GENERATIONS II


Dear friends, I should apologize for staying away for two weeks. I have not gone AWOL again o. Just tidying up a few things that you guys will begin to enjoy on tpc come 2014. Here’s the second episode of Generations. I have decided to compensate for two weeks lost by posting twice tonight. Generations III will follow shortly, so read fast (lol). Please enjoy. As always I appreciate your comments.

 

Rolawe held Kike’s hands in a dark corner behind the University Chapel wondering if she had the right words to offer her friend.  She wondered why she asked Kike to come to fellowship after so many months of her absenteeism, as she listened to heart wrenching experiences her friend had been going through.

“Please hold me gently.  Because of Emeka, I get afraid when people hold me.” Kike’s eyes were glued to the floor escaping the prying eyes of her friend.

“Whenever he holds me like this, I have to endure a slap a few seconds after.” She sobs.

“And I love him. I love Emeka.” Her eyes grew misty with tears for the umpteenth time that evening.

“I understand you love him, but you must know that you’re in an abusive relationship where everything happening is eating you up from the inside every day.”

“Emeka is all I got. I don’t have a mother.  I never knew my father. I don’t even know if he’s alive.” Kike’s voice sounded desperate. Rolawe wrapped her arms around her shoulders while she led her to sit on a bamboo stick under the palm tree.

“Sweetheart, please listen to me. You need to walk out of that relationship, and get back to God. Get back to the one who knew you when you were still in your mother’s womb.”

Who knew me while I was still in my mother’s womb? God !Yeah Right! Did he know that a runaway tout in the university was responsible for my conception?

Sitting still and looking up the dark open sky for a few minutes, Kike convinces herself that she can have the best of God and her relationship. She realizes that despite Emeka’s bad temper, he is still a great lover.

“On the whole Emeka is not such a terrible guy.” She breaks the silence

Rolawe, who had been muttering prayers under her breath looked up at her friend in astonishment.

“And that’s a guy who slaps you silly every now and then?” She said looking into Kike’s eyes.

“Stop the exaggeration. He doesn’t slap me every now and then. It happens only once in a while.  He loves me silly Rolawe, that’s why he always comes begging to have me back in his life.”

Kike’s response disarmed her friend, who is staring at her awestruck.  Her friend’s story was only familiar with fiction she came across every now and then; women who endure abuse in their relationships until something bizarre like death severes the relationship.

“But, you just told me a few minutes ago that he slaps you every now and then. I cannot believe this. Would you rather stay with a man who abuses you every day, than get a closer relationship with God?”

“My relationship with God does not stand between Emeka and I. They are two different relationships Rolly. I appreciate your time and concern, but I have to go now.” She tightened her grip on her handbag, and pushed her body up in a bid to leave. Rolawe’s eyes widened with amazement, but she thought to give her friend a final reason to think hard about Emeka.

“I hear he is in a confraternity.” She threw the jab.

“I also hear too. He has managed to keep me out of the picture as far as that is concerned.” Kike’s heart skipped a beat when she remembered again that her mother told her that her father was a cult member in his time. She feared she may be making the same mistake her mother made back then. Creating a farce by tightening her with a frown, she walked away into the darkness of the evening.

“Love endures all things. Even pain!” She muttered under her breath.

               

                                                                                DECEMBER 1988

Rummaging through his mother’s room in the family pent house in Ikoyi, James searched frantically for his international passport.  It was already 10pm on that fateful Saturday night, and he feared that by morning, Ezigi would have mobilized the boys from University of Lagos for a manhunt for him. The fear of death was stronger than reason.  The apartheid was still on in South Africa, but that was the only country he could elope to especially when he still had a valid visa. Money was not a problem; his account with Bond Bank had enough equivalent rands to keep him in a decent hotel for a few weeks.  It was at this point he wished his father had purchased houses in the African country amongst his numerous property investments all over Africa and Europe.  Mr. JC as his father was popularly called in the family circles, always said the country was for the white man, and no matter how much the blacks fought, they will still be subject to the superiority of whiteness. Damn those arguments. A young man needs to disappear for a few weeks. Lay low!

After thirty minutes of the long search, he found the passport hidden at the bottom closet of his mother’s huge trinket box. The trinket box was a reminder of that famous state trip to Saudi Arabia, where it was purchased. The then President of the Federal republic had organized a state visit in company of all the Ministers, and Mr JC had decided to have his family fly with him. Flipping through the numerous visa pages, he realized the South African visa was expiring by the end of the year. It was the 11th of December. His puerile mind figured he may be able to apply for a visa to the United States from South Africa.

Scribbling a few things on a piece of paper, he planned his itinerary for Monday, from the bank to a travel agent, to the airport. He stepped out of the house, and called out to the gateman.

“Kasali. Go open gate.” It was almost midnight.

He jumped into the taxi that brought him home jolting the Taxi driver who had been enthralled by the opulent display of wealth all around the compound and the building. 

“Airport Hotel…Kasali, when Mama return from Abuja, tell am say I go call am.” The gate flung open and the engine of the car roared through the streets of the estate.

 

                                                                               

SEPTEMBER 2012

Kike closed her eyes tighter in an attempt to ignore the vibration of her phone under her pillow. It was 7.00am on a Saturday morning, and she had no plans to start her day early. She reached for the phone with closed eyes and pushed it under the mattress to muffle the sound further. She was too lazy to look at the phone to know her caller.

“Pick up your phone please”. Emeka shouted from sleep after the phone rang a third time.

Kike dragged the phone from under the mattress and realized it was her Uncle Alamu on the phone. He called to inform her of the family meeting that will be taking place at 4pm.

“Oh, but the notice is coming a bit late”, she complained. Her Uncle was apologetic but made her promise she will be at Iseyin early enough for the meeting.

“I have to travel to Iseyin today.” Her voice was grumpy.

“Family meetings are annoying.” Emeka responded. “Sorry.” He rolled over on the mattress to face her.

“I won’t be back today. The meeting starts at 4pm.”  She sighed.

I have to go. These meetings remind me that I still have family.  Kike remembered her friend Rolawe saying there’s no family like the Family of God’s people just to encourage her to keep coming to fellowship. Her mother’s family was her family. God’s people are God’s people. It was just that simple.

Two hours later Emeka drove Kike to the car pack. After dropping her off, he headed for a private female hostel where he picked up Amaka, the girl he met a few nights before then at a bar in town. Amaka would sure keep him company while Kike was away till Sunday afternoon.

The family meeting started at exactly 4pm and Kike soon discovered that the meeting was all about her. Her mother’s brothers felt that it was imperative that she found her father.

“I never met him, but your mother said he is the son of a former Minister for Petroleum resources.” Uncle Alamu said.

“And, we hear also that the family still controls a few of Nigeria’s petro dollars despite the demise of the former minister many years ago.” Her Uncle Femi quipped.

“It is important that you find your father, Kike. He is your source!”

“Why the sudden interest in finding the man who impregnated my mother and abandoned her in school?” The focus of the meeting made her stomach turn, and she regretted travelling all the way down to Iseyin to hear her uncles ramble. They should be busier people. She wondered if they did not have weekend engagements to keep them busy rather than calling for hopeless meetings.

“Roots, my dear. Roots. Everyman has a source.  If your father is still alive, we want to meet with him.”

“You can tell that to the woman in the grave, not me. I don’t need a father. I never had a father all my life. Why would I need one now?”  Tears dropped down Kike’s eyes, as she remembered growing up alone with her mother. Things were very tough.  A university drop-out selling plastic at dugbe market, her mother struggled every step of the way to send her to school. The only reason, she may want to meet her father would be to hurt him; to inflict upon him all the pain her mother suffered.

“The last time I spoke with your mother, she told me she would love you to meet your father. She told me that every day, she knew he was still alive, despite his family saying they never set eyes on him since 1988.” Uncle Alamu explained.

Anger and the pain of growing-up made Kike abhor the idea of wanting to see her father.  The prospect of seeing him appealed to her sense of closure. Would the man they find be her father? Would she look, and talk like him? 

“Mummy said his name is James.” She looked around.

“Yes. James Akano. Son of Chief Adebayo Akano of Abeokuta.” Uncle Femi explained that he had done a little research, and one of the few literatures that existed about the family told a story of James as the black sheep of the family who was also the most beloved of his father.

Kike agreed with her uncles that it was necessary to find James Akano, the man who sired her and ran away. She, however, did not agree on the need to meet him; the knowledge of his status was enough for her. Was he dead or alive?

The meeting ended at dawn when the sun had just begun to set. Kike decided to travel back to Ibadan against her original plan. She needed to sleep in Emeka’s arms to assuage the pain in her heart.  A lot of thoughts crossed her mind as she journeyed back by public transport through the old Oyo Road.  She wondered if her father was truly alive, cursing him for abandoning her mother and causing her go through a harrowing nine months of pregnancy that brought her forth into the world. She remembered stories her mom told, of how she journeyed to Ibadan with her one month old daughter cramped behind a pick-up truck on referral to University College Hospital after it was discovered that the baby was badly jaundiced. The baby was a stark reminder of a teenage mother’s abandoned university education, the fruit of the unbridled libido of a spoilt rich boy from Lagos, and a reminder of the naivety of a teenage girl’s love for her boyfriend. Kikelomo wanted to see the boy and scratch off the tribal marks on his face till they became big wounds. She did not want to see the man; James Demilade Akano.

 

 

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