Dinner was ready. Mama had set the table and had made Joseph call everyone. Papa who had just returned from work, had his bath and joined us immediately. At the table sat Mama, Papa, Joseph, Tomi and myself. Just the five of us; a small happy family.
I always wondered why Mama let Joseph join us at the table. Joseph was our help. But Mama said he was family. Mama had brought him to help her with the house chores and her business – especially her business, after Tomi and I gained admission into a girls’ boarding school. Mama was suffering from a rare illness which always made her tired.
Joseph had just finished secondary school and was seeking admission into the university. He was from Mama’s village. Mama knew his family. Everyone thought it would be okay if he learnt a trade while waiting to take the JAMB exam.
“Susan love,” Papa called at me. “Pray for us.”
I was elated to know I would be praying. Papa had always asked everyone except me to pray at the table. Tomi almost always prayed at the table, while I prayed during devotions. Tomi looked surprised, but I knew she was happy for me. We had talked about it earlier in the day. She said she had a feeling I would be praying tonight at the table. She was right. Joseph, our help winked at me. He had overheard our conversation earlier in the day and had said he too had the same feeling.
“Father, bless this food we are about to eat,” I started. “Provide for those who can’t afford and teach us to always be grateful for what we have.”
Everyone chorused “Amen.”
As we ate, Papa asked questions about our new school. Tomi had just moved to JSS2, while I just joined JSS1. Our new school was introduced to Papa by our uncle, Uncle Sam. He had told Papa it was a good boarding school with strict moral teachings and Christian upbringing, owned by a Reverend Father. Upon hearing the school had a Christian foundation Papa consented that we should be sent there.
“So when will the mid-term break be over?” Papa asked.
“Next weekend,” Tomi answered.
Everyone chewed at their food. Then Papa broke the silence. “How long is the break?”
“Two weeks,” I answered this time.
Mama gave me a quick look. She thought it was disrespectful to respond to a question when not being talked to. I shrugged Continue reading