Shadows At The Crack Of Dawn-Episode 101

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Hi loves, I hope you are enjoying the weekend? I know a lot of us want more answers to Bayo and Olaide’s relationship from the first Episode. Well, this like the rest of the story is particularly linked to that. Here I will be shedding more light and I hope you slowly start to connect the dots. *wink* All my love…Temitope


For five straight days, Bolarinwa had been battling some illness and no medication proved successful, no herbs or concoction could hasten his healing, no therapy could provide a long-lasting solution to his ail. If anything Bolarinwa appeared paler and clearly shrunken in size, this Femi noticed as he watched the maid feed his father a dark herbal concoction from a small calabash that hid his face, the slow movement in his throat the only attestation that he was indeed swallowing. Soon he drained all of its content, and from the irritated contort in his face, one could tell that the herb tasted as bad as it looked.

The ‘agbo’ should have worked, Femi mentally seethed and watched for the next minute as his father’s throat bulged. For a moment, he feared the old man might puke, as he winced and his brows burrowed even deeper in a frown.  And only when Bolarinwa’s eyes finally came open, did Femi know that every last bit of the concoction had been successfully downed.

The maid asked whether to put him up in a sitting position, but he declined as he preferred lying down and then dismissed her. Femi steered clear of the young maid’s way as she exited with stacks of used dishes, leaving father and son.

Quietly, Femi lowered unto his father’s bed and couldn’t help a small wrinkling of his nose. The room reeked of disease and death. He banished the latter from his thought as he slowly reached for Bolarinwa’s frail hands, unable to mutter the words in his heart.

“Keep your mind at rest son. I’ll be fine.” Bolarinwa hoarsely muttered not needing to open his eyes to know the younger man’s thought. But contrary to his assurance, his health was fast deteriorating

Silence filled the room for a while until Bolarinwa’s lids finally came open, heavy, and drooped.

“You wanted to see me?’

‘Don’t worry Father. Have some rest, I’ll be back later.’                                                 

“No.” Bolarinwa clung to the younger man’s hand as he felt him go; the strength in his hold as one having his final moment.

Femi froze in fear and drew closer to his father, now clutching his shoulders and lightly shaking it. “Don’t die on me father. I’m not letting you go!”  A small weak smile spread on Bola’s lips, as his dreary eyes met Femi’s. “I’m not going anywhere yet!’ he promised. “No matter how much they try, they’ll fail, because I am strong.”

Femi sighed, deriving strength from his father’s words than his condition.

 ‘So what did you want to talk about?” Bolarinwa questioned with a direct glare at his son and slowly, Femi’s grip on the older man loosened. Though Bloarinwa was physically unfit, clearly he was mentally fit for the impending discussion.

“I want to marry Olaide.”

Bolarinwa’s face was stern as he glared unblinking at Femi.  “Why?”

“Because I’m in love with her.” Femi averted from the old man, unable to stand criticism in the man’s eyes.

 For a long moment, both were quiet, until Bolarinwa gave the very answer that Femi feared. “You can’t’ marry her.”

“Why Father?” Femi’s voice was torn now as he felt his world crumbling around him. Although he had expected his father’s rejection, he still wasn’t braced enough for it.

 “Don’t you see she is playing you?  Even a blind man can see it’s Bayo she wants.”

Femi’s chest now was heaving with hurt and pain. “Then why did she agree to my proposal, why did she choose me.” He charged with strong emotions, challenge, and a disagreeing sneer in his eyes. “I didn’t force her.”

Bolarinwa shook his head with pity as his eyes spoke his truth. “She is with you because she can’t have Bayo. Bayo would not abandon his pursuit of a better life for her.”

Femi knew just what he meant. Only weeks back, news had traveled on the farm about some overseas scholarship the labourer Bayo had earned, and shortly after he had soon disappeared from the farm with the rumor that he had traveled. And just about that time in a surprising turn of fate, Olaide had finally accepted his proposal after a whole year of wooing, that somewhere deep in his heart he knew it was as a result of Bayo’s disappearance. Somewhere deep in his heart, he knew he was her last resort, her fall back plan, but he’d disregarded such thoughts only to hear his Father say it now which was in itself annoying.

 “You are her second option my son, her meal ticket.”

“You don’t know her!” Femi argued.

“I don’t have to. The signs are there!” Bolarinwa charged solemnly, hoping to appeal to his son’s reasoning, though he’d prefer to whack him back to his senses. Bolarinwa had not raised a sissy.

Slowly, Femi shook his head, doing well to conceal his hurt as in fierce defiance, he charged. “I’m marrying her!

“Then don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Femi closed his eyes in pain as water trickled down his throat painfully. The last-minute was not a dream, it was his reality-his past coming back to haunt him. When he reopened his eyes, the nurse still had the cup to his lip, and he signaled for her to put it away. Thankfully, she obeyed, only giving a few sips as requested. He took another spoon of pap from her outstretched hand and braced himself for the pain as he swallowed, yet hoping it wouldn’t hurt. But it did. The nurse fed him a couple more, and after that, he couldn’t have anymore as he stubbornly kept his mouth shut as she started to persuade him and ramble on about his health and the importance of a good meal.  Finally, she backed down.

“Have some water at least Sir.”

Femi managed a few sips again, and he was done. One would think after so much pain, he ought to have gotten used to it. But one never got used to that kind of pain. He winced again as he settled into the bed and the nurse helped to prop the pillow behind him.

“What’s your name?” Femi asked in a strangely croak voice that didn’t sound a bit like him.

“Khadijat.” She supplied.

He managed a smile. “Thank you.”

She nodded with a smile and left.

Once again, he was alone. He shut his eyes instead, and took himself back to old times, fun and wonderful times with the family. A little fantasy wouldn’t hurt a dying man. In fact, it was what he needed.  Except that the awry thought of death kept pushing its way through his fantasies till all he could think of was life after death. For a while, he’d known he was sick. But never in a million years did he imagine it to be lung cancer.  Maybe he’d brought this upon himself, he thought. If only he’d drawn some attention when he noticed his deteriorating health and had not accepted death.

But now that it was near, he realized he didn’t want to die yet, he’d give anything for a bit of life, if for nothing to earn his daughter’s total forgiveness even though he knew he could never earn her respect.

But then, on the other hand, the sickness might be a blessing in disguise. Three nights back, Pelumi had been to see him. Though he’d been asleep, but as strange as it may sound, he’d felt her, but chose to remain in sleep.  They hadn’t met since her last outburst, and he wouldn’t have known what to say to her. So he’d watched her. She’d been as quiet as a mouse; she hadn’t even touched him, which showed just how much she hated him. Her visit had clearly not been to mend fences with him, neither had she been there to gloat as he’d caught a glimpse of her face. For whatever reason she’d visited, he was touched, and had even started to believe that maybe a part of her still cared for him. But almost as soon as hope started, he dashed it. He already lost to cancer, he couldn’t bear one more rejection from Pelumi. Any more of that, and he would surely die faster than any cancer would kill him.

Temitope Fakeye

I am Fiction writer, my blog will center on realistic and entertaining stories with weekly releases on Saturday's and Wednesday's.

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