The retired Air Marshal, Moshood Yekini was seated in the sitting wing of his magnificent mansion, sipping water and watching a documentary on TV when his wife, clad in iro and buba in a black plus greenish lace sashayed into the room. She set her gold clutch on a glass side table.
“Thanks.” She exhaled and kicked out her shoes. “Anytime I attend their birthday parties, just seeing my grandchildren come together make me dance and dance.” She chuckled. “I even learnt new dance steps.” She set her feet on the hand-woven jute jagged Chevron rug that was hazelnut in colour, and humming, swayed her hips from side to side, flexing her legs one at a time and twirling.
His eyes widened before he burst into laughter.
She slumped into the sofa, laughing with him. “My dear, it was fun.”
“Yerima is a chip off my shoulder, brilliant, handsome and tall. With the way he’s growing, he might be six foot before he twelve.” He beamed.
“Haba, my husband!” Her brows narrowed. “Did you see the look on his face when we gave him his birthday present?” She giggled with excitement. “The shock, smile, laughter and then the embrace.”
He had returned home earlier than his wife. “I love his speech the most, that he was so proud and privileged to have us as his grandparents.” He took the TV remote to change the station. “Every birthday celebration has become a huge challenge.”
“Yes.” She sat back and stretched out her legs. “Wonderful sons-in-law, lovely daughters-in-law, impressive four grandchildren, what more can I ask of?” She paused thoughtfully. “And to think that you might not have been here with me to…”
“Aishat! Aishat! Do me a favour and stop reliving that incident.” His voice rose in anger.
“Forgive me, my dear, forgive me.” She genuflected.
“I will eat now.” He said flatly.
“Yes, dear. Titi! Titi!” She called one of the maids.
Shakira Yekini Ayomide ran into the anteroom and rushed to the counter. “Nurse , my…” She began breathlessly.
She hurried towards her husband with a thudding heart and forehead beaded with sweat. “What …what did you say actually happened to my Prince?”
“Darling, please calm down.” He used a finger to massage his forehead. ‘I can’t even explain this myself.” Tobi raised a hand and dropped it.
Shakirat glared at her husband as jolts of panic made her shiver.
Just then, Moshood and Aisha approached them, walking as fast as they could.
“Tobi and Shakira, what happened to my grandson?” Aisha demanded.
Overwhelmed, they didn’t respond.
The doctor strode towards them and they directed their attention to him.
“Doctor, how is my boy faring?” Moshood asked.
One look at their faces and the doctor decided it was not the right atmosphere to break the news. “Sirs, can we see in my office?” He said with a thin smile and without waiting for affirmation, went ahead.
“What happened, Shaki?” Aisha adjusted the shawl around her neck.
“I don’t know …” Her hands dropped from her head and she shifted her weight from one foot to the other. “I was in the board meeting when I got a message from Tobi that Prince had been rushed to the hospital. I hurried down here as fast I could. I was actually asking for details when you and daddy came. Oh God, please come to my aid.” She raised both hands frantically.
Moshood touched the arm of the young doctor half way up the stairs, stopping him. “We are not kids, tell us what is wrong?”
“You know our standard in this hospital, we gave and did our best for him, but it appears he was brought in to be proven clinically dead.”
“No!” Tobi screamed and bent over, using the rail to support himself.
That attracted the attention of the women and they looked up just in time to see Moshood lose balance and began rolling down the stairs. He landed prone motionless.
“No!” Aisha screamed and ran to her husband.
Shakirat gripped the doctor’s hand with both palms. “Tell me what happened to my son. Tell me.” She demanded hotly as tears rolled down her cheeks, smearing her make-up.
“He is dead, madam.” He replied calmly.
Her hand froze, then she hurled herself to the ground. Tobi grabbed her.
“Not my Prince! No! I refuse to believe it. God where are you? No! Doctor… you must have mistaken my son for another. He kissed me goodbye this morning…” She struggled to break free, while tears fell from her eyes like a dam that just broke free.
“Baby, please.” He bit his lower lips as tears filled his eyes. He led her to a seat. “Baby please, help me…please.” Was all Tobi could manage since a part of his world had come crashing like a pack of cards, never to be as before.
Moshood had been raised to a stretcher and was being wheeled to the emergency ward.
Tobi helped his mother -in-law up and led her to a seat. “Mum, calm down please. Let me see how daddy is faring.”
He wiped his face but the tears streaked as he headed the way they had wheeled Moshood.
Shakira burst into fresh tears and her whole body shook.
Aisha’s body shook with sobs as she pulled her daughter into her arms.
“Mummy, why? Why?” Shakira wailed and wiped her drooling nose with the back of her palm.