The Blaring of Horns: A Short Story

1

The 5th of February is a day I will never forget. I was in a bus on my way home, when I got a text from my sister.

It was a cool evening, the wind blew gently against my skin, but suddenly I began to feel hot, so hot I wanted opening the windows only for me to discover the bus windows were wide open and I wasn’t in my room.

I began to sweat like a stubborn chicken being chased around the house by its killers. I started fanning myself with all the strength I could muster. My neighbour; a fair blue-eyed guy who wore the sneakers; the sneakers I called bae, a Rose Gold vegan sneaker whose platform was covered in glitters.

Those sneakers were the first thing I noticed immediately I hopped into the bus. I looked up at the person wearing the shoes then I caught his blue eyes. I bushed. Dude is mind-blowing handsome.

I quickly threw my eyes away before he saw them and sat shylishly on the seat beside him, sunk myself into them, pulled out my earpiece to listen to an Asa’s song.

He tapped me, at first I pretended not to know, then he tapped me again, as I turned to look at him, my phone beeped and my sister’s text came in.

“Aunty Funmi, Nancy is pregnant by daddy”.

2

Nancy had come to live with us when she ten (10) years old. She had a short muscular frame and looked like one who wasn’t an alien to farm work. And true to her form, she was very hardworking. And my parents loved her. She endeared herself to my folks by being hands-on and she multi-tasked easily.

She and I bonded with ease but not quickly. I was intrigued by how someone could be so short, small yet muscular so I watched her like a hawk watching its prey.

I detested the way my parents loved her, I thought they preferred her to me and on many occasions, they did. I remember the times; my father would say during devotions, that she prayed better than us (my brother and I), that she was industrious, and that she was the only one who did all the house chores.

But really shouldn’t it be that way? She is a housemaid after all.

I hated her.

She paid no mind to me; in fact, she watched my every move and made it a point of duty, to report me to my parents, no matter how little the offence I committed was.

I remember the day she came to our house, a Sunday it was 5:30 pm, a loud honk blared, it startled all of us.

This was an otherwise quiet neighbourhood. Everyone in the house was at the time sleeping; a normal Sunday ritual.  

When the first horn blared, I thought I heard it in my dream, but then it blared again and this time I jolted out of bed to see what the noise was about.

Then I saw her.

She was rather small with tiny dirty and unremarkable shoes holding a mini bag and hiding behind the lady who brought her. They had come in a large bus, filled with many girls like her, the look of awe on their faces all eager to experience the city life they had heard so much about.

When she entered the house, she stared at me and when she caught me looking, she smiled, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes.

3

Blue eyes tapped me again and this time I was brought back to reality, I was already soaking sweat. He gave me a once over and said quietly, “are you ok?” I gave him the look of do not disturb me. He seemed to notice my countenance but he persisted, “you are sweating when you are just by the window, are you ok?” I looked at him and hissed, and said through my teeth, “even if I am sweating this much, how is it your business, is it your sweat?” I said as I made to dial my sister’s line.

“Babe I don’t understand that text you just sent me, what do you mean daddy got Nancy Pregnant?” I shouted breathlessly into the phone, I didn’t know how loud I was until I saw half the bus turn and look at me.

In embarrassment, I bowed my head to continue the conversation. My sister was speaking but I couldn’t make out what she said. My mind was in utmost turmoil. “How could dad stoop so low? Where are you now? Where is she?”

The questions came in quick succession; my sister didn’t even have the time to answer. “Don’t worry I will soon be there”, I said to my sister and quickly ended the call.

Blue eyes placed a hand on my shoulder and wanted to say something when I looked down at his hands on me in disdain and carried the look up to his face.

As soon as he caught my stare, he quickly removed his hand from my shoulders, and a rush of “I’m sorry” flowed from his mouth.

I just hissed, in my anger, I didn’t realise I was already crying, I felt hot tears fall unto my skirt.

I alighted at the next stop and instead of taking a bike home, I decided to walk. Many things ran through my mind, How could they? But this was a girl I took as a sister, why would she do this?

As I approached our gate, I noticed there were multiple cars parked outside. I went into the house cautiously; I met my mother crumpled on a chair crying. My dad was shouting something as usual. Nancy was kneeling beside him, with a confident look on her face. Our Pastor was also there; my dad’s relatives and my mum’s sister were seated. I looked at them, how bad news spreads easily and shook my head.

Immediately I sighted her, I rushed at Nancy and gave her a resounding slap. The slap caught her off guard and she got up to fight me. We were soon separated by the legion of onlookers.

“And I was warned, everyone told me to watch you two closely”, my mother was saying, pointing at both Dad and Nancy. “Auntie o ti to (Aunty it is enough)”, “it is not enough”, my mother shouted. “Not after all I did for Dayo”, she responded to her sister who was consoling her.

“Please take her away”, my father said to my mum’s sister, “she’s disturbing the peace of this house with that noise,” he said in disgust.

“How can you say that to me? I am disturbing the peace, after what you have done to destroy this family, ha Dayo God will punish you.” my mother said sobbing.

My Dad’s sister cleared her throat, “now that she’s already pregnant there’s nothing we can do than to accept the baby”, the blood just drained from my mother’s face, she shouted “what? “Tolu you have no choice”, this voice was my father’s.

4

Prior to that day, I had never seen my mother cry the way she did, she had cried so much, her body was shaking from exhaustion. I could clearly see it, she was in agony.

I came to her and held her. We were both crying, “Dad how can you do this and expect us to accept the baby?” I said to him in between sobs.

“Funmi get up and go to your room, this matter doesn’t concern you? My father said eyeing me. “How can you say you sleeping with and getting Nancy pregnant is not my business, this is a girl everyone sees as my sister”.

Nancy just hissed and moved inches closer to my dad.

“So Nancy this has been your plan all along?” I rushed her again and this time my father gave me a reverberating slap.

“No no Boda(Brother) Dayo this is wrong, you don’t have to slap her”, my mum’s sister said as she drew me to herself while I cried. “Boda(Brother) Dayo this is not right, don’t compound your problems by beating Funmi, she has nothing to do with this”, his sister added.

“Dayo do not dare lay a hand on my child, you are a disgrace of a husband and a father, you should be ashamed of yourself”. My mother said.

“Deacon this thing you have done is a disgrace not only to the body of Christ but also to the church. What will you say to everyone who looks up to you? Honestly, I am speechless. You are one of the few good men I thought was truly different”. Pastor said as he shook his head and moved from the corner of the room where he had been standing with his head bowed for the past hour.

“Pastor I may be wrong, but Tolu pushed me. Please, can you ask her what my best soup is?”

Everyone turned to look at him in surprise. “What has soup got to do with this issue,” his sister, Mummy Sarah asked? “Just ask her,” my father said unperturbed.

And like we were all controlled by a remote all eyes turned on my mum, “yourrrrrr favourite soup is Egusi”, my mother said stammering.

“You see I said it”, my father said as he clapped his hands, “I keep telling you she has no time for me”, he said in the direction of his sister, “what do you mean I have no time for you? My mother shot back at him.

“Where were you coming from this past weekend?” he asked her. There was silence and he continued, “Didn’t you just come back from Kano for ministers wives conference, if it’s not your ministry’s meeting, its Holy Ghost Camp, or a wedding she travels to, or a prayer meeting, she always has somewhere to go.

Ask her when was the last time she prepared a meal for me in this house, she abdicated her duties to Nancy, isn’t it fair Nancy also takes her place in the bedroom?” He asked mischievously.

My mother rushed him, but her sister and Pastor stopped her.

“And for the record my best soup is Okro”, there was a shocked expression on my mother’s face. “You see, you don’t even know, hahaha,” he laughed.

“How will you know when you are too busy with church and ministry? You feed me Vegetable soup, but I never complained, hoping that one day you will change and get back to your senses, but no you only got worse.

Nancy has made me happy, and with her, I will stay”. He said finally.

“So you are ready to end your marriage of twenty years and three children for your house maid?” My pastor asked, staring him in the face.

“With all due respect sir, Nancy is not a housegirl, if you don’t stop calling her that, you’ll have to leave this house”, my father said as he threw him a dirty look with bloodshot eyes.

“Boda(brother) Dayo what has this girl done to you that you’re disrespecting everyone including Pastor like that?” Mummy Sarah said, “E be ru Olorun” (Fear God) she continued.

“Fi Dayo Si le (leave Dayo alone), this house belongs to me, I bought it with my hard earned money and it is in my name, so if anyone is going to leave, it will be you and your whore”, my mother said as she gave Nancy a dirty once over.

My father shook his head, “this is another thing you do, you have emasculated me in this house. You do things without telling me or without my approval. You go anywhere you like, buy whatever you want and make decisions that affect this family without my knowledge. In my own house, I do not even feel like a man”. 

“No matter what it is I have done Dayo, you have no moral justification under God’s green earth to disrespect me by sleeping with Nancy. And what difference would it have made if I had told you about the freezer? You never give me money; you didn’t even contribute a dime to the building of the second house? What do you want me to do?”

“Did you tell me before you started building the second house?” my father threw the question at her.

“And even if I had told you, what would you have done, only God knows what you do with money? Femi’s school fees that you promised to pay, you refused to pay a dime, I had to borrow and deplete all my savings so she could graduate. Dayo you have wronged me wronged God and your children, but I will not hold it against you. Whatever you like, you can do. I will leave the house for you today, but I will be back in a week time”. This time she stood, walking in the direction of the room.

“But please, by the time I return, I want your whore out of my house, if by any chance I meet her here when I return”, she said pointing her finger in the direction of Nancy, “you wouldn’t believe what I would do”, she continued.

“Tolu!” My father called my mother’s name as he thundered, “Nancy is going nowhere, and she is not leaving this house under any circumstance”. I saw the blood drain from my mother’s face as she stopped in her tracks and turned back, “then Dayo be ready to vacate this house for me”, she said looking him in the eye.

To say the least, my father was shocked, “fine!” He said and shrugged. “I’ll leave but if I leave, I am leaving with her”, he beckoned to Nancy who then stood and held hands with my father.

My mother ran to her room with I and her sister in tow. She collapsed in her bed, completely drowned in tears.

5

That was four years ago, I know you may be wondering what happened to my once little happy family, well my dad and Nancy, his lover began to live together. They shunned themselves out of the world and didn’t give a care to what anyone said.

Nancy gave birth to a beautiful boy, who looked so innocent and so oblivious of the circumstances of his birth.

On the day Nancy came back home from the hospital, we all went to see her and the baby; I, my sister, my brother and my mother. But we didn’t go alone, we went with a jar of juice and baby clothes because as well brought up children, we are not to visit anyone empty-handed.

My dad and Nancy were surprised to see us, “Thank God you have come around”, my dad said to my mother as he hugged her. “Of course I have”, my mother replied. We all took turns carrying the baby and singing to him.

Nancy came to kneel in front of my mum and asked to be forgiven. “Nancy, I hold no grudges against you, even if I were angry, it is Dayo I should be angry with, because he’s the one that made a vow to me”, Nancy brows furrowed, but my mother gently put a hand on her, “but it’s alright now, the Holy Spirit helped me to forgive him”, she said as she looked at my dad. Nancy and my father smiled.

“What is the name of the child?” I said cutting into their wonderful reunion, Nancy and my father both exchanged looks, then my dad said, “We’ve not named him yet, maybe you will do us the honours?”

“Of course”, I said and smiled.

The juice we brought was served, we all drank, laughed, watched a little TV and announced we were leaving.

The next morning, my mother got a frantic call from their neighbour of the unattended cries of a child. The neighbour was worried and wanted us to come over.

We got to the house, forced our way in and met the naked lifeless bodies of Nancy and my father. He was lying on top of her.

We picked the child and called the police.

Cause of death? That was easy, Death from too much sex. Don’t laugh, but when you met two dead bodies on top of each other, what will you say is the cause?

My mother refused to have anything to do with the child, so also Nancy’s family. They believed the child brought bad luck.

But Jeremiah was too beautiful, to be handed to an orphanage. He smelt of the evening rain, his skin shone like the stars in the darkest of nights, and when he smiled, the world stilled and everything was alright, so I decided to keep him.

6

The rain had just finished its rounds for the day, it made the weather cool, and the air fresh. I shut the windows, put on the AC, and completely covered myself in my duvet watching a TV show. Jeremiah was in the living room, watching a cartoon. I loved the silence and comfort.

Suddenly, my dog Manny started barking, she only barked that way when she sights a trespasser, and as if on cue, I heard a slight knock on the door.

“Jeremiah go see who’s at the door”, he ran and not too long after, he called out excitedly, “Mummy! Mummy”, “yes baby, what is it?” I asked impatiently.

“Mum, you have a visitor”, he said calmly, looking at me weird, “Who is it?” I asked returning his look.

“Mum just come”, dragging me by my hand out of bed, “Ok I’m coming”, I said wondering what the fuss was about.

I put on my pyjamas to see who was disturbing my rather quiet evening, I got to the door, opened it, Lo and behold, it was Blue eyes peering at me.

I didn’t know how to react, my eyes widened in shock. “Hello Stranger”, he said smiling, not minding my earlier reaction. “How did youuuuuuu”, my voice trailed off as I stammered.

“Won’t you let me in? He said almost laughing, I moved out of the way to usher him in. Just then I noticed Jeremiah had been eavesdropping; noticing he had been caught, he quickly raced back to the TV.

“Wait”, I said stopping him, “I never got your name the day we met”, this made him laugh, then he looked at me with all the seriousness he could muster, his blue eyes staring right into my soul, “my name is…

That reminds me, everyone believed our story; that we found Dad and Nancy on top of each other dead, but do you?

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