Though he had escaped from Debola and her mother, Jay knew he was in deep shit. Debola would go for his jugular. Her mother wanted him out of that space. He knew it; Debola knew also. He knew it would be difficult for Debola to convince her mother that he was up to any good thing. That made things easier for him on that front. No mother would want her daughter to be yoked with a jobless, not-too-young man. He smiled. Why would Debola think of tying him down with pregnancy?
In fact, the life of his first employer would serve as a great lesson. Years after his wife died, leaving four children behind, he took a new wife to end his life of loneliness. His children were all in boarding schools then. The first two were in the university. He needed a companion, everybody supported him. However, they advised him to get a mature woman, who would be able to play a motherly role to his children. According to him, an old uncle of his advised him to look for a woman who wouldn’t be interested in having her own children. The old man told him that if he wanted to spend his last days in peace, he had to work towards it. The man didn’t heed the advice of the sage. He got himself a beautiful young lady who could have passed as his children’s eldest sister. Immediately the young girl became pregnant, she couldn’t bear her step children. Her step children couldn’t tolerate her too. That was the end of peace in the man’s life. He became miserable. He loved his children and his young wife, but he was afraid to show his love openly to either party. He was using his wealth to buy peace in his home. But there was no real peace.
The old man took a special liking to Jay then. He said Jay talked like one of his sons. Jay also liked the old man. He would go to his office at the close of work whenever the old man was around and they would talk.
One day, the old man told him, “My son, women are necessary in your life. You need a wife and children to enjoy your life and live long. But a bad combination of them will either lead you to an early grave or miserable old age. I’m talking from experience. You can never have inner peace if your wife and children are not at peace. I thought I had full control of my children -they were respectful and obedient and would sit down at my command. My wife -their stepmother- was also the same -well behaved, loving et al at the initial stage. When she had fully settled down and I was looking forward to a peaceful home, the cat and rat race began. Sending them abroad at intervals, so they didn’t have to stay together for long, didn’t help matters. They alienated me from their lives. I simply became a meal ticket to them -meeting their needs and trying to keep them happy. Meanwhile, both my once very loving wife and my adorable children never really cared about my feelings: they all bore grudges against me. My son, despite my large family and wealth, I’m a very lonely and sad man. When you get married, keep your wife and children. I don’t pray for you to lose your wife like I did, but then, if the inevitable happens and you already have children, seek a woman that is mature in age and character -for your peace of mind. I wanted a lady that I could show off to my friends. I got her; very beautiful and ready to spend my money. She was very docile and friendly to everybody…until I installed her in my home…”
Jay shook his head. Anytime he remembered his first employer, he felt bad. He was a good man. They had wondered why a good, wealthy old man with a beautiful wife would have anything to do with an old woman who usually visited him whenever he was in the office. Later, they found out the old woman was a cleaner in his home. She was the only one who really cared about him. His older children were married and his wife was busy exploring the world. He was mostly home alone with the cleaner who began to see to his every need…
The old man died some years ago. Despite his wealth, he died lonely in his bedroom. It was the cleaner who discovered his body a day later. She informed his children. They couldn’t get his wife until five days later. She was out of the country and didn’t answer the calls made to her with her husband’s phone number…
Jay snapped out of his thoughts abruptly. Remembering that incident was for a purpose, he felt.
He drove slowly out of Debola’s neighbourhood and put his foot down, hard on the throttle immediately he hit the Third Mainland Bridge. When he sighted the police vehicles parked at intervals on the bridge, he chuckled. Nothing in this world would make him stop on that bridge to answer the call of nature again.
Getting Adele to forgive him now would be more difficult. He would have to bring down Debola’s temper first though.
Being a man was more than having testosterone running riot in the system. He recalled that night that he took advantage of Debola and shook his head. If he didn’t do the did, he wouldn’t be in this mess today. Now, he would have to go look for how to get himself out of the mesh he got himself entangled in.
Immediately he drove into his house, his phone rang. He wondered who could be calling him at past midnight. It was Debola… He it.
The young man sloughed against the foot of the empty bed beside Adele’s. He must be tired. Adele observed him. She was feeling much better and stronger, although her right ankle was cast in bandage. The doctor said she suffered a minor dislocation in her ankle. She would need to move about with crutches for a while to allow her ankle to heal. She smiled. Now, she would be forced to take the rest she had been resisting. Her major problem now was how to get across to Bolan. She knew he would be out of his mind with worry. She had no way of reaching him. She also had no way of reaching any other person because the only phone number she knew was Jay’s. Well, there was nothing she could do for now. She would send somebody to her office in the morning. She would also send somebody to Bolan’s office too. The first day she went to Bolan’s house, she drove behind his car. So, she knew his house, but not his address. She chuckled. She didn’t mean to be loud but she sure was because the young man, who was obviously napping, straightened up and looked at her. She smiled at him. He smiled back.
“Who are you? Am l under arrest?” She asked.
The young man looked confused.
“I mean, you have been sitting here for as long as I can remember. It seems you’re here to ensure I didn’t escape,” Adele said in a low tone.
The other two patients and a woman who was there to keep an eye on one of them were asleep.
“Good evening…morning ma’am. I’m not a law enforcement agent. I finished my youth service few weeks ago with the last batch,” he said slowly.
“How does that concern me? What are you doing here?” She asked him.
“Ma’am, you will not remember. I’ve actually been praying that I meet you again. I think my prayer was answered yesterday, because I was not supposed to be in that restuarant. It was a friend’s friend’s sister’s birthday and he asked me to accompany him to the restaurant for a low key celebration. I didn’t want to go but had to because I was putting up with him. I don’t have a place of my own yet,” he said happily.
“I don’t understand. What does that have to do with me?” Adele asked, wondering if he was a psycho.
“Ma’am, two years ago, you helped a young man who was vending airfreshners on the road in Maryland. The traffic was bad. It was in the evening,” he said.
Adele stared at him. She was certain she hadn’t seen that face before. This could be a kidnapper…
“Ma’am, on this particular evening, the bad boys were on the prowl. You were scared. The airfreshner vendor helped to divert the attention of a traffic robber who wanted to rob you. In appreciation, you thrusted an envelope into the young man’s hands and zoomed off as the traffic cleared before you,” he said.
Adele was still staring at him. She had encountered those street urchins a number of times -scary encounters.
“That envelope you gave to that young man contained forty-three thousand naira and five hundred dollars,” he said.
Adele sat up in bed. She could remember that very well. Her mind travelled back to that day.
She didn’t miss the money till about three days later. She was searching frantically for the money when she remembered she gave the envelope containing the money to a young man who helped her ward off a traffic robber. The strange thing was that immediately the picture of the young man flashed through mind, she got a call from her boss. When she got to his office, he informed her that she had been promoted!
The young man continued, “Ma’am, I’m that young man you helped. I was in my third year in the university but couldn’t continue for lack of funds. That was why I had to hawk things on the road, while praying that God would send a helper to me. When I opened that envelope and saw the money, I knew God had answered my prayers. That money was enough to pay my school fees. I went back to school and today, I’m a graduate. You made it possible. I have been looking for you since then. I saw you walk into the restaurant and was excited. I was waiting for the right moment to approach you when that man came in. I saw everything that happened. I’m sorry ma’am. You’re a good woman. You must be a very good mother…”
Adele’s eyes were almost popping from their sockets. She stared at the young man who could be her son. Her eyes misted.
Then it occurred to her!
“You have a phone?” She asked suddenly.
“Yes ma’am,” he said.
Adele smiled. Her phones were with Bolan. She would call her own phone number…
Bolan was a pitiable sight to behold. A side of his head throbbed. He was afraid the migraine had spiked his blood pressure. He was still at the restaurant gate with the security men. The restaurant manager’s phone was still unavailable. He must have called that number more than fifty times in the last two hours. The last vehicle had left the premises more than an hour ago.
“Sir, maybe you should go home and rest. We’ll continue to try Manager’s number. We’ll let you know immediately we get him. You will also be trying him,” one of the security men told him kindly.
“You won’t understand. That woman means the world to me. I’ll know no rest until I’ve seen her and confirmed she’s safe,” Bolan said, holding a part of his head with his hand.
It was as if his right eye would fall out; the pain was unimaginable.
“It’s ringing, it’s ringing. Manager’s phone is ringing,” one of them shouted, running towards Bolan.
“Aaaaaaaah! He didn’t answer,” he said, disappointed.
The senior officer among the security men dialed the manager’s number again and it wasn’t answered. The fourth time it rang, it was picked.
He spoke to the manager for a few moments, explaining how long Bolan had been there. When he ended the call, he asked for Bolan’s phone number and other details.
“Your wife is few buildings away from here,” he told Bolan.
“Where exactly?” Bolan screamed.
He walked Bolan to the gate and pointed.
“Can you see that building with illuminated blue cross crest? That’s where she was taken. Manager said she’s very okay. You can leave your car here and I’ll walk with you there if you don’t mind,” he told Bolan who was already on his way there.
“Let’s go. Let’s go,” Bolan told the security, trotting down the deserted road. They walked into the hospital at exactly 2.38am…
Let’s continue this journey on Sunday!
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