The house stood at the beginning of a cul-de-sac in Omole part of Lagos, sturdy and majestic. The building has succeeded in emanating a contrast of luxury and homeliness. Even though it spelt wealth at first glance, underlying that, it looked like a home.

That was exactly the feeling Dr. Adeyemi Badejo had been aiming for when he built the house some thirty-five years before. Badejo crib was his pride and it portrayed the man of the house, solid and tough but also warm.

It was a six-bedroom duplex, built with red bricks which were left unpainted. The house itself sat in the middle of a large compound surrounded by similar brick walls and a gray gate.

Pamilerin felt the familiar jolt he always felt at seeing his home. This was home, he thought. And even though the last time he was here was about three months ago by his calculations, he knew he would always be welcomed and had even felt it a distance away.

His mother had nagged when he had finally moved out at 27, but he had known it was not only the right time but also the right thing to do. He felt a little guilty when he thought of her all alone in such a big house. He wished his father would take the time out to retire or at least spend more time at home, but they all knew it was a lost cause trying to convince his father, that hospital was his life.

He, on the other hand couldn’t do much, he guessed his mother would have to adjust, there did come a time when the chicks had to leave the roost. He would just have to make it a point to visit her more often.

He figured his sister was no better spending all her time in Ibadan when she should have been checking on her parents regularly. He understood that working and doing her masters at the same time was probably taking all her time but she was a girl and he thought people said girls never really forgot home unlike the male-child. His sister definitely flouted that general rule without qualms.

He imagined though that that was the way of parents, they had to let their children go at a particular time. If only his father would relax his time at the hospital and spend it with his mother, he thought again, he wouldn’t feel so compelled to keep her company.

At this stage, they were supposed to be having their second honeymoon for crying out loud. That was how it was and should be done. Their dad however had always been glued to his duties to Badejo hospital, even though he was the owner. He was of the opinion that owners usually don’t have to put in as much as they did at the initial stage and if they were above sixty like his dad was, then they had a viable excuse. But his dad always said leaders lead by example and he wished he could fault the man for it.

Growing up, they had all somehow gotten used to it and had been given no grounds for complaints especially when they could see  clearly that he tried to make up for it when he was at home. His mother had put up with it longer than they had, so he figured a little more wouldn’t hurt.

He still felt a little bad though, and would have to hammer on his sister so they could put more efforts to visiting their mother. Now, he was here, he realized that he missed her.

He honked when he got to the gate and it opened almost immediately. He drove in and wound down his side window to greet Baba Kasali, their gate man.

The man had been with them since Pamilerin could remember, he was almost family. He was a short, chubby man with Yoruba tribal mark on his round cheeks. And while Baba Kasali was good at his job, he was also a chatterbox and Pamilerin hoped he wouldn’t delay him with his usual rambles. Thankfully, it seemed Baba Kasali wasn’t in his moment; he waved at Pamilerin and went back to the gateman room, just by the gate.

Pamilerin found a good parking place just beside his mother’s SUV. He got out and took in the well-tended gardens – his mother made sure of it; they were her babies – as he made his way to the brass front door. He rang the door-bell and waited patiently for some minutes. He was thinking about ringing it again when the door opened.

His first thought was wow.  The image before him had to be a descendant of the ancient sirens from the popular Greek mythology. He didn’t know what they looked like exactly but he imagined the image before him couldn’t be far from it, intimidatingly appealing but he assumed, dangerous.

He calculated that she couldn’t be more than five foot five because he noticed he towered over her but for some reason, his height paled in comparison to her presence.

She was a living contrast, he thought because she was of small stature but of formidable presence, reminding him of his mother. She had an oval face, offset by round lips, which seemed to be pouted naturally. She wore an obviously out-of-fashion store-bought dress but it was neat and accentuated her mild figure. He flicked his gaze from her eyes down to her feet and up again. When she noticed him shamelessly taking her in, she smiled sweetly, flashing a single dimple and his world spun.
To be continued next week Friday

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