Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo: Best Served Cold – Episode 10

He scratched his head, cusp his face and stood for the second time that evening. I had never seen him so disturbed. He was always calm. ‘I think I might be partially responsible for his disappearance. I think I triggered it by writing him that cheque’  ‘What cheque?  I wrote him a cheque of 500 million to open an endowment account for your kids. I totally didn’t consider it as important when he was kidnapped. It didn’t even occur to me to check if the money was ever lodged into an account in his name’  Mama looked at him as if he was uttering some vulgar words not expected of a man of his age. I could hardly believe my ears. My Dad bought a husband for his dearly beloved daughter. And the hired husband duped his supposed father in law. What can I say?  Was he ever in love with me? I asked. ‘Shouldn’t the money have simply been an extra motivation? You cannot claim to love a woman and then be wicked enough to dupe her father and dump your own family. But I knew Mama could not have been that callous so I didn’t bother asking her if she and her family were part of the scheme. There are people who prefer to live with what they have and be happy and Mama and her husband are a perfect example of that; and there are people who are so poor the only thing they have is money.  “Haaa, haaa, haaa, haaaa! I heard Mama wail.

I gawked at him as he recounted the pains of the past. Indeed, the old man had gone through a whole lot and I again had a clearer view of why he had to do what he did for Gboye.  ‘Jide called me today. Sandra is marking her birthday her 50th birthday this weekend and Moyo, your sister is getting married by the end of the year. She is getting married to Gboye…..  .  .  .  .  .

How does a son ever think such callousness is the best repayment for good parenting?  I thought of how best to have my pound of flesh on Gboye despite the fact that he is the father of my son. We were all lost in our different thoughts when Mama said ‘Olagboye has not had his bath, let us attend to the one what we have and mourn the absconding son later’  The ritual of bathing Olagboye and Daddy rocking him continued even though he was now about three years old. It was while bathing Olagboye that Mama brought up the issue again. I was sitting on the edge of the bed preparing Olagboye’s clothing with Mama bathing him when she brought up the issue again.  ‘What are you going to do? Even with a long distance between us, I could see tears in her eyes.  ‘I don’t know. What I know for sure is that he doesn’t deserve any of us, if he won’t call to tell us what made him leave us all and in the circumstances he did’  ‘Adenike, he is your husband. Don’t you want him back?  Mama, if I didn’t know all these things I now know, I will do anything to have him back in my arms but then Mama, how will I live with such a person every day. How can I wake up on the same bed with him every morning knowing full well he is nothing but a charming chameleon?  ‘I understand my daughter’ she sighed. ‘But what could have made him do it? If there was ever a lesson his Father rang in his ears, it was that you must not earn money from dubious means’  ‘I know that Mama, I know you and all I see radiating from you is virtue inspite of your circumstances. Each day I see pride in your eyes, only that it is pride for what you have earned by working honestly with your hands. I cannot understand how he could have done this. He told Dad he needed to cater for Anuoluwapo, Olatumise and Iretiola but he abandoned them too. He is a charming chameleon, a very charming one’ I concluded.

We waited for over a year before we heard from Gboye again. It was Emeka who tracked him down and told him of the responsibility he left behind in Nigeria. When Emeka told me this over the phone, I complained he shouldn’t have bothered but he said he had no peace of mind. He had to talk to the Organizers of the Uzbekistan Conference who gave him Gboye’s number. He called the next day after Emeka gave him my number and threatened to expose him among his International network of business friends. He had no choice but to comply.  He came back to Nigeria after four years of kidnapping himself. Of course, he had no explanations. He orchestrated everything. His Dad disowned and unfortunately died of heart attack three days after his return. Mama didn’t tell him of the fact that we knew a year earlier that he was alive. She said she couldn’t bring herself to tell him and that the shock will take him to the grave and truly the shock and disappointment killed him. He died without forgiving his son. But Mama couldn’t do same. She accepted him back. Even though I didn’t really want him in my life any more, he was the first to bring up the subject saying we could not deceive ourselves into a forced marriage. He loved me but was scared of the commitment and responsibility; he also needed to fulfill the dream of owning a business empire. And it was why he ran. Of course I knew the idiot was lying so I didn’t bother arguing. The time spent arguing will be better channeled towards planning his doom. I told him to get the hell out of my life. I refused to grant him any form of access to Olagboye.  . He built Mama a new home, the poor woman asked me if she should move into it and I could not deny the woman access to what she rightfully deserved. How mothers can be so forgiving still baffles me. He said he had created an eight hundred million endowment account for Olagboye but I told him not to bother. My son does not need filthy money.  That was the last time I saw him until he walked into my office today claiming he didn’t know I was in charge of the office. How could he not know? And why will they put him in charge of merger and acquisitions when he owns 58 % equity in the company?

I honked at the majestic gate of Dad’s house. I had once told him I wanted to move out but he begged me with tears not to take Olagboye from him. When I suggested that he could come over to my house every evening to have his ‘rocking’ session, he refused. Anyway, I had a second thought. James, who had been our gate keeper since I was seventeen, opened the gate; I waited for him to fully throw the gate open before driving in.  ‘Welcome madam’  Thank you James, how are you? Please bring everything in the car’ I left the car door ajar and I ‘snailed’ into the house.  ‘Mummy……’  I had shining eyes as I gathered my son into my arms. I was proud of the handsome little boy he had become.  ‘You are tired, sit down’ he ordered and sauntered off, I watched his back as he ran off and I could see the shape of his father in his tender body. He came back with my favorite fruit juice and a tumbler. He set it before me, poured it into the tumbler which already had ice and handed over to me. ‘Tell me how your day was?  He is my closest ally and partner in crime. How a seven year old could be as brilliant as he is simply amazes me. Dad once joked that he is a chip of the old block, after all, his father and mother that is Gboye and I are ‘book people’. We gist like adults and often the wisdom from his young mind guides me. I still haven’t told him about his dad. Maybe Mama has told him. It’s possible he had been introduced to Gboye while on a visit to Mama’s house. If he knew, he hasn’t asked me. And I don’t know what I will tell him the day he chooses to ask. The question will come soon, I can guarantee that.

After Dinner and safely tucking Olagboye in bed, Dad dropped another bombshell on me. He said Mum had an affair while I was two years old. He was outside the country trying to tie up a business deal. She told him about it. He had a hard time forgiving her especially when the fruit of that escapade came to limelight. Mum got pregnant. He allowed her have the baby. Jide, dad’s unmarried friend and his fiancé accepted the baby girl, and Dad and Mum moved on with their lives although Mum never conceived again.  It was shocking.

I gawked at him as he recounted the pains of the past. Indeed, the old man had gone through a whole lot and I again had a clearer view of why he had to do what he did for Gboye.  ‘Jide called me today. Sandra is marking her birthday her 50th birthday this weekend and Moyo, your sister is getting married by the end of the year. She is getting married to Gboye…..  .  .  .  .  .

THE END

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