Sons and Lovers

Episode 3.

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Tomiwa knew he needed to study. He was preparing for his first MB and he was supposed to use this short holiday to work on his medical courses, Biocehmistry especially. The whole subject was full of pathways and cycles, puzzles that seemed too intricate for him to understand.   He knew he would have to memorize them if he wanted to pass but now, instead of doing that when he was in the library, he found himself day-dreaming. Of Ruth and her lovely face. He had been debating whether to call her or not the next day, but he didn’t want to scare her off. He wished with all his heart that he was studying a less taxing course. He had known choosing to study Medicine would be difficult; but not this difficult.  He dropped his books down in frustration. It was 2pm. Time for lunch. He could call Ruth and find out whether she had had lunch. Then they could pick up from where they left off.

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Fola lay on his bed, thinking. He stared at his phone, scrolling through messages. He fought with the urge to send a whatsapp message to Remi. The guys had asked him why he didn’t want to take things further with her. He knew what they didn’t. Remi was not just a girl to him. She was his best friend. He could not afford to risk their friendship by asking her for a relationship. Besides she didn’t seem to be that into him. He had seen her and her friends ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over several ‘hot’ guys on campus. It was better they remained friends than risk losing everything. Perhaps later when the time was ripe…

He sent her a message.

“Hiya. When are we going to the library?”

“Hey, how far now?” she replied. “I can’t say when. Chinasa and I have been trying to find Ruth all day. We don’t know where she is.”

“Ehen.” Fola thought for a second.

“Are you sure she’s not with Tomiwa?”

“Tomiwa? Who’s that? We haven’t seen her since last night o.”

Fola considered that she might not have heard about her friend’’s new conquest. It was very unlikely too that Tomiwa would have been with her overnight. They had gone to Bible Study together the night before.

“Never mind. I’m coming to your hostel to help you look for her.”

He got up from his bed and dressed up to go out.

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Ruth cradled her mother’s cold fingers in hers. She had hoped it would not come to this. Her mother had fought a brave fight but in the end, the cancer had won. Four years earlier when she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, the family had had some hope at first.  The oncologist felt that it had been detected early. They had done a radical mastectomy but the histology report later revealed that it was a very aggressive form of carcinoma. She had started chemo and had even had some radiotherapy but her heath began to decline rapidly. She had been in the hospital for the past six months. And now, she was…gone.

Although Ruth was the eldest she didn’t know  how to comfort her younger siblings. Her younger sister was in junior secondary school and her immediate younger brother was just commencing senior secondary school. She had prayed everyday for some miracle, for divine intervention. Now, it was too late. She felt God had failed them.  Her father sat mute, staring into space.  Not able to shed a tear. She placed her head on her mother’s bed , the tears streaming down her cheeks, her phones switched off and forgotten in her handbag.

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Peter met Tomiwa at the cafeteria.

“You know school is on holidays. Perhaps she has traveled. She’s not a medical student now, abi?” Peter said, trying to reassure his friend.

“No but-”

“Why will she switch her phone off now?”

“There might be many reasons. She might be in an area without network or no light oor something.”

Just then, Tomiwa’s phone beeped. It was a message from Fola.

“See this guy o. He’s asking me if I’m with Ruth,” Tomiwa said staring at the phone’s screen.

Then he let out an exclamation.

“What is it?”

“He said her friends are looking for her. That they haven’t seen her since yesterday evening.”

Tomiwa got up from the table. “I think I have to go and look for her.”

“Guy, don’t panic. The girl is a grown girl. She can take care of herself. Don’t imagine the worst.” Peter said soothingly.

“I know.” Tomiwa said.

“I’m going to meet Fola sha. He said he’s in their hostel.”

“Ok. Let’s go together.”

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