They arrived, at Bola’s house, to the absence of electrical power waiting to welcome them.
“Henry!” Bola called for the security guard as soon as he and Lola alighted from the vehicle.
“Oga I dey come abeg, make I quick close this stubborn gate.”
“No one has time for that, just answer me from there.” He cast an irritated glance to the unlit house. “Tell me, when did these people carry their light?”
“Ah, Oga, e don tey oh. Make I just say, na around that kind three them bin carry am komot.”
Lola shut her passenger door noisily. “Please would you just tell him to put on the gen? Because, God knows, this heat isn’t something I’m in the mood to deal with right now.”
Bola frowned at her. She was successfully causing his own mood to turn darker than the evening. “I was getting there. Madam.”
She ignored his surly tone and walked towards the house. “That’s good to know.”
Bola just shook his head and turned to Henry who was standing a few feet away looking curiously between both of them.
“Henry please just go and turn on the generator. But no go sleep oh! Madam will soon be here and I also need you to watch in case they bring back the light, you hear? Before all of you go chop my fuel finish.” He shook his head and followed after Lola.
There was a knock at the door.
“It’s open oh.”
Bola looked up from the intimidating amount of paperwork he was tackling on his bed to his mother who was standing in the doorway, still decked in her ‘church meeting’ uniform–an askew head tie, a dark t-shirt, a bold print wrapper…and crocs.
“Oh God. You’re still wearing this kind of thing to your weekly meetings mami? I’m starting to think you just want everyone to believe I’m a demon-child who is mistreating his mother.”
She looked uncomprehending at first and then walked to the full length mirror which hung beside his bed. Then, she hissed.
“Please Bola, if fashion were my calling, you would know. Mtcheew. People are thinking of what they will eat tomorrow and you’re here talking about my sense of style; God help you.”
Bola just smiled and looked back at the document he was holding. He always knew the sort of response to expect so it amazed even him that he still bothered with the woman. He glanced at his wristwatch absent mindedly. It was after 9pm.
“Has Lola gone?”
“Mm mmm. She hasn’t. I’m like you, one who lacks manners; who would leave a young lady who came to visit him downstairs pressing phone for almost an hour, simply because he had a tantrum.”
“Mami see –“
She raised her hands as though to cover her ears. “Please, please, please, Bola just save it. I taught you better.”
“E ma bi nu, mami, but wuoo, the girl was acting like a brat. Even after she’d annoyed me in the car with her silly threat I still tried to talk to her when we got home but it was as though shakara had pushed her head off her shoulders because she was becoming something else.” Bola shook his head, feeling himself getting irritated again. “I just had to leave her to wait for you before I’d get too vexed.”
His mother sighed and sat beside him on the bed. “I understand dear. But like it or not, her anger at you is just as real as how upset you are with her behavior now.”
“My Lord! Did she even tell you what it is I said that is eating her belly like this?!”
His mother nodded.
“Well, am I the only one who finds her reaction over-the-top?”
His mother shook her head. “Bola, you seeing it as a light issue is what is dragging this matter. It might make little or no sense to you but the fact is you have upset her. It’s different when you embarrass someone amongst friends or family but when it’s on a more public scale, it’s a lot worse!”
“She knows my guys now.”
“They are your guys…not hers’.”
Bola just kept shaking his head as he looked from the document in his hand, to his mac book, and back, grumbling the entire time. His mother looked at him for a few more moments. “She says she is serious about the threat she gave you earlier.”
Bola sat up then and pushed the laptop and papers away from himself on the bed. “Alright you know what? That isn’t going to happen so Lola can like to wake up from this juvenile dream she is having because I swear to God —.” He threw up his hands and then crashed them back on the bed exasperatedly. “This girl will not kill me oh. So now because of a stupid joke she now wants to make a fool of me. Of you sef mami?! Hiahn! No oh, she should better just arrange herself and be careful because nobody is playing here.”
“Bola calm down-“
“No really, does she think it’s funny? People told her they were coming to an engagement party to stare at my face and smile abi? No oh, when she refuses to come we should do what now? Play ‘Whot’ cards or watch film or what?! She has given me her word, we’ve printed the programmes and stuff with her name on it, almost everyone is looking forward to seeing her and she thinks she can just leave me hanging.” He laughed in a way that worried his mother and shook his head again.
“Just take it easy, ehn my son; I will try to talk with her again.”
“Please, I beg you, try oh. Because me, I can’t understand why she’d take something as minor as that, so personal.”
His mother nodded, got up and left him still grumbling under his breath, shutting the door quietly behind her.
“I just can’t understand it.” Bola mumbled again before diving back into his work — with just a little more aggression than was necessary.