I called the driver to put the luggage in the car boot and I went to the private sitting room where my children were sitting, watching a home video.
Eunice was the eldest, she was seventeen years old, tall, pretty, brunette skinned with a tiny voice. She looked just like her mother, Julia. Emmanuella and Emmanuel were twins, fourteen years old and are both extremely intelligent and inquisitive. Emmanuella was the elder twin, average height, robust and dark skinned with an even but soft voice. She was just a miniature form of my mother. Emmanuel was my only son and he looked just like me. Tall, hairy, with a fair skin and an athletic physique, he was very good-looking for his age.
They all looked up when I entered into the room. I looked at each of them, unsure of where and how to start explaining things to them. Emmanuella, the boldest of them all, raised her left eyebrow questioningly. I smiled uneasily.
“Hmmm…Hmmm” I cleared my throat, “good morning guys” I greeted.
“Morning Dad”, they chorused.
“Ehm…you see…” I started, avoiding their intensive gaze, “I have to travel to Belgium this morning, my flight leaves at 9:30am. I would have told you before now, but I just got to know of the conference myself yesterday morning and you see…this conference at Belgium is a big one and I can’t afford to miss it.” I paused a little to catch my breath, “It’s going to take…”
“Dad?” Eunice called me suddenly.
I looked at her.
“Take it easy, you don’t have to rush, we aren’t tigers, so, we can’t devour you even if we want to.”
I smiled guiltily.
“How long till you’ll be back?” Emmanuel asked.
“Four days” I answered.
“So it means we are not seeing you in this house till Saturday?” He asked again.
“Errr…yeah” I replied.
He rose up and went inside his room. I turned to Eunice, pleading with my eyes.
“It’s okay Dad” She said, laughing softly, “We are used to your unending journeys anyway.”
I turned to look at Emmanuella only to discover the deadly look she was directing at me. She looked so much like my mother whenever she was really irritated.
“Ehm…Nuella…” I started.
“It’s alright Dad” She said, sharply interrupting me, “You can go.” She concluded, rose up and left for her room.
Just then, the driver came in.
“Oga, oya…I don ready since Sah! Make we dey go before you miss your flight Sah!” He said.
“Go and start the car Emeka, I’ll join you soon.” I replied him.
“Eunice”, I said, turning back to her, “Please take care of your siblings and watch over your mother for me.”
“You know I always do, Dad.”
I went to where she was sitting, pulled her up and gave her a bear hug.
“Bye Sweetheart” I said, releasing her and made for the main door.
“Bye Daddy…Safe Journey.”
The meeting was more than I could ever have hoped for, it was highly successful and at the end, I got a multi-billion dollars contract that I had been running after before then. I went to one of the best shopping malls in the city and bought presents for my wife and children. I got Julia a smashingly beautiful gold necklace that I was sure she would love at first glance. Eunice was a scarf addict, so, I got her a set of beautifully designed scarves. Emmanuella would do anything for romantic thrillers and I simply went ahead and bought a dozen of those for her. Emmanuel was a technology-freak and I knew the remote-controlled mini robot that I got for him would bring out a sunny smile out of the face of my son that hardly smiles, no matter what.
Having armed myself with all these, I travelled back to Nigeria…
To be continued…