Daddy and Mummy are fighting. Mummy is dressed in her beautiful red nightie, the one that makes her look like a beautiful princess. The one she only wears when she wants daddy to do something for her. Something he would normally not agree to. I don’t think the nightie is working tonight.
They are arguing about the new school mummy wants me to start attending. She tells daddy it is the best school in town now, and the fee is just a little higher than what I pay in my current school. Never mind that that was the same thing she said two terms ago when she changed me to my present school. She says Aunty Layo told her about it when she came earlier today and has started Temi, her daughter, there. Aunty Layo is Mummy’s best friend.
Daddy is not listening to her. He is angry. I can tell by the way his hands are shaking and his eyes go smaller. He picks up his briefcase from the chair by the door where he dropped it when he first came in and marched towards their room. He reminds me of school when we march into our classrooms after morning assembly. Mummy blocks his way so that he rolls his eyes in frustration.
“You just don’t like seeing me happy”, she says to him. Daddy continues walking towards their room, not saying anything.
“Can’t you see this new school is the best for our daughter?”, Mummy shouted.
Daddy stops walking and turns to Mummy.
“Shalewa, we keep having this discussion. Don’t you get it? We cannot live our lives by the standard of your best friend.”
“Five times, Shalewa!”, he continues, “five times in the past two years, we changed Omo’s school, all because your best friend changed her daughter to the latest “best” school”
Mummy jumps back at the force behind Daddy’s voice
“So?” Mummy says, stammering, “What is…wrong with changing schools?”
“Nothing”, Daddy replies calmly, softly, I almost did not hear him. “My daughter will not be an item of competition between you and your friend.”
Mummy flings herself on the chair the way I do when I don’t want to do as I am told. Daddy sighs in relief as he walks away. He stops by the curtain where I am and smiles at me. He looks down just then and I see my feet are not covered by the curtains.