Mary stirred in her sleep, she was feeling uncomfortable. That feeling we get when something is off, or when someone is staring at us… yea that feeling that makes the hair at the nape of your neck stand at a grossly uncomfortable attention, well, she was getting that feeling.
she sprung out of her couch and opened her eyes simultaneously. she looked around and realised the it was either she had been sleeping for two days straight or she was having one of those episodes where you wake upon from a nap and realise that you have no idea what day, month or year it is.
she looked at duke’s bed and he was still in it. sleeping soundly like a drunk puppy. she realised that she wasn’t the only one who had been enjoying the sweet sleep. she glanced at the wall clock with the huge “PM” letters written. on it. instead of the usual numbers that told what time of the day it was, it was symbols that represented what duke should be doing at the moment. the spot where 12 would be was occupied by a book and pen. meaning that he had to be studying with his teacher at that time . she looked at it presently and saw that the time was on the game pad icon, which meant that he was supposed to be playing video games at the moment.
she stood by his bed and wondered if she should wake him or leave him to wake on his own. she considered all the odds and came to the conclusion that she couldn’t handle it if he started to throw things around the place again. so she sat on the bed and pulled his big toe gently. he stirred and opened his eyes, his eyes went straight to the clock and he was out of the bed in a flash.
“its games time, will you play resident evil with me today Mary?” he said. the sleep was still in his voice but Mary knew that she would be un able to talk him into going back to sleep. she was fine with that, at least he won’t be biting her head off for letting him oversleep. He was skipping into the game room, frantically setting up his game obviously trying to make up for lost time. he sat down to it and started to play.
sometime later, Mary was laying the bed when she looked up and saw him by the door. she was alarmed, duke never skipped an activity. he had been playing for less than ten minutes and he still had about 45 mins to go. she dropped the bed sheet she was holding and rushed to his side. being conscious not to touch him at all.
“Are you okay? do you need something? are you hungry?”
she was saying. nearly frantic for all the possibilities that were running through her mind. she bent low and looked into his eyes. he looked away and said
“Mary can we change all my leisure time to story telling time?” he said, pointing at the wall clocks simultaneously
marry almost laughed.
” sweetie,” she said
“we don’t need to chang it on the clock, we can just tell stories anytime we have leisure.
“but that’s impossible, if the clock says to play games, then we can’t tell stories” he said
” its very possible dear. we will just ignore the clock”
duke looked at Mary as if she had just blasphemed.
” are you kidding me!” he exclaimed exagerratingly. we cannot ignore the clock! nobody ignores the clock, ” he turned and walked over to the nearest clock and exclaimed again, probably for effect
Mary could see that he was getting worked up. that was the last thing she wanted.
” its okay… its okay… she put her hands out to touch him withdrew it quickly almost at the as,e time, she noticed that he also withdrew away from the prospective touch.
” I’ll talk to your daddy about it’ we will have someone fix it tomorrow.”
” it can be done today. tell him I want not done today.”
Mary looked at him and smiled cynically
” like hell I will” she said. she imagined herself so short, standing in front of her boss and telling him that she needed to have the clock icons changed immediately. that would be one very funny sight. despite the cynicism in Mary’s voice when she said ” like hell I will’ the words seemed to calm Duke down and he went to sit on the couch, he supported his chin with his palm while resting his elbow on his lap. his stance made it obvious that he was waiting for her to finish what she was doing and go and get his dad. it suddenly occurred to her that Duke did not get the sacarsm in her last words. he had assumed that ” like hell I will” meant that she would neo his bidding.
at this point, Mary found herself wondering if she should set the records straight and just tell him what she really meant, or she should at least attempt to do his bidding since she had given him the impression that she would. she looked at him and knew that she dared not try to tell him what she reapply meant. she would be setting fire to the house. so she finished upon laying the beds and stepped outside the room and went to look for her boss.
To be continued soon…
The Last Trip Down The West is a short story by Nancy Olakunle