POSTED 12/29/2017 09:55:13
It was their first time of travelling for Xmas since they got married. John woke up very early and examined the car to ensure it was in good condition. He opened the bonnet, checked the oil, added water in the radiator and readjusted the battery. He kick-started the car, throttled it with force so that the sound of the vehicle reverberated to a deafening crescendo, jerking everybody in the neighborhood to wake.
He nodded his head to affirm that the engine of the car was still in good condition. He removed a rag from the car and started mopping it. He left the car steaming to warm the engine and headed towards the room to pack the wife’s paraphernalia to the car as she was busy with doing other things.
He dressed his two kids, Hilda and Churchill. When he finished, he turned and still found his wife still staring at the mirror while applying her makeup, he smiled and shrugged his shoulders, that kind of smile that said, “Women and their wahala.” He didn’t want to hasten her otherwise, she would pick a quarrel. He was not ready for a quarrel that early morning. He rather went straight to the car and started hooting it as a way of telling her that time was going.
He went back to the room and met the wife set to go, they said a short prayer and moved towards the car. He opened the car door for the wife and kissed her forehead, he turned the other way and kissed his two adorable children, biding them goodbye with a wave of the hand as he stood and watched his wife drove out of sight.
He felt lonely. It was their first Christmas away from each other. He couldn’t make it together with them to the village because of the nature of his work. It was also the first time his wife and children were travelling to his village. His mother had mounted so much pressure on him to bring his wife and children for her to see before she died. Otherwise, if she died, her soul would not rest. “These old women, always using death to blackmail their children to do what they want from them since ninety gbigim,” he muttered.
He had no option than to let the family go, before he would hear stories that would not just touch the heart, but would imprison his conscience forever.
But there was a problem. The wife didn’t know his village. They had never gone there before. He gave her an address and informed one of his relative to wait for them in one of the junctions so he could show her the direction to the village. He kept calling them from time to time to make sure they were on the right track.
He left his phone in the office to attend to an emergency. He came back three hours later to meet ten missed calls from the wife and a text message which read, “sweetheart, I and the children have not been ourselves ever since we left you, we are MISSING over here”
His heart skipped and lodged on his throat. It was pounding violently as if it was going to come out of his chest. He dialed her number severally, what he heard was, “sorry, the number you have dialed is not reachable at the moment, please try again later.” He hissed, clenched his lips and threw the phone on the table out of frustration.
“This fucking network providers, always toiling with people's emotions!” he mumbled. He tried in vain to dial the cousin’s number whom he asked to go and wait for them at the junction, same story. There was no need dialing anybody’s number in the village since they had no network, but he did anyway, yet to no avail.
He wished he could develop wings to fly away to the village within a minute. To say he was devastated was an understatement. There was no better word to describe his state of mind. Why wouldn’t he be horrified and distraught when he was on the verge of losing his entire family? He was restless. Walking back and forth to nowhere in particular and muttering some words of prayer only him and God knew. He called his boss and told him about it, and that he was travelling to the village the next morning. His boss granted him the permission.
He sat on his bed, lost in thought as he heard the breaking from the radio that left his adrenaline rushing and goose bumps flooding all over him. The news was about a family who had a ghastly motor accident along that same road the wife plied. That was the last straw. He couldn’t sleep a wink. He kept awake all night praying for day dawn, which seemed like forever.
Before cock crow, he was already set to travel. He got to the village and met the wife and children hale and hearty. Jolted with the excitement of seeing him, the wife ran to caress him, kissing him all over. The village people stood with their arms folded and their mouth agape to admire the oyinbo version of love they’ve been seeing in films, live.
She turned and look at the husband with a wink and the husband scowl at her as he wrapped his arms around his children saying, “Why did you lie to me? Do you want to kill me before my time?”
“How do you mean?”
“Stop asking as if you don’t know! You sent a text that you were missing; little did I know you were only playing pranks”
His wife’s eyebrows furrowed in surprise. She perused through the text message she had sent to the husband. She cringed and pouted as a way of amusing herself for making such a silly mistake. She had meant to write, “Sweetheart, I and the children have not been ourselves ever since we left you, we are MISSING YOU over here.”
His mother turned to the wife and said, “Thank you my daughter for making such a wise mistake. Such mistakes were planned from heaven to reunite the heart of an old woman who had been estranged from her only son for so many years, only to meet her son, grandchildren and her adorable daughter in-law. Now I can die in peace,” she said as she smiled.
The next morning, grandma was found sleeping peacefully on her bed, wearing a broad smile with his grandchildren lying on top of her, she had died.
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