“Thank you for agreeing to this, honey.” I cover Daniel’s right hand on the steering wheel tenderly. He takes his eyes off the road to drop a tender kiss against my temple. My eyes spy Itohan at the backseat of the car where’s she is sleeping soundly, her mouth slightly open.
“You need this, baby. Who am I to stop it?” He takes over my hand and bring it to his side by the console.
“Thanks anyways.” I say softly and he just shrugs.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make it up to you once we get back to Lagos.” I trace my other hand up his arm and his head whips to face me.
“Don’t do that, woman! You’re going to make me turn this car and zoom right back to Lagos!” He says seriously and I giggle lightly.
“Don’t you dare, we’re almost there!”
“Too bad.” He grumbles but I can see a big smile on his face as he makes a swerve off the high way and unto the familiar red sand paved street.
“The red sand is almost nostalgic. Benin and it’s red sand. How long has it been since we finished our degree here?” I ask him as I look out the window.
“More than ten years?”
“Woah, I feel so old!” I exclaim with a pout but Daniel just chuckles at my exclamation.
“Are you also calling your husband old, Mrs Enabulele?” He asks with a fake frown.
“Yup!” I affirm and he throws his head back and heartily laughs out loud. A warm feeling takes over my stomach at the lines at the corner of his eyes.
“Who’s that?” Daniel suddenly starts to slow down.
“Huh?” I follow his eyes to find a lady dragging a big suitcase behind her. I can’t really tell what she looks like from her back form but Daniel is already pulling the car to a stop and getting out of the car. I quickly remove my seatbelt and follow suit.
“Honey.. what…” The words die on my lips as the woman turns around and I gasp.
“Osato? Osato!” I scream and bypass my husband to get to her. I pull the smaller woman into my embrace as soon as I reach her and she chuckles lightly in my ear.
“It really is you” Daniel says when I finally release her. Osato shrugs with a sheepish look on her face and both of them stand awkwardly starting at each other.
“What’s with the both of you? You should be ecstatic to see each other. You practically grew up together and in the same house for that matter! Come, let’s get inside the car. You’re heading for home right?” I take Osato’s hand and pull her with me as I make for the car.
“Honey, can you please put her suitcase in the booth?” I throw to Daniel as we reach the car and I open the backseat door for Osato.
“Sister Osato! You’re here too!” Itohan is quick to hug her as soon she opens her eyes to all the commotion.
“Look at you, looking all grown up, Itohan.” She pinches Itohan’s cheeks playfully and the younger woman bats her hand off. I leave them to their antics and walk back to take my seat at the front seat.
“You look so pretty, sister. I love the dark glasses by the way. Can I try them?” Itohan is saying as I settle in my seat. I catch her trying to retrieve the big ass glasses Osato has on but the other woman flinches back like she’s been burnt.
“Don’t!” Osato yells as she presses the glasses into her face and her eyes moves up to look at Daniel. My eyes follow suit and I see him staring at her weirdly.
” I just wanted to check them out. I’m sorry.” Itohan apologizes quietly and the car goes into awkward silence.
“Let’s just get home. Everyone’s just tired. Moreover, there are just too many things we need to catch up on, madam.” I point to Osato playfully to deftly change the subject. Daniel quickly turns back to the steering wheel and starts the car.
“Sitter Itoan oyoyo! Sitter Itoan oyoyo!” A little child of about two if I’m not mistaken, is the first to see our car drive into father’s compound and once I pull the car to a halt in front of the house, the child races for us.
“David!” Itohan pulls the kid up as soon as he reaches her and throws him into the air. He’s all smiles as he’s balanced on her hip.
“Whose kid is he?” I ask with an affectionate smile as the boy stare at curious eyes.
“What a cute boy!” Theresa is taking the baby off Itohan’s hip before she’s fully out of the car. A piercing cry rents the air as soon as he’s pulled to Theresa’s bosom. I start to look around for Itohan but only catch her back as she races into the house, probably to announce our arrival to our mother.
“Awwwn. Don’t cry sweetie. Do you want biscuits? Auntie will buy you lots of biscuits.” Theresa tries to placate the kid but his screams only become louder.
“He just doesn’t know you. Give the child back to Itohan, okay?” I say to Theresa.
“But I want to hold him some more.”
“Let me take him.” Osato who has been quietly standing back comes up to take the baby from her. I can see that Theresa doesn’t want to let the child go but I guess she just likes Osato too much. Who would have thought that their friendship would still be intact after so many years? Not me.
The kid settles into quiet sniffles once Osato has him resting against her breast. I breathe out a sigh of relief at the peaceful quiet.
“Why is he suddenly quiet now that he’s with you?” Theresa grumbles to Osato.
“Maybe you were carrying him wrongly. He looks like a jittery kid but you’ll know this because you’re also a mother. Where are your kids, anyways?” Osato suddenly asks which has me stiffening.
“We haven’t been blessed with any, yet.” Theresa says with a small voice and I quickly come to her side to put a hand around her waist.
“Oh! I’m so sorry. I really didn’t know. I just thought that you’ll have them by now since it’s been a while since you guys… What the hell am I saying! I’m being so insensitive. I should put a fist in this big mouth of mine.” Osato rambles off and I can feel Theresa’s mood turning.
“It’s not your fault. You didn’t know better.” Theresa says quietly.
“You can stop talking now, let’s just go inside. Mother must know that we’re here by now.” I cut Osato off with a stern look which has her clamping her mouth shut and switching the little boy to her hip.
“Let’s go, baby.” I whisper softly to Theresa.
“One second.” She tells me before pulling her purse out and pulling some money out to press it into the tiny hand of the little boy.
“I told you auntie will buy you lots of biscuits.” She tells the kid before she takes my hand.
“Let’s go.” My heart feels heavy as lead as I watch her try to put on an affected face. I can’t even do anything for her. I just hope mom’s solution works.