Tope and his family were stuck in Lagos. They could not travel to the village for the introduction as planned but Tope was not worried, after all, Chidinma would not be there to see. The introduction was thus, a small affair and within hours they were done. Seyi was all smiles and blushed at every turn. She had got what she wanted. By the time, she returned from Britain, she would complete the process and the man of her dreams will be hers. Two weeks after the coup, Seyi left for the United Kingdom and Tope left for Kaduna to join the military, who were now in power.
The Nzeribe’s still watched their daughter in the hospital, while Biodun moved from his father to Chidinma’s ward to check on her as much as he could. Before Tope left, he sent a letter to Chidinma. The messenger met Biodun as he was about to enter the room. He asked him what he wanted and he received the letter on behalf of Chidinma. He entered the room and saw that she was sleeping. Her mother who was seating tensely quickly got up.
Mrs Nzeribe: “I have to go and make food. I don’t know where Obi went to. This coup is exciting too many people.” She said, angrily.
Biodun: “it is alright ma. I will watch her until you return or he does.” He replied distractedly. His mind on the letter burning a hole in his pocket.
She nodded her thanks and quickly rushed out of the ward. Chidinma moaned and called out for Tope. Her eyes flickered as she struggled on the bed. Biodun looked at her sadly, until she stopped moaning and fell quiet. He sighed and sat down on the seat, Mrs Nzeribe had just vacated. He brought out the letter and looked at it. “this will be considered to be invasion of privacy but what will a letter from Tope do to her, if not hurt her more? I can’t give it to her father or her mother.” He sighed again then returned the letter back into his pocket. “I will wait until she is herself, then I will give it to her.” He thought to himself as he settled down to his vigil.
The academy was in a hustle and bustle. The military where in power. Their functions were no longer just defence now but now included governing. To be a soldier in this time was the best thing to do. Tope nodded as he entered the barracks and went to his allotted bunk. He dropped his little bag and sat down. He thought about Seyi and his last sight of Chidinma. He felt sad and sorry for her but there was nothing he could do. If he was to achieve his dreams, he needed a woman that could stand before his friends and associates without him feeling defensive or insecure. “Seyi will have to do.” He thought, sadly. He heard the bungle and he quickly rushed out of the barracks.
A month after the coup, Mr Okunola was discharged from the hospital and sent home to his family. He had gotten his speech to an extent but his motor skills still needed some work. His hand was still numb and his leg was still weak. Biodun took him home and arranged a place for him to be comfortable in the sitting room. Gladys was glad to be home. she quickly rushed into the kitchen to prepare a meal for them.
Mr Okunola: I am better able to do things myself and Gladys is here with me. Why not go join the military as we had planned?” he asked, watching Biodun intently.
Biodun: “I will go soon.” He replied, avoiding his father’s gaze.
Mr Okunola: “you are hanging around because of that girl, right?” he asked, nodding knowingly.
Biodun: “little one? No…I just want to be sure of where the wind is blowing in this country before I get involved sir.” He replied. Laughing.
Mr Okunola: “my friend, pack your bags and get to Kaduna. The military is in power now. If we use other countries where the military took over power as an example, then it stands to reason that they will not be too eager to return it back to civilians. Be in the midst of things, get a feel of what power feels like; the intoxicating feel of it and the damage it can cause when it is wielded without good conscience. Go there and learn and you will find yourself better for it. You are wasting your time here.” He said slowly, his words lisping.
Biodun: “I hear you, sir. I will leave soon.” He replied quietly.
Chidinma watched the afternoon through her window. Her leg was in a cast. Her ribs hurt whenever she bent or drew in a deep breath but she was alive. She sighed and stared. She had heard from her father that Tope had never been to see her while, she was in the hospital. According to him, Tope had gone to join the army, after going to see Seyi’s family with the intent to marry her when she returned from Britain. “it is a lie. Father must have refused him from seeing me. Tope cannot just leave after what we shared…no…he cannot be in love with Seyi. I know Seyi will be the origin of this evil tale…or she has a hold over Tope somehow. That must be it. She has a hold over him and she had made him go through with the introduction or she would reveal whatever it is to his father. He is very afraid of that his father.” She thought grimly. She sighed and looked at the letter from Biodun. She had not opened it yet. She didn’t know what he was up to but her parents where singing his praises and that made it necessary for her to be grateful even when her heart was not in it.
Her room door opened and her mother entered. She could hear her father, shouting angrily in the sitting room. “what is going on?” she looked at her mother’s face.
Chidinma: “why is father shouting? What happened?” she asked.
Her mother closed the door and sat on the bed.
Mrs Nzeribe: “we need to talk about where you were coming from when you had the accident.” She said quietly.
Chidinma gulped in fear.
Seyi looked at her mother in irritation. “father will pay for this. Why didn’t he tell me mother was sick and dying? Why let me come here with thoughts of fun times when I was simply coming to a dreary place to look at this pasty skinned mummy.” She thought to herself as she combed her mother’s dull brown curls.
Charlotte: “where is Heather?” she asked in a raspy voice, a cigarette in her hand
Seyi: “this smoking is what is killing you yet you still insist on smoking. I am tired of inhaling it please. I don’t know where she went to.” She replied, angrily.
Charlotte: “Well i am dying already, why i shouldn’t enjoy the process, i would like to know. So i hear you are pregnant for a man back in Nigeria?” she said, looking her daughter speculatively.
Seyi: “Yes, mother. And we are getting married as soon as i get back.” she replied, dropping the comb on the table and sitting down on a stool dejectedly.
Seyi: “these coup plotters picked a bad time for their coup o. They didn’t even consider how one feels…” she said, her hands on her cheek.
Charlotte laughed huskily then started coughing. Seyi got up and brought her a cup of water. She drank the water then she spat it out.
Charlotte: “get me the bottle in the third drawer. That is where Heather hides it when she thinks am not watching.” She said, still coughing a little.
Seyi walked to the drawer and opened it. Nestled on top of slips and old night clothes, was a half empty bottle of gin. She held it gingerly and looked from it her mother. Her eyes were alive with hunger in that ravaged face. “What am i doing here? Father why did you send me here? This is hell!” she cried inside.
Chidinma: “i don’t understand ma.” She asked, trying to buy time.
Her father bounded into the room, slamming the door open. His face was swollen with fury
Mr Nzeribe: “who impregnated you? Is it Biodun? Is that why he was hanging around you at the hospital?”He yelled at her.
Chidinma: “what? Biodun and i have not done anything and am not pregnant o.” She replied, in surprise.
Mr Nzeribe walked to her and raised his hand to give her a slap.
Mrs Nzeribe: “Obi!” she shouted. His eyes cleared and he dropped his hands and walked out of the room.
Chidinma stared at her father in shock. “He has never raised his hand at me in my life. What happened?” she turned to her mother
Mrs Nzeribe: “the doctor said that you are a month and two weeks pregnant.” She said quietly.
Margaret: “I saw you, brother Peterson.you are wrapped by a long python snake. You were struggling to get loose but couldn’t. Bro Peterson, the revelation i saw is too powerful. Salvation finally lies in your hands. You need to be more closer to God yourself. No Priest, or Prophet can do this but you ONLY. You need to take the fasting and prayers seriously and save yourself from this bondage.” she said, shaken by the revelation she had just received.
Peterson: “But it’s kind of hard for me to fast or pray alone. Can’t i find a Prophet fast for me?” he asked.
Margaret: “Not on this issue Sir. You’ve wined and dined with the devil. Blood and Water have mixed together. God truly loves you! That’s why He’s always with you. God really wants to take the Glory without sharing it with anyone. So that tomorrow, you won’t say it was, that Babalawo or that Prophet that prayed for me and everything was resolved.” she replied.
Peterson: “Hmm.. this will be difficult for me o.” he said, worry on his face.
Question: Is Charlotte a good example for her daughter? Do you think Peterson can face the task leveled before him?Do you think Tope was right to leave Chidinma?
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