Benita was angry, it was already seven thirty and there were
no signs of Gregory, she fumed under her breath as she paced her sitting room.
“Where is this man? What is all this ehn?” She wondered
aloud.

She looked at the time again and picking up her phone she dialled
Gregory’s number, the number rang and rang but there was no answer. She
screamed in frustration, picked up her car keys and left her house.
“You will hear it from me ooo…you will surely hear it from
me, Gregory.” She spat as she got into her vehicle and kicked the engine to
life.
******************
Gregory was running after Sophia’s small frame, he was
pissed and he vowed never to offer to drop her off at school in his entire
life. The chase drew the attention of a police man who doubled as a traffic
warden and he rushed up to stop Sophia just in time. When Gregory got to them,
he was assailed with questions.
“Why were you chasing her?” The police man asked.
“She was with me in my car and she ran out…” Gregory
started.
“She ran out of your car? Did you kidnap her or something?”
The police man asked.
Gregory was shocked, he looked at Sophia who wasn’t speaking
but staring at him as though expecting him to answer all the officer’s
questions.
“Look here officer, my name is Mr. Gregory Abah and I am a
citizen of this country with a legitimate business and a transparent source of
income. Assuming that I kidnapped the child is preposterous!” Greogry spat.
“Is he your daddy?” The police man asked Sophia.
Sophia shook her head.
“He’s my guardian.” She said.
“Is that so?” The police officer asked.
“Yes, I am her guardian.” Gregory said.
“Why did you run out of the car? Don’t you know you could get
hurt?” The police officer asked turning to regard Sophia.
“I’m sorry…” Sophia said quietly.
“Don’t do that again…please…” The police officer said
and turning to Gregory he continued. “I am sorry about the misunderstanding
sir…you can take her with you.”
“I don’t want to go with him.” Sophia said.
“Are you being ridiculous or are you trying my patience?”
Gregory spat.
“What’s wrong? Why don’t you want to go with him?” The
police officer asked.
Sophia shrugged and held on tightly to the officer’s hand.
“Oga, we might have to go to the station and maybe take this
to social services. She doesn’t want to go with you and I can’t let you take
her against her will.”
“What? Why? I am going to be late for work and she’s already
late for school.” Gregory said, not believing that he was actually being held
to ransom by a seven year old child.
“If she doesn’t want to go with you, I can’t force her to.”
The officer said.
“I’ll…call my wife….hold on a sec…” Gregory said as he
checked his pocket for his phone. “Oh drat!” He spat when he realized that he
had left it in the car. “I left the phone in the car and it’s parked quite far
away, can you kindly come with me so that I can make the call?”
“As you can see, I am helping with decongesting traffic so I
can’t come with you to the car.” The police officer said.
Gregory looked at Sophia, he couldn’t leave her with the
officer alone while he walked back to the car. The world wasn’t really safe
anymore and no one knew who was who.
“Sophia, can you please come with me?” He begged.
“Yes but on one condition.” She said.
“What do you want… you little blackmailer?” He said the
last words in a whisper.
“I want you to promise to try to come home early all the
time…and I also need you to join us in night prayers.” She said.
“What?” Gregory started.
“If you can’t make that promise, then I’m not coming.” She
said.
Gregory looked up at the skies and rolled his eyes.
“Okay…fine! Let’s go.”
The police man looked at the girl and the man, he was
impatient to continue with his activity of controlling the cars.
“You haven’t said the words, ‘I promise’.” She stressed.
“What do you want from me? Are you trying to fix what’s
already broken?” Greogory spat in disgust. “We can’t negotiate here, let’s go
back to the car.” He said desperate to get back to the car and drive off.
Sophia nodded and followed him. By the time they got back to
the car, Gregory found that he had seven missed calls, five were from Benita
and two from his wife.
“Sophia, this is the last time I’d tolerate your stunts.” He
spat, staring at her through the review mirror.
“I’m sorry…I was upset.” She said calmly.
Gregory sighed, he turned to her and spoke in a calmer tone.
“I know I shouldn’t be telling you this and I don’t know
what your aunt has told you but things are not going to get any better with
your aunt and I. The best thing to do is end our marriage now.” He said.
“But…you can try…to make things work.” She said. “How
can you have a girlfriend when you have auntie Lilly?”
“You won’t understand dear, you’re too little to
understand.”
“I do understand, I understand that you are married to my
auntie and that you should be happy together.” She said.
“We’ll be better off divorced.” He said. “She deserves
someone else and I deserve someone else too.”
“What if the person you think you deserve turns out to be
worse than aunt Lilly? Will you keep searching?”
Gregory turned to face her with a start, she hadn’t spoken
like a child but like a mature young woman.
“Who are you Sophia?” He asked with a start.
“Do you promise to come home early from now on and join us
in night prayers?” She asked him. “Auntie Lillian doesn’t like night prayers
but she joins in because of me.”
“I really don’t know…”
“Can you give us two weeks maybe?” She pressed.
“Two weeks of what?” He asked.
“Two weeks of your time, your undivided time and attention.”
She said.
Gregory sighed deeply and after a long pause, he said.
“No, I can’t.”
“Uncle Gregory, my mother is an alcoholic, she’s very
careless and I never knew my father. Being with you and auntie Lillian is the
only way I feel like I am in a family. Please…do this for me…I promise that
once the two weeks is over, I’ll never bother you again.”
Gregory’s heart ached as he heard her words.
“But Sophia…my life is…oh God…” He said not knowing what
else to say. “Okay…I will do it but just for two weeks.” He said after a long
pause.
“Thank you…so much.” Sophia said in delight.
As he drove her to school, he felt some sort of inner peace
steal up towards his heart and he smiled.
***********
Lillian knocked at her husband’s bedroom door and walked in,
he was sitting on his bed.
“You said this morning that you wanted to talk
tonight…let’s talk.” She said.
Lillian had prepared herself for the worst, her mother had
told her that Gregory said he didn’t love her anymore or cared for the marriage
either, she needed to hear the words from his mouth and she vowed that when he
did, she’ll walk away without turning back.
“Hello Lillian…yes, we have to talk.” He said.
Lillian walked over to sit on a couch in the bedroom, she
noticed that a wrestling channel was on.
“You haven’t still gotten over your love for
wrestling…huh?” She said.
“I can never…ever…get over it.” He said.
“I remember you loved to watch wrestling with my brothers,
you guys made bets on who’d win the match.”
“Those were the days!” He said. “Now, they’ve both relocated
to different countries. I miss them.”
“Yea…me too.” She said.
“Yea…” He said, not knowing what to say.
“So what did you want to talk about?” She asked.
“It’s about Sophia.” Gregory said, remembering his promise
with the little girl.
“What about her?” Lillian asked sitting up in panic. “Did
anything happen on your way to school? I asked her about her day and she really
didn’t give me any answer.” She said.
“Well errr….our day went really well.” He said quickly.
“So, why do you want to talk about her?” She asked.
“I errrm…feel that since she’s here with us, we should
make her feel at home.” He said.
Lillian looked at him in surprise, she had never expected
that from him.
“Are you sure?” She asked.
“Yes…” He said.
“Okay…thank you. I was thinking the same thing too, that
girl has been through a lot.” She said rewarding him with a small smile.
“Let’s make this house comfortable for her.” Gregory said.
Lillian nodded and left the room. When she left his room,
Gregory dialled Benita’s number.
“What in the world is your problem?” Benita screamed down
the phone at him.
Benita’s incessant nagging drove him crazy.
“Hey babe…” He greeted.
“What happened to my missed calls? How come you never called
me back? You didn’t even call to explain why you didn’t come to pick me up.
What is wrong with you?”
“Listen, I had an emergency and I was tied up.” He said.
“What sort of rubbish excuse is that? Tied up where?” She
spat.
“I was…” He started when he heard a knock at the door and
a small head peered in.
“Uncle…” Sophia started. “Can you please come?”
“Benita I errr….I have to go….I’ll talk to you later.”
“Don’t you dare hang up on me! Gregory!” She screamed.
Gregory hung up the phone and strode to his door, he let
Sophia lead the way and soon, he was at her bedroom. Lillian was there too.
“What’s the matter Sophia?”
“I want us to pray as a family.” She said and held out her
hands to them.
Lillian and Gregory looked at each other and held out their
hands to hold hers, they all formed a circle.
“Can we close our eyes please?” Sophia started.
They closed their eyes and began to pray and at that moment,
even though they couldn’t see it, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit was
present.
************
Benita’s harsh voice shook the housekeeper to wakefulness
and she stumbled up from her bed and hurried out of her room.
“I am listening ma…” She said into the phone.
“I placed you there to be my eyes and not sleep around and
eat like a buffoon! If you are not careful, I’ll change you…you disgusting
pig!” Benita screamed.
The housekeeper nodded shakily as she made her way upstairs
towards Gregory’s room.
“Quick! Knock at his door and make up some kind of
excuse…I need to be sure that he’s in his room alone.” Benita ordered.
She knocked and there was no answer.
“There’s no answer ma…” She said.
“Go to his wife’s room and check if he’s there…”
The housekeeper did as she was told and after knocking for a
while, she heard no answer but she heard a sound coming from Sophia’s room.
“I hear something ma…from Sophia’s room.” She said.
“You mean the little brat?”
“Yes ma…”
“Go and check quick!”
The housekeeper made her way to the room and raised her hand
to knock but stopped, she quickly turned around and walked towards the stairs.
“What’s happening? It’s like you’re walking away.”
“Ma…they are praying!” She answered. “I can’t disturb them.”

To be continued on Thursday….

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