RESCUE Part II

Did Dele and his siblings cope with the demise of their mother? Find out in this thrilling concluding part.

Chapter Six

It’s been four years since the death of his mother and Dele knew over the past few years what “life” truly was. He had grown up way beyond his peers because of the responsibility of taking care of his younger siblings thrown suddenly upon his shoulders. It would have been easier if their dad been able to perform his own duties as a father to them but he also had gotten bedridden due to a motorcycle accident he had while trying to hustle for money to take care of his children.

Their landlord had been so magnanimous, upon hearing of his father’s incapacitation, had told them to halt on payment of rent until they were able to come out of their predicament. Dele heard Uncle Bade once telling his dad that men like their landlord don’t exist again, though he didn’t understand what he meant but he had an intuition that it meant the landlord had done a great thing for them. Uncle Bade still visited once in a while when he had the chance and would buy yams and groundnut oil for the children. He never stopped blaming himself for the death of his brother’s wife.

Dele had to stop going to school, though a public school but his uniform had torn to the extent one could bury a human being in the hole that had carved itself carefully into it. His younger brother and sister still went courtesy of a neighbour who had children their ages, who shared their uniforms with them.

Dele was always at his father’s beck and call, they could not afford to employ a nurse to care for him. His late mother’s siblings came some time ago to take away Dele and his siblings with the promise to put them in better schools and help to train them but his father had vehemently refused. They had never supported their sister’s getting married to him and had stayed away from her for years because they felt she disgraced the family by marrying him.

She had not come from affluence and they wanted her to get married to a richer suitor who would liberate their family from poverty but when she insisted that her mind was made up, they hated her for it. She had let go of the jackpot they would have gotten if she had gotten married to a rich man.

Dele prayed they would forcefully take himself and his siblings away but they did not and it made Dele question their motive for coming, maybe they were forced to come as an act of obligation to the memory of their only sister.

Things became tough for Dele and his family, kind neighbours who often gave them meals had reduced the number of times they did so. The money Uncle Bade usually gave to them reduced when he claimed his business had been bad hence could not give them as regularly as he used to. He called Dele aside the last time he came visiting:

“Dele, well done. Your father told me how well you take care of him. Your children also will take care of you when you grow old and not able to fend for yourself again”

“Amen” replied Dele

“Look here Dele, nobody choses what path life takes him through, but when life throws us curved balls, we have to just find a way to adjust”

“You have become the man in this house now and you need to fend for your younger siblings, take care of them and ensure nothing bad happens to them. Your father is incapacitated and cannot do so much from where he is”

Dele nodded slowly and hot tears trickled down his face, he knew uncle Bade was saying the truth but he felt he was just too young to shoulder the responsibilities of the whole family. His uncle wiped the tears from his eyes and held him in a tight embrace, promising to be there for them every step of the way.

He gave his brother a miserly sum of money and bade them goodbye, he promised to see them the following week as he had to travel to Oshogbo for a business deal he had been onto and it involved a huge sum of money if he won it. The contract was for the roofing of twenty buildings in a newly built mini estate. He bade them goodbye and left.

 

Chapter Seven

“Hurry up Sam or you will be late” Tyler screamed from the foot of the stairs. Stella and Betty were already downstairs anxiously waiting for Sam. They had been invited to a party at Ikeja and Tyler was mandated to come with his family. Their host also chaired a company Tyler had eyes on and he hoped he could use the party as a mini business discussion and probably close the deal right there and then.

Sam eventually waltzed down the stairs, looking taller than his sixteen years of age. He looked every inch like his father and Tyler was always proud to show him off to friends and family whenever he had the opportunity. Sam was his only son and reminded Tyler of himself when he was much younger, he also hoped his son would inherit his strong business acumen but Sam had fallen in love with the sciences and hoped to be a pilot instead. Stella straightened his tie as he joined them at the foot of the stairs, checked that everything was in place and called the house help to lock the door after them.

The Lekki traffic was terrible that day and Tyler carefully maneuvered through it. They still had an hour before the event was scheduled to start. Just as they descended the Anthony bridge to link to Ikorodu road, they encountered another traffic and this time it was a stand still, the cause of the traffic unknown. Suddenly a scruffy looking teenage boy almost same age as Sam, ran from nowhere and stood beside Tyler’s window. His eyes were sunken and clothes tattered, he stretched out his hands begging for alms but Tyler ignored him, then later wind down the glass a little and shouted angrily at the boy to get away from his car. “Brat” he called him.

“Dear, this boy must be hungry, look at his eyes and I’m sure he is all bones beneath that torn clothes. I would like to take him on as one of our beneficiaries, what do you think dear?”

“Stella, this NGO thing sometimes make you deluded, can’t you see this one looks like a criminal, I forbid you to” blurted Tyler. “I am sure he is planted here by his cohorts and the moment I wind down my glass of my window and hand him some money, boom! they spring a surprise on us”

“I disagree, you can stay in the car and analyze as much as you can but I am getting down and would give the boy my details, I can feel it, this boy needs help” Stella said as she made to unhook her seat belt, thankfully, the traffic showed no signs of giving way at any moment.

Tyler got furious and shouted at Stella, even the children cringed at the back seat.  “What part of “No” don’t you understand? Is this how you go about playing super hero? Are you doing this for charity or self-recognition? You want the people in the cars around to see me as a villain and you as the messiah right?”

“I am sorry dear, I didn’t mean to undermine your authority and I only wanted to help the little boy off the street. Do you mind if I called Nkechi to come with the team to help him?” Tyler didn’t give her an answer so she went ahead and called her PA, Nkechi to come to the Anthony bridge area to pick up the boy. She described him as much as she could and hoped her PA would get there on time.

Stella sat in her seat, angry at her husband for behaving the way he did and especially in front of their children. Here she was trying to rid the street of homeless children and the man who swore his unflinching support couldn’t stand to see her do the very thing he knew she loved to do. She was also angry that he made everything about self-aggrandizement. She sat quietly throughout the remaining part of the journey and put up a pretense when they arrived at the party. She called her children aside and made excuses for their father, claiming that he must have had a rough week, hence the attitude and not that he was an uncaring man.

She kept on monitoring Nkechi on phone to make sure she found the young boy but Nkechi and the driver who went with her searched everywhere to no avail. A groundnut seller, sitting by the side of the road claimed to have seen the young boy but that he left already. She also claimed that she had not seen him before that day as she knew all the beggars that begged along that axis. Nkechi eventually left the scene and headed back with the driver.

The party was well attended and as usual, Tyler was having a great time. Stella on the other hand couldn’t help thinking about the boy she had not been able to help. She hoped their path would cross again soon.

 

*********************************************

Uncle Bade got the contract to roof the mini estate he submitted a proposal for at Oshogbo. The sum was huge and he quickly deployed his team of carpenters to the site and work began in earnest. He made sure he engaged the services of agile men to work for him because of the complexity of climbing at sites.

Uncle Bade was not one to get a contract and leave it to his workers to handle, he preferred to be hands-on. The scaffold was set up and they began work and on the third day on site had completed two buildings. Usually on site, food peddlers hawk and save the workers ample time that would have been used looking for a good canteen. The amala (Local Nigerian food made from yam or unripe plantain) woman shouted on top of her voice and site workers could be seen scampering to get down and buy some to eat. Then snap!! One of the legs of the scaffold broke there was a loud scream but before help could get to him, uncle Bade had crashed to the ground, hitting his head on scaffold as he came crashing down and breaking his ankle in the process.

He was rushed to the hospital as he had suffered a concussion to the head and the ankle needed to be taken care of. He was also slipping in and out of consciousness most of the time and the doctor attributed it to the head injury. Tests were carried out to ascertain the extent of the injury and thankfully it was mild and would be fine in a matter of weeks, claimed the doctor. His wife was contacted and he was discharged two days after but referred to another hospital in Lagos to continue his treatment.

Dele got home panting from running and sat pondering over in his mind, it had been three months since the news of Uncle Bade and he didn’t understand why his uncle was still unwell. They told them the doctor assured the family that it would take a matter of weeks but three months had passed. Dele’s eyes settled on his father who lay on the bed fast asleep. How were they supposed to survive without Uncle Bade? Thankfully, their mother’s elder brother had come to take Yemisi to his home so she can be well taken care of, leaving him and Bode with their father. He hoped more help would come and one by one they would enjoy a better life than what they had presently.

He peeped out of the window to check up on Bode who was playing with the other children in the compound, without a care in the world. While staring, his mind drifted to the event that happened earlier in the day. He had left the scene crying and wondering where the God his mother had spoken about was, why would he let bad things happen to them at all and not send help to them on time?

He had just finished helping out at the carpentry workshop near Anthony village where his father once worked. The men there let him run simple errands and in turn pay him a little stipend they knew he would take home, that was their own way of helping out. Unfortunately, the men all complained that the week had not been favorable, hence didn’t have enough to give him to take home. He knew there was nothing at home to eat, the neighbours who were feeding them had also withdrew their help, every one of them had one issue of other there were also battling with. On his way out of the workshop, he had tripped when the end of a plank caught his shirt and tore it halfway through, the shirt had seen better days though.

He started the slow journey home and wondered what they would eat that day. He thought of selling pure water in traffic but he didn’t even have any cash to start with. He saw a bus and begged the driver he would like to be his conductor for the day but he was shoved off as he had no prior experience. He left dejectedly and decided to beg at least to have food in their belly that day. He had never done it before but a trial won’t kill, he thought.

He had summoned courage and ran to the first big car he saw, hoping the occupant would take pity on him and give him a substantial amount, the finer the car the more money he would get he thought to himself.

He had not been not ready for the hatred and venom he saw in the eyes of the man behind the wheel. If eyes would kill, he would have been long dead. With the way the man scowled at him, he didn’t have the courage to face any other car owner and he had fled the scene and ran home. Luckily, they still had few cups of cassava flakes, so they soaked in water and took it as dinner that evening. He could see that his father had been crying and knew he must hate the fact that he couldn’t take care of his family as he ought.

 

Chapter Eight

Things were not getting any better, Dele took to the streets and did anything he could to make ends meet while Bode stayed back home to care for their ailing father. He later found a building site and joined the laborers in carrying cement and blocks for the construction. On the street where the building site was, a particular uncompleted building down that street was host to a set of street boys. They looked mean and no one needed a soothsayer to tell that they were up to no good.

Most times, Dele pretended to be in a hurry whenever he was almost in front of the uncompleted building, he wanted to have nothing to do with them. On one particular morning, he had not expected to see them that early and in a bid to rush off, he tripped over a stone and fell in a ditch of dirty water. He fell face flat and in no time, he felt strong hands lifting him out of the puddle of water and as he wiped the water off his face, he found himself staring into the eyes of the meanest pair of eyes he had ever seen.

“You no dey watch where you dey go?” the mean looking guy spoke in pidgin.

“I am sorry sir” Stammered Dele

“Why you dey apologise to me? Na me be the stone wey fall you or the water wey you fall inside? See this guy oh. Wetin be your name?” he asked and Dele replied him, the thought of giving him a fake name crossed his mind but he was scared and blurted out the truth.

“My name is Dele and I work down the street”

“I know you, I see you every time you pass here, you go dey run like say dem dey pursue you. Anyway, my name na Sikiru but na Skido everybody dey call me”

“If you dey come back from work, make you branch, I want to show you something” Skido said and made Dele promise to come and see him later.

All through work that day, Dele couldn’t get his mind off Skido’s request to come and see him. He thought of not going, but there was no other route he could take unless he would kiss his manual labor job goodbye. He needed the money and decided he would see Skido but would not allow him bully him into doing anything he didn’t want to. Evening came and Dele headed home and knew he must make that stop at Skido’s. As usual, the uncompleted building had Skido and his team outside, laughing and he could see some holding cigarette sticks in their hands.

Skido sighted him when he was some meters away and left the others and walked up to Dele. Dele was shocked when Skido kept walking with him and realised they had both walked past the others. Few meters away, Skido halted and Dele stopped walking too.

“Take and use it to sort of your problems” Skido said as he stretched out his hand towards Dele. Dele could see the money in Skido’s palms and he didn’t know what to make of it.

“Take it now, abi you want to pose when it is obvious say you need the money?” Skido said with sarcasm. Dele knew taking money from someone like Skido spelt trouble and declined the offer but Skido would have none of it.

After much persuasion that it was a gift and not a loan, Dele collected the money and thanked Skido profusely. Skido convinced him he wasn’t a criminal but was into the business of buying and selling of essential commodities. Dele believed him and left the scene and Skido walked back to join his group.

Dele could not wait to get home before counting the money, his eyes got larger when he counted ten thousand naira. He would have to work every day for two months at the construction site before earning such amount as wage and he got it in one day from doing absolutely nothing; this seemed too good to be true. He ran the rest of the way home as his excitement would not allow him walk steadily. He told his father what happened and how he met a rich man where he worked who blessed him with the money but failed to add that the person was of questionable character. The next morning, he quickly paid some of the debt they owed mama Risi the rice seller and the man selling groundnut oil down the street.

He gave Bode the money he needed to buy books and made him return to school, Dele somehow felt responsible for his family and knew he would not be able to take care of them if he found his way back to school. He prepared breakfast for his father, cleaned him up and set out to work. Somehow, he hoped to see Skido again and properly thank him but there was no one at the uncompleted building. Days passed and turned into weeks, yet no sign of Skido. Dele had even almost forgotten him when he saw him again on his way from his labourer job.

Dele was excited to see Skido, though he didn’t know the reason for the excitement. He ran to meet him and thanked him for the money he received from him weeks ago and Skido waved it off saying it was not a big deal. He explained his absence was because he had been away on a business trip and bragged about how much profit he made.

“Let me find a little something for you boy” Skido said as he handed him another wad of notes. This time, Dele collected it without any restraint, even though it looked thicker than the one he gave him the last time but ran home overjoyed. His father raised concern over this good Samaritan but Dele assured him the money was clean and had nothing to fear.

Dele became a frequent face at Skido’s hangout and eventually stopped going for his labourer job, what he got from Skido was much more than his monthly wage. He was also able to prepare better meals for his father and brother. He hoped Skido would take him along for one of his business trips so he could also start making money for himself. If Skido doesn’t offer him the opportunity, he made up his mind to ask.

 

Chapter Nine

Sam had finished his secondary education and had secured admission to further his studies abroad. His parents were so proud of him when he was accepted into the University of London to study aeronautical engineering, he would be away for three years or more depending on what he decided to do next.

His mother travelled with him to ensure he had settled in fully before travelling back to Nigeria to continue running her charity. She was proud of what she had been able to accomplish in a few years. They had gotten more international funding and been able to take over 250 children and teenagers off the streets into foster homes and educational institutions with boarding facilities. Some of the schools gave them a huge discount to help keep the children in school. Her dreams were finally coming to reality and she was happy. The only snag in her life had been Tyler.

Tyler had become obsessed with work and taking over the world. He had risen to partner status where he worked and was full of himself for his achievements through the years. Stella had made friends with a lady she met while trying to fix some orphaned children into a home. The lady, Funke had been born blind and also suffered the sickle cell disease. Funke had been left to die by her parents but a good Samaritan had brought her to the center. What struck chord in Stella was Funke’s positive approach and view of things. Stella probed and pried, wanting to know Funke’s source of strength.

“God” Funke had said.

“How can God, who made you blind also be your source of strength? I don’t understand it? Anyways, I know God but we have not been friends for a while now. I can’t even remember when we drifted apart.” Said Stella and she truly reflected on what she said.

She had stopped going to church for years and Tyler had not helped matters. Sometimes, he closed deals on Sunday mornings and somehow she had gotten used to staying at home and used Sundays as rest days. Listening to Funke was like a wakeup call, she knew there had been an emptiness in her life, she had not been able to place a finger on it but that moment with Funke showed her the truth. She knew she didn’t need Tyler to validate her anymore, she was going to live her life to the fullest, get back her spiritual life with or without him. She left the orphanage that day a changed person.

*****************************************

Dele had become a part of Skido and his team, just like family and he had also learnt how to puff on a cigarette. He hated it at first but Skido convinced him he would get used to it and see that it was the best experience ever. Before long he had started smoking hemp with them and all manner of drugs.

He later found out that Skido had a boss he reported to, who was always in the shadows but called Skido when there was work to be done. Dele had been with them for a long time running minor errands and it was time to get him into the group proper. Skido had actually seen Dele as a perfect tool to also help them out in their operations. Skido told him the boss only gets to meet any new recruit after two years of joining the team but told him the nature of their business deals, it was kidnap and collection of the ransom.

Dele started going on different jobs with them and was always well rewarded. He was the one to pick up the ransom when it had been paid and ensure he was not seen. He kept his booty well hidden from the prying eyes of his father and concealed it with a wrapper before he hid it under the bed. By the time he had worked for eight months, he had been paid the sum of six hundred thousand and he just couldn’t contain himself. How could he be so rich yet unable to flaunt it? He eventually told his father about his stacked up cash but lied about how he got it.

His father was no kid, he had seen signs that Dele was not the boy he used to know. He had challenged him once and got tongue lashed for asking.

“Father, please don’t ask me such questions. Are you not the one who brought all these upon us? How do you think we have been feeding all these while? These people are God sent to me and you are condemning me?” Dele blurted.

“Dele, please I know things have been tough and I also do not wish to be incapacitated but it is what it is. Family and friends have also deserted me and you are all I have and Bode your brother. Please I sense you are doing something wrong, please my son, I don’t want to lose you” cried his father.

“Father, it is too late. I have a huge sum of money in this house. I suggest we get a bigger apartment and move out of here, I am tired of staying in this shithole”

“I will not go to a house you have rented with unclean money Dele”

“Hahahaha!!” Dele laughed “But you have been eating food cooked with unclean money” and he look with a sneer “I will do as I please father, I don’t see anyone who can stop me as it is”

“Father, I am tired of living like this when I can afford something better, I won’t stay here and if you don’t want to come with me, so be it” he said it with a note of finality and stormed out of the house.

He went back to Skido and told him he needed to get himself an apartment and a week later, he got his own flat and moved in. He waited outside his father’s house for Bode one day and hinted him about his new place and wanted Bode to join him. Bode argued he would not leave their father alone all by himself and refused to go. Dele felt everyone was against him because he had finally made money but it was money he was not willing to ever let go of.

On his eighteenth birthday, he threw a lavish party and celebrated it big. He partied all night and got himself wasted with hard drugs. He was living the life and loving it. He sends money to his father every month and doesn’t bother his head whether they spent it or not. He was making enough and couldn’t care less.

 

Chapter Ten

Years later, on a sunny day, they got word on the street that the son of a very wealthy big boy was in town and their boss needed them to make some findings and come up with a plan.  They were not sure how long the son would stay and needed to act fast. They paid the informant more money so he could give them more information to work with.

They eventually learnt that their target loved to play golf and usually goes to the golf club on Sundays with his son. They carefully hatched a plan and when they were sure it was error proof, laid ambush for them.

On the eventful day, they tailed their car from home till they got to the golf club, waited for over five hours for them to finish. Sundays are usually free from heavy traffic and they tailed them on their way home but had switched cars, so that if the target noticed them earlier, he wouldn’t see the same car he noticed earlier and won’t suspect anything at all.

Just as they got onto a quiet road called Bourdilon, Skido and the other guys were waiting and threw an old tyre rim onto the road and their target swerved but was unsuccessful and bumped into a tree. Within seconds, Skido and his gun wielding team, commanded their target to unlock the doors and in fear, he did. They pulled his son from the passenger seat, shoved him into their own car and sped off, shooting sporadically into the air to ward off pursuers. The policemen usually surveiling the area had chosen to take the day off and patrolled another area instead.

It was so professionally carried out it took them less than fifteen minutes to carry out the kidnap. They drove onto the third mainland bridge in no time and were on their way to the hideout. Their guns were cocked and ready to shoot in case of an unexpected police checkpoint on the way. They were lucky as the only checkpoint they came across didn’t stop them and they drove to their hideout.

In no time, news had gotten out that there had been a successful kidnap of the son of Mr. Tyler Obi, Lagos big boy and brutal take over boss. Earlier in the week, news had reported how he had brutally acquired two upcoming blue chip startups and how tempers were flared in the process. So typically, tongues started wagging, ascertaining that maybe one of the aggrieved parties had carried out the kidnap.

Stella could not believe her ears when Tyler got back home that evening with news of her son’s abduction. She cried and cried and prayed to God to please save her son. She didn’t know what she’d do if anything were to happen to him. “God, I have spent many years taking care of other people’s children and not one of them had died in the process. If you truly are a caring God, please let me son come back home safely and unhurt” she cried out to God in prayer.

It had taken two days before Skido and his team contacted Tyler. He didn’t give the kidnappers a chance to talk and started shouting on top of his voice over the phone. “Do you know who I am? If anything happens to my son, I will have your heads on a platter” he swore.

Skido knew it was the ranting of a wounded man and let the rude remark pass. He informed him to tell the police to steer clear else they would hurt his son. He eventually agreed and they told him the ransom for Sam Obi would be twenty million naira and in cash and gave him two days to make the payment or they would harm his son.

Tyler informed the police of the plan and contacted his bank that he needed the twenty million naira in cash from his account and told them the cash needed to be marked so that it can be tracked. The police also deployed plain cloths detectives to be on the case so that the culprits can be bought to book.

Meanwhile, Skido and his team were making arrangements on the drop off location and who would be in the best position to pick up the cash. Dele who had become used to the pick-up activities volunteered again and they decided to pair him with another guy called Moses.

On the day of the collection, they called Tyler again and confirmed again from him that he should not involve the police, to which he replied in the affirmative. His wife was with him when the call came in and she knew he lied. Immediately the call was disconnected, she knelt and hugged his leg, begging him to obey them and just let them have the money.

“Tyler, please I am aware the bills have been marked. Must you disobey and inform the police of the drop off point? What if it backfires and we lose our son or even you in the process?”

“Don’t worry dear, I didn’t work hard for my money and end up giving it to some criminal just because he said so. I will call the police right away and inform them I have been contacted and also tell the exact location to meet me”.

“I won’t allow you do that Tyler. Don’t you watch movies? These kidnappers are professionals and would be watching from a safe distance even before your arrival and once they see any suspicious movements, they will get angry, leave and that might be the end. Tyler, please listen to me and do the right thing”

Her last statement somehow convinced him and he decided to do as his wife suggested. He waited for the call which took another two hours and the exact drop off location was given to him.

He left the house with his driver and went to the bank after he had called the bank manager. He picked up the money from the bank and made his way to the drop off location. Unknown to him, the police were tailing him as they knew he would have gotten scared by the kidnappers and not inform them of the plans anymore.

They tailed him by driving at a safe distance to avoid suspicions. Tyler got to the location and waited for the kidnappers to contact him. Dele and Moses were on a tree at the location watching him, when they were sure he had not been followed, Dele came down and walked up to Tyler’s car, gun hidden in his trousers covered with his shirt. Moses also had a gun with him on the tree.

When dele was walking up to him, Tyler felt he had seen him before but couldn’t place where. He was so sure he had seen him before and took a mental description of his features to give the police later to enable them track him down.

While Dele was walking, the police who had secretly traced Tyler quietly took position in different areas watching. Moses had not seen them as they also camouflaged with attires that looked like leaves. Dele finally got to Tyler and Tyler came out of the car but his driver sat in the car with the money and the car engine was still running to make a quick escape if the need arose.

“Where is my son you fool?” Tyler blurted. “I have the money you want and won’t bring it out until I see him”

“We do not carry our victim around in case people like you try to play smart” responded Dele and he brought out his phone and dialed the safe house where Sam was being kept. He handed the phone over to Tyler to speak to his son.

“Hello, Sam is that you?”

“Yes dad, it’s me Sam. Dad please cooperate with them so that this can all be over”

“Are they hurting you at all?” quizzed Tyler

“No dad, on the contrary, I am being treated like a king. They said the expenses I have incurred would be deducted from the ransom, so please dad, kindly pay up so I can be free”

“Listen son, I ….” But Dele grabbed the phone from his hands and cut him short.

“You have said enough and that is confirmation that your son is fine. You pay us and in one hour, you will have your son back”

The police didn’t know Moses was on the tree but knew Dele couldn’t have come alone and springing out of hiding would put Tyler and even his son in danger, so they stayed hidden.

Suddenly Tyler lost his mind. The thought of parting with such a huge sum of money to strangers was too much for him to handle and he grabbed Dele by the shirt.

“You swine, have you ever had to work for a dime in your life? Taking money that doesn’t belong to you, I won’t let it” Dele was shocked but managed to stay calm.

“Get hold of yourself Oga, all we want is the exchange to go smoothly or don’t you want to see your son again?” and in that moment of anger, Dele suddenly remembered the man that growled at him years ago when he begged him for money and he saw the recognition, it was unmistakably the same man!

Dele was angry at the way Tyler held onto his shirt but more furious because he remembered how Tyler had not even given him the opportunity to beg him for money years ago before chasing him off the side of the car that day and he was livid with rage. He held on to Tyler’s shirt too, shaking him viciously.

Moses was shocked at the turn of things, the police too were not sure what to do but had to stay alert in case of any eventualities and in seconds, they saw Dele pull out his gun from behind his shirt and point it at Tyler and in split seconds, he pulled the trigger and Tyler fell down in a pool of blood. Moses jumped down from the tree and ran to meet Dele, the driver couldn’t drive the car because he was in shock.

The police also came out of hiding and there was sporadic shooting. Moses and Dele fired at the police but they were outnumbered. Dele got shot on the head and fell down onto Tyler’s body. Moses got a bullet in the leg and he surrendered his gun. Tyler’s car was badly ridden with bullet because Dele and Moses used it as a shield but the driver was lucky as he was unhurt.

They grabbed Moses by the collar and dragged him into the police van and called for the ambulance to take away the bodies of Dele and Tyler. They called for backup and drove to the safe house with Moses.

 

Chapter Eleven

Moses knew it was over and didn’t want to be the only one who gets punished and decided to cooperate with the police, they also promised him a lighter sentence.

He called Skido and spoke in feigned excitement despite the pain from his bleeding leg.

“Skido, we don make am. We don collect am and we dey on our way”

“Hope nobody see you oh?” Skido asked

“No Skido, clean and clear, expect us in five minutes” as they were already two houses from the safe house. As soon as Moses hung up, Skido and the others went into jubilation and let down their guard. They went and poured themselves drinks, waiting for Moses and Dele to show up any moment. The next knock on the door was Moses and once they heard his voice, opened it but were shocked when he was accompanied by policemen.

Their guns were not on them as they had not envisaged an attack. The police raided them all, five in number with the injured Moses. Sam was set free and taken to the hospital to check him out before they take him home. He had not been informed of his father’s death. Skido refused to name who their sponsor was, he claimed he would die rather than betray his boss.

When Stella tried her husband’s phone and it rang without being answered severally, she felt something was wrong but never thought the news of Tyler dying was what it would be. When the doorbell rang and Sam and the driver with some policemen came in, she feared the worst. They broke the sad news to her and her world came crashing at the news, Sam ran to her and held her amidst sobs and screaming.

 

************************************

Tyler was buried and Sam decided to stay longer to stay with his mother and sister. Dele’s body was unclaimed as Skido didn’t even know where he lived, so no one could inform his father or brother of his demise.

The police still haven’t been able to find Skido’s boss as he wasn’t saying anything. Skido and his team were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor.

 

Every opportunity we have in life to help someone in need, let us not relent, for you may never know who you might have rescued from the path of destruction…

 

 

THE END

Copyright © 2018 Oluwakemi Odusanya

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, shared or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, copy and pasting or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

 

 

 

RESCUE Part 1

Chapter One

 

The cloud grew thicker and darker, looming over the horizons were signs of a heavy downpour. The wind had gathered its gust and threatening to pull down everything in its wake, trees, roofs and all. Feet shuffled hurriedly as everyone scampered to get to their homes or a place of temporary abode till the first heavy downpour subsides or ends.

Papa Dele ran inside and shut the two windows in his dingy one room apartment, he finished on time and ran outside to help his wife clear the remaining local frying pots and spoons before the threatening downpour. He had just kept the last item in the steel box made by the local welder on their street for her to keep her pots and pans after the day’s sale of bean cakes, called “akara”.

They both dashed into the room just as the first huge drop of rain fell on the worn out roofing sheet on their house. Mama Dele checked on her children, Dele, Bode and Yemisi, huddled at the corner of the room, surrounded by bags of sack used in keeping their clothes and other belongings. The children hated rainfall, especially when it was not yet night time as it always disrupted the little time they spent playing games or hide and seek before bed time.

Mama Dele, thankfully had made dinner of concoction rice and boiled eggs and had brought it into the room earlier as the small kitchen she shared with nine other co-tenants would be too crowded most evenings thereby leaving no room for her to conveniently prepare her meals.

They lit a lantern as the rain brought about early darkness, ate their food in silence and hoped the rain would subside early, at least to enjoy the moonlight tales by their neighbour, mama Tobe. Mama Tobe grew up living with her grandmother hence had loads of children stories to tell, she always gathered the children in the evenings and engaged them with moonlight tales.

Thankfully at about half past six in the evening, the rain gradually came to an end and though the weather was a bit cold, the children were not deterred. They excitedly knocked on mama Tobe’s door to come out and share the story of the day. As soon as mama Dele’s children stepped out, her husband pulled her close and started caressing her. As he placed his hands gently on the bulge on her tummy, she wriggled away from his grasp.

“My husband, the children will be back soon. Would you want them to come in and meet us doing it?” she asked.

“But Mama Tobe’s stories takes about an hour, I will be done by then. Don’t deny me oo, you know it is my right”. He replied

“I am tired, look at us, three children and another on the way and we are holed up in this one room apartment”

“Children are blessings from the Lord my dear wife, He gave them to us and He will surely help us take care of them all.”

Pulling her close to himself again “Oya, come jor, don’t use style and escape me this evening oh, I want it now” he said as he pulled her back into his embrace.

Few minutes later, panting and sweaty all over, he rolled off his wife and they both hurriedly got dressed before the children came in. Mama Dele took a towel and carried a bucket and went out of the room, got water from the borehole tap just outside the house and went to the roofing sheet covered bathroom which all the tenants shared, she would not be able to sleep without a bath, not after her husband’s escapade that night. She returned few minutes later just as mama Tobe was rounding up the stories, she bid her goodnight and went into the house with her children.

Her husband locked up the door to their room and the children brought out their sleeping mats from underneath the only bed in the room. There was no pillow to cushion their heads, so they rolled up worn out wrappers and placed under their heads as pillows.

Mama Dele stared into the ceiling that night after her husband bid her goodnight, rolled over and started snoring almost immediately. She had wanted a better life for herself and children but somehow, she had not been able to achieve it. The meagre amount she made daily from the sale of her bean cakes would be finished almost as soon as she collected it. She made sure she had her initial capital set aside to enable her continue to fry her bean cakes every day.

Her husband on the other hand, a local carpenter does not make enough to support, his business was not regular and sometimes people owe him for months after he would have completed their jobs, most especially the people they regarded as rich in the society. She often wondered why they would not pay up what they owe on time, and most times they looked like they just stepped out of a magazine, looking like a million dollars.

She gently rubbed her palm on the new life growing inside her. She hated herself for allowing it happen. She had not known that the after morning contraceptive had finished and she forgot to buy the next morning. She remembered three days later and prayed she would escape it but she was late. The seed had already taken root and was germinating beautifully. She knew she would have to register for her antenatal care but they barely managed to feed. She was still thinking about how to cope with all the challenges before her as she drifted off to sleep.

 

 

Chapter two

Stella and Tyler Obi had been married for ten years and their love waxed stronger by the day. They were blessed with two children, the eldest Sam and his younger sister Betty. Theirs was an example of a blessed family. Tyler worked with one of the most sought after prestigious telecommunication company on Victoria Island and had risen to a managerial position. He was loved by his superiors for his doggedness and shrewdness which had won him lots of contracts for his company, he hoped one day to be a partner. His company also had a subsidiary created mainly for acquiring small startup companies, taking them apart and turning them into thriving masterpieces. Some of the acquisitions have been brutal and Tyler was always the man at the helm.

Stella on the other hand was the opposite. She got a job immediately after her NYSC at a non-governmental organization at Lekki and she had worked there ever since. She loved to help and stayed on in the organization despite her small take home package. Her husband had given up three years after their wedding when he realized his wife would rather give all she owned to a charity and church, hence his decision not to meddle in her affairs when it was work related. As far as he was concerned, she was doing charity work with her salary and the beneficiary was her employer.

Lately she resigned from the NGO she worked and decided to set up her own charity organization to cater to children on the streets who had no one to take care of them. She hoped to put them in homes or foster care and support them till they finished the university. She believed that the community would be a much better place if more children were taken off the streets instead of allowing them stay there and be lured into criminal activities that would endanger their lives and much more, the society at large.

She had enough funding as her husband gave her a huge startup capital. She rented an office near their home at Lekki and hired two support staff. She was happy because she was doing what she loved to do most. She partnered with orphanage homes and the state government on effective foster care for displaced children. She knew she would have accomplished her goal if she saw a reduced number of homeless children beggars on the street and that was the motivation for her to do much more.

Her children also had the best of education and enjoyed a vacation at least once every year. They had never seen a blackout before due to the huge inverter and battery their father had installed in their home. They both had their separate rooms and Sarah had engaged the services of a maid to help around the house, to allow her children focus on their education. Life was generally sweet for the Obi’s and they couldn’t have asked for more.

Stella spends her evenings doting on her children, Tyler comes home late and the weekend had been reserved solely for him. She loved family time and was always seeking new ways to help hers bond more. She had been a product of a broken home and knew how sad her growing up years were. Her father left when she was five years old and she had never set eyes on him since then. There were not even sure he was still alive but her mother had used every opportunity to lash out at her, blaming her existence to the reason she was tied to a loveless marriage.

Her mother’s words echoed in her mind “if not that I had you Stella, I would have left your father long ago. I wish you had never been conceived, I would not be burdened by the responsibility of taking care of you and I would have been a free woman”

Her mother never remarried and lived like a woman scorned. She was a bitter woman and sometimes acted a little wicked, thereby not having many friends until she passed on few years earlier.

Stella was determined to let her children experience the love of a mother she was starved of and she was grateful she also had a husband who loved her to bits. Life could never be better. She had a great job and a beautiful family, she had great friends and living purposefully, she was indeed blessed!

 

 

Chapter Three

 

The aroma of mama Dele’s hot bean cakes filled the air and a group of people had gathered to buy for themselves. Amongst them was Oga Paul her faithful customer. He had travelled out of Lagos for a few weeks and had missed her bean cakes. He waited for the last man to leave and with a worried look on his face spoke to mama Dele.

“Madam, I know it is none of my business oh but I don’t think you should be having another baby at this time”

“Oga Paul, I know say you thought hard about it before you could voice out your reservations like this and I know it is because you care. I know but this one is mistake oh, I didn’t plan it”

“Okay then, maybe you should go for family planning after the child is born, they will help you with protection so that you won’t make such mistakes again”

“Thank you sir, I will do as you have said. I promise not to have any more after this one”

With that said, he collected his own bean cake and left, leaving his change with her, he told her to buy something for her children with it. She gladly offered her thanks and squeezed the money in her waist pouch. Exactly one hour later, she had finished selling all the bean cakes for that day and cleared her utensils. The time was 1pm and she knew her children would be back from school and hurriedly went to prepare their lunch of beans porridge.

While cooking, her mind drifted to what Oga Paul said earlier and she knew he was right. She ought to have listened to the nurse who dressed her up when she had her third baby. The nurse told her to get it done before leaving the hospital but the thought of inserting something into herself was not comforting and she also knew she would not be able to keep up with the occasional injections or pills. She told the nurse she would go home and discuss with her husband on the best alternative but she never went back. She made up her mind right there and then to get it done once she had the baby.

She suddenly remembered that she had not bought all the requirements for the hospital and she made a mental note to stop by at the market the next day to make some purchases.

The shouts and screams from her children as they arrived from school brought her out from her thoughts. She was always happy whenever they were around her, they light up her world and made her proud to be a mother. She was glad they came back just as their lunch got ready. She served them while they chatted about their day at school. She was amused at Dele’s story about his seat mate, Fred, who farted in class and the whole students ran out of the classroom. She made sure they did their homework before going out to play. Her husband came home later and as usual, the evening ended without any drama, mama Tobe also was tired and had no strength to tell stories that night.

 

 

 

Chapter Four

 

Mama Dele woke up in the middle of the night due to sharp pains she was experiencing in her abdomen. She was still three months before her due date and assumed it must be a false labor alarm but felt it was too soon for her to start experiencing it. She nudged her husband but he was deeply asleep and didn’t even stir. She lay down on her tummy and hoped the pain would subside. She managed to get some sleep later on.

By morning, the pain had become unbearable and she knew she would need to visit the hospital. She managed to prepare her children for school and decided against frying bean cakes that morning. Her husband walked the children to school rushed back home to assist his wife to the hospital. They emptied her cash box and brought out all the proceeds from sale the previous day as they were not sure how much the drugs the doctors would prescribe would cost.

They arrived at the hospital and the pain had grown worse. The doctor on duty advised that she be admitted straight away especially seeing that she was pregnant. Series of test were conducted and during the ultrasound, the doctor found something near the ovaries but he had no name for it yet. A sonogram was later carried out and it surely was a tumor the size of an egg that was discovered. The doctor gently broke the news to them and said there would be a way out.

He was shocked she had not had serious cramps before then and he concluded that the growth of the fetus reduced the space the tumor occupied hence the severe pain she felt. Mama Dele could not believe her ears and she burst into tears. Her husband also followed suit as the magnitude of the situation there were in dawned on him. He later calmed down and calmed his wife and promised her they would find a way out of it.

The doctor referred them to a teaching hospital where he claimed they had better equipment and personnel to deal with the situation. She was discharged the following day armed with a reference letter to the state specialist hospital. The pain subsided a little, she was given strong pain killers to help her manage it.

The trip to the teaching hospital seemed like the longest journey they had ever embarked upon as the rickety cab they boarded dragged on in snail’s pace. They finally arrived and because she was referred, she was able to see the specialist on time. More tests, scan and pap smear were carried out and it was confirmed, she had abnormally distended abdomen due to huge ovarian tumor and that it was cancerous. She would need to undergo surgery as soon as the baby was born.

It was an earth shattering moment and they both wept again. Her husband couldn’t hold himself together, he was broken. The hospital gave them different options on managing the situation till she put to bed as surgery was not an option since she was already heavy. But that they could arrange to have a specialist flown in who had carried out a surgery on a pregnant woman before that was successful. The cost of course would have to be borne by them and nowhere in the world would they find such amount of money to pay. The doctor gave her more pain killers strong enough but not strong enough to harm the fetus.

They got home and sat in moody silence until the children returned from school. They knew they couldn’t break such news to their children if they returned from school and hoped the situation would be sorted out on time before the children got wind of it. She prepared lunch for the family as usual, ignoring the pain she was going through.

At night too, neither she nor her husband could sleep, the thought of the aliment heavy on their minds. Her husband eventually gave in to the beautiful arms of sleep, he had endured the most nerve wrecking day of his life and his body couldn’t take the wake anymore, though his mind was in turmoil.  He tossed and turned on the bed all night, a sign that his mind and brain wasn’t getting the rest it needed.

The following morning was a Saturday, hence the children slept for much longer to make up for the weekday rush hour. Mama Dele woke up as early as 6am and smiled a little when she realized her pain had subsided a little. She attributed it to the drugs she was given and hoped it would somehow work a miracle and she would never experience the excruciating pain again.

Two hours later, after the children had their breakfast and her husband was in the bathroom, she felt the pain again. She screamed and slumped on the floor just as her husband walked in, he rushed to her side and lifted her off the ground on the bed and sprinkled some water on her face. She stirred and opened her eyes, she could see that he was scared and helpless. He picked up his phone and called his elder brother, crying on the phone that he isn’t sure he could handle the situation anymore.

His elder bro, Bade promised to be with him in the next few minutes as he lived about 20km away. An hour later he arrived and mama Dele was sitting on the bed at that time. He looked from his brother to his wife to explain what the matter was and his brother told him all that had transpired.

“So you would have kept all these from your family? And when did you intend to tell us?” he queried them

Broda mi, you know I don’t always like to harass others with my own problems. I believed my wife and I would be able to handle it. But when I came in this morning and met her slumped on the floor, my heart broke and I had to call you”

Mama Dele sat through the discussion between both men, hoping that uncle Bade would be able to offer some form of solution, maybe a cooperative where they could borrow money for the surgery.

“See, I know someone who handles cases like this. He had been in the business for years and has had lots of successes. I believe he can take care of this matter too, all these doctors only want to syphon money from gullible people like you.”

Broda mi, are you sure? I don’t want to worsen the matter oh?” he looked at his wife to see if she would nod in consent or refusal but her face was expressionless. His brother eventually took his leave promising to get back to them the next day with more information on the way forward.

 

 

 

Chapter Five

 

Mama Dele and her husband discussed more after he left and she told him she would have nothing to do with her in-law’s suggestion. She told him she had a bad feeling about it and would prefer to manage the pain till she put to bed so that she would be able to have the surgery.

The next day she went back to the hospital and complained of the excruciating pain and the doctor gave her some analgesic to reduce it and told her he can’t give her stronger pain killers because of her condition. On the way back home, her mind dwelled on the alternative solution uncle Bade suggested. She had not been able to sell her bean cakes for a few days and it was already telling on their finance as they took all they had to the hospital during the first visit. She decided she might just have to go with the plan as she wanted relief from the pain.

As soon as she entered their one room apartment, her children ran to her and retrieved her bag, for anytime she went out, she always made sure she had some goodies in her bag for her children. She noticed uncle Bade seated on a wooden stool and she greeted him.

“Our wife, how are you feeling today? Your husband said you went back to the hospital, any better news today?”

“They gave me more pain killers and said I have to manage it till I deliver sir”

“Hmmm!! I was just telling your husband that I have seen the medicine man he gave me the one touch drink, it is fast action and he has used it to cure lots of people from different growths in their bodies and ailments too”

“But my in-law, is it not proper for him to see me first before prescribing any drug?”

“I understand your fears, but this drink is a miracle one, one dosage is enough to melt any abnormal growth you might have, that’s why it is called one touch. Trust me my wife, I will not bring any harm to you”

Her husband also joined in persuading her to try the drink and not throw the idea away because of her skepticism. She promised to take the drink so as not to appear ungrateful seeing that uncle Bade went to much trouble to get it. She managed to prepare some food for him before leaving and he also gave her the dosage on how to use the one touch drink.

She drank it that night before going to bed and few minutes later, she felt empty, it was as if something cleared up everything in her tummy. She nudged her husband excitedly “It seems this thing is working oh”. He sat up and asked her how she knew and she was able to explain that she felt absolutely no pain and felt brand new. They slept off minutes later and there was not a sound till morning as they all slept peacefully.

 

********************************************

He was running so fast he knew he had to slow down, there was so much noise in his ears he tried to shut it to no avail. The noise kept getting louder and louder and suddenly he started falling down into what seemed like bottomless pit, he tried to scream but nothing came out and the noise still kept on getting louder and there was pitch darkness…

With a jump, baba Dele woke up from his nightmare only to be jolted back to reality by the sound of the alarm, then he realized the alarm sound was the noise he heard in the dream. His, eyes got accustomed to the darkness in the room due to the curtain and he touched his wife, gently nudging her awake. It was very unlike her to sleep through the alarm, the drink must have really helped her sleep better.

He decided to let her sleep a little so he got up and switched on the light and proceeded to wake up the children to prepare for school. Then he turned to look at his wife again and saw her sleeping peacefully and he could swear there was a glow about her. But something made him try to wake her up again as he knew next to nothing about preparing the children for school, he had not really been the domestic one. He tapped and shook her gently, no answer. He gently patted her again and then he knew something was wrong, he shook her vigorously and still she lay there not responding. He called her name to no avail and he feared the worst. He carried her into his arms, shouting her name, screaming and crying all at once.

This cannot be happening, he laid her back and ran out of the room and screamed for help so that his neighbours could come to his aid. In minutes, his room was filled with neighbours and one of them took Dele and his siblings to their room to prevent them from the commotion going on.

They got a cab and took her straight to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

 

 

Continue reading “RESCUE Part 1”

SIX PACKS AND THE LIKES

Sarah woke up with a terrible headache and realized it must be the after effect of the drinks she had last night. She had drank one too many and lost count at some point. It took the intervention of the bar man and some other concerned people to stop her from drowning herself in alcohol.

They had tried to get a name or phone number of any of her friends to come take her home. Thank fully Steve had called at that time and rushed there as soon as the bar man gave him directions.

She stared round the unfamiliar room, trying to remember the events of last night. She knew Steve had come to the bar and dragged her into his car but that was all she remembered. She wondered where he was as it became obvious she was in his room. He could at least have taken her to a hotel she thought. She was thankful her clothes were still on her body which means he had not taken advantage of her and her drunken state.

She managed to get up from the rumpled bed and tried to find her way to the living room and Steve knocked just as she reached the door. She opened the door and he stood there staring at her face, taking it all in. He smiled at her and led her back to the room.

“Where were you going?” he asked as he sat her on the bed and sat facing her. She replied that she just wanted to get an aspirin as her head throbbed from pain. He quickly got up and headed to the kitchen, telling her to stay where she was. He came back with aspirin, a glass of water and a cup of coffee on a tray. He explained that she had a hangover and the coffee would also help, but she insisted on the aspirin only.

Steve meant to let her freshen up once she woke up and drive her back to the bar to pick up her car without asking her questions about the incident but he couldn’t the moment he saw her that morning.

“Sarah, why did you go to the bar yesterday? I do not know you as the kind to visit bars let alone get drunk. What if someone had taken advantage of you in that state or worse, kidnapped you?” his mouth curled up on the side to show an irritating look. He didn’t approve of women drinking.

“Well, thank God you were there just in time to save the day Mr. Super hero” She retorted with sarcasm. He didn’t find it funny at all but had to control his anger, she sure didn’t know how vulnerable she looked when he saw her yesterday. Any man would desire her in that state but not him.

“I think you should take a shower. I have a t-shirt you can wear on your jeans. That blouse of yours is stained with alcohol”

“Yes sir, Thanks Steve, I owe you one” she said as she sauntered off towards the bathroom. There was no extra toothbrush so she used a cotton wool with toothpaste to clean her mouth at least. While in the bathroom, her mind went back again to the events of the other night and she held up her hands to heaven in praise, glad that Steve showed up at the nick of time.

Steve drove her back to the bar, handed over her keys to her and drove behind her until she got home safe. She was thankful the day was a Saturday and she could have more time to rest from her hangover. She called Steve some hours later to thank him for being such a good host.

***************************

Steve met Sarah in their 200 level at the university and took a liking to her. He joined in 200 level as a direct entry student had met her at the school’s kiosk. He later met her few weeks after at the fellowship on campus and his likeness for her increased. She had the most amazing eyes he had ever seen and her smile could melt the stoniest of hearts. He would go all the way to her faculty everyday just to catch a glimpse of her.

He heard sometime that she dated the biggest boys on campus and was one of the most sought after babes in school. He knew what he wanted and was determined to give it a trial, biggest boys or not, he wasn’t going to be deterred.

He was okay being her friend and getting to know her better. He found out she was one of the nicest persons he had come across in his life time. She was also very hard working and a lover of God. She doesn’t joke with fellowship and also in the charity team. She is a believer in giving to the less privileged and needy. She was just the kind of woman he desired. But he decided to wait till final year as he didn’t want to awaken love until the appropriate time as he was not ready for marriage yet.

He summed up courage in their final year to tell her of his intentions one sunny Sunday afternoon after fellowship and she just laughed in his face. She laughed so hard she held her tummy. He was shocked at her actions and demanded to know why she laughed.

“I like you Steve, you are a good man and God fearing but I only see you as a friend. Let’s leave it that way” She said

“Am I not good enough for you, is that it?” queried Steve “Is it because I do not have a car on campus and not rolling with the big boys? Don’t deny it Sarah, I know you desire such guys.”

“Well yes Steve, I like the big boys. I like them broad chested and with six packs. I want a man who will look at me and my knees will buckle, I want a man who knows what to say to me to make my heart skip, I want a man who is in tune with the realities of life and that man is not YOU!!”

“All you know is fellowship, class, books and football. I am made for more Steve. I love God too but I feel someone like you would make a boring companion and I am not ready to be bored to death” and with that she walked away from him and stayed away from him as much as she could. They only see occasionally and she was always quick to cut short whatever conversation they have.

Thank fully, they were posted to different states for their compulsory NYSC and lost contact for over a year. She never responded to his calls and would always text saying how busy she was. But luck brought them together again and this time, they both secured a job with a blue chip company on the Island in Lagos. The pay was good and they both really started living life.

 

*************************

Since working on the island, Sarah had dated a number of big boys that Steve had lost count. She suffered one heartbreak after another. There was even a case of one island big boy who was already married with four children pretending to be single. He actually looked like a thirty year old because of his very good looks. Not until his wife trailed him one evening as he was coming to pick Sarah from the office after close of work that the secret got revealed. His wife made an open show of them and Sarah could not believe her eyes, thank God for the intervention of one of her colleagues who helped her get away from the angry wife.

That ought to make Sarah stay clear of men, at least for a while but no, she jumped into the arms of the next available big boy she met, this time, a handsome six pack wielding guy who owned the biggest gym at Lekki. They dated for three months and she had to put an end to the affair when he used his acquired six packs to batter her at every opportunity. He got angry at the slightest provocation and took it out on her.

Amazingly, Steve had become her go-to buddy when everything comes crumbling down in her relationships. He would listen to her and speak soothing words, assuring her that one day she would find a guy who would love, cherish, treasure and honor her the way she deserved. She would cry her heart out and he was always there to comfort her. Steve even registered at a gym to build his muscles to impress her but stopped when he didn’t see results after four months.

Steve could not afford to be around her and know he could never have her and started seeking employment elsewhere without informing her. After four months, he eventually got another job at a prestigious oil and gas company. Sarah was sad to see him go as she had gotten used to always having him around. They eat lunch together whenever she wasn’t on her numerous dates and it was always one event Steve looked forward to. One note of concern for Steve was that she stopped attending church like she used to. He was particular about her not forsaking God, no matter what happened. As distance separated them, they also talked less but Steve still found ways to reach out to her once in a while.

 

***********************

Then Steve met Lola. He had gone out to eat lunch at the restaurant nearby when she walked in. she was a sight to behold and he couldn’t take his eyes off her, as with most men at the restaurant too. He summoned courage and reached out to her. They exchanged complimentary cards and parted ways.

They met soon afterwards and had lunch together. Steve found out she was in the drama department at her church just as he was too. They had so much to talk about, it was like they had known themselves for years.  She was just a very good girl but his mind often wandered to Sarah. He consciously reduced his conversations with Sarah to allow whatever he had for Lola to grow.

Lola seemed like the full package, no garbage, no history, church girl just like he liked, beautiful and also intelligent. He told himself he would be a fool to let her go without putting a ring on her finger.

He was in his room thinking about Lola and Sarah. It was not as if Sarah cared and she had not allowed him speak of dating her again. She always found a way to steer the conversation away from love matters.

He decided to call Sarah and bear his mind that night and instead found himself racing over 50km to save her from yet another heartbreak, hence, bringing her home drunk from the bar. It couldn’t get any worse he thought.

That night he brought her from the bar, he knew he loved her deeply and was going to wait till there was no hope anymore.

 

 

**************************

Steve dropped the call after he and Sarah had spoken and called Lola. He scheduled a lunch meeting and after they had ate, he told her how she had been a good friend but would not be able to take it further. He felt he owed her the explanation as to why they would not continue seeing each other. He was shocked at how calmly she took it.

She explained that she always noticed the distant look in his eyes anytime there were together and knew his heart belonged elsewhere. They parted ways and promised to stay in touch.

Steve went straight from the restaurant to Sarah’s house and when he announced himself, she was shocked to see him.

“But I spoke to you over the phone hours ago, are you alright Steve?”

“May I come in?” asked Steve. “Sure” she responded and let him in.

He started talking just as she shut the door behind him. “I have loved you Sarah, right from the very first time I saw you. I didn’t know what it was then but later I recognized it must be love. I stayed patiently hoping that one day you would realize my love for you and come around to love me in return. But like a puppy, you were bent on being straying and like Hosea (in the bible) I kept on saving you over and over again.”

“Sarah, I cannot do this anymore. I need closure and I have come this time to ask you, if you want me. And I promise I will respect your decision henceforth and not bother you again”

Sarah could not stand anymore and fell on the ground sobbing. Steve was shocked at her on the ground. She sobbed and stopped after some minutes. With teary eyes she said” I do not deserve you Steve. I do not deserve to be with a good man like you”.

“Stop it!!” Steve stopped her but she continued.

“The moment I realized I had feelings for you, I knew it was too late because I had been with too many men for you to ever want to have me again”.

“How can you want a woman that has been soiled and stained like me? A used up woman with no sense of shame like me? Please Steve, I do not deserve you at all, I won’t let you get the remnant of me because you deserve much more”

He bent and sat beside her on the floor, held her chin, stared into her eyes and smiled. “I love you Sarah and want you, baggage and all. I want all of you and I promise to do right by you”

“We were meant to be together Sarah and I intend to be faithful to you and stand by your side always” Steve kept smiling and Sarah kept sobbing. It was too good to be true.

They later got up from the floor, and lay cuddled up on the couch. Steve stroking her hair, telling her it’s alright and Sarah wondering how God can be so good to her after all she had done.

She vowed in her heart to make Steve the happiest husband in the world and try to make it up to him. She knew she must be blessed to be given a second chance with Steve.

 

Who says the cutest and best husbands must have a six pack……..

 

 

THE END

 

My First Wife

“Dapo! Where do you think you are going? If you know what is good for you, you had better listen to the voice of reasoning” his mum shouted after him. He had stormed out angrily after a heated argument with her and went into his late father’s car to sit for a while and calm his nerves. She always wanted to have her way, but he’d be dammed if he gave in to her demands.

Dapo Obe and his mum never saw eye to eye on many issues after the demise of his father. His dad had been his rock, the backbone of the family; the one he could always count on for support. His mum also had been very supportive and caring to him and his siblings until recently. Oh, he missed having him around. Death had dealt his family a terrible blow. Life had only just begun for his dad when the cold hands of death snatched him from them all.

He relaxed the seat of his late father’s Mercedes Benz car. He closed his eyes from exasperation as his mind delved into the reason for the argument. His mum doesn’t want him to get married to Angela, the woman of his dreams.

He had met her while they were at the university. They had bumped into each other at the entrance to the library and Angela’s books got scattered all over the floor. Dapo bent down to help with the books and when he rose up to hand them over, his eyes met the most captivating eyes he had ever seen. He was awe struck by her very irresistible beauty.

She could see that he was mesmerized; she knew she had some kind of effect on the opposite sex. Some ladies also tease her for taking all the beauty God intended to hand over to ten ladies all to herself. But beyond her beauty lies a very quiet and beautiful personality. She was what one will term a complete package; beautiful, charming, kind and intelligent. No wonder men swoon over her every time.

Dapo and Angela had hit it off right from the first meeting. As their friendship progressed, she found out he was a very intelligent and smart young man, who had his head rightly fixed on his shoulders. They were both in final year and hence worked on their project research together. Theirs was more of an intellectual relationship and never got intimate. Besides, Angela would have none of that as she had consecrated herself to be touched only by the man she would be married to. Dapo told her he valued their friendship more than physical intimacy.

School ended and they were both posted to different states in Nigeria for their compulsory one year youth service. Despite the distance, Dapo visited her place of primary assignment five times before they passed out. He didn’t want any one encroaching on his “property”.

“There are not too many good ladies around nowadays” he told himself. “It is better to guard the good one jealously”.

The day Dapo got home after his youth service, his family was elated. Finally, the days of Nigerian university wahala was over and he can focus on building a career for himself. His mother had prepared his best meal of pounded yam and okro soup with fresh Tilapia fish. He had forgotten what good homemade meal tasted like and he was quick to tell his mum how much he had missed her cooking. Mum just grinned from ear to ear, happy that he got home alive and well.

Few weeks after his arrival, he had gone out to see Angela. She lived 20km from him. The distance never meant anything to him as long as he got to see her. They had both applied to lots of organizations for job placement but had not gotten lucky. They talked at length about what the future held in store and what they would do to become successful. Dapo looked at her intensely and knew he would not want to spend the rest of his life without her by his side.

He got up from the seat and held her up. Staring intently into her eyes, he called her name.

“Angela, I have known you for a few months yet it feels like forever. What I feel for you has grown beyond what my mind can fathom and it feels so peaceful that I would not want to lose it.” Angela cold no longer stay on her feet much longer, her head felt all kinds of dizziness. She heard the seriousness in his voice and she was so sure he was about to propose. What she didn’t know was if she was fully ready to take things a notch higher.

“Angela Okorie, will you please marry me?” Dapo finally asked. He searched her face to be sure she had heard him properly. Angela looked at him and all she saw were honesty in his eyes, she knew saying yes could not be a mistake.

“Yes I will” Angela replied. Dapo was ecstatic. He lifted her off the floor and swirled her around. He put her down and held her in a tight hug and planted a firm kiss on her lips. She didn’t resist him then, it was afterall a seal of their proposal.

Few minutes later, Dapo left for home; he couldn’t wait to tell his family the good news. All he needed was a good job so that he can start earning and be able to plan a proper wedding for his Angel.

************

“What!! How would you want to get married to an Igbo lady? One who doesn’t understand our language? Our cultures are different; I will not allow it, never!!”

Dapo sat mouth agape, he could not believe that his mother, who had travelled all over of the country and had schooled abroad could have uttered such words? No, she didn’t mean it.

“Mum, did I hear you say you won’t allow it?”

“Yes Son, don’t you know that most inter-tribal marriages always have problems?  What languages will your children speak? Don’t you know you will have confused children?” and she went on and on. She cited lots of marriages she had seen and heard about that had ended abruptly and she attributed all to the fact that cultural differences were the cause.

“Mum, I have heard all your concerns, but I also know that there are countless marriages out there that have survived despite coming from different cultural background. I will take my chances mum”

“Olorun maje” (Yoruba language meaning “God forbid it”)

“Over my dead body, Dapo. Oh, because your dad is no more, you want to undermine my authority as head of the family? I will not allow it” and she stormed into her room banging the door furiously behind her. And that had been the beginning of the recent feud between mother and son.

To say Dapo was shocked was an understatement. His mum had lots of Igbo women as friends and church committee members, why wouldn’t she want her son to get married to Igbos?

His younger sister, Shola, tapped on the window of the car, snapping him out of his reverie. He unlocked the central lock system and she slid onto the passenger seat. She had overheard his argument with their mum and she had come to empathize with him. They both knew that mum could be very stubborn when she chooses but that getting angry with her never solves the problem. Shola cracked a joke that got them both laughing so hard that the mother-son argument was soon forgotten.

“So big brother, when do I meet this Igbo lady that has stolen your heart?” Shola asked.

“Soon dear, I will arrange a meet between both of you and I am sure you will love her as much as I do”.

 

***********

And truly, shola loved Angela the moment they met, who wouldn’t. Dapo never mentioned his mother’s disapproval of their relationship to her. Angela liked Shola instantly and they both giggled like school girls whenever Dapo cracked a joke. It was such a beautiful hang out and they had more of it.

Dapo met Angela’s parents three months into their relationship but she hadn’t met his. She knew of his father’s demise and expected that she should have met his mother, at least. She pestered him with this information and gave him an ultimatum on arranging her meeting with his mother.

Few weeks later, Dapo brought Angela home. He had earlier begged his mother to for his sake, welcome Angela and get to know how who she truly was and not where she came from.

Mrs. Obe had done exactly as her son begged of her. She exuded such grace and kind demeanor that Dapo thought she had been finally won over by Angela’s charm, but he was in for a shock.  As soon as he returned home…

“I hoped for your sake I put up a great show back there? At least your Angela wouldn’t call your mother a wicked old woman.” She retorted.

“Mum, for once I thought you truly liked her. That you would see beyond your dislike for inter-tribal marriages and embrace the woman I love. If not for anything mum, for my sake”.

“I am sorry son; I have nothing against her personally. She is beautiful, in fact too beautiful to be a normal lady. Are you sure she might not be linked to the marine world? Such beauty!! Did you see those eyes? Mesmerizing!! Dapo, please my son, look for a normal Yoruba lady and date her, as for this Angela girl, I will not allow it. I smell trouble oo”.

Dapo looked at his mum in amazement, wondering when she changed from a loving mother to something else. He made up his mind to go ahead with his marriage plans. Luckily, he had gotten a job with a construction firm few weeks earlier and the pay was good. Angela was yet to secure one but he believed in her.

Angela finally got to know that Dapo’s mum was against their relationship and she was shocked. How could she not be in support but had received her warmly the first time they met and subsequent times she had gone visiting. It took Shola’s admittance to the truth for her to realize she had been living in dreamland. Angela told her parents about the issues and they had also kicked against the idea of getting married to a man whose mother didn’t approve. But they are liberal and told her the decision of a marriage partner was hers to make and once she stepped out, she should remember she can’t return home.

Angela’s mother pleaded with her daughter to end the relationship to Dapo. She admonished her about in-law troubles and how she was too young to be in such mess. Angela promised her mum she would consider all the factors and take a decision soon.

Dapo woke up one Saturday morning to find his mother, sitting on the only chair in his room; he hadn’t even heard the door opening. He guessed he underrated how tired he was from the previous night. He was also quite shocked to see her in his room that early.

 

 

PART 2

She leaned forward, facing him.

“Oko mi” (My husband) a ploy usually used by Yoruba mothers to get the attention of their son.

“I know you are angry with me but all I am doing is for love. I do not want you to have problems in your marriage. I can see that this Angela matter is causing a rift in this family and I cherish peace in my family than proving a point. I have consented to the union; you can go ahead with whatever plans you have. I will give my blessings”

It seemed Dapo had not heard properly, he rubbed his eyes again and sat up quickly. He was excited; he prostrated and thanked his mum profusely for granting his earnest request. He was quick to inform Angela of the new development and wedding plans started proper.

Exactly six months after Dapo’s mum gave her consent, Dapo and Angela got married. It was a beautiful ceremony and friends kept talking about it for weeks. Angela couldn’t have wished for a more glamorous wedding celebration. They travelled to Obudu cattle ranch for their honeymoon. They both couldn’t believe there were still in Nigeria, the scenery was “out of this world”. They spent a week and returned back to Lagos. It had been a week of fun and more discoveries of themselves as a couple. Dapo was glad he had not listened to his mother and gone ahead with the marriage to Angela.

They settled down to their new home quite easily and things went on fine. A week after their return from the honeymoon, Angela got a call from Doherty Consulting. She couldn’t even remember when she applied for a job there. She was to meet the Human resource manager for an interview. The interview went well and was offered a job three weeks later. It was the perfect wedding gift they got.

 

**************************************

 

Angela started working and it was such a tasking job. She leaves home before 6am to beat the early morning traffic and doesn’t return home until 7pm most times. Dapo on the other hand was so lucky his office wasn’t far from home. It takes him fifteen minutes to get to work and back. Dapo gets home most times earlier and helps to sort out dinner. Angela makes sure she cooks different soups and stews and refrigerate so that Dapo can help himself whenever he gets home before she does.

Three months after Angela started work; she fell ill and had to be rushed to the hospital when she couldn’t stand up by herself anymore as she had severe stomach pains. She was diagnosed to be pregnant and to have some time off work to rest.

Dapo also was due for a week’s leave and he took time off work to be by her side. On the third day of the bed rest, Dapo’s mum visited to see how her daughter in law was faring.

“Angela, sorry o. You just have to be strong, and must ensure you do not allow this pregnancy to stop you from performing your duties o”

In strained voice “Thank you ma, I will try my best ma”

Dapo turned to his mum “Mum, what do I offer you? I can quickly boil rice or poundo yam”

“What!! Is it that bad that Angela can no longer cook food in this house”? Turning to Angela “I hope you have no plans to turn my son into your slave all because you are pregnant? When I was pregnant with my children, I did not stop performing my duties in the house o. All these girls of nowadays…” and she hissed and got up to get water from the kitchen.

Dapo hurried to his wife and pleaded with her not to take his mother’s words seriously. Angela had already started crying and wiped a tear from her eyes.

Dapo’s mum came back into the living room and saw Dapo holding his wife as he tried to calm her down.

“I had better go back to my house as I have suddenly become the enemy for saying the truth. Angela, bye bye oo, you can turn your husband into your slave o, maybe that is how they behave in your village”

And with that said, she stormed out of the house and slammed the door behind her. She got into her car and the driver started the engine for the ride back home. She sulked all the way home, wondering how she could have birthed a son who disobeyed her wishes.

They encountered a terrible traffic situation on the way and her mind wandered to her meeting with her friend Mrs. Tola Kalejaiye. Tola had a daughter, Theresa who had just finished university and awaiting her posting for the compulsory national youth service corps. She was a well brought up lady who exuded an awesome personality. Both mothers had thought she would be the perfect wife for Dapo as it would also help strengthen the relationship between both women.

She planned to set up a meeting between Dapo and Theresa but he had never given her the opportunity. He had instead announced his interest in an Igbo lady that he eventually got married to. Ever since Angela came into the picture, Dapo had seemed more assertive and she didn’t like it one bit. She planned to do something about it, she cannot have a son she wouldn’t be able to talk some sense into.

 

PART THREE

“Angela! Angela!!” shouted Dapo’s mum on the top of her voice. Muttering to herself . “I hope she wouldn’t  say she didn’t hear me call?”

Dapo and Angela had welcomed a baby girl and for some weeks, the arrival of the baby had calmed everyone as she was such a beauty to behold. Angela’s mum had come to help in taking care of the baby and had stayed two months and gone back home to allow Dapo’s mum also the opportunity of taking care of her first grand daughter.

She had not spent a week before she started her usual routine of picking on Angela. Dapo just didn’t know what else to do to resolve the brewing trouble between his mother and wife. He loved how Angela behaved to his mother, always respectful and never spiteful even when his mother deserved to be lashed out at.

“Yes ma, I was out in the backyard spreading the clothed on the line to dry” answered Angela. She came into the house and the venom in her mother in-law’s eyes sent cold chill down her spine.

“Mama, I’m sorry, I came inside as soon as I heard your voice” Angela said as she hoped the explanation would be enough for her.

“So you had to make me shout up to three times before you decided to grace me with your presence?” Dapo’s mother replied harshly.

Barely three months as a new mother and overwhelmed by the demands of breast feeding and adapting to her new status, she couldn’t take it anymore.

“Mummy!! What have I ever done to you to deserve this unjust treatment? I am supposed to be like a daughter to you. I have loved and respected you as I would my mum but you have consistently rejected me. What have I done?” Angela started crying.

In a normal scenario, the sight of Angela crying would have melted even the coldest of hearts but not Mrs. Obe. She was just not bothered, instead lashed out at Angela to leave her son alone.

“All I want is that you leave Dapo alone!! You do not deserve my son, go find your own man elsewhere” shouted Dapo’s mum angrily.

 

******************

Angela had always kept Dapo’s mother’s unkind attitude to her to herself but on this recent one, she knew she had to let him know.

After dinner, Angela excused her husband into their room and planned to tell him all that had transpired between herself and his mother. Unknown to them, as soon as they left, Dapo’s mum crept behind them and crouched behind the door to the room and was eavesdropping on their conversation. When she felt she had heard enough, she barged into their room uninvited.

“I heard all you said Angela. Did you tell him I called you up to three times before you answered?”  Queried Dapo’s mum. “Tell him how you sleep most of the times during the day and I am the one that cares for the child” she was fuming.

“Mum, I have had enough of your tantrums in this house. You never supported my marriage to Angela in the first place. She is the woman I love and why can’t you just accept it?  Why do you hate her so?” asked Dapo. He looked about to cry.

“Dapo, in Yoruba culture, your mother is like your first wife and whoever you marry comes after. My wish should be law and you ought to hold them very dear to your heart. But since you met this girl, I have now become second fiddle. I won’t take that. If I had not brought you up well, would she like you enough to marry you?”

Angela knelt down to beg her mother inlaw. “Mum, please I’m sorry for any wrong I must have done to you. I am…” but Dapo’s mum cut her short.

“Keep shut! I do not want your apologies. You were never good enough for him. How dare you report me to my son?” she chided

Dapo had had enough. He sighed heavily and looked his mum straight in the eye.

“Mummy, thank you for your many sacrifices as you nursed me to adulthood. Thank you for your love, you are an amazing mother” His mum smiled.

“I am sorry you feel this way about Angela my wife and I apologize on her behalf for her errors. But mum, this is my life and this is my home and I alone have the rights as head of this family”

“Mum, please call your driver to get here early tomorrow morning and take you home. I also implore you to please stay out of my marriage and my home for as long as I am married to Angela. I would be visiting regularly and continuing my duties as a son to you but you do not have any right to interfere in my marriage”

His mum could not believe her ears, she was beyond shocked. “You mean you are choosing your wife over me your mother?”

“Yes mum and I will do it over and over again. I will not permit you to ruin what I have with Angela. Yes you were there before her but your job as the first ended the moment I said I do to Angela and it will remain that way for ever”

“Hmmm!! Angela, thank you for turning my son against me. As for you Dapo, I won’t wait till tomorrow, I will leave tonight. I will spare you two the agony of spending the night under the same roof as me” She looked at Dapo and expected that he would be moved by her words and reconsider but instead he turned and held his wife.

Angela started crying and pleading with Dapo not to let his mum go on her account but he sealed her mouth with a kiss.  After he let go of her, he said “It’s you I married Angela. Mum has had her share of marital bliss and now it’s your turn. I won’t let anyone deny you of that”

Dapo’s mum called her driver and he arrived in no time. Dapo and Angela were in the living room as the driver arrived. Dapo’s mum got up from the couch and didn’t utter a word as she left. She slammed the door so hard the baby woke up from her sleep crying from the impact.

 

**********************

Dapo and Angela still visit his mum regularly but she never returned the visit. She however chose to behave in a civil manner towards Angela ever since the incident.

Though Angela would have wanted things to go differently but she wouldn’t want to trade the peace she had found in her marriage for anything!! Or should she?

 

THE END.

Finding Grace

The road to finding oneself sometimes are not the easiest of roads to take. Will Dapo find his? Are the roads paved with gold or pain?

“How do I begin my story? Where do I start from? I‟m not sure many will believe it ever happened. This is no fable….
My name is Adedapo Obe and I am forty three years old. I was born into affluence and my father was also a crown prince. It meant we got to enjoy royal treatment when occasion demands. Life was good as I had a lot of things at my beck and call.
My mother, Madam Titilayo Obe is an epitome of beauty. She exuded grace and charm, everyone loved to be around her. Unfortunately, they had just me hence mother pampered me to a fault. Dad often scolded her for the excesses and would normally say
“You will spoil this boy and he will eventually rot if you do not be a little firm with him”. Mother always had something to say in defense. She loved me too much. I knew it and used it to my advantage all the time.
I once drove my father‟s car against his knowledge, a car he had actually warned me to stay clear of. Thankfully, I got back home before he did and mother took the blame. She told him she had gotten a little distracted and didn‟t know when the car veered off the road into an electrical pole. I was only fifteen and under the Nigerian law, not old enough to drive a car.
****************************
I miraculously passed my A’level examination and my parents were over the moon with joy. I did all other required examinations and luckily got admitted into a renowned university in Canada. I was admitted to study Chemical engineering.
I told my parents I didn‟t want to stay in campus, against the school rules but my dad would have none of it, but my mother pulled it off. She travelled with me so I
could settle into school before she left for Nigeria. I lived a lavish lifestyle on campus.
By the end of the second semester, I had gotten introduced to hard drugs. I skipped classes and my grades got affected. I was mugged by some certain group of guys on my way from a friend‟s party. I was beaten to a pulp but a certain guy came along and helped me home. His name was Mike and it was he who introduced me to DEUCE, the club for the elites.
I was fascinated at the kinds of people who were part of Deuce. There were professors and lecturers amongst us. I even saw some of my faculty members there and it was later I found out it was set up to take out the enemies of club members. I was asked if I had enemies I would like them to take care and I told them I wanted them to find those who mugged me and bring them to book.
Two weeks later, Mike told me my muggers had been found and would be punished at the next club meeting. When we got there, four guys were tied to chairs and their faces covered. I was asked to remove the paper bags used in covering their faces and after I did, I realized that I hadn‟t seen their faces before, because the guys who mugged me didn‟t cover their faces.
I told the house to let them go as they were the wrong people but they would have none of it. They argued that someone just had to pay for what happened to me. I tried to persuade them and right before my eyes, our leader shot the four guys in the chest with a silenced pistol. As the floors fell to the floor with the chairs, I realized that my life also wasn‟t safe with them. So, I got deeper in the atrocities they committed else they turn back against me.
By the fall of the following year, my grades had gotten so bad I was asked to withdraw from school. I couldn‟t go home and I stayed back, pretending to my parents I was still a student at the university.
Then one day, Mike who was into shop lifting as a hobby had asked me to tag along. I refused initially but succumbed. We were caught and sentenced but I bagged only four months because I was a first time offender. After I served my sentence, I had to come back to Nigeria. There was nothing else for me to do in Canada.
Back In Nigeria.
I got back to Nigeria and couldn‟t go straight home. I hung around a bar in our neighborhood till it was dark, then I went home. I didn‟t want prying eyes. My mother was shocked to see me home without a prior notice. I ought to have informed them I was coming home and the driver would have come to pick me up from the airport, she lamented. Father didn‟t even raise his head from the newspaper he was reading before my entry.
The fact was father had been informed by my school and the Canadian authority when I was arrested. It was then he got to know I had even been sent away from the university but refused to share the information with my mother so that she wouldn‟t hurt herself from much worry.
Mother broke down in tears and was inconsolable. “Dapo why, why” she asked. “After all we have done for you, is this how you repay us?”
“But mum, I really didn‟t want to travel, you imposed it on me. I was cool with my Nigerian friends.
Dad got up and in a swift, landed a deafening slap across my cheek, cutting short my blab. I staggered from the impact and before I could regain my composure, another one on the other cheek. Dad rubbed his palms together to calm the sting. He walked away into his room and retired for the night.
I knew I deserved it, my parents didn‟t need to be paid back for all their love with my waywardness. Mother got up from the soft rug she sat on and went into the kitchen to rustle up some food for me. As she walked away, it seemed as if she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. It broke my heart to see her that way.
I ate my dinner quietly and went to bed. For the first time, the realization of my actions hit me in the face. How do I make it up to them, especially my mother?
****************************
Staying at home was boring, I also had to hide anytime visitors came to the house as my parents would be ashamed to let them know I had been rusticated. I usually go out once in a while to the neighbouring game house to play. And on a certain day I saw the most beautiful work of creation.
She passed by me on her way from church that evening. I could tell because she had a bible in her hand. She was tall, slim and beautiful. Her skin looked like caramel and I swore it would also feel silky to touch. She had natural long hair that reached her shoulders when let loose. I stopped her to say hello and the sound of her voice when she responded was like a nightingale. She immediately handed
over a tract publication she had tucked into her bible. She smiled and walked on. I really would like to see her again. I didn‟t bother to read the tract, I knew what would be in it but I kept it in my pockets all the same.
I had the privilege of seeing her two weeks after our first meeting. I found out her name was Folake Coker and a part time student at the university. She worked as a receptionist and schooled during the weekend.
I really admired her and wanted a relationship which she refused. I made sure I was outside whenever she walked home from the bus stop. Sometimes she would wave and head home and at other times she would stop by for a chat.
One fateful day, she was on her way home and I was outside as usual when she tripped and fell, she wore very high heels that day. I quickly rushed but got to her late as she was already on the ground. It had rained that day and typically our untarred roads were slippery. I helped her up and told her she would need to wash up the mud from her body and clothes before continuing home except she wants to be the symbol of laughter. Her home was still about ten minutes‟ walk and she gave in to common sense and followed me in.
I helped her clean and offered her a drink which she refused, she doesn‟t trust me. When she felt clean enough, she made to leave, while thanking me for my kindness. She invited me to church as a way to start a conversation and I promised to come. She stood up and smiled at me, thanking me once more and that instant, her smile looked like an invitation. I wanted to hold her forever. I made to hold her and kiss her lips and she pushed me away.
She looked frightened and begged to leave but I would have none of it. I tried to hold her again forcefully and this time she pushed me so hard I fell. I got up
quickly and held her and a struggle ensued. I had gotten more beautiful girls when I was in Canada and it was no struggle, why would she put up resistance?
She kept screaming and clawing at my face. She fought so hard, I must give her credit for that. I was able to pin her down and got a kiss from her and hoped she ceased to struggle as I wasn‟t finding it funny anymore. Then she bit my lip and I pushed her away from the impact of the pain, cursing her as she fell backwards.
*********************************
“Folake, Folake” I called out her name. She lay limp on the floor and I noticed that blood was trickling down slowly besides her face. I had pushed her after she bit me but I didn‟t know she would hit her head on the side stool as she fell. Her eyes were closed and I thought she had fainted. I rushed to the kitchen to get a bowl of water and poured on her, knelt beside her and begged her to please open her eyes.
“I won‟t kiss you again, I won‟t even disturb you again Folake, just open your eyes” I cried. The gravity of what I had just done dawned on me and I feared for my life. I looked at the time from our big sitting room clock and I knew my parents would be home anytime. I know what I had done would shock my parents and probably raise their blood pressure to infinity.
Then I did the only thing under the circumstance, I ran. I went into my room, packed a small night bag and threw some few clothes inside. Went into my parents‟ room and took all the money I could lay my hands on. I looked at the body one more time on the floor and bolted out of the door. I ran and never looked back. I ran to Ibadan in Oyo State. I later read in the newspaper about the incident and that I was a wanted man.
The money I took from my parent‟s room lasted me for two weeks and I became penniless. I took up odd jobs to survive and lived each day as it came. I worked so hard during the day to make enough money to settle lodge bill and buy food, then at night, sleep eludes me. The face of Folake haunts me, every night. I was shocked my face had still not been splashed all over the media for the murder I committed.
Two months after Folake‟s death, I packed my clothes to launder because I had not washed my clothes since I left Lagos. In one of the pockets, I found the tract Folake had given me the first day we met. It reminded me of her and though I knew what would possibly be written in it, I read it all the same.
Surprisingly, the writer came in from a different angle and before I knew it, I could not hold back the tears. I had conviction for my sins and wanted to make amends. I knelt down and wept profusely. I wept because I had committed murder, I wept because she didn‟t deserve to die like that, I wept because I had brought shame upon my family, I wept because I realized that with all I have done, I still had a chance to make it right with God, but Folake didn‟t. I snuffed life out of her. How can God love me after all I had done? I didn‟t deserve it.
I made up my mind right there and then to surrender my life to Jesus and go back and face the consequences of my actions. I packed the unwashed clothes back into my bag and walked out of the lodge..I was going back to my parents!
I got back home and our guard was shocked to see me. He ran inside shouting “Madam, Madam!” My mother came out feigning annoyance at his outburst but froze when she saw me. She rushed at me and held me tight, crying and checking me out at the same time. She couldn‟t stop the flow of tears and I joined her. She held onto me for a long time and when she finally let go, she led me inside the house.
“Mum, who moved Folake‟s body or better still who found it?” I asked as I needed answers. Mum told me how the guard had called them after I ran after the house and he didn‟t see the lady I came in with leaving with me. Mum got home to find the body in a pool of blood. My father was called and when he arrived, they had to report to the police and meet the deceased‟s parents. The police began an earnest search for me and are still searching.
My mum also told me that after the police left, on the day of the incident, my father had disowned me and vowed to have nothing to do with me again. She told me to go back into hiding until the whole incident was forgotten and was about writing a Cheque in my favour when my father arrived. He was shocked to see me and even more to see that mum had made me comfortable.
He didn‟t allow me utter any apology before ordering me out of his house. He clearly forbade me from returning back. Mother cried, holding him by the leg to forgive me but he stormed into his room and slammed the door shut. It was clear his mind was made up.
*************************************
I left our house and went straight to Folake‟s house. I needed closure and I know once they see me, the end of my freedom had come. I was prepared for the worst. I knocked on the door and was ushered in by her mother. They didn‟t know what I looked like as we had never met. She saw that I hesitated at the door, what guts I must have to have showed up at the home of someone I killed. Folake‟s father was reading a newspaper and he put it down as I walked in.
I prostrated on the ground and explained who I was. I expected to be pounced on as I started talking but I wasn’t. Folake’s father asked me to tell them exactly what happened on that fateful day. I narrated the story exactly as it happened. Whilst still on the floor, he picked hid phone and called in the police, telling them the culprit was right in his living room. He then told me to stand up and sit on the chair.
I refused and lay still on the floor. He explained to me how I had taken their only source of happiness. How I had turned their joy into sorrow, how their hope for a better tomorrow was cut short by my actions. Before long, the police arrived and took me away. I knew the end had come. If the judge was kind, I might get a life sentence.
Exactly six days in police cell, while waiting for my case in court, I was called out. I guessed it must be my mother, who had come to see me. I was shocked to find Folake‟s parents there, I later got to know they had come to withdraw their case against me and have forgiven me. I was shocked, I couldn‟t believe my ears. I know I didn‟t deserve to be forgiven but God made it possible somehow. They left after bearing the news to me and I was taken back into my cell. I didn‟t know what it would mean to my case.
On the day of the hearing, I pleaded guilty to the charge. It was ruled that it was an involuntary manslaughter and the date for judgement was adjourned till the following day. I prayed to my new found confidant, God and told Him to help my case. I was sentenced to ten years imprisonment because I pleaded guilty but with no option for bail. My mother broke down in tears in the court room as I was led away to serve my term in jail.
****************************************

My sentence was reduced to six years because I showed exemplary and I was released two years ago. I have worked since then as a volunteer in an NGO I joined whilst in prison. It is for the rehabilitation of young people who have led terrible lives and how to help them live better lives.
I visit Folake‟s parents once in a while and they have come to forgive me fully and their home became my second home.
I still remember Folake and wish I could turn back the hands of time. God had been gracious to me and has saved me from eternal destruction; I can‟t help but wonder if God “planned it all along” to get me to His side. I am glad for a second chance. His grace found me in my sinful state and made me a brand new being.
I am still waiting for my father to forgive me. I have sent elders to meet him to no avail. He is over seventy years old now and still does not want to set eyes on me. I need to make peace with him and I need him to find peace for himself as well…I won‟t stop praying.”
THE END

The Deception

“Oruka ti dowo na, di ololuferemu, ko se ni to le ya yin titi lai” sang Yetunde as she danced into Tolu’s room. A smile lit at the corners of Tolu’s lips, it was obvious that Yetunde Alabi is excited about the forthcoming wedding as much as Tolu Badmus, the bride was.

There was a palpable excitement in the air. Yetunde was more excited than any of her friends simply because she would be the chief bridesmaid. She had lobbied for the position even before Chude proposed to Tolu. Somehow, Yetunde knew that the only place Tolu and Chude’s relationship was headed, was the altar.

Tolu had met Chude one sunny afternoon on her way from lunch. She never was one to go out for lunch (she considered it a sheer waste of money) instead she enjoyed the packed rice and fried turkey delivered to their office by Kems Kitchens. But the last delivery on Friday had upset her tummy so much, she vowed to steer clear for a while. It had resulted in her stooling uncontrollably. She had to dash to the nearest pharmacy to buy talazole, much to the dismay of the attendant who tried to make her change her mind. “Why not try another better drug madam?” the pharmacist had said. “No ma’am” retorted Tolu, “talazole is all that works for me” but truthfully, Tolu didn’t want to spend a fortune all in a bid to stop stooling. To her, the pharmacist only wanted to make some more extra cash from her.

When Monday came, Tolu had to psyche herself to go to a nearby restaurant and give her stomach a treat. She had always considered it a waste of money whenever some of her colleagues go out to lunch. Why waste so much on food when you can always get a cheaper alternative, so long as the stomach is full, the cost of food is inconsequential. She quietly walked into the restaurant and chose a corner table that can seat only 2 people.  She ordered her food and ate quickly. She had a report to submit to her boss immediately after lunch and she didn’t want to be late.

She hurriedly ate and left the restaurant, muttering under her breathe never to return there until pay day. The food was small compared to the “huge” bill she paid. Just as she rounded the bend that leads to her office, her small purse fell and as she stooped to pick it up, she felt strong hands brush her sleeves as the neatest set of fingers picked up her purse. “May I” the gentle man said as he straightened and handed her purse back to her. She was caught between surprise and fear. How come he was directly behind her as she bent to pick up her purse? Had he been following her? Was he a stalker? How did she not hear his footsteps? Loads of questions rummaged through her mind..

But her manners took the better of her.” Thank you sir” she said. “Oh, it’s nothing. I just happened to be around when needed” he replied.

“By the way, my name is Chude Obi. I work at Gibson global. I am a trained HR consultant” he stretched out his hand for a handshake. Tolu firmly gripped his hand and introduced herself too. They exchanged complimentary cards and Tolu hurriedly left the scene. She got to the office in time to send the already prepared report. Her boss was a no nonsense iron lady.

After work that day, she got home and as usual went over the happenings of the day. It had indeed been eventful. Then she thought about the gentle man she had bumped into. He isn’t what ladies call tall, dark and handsome. But he exuded a charm no one can overlook. Well-manicured hands, tall, caramel colored skin, eyes that looked as if it can see into your very soul, trim mustache, a  broad shoulder  and oh, the diction. Tolu had always been a lover of good diction and when a man has a good command of it, she is easily won over.

She had to pinch herself from fantasizing about him. “Maybe he has even forgotten about me” she thought. And here she was day dreaming about him.  For what it was worth, she actually would love to see him again, she felt drawn to him in a certain way. She had him on her mind as she fell asleep. She even dreamt about him. She woke up to find herself smiling and holding her pillow tight. She got up and started laughing at how stupid of her to see him in her dream.

She dressed for work the next day, bid her parents goodbye and headed to the junction where she would join the staff bus to Victoria Island, where her office was. She got to work and thumped away at her keyboard. She was eager to finish up her major tasks before lunch break. Tolu knew she should eat the Kems kitchen rice and turkey but the thought of seeing Chude again made her go to the restaurant. She hurriedly ate again and left. On her way back, she walked slowly back to her office and occasionally looked over her shoulders to catch a glimpse of someone who looked like Chude. But she never saw him. She finished the last two minutes’ walk to her office with a frown. She had so much wanted to see him, even if it’s for a minute.

Two weeks passed and still no sign of Chude. She had started to forget him; maybe he didn’t like her as much as she expected or alas, even married.  By the third week, her tad totally let him the thought of him out of her system or so she thought until her phone rang. The voice on the other end was so hot it could melt butter; she knew it was none other than Chude. He was only calling to check up on her and invite her for lunch the next day if she would be available. She quickly accepted the offer and after he hung up, felt she had accepted too quickly without any restraint. She didn’t want to appear too easy.

She carefully picked out her outfit for work the next day, wanting to create the right impression. Lunch went well and she found out he had been out of town on a business trip for two weeks, and only just got back. They had many more lunch dates after that and even dinner dates. He became frequent at her home and her parents loved his aura. Her friends met him too and prayed he was the “one” they had been praying for.

Exactly six months after they met, Chude proposed marriage to Tolu in the presence of her parents. “Oh yes, yes, yes” she responded, smiling and crying at the same time. Her parents hugged them both and prayed for them. Chude had been all she ever wanted in a man. God fearing and supportive, always knowing what to do or say, dependable, the man after her heart.  Two weeks later, Chude and his family came to do the customary introduction ceremony with Tolu’s family and the wedding date was set.

They set the weeding date for four months away and all hands were on deck to ensure a smooth and unforgettable wedding experience.

“Iyawo” called Tolu’s mum, jolting her out of her reverie. “Your wedding planner is on the phone, she says she can’t get through to you on your line”.  Tolu took the phone and had a brief discussion with the planner. She wanted to confirm the cake tasting time. Yetunde also needed her to convince the other ladies not to make her own style of dress as she wanted to stand out. To which everyone in the room laughed. Yetunde had a way of amusing people; she was the official clown amongst Tolu’s friends.

And the wedding day finally arrived, it was a huge success. A particular highlight was the exchange of vows at the church. Both of them had written their own personal vows, pledging to love and cherish themselves, through thick and thin. Forsaking all others and cleaving to themselves alone, this got some eyes tearing up. Especially the bride’s mum.

The weather was beautiful, everyone had such fun. It was obvious the bride and groom were so into each other. Lots of “oohs” and “aahs” on every one’s lips. It was a romantic setting and the décor was out of this world. There was no doubt on everyone’s mind that the union will last forever. Or will it not? What could possibly go wrong?
rings

 

Chude and Tolu went on an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai for their honeymoon.  It was the best moment of their lives. They were back after eight days as they had both taken only two weeks from work. They planned to use up their remaining leave days at Christmas.

One thing Tolu craved for was to experiment all the things she had heard married people do, like feed themselves while they ate; bathe together, go hiking, sleep cuddled up till morning and a host of others. She was only disappointed because Chude got tired more often than necessary. He was a kind of kill joy but she was too elated to bother.

Exactly two months into their wedding, as they got back from church. Tolu went into the kitchen to fix lunch when she heard Chude let out a loud scream; she rushed to the living room to find him sprawled on the floor holding tight to his chest.  She held him to her bosom asking him what happened. He couldn’t speak but just held onto his chest. She quickly took her phone and called his doctor who told her what to do before he got to them. Twenty minutes later, as doctor Ibrahim arrived, Chude passed out from the excruciating pain.

The doctor resuscitated him and with Tolu, helped him to the car and drove to the hospital. When they got to the hospital, Chude had to be placed on drips and monitored closely. Tolu could swear that the doctor and Chude exchanged a glance that seemed to have a lot of meaning. Tolu was asked to excuse them as the doctor needed to examine him some more. She was invited into the room few minutes later and asked to sit. It was time to know what had happened to Chude

“Chude has a terminal disease.” Said the doctor. “What!!” screamed Tolu and she felt dizzy all of a sudden. Then she ran to her husband’s bedside and the look on his face halted her. It was obvious from the way Chude lowered his eyes that he knew about his condition way before this particular incident. But how could she not have known, thought Tolu. They had done series of tests before the wedding…”oh! All they did was HIV, Hepatitis and genotype test” Tolu muttered under her breathe.

“Chude, how long have you known?” asked Tolu. Chude couldn’t answer, he simply closed his eyes; he didn’t know what to say.

“I thought you knew, Tolu” chipped in the doctor. “ I insisted that he tell you before the wedding. Chude told me you had discussed it and were both okay with it”

The doctor explained that it was first diagnosed three years ago.  He even reminded Tolu of their last visit to his hospital before the wedding.

Suddenly Tolu remembered the doctor asking Chude in her presence if he told her and she remembered Chude laughed and said sure, and that she was fine with it. It was actually the doctor hoping he had told her the truth. When Tolu asked Chude about it later that evening, he had said the doctor wanted to know if he had told her he wanted to start a family immediately and also that his desire to have four children….they both laughed about it and carried on with the wedding plans.

Tolu loathed him at that instant. How could he do that to her? How does one hide such a secret from the one we profess to love? How would they move on from this? What was she to do? Different thoughts rummaged through her head. He had lied to her, deceived her into marriage. She couldn’t take it anymore and burst into tears. Sobbing uncontrollably, she ran out of the hospital room. Doctor Ibrahim ran after her so she would not do something crazy to herself.

Chude knew at that moment that he had just lost the most important treasure in his life. He wanted to tell her but he loved her too much to want to lose her. And he figured if she knew, she wouldn’t want to go ahead with the marriage and even if she did, her parents won’t allow it.  He silently prayed to God to come to his aid. Hoping it wasn’t too late.

Doctor Ibrahim caught up with Tolu at the entrance of the hospital and begged her to stop. He didn’t want her running blindly onto the road and getting herself hurt. She stopped in her tracks and turned to face him. Collapsing on his shoulders, she cried even more, her shoulders shaking sporadically from the sobs.  Passersby stopped to look and some simply moved on; at hospitals, crying people are a normal sight. After a few minutes, she calmed down a little and the doctor led her back to his office and the told her everything she needed to know.

Chude had discovered a small lump under his armpit one day. At first he thought it was a boil but when after three weeks it showed no sign of improvement, he went to the hospital to have it checked. He did series of test until a biopsy showed that the lump was malignant melanoma, a particularly fatal form of skin cancer. He got the lump removed and thought everything was okay, but a year after, the cancer had spread to his lung. And he had been on drugs and radiation therapy ever since. According to the last oncologist, Chude had less than eighteen months to live. Which means he should die in less than eight months?

Tolu could not take it anymore. She took her phone and called her friend Yetunde to come take her home. She wanted to be far away from the hospital and especially Chude as far as she can. She could see her world crumbling right in front of her. How can her marriage that had only just begun suddenly be coming to an end? Whom had she offended? How could God let this happen to her? She prayed endlessly and served God faithfully…What was she to do?

CONCLUDING PART

“This is terrible and an unjust, how could he have gotten married to you knowing his condition?” retorted Yetunde.

“You cannot continue with this madness friend. I reject being a widow barely a year after wedding for you oh” “Have you told your parents?”

“No, I don’t even know how to start telling them” I find it a hard pill to swallow myself” replied Tolu.

“Well, you just have to. Thank God you are not pregnant yet, it’s not too early to find a way out” said Yetunde.

“But I love him Yetunde, with all my heart and soul” “I know he deceived me by not telling me the truth about his illness but I cannot think of a life without him” replied Tolu

“Then when he eventually dies, won’t you live without him? Be wise dear friend, you don’t want to saddle yourself with the responsibility of taking care of an ailing and dying man so early in life. You have to let go and move on. Even God will understand that you do not have a choice in this matter” Yetunde replied.

Yetunde did not want Tolu to delay telling her parents of the news. She drove her to Tolu’s parents’ home and was even the one who broke the news to them. As expected, her parents didn’t take the news too kindly. Tolu’s father ranted and raved, about how he was going to make Chude pay for the deception. Angry that he allowed them to have wasted so much on a wedding that would end soon.

Her mother just sat down staring into space. Searching for answers or for a small voice telling her all will be well. She was angry at Chude but also felt sorry for him. She understood why he did what he had done, and silently prayed that somehow, the whole news was just a mistake and all would return back to normal. Tolu was their only daughter and this wasn’t how they had envisaged her marriage.

*****

Chude lay down on the hospital bed feeling sorry for himself. He also hated himself for the deception. He wished he could turn back the hands of time. Replay his life over again and go back three two years. Wished he had not met the most caring and fun to be with lady called Tolu. Wished he had not fallen in love with her and wished above all, that he had simply told her the truth.

Doctor Ibrahim came in and broke into his thoughts. He knew what his patient must be going through. Physical pain from his illness and a heart wrenching pain from his actions. He simply checked to see that he had taken his medication and quietly left.

Chude’s parents were not happy at turn out of events. They rebuked their son for it but pleaded with the Badmus’ family to forgive him. They pleaded with them to allow their daughter stay married to Chude and weather the storm with him.

“Stay married to a dying man?” Retorted Tolu’s father “Never!! That will be over my dead body. He did not even allow Tolu have a say in the matter. Mr. Badmus had spoken; and that was it.

Five days later, Tolu went back to see Chude at the hospital and stopped at the door in shock. The man lying on the bed was not the one she had gotten married to. He was a shadow of himself, he had greatly emaciated.  She went into the room and sat opposite him just stared at him. She didn’t know what to say, Chude also was lost for words.

Finally he broke the silence. He had so much time to think of everything and was willing to take whatever decision the family reached.

“Forgive me Tolu; I know I have hurt you in ways I cannot even find words to explain. I allowed my selfish interest becloud my judgement. I should have come clean before the wedding; but I felt so energized by your love I thought somehow God had heard my cry and healed me. I wanted you so much I hid the truth so that I won’t lose you. But that is exactly what has happened, the truth is out now and I will lose you”.

“Please don’t allow your disappointment of me to cover that heart of gold that you have. I know I do not deserve to be forgiven; but please Tolu, please..”

Chude broke down in tears and wept soberly. Tolu also couldn’t bear the sight of him weeping bitterly and knelt by his bedside, sobbing uncontrollably. They were like that for over 10minutes and just held on to each other.

“I forgive you Chude. I do not know if I would have gone ahead and married you if I had known the truth then; but it doesn’t matter now. I swore to love you for better or for worse. I guess this is the worse part. And we will go through this together. I promise you it won’t be easy but I will help to make your last moments as memorable as possible.”

Tolu’s parents would hear nothing of it. They threatened thunder and brimstone.

“He is going to die soon anyways, I won’t leave him dad, I will stand by him till he breathes his last” with that said, she stormed out of her parents’ house and vowed to keep them away from Chude.

Yetunde concluded that Chude’s family must have used voodoo to brainwash her into standing by her husband. They all treated her like an outcast and told her she knows where to find them once she changed her mind.

Chude was discharged a week later and rested only three days before resuming back to work. He never missed his appointment at the hospital. He started preparing for any eventuality, since the oncologist told him he had about eight months during the last examination.

Then he remembered that the oncologist said that if a surgery was carried out again, the tumor had a chance to be removed and he could live. But he was given a 50-50 chance. He told Tolu and it renewed their faith.

They booked another appointment and the facts were laid bare.  The oncologist told Chude that once melanoma invades an internal organ like the lung, the invariable outcome is death; usually within months—without immediate treatment. Even with treatment, the outcome was guarded. Only few of all melanoma patients with lung metastases are alive twenty months after surgery.

Chude was warned to rest well for the surgery and desist from strenuous tasks. He went for his church’s mid-week service and he heard a scripture like he had never heard it before. Romans chapter 10 verses 10 “ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved”.

Chude didn’t follow his doctor’s recommendation as expected. Even Tolu thought he had gone crazy but later had to encourage him as he confessed to good health. He took a month off to strengthen his body for the treatment that he knew would most likely be a grueling ordeal. He went on long walks, he ate healthy foods, and he meditated on that scripture alone. He also spent a lot of time picturing himself as healthy and visualizing good strong blood cells destroying the cancer in his body.

Two months after, Chude was ready for the surgery. He felt sure it would be a success. The chest X-ray was repeated to document the size and location of the tumor before starting treatment. But instead of the large cancerous lesion in Chude’s lung, he saw…nothing.  The doctor did the X-ray again to be sure there had not been a mistake and still saw nothing. During his month of meditation and healthy living, white rings developed around his skin tumors, causing what doctors call a halo sign.

But Chude knew God was at work. God had given him a second chance at life and love again. He was healed and didn’t even have to undergo a second surgery. What was scientifically impossible; God made possible.

Tolu could not believe it. It was indeed a miracle and her faith in God was strengthened even more. His parents thanked God for giving them back their son.

Tolu’s parents heard the good news and received it with mixed feelings. Happy that Chude was alive and well but ashamed because they had deserted him in his time of need. Yetunde only called, she could not bring herself to face Chude after all the hurtful things she said.

On the day of the thanksgiving celebration, while in her room to change into her second outfit; she couldn’t help but wonder what would have become of her if she had left Chude alone only to discover he wasn’t going to die after all. And she knelt down and lifted her hands to the heavens and thanked God, for helping her make the decision to stand by her man, no matter the obstacles and deceit. It wasn’t easy for her, but it paid off at the end of the day.

THE END.

UNCONTROLLABLE 2

Ladi languished in jail for not being able to control his temper and left his mother and girlfriend heartbroken.
Will he be able to overcome his challenge and will Joyce be willing to give him another chance?

 

UNCONTROLLABLE PIC PART 2

CHAPTER TWO

Joyce lay on her bed, staring into space. She had decided to pick up the pieces of her life again. She told herself to snap out of the mood she had been in, since Ladi’s sentence. She knew that she was the one who practically threw herself at him; Ladi had only responded. Life hadn’t been the same, she missed him. She could only go to visit him twice after the incident and once after the sentence. She couldn’t bring herself to see him like a common criminal. It broke her heart seeing him in prison uniform. She noticed Ladi had also become withdrawn; the look on his face had been that of a broken man. She hoped he would get out of prison and get the necessary help. It was only six months sentence and she hoped he had learned his lesson.

She sat up abruptly, “I must get over him” she mused. “I cannot go on wallowing in self-pity. I will move on with my life”. She got up from the bed, paced her room for a while and went into the bathroom to take a shower. It was Saturday afterall, she decided to go to the nearby mall and see a movie. She had seen the trailer of a particular one and decided to go see it. She wore a pair of jean and a yellow floral blouse, matching it with a yellow sandal. She knew the color flattered her complexion; she was set to have a great outing, even if it’s alone.

The mall was so full; she had to squeeze her way through. There were lots of teenage boys and girls on dates. She giggled at the sight, shaking her head because she knew they were only relieving some storybook fantasies. She had never been a fan of teenage relationships; she just felt they were too young to understand the matters of the heart. Going past two teenage couples, she found her way to the cinema ticket stand and bought one. She got popcorn, hot dogs and a drink; she loved to munch while watching movies and she had better be prepared.  Half way into the movie, a comic scene occurred and it had the whole hall erupt in laughter. She laughed so hard she choked and it became somewhat uncontrollable and as she struggled to catch her breath, she felt a firm hand tap her back so hard and a piece of popcorn, trapped in her oesophagus came out. She quickly wiped tears from her eyes and thanked the kind hearted individual who had rescued her, he replied her saying “it was my pleasure”, he had the best baritone she had ever heard and it was a sweet sound. It was dark so she couldn’t see the facial features clearly and she couldn’t wait till they were out in the open.

The movie ended and people chatted about it as they filed out of the cinema hall. Her rescuer was behind her and she made a mental note to thank him properly as soon as they stepped out, at least to be able to recognize him if ever she saw him afterwards. And she couldn’t hide the shock when she turned to face him. He was tall, broad shouldered, clean shaven, caramel skin color, pink lips and had the biggest eyeballs she had ever seen. He also had a deep scar than ran from his left ear to his cheek and made him look grotesque. In summary, he didn’t look quite like his voice.

He noticed her shocked expression and smiled, he had gotten used to people being shocked when they beheld his face. He stretched his hand to her “My name is Tomiwa Ajayi, Tom for short and I am an engineer”.

“My manners” she blushed. “My name is Joyce Oteka and I am a youth corper serving with Lily Oil and Gas”. Tom was really impressed and congratulated her for getting a good place for her NYSC unlike her many counterparts posted to public primary schools to teach. He told her to ensure she got retained as staff, to which she replied in the affirmative. They strolled to the car park as they talked and both enjoyed each other’s company. They exchanged addresses and got in their respective cars and drove home. Tom thought about her all the way home; it had been long he had a meaningful discussion with a lady. All they ever talked about had been clothes, latest fashion trends or trending reality foreign season films. Joyce had been like a breath of fresh air. He hoped to see more of her.

*********

Ladi woke up with a scream, sweating profusely, his prison flatbed drenched in sweat. He was glad it had all been a dream, he wasn’t sure he ever wanted to see George again. He had been in jail for two months and each night had been a nightmare. Staying in a room with someone else had reminded him of George. He is the past he wished he had never experienced.

Ladi’s mum had always wanted the best for her son. She made sure he had the best care any child would crave for. His father had passed on when he was only a little boy and he grew up without a father figure, save for his uncles who came visiting once in a while. And when either of his uncles arrived, his mum was sure to recount to them all his “sins’ and makes sure he gets punished, even if it had been done months back. His mum saying “I will tell your uncle when he comes” had been enough to make him straighten up when being mischievous.

Mum had so much business to attend to and hence couldn’t afford him to attend day school, so she had shipped him off to boarding school so he could bond well with his mates and grow up as a man. He had been so excited to attend boarding school; he loved the fact that he will take some decisions about his life himself and not run to mummy every time. Thank God mum had taught him how to lay his bed, wash his clothes and some little house chores, he was so sure he wouldn’t have any problems.

He was put in a room with two other boys. George was in year five and the Ike in year two. They welcomed him and gave him a hint of the various school rules. He settled in nicely and seemed to be enjoying his new environment. Nothing could be better.

Whack!! Whack!! Whack!! Screaming from his sleep, Ladi woke up to whips on his buttocks.      “Shhh!!” whispered George. He suddenly looked different from George of daytime. There was ruthlessness about him. Standing behind him was Ike and another student Ladi couldn’t recognize.

Crying, Ladi asked why he was being beaten. “What did I do?” he moaned from pain. “This is a special treatment to new students here. I had a taste of it and so did everyone here; and you cannot tell anyone, else the head find you and deals with you.”

“We will do this every night for four weeks and then you become a “MAN”; no one must find out, else there will be dire consequences” warned George. Ladi nodded in fear and crept back into bed. The third guy sneaked out back into the darkness, to his own dormitory. The beatings went on for days. Sometimes, he would be pummeled with punches and gets occasional black eye and he covers up with lies to his classmates. He wasn’t sure who to talk to, because George made him believe they had male teachers in the know of all that happened and they were in support. He woke up most night drenched in sweat from fear of being tortured again. It was supposed to last for four weeks but George occasionally comes around to give him the “special treatment” till he graduated from school.

Ladi hated George but he hated the fact that he couldn’t confide in anyone else. Even when he went home for holidays, he would not be able to tell his mum. He had begged her once to change his school but because he couldn’t give a good reason, she had not seen the need to. He felt enraged and needed to vent his anger and one day had beaten his neighbour’s daughter to stupor. His mum had been so disappointed and was shocked at his behaviour and that had been his way of life. He gets beaten in school and comes back home during his vacation to vent his anger, and most times on girls, the seemingly helpless.

Ladi got up from his jail bed and knelt down, he felt drained. He had never linked his current tendencies to his boarding school days. He became filled with so much emotion he broke down and wept like a baby. “Oh God help me, save me from this beast I have become” cried Ladi.

 

***********

“Tell me Tom, how you came about this scar on your face, an accident?” asked Joyce as she lay her head on his chest on chilling afternoon. They had been going steady in their friendship and Joyce had never known a man so caring and selfless. Tomiwa smiled and looked down at her face “ I was trying to separate a fighting couple, my former neighbours actually, when the bottle the man held to stab the wife landed by mistake on my face. When the husband saw what had happened, he ran away and that ended the squabble. I had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment.”

Joyce further learnt that that last fight had been the end of the marriage of those neighbours of his. To think that she almost didn’t want to be his friends because of the same scar; her respect for him grew daily and she began to feel affection towards him. Something she couldn’t actually define.

She told him about Ladi and how he had landed in jail for his uncontrollable temper and Tom only felt pity for him. He told her to continue praying for Ladi as God can turn his heart towards Him.

They talked some more about other issues and both drifted off to sleep with the rain drops on the window pane, the only sound that was heard.

********

Ladi would be released in two days and he was so anxious to get out. He had learnt so much behind prison bars to set him straight for a lifetime. He had seen people who got imprisoned because they had no lawyer to represent them, people imprisoned for other peoples crimes, and the real hardened criminals. He also gave his life to Crist during one of the prison devotion time, organized by the prison chapel. He promised himself to live more responsibly. He knew no job was waiting for him upon his return and not sure anyone would want to employ a convict.

He had sent a text to Joyce with the warden’s phone that he would be released In two days and would love her to be around. On the said day, only his mum had showed up and he couldn’t hide his disappointment, he wept like a baby and his mother tried to console him. All kinds of thought ran through his mind, he only hoped his friends had not deserted him too.

Ladi knew that he had to adjust to being a free man, after four months in jail. He was grateful to be out and in two days had started searching for a job to do. He sent applications to various companies hoping that at least one would click.

Two weeks after his release, he called Joyce and asked to have a meeting with her, at least to know how things were with them. Michael had visited him a week after he was released and he was so pleased to see him. Ladi told him how he had written an apology letter to the woman he had assaulted and also to Lily oil and gas. He told Michael that the lady had even called him saying how sorry she was that he eventually landed in jail, that she had wanted to call off the case but her husband had persuaded her to allow the law take its course. Michael was happy to learn that Ladi had started his therapy sessions, while in prison to work on his anger and abusive tendencies. He hoped the therapy would work because he had never heard of anyone who got cured or healed from such…

Ladi and Joyce met at a popular restaurant. He didn’t know he missed her this much; he couldn’t hold himself and held her in a very tight embrace. He released her when she squirmed, he must have held on too tight. They sat down and ordered drinks, and started talking about the events of the past months.

“Why didn’t you come to see me often Joyce, did I repulse you that much?” asked Ladi, holding her hands. Joyce didn’t know how to answer the question.

“I am sorry Ladi, I guess I just couldn’t bear to see you in a place like that. I know what happened was an accident and that you were not a criminal that should be kept in jail” responded Joyce.

“I know being in jail isn’t anyone’s prayer, but I must say that the experience gave me a paradigm shift. I had time to reflect over my life and what’s important. I think I am not the same man who went into jail, I am reformed” responded Ladi, with a smile across his lips. He couldn’t describe the peace he felt as he said those words and Joyce could swear she saw a glow on his face.

They ordered food and ate it quietly. When Ladi finished his, he laid his hands on hers and looking into her eyes, asked Joyce if they could go back to how they were. He vowed that he had become a changed man who would never hurt a fly. Joyce wanted to believe him but just couldn’t, not after what she experienced with him and what he did at the office. She had to tell him she had started seeing Tomiwa and hoped he would find someone else as well. She told him how much of a gentle dove Tomiwa was. She told him to move on as well as she had put their relationship behind her. Ladi’s heart felt like it had been hit by a rock and smashed into pieces, but he acted calmly and wished her all the very best. He hoped they could still remain as friends though and Joyce replied “of course Ladi, you will always be my friend”.

 

CHAPTER THREE

Ladi’s mum spoke to friends and family and even her church members and finally Ladi was able to secure another well-paying job at real estate firm. He was happy to secure another employment that he gave it his very best. He worked so hard and got his confirmation just after three months instead of the stipulated six months by the company policy. His bosses liked him and after eight months, he got a promotion as assistant head of his unit. He rented another apartment in a posh area of Lagos as he had gotten uncomfortable living at his old apartment because of his past. All seemed to be going well for him, except for the snag of not having a woman in his life.

He knew he was ready to get married but how does one get married when there was no fiancée. He couldn’t bring himself to look at another woman; Joyce filled his thoughts constantly. He told himself he had to snap out of the situation as Joyce herself had moved on. He hadn’t even been able to convince himself that he had totally gotten control of his emotions and would not be battering a woman or anyone else for that matter anytime soon. He felt he needed Joyce in the equation, date her again and when provoked, if he would handle himself like a gentleman; but Joyce had moved on.

“How will I even know that the therapy session and prayers worked, if I have no one to use as my guinea pig” he mused. A certain lady in church had caught his fancy, very beautiful and well behaved, her name was Ruth Kadiri. He liked the fact that she served the Lord but he couldn’t go any further; as much as he felt he had been delivered from abusive tendencies, he was too scared to find out through another relationship.

He finally summoned courage to get close to Ruth. He was surprised that beneath the church sister look laid a charming witty nature. She was fun to be with and Ladi hoped they could take the friendship a notch higher. He had told the pastor about his intentions towards Ruth and that he intended to ask her to be his wife. Afterall, he had a good job and a posh apartment, an important criterion before contemplating bringing in a wife.

After four months of friendship, Ladi made up his mind it was Ruth he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He realized that being with her had reduced every thought of Joyce that still lingered. He had taken her on a dinner date and there proposed marriage to her, and Ruth gladly accepted. A week after the proposal, Ladi had taken Ruth to meet his mother. His mother was overjoyed when he took Ruth home to meet her. After some minutes, she excused Ladi into her room and asked him if he was sure he had overcome his abusive tendencies. He told her he was sure because he had not exhibited such anger and that he believed God had healed him completely. Ladi’s mum held him tight in her arms and prayed for him, a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving to God.

Ruth took Ladi home to her parents and they warmed up to him easily, his charming nature won them over. The wedding was set for another three months. They completed the compulsory intending couple’s classes. After the last class, which was a month to the wedding, Ruth had asked Ladi to drop her off at her cousins’ to give them the wedding invitation. When they turned into the street, Ladi silently prayed that he wouldn’t see Joyce anywhere as it was the same street she lived. A few minutes later, he knew there was no hiding place, as Ruth led him straight into Joyce’s parents’ apartment. It was a Saturday and almost everyone was home. Joyce opened the door at the sound of the doorbell and was shocked to find Ladi behind her little cousin.

She stepped back into the house and Ladi followed Ruth reluctantly, his feet felt like it had shackles on them as he couldn’t walk properly again. He stood as Ruth exchanged pleasantries with Joyce, Joyce’s’ parents came out into the living area when they heard voices.

“Oh, it’s you Ruth. Welcome, why is your fiancé not sitting down?” they asked. “You are welcome my son, we didn’t have much time to talk during the family introduction”.

“I am fine thank you” replied Ladi as he sat down. He had never met Joyce’s parents so they couldn’t have recognized him during the introduction of Ruth’s family to his, and Joyce had not been present then too. Ruth was chatting away with the rest of the family and was totally oblivious to the plight Ladi was in. Ladi tried to catch Joyce’s attention with his eye but she intentionally made sure they didn’t have eye contact up to two seconds. An hour later, it was time to go and Ruth and Ladi bid their farewells and left the premises. Ladi was quiet throughout the journey back to Ruth’s house; he wasn’t sure what Joyce would do. And he felt the best thing was to tell Ruth about his past. He told her he had a very important thing to tell her and it would be better if they went someplace quiet. They went to a park and sat under a tree.

Forty fives minute later, after Ladi had told her everything and not holding anything back, Ruth stared back at him, mouth opened. She couldn’t believe she was about walking down the aisle with a man who had a past she would never have known about if not for meeting Joyce earlier. “How could you have kept such information away from me Ladi, how?” asked Ruth, she couldn’t wrap her head around the deception.

“But I am a changed man now Ruth, I swear, I am not the man in the story I just told you” responded Ladi. He couldn’t bear it if Ruth doesn’t forgive him. “Please forgive me Ruth, I know I should have told you this story before we got serious but I was scared I would lose you if I did. Please Ruth, please forgive me” a sober Ladi begged.

“I need time to think about this Ladi, I have seen battered women in abusive relationships. Sis Joko and Sis Tolu in church were victims of such marriages. I saw what it did to them; I am not ready to mortgage my happiness on a gamble. I need time to think deeply Ladi” responded Ruth.

“I understand Ruth, but please don’t think for long, our wedding is just a month away. Please I assure you I am a changed man” Ladi replied. She got up to leave and he followed her to the car, they drove in silence till he got to her gate and the only word she said to him was “Don’t call me, I will get in touch” and she walked into her home.

Ladi had cried before, examination failure and even in prison but this separation from Ruth broke his heart. He could feel his heart torn into shreds. He had never needed anything so badly like he needed Ruth’s forgiveness and understanding. He cried till his eyes were sore and no strength left in him. He called his mother at 2am when he couldn’t sleep and explained what had happened. His mum pacified him and told him to try and get some sleep and would speak to Ruth in the morning on his behalf.

Ruth woke up the next morning to a call from Joyce that she would like to see her immediately after service and they agreed to meet at Shoprite. Ladi had not been able to go to church, his head hurt so much from crying and his heart still ached. Ruth made excuses for him in church when people asked.

After service, she met with Joyce as scheduled and Joyce stated the reason for the meeting and told her about herself and Ladi. Ruth told her she already knew and Joyce was shocked at her calmness.

“Don’t tell me you will go ahead with this wedding o, we do not want to come and carry your dead body from his house oo” said Joyce.

“I have not made up my mind cousin, but something tells me that Ladi has truly changed” responded Ruth.

“Over my dead body Ruth, I will not allow you ruin your life, I know Ladi and what he is capable of doing. I have heard of so many women killed innocently because they chose love over commonsense, I will tell our parents and make sure they talk some sense into your head” retorted Joyce.

Before they parted, Joyce told her she would also be getting married to Tomiwa in the next five months. She told her she hoped Ruth would find a better man soon that will make her a happy woman and to let go of Ladi and his charm.

The next few days were the hardest for Ruth as she was bombarded from her family with calls, texts and visitations on not going ahead with the wedding. On the other hand, Ladi’s mum begged her to give her son a chance, and that if anything were to ever go wrong, she would personally hand over Ladi to the authorities; but that she was sure that her son had truly changed for better. Ruth had begged her to allow her do the thinking and take her decision by herself. She had been praying to God ever since Ladi told her about his past; the many women her had hurt and tortured, how he didn’t even know what he was doing until after the act. Her heart was deeply troubled but two weeks before the wedding, she knew what she must do. She had to let everyone know what she had decided. She knew she would hurt hearts in the process but it was her life afterall.

One evening she told her dad she wanted to speak with him in private and they went outside in the compound to have a little chit chat. She knelt down and told her dad that she was willing to go ahead with the marriage; she told him how people change and how he had taught her not to write anyone off as no one was irredeemable. She didn’t know how it happened of what she said right, but she heard her dad say “Yes” to her request. I t had taken less than an hour to convince him and he told her he would convince her mother.

“But dear, don’t run coming back to this house if anything goes wrong” he told her and quietly got up and went inside the house.

*************************************

The turnout for the wedding was very impressive, Micheal had been his best man and Joyce refused to be the best lady, so Ruth had asked a colleague to stand in. The weather had been very favorable as well. They had their honey moon at Dubai and Spain.

EPILOGUE

It’s been three years after the wedding. Ruth got a call from Joyce, she wanted them to meet someplace for a discussion. She had not visited them since the wedding because she had not approved.

Over drinks and snacks, the discussion drifted into marriage and in-law issues.

“Are you sure he had never laid his hands on you?” quizzed Joyce as she pulled her chair close to her cousins’.

“I am sure cousin, I do not think it’s the same Ladi you had dated because this man I am married to; is the world’s best husband. He cares for me so much and above all, he is as gentle as a dove”. Replied Ruth, as she rubbed her hands on her protruding belly.

“I know I took a gamble when I agreed to marry Ladi; I was scared to tell the truth, but I had peace of mind concerning him. The first few months of our marriage, I was always waiting for him to pounce on me and show me the beast in him, but I have been waiting ever since and till date, I am yet to see that side of him” Ruth said smiling. “Let’s just say that no one is truly irredeemable, my husband is a testament to that fact”.

Joyce cold not hide her surprise, she was happy Ruth had followed her heart and not listened to outside influence.

 

THE END

Disclaimer: This is purely a work of fiction and the writer does not encourage anyone to get married to an abusive partner.