Naked in front of the bathroom mirror, Segun puts his toothbrush in the cup on the sink running his tongue through his teeth. Clearing his throat, he raises his chin, inspecting an untidy beard. Turning his left side onto the mirror, his eyes fall to his pot belly as he taps it gently with both hands. He hisses. After switching to the right side, and repeating the ritual, Segun lets his face, body and feet point at the mirror again. His fingers repeatedly run over a lump on his chest now as a slight frown forms on his face. Stepping closer to the mirror, looking increasingly concerned, he stares at the lump a little longer before reluctantly turning away and getting into the shower behind him.
x—— ———– ——x
Running late just because I had to stay up watching a match we lost. Keshi’s doing a good job. Those boys are just good for nothing. Especially the ones playing for foreign clubs. Upon all Nigeria has done for them, useless. Need to trim this beard soon. And I probably need to start going to the gym again. This belly is becoming embarrassing. But who am I trying to impress anyway? Mchew. Haven’t exactly been serious with Fade lately. It’s been what, a whole week since I spoke with her last? Obviously, she’s fed up with me as well. I really like her. I think. Or maybe I don’t. I don’t know how I feel anymore.
I wonder how Tunde would feel about my dating again when I’m ready to. If ever. That’s probably a reason why I’m hesitant. Is eight years too early to start getting used to idea of a stepmother? Doesn’t feel like it’s been eight years at all. Feels a lot shorter. Not sure I’m ready myself. Most of the time, I feel like I’m forcing things with Fade. It’s exhausting. I just need Folake sometimes. I miss you, Adefolake. I really do. Every day. Everything has changed since you left us. I don’t know Tunde at all. I never did, but it’s painfully obvious now. If he wasn’t such a difficult child, the accident would never have happened and you’d still be here with me. I’m sorry, but yes, a part of me still blames him for your death.
This lump. I really hope– but it can’t be that. It just can’t be. Not me, not now. No. Dreading seeing Sesan for the results today. Why did I do the test? Do I really want to know what this is? God. But it’s probably nothing. I should just go and find out once and for all.
Heading out dressed in an old, grey, oversized suit and carrying a briefcase, Segun stops by Tunde’s bedroom door. He knocks carefully, and when he hears no reply, opens the door and walks in. He can hear Tunde in the shower. The whole room is a mess. Noticing the computer is on, Segun gets closer reading “MY FAMILY. My father clears his throat a lot” on the word document. He reads this several times and quietly ponders. His expression goes from angry to morose before he looks towards the bathroom and calls out.
The shower immediately stops running. Silence.
“I’m off to work.”
Tunde’s feeble “okay” comes out sounding like he intended to say something before and after it, so Segun stands there for a brief moment. Silence. He leaves the room after Tunde’s shower starts running again.
Later that day, Segun is waiting nervously in Sesan’s office trying to get out of his head. Eyes roaming the room, he hears the door behind him open. Sesan comes around to his seat in a white coat holding a file and refusing to meet Segun’s searching eyes. He’s unusually quiet, taking his time to sit down and pretending to search for something on his desk so he doesn’t have to look at his friend a little longer. Segun knows what all this means.
Written by Olutobi Odunubi