‘My leg my leg’ Seyi who now was sitting on the floor cried.
‘Oh my God’ Mrs Cole exclaimed as she saw the oil stain on her daughter’s sky blue jean trousers. She quickly turned off the gas cooker and helped Seyi remove her trouser as she called on top of her voice to Mr Cole, who was hearing all that was going on but showed no interest.
Mr Cole staggered into the kitchen ‘what is it? Why you shouting my name like they are chasing you?’ he asked, obviously drunk.
‘Hot oil poured on your daughter’s thighs and that’s all you can say?’ she asked as she poured cool water on Seyi’s thighs.
‘So what do you now want me to do?’ he asked annoyingly ‘better take her to the hospital and don’t disturb me’ he said and turned around to leave.
‘Ha is that all you have to say?’ Mrs Cole was fed up of her husband’s lackadaisical attitude. She lifted Seyi up from the floor and supported her as they walked out of the kitchen to the main door. She shouted on top of her voice ‘Bimbo bring me a wrapper and the car keys. Bayo come out and open the gate for me.
Immediately, Bimbo was out with one of her mother’s wrappers and the key to their Toyota Camry, the only car they owned.
Mrs Cole wrapped the clothe around Seyi and supported her to the car. ‘Where is that boy?’ she asked and shouted ‘Baaayyyyoooo’
‘Mummy what happened to Sis Seyi?’ Bimbo asked with so much concern.
‘Don’t worry dear, she will be fine.’ She told her
Bayo came out confused, wondering what happened to his sister ‘mummy what happened?’
‘Just open the gate for me’ she told him ‘I’m taking Seyi to the hospital’ she opened the passenger’s side of the car and gently placed Seyi on the seat then rushed to open the driver’s side and sat down. She prayed that the car would not mess up like was its usual custom and thankfully, immediately she turned the ignition, the car started.
Bayo opened the gate and she drove out ‘take care of yourself and your sister till I get back okay?’
‘Okay ma’ he answered and shut the gate.
On the way to the hospital, she wondered why all this was happening to her. As she went deeper in thoughts, tears flowed down her face. She had tried all she could to keep the family together but the more she tried, the more the family seemed to be falling apart. She was getting tired and frustrated, her strength was failing. She was human after all, there was only so much that she could do.
When they got to the hospital, the wound was properly attended to. It was not a severe one and as a result, Seyi was not admitted that night but was allowed to go home on some analgesics.
They got back around 10pm, by that time, Bayo and Bimbo had slept. Bayo completed the frying of the plantain and served his sister and himself. They had rice and plantain and afterwards tried staying up waiting for their mum and Seyi but before long, sleep came and took over. Bimbo slept off in her brother’s room and he slept right beside her.
Mr Cole on the other hand left the house shortly after Mrs Cole took Seyi to the hospital. Since the car was not available, he decided to take a stroll to the nearby bar in the neigbhourhood and had not yet returned. It had been his usual custom so neither his children nor his wife expected him to be home early. The earliest time he got back was 12 midnight and he was almost always drunk and wasted. That period was his ‘danger period’, the period when everyone had to be very careful with him so he does not unleash the werewolf in him.
Mrs Cole recalled one occasion when he got back by 1 am. Seyi was the one that woke up to open the door for him. She was still sleepy when she dragged herself to the main door. The sleep quickly left her eyes when her father flared up and began to shout at her.
‘Didn’t you hear me knocking since?’ he raised his voice at her.
She got scared and felt the safest thing was to remain quiet.
‘Can’t you answer? Are you deaf?’ he shouted louder and raised his hand to hit her.
‘I was sleeping sir’ she said, her voice trembling as she bent to dodge the hit.
‘You were sleeping while I was waiting outside?’ He hit her.
She started crying ‘I’m sorry sir.’
Mrs Cole heard the sound and rushed out to where they were. ‘What’s happening here?’ she asked as she pulled Seyi behind her back like a mother hen would her chick.
‘Like mother like daughter’ Mr Cole said angrily ‘where were you when I was knocking?’ he asked as he staggered into the house.
‘You come at 1 am and are asking where we were? We were cutting firewood in the bush’ she answered sarcastically. ‘Useless man’ she hissed.
‘That’s it, woman I have had enough of your rubbish’ he began to hit and kick her.
Seyi could not bear it anymore, she ran out of the house to the next compound and began to bang the gate ‘someone please help’ she shouted on the top of her voice.
Their neighbour, Mr Aboderin rushed out ‘what is it Seyi?’ he asked.
‘It’s my father again, he wants to kill my mum’ she said in between tears.
‘Okay I’m coming’ he went back in and told his wife ‘Favour, I’ll be back. I want to help sort out an issue with the Coles’ he told her. ‘Please pray along, I need God’s wisdom, you know that man can be a hand full.’
‘Please be careful Emmanuel, be very careful’ Favour didn’t want anything to happen to her husband and father of their twins. It was a good thing to be of help no doubt about that but she was worried about her husband’s safety. She had heard screams and shouts from the Coles’ house a number of times and she always prayed for the peace of God to reign in that home.
Mr Aboderin followed Seyi ‘let’s go’ he told her.
As they got there, Mr Aboderin was praying under his breath ‘Holy Spirit please take absolute control.’ he prayed. He drew closer to where the fight was taking place, raised his hands in surrender and said in a calm tone ‘Mr Cole, please take it easy.’
Mr Cole looked up at him and gave him the ‘who-called-you-into-this?’ look.
‘She is very sorry’, Mr Cole’ quickly added, still standing some meters away.
‘She needs to learn a lesson in this house. As a matter of fact, they all need to learn the lesson. Nobody can treat me just anyhow’ Mr Cole so badly wanted to make his point.
‘I believe they have learnt that lesson now’ Mr Aboderin said gently.
‘No she hasn’t’ Mr Cole insisted ‘or have you?’ he said looking at his wife who was curled up on the floor.
‘Yes I have, please I am sorry’ she said with tears in her eyes.
Mr Cole pointed at her ‘don’t ever try that rubbish with me again, ever!’ he then stepped over her and went inside.
Immediately Mr Aboderin was sure Mr Cole had gone in, he rushed towards Mrs Cole ‘sorry ma, it is well with you in Jesus name’ he lifted her from the floor and took her to the sitting room and placed her on the couch. ‘Run, get ice block if there is or cold water and a towel’ he told Seyi. By now, Bimbo and Bayo had woken up but were too scared to come out into the sitting room, Bimbo went to Bayo’s room and locked themselves in his room.
Seyi rushed into the kitchen and got a frozen sachet of water and a small towel. Mr Aboderin put her through on how to gently apply cold compress on her mother’s bruises.
‘I’ll come back in the morning to check on her’ he didn’t want to stay there too long, it was not safe for any of them, more so, he didn’t want Favour, his wife to start getting worried.
‘Thank you very much sir, God bless you’ Seyi was deeply grateful.
Although that was the worst beating Seyi or her mother had ever received, things had still always been bad.
Mrs Cole shook her head sadly as she remembered all those nasty incidents. When she returned home from the hospital with Seyi, she used the house key which was attached to the car key’s bunch to open the gate and quietly drove in so as not to wake whoever might have been sleeping. She could bet a thousand dollars that her husband wasn’t home, it was Bayo and Bimbo she was concerned about. She turned off the engine and came down then opened the passenger’s door and gently helped Seyi alight from the vehicle then supported her as they walked to the entrance of the house. Mrs Cole opened the main door with the keys in her hand and together they both entered the house. She lay Seyi down on the three seater.
‘Pele (Sorry) Seyi, how are you feeling?’ she asked her, rubbing her face.
‘My thighs are paining me’ Seyi replied with a painful grimace on her face.
‘Will you eat something so you can take your drugs? It will help with the pain’ she told her.
Seyi nodded ‘just small’ she added.
‘Ok my dear, let me heat up the food. I’ll be back you hear?’ she assured her.
After she left for the Kitchen, Seyi reached for her phone which her mom had helped her keep in her bag. She saw there were a number of unread WhatsApp messages. Even though she was in pain, she still could not help keeping up with what was going on online plus she was having a very interesting conversation before her mother came to interrupt when she asked her to fry plantain.
She opened WhatsApp and scrolled straight to her chat with Goke, her newly made friend. She met him the previous week in the mall while hanging out with Sope, her best friend and she was fast becoming fond of him.
Sope was the first to take note of him that day in the mall. ‘That guy is fine’ she said but made sure she didn’t point a finger at the tall, slim, good-looking, young dude standing some meters away from them.
Seyi who was facing Sope and backing the guy, gradually turned around some 120 degrees to stylishly check him out. As she did, she saw herself making direct eye contact with the guy who by now was looking in their direction. She at that point wished the ground could open up and swallow her. She was so shy she knew if she was a white lady, her face would have been so red. She had no idea the guy was looking in their direction, if she did, she won’t have looked. She was sure of that.
As if meeting with his gaze wasn’t bad enough, he began to walk towards them. She initially thought it was in her mind, she was convinced her mind was playing games with her, she tried to tell herself it was not possible for a guy that fine to notice them let alone walk towards them.
‘Hi’ he said with a charming voice.
The word resonated in her ears, she knew the appropriate answer was either ‘hey’, ‘hi’, ‘hello’ or something of that sort but for reasons beyond her, her mouth just couldn’t seem to open to voice out a response.
Thankfully, Sope broke the silence. ‘Hello’ she responded.
‘How are you ladies doing?’ he asked with swag.
‘Fine thank you’ Sope replied, trying to cover up for her friend who by now was as good as dumb.
‘Does she speak?’ he asked pointing to Seyi.
It was then the force holding her mouth let go. It was like the ‘play’ button was pressed. ‘Who? Me?’ she stammered. ‘Em…hey..hi’ she didn’t know which one to say.
To be continued. Read Part 3 Now Here
What do you think happens next?