HAZE 1: Homecoming

Kike stared at her sister for what seemed like ages. She kept a fixed gaze on her as though she were a specimen in a science lab undergoing scrutiny… and all she could feel was pity

and regrets… 

She’d come to see more of her mother in Morayo as the years passed. She remembered those days when there was this brewing hatred between Morayo and their mother…days when Morayo would scream at their mum, repeating the same statement over and over again.

Morayo: I’m not like you! I will never be! I am like my father and you killed him! 

Maria: He is worse than dead! Ma jo mi rara o…Don’t be like me! Be like your father…Useless! Worse than an Infidel! Baba Oshi wo! (What stupid father?)

Kike smiled sadly. There was this sad nostalgic feeling that came with remembering those moments. Ironically, Morayo seemed to have inherited everything about their mother; her wealth, her glorious beauty, haughtiness, smile, sadness…

She watched as Morayo puffed out smoke from her mouth like the official goddess of fire. Morayo had that deep look in her eyes; the same one that used to linger on Maria’s face and she knew deep down that her dear sister was in pain.

Kike: hmm Morayo don’t you think it’s high time you stopped smoking? I mean it’s not good for your health and to make matters worse you drink, you drink way too much! 

Morayo steadily exhaled a puff of smoke before turning to face Kike, oh dear sister, when did you become my doctor? You didn’t tell me you’ve taken interest in medicine o. Well don’t practice on me; I’m not your lab rat! Why are you even here? Kilode?’’

Kike shook her head in disbelief, what do I want? Okay o… Don’t you think it’s high time Titi came home?’

That question was heavy. It weighed down everything in the room.

Morayo’s face morphed swiftly into different layers of emotions. Kike could have sworn that she saw fear. Before she could continue her interrogations, Morayo jumped to her feet. 

no way! I don’t want that cursed child in this house’’.

Kike gasped in shock, who are you Morayo merchant? Who are you? Because I honestly don’t recognize this monster you’ve become! Your own daughter? She’s cursed abi…anyway see ehn! Titi has decided to come home with or without your consent’’.

The real truth.

She was the one who had actually pleaded with Titi to come home. Since their aunt was dead, she didn’t see any reason why Titi should stay in London any more. Well, at first she wanted to inform Morayo about it but she had felt it would be better to tell her at the last minute….her niece deserved to come home.

 when is she coming home?’’ Morayo asked in a whisper-like tone. Kike took a quick glance at her wristwatch, “Errm in three hours, our dear Titi will be finally home where she belongs’’. 

Morayo shook her head in disagreement to Kike’s announcement. “Kike, she’s my daughter, not yours. I am the mom! I decide where she belongs and where she doesn’t, you had no right telling her to come home!’’. Morayo choked back her tears…she was furious.

KIKE: dear mom, you can send her scouring back to London the minute she comes home o. Haba! she’s an adult naw! so you have limited rights telling her what to do and what not to! I’m out of here. and ‘mom’, send a driver to pick up your daughter. I told her you’ll be at the airport.

Morayo: Who sent you? Ehn….

Grabbing her bag and car keys, Kike stormed out of the house leaving Morayo in a dazed state.

Morayo starred at the door until she heard her sister drive out of the compound. She couldn’t believe her ears. A part of her desired to be happy that she was going to see her daughter after fifteen years but the other part of her wanted to hide somewhere.

Never to be seen or heard of again.

She remembered vividly the day she decided to send Titi to live with Mama London. Before her birth, Morayo had made up her mind to shut her daughter off emotionally. Considering the circumstances surrounding her conception and birth, it wasn’t fair to herself or even her mother’s memory to be a happy mom…or person. No matter what, Titi remained a mistake…a stubborn stain that wouldn’t go away, a curse to her family, an alteration to her future, her hopes and dreams.

But deep down, Morayo knew she didn’t hate her daughter. Since the day she’d held her in her arms, she had known that she loved her daughter more than life itself. Morayo let out a soft sob that turned into torrents…

 ‘’Titi. My baby is coming home, my baby, poor baby’’.                     

……………………………………………………………

Lagos stinks!

That was the first thought that came to mind as they drove out of the airport. 

Leaving the car window open was a suicidal mistake. She wound up the windows immediately. From Ikeja, they drove past heavy heaps of trash at different locations…the entire city smelt like rotten mangoes…spoilt noodles…and the heat made it more pungent.

Titi shook her head, jogging herself out of her smelly reverie.

As the driver drove past Obalende to Ikoyi road, the fragrance of wealth stealthily invaded the atmosphere.

Sticking her head out the car window, Titi sighed as the wind blew her hair in different directions. She had known her mother wasn’t going to be at the airport, but still, she’d silently hoped she would surprise her. Until she saw the driver… 

And her hopes were dashed as usual.

It felt good to be home. Even if her mother wasn’t going to be happy to see her, she was happy to be home. Kensington didn’t feel like home any more since aunt Felicia a.k.a Mama London had gone to be with the lord. Times without number, Aunt Kike had pleaded with her to come home but she’d refused. She wanted her mother to be the one to ask her.

She’d waited stupidly for months but the offer never came…

Aunt Felicia, who’d been like a mother to her died ten months ago…Breast cancer.

Titi winced every time she remembered how her aunt looked on the hospital bed…cancer had eaten deep into every organ of her body. Tears streamed down her cheek as the memories came flooding back. Well at least she’s in heaven now she consoled herself. The present was what mattered to her now. She was happy to be home and couldn’t wait to see her mom.

******************

For the fifteenth time, Kike peeped through the window to check if Titi’s car had arrived then her eyes caught Musa, Morayos’ gate-man, opening the gate.

‘’thank God’’, Kike sighed and hurried out of the house. She’d returned to Morayo’s house two hours after their heated argument, only to find out that Morayo was still in her room, sulking. Kike made her way to the garage grinning from ear to ear, she felt so happy that Titi was finally home.

‘’Titi darling! My baby is back!’’ Kike screamed in elation. Titi turned to meet her aunt’s gaze and mused to herself, well at least someone is happy to see me. Titi smiled at her favourite aunt letting her squeeze her into a soft embrace.

“It’s so good to see you, aunt kike..after all these years!”, Titi smiled at her aunt in admiration. The geeky aunty Kike she used to know was gone! 😊

Totally replaced by a ‘Chickier’ one.

“Abi o …look at you! Hope your flight wasn’t too stressful?” , Kike smiled still holding Titi’s arm. She signalled to Musa.

“Oya come inside. Musa will bring your stuff in …Your mum is inside waiting for you. She’s so happy to see you”. She rambled on pulling Titi towards the house.

Delighted hope rose in Titi’s heart. 

From the upper balcony, Morayo stood, arms akimbo.

“Kike…what is your problem in this life? Who told you that I’m happy to see anyone?”



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