Finding schoolkids stranded was not something too strange but when it involved the Balogun boys, it was a big deal. Throughout the drive, she prayed silently that this be an isolated case in the life of the family but her spirit was ill at ease.
The number of neighbours on the Balogun driveway gave Madam Rosina chills. This was a conservative residential area and unless something extremely moving happened, most people stayed indoors. She did not want to assume the worst; reality was wrestling with her faith and she could not even bring herself to get out of the car. She pulled over a few meters to the parched lawn where the black police van had been parked.
A well-built policeman approached her when he sighted the children in the car. Madam Rosina told the children not to get out of the car until she permitted them to, then she slowly opened her door, steeling herself up for any wrecking bar that would be hurled at her.
“Hello, Madam. Good evening.”
“Good evening, Officer. What is happening here, please?”
“Madam, are those your children in the car?”
When he slyly avoided her question, her heart raced.
“Officer, they are not my children. They live in this house. What is happening here?” She could not keep calm.
“Madam, I need you to come into our car with me. There is a very sensitive issue we need to tell you about.” The poor woman stood transfixed as the tears stung her eyes. She followed the policeman into the van.
Ten minutes later and completely flustered, she returned to her car and put on her seatbelt.
“Madam, please, where are we going?” Joe asked.
“Guys, you will spend the night in my house okay? Mummy and daddy are not around and you guys cannot sleep here alone, so please come with me okay?”
Uche’s little mind found it difficult to comprehend.
“Madam,” he politely called out.
“Daddy and mummy were here this morning. Where did they go?”
She lied. “I don’t know, sweetheart. But don’t worry okay? Everything will be fine.”
“Kobina, come with me inside so we pick a few things you will need for the night and tomorrow morning.”
Kobina had a sinister foreboding but as emotionally intelligent as he was, he kept himself together for the sake of his little brothers. His parents had always commended him for his strong leadership qualities. This was the time to exhibit it. He went in with her and picked some clothes, their toothbrushes and a few other personal effects and returned to the car.
Soon, they were seated in their teacher’s hallway enjoying a hot meal.
Kumiwaah cursed the witches of her husband’s village as she cut the onions for her family’s evening meal. The onions were making her cry.
“This only happens when you marry a lazy man. Mtchwww.”
Her husband Atuba heard her but he could not be bothered. The woman was right for goodness sake. He let out a lazy fart and quietly called one of the children to buy him some local gin from Auntie Awo’s bar. He made sure to be surreptitious enough because if his wife found out, he would sleep hungry.
Kumiwaah’s phone rang.
“And who is it that could not find a better time to call me than now?” she shouted while squinting her eyes. The onions.
“Hello,” she barked into the phone after picking the call.
Atuba rushed into the kitchen to find his wife mute and shivering.
“WHAT IS IT?”
He checked to see if she had cut herself. There was no blood.
“Kumiwaah, I said what is it???”
He shook her hard before she pointed to her phone which she had dropped into the bowl of sliced onions without even realising.
A few heavy seconds later, she talked.
“It’s Asieduah and her husband.”