THE PERFECT HOME
Patricia Andrews had resided on the island part of Lagos, Nigeria since her childhood. Little had changed since she had been born sixteen years ago apart from occasional touch-ups of the paints in the exteriors of buildings in her neighborhood. She lived in a quiet part of the world and hated staying out late. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews had been more than pleased with a daughter you could always count on not to keep late nights, not even sneaking out late at night to go have some fun they would had never understood. Patricia was the only girl among her two twin brothers, they were 21 and in the University, they were both totally different from Patricia, they embraced the restlessness and noises of life and couldn’t survive a week of serenity in their parents’ home without tripping out almost everyday.
Deji and Wale were the only one who kept late nights and had always burdened their little sister with the favor of opening the door for them whenever they returned from one of their numerous outings, sometimes she had to cover up for them when it was needed of her, she would always oblige reluctantly.
Patricia was like the perfect daughter that almost never got into trouble, she wouldn’t stay out late nor stay up late. The parents; a surgeon and a high school teacher respectively were hard workers and presented themselves at home at every chances available, Mrs. Andrews whom was a teacher in a secondary school loved her kids and smother them affection whenever she had the slightest chance. There was the ‘good morning kiss’, the ‘bye mom kiss’, ‘the hello mom kiss’ etc which the kids usually shied away from whenever they could. Her husband a surgeon who hated being away from his family was the eccentric one and never took life too seriously, he would sometimes make jokes of life and death, “If it was that serious, we shouldn’t have to die” he would say couple of times with a chuckle and an elbow-nudge to the closest person beside him, and his wife had never for once found such jokes that funny. This is just a tale about a normal family living their normal lives, at least before that knock on the door.
The only little problem Patricia had was that she was a dreamer, she had crushed on a boy in her class for almost a year now, his name was Jimi Johnson who was a transfer student from a place she didn’t know. She never told him of her crushing neither did she think he might had had any idea of her feelings towards him, she figured that he was the most handsome and tallest kid in class. He even had deeper dimples when he smiled. She went as far as naming her teddy-bear after him. It got so bad that she began to write anonymous short letters to him twice a month. She would mail it to his house without adding a return address on the envelope. She knew he had seen her first letter when she saw him read it in class, she saw him smile at himself when he was done. She had hoped that one day he might crush on her in return and maybe send her letters too. Once in a while she dropped anonymous notes too on his seat as well, she made sure she was never caught. She knew she was psychologically stalking him and she never felt guilty for once, sometimes she fantasized that he might give her her first kiss one day and maybe they might even get married in the future. She found it exhausting to wait for the future to come on time. There was a school dinner that she would be attending for the first time of her life and she hoped to be his date. She had asked her parents for the fourth time if she could go and they had finally agreed she could attend, she had even made them promise to get the best and most beautiful dress for her for the dinner. Her mother had quietly said the motherly things to her even though she wasn’t prepared to listen to such, she knew she was a good girl when compared to other girls moreover she was only sixteen. “Don’t go chasing after boys because you think you’re all grown up, have your books on your mind at all times and know there’s so much time for every other thing like boys!!!” her mother had said to her one day. Patricia had looked clueless, “What was her mother talking about? There’s time to crush in love though” she had thought to herself reassuringly.
On a Tuesday afternoon, Patricia retrieved her pen, a plain white sheet and a notebook and took a walk after returning from school, these were one of those days she wrote her twice a month letter. She loved her mysteriousness and how she though she kept her crush guessing. She strolled within her close neighborhood until she came across a tree, the tree stood alone and farther away from the clusters she had seen all her life, she wondered how come she was just noticing the tree for the first time. She had no idea of the nature of the three or what kind of fruits it bore. She touched the tree and the trunk felt very cold. She wasn’t sure if it was her imagination but she could make out different faces in the trunk, faces with hair, the faces of women or something. She could make out eyes, shapes like noses but no lips as she took a walk around the tree trunk. “A special tree” she said to herself and smiled. An idea struck her. She laughed at herself sweetly as she thought about how silly she had become. She smiled at it like it was alive, picked up a sharp enough stone from the ground and started carving into it.