” Mom is everybody alright? Was anyone hurt?” I asked worriedly.” I just got a call from the D.P.0 on my way home.”
” We are all fine. Thanks to the police women you had watching the house. They followed me when i left here and they called for back up when they noticed someone else was trailing after us. Kelly was with your grandma, she’s fine”. Mom replied.
” The D.P.O informed me.” I said, ” Kelly!”
I was relieved to see Kelly bouncing down the stairs. After a long day at the hospital where Chief was taken, it was a blessing to see my daughter hale and hearty once again.She jumped into my arms happily. Mom asked her to go back to her room and she relunctantly went back upstairs. While my mom was narrating the events of the day to me, i noticed my grandmother was perched on the sofa, her legs propped up on a stool. Her face was covered with a green facial mask. Her eyes were closed in sleep and she was snoring lightly. I drew my mom aside in anger.
” What is she doing here?” I asked.
” She was scared of being alone after what happened” Mom explained.
I burst into laughter. ” Tell me that’s not true. Do monsters get scared too? I don’t want her here”
” Oluwatosin Williams i can hear you!” She grumbled.” I am very much awake so don’t even think of gossiping about me.For your information, i am not going anywhere until i am sure that maniac you all brought into my life is securely behind bars ”
I sighed in exasperation. ” Where is Tomi?”
” She had a little cut but she has been treated. She’s sleeping now, where is Kelvin? ”
” A cut? is she alright? Kelvin’s at the hospital”
” Yes. She’s alright. Why is Kelvin at the hospital? What happened? ”
” Chief was shot” I replied.
” Oh My God! Was it that same boy that attacked us?”
” No. It was Maggie”
” Maggie?……wait……..same sweet Maggie? how?” My mother asked in surprise.
” It is a long story, mom but she is in the police custody now ” I said tiredly, ” I will check in on Tomi before going to bed”
” How about your dinner?” She asked.
” I am fine mom”
Linda and i watched in silence as Onyinye’ s corpse was zipped up and taken out of the room. We both went back upstairs. Linda followed me into my room and we both sat on my bed in silence.
” I knew” She said.
” You knew what?” I asked quietly.
” I knew she was your mother. I thought it would be better if you heard it from her. I didn’t know this would be the way you will find out. I am sorry”
” Did dad know too?”
” I don’t know but he didn’t try to poison you and he didn’t murder my mom” She said, ” We talked before…..before he died. Dad loves us, Vicky”
” I want to be alone please” I said.
” No you don’t have to. We are all we both have now, don’t shut me out please ”
” Please Linda, go”
She stood up and walked out silently. I pulled my knees up to my chest, allowing the tears to flow freely. I no longer knew who i was. My mother had been the sweet woman who i had always fondly thought of as an aunt. It was all a lie, none of that sweetness existed. I have lived my whole life thinking i belonged but now i know it was all a big lie. How many times have i walked by my father without knowing he was my sire? how many times have i been in the same room with my half_ siblings without us saying a word to each other. My world had been crumpled with that single revelation.
” I am your mother…..” She had said, while clutching a gun in her hands.
I had no family now and no home. I didn’t even know who i was anymore. Onyinye was my supposed aunt and we had barely talked in the past. Who was Auntie Maggie? where did she come from? where were her family? did i have other siblings and relatives out there? will i be shunned by society for my mother’s sins? tongues would wag, whispers would trail after me, will Chief die? if he dies will his family blame me too for his death? will they even open their door to me? those were the questions that plagued me, questions i had no answer to.
I waited until i was sure the stars would be in the sky. I folded some clothes into a box, took my passports and car key. The blood had been mopped and the room disinfected. One would hardly know someone had been shot and killed in that same living room. I gently shook awake Musa who was sleeping. He opened the gate for me and i drove out into the darkness. Putting a tight lid on the past twenty years of my life. To me, that chapter of my life had been closed.
My mother and i were sitting quietly in the hospital reception. We had been there all day, waiting for news of my father. My mother had been so quiet and lost in thought. I wondered briefly if she was having a mental breakdown because she took the news of her husband being shot and fathering a child with another woman so quietly.
” I knew she was his child” My mom said quietly, sipping coffee from a paper cup.
” You knew Mom?” I asked, ” How long have you known?”
“I have always suspected. Have you taken a look at your younger sister and Victoria? they look so much alike. For many years, i pushed it out of my mind. I tried to avoid seeing her because it was a remainder that my husband cheated on me with a minor. Maggie must have been seventeen or eighteen when she had that girl. One day out of the blues, Jenny said she was pregnant. There was no baby showers, no pictures of her while she was pregnant. She avoided everyone and shut herself in her room. Maggie also disappeared after some months and by the time they both resurfaced there was a baby. I knew for sure Victoria was his child when he insisted you marry Linda. At first i thought it was because of her father’ s wealth but i realized it was a ploy to keep his love child in sight.”
I sighed heavily” You also encouraged me mom. Why did you even after knowing all this?”
” It was for my own selfish reasons. I thought it would be better if your father keep Victoria close through your marriage to Linda. Rather than him coming out to say it and openly accepting her. I was afraid of the shame, gossip and scandal. How’s the poor girl doing?”
” Honestly mom i don’t know. Tosin called me, he said his mom and Tomi were attacked. He assured me they were alright. He put Tomi on, she also assured me they were alright. The police got there on time and rescued them. The attacker is also behind bars now and he has confessed to being behind the attack in the church”
Mom sighed wearily ” Thank God they are alright. What should i do, Kelvin? about Victoria “.
” What you should have done a long time, mom. Seek Victoria out” I said, ” She’s the innocent one caught in the middle of this. She’s one of us now, she has to know we accept her and we have her back”.
A nurse walked up to us. We got up, hoping for a good news.
” Mrs. Adediwura your husband is out of the theater now and he’s also out of danger now ”
My mom hugged me crying.
” Thank you. Can we see him now ?” I asked.
” I am sorry you can’t see him for now but he’s alright” She assured us,before walking away.
Death has proven that the ultimate in life is death. It is so unpredictable, it has no respect for anyone irrespective of your fame and wealth. Someone you see alive now, may be dead the next second. Life is too short to keep running away from your problems. I was happy Tomi was alive and i hoped she was using her second chance with Kelvin well. Some of us may not get a second Chance, some of us may not even get to hold the ones we loved in our arms again. For the first time in my life, I was in love. I was in love with someone who was in love with another. I have been running away, trying to hide my pains and bury myself in the arms of different women every night. In the end, i knew none of them could ever quench that fire in me, none could ever make my heart beat faster.
None could make me feel alive just with a smile, none would ever take Victoria’ s place in my life no matter how i try to deny it. I was ready to stop running, i was ready to shoulder her tears and pain. I was ready to take away her fears, i was ready to be her shield come rain, come shine. Even if she was on the arms of another man, i was ready to wait and help protect her until the dark clouds drifts away. I would take my joy in her joy, my contendment in her happiness, and my happiness in her smiles. True love is when you are ready to let her be with another man because her happiness means more to you than yours.
I would no longer run, i would wait, hold her hand when she was about to slip, offer her my shoulder when she wanted to let it all out. A knock sounded on my door, my eyes drifted to my wall clock. It was 11: 45 pm. I went to the door and slidded it open. There she stood, a box beside her, her eyes were darker, there was an unshed tears in them.
” Dantata” She said, ” Please take me along with you. Take me to Ghana”
Life it self is also very unpredictable, i thought, picking up her box.
To be continued..