If you have not read the previous chapter, please catch up here.

The knocks came on again, this time harder, with a syllable of my name accompanying each knock…

“Fe-ran-mi”

Oh! I recognize this voice, it’s my aunt’s, and whenever it comes in this particular pattern, it means she is pissed. I swiftly moved to the door and opened it immediately.

“Why did it take you forever to open this door?”

“I’m sorry ma”

“What were you doing?”

“I was…”, I stammered, nothing seems to come out of my mouth as I couldn’t make anything up at all.

For few seconds, she stood still, staring into my eyes before looking away and scouting around for what I don’t know.

“Whatever it was you’re doing, come join me in the kitchen” she said and closed the door on my face. I was a bit relieved as soon as she left, so, I bent over to drop my phone on the bed when the door suddenly opens without a knock.

“I’m coming now ma…” I said as fast as I could but to my surprise, it was Mautin, standing half way into the room and looking at me without greeting.

“Anty Feran, mummy is in the kitchen, but you’re here”

What do I do with this little disrespectful thing? I don’t blame her though, she is learning really fast from her mum.

Back on track.

So, I remember that very day clearly and her reaction even more lucidly. I thought to myself once again, maybe she has an idea of what her husband spoke to me about. Again, her words ring a bell as I find my way to the room.

“I don’t want you to be alone with my husband in any part of this house”, It resonated even more – tormenting me.

Just then, Oviyon and Mautin arrived with their dad. You can’t miss the grand entrance because while kids return from school, tired, my cousins return energetic – always so.

“Mummy, we are back” Oviyon screamed.

“Oh! my good Lord, they are here! This house will be on fire” I whispered to myself.

“My baby, you people are back” I heard my aunt say as she opens the door meeting her kids and husband half way.

I quietly sat in my room because suddenly I don’t know how to behave anymore especially around my aunt and her husband.

Whenever I welcome him back from work, he likes to give a side hug and goes on and on asking about how my day has been spent. With all sincerity, I see real affection whenever he asks the first question and follow up questions which depend on the first response – something my aunt has never done and will never do.

“Feranmi! what’s this smell” she screamed from the sitting room. I stumbled out of my many thoughts and staggered to her. There she stood with the kids.

“Ma” I responded.

She dashed into the visitors’ toilet and returned with a big frown on her face like an ancient Greek tragedy mask.

“So, you left the toilet for me to clean up after messing it” she spat

“But I have a toilet in my room” I defended, totally pissed. My aunt is definitely out of her mind and she has an ace up her sleeve I suppose.

“You used it yesterday” she roared

“E gbami. But that was because we were all here and it was just the number one which I totally flushed”

“What are you telling me. That I don’t know what I’m saying? Or have you forgotten that there was no light last night”

“Not for so long ma. The generator came on shortly.”

“So, are you saying I’m lying!”

“I’m sorry ma’am, but…”

“But what?”

“I’m sorry,” I repeated, wondering why she has just noticed the dirty toilet even when we’ve been at home all day.

“You never get to do things properly. Never. You can’t properly fix the kitchen nor sitting room, and now even toilet. If at your age, I was like you, I wonder if you will ever remember that you have an aunt somewhere” she said and moved away.

My eyes were swollen in tears for I have never been this humiliated in my life. For the first time, the kids understood the harshness of the accompanying silence. They walked quietly to their room and shut the door.

I heard my aunt argue with her husband and even though she was talking on top of her voice signifying that she was responding to someone, I heard no other voice at all.

This is unquestionably the peak. How could she do this to me? Is this an attempt to make me look filthy or what?

I walked back to my room with the tears now taking a free walk down my cheeks. I sat on my bed fiddling with my phone, not knowing what next to do.

“Feranmi” my uncle called.

Silence!

He took his time to explain that he wants me to help pick up something from the market and will like to drop me off. Sitting on my bed, behind the door, he sounded like he leaned over with his mouth set on the keyhole.

I decided to hide my tear-wet face behind a talcum. Then, I proceeded to the door, but he wasn’t even close. I walked to the sitting room which is literally 4 steps away. He was seated, dangling his car keys and shaking his legs, awaiting my arrival.

“Ready?” he asked with a happy face. He is always looking cheerful and I wonder if he gets angry at all.

“Yes sir. Oh no! my scarf…” I stuttered and turned to move back in.

“You don’t need a scarf Feranmi. Your hair is nice” he said smiling at me.

“I’m ready then” I said, smiling back even when I didn’t intend to. A happy soul will almost always bring out the best in you.

We walked out of the house without a sound from the children nor their mum. He motioned that I take the front seat as he got into the driver seat himself.

“I like your perfume” he said as soon as we were seated

“I don’t use a perfume sir” I said with a chuckle

“But I always perceive it when you’re around”

“That should be my talcum powder sir”

“Amazing. What brand is it? I can get one for my wife” he said, focusing on the road, as we drove out of the compound.

Next chapter please…

Author

Rebecca Maulome Padonu is an enthusiastic writer with a soft spot for factions. A RubyWrites 2016 finalist. She has completed several freelance writing projects, including BBC Media Action’s Drama series, Story Story (series 32 & 33).

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