Story By Kayode Odusanya
The small room was stuffy and dark with heavy drapes shutting out light from outside. He woke up in cold sweats, tired and lethargic. He had dozed off during a meditation session and didn’t know what exactly had woken him. David sat up in bed and took a deep breath before reaching for his phone from underneath his pillow. He had been sleeping through his alarms too much lately and it worried him. Without looking, he tapped his bed till his hand touched his handkerchief. Still going through his phone, he cleaned the sweat off his brow with the white handkerchief; two swipes back and forth like a car’s windshield wiper and threw the small piece of cloth back on his bed.
“David!”A tiny voice shouted out as the room door swung open, making him jump in the bed. A little girl walked in, eye level with him from where he sat on the bed. Her eyes was fixed on the standing fan beside his bed for a few seconds, before she looked at him and smiled, “He is here mom.” She said, and playfully hit the fan, before walking backwards out of the room. David frowned at her. As much as he loved her, he still wasn’t used to her calling him by name. He was about to get up and close the room door when she peeked into the room and said, “mommy is calling you.”
He lay back on the bed after she left, dreading what his mom would want to see him for. His eyes caught sight of the red light on his plasma TV hanging on the wall, realizing there was power. A PlayStation 4 console, two controllers and about half a dozen blu-ray discs packs were scattered on the floor below the TV. The video game was what had been keeping him company for the last couple of days at home. Although there was no total lock-down in his city, there was a 6pm curfew, and a lot of malls and hangout spots didn’t bother opening.
Toluwani was David’s little sister. Their parents had been separated for 3 years now, living in different states. David was the first child, and he had gone with his dad after the separation. His three sisters went with their mom to leave at their maternal grandparent’s house till his mom was able to get a place.
Things were cordial between their parents now, but it got ugly at some point during the separation. One time shortly after his parents had peaceful gone their separate ways, his dad had gone over to his maternal grandparents house drunk, shouting and breaking things, claiming his mother in-law was the one behind the issues his had with his wife. That day, an agreement was made for him to go with one of David’s younger sisters before he calmed down, and stopped being violent. But, within two weeks, he had returned her back when he realized all that went into taking care of a teenage girl.
Twice a month, they would do a swap on weekends, and David would go over to stay with his mom, while his two teenage sisters would go stay with their dad. This was one of those weekends.
He wondered why his mom wanted to see him as he got off the bed, wobbling as he made his way to the door. His medical condition had been getting worse over the weeks. He had just gotten back from a year in the north for his youth service, and his mom had missed him so much, so he decided not to break the news to her just yet.
His whole body shook, and he tried his best to keep calm as he walked out his room and headed down the corridor. He could hear his mom and Toluwani talking as he approached the living room. “Hey big man. Sleeping in the afternoon? That’s odd.” His mom said as she took a quick glance at him before going back to dishing food into a small cooler. She was a slender woman in her mid 40s that could pass for a 30 year old.
Her long black hair was in a ponytail, and she had on a slacked white t shirt and jeans shorts. He headed to the refrigerator, opened it and searched through as his mom said something in a low voice he didn’t quite hear. “So, what do you say?” She said and he turned around to look at her with the fridge door open. “Can you take your sister to her friend’s house?”
“Don’t leave that fridge door open.” She said and he turned around to look in the refrigerator, rummaging through it. “The place is not far. She will show you how to get there.” His mom continued as she packed a water bottle in Toluwani’s Frozen themed backpack. “What are you looking for anyway?”
“Oh! I threw it out this morning.”
“What? Why mom?” David said and turned around to face her.
“It has been open since Saturday.” She said as she zipped up Toluwani’s backpack, knelt down beside her and put it on the little five year old’s back. Toluwani kept her eyes on her brother, waiting for his answer to his mom’s request. All she was concerned about was heading over to her friend, Gloria’s big house to play. She didn’t care about missing fruit juices or Corona virus. “Besides, there are fresh oranges in the store. You can take that when you get back.” His mom said as she stood up and folded her arms, waiting for his answer.
David took a deep breath, turned around, opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water. “Hope the place is not far?” He said before taking a few gulps from the bottle.
Toluwani’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. There was a stern look on his mom’s face as she walked up and grabbed the bottle from him. “I told you to stop drinking directly from the bottle. That’s why you have cups.”
“Okay ma. David said with a smile. “Toluwani, let’s go.” He added as he headed towards the door. Toluwani ran up to catch up with him excitedly.
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