Becoming: Episode 9

Kassy: Home is Where the Fight is

Kassy regarded her mother with narrowed eyes. As she did, her anger grew. Her mother was standing before the hall mirror, putting on her makeup, while Kassy sat on the stairs tapping her feet, knowing she couldn’t hold it in much longer.

“You know your brother isn’t coming home for Christmas again this year,” her mother said, smiling to reveal the apples of her cheeks so she could apply blusher on them. “They didn’t give him time off to travel. All these bank people sef.”

Kassy gave a non-committal grunt. She already knew her brother wouldn’t be coming home from Abuja; and besides, she had other things on her mind. She had to admit, though, that her mother was looking more every day like the Lagos big girl and socialite she struggled so hard to be. She remembered her mother’s squeals of delight at seeing herself in ThisDay Style last week under the “What’s Hot” column. Kassy rolled her eyes; they still hadn’t heard the last of that one.

“Ehen, before I forget,” Kassy’s mother said. “In case I don’t get back in time, I want you to watch the clock for me. I told Amoge to be back home by 5.30 latest. Please, start calling her from five. You know how strong your sister’s head is. I need to get to the shop and make sure the girls are putting up the Christmas displays exactly as I asked them to. From there I might go to…”

“Why is daddy not coming home for Christmas?”

“What?” Kassy watched her mother’s hand freeze, the mascara suspended in mid air.

“Daddy said he’s not coming this year. Why?” Kassy said, her voice accusing.

Her mother recovered and started to put on her mascara.

“And why are you asking me that? Am I his mouthpiece? Or did you see me lock up the house and stop him from coming? This is his house, and he is free to come and go from here as he pleases. And he has always done so, with or without our approval. So why are you suddenly asking me, like I’m the one that asked him to leave us and go and stay in the US.”

Kassy heard the tremble in her mother’s voice and could tell she was getting angry. But she didn’t care. Her father was the most loving, kindhearted person she knew. If there was a problem, then it had to be from her mother. She didn’t just think this; she was convinced it was the absolute truth.

Her father had left one day four years ago for the US, and aside from the one time a year he came to visit, he hadn’t come back to stay. She didn’t know the exact reason, but she knew it was her mother’s fault, with her constant whining and attention seeking and temper tantrums.

“Maybe you didn’t ask him to leave, but you made sure that was the only choice he had,” Kassy said, her voice raised.

Her mother whirled from the mirror to face her. It gave Kassy a perverse kind of pleasure to see her mother’s beautiful, well made-up face contort in anger.

“Shut up, you silly child! How dare you accuse me and talk about things you don’t know? How dare you!” She screamed.

“Then tell me, mother. If I don’t know, why don’t you tell me? Because I heard you say it so many times: how your life would have turned out better if you’d never married him, how he didn’t deserve you, how your friends’ husbands were so much better than him! And through all of your rubbish he kept doing his best for you and for us. Until he finally let you win.”

Kassy watched the anger drain from her mother’s face, leaving behind an expression she couldn’t quite read. Her voice quiet, Kassy continued: “So tell me, mum, if you didn’t drive him away, why did he leave?”

Her mother turned back to the mirror and stood staring at her reflection for a moment. Then she packed up her makeup, and with one last glance at the mirror she walked out of the house. Kassy heard the rumble of her car’s engine and the squeak of the gate as the gateman pushed it open. She sighed and rose to go to her room, tears pooling in her eyes. Her phone rang and she looked at the caller ID. Efe. She ignored the call. He usually knew just the right things to say, but she doubted that even he would be able to soothe the ache in her chest this time.


Yinka: Lost

Yinka stared at the screen of his blackberry torch trying to figure out what to do next. For the past two days he had hounded and stalked Mrs. Ogundipe-Davies trying to get an explanation from her, all to no avail. He had called (with a hidden number of course), sent her e-mails, instant messages on blackberry messenger and hadn’t gotten a single reply. The screen in front of him read: “Amelia no longer a contact” with two option boxes below it, “Delete contact” or “Re-invite”. So she had finally gotten tired of reading his messages and decided to delete him from her contact list just like that. Well so be it; he would delete her too. He had no choice but to believe the words of his Managing Director: She had cheated on him with Mr. Ifenkwe. Even though technically, she had cheated on her husband with both of them, but that was of little relevance to him.

He put down his phone and walked over to the bed where he had an open duffel bag. He had a full week to plan his next move asides the coming weekend. He would try as much as possible to get her out of his head and focus on his new promotion. He had made up his mind to accept the offer; it would be foolish not to take such a wonderful opportunity even though he knew he didn’t deserve it.

This weekend would be all about family. He would tell them the good news and spend a few days with them before rushing back to get ready for his new role. It was a better plan than moping around all over his apartment and contemplating calling his boss and confessing his extra-marital affairs with Mrs. Ogundipe, or worse, driving to her house and knocking on her door in the hopes of getting her to explain to him.

He tossed the last few items of clothing he would need into his bag and zipped it up, wondering if he had forgotten anything remotely important for the trip. He mentally went over his list again. Gifts for the family, check; toiletries, check; clothing, check; office files, check; laptop, check; mobile internet connection, check; heart, no check. He wished he could pack it up and put it in a bag with the rest of his belongings but he knew that wasn’t possible. Even if he could find Amelia, he knew she didn’t have it anymore. She had broken it in a thousand tiny pieces and thrown it in the wind.

He had one week to find all the missing pieces even if he couldn’t put it back together, at least he wouldn’t be a heartless, purposeless contraption of flesh and bones. He strapped on his duffel bag, carried his laptop bag in one hand and did a quick sweep around his apartment to make sure all the lights were off and taps locked. He stood at the door staring into the darkness that was his apartment; he was almost tempted to drop his bags and just sit in it for a while but knew that if he did so he would probably not leave till he was forced to by work.

He sighed and walked out; he had one week to find the pieces of his heart.

Thank you for reading! Becoming is an original series created by the Communications Department of Joshua Ville. Look out for Episode 10 next week, and do subscribe to the blog to get updates!