One of my action plans this year is to complete this WIP and if possible publish it this year. So again I bring what I've written so far for you guys to help me critique as we go. You can catch up by reading the previous instalments HERE. Thanks!
“I hope your appetite is good this afternoon?” she asked.
He smiled at her as he sat and washed his hand in the basin of water she’d already set out.
“This ewedu is very fresh, I like that,” he said, smiling at her as he put his fingers into the sauce and after rooting around, pushed a piece of fish in his mouth.
Dunni pulled out an empty seat and sat the table, watching him roll the amala between his fingers before dipping it in the dark sauce.
“Are you not eating?” He asked.
“No, papa. I’m not hungry now.” Also, her father loved to eat Ewedu daily while Dunni could only stand the soup in small not-so-regular doses.
“Where’s your mother?”
“She said they’re going to the church to get it ready for the New Year service tomorrow morning. She’ll be back before six, she says.”
“OK. So how are you enjoying your holiday? I’m sorry we dragged you down to Ijesha so soon after you arrived. Have you had the chance to see anything or meet new people?”
Dunni thought of the adventure her life had become in the past week. She didn’t know which one weighed on her the more, the arranged marriage which her mother was still championing though her father had said nothing about it since Boxing day, or the thing between Babs and her. Even after the tender moments they’d shared last night, she still didn’t know what to term it, and for sure, she would not be talking to her father about him for now. She racked her brains for a more innocuous topic.
“It’s interesting you ask that.” She said, buying time. Then it came to her. “You won’t believe the amazing experience I had last week.”
She told him about her drive down to Lagos with Mary and how they had nipped over to the Train Terminus. Dunni had heard a train arriving there while they were at the Iddo Market and insisted on seeing the station.
“Really?” her father asked, “the trains are running again?”
“Yes, they are. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself.” Dunni could remember seeing trains while they had been growing up in Ilorin, but those hadn’t been regular occurrences and had stopped altogether while she was in secondary school. And in the ten years she had been away, she’d not heard anything to suggest that the trains were coming back. So it had been quite an eye-opener to hear the thunder on the rails as she and Mary had shopped for bags of Rice and Gallons of Palm oil. At her questions, the event planner had urged her to walk over and see for herself. While Mary admitted that she’d never used one, she said she frequently bought from traders at Balogun and Iddo who used the train, and they all swore by it.
“Interesting,” her father echoed. “I’ve read in the papers that the station in Ilorin would be revived soon but I never took them serious.”
“Mary said they actually plan to run the train from Lagos to Ilorin, can you believe that? I am thinking that if they do, I might actually get on one. It shouldn’t be too different from the light rail or the subway back in Dallas.”
Her father laughed out loud and her heart warmed as she took in the crinkles around his eyes. He had been in to the hospital for pneumonia a couple of months ago and seemed to have shrunk since then, his usually jowly cheeks shrunken and dark. He had always been reserved by nature but nowadays he was even quieter, rarely speaking unless spoken to and she’d been very worried that first week in Ilorin as they’d shared long silent moments. However, she’d been happy to note that the move to the village had brought him back to good spirits.
“You really don’t believe that?” he asked her, shaking his head.
“What do you mean?”
“The Dallas rail must be much newer than whatever we have here. I’m sure the trains that will be running between Lagos and Ilorin are the same ones the railway corporation has been using since the colonial times.” Her father took a drink of water and resumed eating.
Dunni laughed, and then regaled him with how exactly she’d found out about the trains.
“We were walking from the Palm Oil seller to the tomatoes section when I almost jumped out of my skin at this sudden racket. I looked back thinking the load carriers with the large pots and pans Mary bought had been involved in an accident.”
“And it was the train engine?”
“Exactly!” Dunni replied. “At first, it was kinda scary for me. After I saw that the things we'd bought were OK, I wondered if the noise was some kind of a signal. The thunderous tooting started in the distance, and then as it got closer and closer, and the ground was shaking. Mary laughed at me when I grabbed her in fear.”
To be continued...