CHAPTER
VII
Tubosun 
********
If only I can avoid
today. I exhaled as I got into my clothes. The Olutayos were here. They were
lodged in a self-catering accommodation about twenty miles away. Beatrice
seldom spoke about her parents; but the few occasions she did, gave me a pretty
good idea why conversations never strayed to that territory. Her father was
always busy: busy with his accounting firm, busy with colleagues, busy with
friends, busy with booze, and busy with other women. His wife and her mother,
Mrs. Evangeline Oluwatayo was also a very busy lady: busy with teaching other
people’s kids, busy with high-classed friends, busy organizing the staff of her
gigantic house, and busy with worry over the fact that her husband had no time
for her.  I had spoken to Beatrice’s
mother once, and it had been impossible for her hurried conversational manner
to go unnoticed. They were so busy that they literally ignored the only fruit
of their proverbial loins.
Well, they gave her
all the food, shelter, clothing, and some luxuries of the world. But was that
enough? Most definitely not! I was always in awe of Beatrice, mostly to myself,
for developing into a strong, caring, and mentally stable young lady amidst a
foundation that lacked parental love. I resented them for the negligence of my
late friend. Yet, somewhere deep down, I hoped that her death would serve as a
lesson to them as well as an impetus for them to get closer. Then again, it had
the capacity to raise an almost impenetrable wedge between the couple.  I was busy too. Busy worrying how I would
face them. Every day since that day, every piece of my day had been riddled
with guilt. Why didn’t I take her to the hospital for a checkup? How did I kid
myself into believing that she was alright after being knocked down by a
cyclist at such an alarming speed? ‘I
killed her
’ was always a potent voice in my guilt trip.  When my body did manage to hibernate,
different versions of the heart-breaking episode haunted my dreams like
persistent wraiths intent on driving their victims mad. In one of those
versions, she had died instantly after being knocked down by the bicycle. While
on her death stretcher in the mobile ambulance, she rose suddenly and pointed
to me; her eyes filled with so much sadness and tears, and said: ‘Why didn’t you save me?’ I wouldn’t be
seeing those eyes anymore.  It was 4.30pm
by my mobile phone and I had been waiting for some minutes in front of the
door, figuring how to turn the door knob. Figuring what would happen after I
did. I would have stayed in that spot for X amount of time, if the door hadn’t
open, revealing a tall, unfamiliar black African. He simply smiled, inclined
his head in acknowledgement of my presence and left. I prevented the door from
swinging shut with a foot and entered the house.  There was a narrow red-rugged staircase some
meters away from the door. A red carpet on a black day seemed out of place. As
I ascended the stairs a man and a lady draped in black, appeared so I retraced
my steps, and waited. The gesture I received from them would have been similar
to the other man, except for the fact he said hello and pointed me in the right
direction.  
People in their black
attires stood out in the white painted room. Seated at a right corner were
Beatrice’s parents. I knew because I had seen their portraits in Beatrice’s
room. The female wore a black satin dress and was staring distantly at a framed
picture held in her grasp. Looking at her, Beatrice was no doubt a spitting
image of her mother. Her hair was cropped, her cheeks were blotched with dried
tear drops and her eyes looked swollen from excessive crying. Some man walked
up to the distraught looking man by her side and patted him on the shoulder,
and left. Just as in the photographs, Beatrice’s father was bald and
pudgy.  I slowly trudged over to them.
‘I
am sorry for your loss. Accept my deepest condolence’.
‘Thank
you.’
He replied, holding a steady but courteous gaze. ‘Where you friends with our daughter?’
From a corner of my
eye, Mrs. Oluwatayo’s focus was still on the picture. ‘Yes Sir. Very close friends. I was with her when the accident
happened.’
 
The effect was
instant: I felt Mrs. Oluwatayo’s eyes hit me like a hurled brick. The result
was apprehension at the inevitable words that were on their way out of her
mouth.
‘You
are Tubosun, right?’
She asked in a tone that was eerily
calm. 
‘Yes
Ma,’

I managed to say.
Why did you not take her to the hospital after it happened?’ she
asked. 
Although this very
question had haunted my thoughts since the unfortunate incident, the blow of
her words still hit me with full force. I was lost for words, and even if I had
them I had no idea how to relay them. 
Mr. Oluwatayo tried
to come to my rescue. ‘Eva, let the young
man be.’
His look was stern and voice firm. He turned to me and said, ‘I’m sorry’. She must have been totally
oblivious to her husband’s demeanour. ‘If
you had done the right thing, I wouldn’t have lost her,’
she said. 
‘Evangeline!’
Mr. Oluwatayo interjected in a raised tone. 
‘Let
me say my piece, Tolu.
’ She looked me square in the eye
with the wrath of a broken mother. ‘You
killed her.
’ And returned her gaze to the picture as if I was no longer
there. It was true. I killed my close friend. 

Kreate
is a budding Nigerian writer with a flair for fiction. Writing for him
began sometime in secondary school where he dabbled in poetry and plays.
He has authored two self-published short novels.
He is a banker and lives in Surulere.
Oluwole Olusanya
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.