Written by @dj_fleau
The drive to the hotel was a quiet and awkward one.
I was more than excited when the car finally pulled into the hotel’s premises. I literally jumped out of the car. I looked at the front seat, he was still sitting there with a ridiculous smile on his face. The same smile he had on that day. A smile of victory, a smile of oppression , a smile that fully brought to light the fact that the poor had no civil right or access to free and fair judgment when the rich was involved.
I tried calling Lanre as I settled down but his number wasn’t going through. I sent him a message letting him know that I had arrived safely in Ghana. I barely slept all through the night, the thought of Lanre, the thought of Isaac who I saw in the car kept running through my mind. Why was he even in that car with us?
The driver was at my hotel by 6:10am to pick me up for my meeting. On my way to the meeting I asked who Isaac was to the firm. The driver simply said he was family with the owner of the company and managed the Ghanaian branch.
The meeting lasted for more than 4hours, Isaac presided over the meeting the, CEO introduced him as the country manager. I cared less about the position he occupied or what he did for the firm all I wanted to do was get out of here. I presented my company’s bid to the CEO after which he said something that sounded like “Isaac was right about you” I wanted to ask what he meant by that but I knew that would only drag the conversation.
Isaac stared at me all through the meeting I felt like his eyes were piercing through me. His eyes followed every movement I made, it made me feel uncomfortable that he was even here. He reminded me of a lot of things I wanted to forget about Ghana.
I had come to Ghana in the first place to fulfill my mother’s long awaited wish that one of her children would attend her alma Mata, the University of Legon. She spoke about the school like it was Harvard, she sang its praises as if the school was bigger than life itself and guaranteed success in life. At the end she had forced, bribed and almost threatened me to attend the school for my masters as I was the only who was still schooling.
It was during my masters I met Isaac all thanks to Seyi who had come to Ghana to visit and on one of her many escapades had run into Isaac and his friends at a Nigerian party. Isaac was the head of the pack. He was the one that hardly spoke but yet was in charge of the group’s movement and decisions. He was the bank of the group. He wasn’t exactly a handsome young man but his presence had a way of attracting you to him. He looked like a perfect gentleman and acted like a saint but in reality he was none of that.
The meeting finally came to an end and the CEO asked that we all went out for lunch. It was at lunch, Isaac finally spoke to me. He said “Temi I am a different person now, I regret that night I can’t take it back I wish I could have been a better person then for you”
I said nothing to him as he whispered to me. He had a pitiful look on an expression I found hard to believe. He was nothing but a deceitful bastard who had no regard for anything in skirt and I wasn’t going to ruin my day listening to such a person..
The CEO was a lively man, he was cheerful and was full of life and jokes it made me wonder how such a wonderful being was related to a beast like Isaac. As a matter of fact I couldn’t understand how any human being would want to know a man like Isaac. I should have thought better than to try to be close friends with a man I met through Seyi of all people.
As I sat there, I thought of horrible things I could do to him. I wanted to hit him so hard as a matter of fact the thought of stabbing him crossed my mind. He was seated calmly beside me like he was not the same man I had begged for my life. I still remember the humiliation and questioning I faced in the hands of the police after I reported him. I had no evidence, I had no witnesses to bail me out and most importantly I had no money to get the justice I so deserved.
He had walked out of the police station a free man and I had walked out a liar and cheap slut who was trying to pin down a supposedly “innocent man” who was trying to help a lady.
I could still picture that night the way he rammed me into the wall of his apartment, how he kicked me continuously. He sat there drinking and cursing me out while I laid on the floor in pain. I still remember him asking who I was to question his decision and actions. I couldn’t even remember what had really gotten him so angry that night. All I had asked was who a certain lady was and it had turned into an argument.
I was about to enter the car to head out to my hotel when Isaac came to the door.
“What do you want please” I asked in anger
“Temi, I swear to you I am really sorry,
Okay I have heard, you are forgiven, can I go now?” I replied
He went on his knees beside the car. The driver by now had a shocking look on his face.
“Please stop embarrassing yourself” I said
“I looked for you but didn’t know how to find you, all these years I have been searching for you , I swear to you I can’t explain what took over me that night, I never meant to hurt you, I would never hurt the one I love so much“ he said
I was furious and irritated at the sight of him. This was a man who meant everything to me back then. It felt perfect when I started dating him, but barely 2 months after we started dating the same man I trusted with my life had made up his mind to take the life. Thank God for his friends or goons like he always called them who had walked in on time to take the broken glass from his hand which had my blood on it.
Kwesi, his friend had driven me to a near-by pharmacy for first aid treatment before driving me back to my place after which he sternly warned me against speaking about this to anyone, but rather I had disobeyed and gone to the authorities to report the abuse but had ended up being accused of trying to accuse an innocent man and Isaac had walked out of the police station that day free and proud. He had turned to me on his way out with a smile saying
“You really thought you had a case against me with all my wealth”
After the incidence he had made my life unbearable, constantly threatening me and at the end I had packed my bags to return to Nigeria vowing to never return to Ghana ever. But here was the same man claiming to be a changed man.
“If your friends hadn’t walked in that day would I have survived it” I asked
He said nothing. Well I didn’t expect a response from him as his intention that night was clear enough.
“I thought as much “ I said before shutting the car door
As I drove back to the hotel I looked at my phone no response from Lanre yet. I thought of who to call to reach him. I wasn’t so sure it was a good idea however I called Bola. She picked up the phone. I asked her if Lanre had come by the house. She stuttered a bit before saying no after which she asked what time my flight was going to take off the next day.
The dinner with Nkechi and her husband was pleasant. The lady had cooked almost all the Nigeria soups I know like I was going to eat all of them. They had a beautiful and pleasant little girl who was about 2years old. Nkechi’s family was a definition of perfection.
Everything seemed in place they seem happy, comfortable and all in love. This made me think of Nduh maybe if I had just compromised on his sexual needs we could have ended up like this all happy with a beautiful family. Nduh was almost like Nkechi’s husband, they had almost the same personality. I imagined us being married and what he could have being like as a husband and father.
Nkechi and her husband dropped me at the hotel after which Nkechi gave me what seemed like the longest hug ever, like she was never going to see me again and then she said
“ No man is perfect we all learn to manage them with their flaws, go home and manage yours”
I wanted to ask her what that was about but rather shrugged it off. My flight was scheduled for 10am the next day and I had made up my mind to go straight to Lanre’s house from the airport that day. Thank God it was a weekend. Isaac came with the driver the next day to take me to the airport, this time around he sat in the back with me. He said nothing to me as we drove to the airport. He however got out of the car with me and walked me to the check-in area where he handed an envelope to me before saying
“I really hope you would find it in your heart to forgive me”
As I sat in the plane, I thought about Isaac’s sudden change while he felt the need to make sure I forgave him at all cost. I opened the envelope and in it was a bracelet the same bracelet he had given me a week after we started dating. The bracelet had his name on it. The envelope also had small short note that simply read
“Please give me a chance to proof myself again, let me treat you right this time”
The note angered me. Who was he to ask me for anything at all let alone my time. I cursed him under my breath. Off all the men I had ever dated Isaac was the only one that had a spell on me something I couldn’t explain. The same spell that made me forgive him after he hit me the first time, it was that same spell that had almost got me killed more than 3 years ago.
My plane landed. I took a cab and headed straight to Lanre’s house. I was going to speak to him and tell him exactly what I wanted to tell him whether he believed the story or not and then I was going to leave him to make up his mind on whatever he wanted to do but I wasn’t going to let this issue go beyond today. I saw a text from Bola asking if I had landed I replied her and told her I was going to Lanre’s house and would see her in a bit.
The cab packed in front of Lanre’s house. I saw his car outside, my heart skipped a bit. I rehearsed different ways in which to explain myself to him. I walked to the door. I had his keys with me I wasn’t sure on what to do either to use the keys or press the bell. I stuck to using the bell.
A slim young lady answered the door. She looked a bit unkempt and like she needed some more sleep. Her eyes look somewhat tired. I stood there affixed, as she asked who I was. I wanted to ask who she was and what she was doing here. So Lanre couldn’t even wait for us to properly break up before bringing home this thing in front of me.
“Are you friends with Lanre or what? she asked with irritation
“I am his girlfriend” I replied sarcastically while trying to look behind her to see if I could see a trace of him.
“You might want to come inside” she said. Her response took me aback for a bit.
“I am Lanre’s cousin I didn’t know he had a girlfriend” she said
I walked into the room to see an elderly woman and a young man who I assumed were her relatives. I greeted them.
“So is he in or not” I asked again
She held my hand and said
“I don’t know how close you guys were but he never really mentioned you, well he has always been secretive anyways.”
I looked at her and then I looked at the old woman and young man who were sitting across me. I noticed her eyes they also looked tired. She looked like someone that had been crying.
“Well, we only started dating recently” I said
“When last did you see him” she asked
I wasn’t sure why this lady was asking me all sort of questions, and I was hoping everything was fine.
“3 days ago before I traveled to Ghana.” I replied
“Well the thing is , there is a bit of a bad news ” She stammered and fought back the tears as she tried to speak. Finally she said what had happened I was hoping it was some sort of bad joke.
“Hit by what? what are you talking about?” I replied I mean Lanre hardly walked on the road, it’s like the man was afraid to step on Lagos road.
She tried to give me details on what the police report said. I wasn’t sure I was hearing exactly what she was saying anymore. The report claimed Lanre was engrossed on his phone and didn’t see the truck that killed him drive close to him. What were they talking about?
I know how much Lanre hated people typing on their phones while walking on the road. Once he had even shouted at a girl who was so busy on her phone and almost got knocked down by a bike. How was it then possible that the same man had decided pick up a habit he despised so much. The report claimed the driver couldn’t really control the truck as his brake had failed.
By now my eyes were already filled with tears, I wasn’t sure of what she was talking about and so I asked her to repeat herself. She tried to calm me down and asked that I relax a bit. She held my hand and tried to console me. How come he didn’t take his car out?
We have no idea why left his car at home and where he was going to, it’s sad he had to die on his birthday.
“What do you mean he died on his birthday” I replied
Well it was the night of his birthday he got hit and the police couldn’t really get across to us until the next morning. The police said he was texting. We all have been wondering who on earth he was texting that night that was so important he couldn’t get off the road to send the text
My brother was so angry he wanted to see what was so important about the useless text that got him killed. He said the text was to someone called “TEE” and it read “I believe you, let’s start again” she said
That was what Lanre called me, so while Lanre was dying I was busy arguing with Bola at home. My inability to compromise had killed a man. My inability to tell him what I wanted him to hear had made him leave the house in anger that night
“Do you know who TEE is?” she asked
I swallowed hard before saying “no” I stood up to leave. His cousin who by now was also in tears stood up to give me a hug. How come no –one had called me to inform me? How come even Chike hadn’t call me to tell me about this? There I was getting so angry that Lanre wasn’t picking my calls or replying my messages.
I walked out of that a flat a broken woman I knew for sure I was never going to be the same again. If I had slept with him or sincerely just told him why I couldn’t sleep with him he would have still been alive today.
I walked into my apartment to see all my friends seated. As I walked in Seyi walked up to me to give me a hug, Chike was crying profusely while Bola consoled him. They all knew , they knew he died but no one told me about this. I wanted to ask them how long they had known but I was too broken to ask.
I felt guilty for the man’s death to bother myself with such frivolous question. I didn’t tell them what his cousin told me and I hope she hadn’t told them either.
As I sat in my room that night I thought of Nduh maybe I should have managed his flaws, and then I thought of Isaac maybe he really changed and finally I thought of Lanre. I thought of how he must have died, I thought of my stupidity once again, I thought of what Nkechi said, I thought of Seyi’s advice, I thought of Bola’s rant and my stubbornness and unwillingness to never give in to a man or compromise for love
Then I thought of Lanre’s message with so much guilt that I was going to live with forever knowing he died believing me wasn’t going to heal me but knowing that I could have avoided this was a guilt I was going to live with forever…
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