Linda really felt like eating something when she woke up from sleep. She decided to go back to the kitchen and see if there was anything she could lay my hands on to eat. She was just about to enter the kitchen when she heard her mum’s bedroom door open. She prayed within her that it shouldn’t be her dad.
Her prayer was answered. It was her mother.
She didn’t like the look on the older woman’s face. She must have been crying or something because her eyes were swollen and her face was somewhat red.
Linda hesitated as their eyes locked. Something stirred within her and she decided to say something. Well, the house situation was so tense that she really wanted to know what will become of the family from now on, especially considering the fact that it was all her fault.
“Mum, is dad really going to send Sister Ada and John parking?”
“I really don’t know, but I pray he changes his mind.” Ifeoma answered
“Well, if he does, are you going to allow him?” the little girl asked again.
There was a sudden surprised look on her mum’s face, “It depends… I…”
“Can I tell you something mum?”
“I hope you don’t have your own surprise for us again?” Ifeoma asked, obviously relieved that the little girl didn’t allow her reply her last question.
“No mum, but that seem to be the only way one gets attention in this house, don’t you think?”
“What do you mean by that?” her mother curiously asked.
“Nobody notices me in this house, it’s like I don’t even exist. I feel very lonely and unhappy every time I am home,”
Ifeoma was touched as she displayed a facial expression of concern, “that’s not true, you are…”
“That’s true mum and you know it, but you don’t do anything about it. I somehow think that you feel lonely too, likewise Sister Ada and John. The only reason why I am talking to you now is because of the situation at home.”
“You might be right kid, but that is no reason for you sibling to behave irresponsible.” The surprised mother replied defensively.
“I really might not understand a lot of things, but you are the adult here, this home is an unhappy one and nothing can go right in such an unhappy state.” Linda replied and worriedly walked back to her room. She suddenly didn’t feel like eating again. She didn’t believe that she could say those words to her mum and she had listened without scolding her.
Ifeoma allowed her walk away without saying a word.
Honestly, it felt good talking to her mother only that Linda couldn’t tell her about the key.
Everybody must have taken a nap. The house was as silent as the graveyard.
Something woke Ifeoma up. She was hearing a sound; it was coming from Benson’s study. Someone was sobbing. Alarmed she stood up and walked towards the study.
Yes, the sound was coming from in there.
Ifeoma softly opened the door and peeped in. She was weakened by the sight of her husband sitting helplessly on his chair shedding manly tears. Benson was obviously fighting very hard to stop the tears from flowing. His breath was hard as he tried to control himself.
Ifeoma couldn’t believe her eyes. She was surprised and touched.
She immediately understood why he was shedding tears so she walked in and held unto him.
Benson allowed himself to be held as he leaned his head in her tummy while she caressed the back of his head.
While everybody was sleeping, Benson had taken his time to reflect on his behavior towards his family for some time now.
It all started with the desire to be a successful man. There was competition all around him and the fear of losing was the source of his motivation. Soon his efforts started paying off and he had to put in more energy as the days went by and the competition became fiercer.
Then the family didn’t seem very important, he got carried away and was comforted with the belief that all was going well. The fight to stay at the top was his only motivation and every night and day he had to ensure he had a good plan
that would ensure that he conquered.
He had been able to build a beautiful five bedroom flat and ensured the children had everything they wanted. They went to the best schools in town and they never lacked in anything. What else did they want from him?
He had unconsciously learned that one of the best ways of attaining success was by being shrewd, mean and not take laziness or foolishness lightly. And automatically he transformed into a fastidious person to everyone around him even to his family.
Ifeoma allowed him to continue to lean on her. Then she took a seat and sat beside him. They both looked into each other’s eyes and began laughing. Her eyes were also already filled with tears.
“Why didn’t you bring me to order when you noticed that I had started derailing?” Benson softly asked.
Ifeoma smiled, “You didn’t know how scary you became. I was busy trying so hard to please you all these while until I almost became a slave to your presence. I was just simply afraid of you.”
“Wow. Then my kids must have felt worse than this. I didn’t even recognize my own kids a while ago. They were both different when I was talking with them. Do you know at a time, I wondered if it was my little Ada and John I was talking to? They are so big and matured; even John’s voice has changed.” He said, there was pain in his eyes.
“Ha ha, they are really growing faster than we think and we have neglected them, thinking they were still kids. I know this is not an excuse, but I gave up when I noticed that Ada had outgrown me. I knew I couldn’t handle them alone and
instead of asking you for help I got into my shell and allowed things to continue to go bad.” Ifeoma said regretfully.
“It was all my fault. I shouldn’t have left you all alone to handle them. God! I have been a bad father and husband, putting all my efforts in the office while my house was in disarray.” He stopped and looked his wife in the eye again. “I am very sorry… today I looked at my children from a point of view I had never done before for a long time and I realized I was missing in their life. Again, you made me realize I have been selfish all along. Yes, I have only been thinking of being a success and have stupidly been putting my whole efforts in my work place and have neglected my house.” He said thoughtfully.
“Mmh, where have my husband been all this while?” She bantered, “I am glad we have both come to our senses, I just hope it’s not too late. In fact, Linda talked to me this afternoon and I felt like crying after hearing a genuine version of
what these kids really feel. I couldn’t help but wonder how I allowed things to go this bad. So what do you intend to do now? Do you still want to send them away?” She asked. Ifeoma was glad that they were both on the same page now.
Benson remained silent for some time, staring at the wall behind his wife. It was very emotional. She could sense that he was really unhappy with the turnout of events a home, his face displayed deep regret.
“No, I never intended sending them out… Oh God, I am not even qualified to be called a father. Sitting here for the past hour and reflecting on my behavior all these while had made realize a lot of things, it hurts so much to see what I have
done to them. Look at the way I spoke to them, I was like an animal back there.”
“It’s ok honey” She didn’t know when the word honey came out of her mouth, it had been a long time. “You can’t continue blaming yourself. I even feel worse, but I don’t think it is right for us to continue regretting. What’s done is done;
let’s think of the way forward.”
“Yes, you are right.” He took in a deep breath “Well, the first thing I plan to do is to tender my resignation first thing tomorrow morning.”
“Ah!” Ifeoma exclaimed “Do you think that will be a nice idea?”
“Don’t worry, I don’t think the company will be quick to let me go but even if they do, with my qualification and experience, I will be the hottest thing in the market. If my company doesn’t let me go, then I will remain with them on my terms.
I will give them conditions that would ensure that I have time for my family.”
“Okay, anything that will bring you home more often and not make you be on the edge all the time.”
“Right now, we have a great task ahead of us. We have to start getting into the lives of our children immediately.” Benson said. “I suggest you talk to Ada and find out what is wrong with her, the pregnancy issue is crazy, but we have to figure out what to do together with her. I will talk with John and try to sort out issue with him. Let’s do this and see what we can come up with.”
“Okay,” Ifeoma stood up and headed for the door, wondering what they were going to do about Ada’s pregnancy. All the same she was glad that she was doing this with her husband. There seemed to be a new strength in her.
“And after that we will do some cooking together,” Benson said.
She looked back and smiled, she just hoped that getting into her children’s lives wouldn’t be as tough as she imagined.