It was late in the evening when she opened the door of her room. The last rays of the sun were snaking through her mesh window, casting a pale light about her room on the second floor of the house, directly overlooking the sitting room. A gnawing in her stomach had forced her awake, reminding her that her last meal had been a morsel of bread she hurriedly forced down her throat before hopping into the vehicle designated to ferry her and her siblings to school. All thoughts of hunger were momentarily wiped off her mind when she came out of her room and looked down into the sitting room. From her vantage perch, she could see an outline that was unmistakeably her father curled up on the sofa. He seemed to be praying in a low tone, but upon listening closely, she could make out a few of the words he was mumbling to himself. Despite the whirring of the air conditioning unit blowing cool air throughout the house, his words filtered up to her.
“Patience, why did you have to leave me now…these kids…so much trouble…I don’t think I’m handling…you leave me no choice…I have to…”
His words were punctuated with bouts of sobbing, and in spite of herself, Oluchi felt her heart melt at the sight of her father cry. She would later describe this moment as one of the most scary moments of her young life.
Why exactly she was scared, she could hardly tell, but there was something about the vulnerability of the man, stripped bare of his powers and position, curled up in a fetal position pouring his heart out to a long dead woman that was oddly chilling.
Not to be caught witnessing this scene, she tip toed as quick as she could without making any noise to the kitchen which though located on the ground floor, could be accessed through a door that was not in the direct line of sight of any occupant of the sitting room. She retrieved a loaf of bread from the walk in refrigerator, and sitting in one of the newly purchased ergonomic kitchen chairs, slowly opened the loaf while pondering on the words of her father.
What exactly did he mean by the statement “you leave me no choice”?
What exactly was the import of that statement?. She imagined various scenarios, none of them pleasant, while she half heartedly prepared a lean sandwich she had little plans of actually eating.
” I do hope he doesnt hurt himself” she whispered to herself. “How awful I would feel if anything were to happen to him”
Oluchi wondered what it would be like to lose both her parents, having to shoulder the responsibility for the entire family solely didn’t seem like such a pleasant idea. She shuddered slightly as she nibbled on her sandwich.
She was so deep in thought that she barely noticed a rustle of movement directly behind her, and when she eventually did, she swiveled around coming face to face with her father staring at her, but obviously lost deep in his own thoughts. She cleared her throat loudly, and he came to.
“Good evening sir” she greeted.
“Good evening” he replied and they both remained silent for the next few minutes.
Finally, he seemed to rally his energies and looking her dead in her eyes, dropped the bombshell that would radically change her life forever.