What I Didn't Know Chapter 2

In this chapter, we get a glimpse of Titi's house and her brother's situation...

Once I opened the door to the house, Dara fled inside. ‘’Dara, hang the clothes, oh!’’. My mother yelled as she dropped her bag on the dining table. ‘’Thank you, Jesus’’. She uttered her favorite phrase. Every time I looked at the house, it felt different. Without my father, it was just weird. My father had developed a habit of not coming home. He claimed to be busy, but I knew he was just trying to avoid seeing us.

I’m sure everyone in the estate knew that we weren’t happy in our home. They heard the screaming, the glass chattering, the crying. Some would even say he beat my mother. The busybodies. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know these things; it messed with my head. Mayowa knew about everything. Mostly why he wasn’t a fan of my father; they used to be close when Mayowa was younger, but years went by, and Mayowa derived pleasure in upsetting my father, disobeying his orders.

I was a daddy’s girl. I was so close to him. He paid attention to me, unlike my mother. He understood me. But nowadays, I wasn’t focused on the relationship my father and I had but on his relationship with other people, like my brother. Dara was too cute to be ignored in this house or to be beaten, but daddy still hurt him. I dedicated my time to understand my brother, trying to figure out what was left for him to be normal. Dara is normal, he just reacts to things differently, and the way he communicates seems different to the world. But I know he had something special to offer.

I looked around. My mother was already standing in front of the TV, ready to watch another episode of Zee World while she cooked one of her Sunday delicacies. Mayowa was probably upstairs, making plans to leave the house, Sunday cruise, I guess, and Dara, on the staircase as always, humming one of mummy’s gospel songs, enjoying himself, and I liked that. I moved outside to get my heels from the car before my mother reminded me again this week. I kept my eyes on my phone as I walked to the car. I looked up after hearing laughter. I turned to the side towards our neighbor’s home.

The Omotayos’ The wealthiest family in the estate. How do I know? I used to be friends with the son, Olakunle, the snobbiest piece of trash I had ever seen in my life. His mother, Beatrice, was the family kind of woman, the one who loved to put up appearances and was snobby like her son. My mother dreaded the way she would carry her face in the air and walk her dogs; frankly, that woman had a different mentality. She and my mother had a history before we moved here. They hated each other at University, and my mother couldn’t and wouldn’t, for once, stop the beef. She always preached to us to forgive, but she wasn’t practicing what she preached, apparently. She claimed to have forgiven her but will not waste an opportunity to eye her or purse her lips whenever the neighbor passed.

My father, Christopher Omotayo, was a rich lawyer who loved to flaunt it, and my father started to “famz” him the minute we moved here. His relationship with him moved financial mountains for us. That was the only reason I liked the father. He was a helper as for Kunle, nonsense. He was with his other rich friends in front of the house. A brief history of our relationship. We used to be friends when we were younger, childhood friends. Those kinds of friends that did nonsense played nonsense games when we were younger. We even kissed a few times; who remembers? Or cares? When my brother came along two years after, it caused a strain, and I didn’t see the reason we should have stopped talking because of my brother. Some of my friends still stayed along despite Dara’s weird behavior.

We stopped talking when we clocked 17; nothing happened. We just stopped talking. I wished him happy birthday three years ago, but he read the message and didn’t reply. The effrontery. I got the message. Kunle didn’t want to be friends with me because of my brother; he wasn’t the only one.

Before Dara came around, I had lots of friends. I was more confident then and had sleepovers. I was pretty much the popular girl in school. Dara showed signs of an abnormality, as I would put it years ago. My friends got scared and probably told their parents about the behavior, and they wanted to protect their children, so they stopped contact with us. Some made it obvious, people like Kunle.

It hurt a lot.

Friends come and go; I had to remind myself. I never told anyone about it except my best friends. I’m sure Mayowa knew more about the issue. Mayowa had better luck with his friends. They understood Dara, appreciated him, and even played with him. Especially his girlfriend, Chidinma, took Dara like a child and bought gifts for him. Mine avoided the situation. It hurt. The only friends I would never stop loving were Nathaniel and Jaiyeola, two of the best people in my life. Nathaniel, A fair Yoruba slash Warri breed in my life. He was that tiny boy in primary school, the one who was timid and shy. Then he clocked 16; his glow-up was breathtaking. The guy who wore glasses and was practically swimming in his uniform shorts became tall, too handsome. Sigh, and the guy knew it. We never really spoke in primary and secondary school, but after then, we clicked. We spoke a night like we had been friends for years, the way I would talk to Kunle.

People castigated our friendship, trying to call it a front. Funny tiny girls hated me for being close to him. Heck, it wasn’t my fault that Nathaniel was very picky with the people he hung around. He was a quality kind of person in choosing friends, despite being popular. Another thing, Nathaniel loved Dara and played with him. Dara was so fond of him would laugh anytime he showed up. It was amazing that Nathaniel understood. As for Jaiyeola, she was the best. She was that kind of girl that would seem as snobby and proud at first, but she is extremely cool and down to earth, but the babe took no nonsense. Funny thing, we didn’t like each other when we met, but with my brother’s intervention, we eventually got used to each other. The sleepovers, the scandals, everything was amazing with her. His friend nudged Kunle, and he looked towards me, not before I continued walking towards the car.

After I opened the car, I heard. Ah, my guy, is that not that, babe? Titi?’’. Na she’’. I heard Kunle’s voice. ‘’You people still sabi each other? The babe fine oh’’. I could feel his hungry eyes on me. I could imagine settling down for someone like that, such a downgrade. No’’. I heard Kunle say’’. We’re not friends anymore’’. There I had it; we weren’t friends. I had waited so long for him to say so. I grabbed the heels before rushing to the house, not before looking at him. I made sure we held eye contact till I stepped into my house. Proud nonsense. I waited for a confrontation between us; it was going to happen, and I knew it. I swore to myself that on such a day, I would hurt him so bad with my words. Yes, my mouth was my weapon. I’m not much of a fighter.

Till that day comes when I break a bottle on someone’s head, I, I walked up the stairs. Then froze at the top of the stairs; Dara; Dara had his mark around the house, a broken plate, a peeled-off wall, anything that would earn him punishment or beating. I decided to stop by his room. Mayowa, at first, didn’t like the idea of sharing a room with Dara, but he had to. My father wouldn’t let anyone stay in the guestroom; he always locked it up, claiming it was for important people. Important people, yeah, right. Mayowa was on the bed with his phone. He was furiously typing on the screen. Dara was by the other bed, his bed. It’s not like he always stayed there. Sometimes he came to my room to sleep, and fortunately, I liked his company until he pulled the blanket all to himself.

Dara’s church clothes were sprawled on the floor, and his shoes were away from each other. I could see that the boys’ wardrobe was scattered even if I arranged it two days ago. Nawa’’’. I said, and Mayowa looked at me’’. Your wardrobe is never clean’’. Is it not Dara? He was looking for something and scattered it’’. Mayowa hissed and returned to looking at his phone. ‘’Just let him know that his clothes are top and yours is the middle’’. I said. ‘’You’re talking as if it’s easy’’. Mayowa answered. He knew Dara didn’t really understand what was going on. Repetition was the key. If you tell Dara something more than twice and keep ringing it in his head, he might listen. It was amazing how Dara showed interest in mathematics at a young age; I was in awe of his skill. He was going to be alright. Apart from school, Dara took piano and art lessons as a vocation.

I know’’. I breathed out. Dara was on the floor with a red piece of clothing in his hands. It was mummy’s top turned into a torn piece by my brother. My brother had new ideas every time.

He was addicted to red pieces of clothing, nylon, wrapper, anything before it was yellow, then blue, now Red. Who knew what he was doing? Everyone’s clothing in the house was in trouble and had the possibility of being torn by my brother, the cloth ripper. He was the reason I started to lock my wardrobe, last month he had dealt with the new clothing I bought, and it wasn’t even red. I don’t even know which phase was better. Now that he tore color-specific clothes or before that, he would go to any extent to get old bottle covers, including sticking his hand in the trash. He walked on his toes, left the water running for fun, and woke up in the night to disturb mummy and eat. He used to intentionally break things for fun. Worse, he used to hit himself, bang his head on the wall, and slap himself hard. He had gone through crazy habits.

He was getting better, but I had to get ready for more crazy but creative plans he had waiting in his next years. He was changing. He was not a bad person, just a bit misunderstood by society and, worse, my father. I left their room, walking to mine. I loved my space, but I did like staying here with someone; that’s why I allowed Dara in occasionally. Not because of the love I had for him, but sometimes I was scared of the dark. I will never forget the days I made Nathaniel sleep over in my room because my parents and siblings had gone on a retreat, and I didn’t want to be alone.

I was alone in the house and had begged my friend to stay with him. The woman wrapper, Nathaniel, had no problem with it. Of course, what happened that night was because of Jaja’s suggestion of Netflix and chill. In my defense, Nathaniel seduced me that night.

The rest of the day went by so quickly. Sundays were usually quiet in my house. My mom slept after watching Zee world. Dara, probably by the staircase playing with his toys, and Mayowa had left for a turn-up. My phone buzzed. I reached over to get it. It was a message from Nathaniel. He was home already. I dressed up immediately and made my way to his house. I don’t think I would ever want to leave this estate; there was a strong attachment to this place. Maybe because of the boy. 

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