It was time for lunch. The whole house was famished, and even though Mum had asked Ada to wait unto her call before coming to eat, Ada had decided to come down and help. Dad was obviously not being very useful in the kitchen; he was just distracting mum. Both were trying all afternoon to reason out what happened to the key. It was really surprising to them.
In no time John and I joined them. The kitchen became filled up. Everybody wanted to feel the new vibe in the house. It was just warm. I was no longer afraid of telling Dad and Mum that I was with the key.
There was something in their faces that calmed me for the mean time. Soon, lunch was ready. It was strange having everybody on the table, eating together!! Dad was all smiles. He looked more handsome in his mood.
“Let us pray,” Dad said after the food had been served.
“Linda, pray for us.” Somehow, I just knew Dad would call me.
“Thank you, father in heaven, for this meal. Thank you for today and using the lost key to bring us all together. Dear Lord, we ask that you sustain this new atmosphere of love you have bestowed unto us. We also ask you for forgiveness of our sins in the past. Forgive me specially for being responsible for the lost key. I believe that if you forgive me, my parents will also find it in their heart to forgive. Thank father for answering my prayers,” Everybody chorused,
“Amen”. I didn’t open my eyes immediately, but I could feel pairs of eyes staring at me. Then I opened my eyes and looked straight at Dad. He was smiling.
“Why did you take the key?” He gently asked, he wasn’t going to allow this spoil his mood.
“It was a mistake Dad; I mistakenly put it in my school bag last night before going to bed. I was feeling so sleepy that I didn’t know when or how I did it” I said, with genuine remorse.
“But why didn’t you say anything about it since morning?” Mum asked, she was really surprised that of all her kids, I was the one in possession of the missing key.
“I was scared Mum. It was already too late when I realized that it was with me. Moreover i was afraid of what Dad would do to me ” I answered.
“It’s alright, you don’t need to be afraid of me again, do you understand?” Dad said, with the smile still on his face. I guess he was amused by the fact that I had included the issue in my prayers.
“Alright then, give the key to me.” I looked at Ada, who was at first concerned that I had rattled myself out despite promising me that she would take the blame.
“I have it with me,” she said as she brought it out of her pocket.
“You knew about this too?” Mum asked.
“Yes Mum, she told me not quite long ago.”
“Can we now eat our meal? I am starving,” Dad said.
It was wonderful having the family come together and eat. Even though the eating session was somewhat awkward, but it sure looked like something we would get used to as long as it was done more often. After meal Dad said,
“I want to apologize for not being there for you all in times past. I promise to be a better Dad as from today.” I can’t explain how warm and comforting it was hearing those words from him. He looked like a changed man.
“Let’s all try and ensure we have dinner together more often. I want you all to feel free with me. We are one family and we must act like one. Am I understood?”
“Yes Dad,” we all chorused, looking at each other amusingly.
“Finally, every Sunday will be our family day out. We will eat outside and visit exotic places in town. But for today, we can also take some time out. So I want you to decide where you would like to visit this evening. Go get dressed up, because I will be taking you to any place of your choice.” We all smiled and giggled excitedly as we disappeared from the sitting room.
Ada helped Mum pack the plates while I and John rushed into our rooms to dress up. The lost key had turned around to be a good thing after all.
The next day Dad got to the office, He was ready to resign. He knew he would easily get another job with his credentials. But to his suprise, he was allowed to state his working conditions in order to make time for his family, because of how useful he was to the company. Mr.Ikedi’s family turned a new leaf.