The Master Key


Tola came home from school tired and exhausted. She seemed a bit sober and sad. Bisi helped her with her bag and lunch pack after giving her a welcome greeting. Something was amiss; her fathers SUV was parked in the garage. This definitely meant that he was in the house. She squealed in excitement and raced to the living room to greet her father; this surprise had turned her into an excited little child on Christmas day!

” Daddy! ” she said beaming once she entered the living room.

” my love! ” came the reply

Her father adjusted himself on the sofa and beckoned her to come by tapping his thighs. His happy daughter was by his side in a flash and in a split second was fixated on his laps. He hugged her and she giggled. She was so happy. Her smiles turned into a frown when she noticed her mother frowning intently at her from the adjacent seat. She had forgotten to greet her.

” good afternoon Mum ” she said and her mother responded with a sigh but no words

” respond to her greeting my dear or…..are you jealous? ” her husband teased

” why, most certainly not! How am I to feel when a daughter leaps right on her fathers laps laughing and playing happily without offering her mother a word of greeting-talk less of even noticing me ” she retorted

The father laughed heartily for a long time before turning to face her ” go sit with your mother my love, she is definitely jealous ”

Tola stood up from her fathers laps reluctantly, her mother never paid attention to her even though she was always at home, so why should she? She stood by her mother and repeated the greeting. As she made to sit by her mother, she quickly stretched her legs blocking her way. This seemed funny to Tola and she began to laugh. Her mother becomes an actress once she is offended or jealous. Her mother feigned a frown.

” go back to your Daddy since he is the one you love ” she said and her father began to laugh once again. Tola also laughed and her mother being unable to hold herself again goes into peals of laughter.

” good afternoon my dear, how was school today? ” she said

” it was fine ma ” Tola replied amidst laughter

” I thought you wouldn respond now ” Tolas father teased his wife some more

” leave me alone jor ” his wife replied waving her hands to her husband

”yes ma ” came his reply as he got up to leave. He walked briskly that it looked like he was running

Shirley laughed ” where are you going to soldier? Will you come back here! ”

”yes maam! ” Daniel said as he stomped his left foot on the ground and like a marching soldier, he did an about turn and marched towards his laughing wife.

Tola loved it when her Dad was around. The house felt warmer and her Mother seemed to notice her. She loved her daddy and she wished from the bottom of her heart that he didn have to be absent most of the time. She smiled as she watched her parents playing and teasing one another, her mother played the commander and her father, the obedient soldier who carried out every of his masters bidding. The drama ended much quicker than she expected and her father sat down carrying her on his laps once more; his eyes was teary from all the laughter. He sighs exhaustedly but looks down on her with a smile, she knew he loved her but why didn he make time for her? He turned his face to his wife ” my queen I am hungry now, when is this food going to be ready? ”

Shirley stands up and walks away to the kitchen, she returned to the living room after a few minutes had passed.

” the food is ready my dear and the table is set ” she announced

” what are we eating mum? ” Tola asked

” your daddys favorite ”

”yay ” her dad said as he tickled the young girl on his laps making her giggle.

” go remove your uniform and wash up my love so that we can eat together ”

Tola got up from his laps and dashed upstairs to change. She loved the Nigerian jollof rice just as her father did. She loved the chicken, plantain and the coleslaw and most definitely, she loved that her father was present.

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