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Silent Ride

It’s a Sunday afternoon. Morenike’s sitting on the balcony. She’s expecting, Dejumo, her brother who comes straight from Church to see her. Every week he comes to have Sunday lunch with her. She hopes he’ll stay much longer with her today and not rush off after the meal as he often does. She wonders where he rushes off to for she knows he doesn’t go straight home. He says his wife, Omowunmi, spends the whole Sunday doing the Lord’s Work – from Church she makes prison visits, from there to house fellowships. She doesn’t return home till about 8p.m.

He arrives with her favourite bran bread in one hand and a pack of bottled water in another. He’s so caring, this brother of hers! Pity he’s married to an unresponsive wife.

He invites her out. He says he’s come to take her to the new shopping mall. It’s his dream to own a mall. He wants her to see the latest mall in town. He wants her to go on the escalators. She lives in Lekki. The new mall is in Ikeja, quite a distance from where she lives. In fact, Ikeja is the other side of town. His driver doesn’t work on weekends so he’ll drive the long haul to and fro. She starts talking about the long drive but he cuts her short. It’s Sunday, so that’s no ‘biggie’. She goes in and freshens up. In the next 10 minutes they’re on their way – Ikeja straight, no diversion.

On the way, he says he wants to invite a friend and her baby to join them on the ride to Ikeja. He’d promised to take them as well so he’d kill two birds with a stone. He’s busy during the week – his official workload is so heavy that he rests all day on Saturdays. Sunday is his real free day. He’ll pick his friend and her baby in Surulere. She doesn’t mind at all.

After 20 minutes of driving, they get to Surulere where the friend lives. He gets out of the car. He tells his sister he won’t be long. About five minutes later, he comes out with his friend and her baby. He carries the baby while his friend carries the baby’s chair. He introduces the friend as Chioma.

Chioma kneels down to greet the older woman. She then puts the baby’s chair on the back seat. He gives the baby to Chioma who, with the baby in her arms, gets into the back of the car and takes her place next to the baby’s chair. She sits behind his sister. The older woman looks back and says hello to baby. The baby looks familiar to her. But it’s the first time Morenike’s meeting the mother.

They’re on their way to the new shopping mall in Ikeja. The journey is carried out in silence. Even the baby’s quiet. The journey from Surulere is smooth till they get to Maryland where they’re in traffic for 15 minutes. Morenike doesn’t want to imagine how horrendous traffic will be at that spot during the week. After many turns and manouverings, they arrive at their destination. A parking space is found in the large parking area. The passengers descend one by one. The older woman stands on one side. Chioma and the baby stand on the opposite side. The driver gets out of the car. He walks a distance and presses the lock button in the device he’s holding. He walks to Chioma and takes the baby. He and Chioma with the baby walk to join the older woman where she stands watching her brother, Chioma and the baby.

The Ikeja Shopping Mall looks mega to the older lady. They go up on the escalator, the baby still in her brother’s arms. They find an eaterie on the upper floor. Her brother gives the baby to Chioma and takes their orders. When he goes to the counter to place the orders, Big Sis is left with Chioma and the baby. Silence at first. Then Big Sis asks:

– Is baby a boy or a girl?

– A girl ma.

– What’s her name?

– Morountodun.

– A very colourful name.

Silence. Thundering silence. She doesn’t know how to converse with this ‘friend’ of her brother’s. He returns first with their drinks. He goes back for his. He comes back and sits with them.

– Sis, Chioma’s baby is mine.

Silence. Thundering silence.

– Mowunmi doesn’t know about it yet.

Silence. Thundering silence.

– I decided to introduce them to you so that you can be around when I mention it to Mowunmi.

Silence. Deafening silence.

 

Is this ‘goodluck’ jinx?

They say ‘be careful of what you wish for’. For yonks, PMB had been dreaming of being the captain of the vessel called Nigeria. Turn by turn the captaincy was rotated. It eventually got to him a year ago. Captains before him – especially the most recent – almost made the vessel capsize. The vessel didn’t have an even keel socially, economically and politically. The people who feared drowning, cried out and PMB heard their voices. PMB assumed the captaincy of the vessel and hoped to make it stable. But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for our captain. The vessel he’s piloting is constantly passing through muddy waters. Sometimes it rocks and other times it tilts. PMB holds on tight to the steering wheel. From time to time, he consults the compass to tell him the direction. Some other time he listens to the people. As the vessel is gaining stability another problem starts. The problem is now with the captain who’s having discomfort in his ears. This discomfort is quite different from that which one feels when water enters one’s ears. Lord knows we need to hear our captain’s voice just as he also needs to hear ours.

That’s why we beg the Most High to lend his ears to us and heal our captain’s ears. Shalom!

 

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