It was unusual for Baba to be back home at this time. At 3pm on Monday? Even when he was early from work, he fancy gracing the pito joints where he met loud friends who called the joint home.
When the joint closed for the day, he normally delayed awhile before crawling back home.
So early at home on Monday? I was still trying to wrap my mind around this new development. The unconvincing part of this was that I met him watching television in the sitting room which was one of the last things he did every day.
“Good evening Baba,” I greeted
“Ehen! Isa how are you? I hope you went to school today?”
“Yes I did.” At this time I was barely seven years old, and was still in Primary Three in Fadama Community Primary School. I’ve always topped my class every term with results my peers would wish for, but Baba never cared or asked how school was until today.
I was glad and perplexed at the same time. A lot was just going on in the house that I couldn’t understand. So many questions started floating into my mind.
“What happened to Baba today?”
“Has he lost his job?”
“Is he sick?”
“Did Mama do something wrong?”
All the answers to my questions remained a mystery until 8pm in the night when my family gathered to eat dinner at our opepe dinning room.
As the last child in a family of two girls and three boys, I was supposed to be the last to speak anytime the family was gathered for any occasion. But today I don’t know what spurred my heart to break the rule. I was really disturbed even before the evening meal, so I had to ask Baba first.
“Why were you at home early today? Because this is the first time in so many years that you came back before supper.”
Hanatu, our eldest sister signalled me to keep, quiet but my voice echoed back in the room and Baba took a deep sigh that left every one of us in suspense.
When he began to speak, even Mama that wanted to go and bring more soup from the kitchen had to wait and listen to the news everyone had been itching to hear.
“I have been promoted to the position of the chief security officer in Tirzah Security Company. This is why I came back early. I was overjoyed beyond words that I had to come home early to celebrate with my family.”
Mama started singing, “Nagode Allah seriki” and we all joined her. The atmosphere in the dinning room became an epithet of joy. But this was just the beginning of the tale of the eventide.