My life at the commissioner’s house was of mixed occurance. Whenever the commissioner was home, i and other girls do not go through much trouble but during his absence, his wife treats us just the way she wants. She never seize to make us realise that we were just slaves. With time i got use to the double life and gradually, i stopped to weep for my home.
I stayed with my boss for five good years and during the second year, i got to know that my boss wife once had a child. I found out that she was once kindheart some years back but she became cruel and heartless when she lost her only child. According to Hannah, the other girl that told me her story, she blamed the whole world for her loss and she vowed never to show mercy to any human because no matter how good you are to human, they will cause you pain at the end. At a point, i felt sorry for my boss wife but later i found out she was just pathetic, blaming others for her misfortune.
On the Christmas eve of my fifth year with the commissioner, i was on my way to the kitchen when i met the commissioner lost in thought in his library. Due to the love he showered on me, i felt the urge to go and find out what was troubling him. I went to him and called out the commissioner’s name but he did not respond, i had to tap him on the shoulder before he realised someone was with him. I apologized for meddling in his affairs and asked him what his problem was.
As if the commissioner was waiting to share his trouble with someone, he sighed and asked me to have my sit. The commissioner then closed the door to the library and turnoff the light before taking a sit. He cleared his throat and said ” am gratful for your concern mary, surly you are my daughter because you behave like one. Am sure you’ve heard my story before but i will love to tell you myself. I once had a child, a son. I lost him to the cold hands of death after he finished college. He had a plane crash on his way home from abroad. My wife blamed the world for her miss fortune by so doing she shut everybody out of her life, including myself. I could not maltreat her because i love my wife. We tried to have another child but we failed on different occasions and this is the reason for my trouble. Since my wife could no longer give birth, she appointed herself as my guard. She sends spys to know what i am up to and if i am cheating on her, all of this makes my life complicated. After many years of fruitfulless attempt, i gave up on having a child with my wife and decided to have a mistress. To cut the long story short, my mistress is pregnant and about to give birth but ever since she got pregnant, i live my everyday life in fear. I know my wife will soon find out and go after my mistress and her child but i want to do everything i can to protect them. My mistress always plead with me to protect her but i am lost on what to do” The commissioner ended his speech and i felt sorry for him. I thought for a while and i came up with the idea of taking care of his child in a far away land immediately, the baby is born. I made a promise to my boss never to betray him and i made him believe i will carter for his child just like mine own. The commissioner believed in me and he agreed with my suggestion.
On the first of January, the child was born and i was informed, i rejoiced with the commissioner and his mistress (Ada). The secret was kept from the public and i was made the intermediary between the commissioner and his mistress. After the third month of the birth of my boss’s illegitimate son, an incidence occurred.
My boss sent me to give some items to his mistress, i was on my way to her apartment when i noticed i was been followed. As the sharp girl i was i tried to hide but i was caught. The spy was a professional. Fortunately for me,he was the same police man that helped me some years back. He took me to a quiet corner and told me how he had been following me for a while, he told me he was appointed by our boss wife but he lost the courage to hurt my boss and i. He told me to inform my boss and we should act fast because my boss wife will soon get tired of his excuses and she might send someone else after us. I thanked him profusely and ran the errand i was asked to.
Immediately i got back, I informed my boss of my encounter and we decided it was time for me to escape with the child for safety.
Miss. Ada painfully let go of her child but it was a necessary sacrifice for security. She made me promise with my late brother soul that i would treat her child like mine and i did. A week later my boss told me an accommodation was ready for me in another part of Kogi state and i flew with his child that night with the help of a trusted police officer. That was how i left my hometown for another neighbourhood for the safety of my boss’s child.”
I moved to Idoma in Ofu LGA of kogi state. My boss already got a two bed room apartment for me. Apart from myself and my boss, miss Ada and the police man knew about my destination. Though i wished our plan was still a secret but deep within me, i knew it was an open secret. A secret is something only one person knows about, once two to three people are involved, it is as good as the whole world knowing about the so called secret.
I kept to myself throughout the first week, my boss already made provision for me and the baby. It was not easy to train a baby especially an infant. The baby would cry all night for food, whenever i offer the provided food, the baby would refuse, until i forcefully feed the baby. I got so close to this child that sometimes i would start to cry whenever the child cries. I some how had the taste of motherhood.
On the last day of my first week of arriving Idoma, i suddenly heard a knock on my door one sunday afternoon. Since i had no friend, i knew it was either my boss or his messenger. I slowly wrapped the baby and opened the door. It was the commissioner himself. He entered the house and we exchanged pleasantries before i asked if he would love to have anything to eat or drink. He coldly rejected my offer and that was when i noticed his sad mood. I moved closer to my boss and asked what the problem was, he only told me to hand him the baby. After giving the baby to him, he looked at me and said
“Mary, i cannot thank you enough for your sacrifice for this little one. My thought was that when i have a child again, i will be the happiest man on earth but i was totally wrong. I now sleep and wakeup everyday with the guilt of causing the death of an innocent woman who committed no crime, apart from giving me a child”
At the mention of death, i had to interupt my boss. “Who died” i shouted. He shook his head slowly and said
“Ada, Mary, Ada is dead. The night you escaped, she was killed cold blooded in her apartment. If only you did not leave with the child, i know the baby will also be dead by now”
I stood up from the chair and sat on the bare floor, i could not stop the tears flowing down my cheek. Miss. Ada was nice and kindhearted.
“If only i could die in her place and leave her to take care of her child” i thought. I slowly walked to my bag and brought out the chain gift she gave to me. I gave it to my boss in tears and he said
“This belong to you, keep it with you till we will meet again, never let go of it”
he wore the chain round my neck and i treasured it like my life. That night my boss informed me that i would have to leave my current destination because it was not safe enough. He told me he already arranged an apartment for me in Igala and i should be more secured there. I agreed with my boss’s plan and started to pack my bag that afternoon . My boss left late in the evening and i left the following morning. It was a world of no safety for me but i was determined to do anything for Ada’s child and my boss.
I spent a month in Igala, i already made friends and i portrayed myself as a single mother. I communicated regularly with my boss through the mobile phone he got me. My baby was getting use to me and i was beginning to enjoy my life. All of this changed on a sunday afternoon.
I got a phone call from my boss “Mary, i can’t really talk now, do not ask me questions just listen to me. My wife want to ruin my political carrier with that child. One way or the other she linked your disappearance with the child and a search team has been sent after you. I got this information from one of her trusted officers. Mary you need to fly, do not run! Fly away from Kogi, you need to fly for your life and the baby’s. Go as far as possible, to a far away land. Keep this phone, i will keep intouch” my boss said. Before i could say a word, the line went dead. I quickly started to pack.
I was still packing when i got a new message. “I will be selfish if i say you should run with the baby cos i know you cannot make it out of this alive with the child. Put the baby in an orphanage home or anywhere you can. If fate allow we shall see him again.(A worthless father)” that was the content of the message from my boss. I read over again before deciding to pack our bags. I got the needful and left for the car pack. I had fifty thousand naira with me, i thought of a place i could get a living with that amount and the first place that came to my mind was “Ilorin”
I took the bus going to kwara state with my baby. Immediately the bus kicked off, i brought out my phone and read the message my boss sent again before removing my sim card. I broke the card into pieces and threw it through the window. “Keeping in contact with my boss will only complicate things. I can and I will make it out alive with my baby” I thought.
Alot of thought ran through my mind during the ride. At a point i thought i should just give up the child and return to my parent, but when i looked at the baby sleeping peacefully in my arm, i waved the thought away. I knew life was not going to be easy, i knew catering for my needs and the child’s would be just too much for me but i was determined never to give up. I consoled myself with the thought that “one day, this child will become great”.
Since i knew little about ilorin, i decided to ask the passangers for help. A middle age man was sitting close to me. I greeted him and asked about Ilorin from him. He was jovial and he told me alot about the town. According to him he reside in an area call “Ipata”. I confided in the man and told him i had nobody in ilorin and i would be gratful if he could help me secure an apartment. The man, whose name was “Yemi” told me he could get me an accommodation and if i do not have enough at hand, he said i could stay with him for awhile.
According to Yemi, he was living alone. At first i hesitated, due to the fact that he was a stranger but when i thought about how lost i would be in a town i do not have relatives or friends, i decided to take the risk and stay with yemi. Yemi was friendly throughout the ride, he would carry the baby and ask me to rest for awhile. I was gratful to God for sending a helper to me.
We got to Ilorin at 7:00pm, Yemi stopped a taxi and we left for his apartment. It was dark when we got there and there was no power, i could not properly check out his residence.
The following day i noticed Yemi’s house was close to a popular market and the area was a ghetto. With a baby in my hand, i could not bare to live in a ghetto but i had to manage for a period of time in order to get familiar with the town.
Yemi gradually changed during my second week with him, i noticed he was not who he claimed to be. He drinks heavily, smokes and relate with dangerous gangs. I decided it was time to leave and search for a better place. I got close to some people around the area and i got to know places where i could get affordable houses. With the help of a neighbour, i got a room for twenty five thousand naira per year at Gaa-Akanbi.
With my little belongings, i moved out of yemi’s apartment after spending a month with him.
Life as a single mother without a means of livelihood was so difficult. I faced alot of challenges, from men and from the world generally. I had an empty apartment without a chair to boast for. I took up different kinds of job, labourer, plate washing, fetching of water, sweeping, cleaning and many others. At a point I almost turn back but whenever i look at the child in my hand, i got encouraged. I was hardworking and was known for it in my area.
Through a merciful woman, i got employed as a cleaner in a hospital, that was how i became a salary earner and i started to have a source of living. I had lots of advances from men but i never had a relationship because i believed, nobody could treat my child like his and one day, i would have to choose between my biological child and miss. Ada’s child. I gave up the dream of getting married and having children for my boss’s son. Till date i have no regret because that child is everything i ever wanted. I only hope this child will not be mad at me for keeping this important secret for twenty years, i did it all for him and i do not want him to feel like a nobody. This is my story son.
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I moved closer to my mom and hugged her before saying “Where is this child mom?”.
My mom smiled and said “You are that child son. You are the child i escaped with”.
At the revelation of the truth
I felt my world becoming dark, i felt like a leftover, i felt like a b—–d, i wished i could see the worthless man that abandoned his son for twenty year, i wished i could spit into his face. Lots of feelings ran through my vein but i never felt anger toward the beautiful woman that went through a whole lot for me. I moved close to my mom and enveloped her in a hug. I thanked my mom profusely and promised her a better life. My mom prayed for me and gave me the chain my biological mom gave to her years back. She wore it around my neck but i removed it and gave it back.
“You are the only one i need” I said to my mom as i returned the chain, she collected it from me and prayed for me in tears. There and then, i decided i won’t stop at nothing to make it in life and give my mom the luxury she deserve.
Kelvin stopped to talk and i could not help but feel sorry for the pains he must have went through with his mom. I knew kelvin was not done yet so i cleared my throat to get his attention and said “you are yet to tell me how you met your dad”.
He smiled and said “I know you won’t give up Miss Journalist”
To be continued..