FARTHER Chapter 6
Who does the useless boy think he’s talking to? Segun thinks, slowly recovering from the shock and getting off the couch. Fade hears him mumble something as he leaves the living room towards Tunde’s. She shakes her head and shuts her Bible.
Since she came in on Friday, watching these two had disturbed her. Segun had told her his relationship with his son wasn’t so good before she met Tunde, but she hadn’t realised just how bad it was. She’s been trying to picture how things went with them alone in the house and it left her chuckling sometimes. When other scenarios came to mind, she seriously wondered how the home functioned at all. The whole thing isn’t new to her, of course. It has become some sort of cliché. It happened between her father and brothers, and even though they had occasionally said it would be different with them, her brothers had started to build the same culture with their sons. The typical private aloofness and public awkwardness characterising her brothers’ relationship with their father worried her growing up, and here it is again in the home of a man she wants a life with.
He has cancer but she knows God will take care of that. It’s all she has been asking Him since she learned of it. This other problem, she doesn’t understand. But she is going to pray about it as well.
Deciding she doesn’t need to say anything, but her presence will help this go down well, Fade gets after Segun. Hearing her come behind him, Segun speaks without turning to face her.
“You told him.”
“He was going to find out anyway.” Fade replied, shrugging at the back of his head.
Segun reaches Tunde door and immediately opens it, rushing in. While watching this, Fade attempts appealing to Segun but stops herself, picking pace to catch up and stand beside him. Tunde is at his desk typing furiously. He looks up at them, airily. Jauntily. Insouciantly. Teary-eyed, he wipes his face with the back of his hand. Staring down at his son, Segun is struggling to say something as Tunde’s eyes move from him to Fade and back again.
“Look, …” Segun manages, pointing his finger at Tunde in warning. When he can’t bring himself to say anymore, he turns around and leaves the room slamming the door. After giving Tunde a quick pat on his back, Fade follows Segun. Alone now, Tunde turns back to his computer screen and breathes out heavily through his mouth. He wipes his face with the back of his hand again before he continues typing.
On Monday morning, Segun is seated beside Fade in Sesan’s office. Nervous, he is tapping the arm of this chair and clearing his throat a lot. Sick of the tapping hand, Fade eventually puts a palm over Segun’s fist, stopping it. Just then, they hear the door into the office open and close behind them. Sesan comes around to his seat in his white coat, holding Segun’s file in his hand. After exchanging pleasantries, Sesan settles down, arms clasped on his table and asks.
“So what have you decided, Segun? I hope this is good news?”
Segun looks to Fade who nods as if urging him. He sighs, and answers Sesan without meeting his gaze.
“I’m here to discuss options for treatment.”
“Good!” Sesan, announces more to Fade than Segun.
Fade rises up, nodding at the doctor with a big smile on her face. “Excuse me for a minute.”
As Sesan turns to Segun now, starting a briefing on the options, Fade opens the door and pokes her head out into the reception. Tunde, who had been waiting there in his school uniform, gets a nod and overly happy smile from Fade. He nods back with a smile showing relief rather than happiness. Getting up and wearing his bag on his back as he leaves, Tunde pulls his phone from his pocket, searches his father’s name and sends a text.
“Daddy, thank u.”
A moment later, as Tunde steps out of the hospital, he receives a reply from his father.
“I don’t clear my throat a lot.”
Written by Olutobi Odunubi
Do you want more fiction? Have a look at chapter 5 of Farther.