Burning Coles 4

“You don’t say!” The man in his mid-forties exclaimed.

“Emeka!” She screamed his name, her face flushed with a pleasant surprise. That was the last person she expected to see. “It’s so good to see you,” she said as she hugged him warmly.

“It sure is,” he responded as he hugged her. “I was sitting right there when you walked in,” he pointed to the table at the corner. “I kept arguing with myself that it wasn’t you but someone that looked like you.”

“It is me oh,” she replied, her voice bubbling with delight.

“You look good as always; who would have thought that aging will look this pretty on you?” He complimented her.

“It’s been what… twenty years?” Mrs. Cole asked still amazed at who was standing in front of her.

“Eighteen years actually,” Emeka corrected.

“Oh wow! You remember the exact period.”

“How could I have forgotten such a life changing experience, Funke?” His facial expression revealed some hurt.

Mrs. Cole read it and immediately knew what he was talking about, as her own mind journeyed down memory lane.

“Mummy, the snacks and drinks are ready,” Bolu tapped her mum, snapping her out of her thoughts.

“Is this your daughter?” Emeka asked, smiling down at the young girl who was already showing the promise of becoming a stunner like her mother.

“Yes,” Mrs. Cole replied smiling as she ruffled Bolu’s curls. “This is Bolu, the youngest; this is Bayo, the second and…” Turning to the right where she expected her eldest daughter to be, “Where is your sister?” she asked.

“She went to use the toilet,” Bolu replied.

“You have lovely children; there is no doubt where they got their looks from,” Emeka said.

Mrs. Cole couldn’t help but smile; then turning to them said, “Won’t you greet?”

“Good afternoon sir,” they chorused.

“One minute, please?” Mrs. Cole, with her right index finger daintily raised, asked to be excused. She turned to the attendant, “How much is my bill?”

“2,920 naira,” he responded

Mrs. Cole brought out her debit card to pay.

Emeka immediately brought out his wallet and said, “Funke please let me handle it.” He stretched his hand forward to give his debit card to the attendant and told him, “Add it to my bill.”

“Thank you, Emeka. You really didn’t have to.” Mrs. Cole said with a smile.

“Oh please, it’s the least I could do for such a dear friend I have not seen in almost two decades.

“I really appreciate it,” Mrs. Cole said as she picked up the snacks and handed the paper bags containing them over to Bayo. “Bolu, go and call your sister; I don’t know if she’s delivering a baby in the toilet,” she said to Bolu as she turned to leave.

“So are you here on a visit or what?” Mrs. Cole wanted to know.

“Not exactly. My family and I moved to Lagos about two years ago. I got transferred from Abuja.” He told her as they walked towards the exit.

          “Your family?” Mrs. Cole didn’t realize she wasn’t the only one with a family.

“Yeah, my wife and two sons live at Ikoyi,” he told her as he held the door for Bayo and her to exit the building while he followed behind.

“That’s really nice,” Mrs. Cole said as she fought thoughts of jealousy that were beginning to creep into her mind.

“I could pay you a visit one of these days,” Emeka said as he brought out his complementary card and handed it over to her. “Let’s keep in touch,” he said.

“I sure will. Thank you once again.” Mrs. Cole collected the card and smiled.

“Alright take care, my regards to your husband” he said, then left.

“Husband!” That word made Mrs. Cole’s heart ache especially when she realized that the tall ruggedly handsome man, exuding so much charm and confidence, walking towards the parking lot and entering a black SUV was the man who should have been bearing that title.

She entered into her car and waited for Seyi and Bolu.

“Mummy, who was that man?” Bayo asked.

“An old friend,” she said. “Where are your sisters?” she asked, changing the subject quickly.

“There they are,” Bayo pointed at the door as they came out. “I wonder what took them so long,” he said.

“I wonder too.”

Seyi and Bolu approached arguing.

“Bolu, you never mind your business,” Seyi snapped at her younger sister.

“Everything is my business. You too, why can’t you let me check your phone?” Bolu asked.

“Because it’s my phone not yours.”

“Both of you should enter the car and stop fighting like cat and dog, I don’t have all the time in the world.” Mrs. Cole told them as she turned on the ignition of the car.

“We need to get home in time so your daddy doesn’t get upset,” she told them.

“Mummy, please can I go to Sope’s house later this afternoon?” Seyi asked again. She had still not gotten a convincing response.

“So it’s because of Sope’s house you are giving everybody that cold attitude, right?” Mrs. Cole asked. “I was talking to you the other time and you were barely responding. Now that you want my permission, you are now behaving as if all is well.”

“Mummy, it’s not like that.” Seyi tried to defend herself.

“It’s like what?” Mrs. Cole asked as she reversed out of the car park.

“I’m having menstrual pain,” Seyi said.

“So, you decided to suffer in silence because you are the first person to have menstrual pain. Better eat and take paracetamol when we get home. Is it with menstrual pain you want to visit Sope?” Mrs Cole asked.

“No ma, when I take the paracetamol, I’ll be fine.” Seyi quickly said.

“Iwo lomo (suit yourself),” Mrs Cole told her.

“Mummy, please may we take our snacks now?” Bolu asked eager to dig into hers.

Wo (look) do whatever you want,” she snapped. She was beginning to get cranky, transferring her disappointment and frustration on the innocent children. She knew that it all stemmed from seeing Emeka again.

As she drove home, she started thinking about her life: what it was and what it could have been if her parents didn’t ruin it by not allowing her marry the one person she truly desired to marry. “At over forty, he still looks so good. See his car, he works with a multinational oil and gas firm. I’m sure he probably lives in a mansion. Oh, how I wish it was Emeka I got married to and not that idiot that calls himself a husband.” She didn’t know when she started entertaining negative envious thoughts, comparing her husband with Emeka. She hated the state in which she had found herself. “Why me? Why did all this happen to me? God knows, if I could reverse the hand of time, I wouldn’t have listened to my parents. In the end, did I still marry someone from our village? When a rich influential man from Lagos told my parents his son was interested in me, they stupidly and greedily didn’t object just because of money. I was foolish to think they cared about me. Where is the money now? The useless husband spends all he has on alcohol and my parents are not here to suffer with me,” she went on and on with thoughts of regret and bitterness until she got to the gate of the house.

“Do you need a prophet to tell you to come down and open the gate?” She snapped at Bayo.

SEE MORE:  Burning Coles 3

Neither Bayo nor his siblings could grasp what was going on with their mother.

Bayo got down and opened the gate.

Mrs. Cole drove into the compound and parked the car.

“Seyi, carry my bag and the remaining snacks inside for me,” Mrs. Cole told Seyi as the turned off the car and released a deep sigh without even realizing it.

“Mummy are you okay?” Bolu asked.

“What kind of question is that? My friend come down from the car and go inside!” She barked. Her mood was sour and she hated it.

They all got down and went inside. Mr. Cole was seated in the sitting room, watching TV.

“Good afternoon sir,” the children greeted him.

He looked towards their direction and continued watching TV, ignoring them.

They left the sitting room and went to their rooms.

“Daddy Seyi, good afternoon,” Mrs. Cole said after the children had gone.

“What is good about the afternoon?” He asked, angry. “What is the time?”

Mrs. Cole looked at her wrist watch “12:45”, she replied.

“Is there a reason you are just coming back at this time?” he asked, raising his voice.

Mrs. Cole didn’t respond.

“Oh, so now you have decided to give me the silent treatment?”

“No, it’s not that. The children…” she tried to explain.

“The children what!” He cut in sharply. “The children what?” he repeated.

“Listen to me and listen well, let this be the last time you would take forever before returning home from church. Am I clear?”

“Yes,” Mrs. Cole mumbled. She was so upset and deep down wished she could strangulate the man to death. The only thing that kept her in this marriage was her three children. She angrily walked out of the sitting room and went to her room.

As she got to her room, she sat on the bed and cast her mind back to when she met Emeka at the eatery. She remembered he had given her his card. She reached for her bag which Seyi dropped on her bed together with her snacks and drink. She found Emeka’s card and kept stirring at it.

Thoughts of regret began to linger again this time around, causing her intense sadness. She didn’t know when tears welled up in her eyes and began to drop.

She brought out her phone from her bag and saved his number. She felt if at all she was going to call him, it was too early to do so.

She dropped her phone on the bed and stood up to change her church attire into a long free dress. As she was doing that, her phone rang. She looked at the caller’s ID, it was a strange number. She wasn’t expecting any call. She picked the call and said, “Hello”.

“Hello, good afternoon,” a male voice replied.

“Good afternoon,” she said, wondering who it was.

“I’m sure you are wondering who this is,” the voice said with a chuckle.

“Yes, I am,” she said bluntly, she wasn’t in the mood for games.

“That’s fine. This is Pastor George.” He replied.

“Oh, Pastor George, good afternoon sir,” she said with a smile. “I’m sorry, I don’t have this number saved on my phone.”

“No problem. Something happened to the other line and I lost my contacts. I got yours today from someone in church. I hope you don’t mind?” He asked.

“No problem at all sir.”

“It’s just that I’ve been having this really strong burden for you and I still feel we should see to talk and pray.” He told her.

“Thank you, for your concern sir” Mrs. Cole sincerely appreciated it.

“We could meet in church sometime during the week,” she suggested.

Okay that’s fine. How is Tuesday, before Bible study?” He asked.

“Let’s make it 3pm; I’ll need to get home early. I won’t be attending Bible study.” She explained.

“Can I ask why?”

“It’s complicated sir,” she knew the simple answer is because her husband won’t allow her. Permitting them go for Sunday service is the best he did.

“Okay, 3pm it is then.”

“Alright sir, take care sir.”

“Bye” He ended the call.

 She dropped the phone and continued changing her dress then heard a knock on the door.

“Who is it?” She asked.

“Mummy, it’s me,” the feminine voice replied.

“Come in,” she replied her, pretty sure it was Seyi.

She opened the door and came in. “Mummy,” she paused as if to get her mum’s attention.

“Yes, what is it?” Mrs. Cole wasn’t even looking in her direction, all that was on her mind was preparing lunch in time so Mr. Cole won’t start another fuss.

“You haven’t still said anything about if I can go to Sope’s house,” Seyi told her mum, this time around, her tone was low and so polite.

“That’s because I have not made up my mind” Mrs. Cole said, as she removed her jewelries and placed them on the dressing table.

“When will you make up your mind please?” Seyi was so gentle and calm.

Mrs. Cole looked at her, “so, it’s because you want something from me that you are acting like someone stole your money?”

Seyi smiled a little, “please mummy, please.”

“That’s how she will be begging me like I have something that belongs to her. How are your thighs?” She asked.

“A lot better,” Seyi replied promptly.

“Okay. I want you to join me in preparing lunch. Once it’s ready, you can leave.” Mrs. Cole said as she picked a hanger from the wardrobe.

“Thank you, thank you mummy; you are the best,” she jumped in excitement then felt some pain in her thigh. “Ouch” she groaned.

“What is that?” Mrs. Cole turned around to ask.

“Nothing ma,” she quickly replied. “What’s for lunch? Let me go and start.” Seyi was eager to get it over with.

“Parboil seven cups of rice, bring out the chicken and the bowl of blended pepper from the freezer; I will join you soon.”

“Okay ma”, she said as she turned around to leave.

Jo sanu mi (please have mercy on me), be careful with fire and hot water o, don’t let what happened yesterday repeat itself.” She warned her.

“Okay ma, I will be very careful.” Seyi said as she exited the room. On her way to the kitchen, she sent a WhatsApp message to Goke; “My mum has given me permission to go to Sope’s house. I’ll let you know when I am almost ready so you can start coming.”

She waited awhile for his reply as she entered the kitchen but didn’t get any so decided to drop the phone and start up with the cooking before her mum came.

Just after bringing the bowls of chicken and pepper out of the freezer, she heard a message notification tone. She dropped the bowls and quickly picked her phone to check what message it was. Goke had just replied; “Okay great, I’m ready when you are.”

Seyi smiled and dropped the phone then continued what she was doing. She felt a prick in her conscience and a thought crossed her mind, “Is this right?”

She ignored it and continued washing the seven cups of rice she had measured.

Again, she felt uneasy and that question popped again, “Is what you are doing right?”

There is nothing wrong in going to see a friend” She replied, ready to argue.

Was that what you told your mum?” Her conscience interrogated her further.

SEE MORE:  Burning Coles 1

Both Sope and Goke are my friends.”  She replied.

“Your mum doesn’t know about Goke.”

“Leave me alone!” She snapped aloud, obviously distressed by the thoughts.

She started singing to avoid hearing anymore of what her mind had to tell her. Even though the thoughts stopped, the uneasiness and lack of peace persisted.

Some minutes later, her mum came to join her in the kitchen. She saw that Seyi had started parboiling the rice as she had instructed and she praised her, “Kuse (well done), let me prepare the sauce for the jollof rice.”

“Okay ma,” Seyi said and began to bring out the ingredients she knew her mother would need.

“That reminds me Seyi” her mum started, “there is something that has been on my mind to talk to you about.”

Seyi turned to her and listened with rapt attention. Her mother and her hardly had discussions. Aside the regular “mummy good morning”, “mummy I need this or that”; they never really had that mother-daughter intimacy. This was partly because Seyi as much as possible locked herself out of the affairs of the home, no  thanks to her father’s unruly nature.

When Seyi was much younger, things were a lot better. Quarrels between her parents were less frequent. Her home then was a home but ever since her father gave in to drunkenness, she detested her home and always sought every opportunity to be as far from home as possible and unfortunately for her mum and her, they gradually drifted apart.

“Okay ma,” Seyi said wondering what it could be that her mother wanted to talk to her about.

“You know you are no longer a child. You are done with secondary school and the next phase of your life is going to the higher institution.” Mrs. Cole said as she poured oil into the pot on fire.

Seyi listened, still not sure where her mum was headed.

“This is the period of your life when boys will be hovering round you like flies. They’ll claim to love you; some will tell you they can’t do without you and tell you all sort of lies just to manipulate you into falling for them,” she reduced the heat under the pot and gave Seyi her full attention. “This is not the time for all that. You can have male friends but please don’t let it go beyond that I beg you, keep yourself pure.”

Seyi stood there speechless, her mind in overdrive as several thoughts chased themselves through it. “Does my mum know about Goke? Has she gone through my phone? That couldn’t be, she doesn’t know my password”, she tried convincing herself. Her mum had never given her the “boy talk” before. “Why now of all times?” She wondered.

“Do you understand what I’m saying?” Mrs. Cole asked still facing Seyi.

“Yes ma, I understand.” Seyi had no choice but to say that she understood. She didn’t want more talk from her mum.

Mrs. Cole turned back, increased the heat under the pot and continued cooking.

Seyi’s phone beeped with a WhatsApp message notification. She picked it and checked the message. It was a message from Goke.

“Hi dear, what time should I come and pick you up?”

Seyi read the message and didn’t know how to respond.

“Was that Sope? I know she’d be expecting you.” Mrs. Cole said.

“Ermm.. no not Sope…Yes she would.” Seyi was not happy lying to her mum but just didn’t know how to stop.

“You shouldn’t go late to her place; I guess you could call her to send her dad’s driver.” Mrs. Cole said.

Seyi didn’t know how to respond anymore. The initial excitement she had had disappeared. She knew what she was doing was wrong; she felt she was repaying her mum’s good with evil. “Okay ma, I’ll do that.” She said and began to compose a message to Goke.

“Does that mean you won’t eat till you get back?” Mrs. Cole asked, concerned as she diced onions into the oil on fire.

“I already had snacks and a drink; I’m not really hungry” Seyi told her mum then sent a message to Goke:

“You can start coming. Let me know when you are at the gate leading into the estate, I’ll meet you there.”

“Mummy I want to go and get ready.” She told her mum.

“Okay” Mrs. Cole said as she continued cooking.  

Seyi went into her room. Bolu was sleeping. She stood in front of the rectangular mirror hanging behind the door leading into their room and looked at her reflection. As she did so, she realized she didn’t know what she was doing anymore. “What have I gotten myself into” she reasoned? “Well it’s not like I am doing anything bad; I’m just going to hang out with a friend” She tried convincing herself.

She took her small makeup purse containing her brown powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner and some lipsticks and began to touch up her face. She didn’t want to look too made up so she just used brown powder and a little lipstick.

As she was brushing her hair, Bolu woke up.

“Where are you going, sister Seyi?” she asked.

“Out” She didn’t even look at her sister.

“To see who?”

“None of your business.” Seyi styled her hair and was more or less set. She didn’t bother changing the clothe she wore to church since Goke was the reason she wore that clothe in the first instance.

“I will tell mummy,” Bolu threatened thinking that will make Seyi give her more information. 

“Bye bye go and tell her” Seyi said and picked her phone to dial Goke’s number. “I officially have the most annoying sister in the world” she said under her breath as she placed the phone to her ear and waited for him to pick up.

“Hey Seyi” he said immediately he picked the call.

“Hi Go…” she quickly cut and didn’t mention his name so that Bolu won’t know who she was talking to. “Where are you now?”

“I’m close to your estate. You can start walking towards the gate.” He told her.

“Alright, I’ll do that. See you soon.” She ended the call.

“Hmmmmm.. boyfriend is not good o, boyfriend is not now o, boyfriend, boyfriend” Bolu began to sing.

Bolu had not been more annoying. She pissed Seyi off so much that she felt like slapping her but had to control herself and leave the room before she did what she’d regret and will definitely prevent her from going out to see anybody.

When she got to the kitchen, she told her mummy she was ready to go.

Mrs Cole looked at her and asked, “Where is the driver?”

“He is at the entrance to the estate. That where I agreed to meet him.” Seyi explained.

“Any reason in particular?” Mrs Cole asked.

“No, nothing.”

“Okay then, maa pe (don’t stay out late),” her mum told her. It would be better you pass the kitchen door out so your father doesn’t see you leaving and start asking questions or stop you from going out.” Mrs. Cole knew her husband very well. He was so unpredictable yet she knew with the mood she met him in after church, Seyi won’t be allowed to go anywhere.

“Thank you mummy,” Seyi said very grateful and pleased with her mum. She passed the back door and off she went.

The gate leading into the estate was only a stone’s throw away as their house was the fifth on the street. When she got to the gate, she looked around but didn’t see any car parked. It was then she realized, she had seen Goke just once and she had no idea what kind of car he drove. She waited for a few minutes and dialed his number again.

SEE MORE:  God Is Always Watching

“Hello Goke, where are you?” She asked, gradually running out of patience.

“I’m so sorry dear; I was held up in traffic. I’ll be there soon.” He explained.

“Okay, what car are you driving?” She asked and added, “so I’ll easily spot you when you come.”

“A blue Kia, don’t worry I’ll call you as soon as I get there,” he told her.

It was sunny so Seyi went under the gate man’s shed and sat there waiting for him.

After another five minutes of waiting, she saw a navy blue car drive towards the estate and gradually come to a halt. She watched as the driver of the car parked it and picked his phone. It was when her phone started ringing she left the shed where she had been waiting and walked towards the car.

Goke spotted her and came down to meet her. He wore a pair of sun shades which he removed when he saw her. He had on a matching mint green Guinea top and trousers. He was a 5 feet 11”, dark complexioned, good looking young man in his early twenties.

He walked towards Seyi and hugged her, “I’m so sorry for keeping you waiting. That’s not my usual nature, I had a little issue locating this place. That, together with the traffic is the reason for the delay. I’m sorry,” he apologized.

“It’s okay,” Seyi said. She took in the sweet fragrance of his perfume. “You smell nice,” she paid him a compliment and smiled.

“Thanks dear, you look amazing too. I had no idea I had been chatting with someone this beautiful,” he said as he motioned for them to walk towards the car.

“But you have seen me before and I’ve sent you my pictures a couple of times,” Seyi reminded him.

“True that, but you are much more beautiful today than ever before,” Goke said as he opened the passenger side door for her. He was full of sweet words that could sweep any lady off her feet.

“Thank you,” she said both for the compliment and the gentlemanly gesture.

Goke closed the door for her and quickly, passing the front of the car, entered through the driver’s side of the car.

“So how were you able to pull this off, your parents allowing you to see me?” he asked.

Seyi chuckled, “It’s a long story; let’s just say I pulled some strings and here I am” she shrugged her shoulders and gave a shy smile.

“Oh, how are your thighs? I was so carried away by your beauty; I totally forgot” he said.

“They are better; thanks for asking” she smiled.

“So where are we headed this beautiful afternoon?” He asked. “I was hoping you had somewhere in mind,” he added as he started the car.

“I don’t really go out, I believe you’ll be in a better position to suggest a place. Preferably, somewhere not too far because I have to be back before 6pm.”

“Okay then, in that case, should we go to the eatery I saw when I was coming, not so far from here?” He asked.

“That’s probably the one we stopped at after church when I went into the toilet to call you. I had to tell my mum I was having menstrual pain when she asked me why I stayed that long in the toilet and my annoying sister won’t let me have peace in that house. I’m so glad to be out of that place.” Seyi said.

Goke chuckled, “Is it really that bad?”

“My house? Yes oh, it is, trust me.” Seyi said.

“Really? Don’t worry you’ll tell me about it.  Can we go there then?” He asked.

“Yeah I guess,” she replied.

“Okay then.”

There was a brief silence then Goke spoke, “I’m guessing this is your first time”

“What is my first time?” Seyi wasn’t sure she knew what he was referring to.

“Hanging out with a guy,” he said.

“Well, I don’t really have male friends. My dad and brother are the only two guys in my life and those ones..sef  are not really in my life. So, I guess to answer your question, yes it is” she replied then added, “Why did you ask?”

“Nothing, just wanted to know. I must take care of you so you will know how good we guys could be” He turned to her with a gleam in his eyes.

Seyi smiled back, a bit shy.

“I’m sure it’s not news that I really like you, Seyi” He said to her, careful to look into her eyes and make her feel the intensity of his words.

Seyi could feel her heart beat faster. She didn’t know how to respond. His gaze pierced through her soul.

 Goke went on, “And there is something about guys I should let you know” he said as he gradually parked the car beside the road.

They had not gotten to their destination. Seyi wondered why he was stopping. They were still within the residential area. No other car was on the road.

He needed her full attention and as much privacy as he could get. There probably won’t be such in the fast-food restaurant they were going to.

“When a guy likes a lady especially the way I like you,” he started, fully focused on her “he can do anything for her. Absolutely anything.” He stressed. He held her hand and looked straight into her eyes, “Seyi, I really like you and I will want you to be my girlfriend. I want you to give me a chance to show you how much I care for you.”

There was silence in the car. Seyi didn’t see it coming, she knew they were not just friends but she had no idea Goke had such intentions. She was speechless.

“say something Seyi,” he said, almost begging her.

“I really don’t know what to say; I’m quite overwhelmed. Your girlfriend? I wasn’t expecting it,” she said.

“I hope I wasn’t too forward. I’m not even sure how you feel about me,” he said seemingly concerned.

 “No, no it’s not that. I like you too; it’s just that I’m new to all these.” Seyi said.

“Don’t worry; I will take care of you. I promise. Nothing will happen to you.” He assured her.

“But I don’t really know you; I’m just getting to know you” Seyi opened up.

“That’s the more reason why we need this, so we can get to know ourselves better”

Seyi immediately began to remember her mum’s warning and all she said about guys hovering round her like flies. So many thoughts began to flood her mind, “Is he one of the guys Mummy was referring to? Am I ready for a relationship?  I’m just getting to know him. If I have a boyfriend, perhaps people will stop looking at me like a small girl more so, he has promised to take care of me”.

As these thoughts kept running through her mind, she noticed Goke moving closer to her. She wasn’t sure what was going on. His face gradually came close to hers and she realized he was about to kiss her.

To be continued…

Read: 
Burning Coles 1
Burning Coles 2 
Burning Coles 3  here if you missed it.

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Emmanuela Mike-Bamiloye
emmanuelaevb@gmail.com

Emmanuela is a trained Medical Doctor and a seasoned writer. She expresses God's love on a daily basis through the simplest situations that surround her.

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