meenah writes ✍️
Crying, Funke falls into a deep slumber, finds herself in an orchard, sitting under an apple tree. As she wonders, where she is, an old man appears with beards like wool, tall and handsome but walks in a slightly bent gait with a strong but calm voice.
Old Man: “Funke,” he smiles at her.
Funke: “Who are you, baba and how did you know my name?”
Old Man: “I knew you before you were born and I am that friend who has kept you alive inspite of the ills that have befallen you!” Funke looks confused, “there is no time, my dear daughter. Take a look at this tree and its fruits, “he looks up.
Funke: “Wow, the tree looks fresh and its fruits succulent!”
Old Man: “Really?” she nods, “Let’s imagine that the roots of this tree is eaten up, what will happen?” as he talks the whole tree dried up and the fruits disappears.
Funke: “Yeh!” she is shocked
Old Man: “When I sent you into this world you were like the tree and its succulent fruits we had met but something happened and now this is your present situation,” he points at the withered tree, “You are now but a withered tree!”
Funke breaks down in tears, the Old Man walks up to her and taps her,
Old Man: “Sit with me” they sit on a log of tree.
Funke sits but continues crying, in calmness he watches her as she cries when she finishes, he asks, “Are you done?” offended, she stares at him in anger, instead of consoling her asks her a very annoying question, she refuses to answer. Smiling, he continues, “for you to get back your glory, you need to embark on a spiritual venture; fast for three days after which you return back to your root. For you to get back your glory return to your root!”
With sweat running her body, she wakes up. Fidgeting, the dream feels so real.
Funke: “What kind of dream is this?” goes to the bathroom to wash her face.
Funke embarks on the three days prayer and fasting. The first day, she becomes very weak and decides to give up but the voice pops up, “You’ll die as the withered tree.”
Funke: “God forbid oo!”
She observes the fasting religiously, always waking up at the middle of the night to pray.
Kenny: “With the rate at which you pray and call fire I just pray we don’t wake and see the house on fire o!” he jokes.
On the last day, she has a dream too, the old man appears again.
Old Man: “Congrats, Funke, my daughter! Now, you’re now fully equipped for this journey! Go back to your root; go get back what the enemy has stolen from you!”
He disappears again; she wakes up feeling excited with a new kind of energy. She cannot wait for Kenny’s return, he had gone out to see a friend. In a rush, she leaves the kitchen as he enters the house,
Funke: “Baby, when are we going to Nigeria?”
Kenny : “In a month’s time.”
Funke: “Oooh! That’s too far. Why not next week?”
Kenny is surprised; he smiles,
Kenny:”Ehm,okay, lemme round up business here then quickly get the papers ready and before you know it we will be in Nigeria!”
She is excited and hugs him.
When Funke and Kenny arrive at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, she becomes very nervous. She had gone ahead to withdraw from the University without her parents’ consent and she didn’t call them to inform them that she will return to the country. As the time draws near for her to face her parents, she dreads their reactions. Kenny who is sitting by her side in the car his parents sent to pick them up noticed that she was nervous.
Kenny: “Are you okay, Baby?”
Funke: “Yes, I am fine. Just missing America already.”
Kenny: “Dont worry, we will go back there when you are pregnant. I want you to have my child there. So, tell me, will you follow me home to meet my parents right away?”
Funke: “No, I think I will just go to my uncle’s place today to pass the night. I will see your parents tomorrow.”
Kenny: “Okay, then.”
When she gets to her uncle’s house, he is not around. Funke meets only the housemaid at home.
Housemaid (Mulikat): “Ah, welcome, aunty Amelika. Eka’abo o. Let me touch your skin, I have never touched anyone who has been to America before ”
Funke: “Mulikat, you wont change. Where is everyone?”
Mulikat: “Oga commot, e never come back. Madam too commot her own. Even seff, small madam never come house for some days now.”
Funke: “What do you mean by that? Oh, you mean Kate? Has she gone back to school?”
Mulikat: “No, she never go back school. Na oga pursue ahm commot from im house say she no be im pikin”
Funke: “Ah! ah! why did he say that? Was there a misunderstanding or something?”
Mulikat: “Ah! wo, aunty Funke, forget big big English. Small aunty carry man come house, them come dey do for night forget say na family house dem dey, na their ‘uuu’ ‘aah’ shout wake oga. Him come pursue them for house say no pikin wey commot from him body fit behave like that.”
Funke: “Are you serious? What did his wife say?”
Mulikat: “No be small quarrel that day o. Madam say na oga daughter say why oga go deny im blood like that. No talk say na me tell you o, madam say she know say oga dey follow small small girls for area up and down. Him come vex close madam shop. Now, madam no get shop again.”
Funke: “Hmmn, Mulikat, Radio without battery, na you biko!”
Mulika: “Aunty, how person go do, now. Make I find you something eat, I dey come.”
When Mulika leaves for the kitchen, Funke becomes engrossed in deep thoughts. She knows that her cousin could be promiscous but bringing a man to the house and sleeping with him right under her parents roof was out of it. From the story Mulikat narrated, it is obvious that her uncle and his family are not in good terms and that didn’t go down well with her because she is counting on her uncle and is wife to talk to her parents on her behalf. She decides to pick up her phone to confirm the authenticity of Mulikat’s gossip. Thrice the phone rang and Kate didn’t pick. She is about returning the phone to her bag when it starts ringing.
Funke: “Madam Kate, I thought that you won’t pick up my calls.”
Kate: “Oh please, cut the madam thing, makes one feel kinda old. I didn’t know it was you calling, thought it was one of my mugus. A customer just got me the latest iPhone 7 and I don’t have your number saved here. Whats up, when did you come back to Nigeria?”
Funke: “Customer ke! Kate, wetin you dey sell? O ga o. anyway its a long story. I am in your house and no one is around. Can you please come? We need to talk. What is this about daddy disowning you?”
Kate: “Abegi, forget that old man, jor! I cant come back now o. I siddon on top microphone before you called o, I wan go back go continue. I will come later in the evening.”
Before Funke can reply, the line goes dead. “what’s this girl means by sitting on Microphone”, she reasoned aloud.
“Well, well, well, who do we have here?” Her uncle’s voice roused her from the sweet slumber she had fallen into while sitting on the couch in the sitting room.
Funke: “Welcome, sir. How was work today?”
Mr Ayodele: “How was your flight, congratulations on your graduation. Hope you made good grades? Your father will be very proud of you.”
Funke: “Erm, uncle, I didn’t graduate. I withdrew from the University.”
Mr Ayodele: “You what? Are you out of your mind? Wait, you withdrew or you were withdrawn?”
Funke: “I withdrew, I couldn’t continue. I came back with a man I want to marry but my parents do not understand. Please, I need you to follow my fiance and I to the village so that you can help me talk to your brother.”
Mr Ayodele: “Emi, talk to my brother about your foolishness? You must be out of your mind.”
“Welcome, aunty”, Funke runs to embrace her uncle’s wife who is just returning.
Mrs Ayodele: “Funke America, I didnt know that you will come back this soon. How was your flight, anyway, I need to go and freshen up, we will talk about your trip when I come back.”
As she makes for the bedroom, her husband calls her back.
Mr Ayodele: “So, it has gotten to the stage where you now walk past me without greeting me, ehn.”
Mrs Ayodele: “Oh, its greeting that is the problem tonight, ba? Good evening.” She makes to walk past him but he drags her back.
Mr Ayodele: “You don’t walk away when I am talking to you. No woman does that to me.”
Mrs Ayodele: “Heen!, somebody is looking for my trouble in this house o. God knows that I am not in the mood for trouble today. Leave me alone o, you said you wanted greetings, I gave you, now you are saying another thing. If you wake my trouble, you go use your head carry am o.”
Mr Ayodele: “It is you and that your useless daughter that will use your head to carry any trouble. Like mother like daughter!”
Mrs Ayodele: “Don’t you ever call my daughter useless again. Oh, now she is my daughter abi? Na my name she dey bear as surname, shey? You stoppped me from going to my shop, I didnt protest, now you wan stop me from entering my room, you lie. Whatever it is that you are looking for, you will see it.”
Mr Ayodele: “Listen to me, if you dare talk to me like that again, I will send you back to your father’s house where I picked you from and cleaned you up.”
Mrs Ayodele: “Send me back where? So that you can be free to bring in those small small girls to my matrimonial home, that will be over my dead body. Is this how you married me from my father’s house? After you have finish draining me with your large appetite for sex, you are talking about sending me back. The hot water that my father will pour on you when you try that is already boiling.”
Funke moves to save the situation by coming to stand inbetween them. “Aunty, it hasn’t got to that. Uncle, you are supposed to settle your differences in the confines of your bedroom and not…”
Mr Ayodele: “Shut up your mouth there! Who are you to tell me where and when to talk to my wife? Look at this rat that couldn’t complete ordinary Masters programme abroad talking to me about what not to do.”
Mrs Ayodele: “Funke or whatever it is they call you, don’t ever intervene anytime I am having issues with my husband again. What is it? Can’t somebody enjoy privacy in her sitting room again?
Embarrassed and confused, Funke rushes back to Kate’s room and begins to sob. Mulikat comes in and stands by the door. “Aunty Amelica, no vex say dem shout on top your head o. This house don turn to Fuji House of Commotion. Abeg, I fit get wetin you bring come from Amelica for me now”, she said.
Funke: “Get out!”
Early the next morning, Funke goes to see her fiance’s parents; she spends time with them and they fall in love with her character. Kenny is called by his parents and advised to marry her as soon as possible, “her type is rare in this modern day Nigeria, how soon can we get the wedding plans started?” they ask him.
Two days later, Funke, Kenny and his parents set out for their village to officially ask for her hand in marriage. All through the journey she tries to call her parents to notify them that she is on the road but they refuse to pick her calls. She tried her younger sister’s number and she picks it.
Funke: “Aburo, how are you, why is everyone not picking my calls?”
Kemi: “Ah, sister mi, Ba mi and Ma mi are angry with you o. They said we shouldn’t pick your calls again.. In fact, if Ba mi finds out that I am talking to you, he will seize my phone.”
Funke: “Ah-ah, has it gotten to that level? Okay, help me tell them that I am on my way with my inlaws and my fiance to see them.”
Kemi: “I can’t talk to them about you o, ah. I no dey o. In fact, Wahidi and his people are coming for your introduction today and Mami and other women are busy cooking.”
Funke: “What! An introduction ceremony without my consent? Where on earth is that done? Who gave them permission for all that?”
Kemi: “Sister mi, forget big English o, who English epp for this kind palaver? Ba mi say if they do the introduction, another man cannot come and marry you again, thats why they want to do it behind your back. See, if you like yourself and your in laws, better turn back dey go where una dey come from if not if Wahidi and im people meet una here, na die be that o. I don talk my own.”
Funke is thrown into another round of confusion.
All through the drive to the village, Funke is quiet as lots of things run through her mind ranging from how her parents will react when they see her and how her inlaws will react to the situation on ground. Kenny notices that she is unnecessarily quiet and sober.
Kenny: “Baby, are you okay?” he asks, touching her cheeks
Funke: “Yes, love. I am fine, just a little bit excited.”
Kenny’s Mother: “Leave my daughter in law alone, jare. Can’t you see she is shy? It is expected. First time I met your daddy’s parents, I was very shy too, I had to cover my face with my veil.”
Kenny’s Father: “Your mother is one hell of a woman. Do you know that she didn’t allow me enjoy my honeymoon because she was crying that she wanted to return to her parents? I know she will deny it now”
Kenny’s Mother: “Kenny mi, dont mind your daddy, jare. I was the most beautiful maiden during my time and your daddy said if I don’t marry him, he will jump into the village stream and kill himself. I had to pity him and help his life. If I didn’t marry him, by now, he would have been dead and forgotten.
They all burst into laughter. Even Funke who is preoccupied with her thoughts could not help but laugh. Ever since she met Kenny’s parents, it has been exchange of jokes between the couple and she is looking forward to being a part of their family. Silence falls on them and before a blip everyone is sleeping in the car except Kenny and the driver. Funke doesn’t even know when she falls asleep; she is immersed in a dream, it is her usual dream.
Funke is back to the orchard, under the same apple tree waiting for her friend, the old man. He appears this time he doesn’t wear a smile,
Funke: “Baba,what’s wrong?”
Old Man: “Funke! Funke!! Funke!!! How many times have I pronounced your name?”
Old Man: “This war isn’t a child’s play but it isn’t for the swift or strong either. It is for one that has being engraced. But asides grace you have to brace yourself! Be ready! The one who sends me has said He is going to be with you all through but you have to look up to him only then can victory be guaranteed. You have to look up to him, up to only him” he walks away as he makes his finally speech.
Funke: “Baba! Baba!!”the closer she moves to him the farther he goes, “Baba!!!”
Kenny taps her.
To Be Continued……. . . . . .