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Mimi ran to the back of her grandmother’s compound, her chubby frame covered with sand. “Mam-ma! Come and eat.” She carried her sand food to Mama, served on fresh green leaves.
Mama looked up from sieving raw pap. “What did you cook?”
“Eba and vegetable soup.” The four-year old beamed. “Taste.” She took a portion of the sand food and stretched toward Mama.
Mama pushed her bowl of pap just in time to avoid Mimi’s dripping sand. “Ha, Mimi my daughter. Keep it aside. I will eat it when your mother comes back from work.”
“Okay, Mama.” She ran off and Mama smiled.
Demi walked into the house later in the evening to pick up her daughter and Mama related the tale.
“She’s an angel, Demilade.” Mama smiled. “I’m glad God gave her to us.”
Demi nodded. “Yes, Mummy. I’m glad God gave her.” She peeped at Mimi who was fast asleep on the couch. “There’s—I want you to keep her for me, Mummy. I am going on leave and I want to travel out of town.”
“No, Mummy. I’m going to Uyo.”
“Don’t try to stop me, Mummy. I’m going. I already bought my bus ticket yesterday.”
Mama stared Demi down and when Papa came back from the landlords’ meeting he attended, could not convince her otherwise. They agreed to care for Mimi till she returned.
Demi did not tell her parents her plans but she knew they had a good idea what it was. It had been four years since she returned without her husband and with a gory story of deceit. Idem had married her a virgin, and loved her more than life. Yet he had lived a lie, deceived an innocent woman into following him all the way to Uyo, his homeland. She could never forget how Idem’s wife threw her out of their home while Idem stayed quiet inside the house.
How she found the strength to travel back with a two-month pregnancy over six hundred kilometres remained a mystery. But her parents had supported her all through. Her colleagues at her bank job received her with open arms. Slowly, Demi’s life returned to as much normal as being a single mother could afford.
Mimi looked exactly like her father, which made loving her harder. He was such a darling though, and the main motivation for Demi to seek revenge.
Her parents encouraged her to move on, explore other relationships but Demi would never let them know she had other plans.
Duru waited at the motor park when Demi arrived. He wore the same type of clothes Demi had always seen him wear, black denims, black t-shirt, black boots, a black worn leather jacket and he carried a black rucksack. Mama told her he had darkness behind his eyes. Demi moaned inward. Her mother would have a feat if she ever got to know Duru was going to Uyo as well, and to help Demi carry out her plan.
The journey took almost ten hours with two stops. Duru sat beside the driver and made no conversation with her even during the stops. She contented herself with her back seat and his silence.
She had booked a hotel online for both of them, and Duru, who boasted of having lived in Uyo for several years proved his mettle and called a taxi to take them to the hotel.
Duru was rendering a service and though what he asked her to pay nearly-cleaned out her savings, she was ready. And she had paid him half already.
She remembered Mama’s comments about him and smiled inward. Mama was right. Duru had a past no one dared inquire about. He was a go-to guy in Owena and had done one odd job or the other for nearly everyone.
His secretive attitude and mean demeanour made most people steer clear. He did his job, got his pay, and left you alone.
On one of the days she had to work late, she’d returned home to find her door broken into. Fear gripped her and she had run to her parents’ to spend the night. On second thoughts, she’d called Duru, who did a lot of jobs for her colleagues. To her surprise, he came that night to her parents’ and insisted on fixing another lock for her.
Mama said she could never get his tall, rigid physique, set mouth and dark eyes out of her memory.
The hotel Demi booked was more luxurious than she imagined and more expensive than what she saw online. Duru loomed behind her till she paid and the receptionist gave them their keys. A porter led them to two adjacent rooms.
Duru waited outside the door while the porter made sure Demi’s room was alright. When the young man moved to the next room, Duru stopped him.
“I’ll be fine,” he said in a low deep voice.
Sinmisola Ogúnyinka is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer and movie producer. She has a university degree in Economics, and is a Craftsman of Christian Writers’ Guild. She lives with her family in Pretoria, South Africa.
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