Femi: “…more of you, more of you, more of you, Jesus, more of you….” The entire church was silent as they listened to Femi’s voice giving a rendition of Sinach’s song. Her voice, rich, powerful flowed beautifully and everyone either held their breaths or bowed their heads in prayer. When she finished, there was a standing ovation.
She climbed down from the altar in her 4 inch heels and tripped on the microphone cord to the dismay of the worshippers. Sitting at the back of the church, her aunty put her hand out as if to stop her fall, her uncle covered his eyes and her cousin crossed her legs elegantly and smirked “That can only happen to Femi”, she thought to herself.
On the altar, Femi was saved by the choir leader who had been standing beside her so she didn’t fall entirely. Nonetheless, when she got back to her seat in the section that was appointed to the choir members, she wasted no time shucking off the offending shoes. The murmured sorries from other choir members brought tears to her eyes. She hated this, really hated this. She had only bought the shoes in the first place because her cousin told her she couldn’t wear them. Now, she had proven her right and in front of the entire church too.
After the service ended, she rushed to meet her aunt and uncle and stopped to get the occasional “well-done” and “good job” from the congregants. She was almost at their seat when she noticed her aunt was arguing with Tiwalola, her cousin who turned out to be right about her klutz factor.
Aunt: “…You shouldn’t say things like that!” Her aunt scolded Tiwa, unaware of Femi’s presence, “She’s your cousin, the way you talk sometimes, people will think you hate her…..”
Tiwa: “Mummy, I can’t help how I feel, she shouldn’t have worn the shoes”, Tiwalola said defensively, “she always thinks she can do everything I can do and the truth is she can’t. I can rock those shoes because I have a good body, Femi is just fat, she should stick to slippers or flats!” She stated unapologetically.
Femi froze when she heard that. The truth was Tiwa said it all the time, heck she didn’t have to say it, Femi had a mirror, she could see. She knew in a contest of beauty, Tiwa would win. Tiwa was willowy and slim with beautiful dark skin, long natural hair, mammy water lashes, long legs and a perfectly aligned body. She on the other hand was, well, fat was the word. She had generous hips and big buttocks, small breasts and a face that was passably pretty.
In a contest of brains too, Tiwa would win. At 28, Tiwa was already a resident doctor at Saint Havers Hospital on the island in Lagos while she was just a primary school teacher. In a contest of style, Tiwa would win too. Infact, in a contest of anything, Tiwa would always come out trumps, there were just some people God blessed with everything. The only thing she really had above Tiwa was her voice and she figured God compensated her with that.
Aunt: “Tiwa, you…..” her aunt started, angry at her daughter’s thoughtless words. She stopped when she saw Femi. “Oko mi, pele, hope you’re okay?” She asked Femi stretching her hands out to hug her.
Femi: “Mummy, I’m fine…,” Femi said as she knelt to hug her aunty back. She laid her head on her aunt’s bre@st and breathed in the love and devotion she had always received from this special woman. She looked up to see her uncle smiling at them and she smiled at him back, feeling lucky to have both of them in her life.
Tiwa: “I’m going oh,” Tiwa said, breaking the moment, “I have an appointment to keep.”
Her aunty released her and turned to Tiwa, “Haha, won’t you come home with us and eat Sunday jollof rice?”
Tiwa: “No need oh mummy after you’ve shouted at me over Femi’s matter,” she replied, giving Femi a side eye. “Let Femi eat your jollof rice with you.”
Father: “Your mother was just encouraging you to stop talking about your cousin like that, it’s wrong and others will think we aren’t at peace…” her father explained gently
Tiwa: “Daddy, are we at peace? Have we been at peace since you brought Femi home? Please, am going, bye bye.” She said as she turned and left the church auditorium.
Father: “Ha ha!” her father exclaimed. “Oya, let’s go.”
They trudged out of the church to the carpark in time to see Tiwa driving off in her black lexus jeep. They got into her Uncles Toyota Camry and drove out quietly.
Sitting behind her uncle in the car, Femi closed her eyes and remembered once again the 11 year old girl whose mother had just committed suicide. She remembered the devastation she had felt, the loneliness and the simmering anger directed at her mother.
She had only been 4 when she realized her family wasn’t like others. Her parents were constantly fighting, that’s what people said. More often than not though, it was her father beating her mother. He would beat her and tear her clothes every time they fought. She and her elder sister who had been 3 years older would constantly follow them crying until neighbours intervened, usually her mother would be n@ked by that time.
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