Happy Eid’il Kabir To All my Muslim Readers. I wish you abundant blessings, joy and peace. Happy Celebration.

James was seated before his computer, the internet was quite
slow and he had just typed in a question in the google search box. His eyes
focused on the screen with so much intensity that he didn’t know when Raymond
walked in.

Since Kendra’s death, Raymond had not spoken to his
brother unless he had to. He was keeping to himself because deep down he
somehow blamed him for Kendra’s death, infact he blamed everyone for Kendra’s
death, himself included. Raymond saw his brother seated before the computer and
walked up to stand behind him. He saw what James had written in the search box and
was shocked at it.
James was relieved to see the results appear on the screen
and he clicked on the one that he felt best suited his question. It opened and
he read hungrily, afraid to miss out on a thing.
“STD huh?” Raymond said.
James startled, he turned to look at his brother.
“You don’t scare me James.” Raymond said. “I guess this is
karma, the only difference is that she’s dead and you’re not.”
“Shut up!” James said.
“This explains the time spent in the toilet today huh?”
“I’m just doing some research.” James started. “For my WAEC exams…”
Raymond turned on his heels and headed towards the door,
James raced him and dragged him backwards.
“Let me go! Let go of me James!” Raymond spat.
“You are going to tell dad and mom.” James said with fear in
his eyes.
“You said you were just doing research….” Raymond said.
“Alright, I admit it…I lied…” James said. “I think I
have gonorrhoea.”

“What? Where did you get that from? I’m sure it was never
from Kendra…she didn’t sleep around.”
“No…it wasn’t her. Can you keep this a secret for me?
Please.”
“James if you don’t get help, you’re going to cause more
harm to yourself.” Raymond said.
“Don’t worry, I’ll treat myself. I’ll get drugs over the
counter and I’ll ….”
“How do you know what drugs to take.”
“I’ll google it…” James said.
“Google? When there are doctors? My best advice is that you
tell mom and dad…they can help you.”
“No, you know I can’t…they aren’t too pleased with me for
all I did…regarding Kendra…I can’t disappoint them again.” James said
quietly.
“You can’t treat this yourself, James…you need help.”
Raymond said as he left his brother and strolled out of the room.
He headed towards the sitting room and he found that the
door leading to it was closed for some strange reason. He opened it and was
surprised to see Kendra’s sister and her friend with his parents.
“I wish I could turn the hands of time.” His mother was
saying.
“We have to go…we really have to go, we have heard enough
for one day.” Clara said standing up. She looked really hurt.
“Rose…I want you to know that I never left your dad
because of money…please believe me.” Veronica cried.
“Seeing that you are the cause of Clara’s misfortune from
the very beginning, I don’t think I can ever believe you.” Rose said.
“Your mother is telling the truth, Preye.” Veronica’s
husband said.
“That’s not the name I’m used to, it’s just on my birth
certificate but I don’t answer to it. I’d appreciate if you stick to Rose or
Rose Lily.”
“Clara…” Veronica started.
“No…I won’t listen to you anymore…you separated me from
my mother.” Clara started.
“Your mom is coming back to Nigeria on Sunday.” Veronica
informed.
Clara’s eyes widened, she stared at Veronica in disbelief.
“Yes, I spoke to her and told her that I know where you are
and she’s so ecstatic. She just confirmed to me that she will be in Lagos on
Sunday.” Veronica said.
Raymond stared at them, he had heard about Clara being aunt
Camille’s daughter but why was his mother apologising to Rose and why had his father referred to Rose as his mother’s daughter. Something wasn’t adding up, he thought.
“Mom, dad…is everything alright?” Raymond asked.
“We’ll be leaving now.” Rose said, holding on to Clara’s
hand.
“Rose…please…think about this.” Veronica stressed.
Rose literally dragged Clara and they both left the house.
Raymond stared at his mother who was crying and his father who held her close.
“What’s going on?” Raymond asked.
“Where’s your brother?” His father asked.
“In the room.”
“Go and call him, your mother and I have something to tell
you both.” His father said.
*********
Clara got into the house, she was so stressed. Rose had said
nothing on their way home, she had only spoken to the conductor of the bus to
ask for her change and that was all. They had bid each other goodbye at their respective
gates and retired to their different homes. All that James’s mother had told
them had been too much to bear.
She stepped into the house to see mummy’s siblings seated in
the sitting room. Mommy was there, still teary-eyed but daddy wasn’t there.
Clara quickly greeted everyone and was about hurrying out of the sitting room when she heard
someone call her name, it was aunt Dumebi.
“Clara…please wait.” Aunty Dumebi said.
Clara stopped and stared at the woman who never used to give
her as much as a glance before.
“Yes…” She answered.
“My sister has something to say to you.” Aunty Dumebi said.
Clara was tired of listening to talks as her ears still rang
from all Veronica had told her.
“Clara, before my family, I want to apologise for all the
years I have treated you badly. I am really sorry. Kendra’s death hit me so
hard and made me realise how compete life can be at a moment and how fleeting
it can be at the next. Please forgive me. I promise …infact, I swear from now
on to be the mother you’ve always wanted to have.” Mommy said.
“Please accept your mother’s apology, remember she took care
of you as a child. A lot of women, once presented with another woman’s child
would poison the child but she let you live.” Mommy’s brother said.
“Point of correction sir, I live by the grace of God and not
because of anyone.” Clara said. “Regarding the part where my step-mom said she’ll
be the mother I’ve always wanted, well I have good news. My mother has finally
found me and she’ll be in Nigeria soon…so, I won’t take you up on your offer.”
Clara said to her step-mom.
“Clara! This family is falling apart! Your family is falling
apart! I believe you can leave personal sentiments to make this family one
again.” Aunty Dumebi said.
“Did I pull the family apart? Did I break the cord that
bound the family together?” Clara asked angrily. “Take a good look at the family
pictures on the wall…do I look like a member of the family in those
pictures? Do I even have a personal picture up on the wall like my siblings?
No! I never did! Your sister made me regret being born illegitimate and she
made sure she showed it to me. Do I forgive her? Yes, I do. Can I forget? No,
my mind is not a book inscribed with pencil writings that can be wiped with an eraser!”
“Your father wants a divorce.” Aunty Dumebi stressed.
“Fine! He can do whatever he wants, it’s his decision.”
“What happens to Emerald and Zika…they are young and they
need their mother.” Aunty Dumebi said.
“I am no adult…I turn seventeen tomorrow….and I shouldn’t
have to tell my forty-something year old father how to live his life! If he
doesn’t want to continue in this marriage, I can’t tell him otherwise…he has
made up his mind.” Clara said.
“That’s so cruel of you to say.” Aunt Dumebi shouted.
“What’s more cruel? The fact that I refuse to be the bait to
change my dad’s mind about divorcing your sister or the fact that you
recommended the place where my sister was killed!” Clara shouted.
Aunt Dumebi buried her face into her palms and sobbed.
“Clara please…don’t bring back the memory please…” Mommy
pleaded.
“Don’t you see?” Clara said in an emotional voice. “Anytime daddy
sees you, all he remembers is his little girl on that operating table, dying.
You’ll have to pray that time will help heal his heart or for the rest of his
life, he’ll see you as nothing else but a murderer!” Clara said and hurried out
of the sitting room.
************
Rose sat on her bed and replayed all that her mother had
said in her head. All her life, she had thought her parents were together
abroad, a lie concocted by her aunts only to hear from her aunt yesterday that her mother
had left her dad because he was poor. She didn’t know who to believe; her aunts
who seemed to be lying to her or her mother who was an emotional wreck and couldn’t
stop crying while telling her the story of her life. Rose stood from her bed
and walked up to her wardrobe, she took out an empty bag and started throwing
in her clothes into it. Once she was done, she picked up the bag and took one
look at her room again.
“It’s so funny that when I moved here months ago, I thought
I’d finally be happy. The neighbourhood was rich, pleasant and cool but in this
room, I have shed so many tears that I never shed at the former place where I
spent thirteen years of my life. Good bye room, bye bye house.” She said as
she headed out of her room and locked the door.
An hour later, Aunt Cassie and Lizzy stepped into the house,
they had been out with friends and since they had their spare keys they
unlocked the door and stepped in.
“Rose! Rose Lily!” Aunt Cassie called.
“Where is she?” Aunt Lizzie asked.
“She left in the wee hours of the morning…and I don’t
think she’s back yet.”
“Did she buy the story?”
“Do you mean the one of Veronica?” Cassie asked. “Ofcourse
she did. Rose is a smart girl and as far as she’s concerned, we’re all the
family she’s got.”
Aunt Cassie walked over to her niece’s room and pushed it
open, she looked inside and didn’t see Rose, she wanted to step back out but
something prompted her to look into the room. She saw that the wardrobe was
open and some of Rose’s clothes were missing.
“Lizzie! Elizabeth!” She called.
Auntie Lizzie came running into Rose’s room.
“What’s wrong?” Aunt Lizzie asked.
“Rose is gone!” Auntie Cassie said.

To be continued next week…..

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