It wouldn’t be a bad thing to wish he wasn’t much better, not only to rely on her but also delay the trip back home.
The word sound so foreign especially after feeling at home with Efe for the past weeks and savoring moments spent together.
Maybe that’s home.
Home is where one’s loved ones are, that’s where the heart is.
Going home now feels like battling the dark side.
Mine continued to drown in the thoughts of going home, while Efe stared at her.
He couldn’t help but notice her blank expression, eyes shrunk in fear, and unmissable stiffness of her body.
Maybe deciding to return is a bad decision after all.
Mr. and Mrs. Uche were kind enough to help get them a means back home. But it would be a lot easier to make a call and they would be home in no time.
Somewhere along the line, he felt comfortable with her though it wasn’t their home, it was a home to them. Leaving it behind raised fear in him and uncertainties.
He was sure he had a potential girlfriend to court but at the same time, what if he becomes the third wheel?
He heaved a sigh.
He turned his attention to anything but her, to distract him from the pain squeezing his chest tightly.
Why does the right thing hurt?
Maybe if they hadn’t lie and told the couple the truth from the start, they would have gotten used to an illusion that hurts when shattered.
They shouldn’t have indulged themselves.
Zira knocked on the door before entering and was greeted with a dark room. She dropped the tray of food on the bedside table and opened the curtains, allowing fresh air and sunlight to peep into the room, earning an annoyed grunt from the bundled up woman.
“I think your room is better than the hospital’s but you dare not throw tantrums over there which makes me wonder if you want to go back there” Zira scolded, standing akimbo by the bedside.
“He couldn’t get me to wake up so if sent you?” Mrs. Atare Mine’s mother questioned.
“Of course not” she lied.
“And pigs fly” she snorted.
“Eat something -”
Mine’s mother interrupted her. “Is Mine back home?”
“She will return alive and healthy”
“We don’t know that,” She said sadly.
“We just have to believe she’s -”
“Alive and with Leo,” Mrs. Atare said lowering the duvet, holding Zira’s gaze before breaking out in fits of laughter.
“How crazy is Cara?” Zira questioned suppressing her laughter.
Mrs. Atare adjusted on the bed to rest on the wall behind her.
Zira plopped into the soft bed. “But there could be truth in her words, it’s the only explanation for her disappearance”
The elderly woman nodded. “I just don’t want to believe it”
Zira reached for the food. “You shouldn’t starve yourself”
“She didn’t tell you”
Zira arched a brow. “Tell me what?”
“I don’t know if she remembers or not…” She trailed off, looking at the family picture beside the bed. “I was ill, bedridden and little Mine clung to me. She refused to sleep, go to school or play with her friends, no matter how much she was begged or bribed. She was scared even though I wasn’t going to die, she refused to get over her fears. We thought it was her child instincts, interrupting the wrong thing in her mind but it wasn’t”
Zira listened intently. Mine never told her but she had mentioned being scared anytime her mother was ill and would only feel better if she stayed by her side, attending to her. It was the reason she rejected the job far away from her parents’ house and moved back to her parents’ weeks ago when her mother had a seasonal cold and flu.
“It is something that she can’t shake off anymore and her clinging even now that she’s an adult. That’s what we fought about before…”
“It’s the daughter-mother bond, it can’t quite be explained. Just like the father-son bond” Zira said after a while of silence.
Mrs. Atare gazed at the food before proceeding to eat.
“I don’t want to do any report or investigation, I just want to go home,” Mine told Efe.
“Our ID’s was stolen too and they could come -”
Mine cut him off. “What do you want? You asked us to return home, we just got to town, now you want us to file a complaint?”
“I want to go home, I am tired”
Efe requested Mine should be dropped off at her house before he filed a report on their behalf. Mine got off the car immediately they arrived at her house, not sparing a glance at Efe.
She was scared she might change her mind if she turned back but deep down, she hoped he got her subtle message.
Mine was overwhelmed stepping into her vicinity after so many days, she paused in her tracks reminiscing the fight she had with her mother and best friend.
What if they are still mad at me? She thought to herself.
Staring at her house, ignoring the surprised eyes boring whole into the back of her head by her parents’ security, she wondered if she made the right decision.
Efe stared out the window, lost in thoughts of Mine. He was back home but nothing felt like before, he didn’t even feel like himself. Maybe the abduction changed him.
Maybe it was normal for him to feel out of it and want to be different, wanting more out of life, having a different goal.
He was lost in thoughts and hear his sister come in. His family was excited by his arrival and he was happy too to be home but he felt it wasn’t enough, something was lacking.
She hugged him, wrapping her arms tightly around him. “I missed you so much”
He smiled. “Me too”
“You won’t behave like a true Nigerian eagerly ready to use anything with a free tag on it right?”
Efe burst out laughing. “I am true to my nature,” he told her. “Besides, it lead me to her”
She gasped. “You met her?”
He chuckled. “It sounded different in my head”
She rolled her eyes. “Details, especially the juiciest one”
“We were abducted together, survived and now, she’s home”
She narrowed her eyes at him.
She glared at him.
“She has someone already, bugging me”
“Oh!” She exclaimed. “Every adventure embarked on changes a person, those lost or broken emerge a completely different person.”
“Your point?” Efe questioned.
“If you didn’t get my point, you wouldn’t be here alone thinking about her”
“You think I should go after her?” Efe asked. “I won’t be the third wheel?”
She shrugged her shoulders.
Efe returned his gaze out the window. It might just be hours gone since he last saw her but he missed her.