked him to the house. By this time, Mama was already downstairs waiting for us. My aunt’s boyfriend and their food have disappeared upstairs. I could still recall Mama’s expression when my dad walked in. It was a mixture of surprise and anxiety.
“Ogo m (my inlaw) welcome” she greeted with a confused smile. My dad’s countenance hasn’t changed a bit, he was obviously displeased.
“Thank you” my dad replied still with a shrunken face.
“Ah! This one you came around ogo m, it wasn’t what we discussed!” Mama chipped in. My dad nodded.
“I know” he said. Mama smiled
“A sikwa m! (I was wondering!) she paused “please get him a seat” she ordered no one in particular but I knew she was referring to me. I pretended I didn’t hear her and held unto my dad as tightly as I could. My aunt shot me a “Get away from there look” but I wasn’t obeying it this time as I replied with a “Not today” response with my face. I could immediately read through her, she was boiling with rage, who cares??
She dragged the bench out for my dad to sit, which he did with me taking a perfect position on his laps. Mama was now uncomfortable.
“Don’t you have any chores to do in the house? Eh? Adults are discussing so you need to give us some privacy! Please exhibit the character of someone I trained. Leave us! ” she ordered and yet again I pretended I didn’t hear. I quietly laid on his shoulder. “I wasn’t leaving him now or ever”, I said to myself.
My dad rubbed my back smiling.
“Anyways I will soon leave” he announced. My blood instantly became hot! My intestines began moving and I felt like I could throw up. My victorious face shrunk immediately. I began plotting the drama I would showcase right there if he dares to leave without me. I wouldn’t lie, I felt like crying. At this, Mama and aunty smiled in unison.
“Oh you came to check up on her? She is doing good I can’t complain, it’s just that….
“I will be leaving with her!” dad added almost immediately interrupting Mama. Her mouth went wide open.
“But it wasn’t what we discussed yesterday!” Mama shot back. A perfect smile now formed round my lips.
At this point my aunt Agnes came downstairs, greeted my dad and leaned on the door frame. Her face was as angry as a vulture and her anger and dissatisfaction showed on her countenance.
“I know I promised to let her spend the holidays here, but if you can remember I agreed because I was scheduled to travel with my boss to another state today and I wasn’t sure when I would be back” Dad asked, Mama nodded. “Well the crisis in Niger Delta last night led to the cancellation of our trip and our schedule was diverted to their Commission. I just drove my boss there and he gave me three hours to fix my personal problems since I explained to him that I needed to see my daughter. So I want to utilize this free hours to take her home, if I miss this opportunity, I don’t know when next such will come by again” He explained sincerely
“But I explained to you I was sick” she said faking her voice and coughing profusely
“Fortunately you look fine and healthy to me, plus your daughters are around and can help you out. It’s been long she met with her siblings and cousins so she needs to go” My dad strongly said tapping my back.
“Go dress up we need to leave now if I want to make it back before five pm” he said glancing at his wristwatch.
I sprang up from his laps and raced upstairs. I nearly pushed my aunt Agnes down as I didn’t remember she was by the door. Thankfully I haven’t unpacked my bag yetvso my stuffs were still intact. To avoid stories that tickles, I just washed my v*gina, legs and face and splatter my vaseline all over them. I slid into my old gown, hijacked my bag and raced down the stairs. I was sure I didn’t waste up to a minute.
“Ask her, if she agrees then no problem!” I heard my dad say to mama as I got there. Mama cleared her throat.
“Nne, stay with us for the holidays eh? I’ve spoken with your dad and he is okay with it but only if you agree” she begged rubbing my palms. I stared my dad coldly in the face but couldn’t read the expression there. So I decided to be me! I quietly disengaged my palms from her grip, and staring my dad straight in the eyes I asked
“Is the boot open, I need to keep my bag inside” dayd smiled and nodded. He handed the key over to me and without a word I walked towards the car. In my heart I just hoped my action answered her question. Who would spit out sweet to take in bitterleaf? Within seconds my dad was out and then asked me to say my goodbyes. Thankfully he was away from their sight, I pretended I had gone to say so but instead bid my beautiful pawpaw tree a goodbye. I ran back to the car and sat peacefully with my eyes shut.
The sound of the engine starting made me fall asleep, I slept all through my journey to freedom. I wanted to surprise myself when I wake up.
But the question that kept ringing in my heart was “will this freedom be permanent? Or is it going to be one of those holiday freedoms where I still have to go back after it ends? Whichever way, I have to make plans and ensure this my new found freedom remains permanent!!!!
But till then, I had ice cream and cake in the car. My hunger came back calling. A stomach never forgets
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