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    Queen was surprised to see her neighbour who had once asked for her hand in marriage standing at the door. To complicate matters, he was with his parents; Queen couldn’t help but wonder what he was doing in her house with his parents.

    Queen: “Peter, what are you doing here?” she asked rudely.

    Peter: “can you just allow me come in? At least for the sake of my parents here”

    Queen left the way and they entered.

    Mr Ayo: “As we were saying my daughter. Peter here has been coming around to ask for your hand in marriage but I told him to hold on until you are around because like our people would always say, you don’t shave a man’s head behind his back”

    Queen: “dad, please go straight to the point, I don’t understand what you are saying”

    Peter’s father who was a dark husky man with grey hair that had seen better days cleared his throat and spoke up.

    Baba Peter: “My daughter, I am sorry that we came on you like this. When your parents called and said you will be around today, we decided to come and finish up this matter. My son here said he has been asking you to marry him even before you secured admission into the university. He is ready to settle down now and we thought we should see you and start the marriage process” he said quickly for he was a man of few words.

    Queen: “excuse me sir. Your son told you that he has been asking me to marry him. Did he also tell you that I refused?”

    Mrs Ayo: “Queen!” her mother screamed at her.

    Queen: “no mum, I need to ask questions because as far as I know, I asked Peter never to talk about marriage with me again”

    Mr Ayo: “I did not train you to be disrespectful and shout at elders. Why did you have to interrupt a man old enough to be your father while he was still talking? You should have allowed him to finish talking before making your point” he admonished her.

    Queen: “I am sorry, dad” she managed to swallow her pride and say.

    Mr Ayo: “as I was saying, you have come of marriageable age and it is my wish that you settle down with a good man. I have known Peter and his family right from when he was a little boy and I can vouch for his integrity. His parents are here to ask for a date for Introduction but I want to ask you first, do you want to marry him?”

    Queen: “hell no, daddy. I can never marry Peter” she dropped what sounded like a bombshell in their ears.

    Baba Peter: “my son, I thought you said Queen is willing to be your wife? Did you bring us here to embarrass us?”

    Peter: “She gave me the impression that she was interested in my proposal”

    Queen who was trying to control her anger flared up.

    Queen: “I gave you the impression that we could get married when I was in this village without admission in sight. Now I am in the university and all you have is your O’Level certificate as a secondary school graduate. You do not expect me to marry you with that, do you?”

    Peter: “Queen please” he stuttered.

    Queen: “don’t please me o. What is it? In fact what do you have to offer me? Can you afford to buy my cosmetics and makeups talk more of other things?”

    Mrs Ayo: “Will you shut up your mouth there? If you don’t want to marry him, do you have to be rude?” her mother said.

    Queen: “Peter, I think this meeting is over. Please use the door” she said getting up and pointing at the door.

    Peter: “Are you asking me to…to leave your house?” he asked with pain in his voice.

    Queen: “Peter! Peter! I don’t want to sound disrespectful because of your parents here o. Get up and leave my father’s house; your parents can remain behind and leave whenever they are tired. Just come and leave please, I cannot stand your presence, it irritates me”

    Before Peter could speak up, his parents got up.

    Baba Peter: “It is okay, my daughter. We can read the handwriting on the wall. We shall leave” he said.

    Mr Ayo: “I am so sorry about my daughter’s behavior. Please forgive her”

    Baba Peter: “it is okay my friend. You did not offend me, may God have mercy on the children of nowadays. I think we have overstayed our welcome in your house, it is best we leave now” he said and he walked out with his family.

    Asha was there watching the drama, not knowing what to say.

    Queen got up from where she was sitting after her parents returned back to the room from seeing off Peter and his family.

    Mrs Ayo: “what has come over you Queen? No answer me now. Do ladies run mad when they go to the university or something? If you don’t want to marry him, couldn’t you have said so without sounding very rude? No, answer me now. I am talking to you”

    Mr Ayo: “o ma shey o (what a pity). Queen is this how you chose to embarrass me in the presence of an outsider?” he asked rhetorically.

    Mrs Ayo: “papa Queen shey you have seen now? That is why I said we shouldn’t have bothered about sending her to the university. We should have just married her off after her secondary school. That would have saved us all these stress. Now see, apart from the fact that our daughter is now rude, we heard she is also into sugar daddies in school”

    Mr Ayo: “what crime did I commit by taking loan and sending my daughter to the university? I want a better life for all my children, a future that is far greater than mine. I know that I have not been sending money to you the way you would want it but God knows that it is not my fault. Are you the only undergraduate whose parents are poor? Look at Mercy for instance, her father my brother is very poor and yet she doesn’t go about talking to him anyhow talk more of doing so in the presence of guests. What is my offence, Queen”

    Queen: “Oooh, I get where this is coming from now. So Mercy who is squatting with me has been snitching right? It’s okay, no problem. If this is how she intends to repay me for all that I have done for her, then we shall see”

    Turning to Asha, she said. “Let us go”

    Asha: “Go where? It is getting late and you said its dangerous walking here in the night because of kidnappers”

    Queen: “Are you coming with me or not?”

    Asha stood up without saying a word.

    Mr Ayo: “Mercy is innocent o, she did not tell us anything. You forget that it is a small world. We have people from this village in your school whom you do not know. They told us about your waywardness but when we asked Mercy, she denied it. But with your behavior today, I am sure there is an atom of truth in what we heard. Better leave the poor girl out of it” he called after the girls who had picked their bags and gone out of the house……..

    Tbc.

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