Segun unlocked the front door to their home and went in. He had expected to find his mum at home but he guessed she was still at the hospital. He walked into his room, pressed the light switch and dropped his duffel bag on the floor. He then slumped on his bed.
Segun did not know what to think or feel about his dad. He frequently alternated between anger and sadness, hatred and loyalty with indifference in the centre of it all.
He had been quite young when his parents had divorced four years ago but he had been old enough to know what was going on. Although, he was only ten at the time, he had felt the stigma of been from a divided family everywhere he went be, it school or church. In this part of the world where divorce was not common, it had taken some getting used to. In school, he had been teased about it and asked why his family was different. All these just made him hate his dad more and it had not helped their relationship any. Now, to call it strained was an understatement.
Segun heard the front door open. “Segun, are you home?” his mum called
“Yes mum.” He bounced off the bed and met her halfway in the hall. Jade hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheeks.
“Hi baby. How was the journey?”
“Really mum, I’m not a baby anymore.” He replied sullenly. “The journey was fine, faster than I expected.”
“Humph. You are still my baby no matter how old you get. Besides, you are barely fifteen, trust me, you are a baby.”
“I’m not joor.”
“Mmm, hmm.” Jade smiled. “What would you like to eat? Come along.” She led the way into the kitchen.
Segun opened the refrigerator and brought out a tetrapak of fruit juice. He was about to slug it directly into his mouth when he saw his mum’s murderous look. He quickly took out a glass and poured the juice into it. “Mum, you look positively haggard. Have you been at the hospital since last night?”
“Yes dear. I had to stay until I was sure he was okay.” She took a pack of food out of the refrigerator. It contained jollof rice. She put it into the microwave and set the timer. She then leaned on the counter to watch her son.
He returned the juice to the fridge. “Why? After all he’s done to you; he doesn’t deserve your help.”
“Segun, the man is your father. For that alone, he’ll always have a place in my heart. And we are all he has, so for now, we are it.”
“Okay.” He agreed grudgingly. “How is he?” he asked quietly
Jade looked at him and saw the worry he was trying so desperately to hide from her. “He’s fine, a lot better. We spoke for a while before I left this afternoon.” She went to him and held his face in her hands. “It’s okay to be scared for him son. And it’s okay to still love him. God knows I still do.”
He gave her a surprised look. “You still love him?”
“Yes, I do dear. You don’t love a man for twelve years and then suddenly stop because of some differences. The love stays with you.”
“Sometimes, I don’t know what to feel.”
Jade nodded. “Believe me, I understand the feeling.”
The microwave pinged and Jade brought out the bowl. She served the rice in two plates with a piece of fried meat each and they sat down at the dinning table to eat.
“So, how is school? Is it everything you thought it would be?” Segun had just got admission into the University of Lagos and Jade was so proud of him. He was an exceptional boy despite the absence of a father. God had really helped her with his upbringing.
“Yeah, it’s fine. The past few months have been challenging but enjoyable too. First semester exams are around the corner so I’ll have to go back soon.”
“That’s no problem. Did you grandma call you?”
“Oh yes. She threatened to haunt me to the ends of the earth if I dare join any cult. Ma k’egbe kegbe o Segun ti o ba fe ki n pa e.”
Jade laughed. “That’s your grandma. But don’t overlook her words though. I’ll join her to haunt you if you dare.”
Segun smiled. “I’ll be fine mum, don’t worry about me.”
“Will you go with me to the hospital later in the day to check on your dad?”
“Yeah I will. I’m here to help you, remember?”
Jade arched her brows. “Okay dear.” If you say so. She knew he was dying to see his dad.
He stared into space for a few moments while Jade watched emotions flicker across his face. “Will you get back with him, mum?” he looked at her
Jade’s heart broke for him. He was so young but acted like a grown up. The absence of a father, which in most children would make them wayward, had the opposite effect on Segun. Instead, he acted much more matured and always felt the need to ‘protect’ her. Although she was grateful to God for a son that was ‘sane’, she sometimes wished he would act more his age.
“I don’t know son.” She whispered. “I’ll love to but it depends on the plans God has for me, and your father too, of course.”
“If he doesn’t want to get back together with you, will you remarry someday?”
“That still depends on God’s plans.”
“What is it, baby?”
He frowned. “Nothing mum, I’m just asking.”
Jade placed her hands on his where it lay on the table. “Don’t worry so much my dear. God’s got this, okay?”
“Alright.” He paused. “I often wondered why you didn’t have any other child after me. You and dad were together ten years before you divorced.”
“We tried for some time with no results. Although, after a while my mind was no longer in it because of the problems we were having. I didn’t want to bring another child into such fray.”
“That’s ok, I get it now. I really hope you’ll find happiness someday mum because you deserve it.”
“Thanks dear but I’m happy now too. I’m complete because I have God.”
He nodded but didn’t look convinced. Jade stood up and patted his shoulder.
“Let me freshen up before we head back. I can smell me from a mile away.”
Segun smiled and wrinkled his nose. “Great idea, mum.”
Jade laughed and went to her room. Naughty boy, she thought.