Adele had posted her leg in cast in the WhatsApp group her children created years ago so they could be in touch with her. They named the group, Mum’s Room. In there, they talked about everything, from a kiss to academic challenge. They laughed, cried, fought, aligned and realigned. Above all, they discussed family issues…and the one they were discussing now was a vexing one. Vexing enough for them to want to talk on the phone!
Her first son had initiated a conference call after two days of convo in the group. Her children had grown! They were no longer the malleable kids she’d tended from birth. They had grown into adults with minds of their own. Anger was too soft a word to describe their feelings right now.
“Mom, I really feel for you. How do you go through your day? Do you find reasons to laugh at all? You need to find something that makes you happy and engage in it. Dad is bad news for you and us. We don’t want you slipping into depression,” Junior said. “My thoughts exactly. Mom needs serious distraction to keep her mind off the horror that dad has become. I know what mental woe I’m going through right now on account of mom’s ordeal. You can imagine what mom is going through. I wish you could come over and spend time with us,” her only daughter said.
“I’m going to Nigeria. I’m getting my ticket. Dad needs to be taught a lesson. He obviously didn’t learn how to treat a lady. I’m going to teach him just that,” Baby Boy, as they call their last born, said. Baby Boy, or BB for short, wasn’t really the talkative type. He was the one that took after Adele. He would speak only when it was important. He could be in a noisy, crowded room and be reading his textbook with understanding.
He had a way of shutting out people and living in his own world. “No BB, you can’t go yet. You have to write your final exams. I’ll work out something. But mom has to come and spend her vacation…” Junior said. Adele smiled. Her children had that effect on her. No matter what she was feeling at any moment, her children had a way of swaying her mood to the positives. She was going to Dubai the following evening. She was going to spend five days with the man that had so much love for her. “I’m actually going to the UAE tomorrow evening,” she told them.
“We ain’t talking about business travel mum. We want a vacation for you. You need to go on vacation and relax your mind. You deserve it mum. You’ve been working all your life in order to take care of our needs. Now we’re grown up and can take care of ourselves and you,” Junior said.
“Yes mum. Junior is right. It’s time for you to relax and allow us take over. We’ve saved enough for BB’s Masters degree tuition fee and other expenses. We didn’t want to tell you all this while. We wanted to spring a surprise when it is time for his school fees but I don’t think we should allow you continue to work your fingers stiff and worry yourself to death over his school fees,” her daughter said.
“I’m going on a five-day vacation. It isn’t a working trip. I’m going to explore the beauty of the UAE without a worry, my children,” she told them. They squealed in glee. But Adele mulled over what her children just told her. She had been working to make everybody comfortable all her married life. But was she happy? Not really. Only her children and her job gave her joy and the reason to live…until she met him.
Yes, until she met him. She smiled. She really didn’t have to work so hard again. She had some investments here and there and properties she could live on. Who said one had to work until the back was bent and the knees creaky before one could retire? She smiled. It was time to start thinking about retirement. She smiled again, for she was happy, really happy.
After the conversation with her now elated children, she threw a pair of Jeans and a top into her hand luggage. Those were the only items of clothing she would travel with. She would shop to her heart’s desire. For the first time, she would enter Bolan’s kitchen to prepare his dinner.
She smiled again. Bolan was due back home in less than three hours. She had enough time to prepare his favourite… “The most suitable is not that person who shares your every taste, but the one who can negotiate differences intelligently; that person who is good at disagreeing to agree – the one with the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity.” Adele laughed out loud: that was Bolan’s belief. She couldn’t agree more, for according to him, compatibility is an achievement of love and mustn’t be its precondition. She walked into the kitchen…
Jay took the stairs two at a time as he raced downstairs. What he saw in there was indescribable. He heard footsteps behind him and looked back: his PA was hot on his heels. He jumped the few remaining steps and crashed on the ground, panting. “Sir what is it? What’s the problem sir?” She asked, panting. “Nothing Meg. Please get me my car keys from my table,” Jay said, trying to catch his breath. Meg looked back fearfully and turned to her boss who was trying to pick himself off the floor.
“Sir, if I know why you raced out of your office, I’d know whether I’d go back in there,” she said. “Nothing wrong. I need to get somewhere fast,” he said. Maybe there was really nothing to worry about. Maybe his mind made up whatever he thought he saw. Maybe…just maybe. Meg looked at him. She had her doubts though. She had never seen him like this before. She thought she saw fear in his eyes. She sighed. “You need help?” She asked him. He seemed to be having difficulty getting to his feet. “No, thanks,” he lied. His ankle ached.
“Okay sir,” she said and turned to the staircase. She took some steps and turned back. “Em…er…er…em…madam is in your office sir,” she said hesitantly. “Madam? Which madam?” He asked. It was a foolish question but he had asked it anyway. Her response was not foolish though. “Madam Debola sir. She told us all to address her as madam,” Meg said. “She’s in there. She won’t stop you,” he said. As she climbed the staircase, he winced as his ankle ached. Meg met him outside when she came down with the car key.
“Let me know when she leaves here,” he told her as he entered the car and drove out. He might need a painkiller for his aching ankle, he thought. From his side mirror, he noticed an unkempt man leaning on the wall, near his gate. He reversed and honked the horn. The security man came out. “What does that man want? Why is he there?” He asked the security man. “Sir, he’s been there for some time. He’s not normal. He won’t leave that place. I chased him away from the gate and he went there sir,” the security man said.
“Keep an eye on him. Robbers could feign madness. Be on your guard,” Jay told him and drove off. ***** When the timid knock came on the door, Debola quickly sat on the visitor’s chair. She knew it wouldn’t be Jay for he wouldn’t knock. She watched and said nothing as Meg picked Jay’s car keys from his table. She still didn’t understand what happened a while back. The wise ones had assured her that once she used the black soap to bath and applied the eyeliner, Jay would be following her like ant on the trail of nectar.
She did just that and it seemed to have a contrary effect on Jay. She saw what was akin to fear and repulsion in his eyes! Did she misuse the charms? She was sure she didn’t. She bathed very well with the black soap and made the necessary prayers while applying the eyeliner before alighting from the cab! Tears filled her eyes. She picked her phone and dialed aunty prophetess’ number. “Aunty, that charm repulsed Jay and he left me in his office and ran away. It didn’t charm him,” she wailed.
“No. The wise ones don’t fail. Maybe you misused them,” the aunty said. “I didn’t misuse it,” Debola insisted. “Where are you?” The prophetess asked. “I’m still in his office ,” Debola said. “Where is he?” The prophetess asked. “He left me here and went out,” she said.
They agreed that she should go back home first. Immediately Debola stepped outside the gate, the unkempt man slouched on the fence looked up, smiled and straightened up. Debola looked to her left and made eye contact with him and his face spread into a full smile.
He beckoned on her to come close to him. Debola moved some steps away. He moved sideways like one dancing on a slide. She noticed the madman coming towards her and trotted away. The madman smiled and increased his pace. Debola kept moving and the madman kept following her. Worried, she dialed prophetess’ number on her phone. “Aunty, I don’t know what is happening here. A madman has been following me since I came out of Jay’s compound,” she said. “Haaaaaaaaaaa madman ke? Where did you see him?”
The prophetess screamed. “I saw him for the first time when I alighted from a cab in front of Jay’s office,” Debola said. “Have you used the eyeliner then?” The prophetess asked. “Yes. I used it shortly before getting to Jay’s office,” she said. “Haaaaaaaaa! Debola!!!
You have killed me o. Jay was supposed to be the first man to see your eyes after applying the charm on your eyes! Look, find your way out of that place immediately. You’ve charmed a madman,” the prophetess screamed. Fear galvanised Debola into action.
All the while she was talking on the phone, the madman held a stick to his ear, mimicking her. Debola looked around her. It was a very quiet street. Most of the gates to the houses there were locked. Suddenly, she broke into a run and the madman, smiling, ran after her…
Let’s continue this journey on Sunday!
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