Most people don't mourn for you. They only come to satisfy their curiosity. Màámi often said this to her.
And most times, she wondered. But of course! In truth and fairness, no one puts so much effort into other people's matters. Besides, doing that might only cause negative reactions from others. When you send condolences to a victim, the normal thing is to leave right after. Seyi thought.
It was already a day after the accident. Steady streams of sympathizers still came to the house. But unlike when her father had passed, there were no usual refreshments for visitors whatsoever. Brother Dayo's wife had left the day before. The day of the accident. Back to Ilugbomo. It must have been tough on her, Seyi had to admit. She'd lost a husband, but they too had lost a son and brother. She must have been depressed. Almost gone crazy, maybe. She must have cried a lot. But Seyi wasn't convinced. How could she go back home after something like that happened? How could she sleep? But if one were to be rational, what did they expect?
The gloom in the house was depressing, almost suffocating. Seyi could taste the bitter tang of tears behind her mouth. Yet unshed tears. Those held back for want of eyes to cry more. She excused herself from the living room and went to the backyard. She sat on an upturned mortar while taking in large puffs of air. Inside had been unbreathable.
The compound was quiet. Too quiet, in fact. Usually, Peju and Timi and or any of their friends would be running around and screaming. And although she found this quite painful, she knew that tranquility was what she needed. For her head, to clear her hazed mind.
There had been a family meeting that evening. No, the evening before. It had been about Brother Dayo's property. He wasn't very wealthy but he'd been wise to save up some money and make some investments. He had had seven dependants- his four younger siblings and three children. Bolu was just about to resume into class one in junior secondary school while Peju and Timileyin were still in primary school. All attended cheap but reasonably good schools. Brother Dayo's children were also in school.
One was in primary one, another in nursery class, and the last was still two years old. They were his children alright, so, they'd gone to more expensive schools. Of course, that was the normal thing. What wasn't normal, though was Sister Motunrayo's (Brother Dayo's wife)'s refusal to share any of the property with her husband's family with the argument that her children must "survive". Of course, they will, but the man had seven dependants!
Seyi knew that her sister-in-law's wild selfishness could be challenged and somehow, she could find a corner to hang on to. She knew her brother, Dayo would never plan so much without leaving designed funds for his mother or siblings. He was a family man: Responsible to his wife and children, yet, never neglecting his own first family. Seyi remembered the day Brother Dayo had first brought Motunrayo home. He'd consulted her although she was still young. He'd told her that he wanted a wife who would take care of his mother and siblings as much as he would and wanted to know if she, Seyi liked his girlfriend. Sister Motun had been kind then. She did a lot of things for Màámi. Perhaps, that was the reason he'd married her in the first place. Brother Dayo never joked with his mother.
"I love 'Rayo. A lot. But Màmá had been the one who loved me first. And I had loved you and the small ones too. What this family, especially Màámi, has been through for me can never be replaced by just any girl I met just yesterday." Dayo had said when he was alive.
Motunrayo had been good. But with time, she'd distanced herself little by little from the family. And that, with her children too. Màámi's grandchildren. Seyi suspected Dayo's wife. She felt that there must be something she'd been hiding. For what other reason would she have been so eager to leave? Maybe Seyi was being myopic but Motunrayo clearly didn't love her husband's family. Or his mother. Left to her, Seyi was ready to prod further, dig deeper but Màámi had restrained her, saying that she was his wife and they were his children. They should have his things. But they too, Màámi and his siblings, were his family. Maybe Màámi was talking from grief. That must be the case. But after things get clear, what next?
Somehow, Seyi knew that she was a big sufferer of her brother's death and a major victim to all the wrong decisions they were going to make henceforth. Because it was on her, that the weight fell on now. And she couldn't ignore their needs. Màámi had a small shop but its proceedings couldn't cover much.
Perhaps, Dayo had had foresight. That must have been the reason he was so keen on Seyi learning a trade. He'd wanted her to be self-sustainable. But he'd gone too soon. How could she possibly graduate tailoring school or even practice without funds?
She knew right then, that tough days were ahead. No, her next years may not be rosy. She anticipated extreme want and hardship but she was, after all, her father's daughter and no way was she stopping.
She knew that she was going to make it, under the watch of her father's guardian angel who was now joined by another; her brother, Dayo. Dayo's spirit will not sleep not turn a blind eye. Her dead brother's love was enough to sustain her.
Next Episode: 03 - Decisions