“Mum, calm down. What do you mean?” I asked in a calm voice, even as my heart picked up speed in fear and I realized my free hand was trembling when Yinka picked it between his own and rubbed it gently. “Please can you come over as soon as possible as I can’t discuss this over the phone?” She said with a shuddering breath. “Okay mum. I will come as soon as possible. Please calm down in the meantime and take a deep breath.” I said with a smile. “Olajumoke, Please pray hard. I know we won’t have gotten into this trouble if we have had total faith in God and you are completely innocent. I know I have not been the best of mother to you but I want the chance to remedy that and I don’t want to lose you now. See you soon.” Her voice ended in a teary whisper before she went offline and that sound tore through me more than anything in the world. It also scared me as I wondered if my existence on earth was about to come to an ending truly because of my parent’s lack of faith and patience. Do I really belonged to a deity somewhere, a small God that believed he or she could truly control my existence on earth? The thought went through my mind and gave me a funny feeling.
“What is the problem, Jummy?” Yinka asked in a quiet voice and I jolted when I remembered I had a company. “It is a family issue. I think I have to start going home now.” I said as I got to my feet shakenly and he did the same as he looked at my face searchingly. “If you honestly believe I will allow you to go home with this state of mind, then you don’t know me. I will pick my car key. Excuse me.” He went to his bedroom and came back within a few seconds. “I am going to my mother’s place.” I told him as we got into his car. “I know the place. I was there a few weeks ago.” He grinned at me as he turned on the Ignition key. “It is not funny, Yinka. I have enough on my plate than to be adding this issue with my sister on top of it. What will my mother think if she sees both of us together? She will just confirm I am the wayward girl she has always thought I am.”I said bitterly and he slowed down as he gave me a long thorough look. “If your mother actually have that kind of thought in her head about you, then she is not worthy to be your mother.” He said quietly and I turned to look out of the window. “You don’t even understand a thing and I don’t know how you can vouch for me when you have not even seen me in years. People change.” I mumbled under my breath. “Please make me understand. Jummy, you had better get used to me being part of your life because as long as I know you still have feelings for me, I won’t allow you to walk out of my life.” He said firmly as he pulled into the road and joined the moving traffic.
My mother was in the sitting room when we got home and she got to her feet with a frown when she saw Yinka beside me. “Good morning ma. I know you were wondering what I am doing with Jumoke when you saw me with Adenike a few weeks back. Jumoke was mine before we got separated years ago by fate and it was through Adenike we met again.” He said solemnly. “How is Adenike taking this? Is she aware of this latest development?” She asked as she directed the question at me. “I tried to explain to her on the phone this morning but I am afraid she caught us in a rather compromising position this morning in his house and I am sorry for hurting her.” I said quietly, waiting for the tongue lash that I was sure would come. “What were you doing in his house? I understand you know each other in the past but since Adenike is already engaged to him, I don’t think you should be involved with him again.” She said in a quietly accusing voice and I felt tension headache started building at base of my head. “I broke up with Adenike before I went back to Jumoke and I am not even sure Jumoke is ready to take me back because she is more concerned about her relationship with her sister for now. She is my other half and I will fight for her with my last breath.” He paused, holding my mother’s gaze until she looked away and he pushed me forward. “I believe there are more important issues to discuss for now, so I will excuse myself. I am waiting outside.” He squeezed my hand as he turned to leave the room. “I want you to stay please.” I held on to his hand as I walked to a two settee sofa and my mother watched us as we sat down directly opposite her. “Mum, how was your trip to ile-ife?” I asked quietly and she sat down with a heavy sigh. “The old man who attended to us when we visited years ago is dead and it was his son I met. I explained everything to him and after consulting the oracle, he said the woman goddess is very angry with us. He said we were supposed to have brought you back to the shrine several times as you were growing up for different sacrifices we promised her and now she is very angry. She want you back and she gave me seven days to deliver you to her shrine or disaster will struck.” She ended in a shuddering breath. “Were you aware of all these promises you made when you were desperate for a child?” I asked curiously and she nodded slowly. “I know and I remember but I didn’t take it serious. It comes to my mind periodically but I just ignored it and pray to God for deliverance.” She said with a faint shrug. “What other alternatives do we have because I am not ready to die?” I asked firmly and she hesitated briefly. “The other alternative is to exchange your life with that of someone very close to your heart and who loves you from the depth of his/her heart. I volunteered to do that because we were the one that started the whole issue and you were completely innocent. He said we don’t have the kind of bond the woman goddess needed between us and he even doubted if I was the one who gave birth to you. I would love to change that.” She told me quietly. It is too late for that, mum. I thought in my mind. “Mum, where is dad? I have wanted to ask you for a long time but I didn’t want to bother you. He went for vacation but never came back and his numbers were not going through. You were both responsible for the issue on ground and he should be here too to get it sorted out.” I asked in a heated voice. “I have wondered why it took you so long to ask since both of you have always being close. It was a messy issue. I caught him in bed with another woman and I asked him to choose between both of us. He choose her.” She said with a slight shrug and I sat upright abruptly. “Stop it right there, Jummy.” Yinka spoke for the first time since my mother started her narration and I clamped my mouth shut as I glared at him. My mother’s eyes nearly came out of the sockets as she stared at the man who just shut me up with one sentence. I slumped back on the seat and tried not to sulk. “I asked for a divorce on the ground that he shouldn’t contact the children and he should not let you know about what happened between us. He agreed. I did what I think is the best for us all.” She said as she spread her hands for emphasis. “You always know what is best for everyone.” I mumbled under my breath but Yinka heard me and gave me a sharp look. “Mum, I know I am not part of the family and I am not supposed to interfere but since I am here, I will give you my own opinion. Whatever might have happened between you and dad, Jumoke is his daughter and he has the right to know what is going on, considering it is a life and death issue. ”Yinka said quietly. “I know. It is a complicated issue but I will let him know and I hope we will find a solution to the issue on ground. We have lost a day already.” She said in a trembling voice. “Please calm down. Nothing bad will happen to Jumoke and she won’t die young because we will grow old together.” He said with quiet confidence as he took my hand in his and I nodded numbly as the reality of the situation on ground began to sink into my mind.
Barely an hour later, the door to the sitting room opened and my father came in. “Dad, you are truly here?” I asked in amazement as I got to my feet slowly. “Yes, baby. I am here. Come over here.” He stood just inside the sitting room door and held out his arms. I rushed into them and he hugged me tight, rocking from side to side the way he used to do when I was a child. Tears filled my eyes and spilled down my cheek, socking into his t-shirt. “I miss you so much, dad. Why did you stay away for so long without any sort of communication? “I asked in a trembling voice. “I am sorry, baby. It was a complicated issue and there is an agreement between myself and your mother that I have to respect but I kept tab with your progress. You won’t die young, Olajumoke, you are my precious baby and you did nothing to deserve this. I will gladly replace your life with mine if there is no other way around this.” He said solemnly as he held me at arm’s length and cupped my cheek in his palms. “I love you, Dad. I truly hope there won’t be any loss of life because I don’t want to lose you.” I said on a sob as I hugged him again. “This is amazing. Uncle Dewale?” Yinka had gotten to his feet and was staring at my dad in awe. “Yinka, what are you doing here?” My father asked with a frown as he moved me to his side and looked at him. “It is a small world indeed. I didn’t even know you have a family here in Lagos.” Yinka said with a small smile, looking from me to my father and back again. “Where did you guys meet? How did you know each other?” I asked curiously but before anyone could talk, the door opened and Adenike came in. She looked kind of different and we all turned to look at her with different expressions on our face but she was looking at me directly and a chill went down my spine. “Olajumoke Davies, you have over-stay on this earth. They knew something like this would happen and that was why they asked me to come after you few years after you left but I have a personal mission to accomplish now. He has been waiting for you to come back and is impatient. Please go back and let me have my man. I want my man back.” She didn’t scream but her words went straight into my head and a cold freezing wind swept through the room like a blizzard. Who the hell is this stranger with snapping eyes staring at me? I thought with dread.
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