It is 3am back in Nigeria, a man in a white vest and wrapper comes out into the open field of his compound, checks around to see that no one is watching and brings out his idol and a human-like wooden image.
Man: “Funke, the daughter of Aderibigbe, you cannot be successful while I’m alive in this world, HELL NO! There is no way that will happen. You think you can go to America, complete your studies, come back and be more successful than us? You Funke, a child that was given birth just few years ago going to America for a Masters degree? Over my dead body will you acquire that certificate. You think you are smart right? You escaped all our manipulations and graduated with a 1st Class degree again you escaped all the obstacles we sent your way on the road to prevent your journey and you are finally in America but that is how far you can go.
You are at the top now, you can’t go higher, begin to fall,” he picks up his Idol, places it on a wooden human image that he had carved and hidden in his bedroom. “Funke! Funke!! Funke!!! Never has it been heard that the gods summoned a human to a meeting and he refused to attend. I command you to ignore your studies in America, you shall loose concentration and despise pursuing your education there. You shall get carried away by a man and come back empty handed. Your journey to America shall be an exercise in futility It is me that say so!” he grabs a black and red thread, ties the human image goes back into his room and hides it under his bed, “As long as this image remains where I have hidden it, you will continue to behave foolishly until you return empty handed”
Funke tries to resist Kenny’s touch but he insists that he must make love to her, after all she is spending the night in his house.
Funke: “Why should I allow you sleep with me? I am not a prostitute.”
Kenny: “Where on earth is it written that only prostitutes allow men sleep with them? Didn’t your mother sleep with your father before having you?”
Funke: “That is an entirely different scenario. My mother was married to my father. We are not married, we are not even dating, as far as I am concerned, you are a stranger. A total stranger for that matter.”
Kenny: “Really? So, what are you doing in the house of a stranger? I am a stranger, yet you followed me to my house from the airport, you are sleeping on my bed and you say I shouldnt do?” While he is talking, he draws her closer and takes her lips in his. She tries to resist but a voice in her heart whispers to her, “Do it, Funke, it is a command.”
“No!, leave me alone! Don’t tie me here! Heeeeelp! Get way from me!” Funke wakes up with a start. “Oh God”, another dream again, she rues.
She has dreamt that she is at their village square in the middle of the night, at the place where three paths meet and she is confused on which way to take when suddenly a scary figure with horns appears from nowhere and grabs her by the arms. She struggles to free herself but he is too strong for her. He takes her to a tree nearby and ties her up. She tries to pray but she feels too weak to say anything, she tries to move her hands and legs but they are firmly tired to the tree then she wakes up.
She is tired and exhausted, she barely slept all through the night. They had made love endlessly and she enjoyed every bit of it. She looks forward to them doing it all over again.
Funke: “I think I have fallen in love with him, but this is unlike me, I just slept with a stranger, well it is a normal thing after all I am in America”, she says to herself. All she needs is food to eat and a good sleep. “Kenny! Kenny!, where are you?” When she didn’t get any response from him, she goes into the kitchen and restroom and there is no sign of him. Obviously, he had left the house while she was asleep.
She thinks of going to make something for herself from the kitchen when she remembers that there is nothing in the kitchen last night. She contemplates going out to buy something but she doesn’t know her way around. “I heard the buildings in America are similar, let me not come and miss my way. Even if I find a store, where will I get money to pay? All I have on me is N3,500. Where do I change it to dollars?” She reasons. She is still engrossed in her thoughts when she remembers that she needs to be in the University that morning for her registration.
She also remembers that she hadn’t called her parents since she left Nigeria, she feels bad. “Iya mi would have died of hypertension by now. I am sure they have been dying to hear from me,” She picks up her phone to call her parents but there is no network. “God, nothing is working for me since I left Nigeria.” She laments. She walks to the telephone in the sitting room and dials here mother’s number. Twice, it rings but she doesn’t pick. “Ma mi must have gone to the market”, she concludes. She dials her father’s number, immediately, he pickes the call.
Baba Funke: “Hello, tani, who be that?”
Funke: “Ba mi, it’s me Funke.”
Baba Funke: “Ah! Funke Omo mi ti dey America. Everybody come o, my daughter is in America, I now have a daughter in America.”
Funke: “Ba mi, how are you? Where is ma mi? How is everyone?”
Baba Funke: “We are fine. Why haven’t you called since you left, eh? Don’t allow me say it will not be well with you there o.”
Funke: “I am sorry, sir. It hasn’t been easy since I got here yesterday. In fact, I wish I can return to Nigeria right away.”
Baba Funke: “Return where? Don’t try it o. Stay there and don’t think of coming back without achieving what you went there for. No matter how difficult it gets, remain there.”
Funke: “But ba mi…”
Baba Funke: “No buts. How is lectures, have you started?”
Funke: “Erm, I haven’t…”
She is trying to say something when she hears her mother’s voice at the background. “My Funke o, omo mi, give me the phone let me talk to her,” She grabs the phone from her husband’s hand.
Mama Funke: “How are you oko mi? You almost killed me when I didn’t hear from you. I think say bad thing don happen for road.. I say I no go go market until I hear your voice.”
Funke: “I am fine, ma.”
Mama Funke: “Okay, face your studies, don’t give our enemies the opportunity to laugh over us o. The other day, that woman that sells ori close to my stall in the market was laughing at me and saying…
The receiver goes off, “ Hello, ma mi, are you there?” She drops the telephone and sits down buried in deep thoughts.
Kenny gets back at about 6:00pm. Funke is angry and tensed, she had managed to find biscuits to eat and taken soft drinks but she is nervous. She does not want to loose her scholarship and she knows that wasting time can be dangerous.
Funke: “Kenny, why did you do this to me?”
Kenny: “Why did I do what?”
Funke: “You were supposed to take me to my school this morning. Do you know what the implication of not resuming today is?”
Kenny: “Well, I didn’t lock you in the house. Why didn’t you go yourself?”
Funke: “I don’t know anywhere around here and you promised to take me there.”
Kenny: “Okay, I will take you there tomorrow but you need to make my dinner and warm my bed tonight.”
Funke: “What! No way, there’s no way I am going to fall for that again. I will find my way to the school tonight”
Kenny: “The University is about two hours drive from here, you cannot start moving around yet. You try anything stupid, you get deported back to Nigeria.”
She froze, unable to make up her mind on what to do.
Funke’s father is awaken up in the middle of the night by a bird singing close to his window, he thinks of getting up to chase the bird away but he kicks the thought out of his mind. “What sort of a bird will perch on my window singing at this time of the night?” he thought. Suddenly, he remembered the dream he had; he had dreamt that Funke was drowning in a river and while he ran to save her, he stumbled and fell. He was about getting on his feet to help her when the sound from the bird woke him up. “Ah, this is no ordinary dream, I all is well with my daughter in America.” He starts to pray calling on God to save his daughter, few minutes into the prayer, he falls into a deep sleep.
It is exactly a year since Funke left Nigeria for USA. She has been able to start her Masters programme in the University but Kenny is a big distraction to her. She remembers how she had to sleep with him all night because he had insisted she does that before he would take her to the University. She thinks of her parents and how disappointed they would be at her. Currently, she has four carry overs and is unable to finish her coursework talk more of her project. Several times she thought of withdrawing from the University and going back to Nigeria but she couldn’t face her parents and she is deeply in love with Kenny, she cannot afford to leave him all alone. She didn’t care about the Masters degree anymore, all she wants is to marry Kenny, only that way can she find fulfilment. Ever since she got to America, she has been living with him.
She abandoned the accommodation provided her by the University and moved to his place. She cleaned, cooked for him and slept with him. She is always willing to do everything to please him so long as he remains hers alone. But, she is disappointed at how her academic life is suffering as she is always with him. Recently, she started avoiding her parent’s calls as guilt overtook her conscience.However, her uncle-Kate’s father had been calling her every week to ask after her studies. “uncle is such a nice and caring man”, she thought
Her phone rings, it is Kenny calling, her face takes on a radiant look.
Funke: “Hello, Love. How are you?”
Kenny: “Hi baby. Where are you?”
Funke: “I am home. Anything?”
Kenny: “I will soon be on my way back, could you get ready in one hour? I want to take you out on a date.”
Funke: “Sure, Love. I will be ready. Kisses.”
She feels elated, Kenny sure knows how to make her happy which is one of the reasons why she ignored every other thing that she didn’t like about him and concentrated on his good virtues. She is about stepping into the bathroom when her phone rings, she runs to it expecting it to be Kenny’s call. It is her mother, disappointed, she throws back the phone on the bed and goes into the bathroom. “Mtchew, ma mi can call somebody anyhow. What doe she want to tell me that she hasn’t said before? Abegi, I am no longer a child.”, she said to herself. Her mother keeps calling and she ignores the call, “I hope my daughter is fine, this one wey she never call and she no dey pick my call. If I know the road to that America, I for go find her for there”, her mother thought aloud.
When she comes out of the bathroom, she dials her mother’s number.
Mama Funke: Omo mi, you will not kill me before my time o. How are you?”
Funke: “Mama I am fine. How is everyone? Why are you calling?”
Mama Funke: “e ma binu, omo mi. I didn’t know it is the wrong time to call. I haven’t heard from you in weeks and I was worried, thats why I called. Pele, shogbo? Erm, when are you coming back? you have been gone for two years now and…”
Funke: “Ma mi, please, I need to rush out now. I will call you later. Kenny will soon be here and I don’t want to keep him waiting.
Mama Funke: “Ta ni Keny?”
Funke ends the call and drops the phone without answering her mother.
Question: Who is the man behind Funke’s ordeal? What is the meaning of the dream her father had? Will she triumph at the end?
…SEE Episode 10 Below
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