Promise Daodu was posted to Abuja for her NYSC programme. Circumstances beyond her control made her to desert the capital city. She started afresh in Lagos but the ghost of her past returned to haunt her.
Osagie and Blessing Daodu sat on the sea sand beneath the tall coconut tree, wrapped in each other’s arms. The sea breeze cooled their skin and refreshed their minds. They were glad that they had allowed their children to convince them to celebrate their birthdays at Takwa Bay beach. They had hesitated at first, but had succumbed after several days of enticement and sweet talk.
He and his wife were birthday mates; born in September, the twentieth to be precise. It had always been a pleasure to celebrate their birthdays together, be it at an organized party in their home with friends and family or at a restaurant with their children and a few family members who could make it. But this time around, their children suggested a beach-hang-out. No friends, no relatives, just them and the plan had turned out better than they anticipated.
“I prefer this beach to others I have been to,” Blessing’s gaze was fixed on the roaring waves.
“Same here,” he squeezed her hand, “It is not crowded and every group here seem to have their own privacy.”
She nodded in agreement.
“We will come back.”
She turned to meet his gaze. He was smiling. She and her husband rarely take time off from their busy schedule. It will be a miracle if they could find time to relax at a place like this, without thinking of work, the children or anything else.
“I will love that.”
“I know. We need a break.”
“Yes, we do,” she leaned into him. He kissed her lightly on the cheek and sighed.
“I think we should head back.”
A frown creased his brow, “Why?” He was comfortable where he was. He wasn’t ready to return to their shade.
“It is almost six.”
” Promise said all the boats will leave by six,” Blessing looked at her husband.
She nodded. His frown deepened. A boat had brought them to the beach and they had been told that a boat will take them back. It had not been a fun-journey. The driver was too rough for his taste. Another boat ride wasn’t something he was looking forward to. He got up and helped his wife to her feet.
“I don’t think I want to be stranded on this beach.”
She chuckled and held her fifty year old husband by the waist and they headed back to their shade.
They met Promise, their first daughter, arranging their picnic baskets.
“Did you enjoy your long work?” She smiled at them.
“Yes we did,” Osagie sat on one of the beach chairs.
“Your father and I plan to come here once in a while,” she winked at her husband.
“That’s great!” The excitement in her eyes warmed their hearts. “Both of you need to take time off work and relax.”
Osagie cleared his throat. He knew his daughter was right, but, he and his wife had spent the best of their years to establish a textile company. When one ran a business for so many years, it was hard to take a vacation.
“We are thinking about it,” she assured her.
“Good, I am glad to hear that,” she returned her attention to the coolers and baskets she was arranging into a big bag.
Her parents had been running a company of their own for as long as she could remember. The textile company her parents owned had fifty staff members and they produced quality local fabrics. Business had been topsy turvy over the years, but they had been able to feed, clothe and shelter her and her siblings. Hence, they had been able to send them to school.
Recently, her father had bought a five bedroom bungalow from a friend and this had eased the burden of paying rent annually. He had also bought a new car, and this had made his other car, a white Toyota Camiry 2004, available for her and her siblings to use.
“Where is Prince and Gift?”
Her mother’s voice broke into her thoughts.
“Prince has gone to secure a boat for us and Gift said something about tagging along.”
“Are you done?” Her father lifted himself up, “I don’t want to be stranded here.”
Promise looked up at her dad and burst out laughing.
Gift returned and informed them that the boat had been secured. She helped her elder sister to carry some of their picnic baskets and coolers. They all left the shade and headed straight for the exit.
An hour later, they alighted from the boat. They found their car, a black SUV Jeep, along the roadside. Prince paid the guy who had helped them to watch over it. They all got into the car and headed home.
“Mum, dad, I hope you enjoyed yourselves,” Gift glanced back at her parents. They smiled and nodded.
“This is one of the benefits of living in Obalende, we will soon be home, unlike people heading towards the mainland, I don’t envy them at all,” Prince grinned. Gift rolled her eyes, her brother liked bragging about things that she considered unnecessary.
“When are you leaving for Abuja?” Gift addressed her elder sister.
“In two weeks time.”
“Once you are through with camp-things, I will like to visit. I hope they give you a cool place to stay.”
“Busy body!” Prince chided.
“What’s your own?” She eyed him.
“Will you visit if they post her to one of those remote villages?”
Gift hissed and decided not to respond. Her family rarely travelled, except during the Christmas holiday. They sometimes travelled home to Esan Central to visit her grandparents. But, they don’t spend more than a week there. She had never been to any other part of Nigeria and now that her elder sister had been posted to the capital city for her NYSC programme, she would vist her as much as possible. She hoped to be posted to Jos, Portharcourt or Abuja when she graduated in three years time. Those were the parts of Nigeria she had been longing to visit since she was a child.
“Don’t mind your brother, you can visit whenever you want.”
“Thank you Promise, ” she smiled at her sister and stuck out her tongue at her elder brother.
Prince eyed her and concentrated on the road. His younger sister was a pain in the neck. He avoided her at school, but whenever they were home on vacation, he had to endure her presence. As far as he was concerned, last borns were pests. The sooner he graduated, the sooner he could leave home and start his own life. He had two sessions more before he completed his tertiary education.
Promised closed her eyes and leaned back on the leather car seat. She had never been to Abuja. Since she had been posted, she had googled about Abuja almost everyday, trying to find out as much as she could about the place. She wondered where her place of primary assignment would be. She doesn’t mind teaching a bunch of students but she would prefer serving in a communications company, be it telecoms or any media houses.
‘God, you know my heart. You know my thoughts and desires. But not my will, let your will be done in my life,’ she said a prayer within her.
Prince drove into their compound at exactly 8 p.m. Promise and her siblings carried all the baskets, coolers, mats and sheets into the house, while their father shut and locked the gate. His wife waited for him and they went into the house together. It had been a good day.