The officers finally let her go after she had settled them with #500. On getting to the house, she met Mary bidding farewell to her husband who had just been leaving for work.
Mary: “Na wa oooo. Do we owe these sisters anything this early morning?” she murmured when she sighted Morenikeji alighting from her car.
She walked towards her with her face contorted in a frown.
Morenikeji: “Mary what are you doing here early this morning?” she asked sizing her up with her eyes suspiciously. She noticed she had the new wife glow.
Mary: “How is that any of your business? I should b asking you what you are doing in my house by this time”
Morenikeji: “Your house? Ehn ehn?” she clasped her hands together below her breasts. “You who was just like a daughter to my sister?”
Mary: “Story. What do you want? Hurry up I want to go inside. This is no longer like old times when you both order me around. Right now I am the madam so hurry, the clock is ticking and my husband will soon be back”
Morenikeji: “Ehn ehn? Wonders shall never end. So you are even proud of your new status as a husband snatcher? Anyway, did my sister come here?”
Mary: “Am I your sister’s keeper? Did you keep me here to monitor your sister’s movements? Please leave my house if that is what you came for” she retorted rudely.
Morenikeji: “This is your time to shine but don’t forget that whatever goes around will surely come around” she said, hissed and left her standing rooted to a spot.
She stood in front of their school for some time, still contemplating on whether to go in or not. After some time, she summoned up the courage and went through the gate but was suddenly stopped by the gateman.
Gateman: “Madam na where you dey go?” he said dragging his left foot as he walked towards her.
Morenike: “I came to see my children. Don’t you know me again?” she said forcing a smile at him.
Gateman: “I no know you o. Abeg make you dey go. Proprietress don com warn me now sey make i no allow you enter the school. Abeg dey go o, I no wan lose my job”
Morenike: “Why will she ask you not to allow me enter the school?”
Gateman: “I no know o. Make you call am on phone later on. I don tell you wetin she talk sey make I tell you”
Morenike: “Please just give me some time to see my children briefly and I will leave. Please for old time’s sake” she pleaded, bending on one knee. She had been good to the gateman and always joked with him whenever she went to pick her children. She occasionally gave him money too. He felt sorry for her, he wanted to sneak her into one of the classrooms but he knew the proprietress would be watching them from her office.
Gateman: “Madam abeg no vex. Na wetin my boss tell me sey make I do be this. No be my fault” he explained sympathetically.
Knowing he meant business, she turned back and left the school with drooping shoulders and unshed tears.
The proprietress stood by the window, watching the exchange between the woman and her gateman. She felt sorry for her, being refused audience with her children like that. “I wonder why the man asked me not to allow her into the school. What exactly could be happening between the two of them? Imagine him calling so early in the morning threatening to withdraw his children from the school if I as much as let her near them? Hmmmmm… the children are the ones I pity. What a shame!” she shrugged her shoulders and went back to her seat, pulling closer the file she had been working on before hearing their voices outside.
Miss Lydia noticed he no longer brought lunchbox to school and had caught him clutching his tummy several time in class.
Miss Lydia: “Abiodun” she called him during break time as he placed his head on the desk and clutched his tummy. He immediately ran off to her when he heard her call him.
Abiodun: “Yes aunty?”
Miss Lydia: “why is it that you have stopped bringing food to school?”
Abiodun: “Nothing” he replied looking at his toes.
Miss Lydia: “You know you can talk to me about anything right? What of your mum?”
Abiodun: “She is no longer living with us” he lowered his voice so he classmates would not hear him.
Miss Lydia: “Ah! Why?”
Abiodun: “I don’t know. Daddy sent her away” tears welled up in his eyes as he remembered the events of that morning.
Miss Lydia: “Hmmmmmm na wa o. Just like that? did you eat this morning before coming to school?”
Abiodun: “No. My father’s wife will not allow us touch the food in the mornings and gives us only small food when we reach home. we eat once in a day now” he replied sadly and his stomach grumbled in response to his revelations.
Miss Lydia: “Jesus Christ! Ah! Please tell your dad or your step mum to come to school with you during open day which is a public holiday. I want to speak with your dad especially”
Abiodun: “He will beat me if I even get close to him”
Miss Lydia: “Okay, I will give you a letter but make sure you give it to him okay?”
Abiodun: “Okay aunty”
Miss Lydia: “Here is my own lunch, go and bring your sister here so you can both eat it together” she stretched her lunchbox towards the boy who hesitated for some seconds before collecting it from her. he thanked her and went in search of his sister whom he found crying in her classroom while watching her friends eat different kinds of delicacies and snacks.
Later that night, he flung the letter at him after going through it…
Joseph: “Do you think I and my wife have that kind of time? If you want someone to visit your school then you should go find your mum and get out of my face” he bellowed while his wife laughed, stroking his moustache.
Abiodun: “But it was you who sent my mother away” he protested loudly not minding the consequences of talking back at his dad.
Mary: “Spoilt little brat! You dare talk to your dad like that?” she stood up and gave him a resounding slap but the boy did not bulge.
Joseph: “Yes I did send your mum away. What can you do about it? Would you like me to send you away too?”
Abiodun: “Yes. I am tired of living in this house with your wicked wife” he blurted out boldly, took step back and bounded for his room before they could both react.
Mary: “You know I told you, you are the one spoiling this boy? You don’t beat him enough. If i were you, I’d have beaten that stubbornness out of him. Imagine him calling me wicked?” she fumed, stood up and angrily left him looking lost in the sitting room.
In the dead of the night when he knew everyone was asleep, he roused his sister awake giving her signs to keep quiet and follow him quietly.
Kemi: “Where are we going to?” she asked drowsily.
Abiodun: “Shhhhh… your voice is too loud. We are going to where our mummy is or don’t you want to see mummy?”
Kemi: “Mummy? Yes I want to see my mummy” she replied excitedly.
They both tiptoed pass the master bedroom and into the sitting room which led to the exit door. He knew where the key to the gate was kept and so went for it as silently as he could.
Question: Will they be able to escape out of the house? Would you rather they stayed in the house?
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