© Nissi Adeola
Mr. Badmus drove like a mad man back to his house and two times, almost collided with two vehicles because of his mental distraction. He got home and sluggishly dragged himself into the house but once he got inside the sitting room, he sat down on the floor with his back against the door and put his hands on his head. “Ah… I am finished”, he yelled, “Belina has killed me… she has finished finished me, she ruined all my plans, and… and where… ah, where would I get the one hundred and eighty thousand Naira from today, ehn?” he asked himself.
He remembered how Belina’s mother, Linda, with the circumstances surrounding the time and cursed that day with all his might. Since she came into his life, everything had gone from good to bad and from bad to worse and now that he had a chance to re-write his destiny, that witch has snatched that chance away from him giving him more problem than he ever bargained for.
He had been twenty eight years old when he met Linda. He didn’t know the love of a mother because she was always on business trips not giving a damn about whatever happened to him but as busy as his father was he still had time for him. He had been on a journey with his father one day when he was twenty five when they got involved in an accident. The accident did not claim his life but it claimed his father’s life. When he became twenty eight, he went to the doctor because he had slept with several girls without protection and did not record any of them coming to him with the ‘I am pregnant’ story. a test had been carried out which brought his worst nightmare to light. The doctor had looked him straight in the face and said, “…I am sorry, you can never be able to impregnate a woman”.
He had been like a fallen tree for months. The friends he had told, instead of pacifying and consoling him had mocked him and helped him spread the news. He had been stinkingly rich then so one day when he was checking out of a hotel that was popularly known in the island to be a ‘hotel for the rich’ after a business trip, he saw a very very beautiful young lady crying on the staircase. He was instantly drawn to her, so he approached her and asked her what the matter was. She said, “I came to see a man here but he threw me out”.
He was taken aback wondering how a reasonable man could throw this striking lady out without a second thought. After much persuasion, she opened up and said, “I met him like a month ago and he promised to take care of me but now I a pregnant and he is denying it, saying he has a wife that he loves, he did not tell me that before o, he did not”, she had said crying profusely.
He took her to his house; he had inherited the house from his father and despite the fact that he had other houses; he loved this particular house because of its design for it was actually built like a foreign house. He had the servants prepare her a warm bath and after her bath, she had slept like a newly born baby. She actually looked like one. When she woke up the next morning he had called her, told her his problem and promised to take care of her and the child if she allows the child to bear his surname. She had agreed instantly and he also made her promise never to disclose that secret to their child. They had lived in luxury for five years and he noticed the time that Linda started falling in love with him. He was taken by her beauty but he just was not in love with her. Belina grew to be a carbon copy of her mother and much more beautiful that she looked like a doll most of the time. This made Mr Badmus exceedingly angry because he could boast about being her father in public but in his heart, the truth that he could never have a child however ugly, made him despise Belina. Things became bad after five years and he took it out big time on Linda blaming her for misfortunes and he would have transferred it also on Belina if Linda hadn’t been protecting her all the way.
Mr. Badmus wanted to just die as he looked at how far he had depreciated. He wished he had abandoned Linda on the step that day. He looked around at all he was worth in the sitting room and said to himself, “if it is the last thing I do, I would make sure that Belina pays for this”. He said and crossed his heart.
Tolu took out the 150, 000 Naira he had collected from Tunji for the job and put it in his cross bag. When he was about to step out of his house, he thought about it again and removed fifty thousand naira from the money and dropped it. Tunji would have to accept the money like that, at least the job was carried out only that those idiotic boys blundered it. He took something else and put it in his pocket. If he won’t accept it, I would make him accept it by force.
He got to Tunji’s house and upon arrival, he met Tunji in his sitting room about to finish a bottle of whiskey. Tunji looked at him immediately he entered and his eyes sent bullets right through his heart. Tolu was never intimidated by anyone so he marched right towards him, brought out the 100, 000 Naira and placed it right there on the bar.
“That is 100, 000 Naira. I removed 50, 000 because the job was carried out only that the girl ran away”. Tunji lifted the cup of whiskey to his lips but instead of him to drink it, in a flash, he poured it in Tolu’s face. “Jesus…” Tolu said, startled. Tunji laughed slightly and the next second, his face was blank like he hadn’t been laughing merely seconds ago. “You better complete my money, right here and now, if not, uhn, you would see”. Very slowly like in all these action movies, Tolu brought out his gun at placed it right on Tunji’s forehead. Tunji turned to a stone with seconds and he started shivering like he had fallen into the type of ice water that was showed in Titanic. Tolu laughed heartily, “so, you no even get liver. Give me one reason why I should not blow your head off”, he said. Tunji kept on saying please but he had stepped on Tolu’s toes. “You have never been slapped by a woman and you wanted her to pay for it, so also no one had dared pour a cup of water on my face not to mention a drink. Well, when I blow off your head, I would be able to take the whole money. Say hello to the devil for me”, he said and pulled the trigger.
As the day went by, I almost forgot completely about the event of the previous day. Prisca made everything very enjoyable and my newly found dad and mum made me feel like a little girl again. They were very comfortable. Not exceedingly rich but they could easily buy whatever they wanted without thinking twice. One would expect them to feel pompous but no, they were the most humble set of people I had ever seen. They took me out and got me new sets of clothes, shoes bags and everything they felt was customary. Anyone that did not know them would think I was their daughter.
Being a weekend, everyone was at home. Mum almost overfed me and I commented on it but she would not have any excuses. She said I was still weak no matter what I said and that I should just eat and sleep. Although I was not so used to being fussed over, I enjoyed it and I made myself feel like a baby for the first time in my life.
I strolled out with Prisca in the evening. We had prepared dinner earlier so that we would be able to stroll out together in order to be alone away from the house. Though Prisca’s parents pamper a lot, they were also disciplinarians and did not even condone laziness. That is the reason why they did not employ any house help. I walked beside Prisca and I noticed that she had been silent for most of the evening. “What’s up Prisca?” I asked. She sighed, “You don’t know how happy I am to have you here with me. It had been really tough living alone with my parents without any young person to chat with. Sometimes I feel older than I actually am”. I laughed heartily, “cmon now, your parents are not old, I am very sure they both still turn heads”, I said winking honestly. She grinned, the old Prisca returning, “so, you know about the turning of heads abi? Who taught you” she asked mischievously. “Abeg leave me joor, you have started”, I said trying to avoid the place I knew she was headed. “you should join the convent baby girl, only that you are not a saint” she said. I stopped and placed my hands on my hips feigning anger. “You this girl don’t have respect again o, am I the one you are talking to” I asked looking upset and Prisca laughed. She was actually older than me with three months and some days. Prisca stood in front of me and used her eyes to trace my body like she was a guy and I instantly became uncomfortable. She laughed heartily and had to hold her sides trying to still the laughter. I hissed, “so you have not thrown away your acting skills abi?” I asked. It had been a long time since she did that and she always did that to drive in her point. “You see? You are not immune to guys and what I just did confirm it”. She came over and placed her hand on my shoulder. “Give yourself the chance to love someone and you would be as happy as I am with Tony”. I remembered what I saw yesterday and blushed. She laughed again for a long time and I finally smiled uncomfortably. She did not stop laughing so I gave her a tender blow on her arm and she ran off laughing. There was just something about being with Prisca, she could make you remember your time as a child with so much ease that you want to behave like a child. When she started running, I ran after her, shouting at her to make her stop but she did not so I ran faster. Thank God we were almost at home because I just could not make myself stop, I was enjoying myself for the first time in a very long while and when we got inside, we collapsed on the floor and laughed our butts out while dad and mum stood there looking at us.
Tony was exceedingly happy when Richard told him about Deji’s stability. It had been a long time since a casualty had been recorded in their hospital and he had prayed that it remain that way although his prayed had doubled when he saw the way Richard was taking it. He knew that if the outcome had been otherwise, Richard would be adversely affected even if he did not tell anyone because he had this arrogant exterior that never wanted anyone to see his pain.
He had known Richard right from his secondary school days and they had been inseparable friends although they got separated a bit when they went to the higher institution, fate brought them back to each other. Richard who was a complete Nigerian looked more foreign and was often mistaken for a half cast because of his wavy hair and non-Nigerian voice. He was given birth to in America but when his parents got divorced seven years after he was born, his father had taken custody of him while his mother took he other two girls.
Tony made Deji’s room and he met Doctor Deolu, the third doctor in the hospital, on the way and they exchange pleasantries before they parted. He entered Deji’s room and found him awake looking confused. “Hello, how are you feeling?” he asked smiling at Deji. Deji looked at him more confused, “I don’t know who you are” “it is alright, I am your doctor” “You don’t understand, I… I don’t know anything. The only thing I remember is being hit by a big bus. Where was I going…Who am i?” Deji lamented. Tony felt distraught but did not let it show on his face (one of the virtues a doctor should possess) so he just said still smiling, “you just need to rest a little bit and I am sure you would remember it all in a short while. It is perfectly normal at this stage”. When it became obvious that Deji would not be able to relax because of his confusion, Tony sedated him and went in search of Richard.
Mr. Badmus had called his friends seeking for financial help but none of them wanted to help him. He could not go to his bank to seek for a loan either so he decided to wait at home keeping a low profile and hoping that Tunji would not come. The entire money he had was fifty thousand Naira and he took it home incase Tunji showed, he would not be empty handed.
He switched on the Tv desperately trying to calm his nerves and what he saw chilled him to the bones. “HEADLINES: The son of the Deputy Governor, Olatunji James, murdered.
“Unexpected things happen in life and try as we may, we don’t have the power to stop it. We sometimes feel some people deserve death more than others and those who actually deserve death seem to be immune to it but we must know that God works in mysterious ways and everything he does is well calculated”.
Mr. Badmus seemed to receive the news with mixed feelings. He still could not place the fact that someone he had seen the previous day and spoken to merely hours ago is dead. He suddenly became scared of his environment and he looked around to be sure he was alone. He stared at the Tv again and asked no one in particular, “who could have done this?” he thought about belina but knew that no matter how stubborn she is, she could never attempt something like that. Though he was distraught about the fact that his only source of making wealth had been cut off completely, he still had a cause to smile.
He remembered the way Tunji had been screaming his lungs out on phone about what he would do if he did not bring the money and related it to the incident of the rich fool in the bible. It had been years since he was within the four walls of a church and he still did not see any reason why that should change. He smiled secretly in his heart, happy that the problem was solved but when he looked at the Tv again, he swore for the second time in his heart to ensure that Belina pays for everything she had cost him.
I stared at the plasma TV in shock as the newscaster relayed the story of a murder. I sat shivering in my seat as I looked at the TV, not really hearing what was being said. Prisca’s parents initially did not know who was being referred to and they just reacted to the news the way every normal person would. Prisca who was by my side on the two seater couch hugged me tenderly and when her parents looked at us, they remembered where they had heard that name and Prisca’s dad became angry.
“So this is the bastard that have been making your life miserable?” he asked and stared at Tunji’s picture again on the TV wanting to kill him the second time perhaps. “He damn right deserves what he got so don’t you dare cry if you love yourself”, he said glaring at me.
I didn’t intend on crying and even if I did, tears seemed to desert my eyes. I should be happy that I would finally have a little bit of peace but I just could not smile. I pitied Tunji and wished he hadn’t ended his life like that. I had a strong conviction that if my dad had not made him believe that he could have me, he would not have pursued me this long. I remembered that it had been only two days ago when I saw him and he looked so full of life. The might and ability of God now amazed me tremendously as he could wipe out anything and anyone with a second. Prisca’s mother scolded her husband for being too harsh on me and even though he wished that Tunji would get a special department in hell, his eyes said he wished he could kill him himself.
Richard sat in his office not looking very happy. Tony had told him about Deji’s memory loss and how he only remembered the traumatic accident and his heart reached out to him. He knew that that state was far better than death and even though Deji had lost his memory, he still gave thanks to God. He promised himself to do all that he can to see that Deji recovers his memory. Deji’s parents including Adewale and some friends came to the hospital and Richard had explained the situation to them. He noticed that they were not happy with his loss of memory but were glad all the same thanking him for his help. Although Deji should be around 24 to 25 years by his scrutiny, his parents fussed over him like a newly born baby while he just looked at them confused.
He went into the bathroom to wash his hands and when he saw his reflection in the toilet mirror, he noticed that he looked drawn and stressed so made a mental note to have a vacation sometime soon. He left his office and went into Deji’s room to check on him and saw his parents with him. Deji looked at him upon arrival and smiled at him. After greeting the parents, he looked at Deji, smiled back and asked, “How is the good patient doing today?” “I am feeling much better Doctor Richard” Deji said still smiling. “You can call me Richard”, Richard said feeling a little bit awkward having a young guy like him call him so formally. He wouldn’t have felt awkward if he had not taken Deji’s case personal.
Deji smiled the more and asked, “When would I recover my memory doctor? I feel awkward when I see people I don’t remember treat me with so much familiarity”.
Richard nodded sympathetically and said, “Very soon. A psychologist would be here to check on you on Monday and I think in a very short while, you would recall even the day you were born”. Deji laughed at the joke and asked another thing, “Can I at least stand up and walk about a bit? I feel like I have been lying on this bed since the day I was born”. Richard laughed slightly was about to talk when Deji’s mother said, “no, you are not standing up from this bed yet o, ma koba mi iwo omo yi”, she said aggressively. “He can stand up and have the nurses push him around in a wheel chair for a few minutes”, Richard said softly even though Deji’s mother did not buy the idea. After convincing her that it is a good idea, he left and on the way, told nurse Titi to carry out the assignment.
Tony had taken the evening off to rest at home and prepare for service the next day and Richard also felt he should do the same thing. He was glad that Tony had convinced the Human Resource Department to employ Belina even though he knew she could have been easily employed without his interference, she is exceedingly brilliant. Even though he still haven’t seen her he had seen her credentials and test papers and have acknowledged that she must be a genius. He knew that she was going through a tough time by what Tony told him the other day and he was glad that she would be working there. He sat down in his office anticipating her arrival on Monday and how it would help Deji’s memory.f