Distance Episode 14 Final

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“Who is that that wants to break my
gate, ehn?” Chief Fasola asked in an
irritated voice, before yelling to the
gateman to go and see who was at the
gate.
The gateman was in the backyard and
Tobi beat him to the gate. As soon as
she stepped outside, she saw
Dimeji grinning.
He cleared his throat and announced:
“Tobi, I am not the father. You … We
were right. Tomiwa is not my son.”
He was so excited that he picked her
up and planted a kiss on her cheek.
Tobi was happy too, but was less
exuberant than Dimeji.
“What’s the matter now? Aren’t you
happy for me?”
“I am. You’re lucky you know. In
some countries, after this test, you
would have been stuck paying child
support till that child turned 18.”
“I know. We are lucky,” said
Dimeji good naturedly.
“I feel bad for him … Tomiwa, I mean.
I only spent a couple of hours with
him. He deserves a loving father, and
now, who knows who his father is.”
“Tobi, his mother knows who the
biological father is. You have to let
her decide whether Tomiwa will meet
his real father or not. It is not our
place to decide. We just dodged a
major bullet. We should be grateful.”
“I guess you’re right,” said Tobi,
allowing herself to breathe easy at
last.
That day marked a turning point in
their relationship. It was like the
clock had been reset and they had a
chance to start all over again. Dimeji
was not taking anything for granted.
He vowed to be open and honest with
Tobi from that day forwards. He kept
his word.
* * *
Three months later, Tobi moved back
to Lagos. Although she had eventually
landed the job at the hotel as a front
desk clerk, she worked there for just
one month.
A multi-national company had
interviewed her in Lagos before
moving to Asaba, and they had called
her back for another series of
interviews. This time around, she was
successful and got an entry level
position as a financial analyst.
She and Dimeji began to nurture what
had now evolved into a long-distance
relationship, as he was now fully
involved with the management of the
Asaba branch of his company. He
tried to visit her whenever he was in
Lagos, but Tobi complained that she
did not see him often enough.
In the months since she moved back to
Lagos, Tobi mused at the oddities of
life. She had left Lagos to go to Asaba
to find a job, but had found love
instead.
Now, she was back in Lagos working
at the job of her dreams, the one she
had hoped and prayed for. But the
man she had given her heart to was in
Asaba. Why couldn’t she have it all?
A new year came along, and before
she knew it, it was Valentine’s Day. It
struck Tobi that this was her and
Dimeji’s first Valentine’s Day together
since they started dating. The irony
was that they were not together. Not
physically.
Dimeji was in Asaba, and in fact had
been unreachable that entire day.
Apart from the typical early morning
phone call, she had not heard from
him and missed him terribly. Seeing
lovers walk hand in hand almost
everywhere she turned did not help
either. She even saw a bus conductor
giving a Val’s day gift of Digestive
biscuits to a pineapple seller he was
apparently dating.
But for Tobi, there were no chocolates,
no flowers, not even plantain chips. It
was just a very dry, uneventful day.
Feeling very sorry for herself, she
came back home from work, prepared
to just eat and go to bed. There was
no one at home when she arrived.
Her parents had gone to attend a
special church program, and her sister
had not returned from the workplace
where she was doing her industrial
attachment.
As she turned on the TV, she caught
the news headlines for the evening
news.
ABA RAPIST CAUGHT IN
ASABA
The police in Asaba had finally caught
the Aba rapist while he was trying to
molest a prostitute. The woman had
fought back and severely wounded
him with the heel of her shoe. That
blow to his head, although not fatal,
was powerful enough to knock him
unconscious.
When the police arrived, and took
down his details, they pieced together
the missing parts of the puzzle, and
positively identified him as the Aba
rapist. The news announcer said his
name, and Tobi was glad it was not
the name of anyone she knew. She
breathed a sigh of relief.
“Well, that’s the end of that,” she said
as she shuffled to the kitchen to
prepare dinner.
Ring. Ring.
The doorbell rang with a decisive
urgency, and Tobi wondered who
could possibly be at the door. She
went to answer and was surprised to
see a uniformed man standing there.
It was a DHL delivery man with a
brown box. Her name was written in
bold letters on it. Who on earth would
send her a package? One name came
to mind, but she still had to confirm.
She carried the box back to her room,
and opened it. Inside the box was a
shiny gold box with red ribbons. As
she cut the ribbons excitedly, she
wondered what was inside the box.
She did not have to wait long.
As soon as she lifted the cover of the
box, her eyes fell on a sealed red
envelope. It was sitting on top of
three smaller boxes. She saw the
handwriting on the envelope and
confirmed her suspicions. It was from
Diemji.
The three boxes, as Tobi expected,
contained assorted chocolates. These
boxes were the typical red, heart-
shaped boxes that seemed to surface
all over Lagos around February every
year. There was also a gold necklace
in a blue, velvet-lined box.
To Tobi, the card was the single most
important item in that package. Her
name was handwritten in bold letters
on the envelope.
When she opened the pink card, the
only words that were written in it by
hand, underneath the printed words
that came standard with the card,
were these words:
Forever in my heart,
Love Dimeji.
P.S. Read the letter.
There was a short letter written in
blue ink on yellow lined paper that
looked like it had been ripped from a
notepad. In Dimeji’s chicken scratch
handwriting, Tobi made out the
following words:
I know that by now you must have
received the gifts. I hope you like
them. I am sure you thought I had
forgotten about today. How could I? A
year ago, I came to Asaba for many
different reasons, but God blessed me
with the best gift ever: you. My Tobi.
I’m not one to write long letters, but I
am excited about what the future holds
in store for us.
This is the first and last letter I am
writing to you that I will sign,
With Love,
From Asaba
P.S. Come downstairs for your last
surprise.
Tobi was so happy, she left her
parents three bedroom flat and ran
downstairs, almost colliding with a
neighbor ascending the stairs.
At the bottom of the stairs, was
Dimeji in a gray suit and red silk tie,
holding a bunch of roses in one hand.
He scooped Tobi in his arms and they
shared a passionate kiss, completely
ignoring another neighbor who
walked past grumbling:
“Dis pikin dem, dem don spoil finish!”
“So, this was your surprise,” said Tobi,
smiling at Dimeji.
“Not really. I moved back to Lagos.
That’s the surprise.”
Tobi was overjoyed. Dimeji told her to
save the celebration for later. He
wanted her to go and change
immediately. He was taking her out
for dinner.
She ran upstairs while he waited in
the car. She got dressed in less than
thirty minutes, and left the letter and
gifts on her bed. Then, she and
Dimeji left together.
Less than an hour later, her sister
arrived, followed closely by her
parents, returning from their church
program. She went to the room she
shared with Tobi.
As she was about to change from her
work clothes, she noticed the yellow
paper on Tobi’s bed, amidst all the
other goodies. She picked up the letter
and read it.
Then, she rushed out of her room
calling for her mother.
“Mama! Mama! When is the next bus
going to Asaba? I must go and meet
my own Prince Charming in Asaba!”
– THE END