“When would I have your cloth?” I asked Dad as he strapped his bag to his back.
“It’s a uniform.” He replied as he stroked my hair.
He then whispered into my ear with a soft chuckle. I smiled.
“Don’t give your Mom trouble too much.” He added.
Mom heard that. “Olu, stop spoiling that boy’s grammar.” She called from the kitchen where she packed Dad’s cupcakes.
Dad grinned at me. “Didn’t I tell you that she would be upset?” he said as we clocked our knuckles together in delight.
Mom joined us in the living room and then adjusted Dad’s beret. “I made them all chocolate.” She said referring to the cupcakes as she placed them in Dad’s hand. “I know you would love that.”
Dad opened the pack and took a bite. “Yummy….delicious!”
“Can I have a bite?” I asked with my usual puppy eyes.
He nodded and handed me the leftover.
“Thanks, Dad.” I said as I ate the cake. “I’ll be playing Baby Jesus in the School Carol on the twenty-fifth.” I said, mouthful. Dad frowned and I knew what that meant. I hurried with the cake and told him about role in the carol again. “Would you be there?”
He knelt before me. “I’ll be home for Christmas.” He said with a smile.
I hugged him tightly and Mom joined us in a tight embrace.
“Salute!” I said as I raised my right hand to my head.
Dad smiled and responded with a salute.
The Christmas Carol was due to start at six pm. I was excited as I jumped at the back of the car throughout the ride. We were going to stop at Ido Terminal to pick Dad up before we made the journey to School. Mom didn’t smile as we drove. I didn’t understand why. But I was happy anyway…
I heard Mom’s phone buzz. I knew she wasn’t going to pick it. She never answered her phone while driving.
We were close to Ido…we were close to Dad.
“Wait!” Mom ordered as I aimed to jump out of the Car as we arrived at the train station.
I frowned as I waited while she locked the car.
“You are not to run out of sight.” She said as she took my hand. “And we are not going to run.” She added.
Argh! Mothers! I really did want to run into the station.
Mom’s steps became faster. I was confused, but small and I couldn’t see as far as she could, but I noticed we were almost running. Mom grabbed me swiftly and ran across the park into the terminal. I saw women in tears and Mom had fear in her eyes. Mom pushed through the women until we got to the front.
“Mrs. Laoye?” A man said to her.
Some Soldiers surrounded us. I was terrified. Mom didn’t say a word.
“Our planes suffered an attack. We believe it is the terrorist group. We have explained to all women to please go home while we get more information to you.” He said.
Mom gasped. The men led her to a chair. Mom was terrified. She started to cry. Something was wrong. I knew it.
The other women were led out of the station. Mom just sat in tears.
“Mom, where is Dad?” I asked.
She didn’t know what to say to me. The tears in her eyes said it all. I cried.
The terminal was soon empty. We just sat….waiting…and waiting…and waiting.
“Let’s go home, Ade.” Mom said as she rose to her feet. “Uncle Joe would be here to drive us home.” She said.
“I’ll be here. I’ll wait for Daddy.” I replied. “He’ll be home for Christmas…you’ll see.” I said as I wiped my tears.
Mom took her seat beside me again. “Then we’ll wait together.”
I placed my head on Mom’s arm. “Mom, I’ll take care of you.”
She stared at me in tears. “I know.”
I got tired. I paced back and forth. Mom didn’t stop me…she just watched me. I wouldn’t fall asleep. I would not give up on Dad. He would have waited for me…so I’d wait for him.
Then the radio went off. Mom got agitated. She held my hand as we watched. Some soldiers ran across the terminal out front.
“Mom!” I said, pulling her cloth.
She held me close but she looked ahead. She lifted me up that I might see what was going on. Tears ran down her eyes as she watched soldiers being stretchered in.
“OLU!!!” Mom shouted helplessly.
He was nowhere in sight, but I joined Mom in screaming. “Dad!!!!”
“OLU!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Mom shouted and darted through the barricades and other officers that tried to stop us.
I saw Dad coming through with some other men. He limped across the room to meet us.
“You came!!!” I shouted.
Dad nodded and carried me. “I am home.” He said as he kissed my cheek.
He stared at Mom with a smile. “My Love.”
Mom was too overwhelmed to speak. She hugged him tight and I joined them in the embrace.
Dad was home…
**********Photo Credit: Google Images*******