9JA STORY: T.A.O.T (EP 06)




I knew something was wrong with him, but I could not just pinpoint what exactly was wrong.

Aunty Rebecca called me one day and said to me; “If anyone should ask of Dunni, just tell them that she has travelled. If you dare to tell anyone that she’s missing, I will make your life miserable”. Well, I just had to accept fate and keep mute. My instincts told me that Aunty Rebecca had something to do with the whole situation, but what can a ‘poor boy’ do? It appeared that my dad really loved Aunty Rebecca. Even more than he loved my mom when she was alive. Aunty Rebecca was not working at all, but she spends money on expensive clothes and accessories.

The whole family problems had really affected my academics. I was already in JSS3 and was preparing to write my Junior Secondary Certificate Examination (JSCE), popularly referred to as ‘Junior WAEC’. Everyone in school noticed that something was wrong with me. I could not share with them that my sister is nowhere to be found, because I knew ‘the witch’ was going to kill me if she finds out. Everyone in school thought my sister left the country to live with my uncle. Since that was what Aunty Rebecca told me to tell people.

I had a friend then whose name was Oyinade. Oyinade could literally catch a grenade for me. She was a very good friend. One day she just called me to have a conversation with me after school….

Oyinade: Tolu, I really do not understand what’s going on with you. These days, you tend to be absent minded and easily distracted. Whatever the problem is just know that you can tell me.
Me: Oyin, there’s a lot going on in my life. Most people tend to think life’s all rosy for me. But there is a lot going on that I can’t share with anyone.
Oyinade: It’s all right, we all have things we tell no one about. But the thing is this, just brace up and be a man. What happened to the Tolu that used to Top the class? What happened to the Tolu that goes home with almost all the prices? Whatever happened to that Tolu? I know that he is in there somewhere, (pointing at my chest) and that’s the Tolu you need to face the coming exams…

It was as if Oyinade had my password, the words she spoke turned things around in my mind. I was really motivated. “I can do this!” I said to myself.

I decided to avoid all problems with Aunty Rebecca, by doing whatever she says and trying as much as possible not to feel bad about it. From washing her clothes and ironing to washing Dara’s clothes. If I don’t do all that, there would be no food for me. Thank God that my school fees were paid on contract. They had been paid up from JSS1 to SS3. Maybe she would have instructed my dad to stop paying my fees. I gave my best shot and studied really hard for the exam with the help of my friend Oyinade. We wrote the exam and when the results came, it was awesome. Except for ‘Introductory Technology’ and ‘Mathematics’ where I had a ‘C’, all other subjects were ‘A’s. It was as if Oyinade photocopied my result, we had the exact same grade. We were both excited as I thanked her for her words of encouragement.

There was no one to show my result to. My dad was too busy, and even when he has the time, he doesn’t want to see me at all. I literally irritate him. I just kept my result and continued with my ‘laying-low’ life. I discovered that doing whatever Aunty Rebecca says pays off. So I just continued the ‘laying low’ attitude. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t her aim just to humble me. She had something bigger in store for me. I continued my life like that till my SS3. But one day, something happened that ruined the whole thing.

It was raining on a Saturday evening. I was on my bed thinking about how to make the best out of my final exams. My dad just badged into my room and shouted “You this unfortunate child! You’re leaving my house today!….



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