* When we understand fear, we think we can make it stop tormenting us….*
If I had not been very accustomed with Nigerian movies , I would have jumped out of my pants at the sight of the hideous figure that hugged me . Her hair was like a bush that begged for a cutlass as it towered upwards and was very unkempt. Her face was the photocopy of the freak show character “Chucky”. I noticed that her eyes were bloodshot red and the pockets of skin beneath them sagged . I trembled at the sight of her night dress, she hadn’t taken it off and her cleavages were barely hidden from view, unpadded dangles evrywhere , unlike anything I had ever seen before.
” Jesus!! ” I exclaimed while I tried to flee but her grip on my waist restricting my motion.
” Please , don’t let him hurt me.. Don’t let him hurt me.. .” Dami ‘ s voice shreiked as she held on tight to my chest cavity.
I turned and she was indeed who I thought she was , but her appearance lacked lustre , as if she hadnt slept in months. Who exactly was she referring to, who wanted to hurt her. ? I knew she was not joking this time around.
” Thats what she has been saying since last night” Kemi said pathetically.
There was a spark of ambivalence in Kemi’s voice and I was sure to pick it up that she blamed me for everything. She blamed me for the fact that Dami lost sight of the difference between true love and lust. She said I had drove her friend insane with my “yeye” Love as she put it.
” Screw me.. You can just start crucifying me already..mtchew” I cursed under my breathe.
Kemi pulled her friend away from me , who was now bitting her nails and moving her head like a lizard…I thought it was over until Damilola blurted out .
” Gabe… I saw him.. I saw him…. He was here”
” He wanted to hurt me…” she cried out and as if she had seen a ghost and she jumped towards me again from the cushion.
” He is here … He is at the gate.. Oh God ,I can hear him…. Gabe please make him stop.”
That was indeed craziness in the highest order.
I cuddled her and wiped her tears as they showered down. I glanced at everyone in the room, they were all waiting for me to take a decision.. Bisi , Dami , Kemi and even little Funmi who was crying her eyes out in my arms. The poor little girI was caught in between the drama, having no idea what happened around her. I loved her so much and leaving her that moment, was not an option.
” Dadd–daddy?” Funmi began mumbling .
” Yes, princess. ”
She asked me if her mother was going crazy. She asked me why I was always there whenever there was trouble looming, that I had promised to stay forever , but I only came around occasionally. She then concluded by calling me “super man”. Funny though.
I kept silent and turned towards Dami who was now an apology to behold .
” So who exactly–Who exactly did you see in your dreams?
” A man…He was tall and dark—-he was—-”
” Oh dear God” Kemi cut in ” Are you guys serious? She is hallucinating.For the sake of stupidity , she could have seen anyone ”
She hissed heavily.
I suspected something, then I remembered Kemi said earlier that the man was speaking French. I knew just one person with that description (tall , dark and spoke French ). I tried to understand, but it wasn’t clear: why would Tayo, who was in Coma move around like a ghost? Since ghosts barely disturbed innocent people , I tried to fathom what Dami had to do with the situation at hand. Was she a culprit too?
I got up from the sofa and made for the door without asking anymore questions .
” And where do you think you are going? Kemi blocked my path. Her eyes were indeed furious and angered. ” You want to leave her like this eh? If you think I’ll let you pass. You must be joking”
” Get out of my way”
I made attempt to slap her face when a soft touch on my shirt calmed my storm. The touch was so soft that I lost track of time. Everything stood still and then at that moment , I felt compassion and pity. It was my little princess ” Funmi”
” Daddy- Remember your promise.” She said, her eyes were in tears.
I froze and my knee buckled . I was uncertain at that moment what to do . I took the keys to Dami’s SUV car and gently helped her up to her feet.
” Let’s take you to a specialist…You need help. ” I said as I put my jacket round her half unclad body.
I woke up and my arm brushed the empty bed sheet beside me, it felt like he had disappeared and I opened my eyes to check if it was real. I saw his wrist watch near the drawer, he never left it at home. He must have been around the house somewhere. I got off the bed and opened the cupboard.. His shoes (the best one he had, and the one he loved most) was gone. It dawned on me that he had left early just like he did on days he was still working.
” He has started again….” I cursed under my breathe .
I went outside and prepared for the day’s activities.
” Close the door” I said as I put his school bag on my left shoulder.
Dave jacked the door and his little arms grabbed the locks as he put them together. I watched him as I searched for the keys in my hand bag with my fingers.
I brought them out and bolted the lock. I was still busy when someone came upon me from behind. The person’s arms touched me and cold shivers travelled down my spine. I turned and shocked even more because of whom I saw. I was afraid, not because he was there but because I couldn’t risk it if Gabriel saw him again.
” Geez–” I shrieked out.
” Sorry … ”
” What are you doing here? I asked as he waved at David , obviously ignoring my question..
“Making sure you arrive safely to work” Andy said and smiled.
He brought out sweets from his pocket and gave them to Dave. That moment I realised that he was taking it even farer than I expected. I couldn’t get myself to yield to his desires..
” What will you say?
Dave thanked him casually just like I had taught him.
Although Andy was nice to my son , Gabriel was my son’s father and I respected him no matter his faults.
” You have to be careful ” I began again ” Andy please stop visiting my house anyhow you like ”
He took our bags and put them in his car. Then looked at me as I stood there waiting for his reply.
” You coming or not? his voice asked.
Of course I was coming. I sighed .
Elisha invited me and Mimi to his saloon opening party at a very expensive hotel. I was not sure if I wanted o attend, and even Gabriel had initially refused to let me go untill Mimi convinced him that I was safe with her. He could have tagged along but he said he had urgent issues to attend to.
” Trust me…you don’t have to worry , Kate is safe with with me” Mimi reassured him.
At the event, I saw a lot a guests. I saw a lot of high class citizens, it felt like I was the only paupar there. The feeling was awkward . Everyone at the party was either Elisha’s friend or was related to him and they were all filthy rich .
” Ladies and Gentlemen” The voice of the Mc called out in the very large ball room..
” Please do enjoy your evening and I hope you don’t go home unsatisfied tonight… I’m sure our host, Eli has the most gifted hands to make you feel relaxed both physically and otherwise.”
Everyone laughed but I didn’t find it funny at all. It was vague.
I tried to find a seat when Mimi pointed towards the high table and said.
” Guess who is the guest of honour? …your very own … Hmm..you know who.”
This time I got totally confused and started asking questions . I thought maybe Mimi invited him too. Else he wouldn’t have been there. She denied it, and almost argued with me. We were in a verbal dispute when he came over and asked me to dance with him.
“Why not, its just a dance “he smiled and signaled the piano man to give us a calm waltz music.. We opened the stage and other couples followed suit , one at a time.
” Why are you always around me– I can’t even breathe anymore without your permision? I asked
” Then let me breathe for you” He said in the most romantic way ever.
I was sort of shy and being a married woman, anybody could spot me there . But as Andy said , its just a dance. A little wouldn’t hurt, so we moved to the sound of the music.
I asked him why he was at the party, I wondered if he had conspired with Mimi just to see me that evening. He smiled endlessly and that alone melted my heart. His arms held me firmly behind my torso and I could feel he warmth of his presence as he glided me from side to side rhythmically.
“Elisha is my little cousin…” he began” His uncle took care of me when I lost my parents. And I returned the favour by sending him abroad to study medicine and surgery, but instead , he returned a hairdresser and I’m still wondering what that has to do with science.”
It sounded funny but Andy was a book full of mysteries -who knows what else he was not telling me and I just learnt that my best friend was his cousin . Where had he been all along and how come Elisha never mentioned him in our discussions.
” small world..I never knew Elish—” I said when suddenly I felt an urge as my bowels moved up . It ravaged me internally and I covered my mouth with my arms.
” What’s wrong? Andy said surprised.
” Its nothing ,am—-” I paused immediately and covered my mouth with both hands, my eyes searched for the nearest convenience room available , even just a sink bowl. I was about to….