The holidays had ended and it was time for Rose to resume. Bisola had gone a week earlier and that had increased her eagerness to return to school. Being in SSS3 had been a lifelong dream and she couldn’t wait to begin her experience. She was finally going to be the senior of seniors. No prefect bossing her around. Knowing she was preparing for WAEC, and that will always be the talk of school gave her the feeling of an achiever and made her so elated.
Dad! Where are you? Rose shouted from downstairs. We are getting late. You know I need to settle down and prepare for tomorrow and we can almost predict Lagos traffic. Another word for Lagos is traffic
I’m ready. Why are in such hurry to get to school this time? I have never seen such enthusiasm since you entered that school. By this time he was right in front of her.
Let’s just say people change as situations change and please don’t ask me what I meant by that.
Rose. She turned towards the direction of the voice to see her mother standing by the door dressed. You forgot your purse on the chair or are you not taking that along.
Rose turned to her dad and gave him her questioning look. Yes she is coming along he said.
Yes mum, I will get it right away. Thank you
Today must be carrying something special, Rose told herself as she sat at the back seat of the car.
My mum following me? There’s got to be some explanation for this but I know better than to ask.
Maybe great things are about to happen to me. She smiled to herself and she slept off.
Rose woke up from her short sleep filled with strange dreams she couldn’t piece together as her mother’s voice roused her.
Wake up young lady. We are in front of your hostel. Get down and go clear yourself. Make sure you leave every “contraband” behind if you are carrying any.
Rose got and smiled. I’m ready to start this journey
The weather was frosty this morning as Rose stood looking outside the window of her classroom not exactly excited about writing her last paper this morning. The last paper for her WAEC examinations. Why wasn’t she happy? She couldn’t place her hands on it but here she was feeling a void.
If I was at home I would have told my dad how I feel. She thought in her heart as she placed her hands across her chest.
Oh God! I wish I wasn’t writing any exam today or I don’t feel in the frame of mind to do so. She said as she turned to go back to her sit. I want to revise but I feel restless. I hope all is well. Rose was unable to nudge the feeling away.
Rose, congrats to us. We finally are done with Secondary school. I guess your paper was fine. That was Shirley, one of her close friends.
So Rose, when would you be going home?
Today, as soon as my dad arrives?
Are you sure you are fine? You have been quiet all day and I don’t see the excitement of writing your last paper?
I don’t know what it is but I can’t seem to find my peace. Maybe its nostalgia, I don’t know but I really can’t pin it down. When my dad arrives he might be able to help me out.
Segun! Yes dad!
I want you to come along with me to pick Rose from school. Her mother just called me to assist them in picking her. She would be expecting her dad or mum.
Alright dad. Let me get the car keys.
Rose, they have come to pick you. Her matron called her. She excitedly ran out only to meet her dad’s friend with his son outside.
She couldn’t help not noticing Segun. He looked especially handsome today with his black specks, stripped blue shirt on blue jeans to match his pink lips. Rose was beginning to secretly have a crush on Segun.
Rose, how are you? Segun broke into her thoughts. Bring out your things and let’s go home. Your parents are unable to come and pick you today so they asked my dad to help with the task and it was a pleasant task so we oblige without hesitation.
That is unlike my dad, what would have come up to prevent him from coming to pick me? Hope all is well at home?
All is well, Johnson said as Rose looked at his direction for an explanation for his silence and her dad’s absence.
There were unusually many foot wares outside her house. What’s happening, she asked? Oh, maybe there was a surprise welcome home party for her organized by her dad and that was why he couldn’t come to pick her. She smiled and ran into the house
But this does not look like a party but a gathering of mourners. “What’s wrong?” She looked around, saw her mum sitting on the long sofa with her head down and wailing seriously and her dad was no where to be found. Her sister was supposed to be in school so she didn’t bother looking out for her. She ran to her mum, what is wrong mum? And then her wailing increased. Where is dad and it became a loud cry.
Rose looked up and saw Segun behind her. What’s happening? She asked him.
Then Johnson held her close, Rose I want you to be strong for the news I am about to break to you. Your dad was involved into a car accident on his way from work yesterday and he didn’t survive it. He died.
Rose withdrew gently from his hands and headed straight to her room, took a shower, changed into one of her dress and came down to the kitchen to prepare something for herself and her dad to eat.
All the visitors were wondering what was happening to her but none could ask her. It was while Rose was in the kitchen she realised her sister was home and had been crying in a corner of the kitchen. Segun stared at her in bewilderment and couldn’t unravel this puzzle and all this started looking like a game he was interested in playing and winning.
Rose slowly finished her food after two hours and realised her dad wasn’t joining her on the table as was the usual custom on a return from school. She wondered who she would tell all the stories she had treasured in her just for this moment she was finally realizing was slipping away from her.
She cleared the table and headed straight to her room without saying good night but she was certain this was going to be her longest night and uncertain days ahead.