Twenty Ways I Thought I Died. Part Two. Chapter Nine.
It has been months since I resigned from Sythex. It must come as a surprise to hear this. I have not fully recovered from the shock I experienced last year. The loss of a loved one such as Thomas really affected me. Could I find love again? In fact I never had the chance to express love for the one man that has always loved me all his life. How pathetic life can be. The pain I feel is unmeasurable and I do not feel as if I can ever heal.
My brother in-law Kelvin always called to find out how I was doing, and he made sure to always end his call with: anytime you are ready to come back to the company, your position will be waiting for you. Aunty Ejiro was not really upset, she actually thought it was a good decision, so I could focus on getting my masters. To her, the job was just a distraction.
As I sat in my room after having a good cry for the hundredth time, I was filling some forms online for my masters degree. I remembered when I took some months off to heal, but later sent my resignation letter. Edirin was the first to call me, she ran over to my home and comforted me. I was kind of embarrassed since she wanted me for her brother, but here I was crying over a man I would have married instead of her Stanley.
Edirin was very understanding, in fact she told her brother to back off for now so I could heal. So instead of calling me, he sent messages and flowers through Edirn.
Ini took my offer for a job and through my connections I got her into Sythex, she is actually on her maternity leave at the moment and has been very supportive during this hard times of mine. She stopped by from work everyday until she gave birth to her twins. Life was not so difficult for her financially again since she got the job, Infact she was able to get a nanny to take of her two children while she worked. Etoro her husband had gotten a job as a transporter and was never at home and always broke with lots of excuses anytime he came home. With my influence, she was able to get a loan from the company to rent a mini flat, since she now had four children.
I remembered when I and Ini were in the university. How time can fly truly! She is now a mother of four, and now managing her life better with the job I helped her get. Ini is a very strong woman with a very intelligent mind. I am glad I have a friend like her.
I am already twenty six, without a job, a decent relationship and seeking for my masters degree. Aunty Ejiro was very preoccupied lately with her desire to get a second child. It was really getting her worried and I was there to always console her even though my heart was still aching.
As I paused my online registration to give her a call, father knocked on my door.
Ufoma can I come in? He asked.
Come in handsome man. What’s the story now?
Fine geh your blood to dey hot.
Dad you have been travelling too frequently this year. You don’t even have time for me anymore. You know I am still trying to heal.
Ufoma, are you still thinking of that guy? Baby you never loved him, I guess its just sympathy you feel. Look at me, its not your fault he chose to love you even though you never did. Stop hurting yourself over that issue. Maybe if you both had met you would not even have gotten married because I know you never loved him and you won’t.
Dad I left my job. I reminded him.
Was it because of Thomas you left or because of that criminal you call Imoh? It was good you decided to leave that period o, if not that idiot for rope you for his mess.
Dad, I resigned because of Thomas, I was grieving and too heartbroken to work. The coincidence was actually helpful though, if not it would have been a complete mess for me. I can’t believe Imoh could actually make such a plan to destroy my career and name?
What can’t a man do for silver? You can imagine if you had reported him first to the management, you would have just appeared like a fool.
But what I don’t understand is why Imoj should come to report a fraud that hasn’t happened and even get Adeleke involved.
He was playing pranks. If you had gone to report him, he would have said you were blackmailing him to partner with you to steal from the company. And he would even have a recorded edited tape to prove it.
So since I did not give in, and even went on leave and later resigned, he just used Adeleke. Adeleke ran to report Imoh when he heard I had resigned. When Imoh was called, he said he had stolen nothing. And when the matter was investigated, he had stolen nothing. Few days later, he took off with the cash and Adeleke was held for the crime as an accomplice. Imoh could not be found anywhere and Adeleke was held to pay off the sum of 7.1 million.
He deserves it. Who can prove he knows nothing about it? When he reported a crime before it happened. And both of them are best friends. He should have made sure of the fraud before reporting it. That’s a lesson for everyone.
But dad, Imoh is really a criminal. He must have watched this in a movie to have gotten it all planed out. I would have been his perfect prey if I had hurried to report him. He felt with me to blame, Kelvin won’t take the matter so seriously and everything will just dke down.
Yes. He must have reasoned so.
But the last time I heard, Mr Adeleke isn’t really doing much to find him.
And I wonder why? Dad asked.
Imoh is very clever. He chose his preys very well. Adeleke is a very scary man and quick to give in.
Its just a pity. And Kelvin isn’t even concerned in looking for Imoh, he is just contented in holding Adeleke.
If it were you dad, what would you have done?
I will close the entire unit, and hold all of them responsible for fraud and make sure I get every kobo from them.
Wow, you are indeed a strict Urhobo business man. Close down the entire unit?
Wow. What can I say?
Emm honey. Father went on. The reason I came up here to see you is to discuss about a serious matter. He said changing the topic.
Serious matter? I stressed. Are you getting married?
No dear. Far from it.
Better o because you cannot marry before me. I smiled.
Ufoma dear, I want to sell off this house.
Excuse me? You want to sell what?
The house dear. This five bedroom bungalow.
Why would you want to do that?
I need to settle some issues dear. Its connected to my business.
What’s going on dad? Please talk to me.
Hon its nothing to worry your pretty self over okay. All is fine. I just need to settle an urgent case.
What case? Dad!
Ufoma calm down! I don’t want you to start crying. I made a wrong business move some months ago and it really hit my business badly. So I just need to sell the house and add to what I have so I can save the company.
Father! How can you sell our house? This is where I grew up! My childhood memories are here!
Ufoma abeg forget all those oyinbo talk. This is a serious matter. I need to sell this house. Don’t worry when all these are over, I will buy us a duplex okay.
Dad you just can’t sell this house? Isn’t there anything else you can do? For crying out loud this is also my house. Call Kelvin, Ejiro or grandpa and ask of help.
Oghene! Do not ever mention such an abomination ever again! I Efe Ogaga the third, should ask who and who for money?
Okay ask your father. Grandpa won’t hesitate to help.
When I decided to start my own company, my father told me it won’t work for long because he wanted me to work in his company. And I didn’t want to work there, so I took the bet that I won’t come to him for a dime. Since then, I have built my company and ran it independently. Haven’t you wondered why I never coaxed you into working for me? Because I wanted you to do what you really wanted not what I want.
You wanted me to be a lawyer like mother wanted. I reminded him.
But then I changed my mind and told you to follow your dreams.
Yes I know. But father, you can’t sell this house. There has to be a way out?
There is no way out baby. This house is as good as gone. I need the cash badly.
Where are we going to live?
You can stay with your aunty Ejiro or your grandparents.
And you? I asked him.
Don’t worry about me, I will manage.
Dad I am still finding this very hard to process. What’s all this! I am just beginning to start my life again and this? Dad you know I am about to go for my masters right?
That’s not a problem dear. The money for your education has been set aside a long time ago.
Dad this is so all of a sudden. I insisted.
Be strong my dear. Omevwe guo no ovwe dia gaga.
So when is this going to happen?
Next week? So soon? What’s going to happen to our furniture? Where are we going to move them to?
Its going along with the house.
Dad! What’s all this?
Ufoma! I promise I will get you better furniture and a bigger house. You just have to let all these stuff go okay.
Efe Ogaga there is more to this you aren’t telling me and this isn’t funny at all.
Ufoma Ogaga this is all I can reveal for now. I need you to decide who you going to stay with. Your grandparents or Ejiro?
I want to stay with you.
You can’t for now. Its too risky.
Daddy, you are beginning to scare me! Too risky?
Ufoma, I am a man and I need to settle this issue like one. You can’t stay with me for now. But I promise to come visit you twice a week and call you everyday my princess.
Daddy please don’t leave me. I will be so alone without you. I cried.
I am not leaving you my love. I am always here okay. This arrangement is just for a short while. And you have to keep this just between you and I. No matter what happens, you cannot reveal to anybody that I sold the house.
I don’t need anyone’s pity that’s why. I would prefer you choose your grandparents house, at least that will prevent them from coming down here since you are with them. Besides, its closer to your school. Just tell them you decided to change environment so you can focus on school stuff. Honey, I promise you, before the end of this year, everything will be fine and we will be together again.
So you are telling me to lie to everyone?
You don’t have to lie honey but just don’t tell them the truth. Everything will be fine before they find out.
Dad are you sure? I asked like a little child.
Yes dear. Remember I am your hero right?
Then trust me. Let’s keep this secret. Now I want you to call your grandma to inform her of your stay there.
Okay dad. I nodded.
I love you dear. Never forget that.
I love you to my hero. I said with tears.
Vwo rie emu re?
No dad I don’t feel like eating.
You should. I will go make dinner okay.
Now make the call. We will talk more over dinner.
With that he went off looking more brave then I ever knew him to be. My father was not just brave, handsome and industrious, he was also a very loving father that every child will long to have. It hurt me that he was in so much pain but I could not help. I didn’t even know much or what we are dealing with. Where would I start from to begin think about this new development. I was about to write my masters and now my father is in some deep mess I know little or nothing about. How could I cope? How would I manage to hide the truth from people, especially aunty Ejiro and my grandparents.
I love you George Okemute Anibor
I picked up my phone again, but this time I went for grandma’s number. Has the phone rang, I wondered how I will manage with grandpa in his house. We never liked each other, and now I will be under his nose. I have to do this for dad, I reasoned.
Hello Ufoma dear. Came grandma's tired voice.
Grandma, what’s wrong with you? I asked concerned.
Nothing much my dear. I just finished my prayers.
Grandma, were you fasting again?
Yes my child. Your father has been given me cause for concern lately. My spirit just keeps telling me something is not right, so I decided to pray and fast for him.
Grandma, you have just one child but you are always fasting like someone that has ten children.
My child, when you get there, you will understand. Those that have one child, know the burden they carry. I pray my God fills your home with children.
Grandma, I will like to come stay with you for some time. I nerd dad to be alone so he can know the importance of a wife. I think I have spoiled him too much by always being around.
Praise Jehovah! Now my prayers are Woking.
Mama please calm down, your shout wan burst my ear drum. I pleaded.
Ufoma I can t keep calm. My fast has been fulfilled. So this is why God moved me to fast? Thank you Jehovah. Ufoma please you are most welcomed. Come stay in my place till your father finds a wife and settles down.
Grandma please don’t to excited. I felt guilty for misleading her.
My granddaughter when are you coming please. She asked so excitedly.
Soon ma. I am looking at next week.
Okay dear, just keep me posted so I can prepare oil soup and boiled yam for you. I know its your favorite.
We ended the call with some few gossip’s about grandpa. Grandma was so excited and I know my call really uplifted her spirits to a hundred degree. I was leading her to believe a lie. I felt so sad for making grandma go through this. Dad wasn’t getting married anytime soon but I was making her believe he would.
What if grandma found out the truth? Of when she eventually did how would she feel? This new arrangement was really killing me. How would I even concentrate on my studies. I need to be strong for dad. Whatever it is he is going through needed strength, and I want to be his strength not his weakness. I need to be strong for father.
As I went over to meet him in the kitchen, I prepared my heart to get more information and process it courageously in front of him. He smiled as I walked in.
What you cooking? I asked.
Your favorite. The one grandma has promised to make for you when you come over. He smiled.
How did you know that? Where you eavesdropping on me?
Why should I? I know my mother very well. And I know my daughter very well too.
What do you mean? I asked trying to hide my discomfort.
I know you Ufoma. You are here to get more information from me. And you are also feeling guilty for deceiving grandma.
How do you know that?
I know you used the marriage card. You told her you want me to get married so you need to leave the house right? So I would know what it is for me to be lonely.
Cheat! You were eavesdropping! I pushed him slightly. You doubted if I would make the call, so you stood behind the door.
No I didn’t.
Yes you did.
No I didn’t.
Yes you did. I insisted.
Yes I did. He said.
No I didn’t. I replied. Oh my God what did I say. Yes you did! I said laughing.
And that was all father needed to do to make me laugh and forget my problems for a while.
© 2020 Jade George Anibor