Written by Chibuzor Iwobi (@JeSuisChiby)
I stared at the book with disbelief. This must be wonderfully written fiction. My imagination went wild trying to find ways where what was written was false. He could have heard the news and documented it, it could be a friend of the family who wrote this down or he may even have guessed everything. Anything other than my mother being murdered was good enough for me. Sam came out and saw me staring out of the window.
“Baby, what happened?” She asked.
I had to compose myself immediately; I didn’t want her to panic. She noticed before I could get myself back together. She sat next to me, put her hand on my thighs.
“What happened? Is everything alright?”
“Yeah” I replied, “I’m just mad at myself for dropping my cup. I bought it from the Chelsea store in the UK and it cost me a lot.”
“You were lost in this book again, weren’t you?” She smiled, as she picked the book up. Knowing what she was about to see, I took the book and threw it away, making it seem like I was angry at it.
“Calm down, you’ll get another one when we go on vacation.” She turned my face and made sure to smile. She moved slowly into me, pecking different parts of my face. She had her way of controlling my emotions, sure enough a smile out.
“You stink, go and have a shower.” I said playfully.
She looked at me and slowly drew back. She had just my shirt on, which was oversized for her. She went into the next room without saying a word. I looked away again, reality begun to set in. What were the odds that my mother’s name would come up with the same exact date? I picked the book up again to make sure what I had seen was true. This was the first explanation of her disappearance that actually made sense. Then again, this is just a book I found in the park. I have spent the last few years of my life thinking that she abandoned us, and if this were true, it would mean I had been harboring hate for someone who needed all the love in the world.
Sam suddenly reappeared, holding a broom and packer. She came directly in front on me, and bent down. She had managed to make clearing glass from the floor sexy. She made sure to do it slowly, just torturing me on purpose. After a few minutes I couldn’t take it anymore, I grabbed her waist trying to draw her into my arms. She slapped my hands off and hit me with a quick stare.
“I stink right? I’m going to shower and don’t think of trying to join me.” I was in both the worst place and the best place of my life. Here I was with the biggest family issue of my life, but I had the woman that made me the happiest in the world. I watched her walk away without blinking. In my mind, she was the one.
I decided against opening the book until I spoke to my dad. He was the one that told us, my little sister and I, that my mum ran away. He never added any details and we were too scared to ask him for more. When Sam was done with her shower, I told her that my dad called me to come over. She packed her things but left some lingerie on the bed just to tease me. We got in the car; I dropped her off and headed to Surulere to my dad’s place.
After dropping Sam off, I refocused my mind on the book. If it was true, then there were a few questions I needed answers to. Why did he abduct her? Did he treat her like the others? How did he know my mother? Was it random? Then I realized all the answers were in the book I left at home. I felt a sudden rage build up from within. I hated this man, whomever he was, for ripping my mother from my life. I started plotting my revenge, how I would skin this man alive.
The traffic on Eko Bridge was slowly building up due to the heavy traffic situation near the National stadium. I changed routes to Costain intending to go through Iponri. Other drivers had the same idea so the traffic at Iponri was building up. Luckily for me, I was able to get to my dad’s place before it got to a standstill. Once I got there, my childhood memories came flooding in. My mother’s pictures were still on the wall, seeing them made me smile. She was a beautiful woman. I was ten when the disappearance happened, so the little I remember of her, I cherished. I stood there staring at the wall, not knowing my father had walked into the room.
“She was so beautiful,” He said.
“She’s definitely in a better place.” I said, solemnly.
In every single picture, she had a beautiful smile on. The one I loved the most was the picture of her carrying me with tears of joy. The extended family members were behind her, dancing. It was captured perfectly; it always brought tears out of my eyes. I wiped them off before my dad could see me crying.
“How are you son?” He said, placing his hand on my right shoulder.
“I’m good dad.” I replied, “Never been better. How about you dad?”
“I’m doing just fine,” He smiled, “How’s Sam?”
“She’s fine dad,” I replied hastily, giving him the look as if I was with another girl.
“And Tina?” He laughed.
“God is in control,” I replied. I never told him the truth, but he knows his boy.
“Women!” We said at the same time.
We both laughed out loud. Usually, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about at this point, but I came prepared. I really wanted to tell him what I had found out, but I couldn’t. One, it was still just a book from the park, and I didn’t want to get him hyped up for no reason. I looked back at the pictures for a while before I said something, so he wouldn’t think it had been on my mind.
“By the way dad, did you notice any suspicious activities before mum left? I asked curiously.
“Are you a cop now?” He teased. He noticed I didn’t laugh or smile at his joke and he continued.
“Nothing out of the ordinary son. A couple of months prior to her disappearance, we argued a lot. I doubt you’ll recall. Neighbours were scared for her safety with the way I raised my voice at her. Some of them even thought I was behind her disappearance.” He paused for a while, it seemed he was reminiscing about the period after she left. Soon enough, he picked up from where he left off.
“As I was saying, we argued a lot. Then one day, I never saw her again,” He said.
“So even the police had nothing to offer?” I asked.
“They brought me in for questioning actually. And proceeded to keep me for 2 days.”
This was something I had never heard of.
“Yes,” he continued, “I couldn’t sleep or eat, it was such a disgusting place. They kept pressuring me to admit, but I never did. After the 2 days, your late Uncle Jimi, my lawyer at the time, convinced them to let me go. It was the worst experience of my life.”
“Wow!” I was shocked. I could only imagine a man in jail after the loss of his wife. “I have been thinking about her a lot more often,” After a long pause, “I close my eyes and I see her telling me that everything is alright.”
I tried hard to fight the tears but I lost the battle.
“I remember those nights she would come by my bed side and sing me to sleep.”
He got up and came to where I was, pulled me close and hugged me.
“Despite her being gone, she’ll forever live on in our lives,” He placed his right hand on his chest.
I understood why he was always so downbeat; his last memories of my mother were of them fighting. He went through a rough patch after my mother disappeared, we were scared he would never pick himself up again. He was involved in an accident right around that period, one he never fully recovered from. He still limps to this day. During that short period, the burden fell on my shoulders to take care of my little sister. My sister, Abisola, was just five years old at the time. I would help her with homework, and read her bedtime stories while my dad recovered. She would ask where mother was every now and again, but I’d lie to her that mother traveled. It hurt me to lie to her like that, but I was left with no choice. Now she was in a University in Ghana, she is really becoming something.
The information I got from my dad on my mum’s disappearance didn’t help much, but it sure was fun hanging out with him. We ended up spending another hour together, talking about different things. We said our goodbyes and I headed home. Luckily for me, there was not traffic. I got home, took off my clothes in order to shower.
I really wanted to know what happened to my mum, but I was scared of what I could discover about her death. The former was killing me, so I picked up where I left off.
“April 1st 1998 – I must have heard wrong. I think Titilope thanked me. No, it’s must be all the excitement. Oh! Wait it’s April fool’s day. Nice one bitch.”
“April 2nd 1998 – Titilope has been rather calm. Unlike the others who were either aggressive or pleading for their miserable lives.”
“April 3rd 1998 – She hasn’t said a word yet, neither has she begged for food or water. Who is this woman?”
Unbelievable! That’s my mother, what a strong woman.
“April 5th 1998 – I can’t kill this woman, it seems like she wants to die. What if she wants to die? I can’t give her what she wants. I’m in control here.”
“April 7th 1998 – She called for me today. We talked. She reminds me of Esther. I’m not falling for this again.”
“April 8th 1998 – I skipped work today. I was in a long and exhausting conversation with Titilope.”
Why was my mother talking to him? Maybe she was trying to save herself. No way in hell could she have even thanked him. She must have been petrified.
“April 11th 1998 – I can’t bring myself to kill someone so magnificent. But I can’t let her go free.”
“April 13th 1998 – She told me about her two kids; a boy and a girl. They’re just kids. I just robbed them of motherly love.”
The bastard was being emotional? I thought he was devoid of emotions. But could my mother be alive? Could she really be out there under the clutches of this psychotic bastard? I didn’t want to think she had gone through so much agony.
“April 15th 1998 – I spent the whole day adoring her. I haven’t been to work in two days. I might be in love.”
I gagged. I couldn’t take it anymore. What was he trying to achieve?
I heard a noise that startled me. I jumped, just to find out it was my phone ringing. The book has done it again, I thought. It was Alfred. I let it ring; I wasn’t going to hand the book over to him anymore. It had become personal and I knew I wouldn’t be at peace till I stared at my own reflection in his blood.
Alfred texted me, “I’ve got time on my hands. What’s up?”
“I was just for looking for an excuse to go out for drinks with the boys,” I lied.
“Not a bad idea but not today. I made plans with Angie,” He replied.
“Okay. My regards to her.”
The conversation provided another excuse to drop the book. I got up and decided to let steam off in the gym. My head weighed a ton; I definitely needed to loosen up. I drove to the new gym on Jakande street. To get myself up-and-running, I got my Lil Kesh playlist. I had a weird habit of dancing for 5-10 minutes before I started working out.
“Iranu, Abasha. Iranu, Abasha,” I repeated as I danced along. This went on for a while. It usually attracted attention but I couldn’t care less. I had a 30-minute session of lifting weights then I went on a short break. A lady walked up to me and smiled.
“Your dancing moves, I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.
I was flattered. Never once did I see myself as a dancer. She must be joking, I thought, but I went along cause she looked hot.
“Thank you,” I replied.
I turned my back to her, and used a towel to wipe my face. As you know by now, I love attractive women. And the truth of the matter is, my life was too drama filled to add another woman. I was proud of myself, for not going further with the conversation, but to my surprise, she came back.
“Temi,” she introduced herself with her hand out.
“God, why?” I whispered, under my breath.
I looked back and stared at her for a bit. She was exceptionally beautiful. About 5’9 with a glowing light skin. Her voice was soft as a silent whisper. She looked like women you’d only see in the movies. Well, here goes nothing!
“James,” I replied. I accepted her handshake.
“You’re such a good dancer. Where did you learn?” She continued with her flattery.
I smiled. “Are you trying to make me blush?”
“Is it working?” she asked.
“That’s supposed to be my line,” I responded.
She laughed out loud. This didn’t make sense; I never thought I was that funny or I could dance, or I was even attractive for that matter, but in order not to be rude, I continued the convo. We ended up talking for another 40 minutes. She was all ears and she a very good conversationalist. There was an awkward silence when the chat ended; I did not want to ask for her number.
“Why are you making this so complicated?” she asked with a cute smile on her face, “You know what’s supposed to happen next.”
I smiled. “I thought I was just a way for you to pass the time.”
“You were, actually,” She said laughing, “But you seem to be a good way to waste time so….”
“Really now?” I asked in a funny tone
We exchanged numbers at the end promising to hang out and I left the gym right after. Although I enjoyed the chat, it was exhausting. I drove home with the intention of sleeping peacefully; it had been a long day. Getting into the compound, I see the gateman approaching.
He said, “Samantha is inside.”
I was beyond happy; I was already missing her. Sam was an exceptionally good cook too, and I knew since we just got back in touch, she would have something ready for me. Sure enough, my apartment was filled with the aroma of her cooking. I rushed to take my shower, and I ate to my satisfaction. Sam and I watched reruns of How I Met Your Mother before falling asleep.
I woke up three hours after; Sam was fast asleep by my side. I kissed her on the forehead and whispered.
“I love you.”
I went to the living room and then I replied a couple of text messages, Tina’s including. For some weird reason, I thought of texting the woman I met in the in the gym. I couldn’t wait till morning.
“Hey, It’s James,” I messaged. I got an immediate reply.
“What took you so long?”
I didn’t read that right, did I? She waited up for a message from me. This was becoming scary; it was like she just wanted to play with me.
“I have to front a bit, don’t I?” I replied.
“That’s supposed to be my line”
“Lol.” I replied.
We kept texting for about two hours. Then she asked if I could come over? I stared at the clock for a bit. It was 3am. I was tempted but I just got Sam back. I wasn’t going to risk it for anything. To see if she was serious, I played along.
“What’s your address?” I asked.
“74 Castle Drive, just after temple street; second house on the right.” she replied.
“That’s here in phase1,” I said to myself.
It sounded too good to be true. She seemed very serious.
“So are you coming?” She asked.
“Maybe some other time.” I replied
I couldn’t believe I had sent that. Just as I was going to put off my phone, she sent me some pictures. In case you don’t know, a man’s body works like this. There are two places blood can flow towards, one is the brain, the other his package, and it has to be one-way only. The blood went in one direction straight. I walked back into my bedroom carefully, after deleting those pictures. Sam was fast asleep, smiling as usual. I put off my phone and joined Sam in bed. I made the right decision, I thought, assuring myself.
I woke up again to a dozen text messages from Temi. Wow, someone was sure desperate. Sam soon woke up; it was 7amand she was late for work.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?” She said hurriedly. She took a quick shower and headed straight for work, leaving me home alone. I went to the living room to have breakfast and a cup of coffee, and there it was again, staring at me. The book I had been running from was there for me open.
“Time to find mum” I whispered to myself.
“April 20th 1998 – I did Titilope a favour today. it was a big risk I was willing to take for the love of my life. She begged me to check on her kids. I went to her home, her son answered the door. Cute little boy. Although, their affairs are a shambolic mess.”
I was left astounded by the fact he took such a big risk but I couldn’t remember him. I sat down thinking, trying to remember any strange men that came over. I knew I could never picture him, but I tried. I hit myself for not remembering, then I continued reading.
“April 22nd 1998 – I stopped by again today. I feel I owe these kids.”
“He’s really got balls. He’s fucking got balls. I’ll kill you, I’ll fucking kill you.” I shouted with anger.
“April 25th 1998 – I’m hungry. I haven’t seen blood in a while. I miss hearing cries for help when I’m slicing them up.”
“April 26th 1998 – One of Titilope’s friend’s became a little suspicious of me. She brought it on herself. I couldn’t risk exposure.”
Bloody Hell! “Aunt Chioma” I screamed. “So that’s what happened to Aunty Chioma?”
“April 27th 1998 – If I’m ever going to kill Titilope, I’ll award her a poetic ending. She’ll be my best piece of art ever. She deserves it.”
“April 28th 1998 – I went to her home again and I gave her son a toy gun today, the little bastard wouldn’t understand why. It was quite expensive. I gave her daughter a barbie doll.”
“Wait! Oh! You! I’ve got you! I remember you!” I said with so much excitement and enthusiasm. “Little bastard huh? I’ll rip your throat out.”
Written by Chibuzor Iwobi (@JeSuisChiby)
Edited by; Gbadebo (@Oaa148) Oladoyin (@Miss_Ola_D)
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