Esther visited the family the next day too, and she attended the Sunday service that followed. Although she had brought a new big bible for Pa Fakunle and a beautiful ankara for his wife, yet, the money she gave to the couple on the evening of her first visit caused a commotion in the house; Mama Abiye felt that her husband was deliberately not declaring the total amount he was given by her, the clergyman did not take the accusation likely, they quarreled until Sunday morning when Mama Abiye stylishly confirmed from Esther herself, that her husband was not lying. It was a quite embarrassing approach, yet satisfactory.
Gbemi was quite unhappy about the quarrel, there was peace before the money came and she realized that sometimes, money didn’t quite offer the desired happiness of its anticipation. She knew however that if there was much of it in their home, her parents’ quarrel would not have been. So, she wished she was Esther, traveling to Kano and bringing money – so much money, for her parents.
Esther didn’t show any special interest in Gbemi until after service on Sunday, she specifically requested that they both walk home together. Gbemi didn’t refuse, she in fact loved it. Esther didn’t wear the common white garment like other members of the church, she only wore a light coloured gown with a purple beret. She looked radiant as usual.
“Now that you are through with college, what are your plans?” Gbemi was asked after she had become carried away talking about how so ‘not brilliant’ she was at college.
“There is no money to further” she responded promptly, panting hard. She realized, by her heavy panting that she had talked beyond the capacity of her strength.
“I am not sure that is a problem. It’s just that, you know? This village is not really an encouraging place to further your studies; either you desire a University, Polytechnic or College of Education.”
“This village?” Gbemi grimaced, “God forbid. I have no interest in this village, if I have a chance, the city is where I desire to stay. Even if I can’t pass the necessary exams to further my education, I can learn a good trade in the city.”
“That is interesting!” Esther’s satisfaction was visible. “With the way you’ve been talking, I thought you had no interest in city life and boys.”
“Why not?” Gbemi frowned, although her response was about city life, she hadn’t really thought about the boys part.
“Well, if you would be interested, you could come with me to Kano. You have a great chance of becoming whoever you want to be there.”
“Really!” The younger lady screamed, and then hugged Esther impulsively. From the hug, their chests touched. Esther received her into a warm embrace. She held the excited lady for a few minutes, until the excitement became too much for the young girl and then she sobbed with happiness and gradually withdrew herself. “This is the greatest day of my life.”
“I understand you Dear.” Esther thought about the girl’s fate and smiled, if only she knew what awaited her in the city, she’d learn to look before she leapt. However, if the young girl was indeed ready to brace up with whatever she finds in the city, then she’d enjoy it. She concluded.
The journey to Gbemi’s house from church was quite long, before they got there, they had talked about several other issues. Towards the end of the walk, Gbemi asked a question that had been disturbing her since her first encounter with Esther.
“Why did you stare at me the way you did that day we first met?” She said in her girlie voice.
“I can’t actually explain, but since that day, I’ve been feeling very somehow about myself.” A shy look accompanied the last word.
Esther scoffed; “How have you been feeling?”
“I can’t explain.” She confessed as sincere as she could think.
“Is it a good feeling?”
“I don’t really know. I don’t think so.”
“Well, I stared at you because I was wondering what such a damsel – a beautiful princess like you was doing in this village. It was… you know, like a complete waste of capabilities.”
They had now approached the bamboo gate of the Fakunles’. Baba and Mama Abiye had been home earlier than the duo because they had not trekked the 4km journey, rather they had followed one of the church members who had an old turtle shaped Volkswagen and was going in the same route.
Esther was well received once more, Mama Abiye insisted that she stayed with them until lunch was ready. Gbemi wondered how the fight between his mother and father had suddenly gone down, but she didn’t dwell on that much, she placed her anticipation on the response her parents would come up with when Esther finally asked the question.
It was during the delicious lunch of pounded yam and egusi mixed with vegetable and properly spiced with different fishes that Esther asked the question, but it was not until after the meal before she got something close to a response.
“Esther. That is a very great idea, and if I must confess, I really appreciate your effort. It was very thoughtful of you to consider taking Gbemisola to Kano with you, to run her university education. But you should allow us reflect on the issue as a family, I believe that by tomorrow, we would have decided on what to do.”
“No problem father.” Esther simply replied.
Gbemi was angrily throwing her fist in the air, while the discussion went on. She was in her parents’ hut from where she heard her father’s response. She should have known that releasing her wouldn’t be that easy a decision for her parents, but they ought to agree that she wasn’t a kid anymore. A village like theirs couldn’t be her home forever.
Gbemi’s parents turned out not to be as reluctant as Gbemi had expected, the only question they asked her was whether she was very sure she wanted to go to the city with Esther. They wanted her to be a good girl if her response was in the affirmative, and not cause any trouble for the decent, god-fearing and highly responsible Esther. Gbemi agreed to everything they said. While they spoke, her imagination remained glued on Esther’s reaction once she is told of her parents’ consent.
To be continued…