Chapter 3

      Tunde waited impatiently as the gateman battled with the gate.  He knew he ought to be happy to be home after a year like any other child would be, but he just wasn't pleased to be home. 

He knew he was back to the battlefield. 

Tunde's family was a wealthy one with once loving parents, but everything changed in a moment and his parents blamed themselves for it. 

Their house became a wrestling ring with his parents as the wrestlers, always fighting from morning to night.  He had to stay away from the house, even on holidays and lived in the hostel on University of Lagos campus throughout his University education to avoid their fights and screams and curses. 

He had always kept in touch with the house through the chef, Mama Ife. She was an elderly woman who had dedicated herself to his family because they had always stood by her when she was in need. 

The gateman finally opened the gate and he drove  his shining black-coloured Range Rover into the compound and parked his car.  He then alighted from the car to be greeted by Mama Ife and four new young maids. New because he had never seen them on his previous visit. 

"Welcome, Small Oga," Mama Ife greeted with a huge grin on her face, making Tunde shake his head slightly.

"Good afternoon, Mama Ife. How many times will I tell you to stop calling me "small oga"? I am your son also and I am not pleased with it," he stated with a smile which in turn made Mama Ife also smile. 

The other maids stared dumbfounded by Tunde's handsomeness. 

He did not look like the typical Yoruba guy. Instead, he looked like a half-cast judging by his caramel skin tone, his unruly and curly hair, well-defined and chiselled jaw, the gap between his two front teeth and to crown it all, his muscular body. 

Tunde turned to acknowledge the maids but they all just stared at him like a statue. He flashed them a smirk because he got that reaction often. 

He felt he was deserving of such attention, having obtained a degree and established a good business including ownership of franchises of boutiques and restaurants all over the country at the age of twenty two. He was a graduate of Business Administration which he had been forced to study by his father whereas he had wanted to study Law.

He made up his mind to come back to Ibadan to stay with his parents and also study Law in the University of Ibadan. Getting admission into the school was actually easy for him because he had a friend who worked in the Admissions Office. 

"How are they?" he directed the question to Mama Ife as they walked into the house. 

"The same,"  she replied.

At the same moment, a loud shrill voice was heard. 

" Mad man, foolish man. I don't know why I even married a useless and foolish man like you.  You are a good for nothing old man." 

Tunde heard his father shout in reply as he and Mama Ife entered the living room. 

"You are a prostitute, stupid man!  You are a good for nothing woman.  I made a grave mistake by marrying a witch like you. I was warned but I didn't listen."

"How dare you call me a witch? I don't think you learnt your lesson yesterday," his mother replied, re-adjusting her wrapper by tying it properly to her waist in a stance to fight as his father also got ready. 

Tunde quickly ran to separate them. 

"Mum, dad, why are you doing all this? Please just stop," he begged. They both turned to look at him and went to sit on opposite sides of the room. 

"Oluwatunde, what are you doing here?" his mother questioned while rearranging her iro

Tunde sank into a chair nearest to him in defeat and placed his head in his hands looking at his parents through his eyelashes. His eyes were fogged in pain and shame. When he finally spoke, his voice was laced with anguish. 

"I graduated from school and my convocation ceremony was held some weeks ago. But how will both of you know when all you do is fight all day? Well I am back home for now. I won't be able tolerate any fight again," he said. 

"If you guys cannot at least live civilly with each other, I will move out finally and there's nothing, absolutely nothing, that will bring me back here."

Turning to his father he said, "I have done the course you wanted me to do, now I am going to do what I wanted to do from the start."

Dropping the file containing his certificate on the table, he walked away without a glance back. As he looked around his room, he was hit by a bout of nostalgia, remembering the good old times. His room was in the same state as he left it. He smiled, knowing that Mama Ife was responsible for it. His bed was draped with black cotton sheets without a wrinkle in sight and matching curtains on the glass sliding windows. On his night stand stood an ornate lamp that lit up the room. The mini walk-in closet was large enough to contain his clothes that were neatly arranged and colour coordinated. It also served as a dressing room. From where he was standing, he could see that his bathroom was sparkling and filled with all the necessities. 

Mama Ife, unlike his own biological mum, knew his room had turned into his sanctuary since that incident. And he could see the effort she put into making it a haven for him, again. 

He laid down on his bed to rest for a bit to assuage the beginnings of a headache. As he shut his eyes, memories of the night of the accident plagued him. His mum's screams, his dad's pacing and his own muffled sobs. A body being wheeled into the Operating Room.

"I'm sorry."

Tunde jolted out of his dream-like state and sighed. Not again. He knew the dreams had been triggered because he was back home where constant reminders of his life before. Somehow he had not seen the picture frame lying on his other nightstand. He lifted it and saw a family picture in which everyone had wide smiles on their faces. Huge smiles that seemed like it could overcome anything. 

He wished his family could just return to that moment of laughter and joy. But this wish wasn't a horse and he obviously wasn't a beggar. 

After some minutes spent staring at the picture, he sniffled and wiped the silent tears with the back of his hand. 

Taking out his phone, he dialed a number.

"I will be there," he spoke into the receiver and hung the call immediately. 

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