August, 1967 

“Titi, take Olumide along with you to the farm, I have to go to the market.” Bisi said to her daughter.

“Mama, I cannot take him. You know one minute he is well and the next, he is sick! I may not know what to do if he behaves in a weird way.” I replied my mother who cast me an annoying look. 

I reluctantly grabbed the three-year-old boy and placed him firmly on my back, then strapped him with a wrapper. He attempted to wriggle his way out of my grip but I slapped his buttocks and he calmed down. 

Bisi looked at her children in admiration.

Hmm, I eventually got the boy I wanted and chief wanted and I cannot afford to toy with him. The looks on Mama Abike and Mama Asake faces these days have been saying much. They are very envious of me” She said in a small voice as she walked out. 

“And you, Titi, be careful? She called out to her as she made her way out of the compound sashaying with a spring to her steps. 

“Yes mama, I will” I said and rolled my eyes, if only I know what that means, but anyways, I plan to enjoy these two more weeks left because I may not be here for a long time. Papa has paid my school fees in one big school in Lagos.

“Jumoke! Jumoke! Let us go, the sun is getting hotter! I called out to the last child of the second wife. We were so fond of each other and remained close clearly ignoring all our mothers’ bickering and open jealousy.

Jumoke came out of her mother’s hut and we walked hand-in-hand towards one of our father’s large farms. 

“I am happy for you, Titi.” Jumoke started. She had a huge smile plastered across her face.

“I am scared for myself” I said with some anxiety

“Oh no, you do not have to, many people have travelled to Lagos and prospered. Some end up being wealthy so just have it at the back of your mind that you would also excel” Jumoke replied, suddenly playing her big sister role and soothing her step-sister. 

“I pray I excel and make our father proud since I am the only person he is sending to a private school in Lagos”

“Don’t worry, you will, just don’t forget me when you get there” Jumoke said with some concern

“I won’t but I know by the time I come back, you would have married that Akanbi man that you have been admiring” I said with a wink

“What!!! he is the one who can not take his eyes off me” Jumoke retorted and smacked me on the  left shoulder.

I raised my hands in the air showing mock surrender “Okay! Okay! I don’t care who is admiring who, just be quick about your plans, I can not wait to be at my favourite sister’s wedding. 

We both burst into laughter as we continued our trek to the farm. 

When we got to the farm, I laid the sleeping child inside a hut and started the harvesting the crops. Nature seemed to be in agreement with us, it had rained in the early hours of the morning and the soil was moisturised.  Before mid-day, we had gathered enough and as we planned to take our leave,  our little brother woke up. Jumoke offered to strap the child this time while we carried the farm produce back home. Immediately Bisi saw her special child with Jumoke, she got up and rushed to her to grab the confused child. 

“Stay away from my child, I know you have already bewitched Titi and she cannot leave your sight but this boy is a special one and stay away from him” she said casting a condescending look at her. 

With that mild drama, I knew I was in for some beating that evening so I rushed to store the items in the barn and straightaway went to spend the evening with my father in his hut. I planned to stay there until nightfall when my mother would have been asleep, I was also certain that by the next day, the offence would have been pardoned. There was a strange irony to the turn of events in our home, my father that had strongly wanted a male child was not so doting of the boy eventually. It was clear to everyone that Titi was the favourite child but it was unexplainable. 

In two weeks’, time, I would be travelling to resume secondary school in Lagos and sincerely I am half-excited and half-scared. I spent a lot of time preparing my luggage, reading about the city, the school and visiting people who had been to Lagos to know what their experience was like.


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