“Are you letting Claire go to Uni this year?”
Susan asked Ken in an off-handed manner but he could tell that she was tense. He knew his response mattered a lot to her, she would be more comfortable if Claire was out of the house but he couldn’t send her to school; she was only thirteen, he had only allowed her write the admissions examinations because the principal had put so much pressure on him. She was an exceptional student and her education had been accelerated. He had so far been happy with the numerous double promotions but he had also been worried because it meant she did not have a lot of friends, in fact he only knew one girl; Solape, a very timid and fragile looking character who had been to their house once; One could not even tell that she was older than Claire but she was sixteen and Claire was thirteen.
He was so proud that at that tender age Claire could do so well in the admissions examinations but the repercussions were only beginning to dawn on him. He had a very young daughter who looked mature for her age, who had always been sheltered and now he had to decide whether to send her off into the world or not. One part of him wanted her accelerated education to continue but another part of him wanted a fuller childhood for her.
“Helloooooo” Susan broke his reverie.
He blinked and stared hard at her but refused to answer her question.After looking at him for a few moments, she shrugged and went back to the fashion magazine she was flipping through
“Why do you think mum won’t let us go to school in another state?”
Tai looked up from his Iphone, he was engrossed in a game of angry birds, he had become obsessed with the game since his twin had constantly surpassed every single high score he achieved- effortlessly. Kenny had now achieved a score so high that Tai has spent every spare minute he could trying to reach it. He finally accused his twin of using a cheat mode. Tai agreed sarcastically of course and told his twin to stop trying to reach the score since he was certain there was cheating involved.
“Like Ibadan at least they both went there.”
“Yeah really, like you don’t know”
“No I didn’t mean “really?” like did they attend the University of Ibadan?” Tai raised both hand to mark imaginary inverted commas in the air when he said really this time
“I meant really like you really think mum would let us live so far away?”
“But it’s only two hours away” Kenny said
“Can she come over every day? No” Tai responded to his own question. Then his face lit up as he continued, “Do you think she’ll attend our school?”
“No now, not mum,that girl”
“The one that almost slapped you” Tai said
“The one that failed the admissions examinations you mean?” Kenny asked, a look of irritation already clouding his face.
“We are not sure that’s why she was crying”
“You are sure you want to have this conversation again?” Kenny asked and then continued “Okay, One she was holding a result slip, two...”
“She was shedding tears” Tai interrupted
“Okay” Kenny sighed before continuing “maybe she was shedding tears of joy; she did so well in the exams that she was weeping”
Tai sighed, looked at his twin and shook his head, he still did not understand why his twin’s mood always changed any time that girl came up in a conversation. Maybe he liked the girl. Tai liked the girl too but he couldn’t explain the feelings he had? He felt like he was more sorry for the girl than he liked her actually. He felt she needed help, he felt there was a lot more to her than met the eye. He wanted to discuss her with someone, anyone but he had only two options, Kenny and Bob, He couldn’t discuss with Bob obviously because Bob, was certain to turn it into a sexual matter, he would have loved to discuss with Kenny, but Kenny’s attitude whenever the girl came up was not encouraging. He had a feeling his twin was jealous but he couldn’t understand why, it was not like she was his girlfriend or anything, it wasn’t even as if the girl talked to him. He sighed once again and stared at his twin who was once again engrossed in angry birds.
“Kenny” he called out softly, his twin responded with a non-committal grunt.
“When are we going to ask mum, if we can stay on campus” Kenny put his phone away one more time and examined his fingers briefly before responding.
“Maybe we should ask dad” Kenny said
“But you know even if he says yes, we still can’t unless mum agrees; he would probably just say we should ask mum, so why not just ask her once and for all”
“Easier said” Kenny muttered
“I know but we’ll never even get an opportunity if we don’t ask”
“You ask; you know you are her favourite” Kenny said teasingly; his grumpiness had disappeared.
“You know she doesn’t have a favourite and even if she did, it wouldn’t affect her decision. Mum can say no to the sweetest newborn, if it could talk.”
The door downstairs opened and their mum called from the doorway. They could hear because they had left their room door open.
“Tai, Kenny” she called once again.
“Yes mum” they chorused. Tai turned to face his twin before walking out of the room and whispered. “I’m going to ask her” He raised both hands to show Kenny his crossed fingers and then hid them behind his back before stepping out of the room, he first looked over the railings to beam at his mum before bounding down the stairs. Kenny also crossed both fingers behind his back before taking off after his brother.
“How are you boys?” Julia asked her kids
“Fine mum, how was your day?” Kenny asked
Tai was jittery and did not contribute much to the conversation with his mum. He was really tense and kept taking deep breaths. Eventually Julia looked directly at him and asked “Are you okay Tai”
“Yes mum” he paused and then blurted out “Mum can we stay on campus when school resumes”
One could have heard a pin drop as both boys waited with bated breath. Julia’s face became expressionless and the only sign that showed that she had heard the question was the clenching of her jaws. After a long moment, she said; “Ask your dad”. She then stood up from her chair, smoothed her dress and walked to her room. Both boys winced when they heard her slam the door shut.
Stay tuned for Episode 12 next week friday.