Yeni stopped dead as she saw the little boy. He was still wearing the blue and white stripped T-shirt, and the base rolled wrangler jeans. Little hairs can now be noticed on his head as opposed to the previous day. His oval face was oily like one rubbed with a petroleum jelly cream.
“Who the hell released him from the police custody?” Yeni asked herself, slowly and softly in a voice that wasn’t too audible. She pulled the hand bag that was tucked at her right elbow to her right shoulder. She then moved closer towards the little boy and looked sternly at him.
The little boy looked undisturbed at the stern look Yeni was giving him. He adjusted his legs, and then placed his hands akimbo.
“Who released you from the police station?” Yeni barked at the little boy.
The little boy eased out a smile that spread across his oval face, but he didn’t move his body. He stood still like one of those statues sculptors built. Only his lips moved, and out came a word,
Yeni was startled. She once lived at Abule-Iroko. In fact she was deployed there during her NYSC. She moved closer to him and held him at his arms.
“What do you mean by Abule-Iroko?” Yeni asked the little boy pretending as if the name didn’t ring a bell.
“Abule-Iroko dumps,” the little boy said, “Look into my eyes and see.”
Yeni stared at his eyes for some seconds, and she quickly released the little boy’s arm.
“No it can’t be, you must be a ghost.”
Yeni stood up, picked up her bag and moved quickly towards Under-G. The little boy followed her slowly like a stalker.
Her face got warped up as she squeezed it; her movement was swift and scattered. The little boy followed her as she walked to 250LT. She tried to ignore him, but it wasn’t easy to ignore a reality. Her mind was seriously cogitating on Abule-Iroko dump that she entered 250LT absent minded.
She didn’t focus in the class as the lecturer; Dr Abdul hammed, taught about the kinetics study of the bioaccumulation of carotenoids in tomato cultivars. She didn’t even know when the class concluded.
Everyone who looked into her eyes knew she was disturbed. She didn’t even notice when Aisha, her bosom friend came to her side
“What is wrong with you?” she asked, “You look too dull, or is it Kamal again?”
Yeni didn’t reply. She just exhaled exothermically.
“Yeni, it’s you I am talking to,” Aisha said, with a voice a bit louder than normal.
Yeni shrieked like someone who has just been stung by a scorpion.
“Sorry Aisha, I was thinking about my Grandma who died last week, I would really miss her,” Yeni lied.
“Just take it easy o. At least she was 95 years old when she died.”
“Yes, I just miss her.”
“Miss her ke, someone you always complain about. She is always on your head all the time.”
“Yes now, sometimes it happens like that,” Yeni replied, already getting stressed out by the conversation.”
Aisha checked her time.
“Oops, am late. I have to see Dr O.S. Bello, he asked me to see him by 3.0 Clock. I would see you at the guesthouse,” she said, before she hurried down the stairs of the lecture theatre.
Yeni quickly let Aisha’s gesture out of her mind and continued her thoughts. Soon she rummaged into her days in Abule-Iroko which had now come to haunt her, trying to place the little boy somewhere in her past. All of a sudden, her phone rang. She shut the doors of her thoughts and picked up her phone. It was Kamal, her boyfriend.
“Hello darling?” she greeted.
“Where are you at? Am at the guesthouse, and the security man said you are yet to return,” Kamal inquired.
“That’s true. I stayed back in school to catch up with my studies, I haven’t been reading lately, and my pre-data seminar presentation is around the corner.”
“It’s good to hear that, but I have great news for you. Come right away. May we not be absent where we are celebrated.”
Yeni packed her book. She afterwards took talc powder from her bag, shook a little of it on her left palm, and then applied it to her dry face. She then brought out a mirror to adjust the uneven concentrations of powder on her face. Having done that, she carried her bag anchored it on her right shoulder, and moved out of the lecture theatre.
As she took the first step out, the thoughts of the little boy resumed. She began to fidget. Her powdered face turned pale when she turned right and saw the little boy seating at a vantage point under the mango tree beside the lecture theatre. Immediately the little boy saw her, he stood up and walked straight towards her.
Yeni looked forward and pretended as if she hadn’t seen the little boy. She walked briskly to the unnamed tarred street that the senate building was situated. She had planned to pass through the Work department, and then access Under-G via that route which was much shorter than the main road. She glanced backwards and saw the little boy running to catch up with her.
Yeni stopped walking and waited for the little boy to catch up. As soon as the little boy caught up, she held him by his arms so tightly that the little boy cried out. She released the grip, and before she could say anything, the little boy said:
“If you don’t tell your boyfriend about Abule-Iroko dump, your engagement would be ruined,” the little boy warned.
Yeni held him again in his arms and looked him straight in the eye, “Shut up, I am not engaged it him, mystery boy, I only met him last month.”
“He is going to propose to you tonight,” the little boy prophesized with confidence.
“I see, and you are going to disrupt the plans if I don’t tell him about Abule-Iroko dump?” Yeni guessed, “But I won’t let that happen.”
Yeni carried him up and moved towards the guesthouse. She planned to carry him to the guesthouse and tell the security man to handle him, but as she passed the Works department, a new idea teleported into her thoughts.
There was an uncompleted building near the Works department. The building was near completion, and the only thing it needed was windows and doors. Thick shrubs were already growing on the compound giving it the perfect look that it had been abandoned for a while. Yeni looked right and left to make sure no one saw her as she carried the little boy into the uncompleted building, then she tied his hands and leg. She took her handkerchief and was about tucking it inside his mouth, when the little said:
“Mummy, please do not kill me, please.”
“Who is your mother? Short man devil,” Yeni asked rhetorically before going ahead to tuck the handkerchief in his mouth.
Satisfied the boy couldn’t struggle to get free and he couldn’t shout for help. She heaved a sigh of relief, and then she proceeded toward Doyin guesthouse.
On her way, her thoughts about the whole incident intensified.
“Why? The little boy called me Mummy.” she told herself.
Still thinking it deep, she summed the product with the little boy’s incessant mention of Abule-Iroko. The result was astonishing to her.
“No it can’t be him,” she mumbled. I placed him in a basket without any cloth, and kept him on the dump early in the morning when the dew was very fresh. I watched him for four good hours, and nobody picked him up. Three hours is enough for a seven month old baby to die now. She thought.
She tried to escape the thoughts, but they kept resurrecting. She tried to think of Kamal, her heartthrob, but she couldn’t go past his name.
“That’s was seven years ago, and the boy looks like a seven year old. In fact she has your eyes; the nose is a match; and the face is certainly yours… he is your Son!”
“No, it can’t be,” Yeni shouted, trying to ease the thoughts out of her mind.
The thoughts kept rushing in like dam water rushing through a floodgate. She kept fighting them, but her efforts were like someone trying to divide water with a knife.
She reached Doyin guesthouse, and was surprised to see a crowd waiting for her. The crowd consisted of fellow postgraduates, and a few friends of Kamal. Yeni was about asking from her friends about the unusual gathering when Kamal came forth within the crowds. He was wearing a black suit, with a white shirt underneath, and well anchored with a red coloured tie that fitted him greatly. He knelt before Yeni, drawing out his hands with an open ring case.
“Will you marry me?”
Yeni couldn’t believe. The first proposal she ever got in her 27 years of existence, and six failed relationships. She smiled joyfully and said;
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Say YES,” Aisha chipped in.
“YES, I will,” she finally said.
The crowd buzzed and started singing. Kamal stood up and kissed Yeni. Adrenaline spread through her system as the kiss effect electrified her body. She was lost in the realms of her wonderland when she felt a hand tapping her in the thigh. She released the kiss and looked down. She was shocked to see the little boy.
The words “If you don’t tell your boyfriend about Abule-Iroko dump, your engagement would be ruined,” rang in her ears….
She slumped and fainted.