THE NIGHT I TURNED 18

@ Olutope Olonade

Episode 36

I rewinded madam Gold’s side of the story for Charles from my phone on our way to the West. He opened his mouth and didn’t close it until I told him to do so. He wondered what could have made his father sacrificed his joyful and peaceful life, marriage and a successful career for a woman he had nothing to do with.

I had also been thinking of that myself and the INTERPRETER refused to give me a clue to what would have been the reason behind his secrecy. I asked Charles if he knew Chief Adele well.

“Yes I grew up to meet my father working in AdDavison group of companies owned by chief Adisa Daniels Adele. They are more of friends than of being an employer and employee; they have been very closed since their way back in the tertiary institution. It was their friendship that gave my father the opportunity to be able to connect me with one of their branches in the East to do my national service. The cosmetics company that madam Gold mentioned was where he worked last and retired as a branch director, though my dad resigned his appointment with the company, but because of their mutual relationship, his friend; chief Adele made sure his resignation letter was rejected and instead he was retired so that his benefits may continue till his life time. The company at the Capitol city folded up not long after my dad left there for the West on the ground of mismanagement. But recently, a new cosmetics and beverages factories have been reopened. As God would have it, I learnt from my branch director’s secretary that the company has prepared a letter of my transfer to the place as the branch manager its because it has not been confirmed officially that’s why I have not given you the good news.” He explained.

“Wait! You mean you are now working in one of chief Adele’s companies?” I asked trying hard not to give myself away.

“Yes, I am waiting for my transfer letter to be handed over to me before I start blowing my trumpet because its really going to be a very good news because that means that the issue of distance between us has been settled.” He replied.

“The word of God says the expectation of the righteous shall not be cut short …it’s okay……. I pray it will end as desired by God’s grace. He shouted a very loud “Amen!” With joy, oblivious of the fact that he was working in my grandparents’ company. I hoped he would feel good about this when he gets to know the truth.

Charles increased his speed and we fired on. The journey was taking like ages but at last after about eight to nine hours of driving we arrived at the entrance gate to Pay Sam Egunjobi’s residence. It was a magnificent building! I wasn’t disappointed at all. It seemed Charles had informed his father about our coming so Pa Sam had already been awaiting our arrival.

“You are welcomed, son.” He said with a smile as he removed his eyes from the laptop in front of him to greet us. We were warmly welcomed into the beautiful, well arranged tastefully furnished large living room. One of the members of his domestic staff had in no time served us with a very chilled natural orange juice. We both raised the cups to our mouths as we went to settle on the seat beside him. After exchanging the usual pleasantries with his son, Pa Sam shifted his attention to me.

“Young lady, you are once again welcomed to my humble home.” He said with a delightful grin.

“It’s my pleasure knowing you sir….” I responded. I was a little bit shy with the expression on his face.

“When I was speaking with my son a couple of weeks ago, he told me he was at your graduation and it’s my honour to host the newest lawyer in town.” He said with a slight amusive bow.

We all laughed at his sense of humour but all of a sudden he stopped laughing and gave me along stare. I was becoming uncomfortable with his intent gaze at me.

“Your face looks so familiar, young lady.” He asked. I could see that the old man was getting close on me. I became nervous. I wondered what I was to tell him if his next question was about my identity. I asked my inner mind for what to say because the INTERPRETER had warned me not to reveal my identity yet. Without delay, I felt the presence of my divine guidance, the INTERPRETER. He told me to tell him everything he needed to know about me. Though he kept quiet after that but I knew quite well that he was not far from me. He made me remembered a verse in the book of Isaiah, chapter forty two verse two precisely, that the Lord would always be with me in any situation I found myself and that no problem will overcome me. A great relief came after that revelation and I got myself prepared for what the next question would be from my dear father in-law to be.

“…..your look is very much like someone I’ve been living with almost all my life.” He said again with a strong certainty. Even when his son tried to convinced him that I had lived in the North all my life he was still not convinced that he had not seen me before. I kept smiling all through. My reaction made Charles to be suspicious of my knowing what his old man was talking about.

“Is this an in-joke or something?” He asked no one in particular.

“I know what I am saying son.” He insisted.

“Okay dear, what is that your name again?” He enquired.

“….Abike Vision” I replied smoothly hoping that the old man would sort himself out.

“Are you in anyway related to Adele’s family?” He further inquired.

“Yes sir, that’s my family name.” I answered.

“Pardon my inquisitiveness dear, are you in anyway Vision Onaolamisi Adele’s daughter?” He asked again. I nodded in response.

“Allamanda” He called. I nodded again in confirmation.

“Yes I can never mistaken Kofoworola’s face, Adisa’s wife. You are an exact young version of Kofo! This was how she looked when we were very young….way back in school.” He let out an hysterical scream as he held me tightly to himself, his body was racking with sobs.

Charles was in a complete daze over the recent development.

“Allamanda.” He muttered but I heard him.

“Yes, that was my second name” I responded to him as I released myself from Pa Sam’s grip. I begged the man to stop crying because he was too old for that.

“Daughter, where have you been? I was not opportune to do the searching with your grandfather. When we heard what happened to your parents through the social media, though the information came to us very late. It was so sad and my friend and his wife have not been able to fully recovered from the shock of the bad news not after all our expectations and preparations to receive you people (in a grand style) back home after a long separation. Though he was able to trace you to the farm where your gateman took you to but he found out that the man with his daughters had also been murdered. He continued the search because he learnt from one of the farmers that saw the man when he was taking you away from the camp but when he came back to met with his untimely death you were no longer with him. A man also said he saw you running through a foot path in Ishanga forest and he knew that the foot path would lead you to the foot of the rock in the Central if you were not attacked by any wild animal. So another search was conducted, though they couldn’t find you but there were no traces of any corpse that could show that somebody had been attacked so we all believed that you probably have lost in the big cities and towns of the Central and hoped that one day you will be found alive.” He explained as he wiped away the tears forming again on his face.”

“Allamanda…” Charles repeated and faced his father “….daddy?” He looked directly into his father’s eyes.

“Yes, Allamanda, what about it, son?” Charles was speechless and kept on staring at me.

“That’s the name of the new company at the Capitol city, dad!” He finally opened up.

“Yes, I know.” Pa Sam asserted and continued his speech.

“….through a thourough investigation, Adisa, was able to identify all his son’s properties; his beverages company and all other houses and landed properties were all discovered and recovered. His lawyer was also searched for and contacted. Necessary documents were presented to him for recognition as the next family to the deceased. The lawyer agreed to temporarily released the properties to Adisa after he had signed an official papers of agreement that all the properties would be handed over to his granddaughter immediately she had been found. Adisa sold the company buildings and transferred all the machines to the Capitol city where the former cosmetics company was located. He bought all the available surrounding plots of land and the old site is expanded so that it would conveniently contain the two giant factories for smooth, efficient and successful operations. Initially, Vincent’s beverages company was named after Allamanda being his only child and his Will specified that all his assets should be inherited by you Abike….” He turned his wheelchair directly towards me.

” ……your grandfather knew it was best to honour the memory of your late father so he also named the two merged companies after you and gave you the sole ownership. That’s why the new company bears “AllamandaAd industries” instead of “AdDavison”, so son, you are not only getting married to a beautiful lawyer but a billionaire one as that…” He concluded and grinned amiably at us.

I didn’t realized that the two of us were already on our feet and when the realization of Pa Sam’s narration hit us, we both went down slowly and sat quetly on the sofa.

THE NIGHT I TURNED 18

@ Olutope Olonade

Episode 37

The silence in the room was broken by one of the domestic staff who came to announce to us that dinner was ready. I told Charles that I didn’t feel like eating anything.

“…I’ve lost my appetite.” I whispered into his ear. But Pa Sam heard me and insisted that he was not going to eat unless we all dined together. Charles instructed the staff to wheel his father to the dinning and promised his dad that we would soon join him.

Charles quickly drew me nearer and informed me that it would be risky for his father not to eat at the right time because he was an ulcer and a diabetic patient.

“…my dear if you do not want to add to the issues on ground, we had better grant the invite of our host to his dinning table.” He said jokingly.

We all took our meals in silence. Pa Sam later excused himself and he was wheeled to his room. I was beginning to see that everything in Pa Sam’s life was been timely monitored by his domestic staff. Time for this and time for that. This one in charged of this, that one in charged of that. I watched him ate a light meal of beans and hot pap mixed with honey.

I was completely fagged out, not only because of our long journey but for what I met on ground. It was a wonder that while I wandered around like a nobody in the cities and towns of the Central my grandpa was busy building a business empire for me. How was I supposed to control or manage such great wealth with my upcoming home with Charles and the ministry. But if what madam Gold said about my grandpa was anything to go by, It seemed as if I should not expect anything good from him. Though his friend had painted him good but he could turn out to be some self centered, greedy and cruel man just like many of the rich business tycoons. He would have been used to all the bloody games and dirty deals and I didn’t think I would want to put my life on the line for wealth because I doubted if chief Adele would be willing to give my inheritance back to me.

My mind went to Charles and his father. I watched my fiance across the dinning table. I tried to study his mood as he was eating his own portion of fried rice and chicken quetly. I wondered what was going on in his mind. Was he as excited as his father as regards getting married to a billionaire lawyer? I hoped I was not been fooled by both father and son. Though I had never revealed my real identity to anyone in the central not even Amaka as closed as we were, I would have thought that Charles had it all planned with his father. Racheal (Rekia) was the only person that knew all about me and I had sternly warned her that on no circumstances must she reveal my real self to anyone and I trusted that she had been sincere with keeping the secret. But human beings could not be totally trusted. Anything could have happened behind my back because his father knew too much. Charles could have posted my picture to him …….his claims of seeing me for the first time might be a pretense or part of their plan to play on my intelligence…

” I am a lawyer for Christ sake. Do I look like a dumb brain they can twist anyhow….but come to think of it can Charles betrays me because of material things? God help me.” I cried inwardly.

The INTERPRETER began to write a song on the wall of my heart. It was a sign from him and a way he always used to distract my attention from unhealthy thoughts….

Because he lives, I can face tomorrow,

Because he lives, all fear is gone,

Because I know, he owns my future,

My life is worth living just,

Because he lives…..

Charles began to sing the same song as he led me to one of his sisters room. I look at his face when we sat on the bed and told him that was the exact song the INTERPRETER was singing in my heart.

He didn’t respond to my speech. He took my hands in his with his head bowed. I knew he was trying to avoid an eye contact but I made him to face me.

“Charles, please talk to me. I am afraid of so many things.” I said in a frightening tone but he gave me a wry smile.

“Abike, God was revealing what was going on in your mind and I was a little bit disappointed in you. I have gone too deep with the Lord for me to stoop so low to have planned with my father to marry you because of your wealth. I have never told him your name neither I have I shown him any of your pictures. Anytime he asked after you all usually do was to keep him in suspense and made him eager to see you. Most of the things that I heard from my father tonight were concealed from me. Though when I got posted to the East it was my father who arranged my serving with the AdDavison but not without an argument from me. I only accepted the offer when the Spirit of God told me to do so, he it was for a purpose. I want to believe that this is part of what God wanted me to do in your life that is to be a lead for you to get connected to your root. Don’t forget that he has also used you too to unraveled the mystery behind my family’s woes and you know I still have that issue to sort out. Abike that means you knew all this while through madam Gold’s confession that you were going to get a clue to your background from my dad and you kept such vital information away from me. You made me looked stupid in front of my dad. The sum total of what happened tonight was that I did not know the girl I am planning to get married to too well, its not fair…baby, that means you have not been sincere to me. I met and fell in love with as Abike Vision and not as Allamanda Adele, if you must know.” Charles paused and returned my stare. The pain he was feeling at that moment was clearly glaring on his face. It was my turn to bow down my head in shame.

“AB, listen to me and listen really good ….if our union is going to stand the test of time, if it’s going to work well, then we need to trust each other. We need to get prepared because God did not promise that our journey in life is going to be all rosy times of tests and trials are ineluctable. Love is not enough to build a peaceful and blissful home, it also requires an absolute trust and truthfulness, right?” He raised my head and I nodded. I apologized for my insensitivity and promised never to doubt him again. He nodded back.

“Charles…..what about my grandpa. Do you think he would be willing to release my inheritance? You know all this rich people and their greed. I don’t want anyone to cut my life short because of mere material things. I am good as I am.” I raised my hands up in submission.

“Trust…Abike……trust and obey. God cannot bring us this far to neglect us. If the reward is not for you he will not bring you near it. We must rely and put our absolute trust in his lead. You need to cast all your worries and anxiety upon him for he cares…..leave everything for he who is able to do exceedingly far above our expectations……our lives is worth living because he lives…….”. He planted a light kiss on my lips and bade me goodnight. He was about to shut the door when my eyes went over to a picture glass of a lady standing on the dressing table. I quickly called Charles back and inquired about the lady because her face looked familiar. Charles told me she was one of his sisters who followed their mum abroad. I demanded for an old picture of hers. He reluctantly opened the drawer beside the bed and brought out an old album. I took it from him and quickly flipped through and there she posed with our college uniform.

“Bisi Samuel!” I screamed.

“Did you know her?” Charles asked with his folded in akimbo.

“Yes, she was my friend and classmate at the college in the North but our friendship was very short because she told me that his father was not comfortable with the crisis going on then and wanted to relocate. But if she was your sister, how come you bear separate surnames.

“Heh! My learned colleague…..Bisi is my immediate sister but can we please leave the details for some other time? Tommorow is another day ma’am, may God count us worthy to witness it….. sweet night my princess. He blew a kiss in the air.

“…. sweet dreams prince charming.” He was gone before I could start another conversation with him.

Oh Charles was never a mistake for me. I let out a smile as I dropped the old album on the dressing table and went to the door to fastened it. I came back to unlock my traveler’s box and brought out a beautiful pinkish short night gown and some of my undies and placed them on the bed and ran into the bathroom. I washed my stuffs and had a cold and refreshing shower after which I had a change and dropped heavily on the bed. Life is beautiful when you have somebody who truly loves and cares for you. I released myself to a sweet sleep while humming the song the INTERPRETER gave me….

Because I know oh oh oh

He hum hum hum hum

Hum hum hum …..

THE NIGHT I TURNED 18

@ Olutope Olonade

Episode 38

Pa Sam let out a wry smile after listening to Kemi’s story. He confirmed her claim to be true and Charles became furious. He blamed his father for the woes and breakup their family had suffered.

Papa why? How could you defend another man at the expense of your own life and family?” He asked in great annoyance.

“No son…..I was on friendship oath….I couldn’t have done otherwise.” He replied defensively.

“Papa…..you lost your happiness…..you lost the love of your life……your sound health gone…..your blissful home slipped away…you lost almost everything! Because of friendship? …..is it because of the financial benefits you gain from him that made you think he deserved your protection at all cost?” Charles asked again with an increased astonished rage.

“Oh no! You just can’t understand.” His father cried out.

I signalled to him to stop being too hard on the old man but he was too deep in anger that he didn’t even look at my side. I didn’t know how to come in between the father and son.

“I can’t understand what? …..then make me do. Why didn’t you open up to me then?” He further inquired.

“I couldn’t son, you weren’t a man then……? He complained.

“……at what age, Pop?” He cut in.

“I am not talking about numbers here….I wanted to tell but I refused to when I heard you and Bisi had being going to the lady’s shop to fight her…..was that manly enough?” The man faced me as if the words were meant for me. I knew it was an indirect invite into their arguments. So I intervened.

I tried as much as possible not to apportion blames though I carefully condemned Charles act of fighting the lady.

“……Papa was right ……that was not matured enough…..wait but I thought you are a child of God…..” The words worked like magic because there was a sudden change of mood and Charles became quiet.

I could see that he was trying very hard to control himself and for a moment there was a silence.

“Okay….I know it was wrong for me to fight the lady, but then I wasn’t born again. That was the only right thing I thought I could do to the lady that was causing so much rift between my parents…..it wasn’t easy for me Abike. Way back, my family used to be very good ….very good, I mean……..” He lamented.

“Yes, I know because Bisi used to tell me about you guys….then anytime we talked about family importance, she was always relaying how cute and exciting her family was…so I really feel your pains darling but you need to calm down so that you won’t sin against God through Papa. Our parents are our gods on earth and God reverence them so much, so we need to tred carefully dear.” I said with a warning tone. Charles nodded and gave me a sheepish grin.

“Sir, I still don’t understand what you meant by friendship oath….was the oath diabolical?” I inquired.

“No, it was not.” He answered firmly.

” ….. pardon me sir, the risk you took was too much. You made your loved ones to suffered for your decision…..” I said trying to pick my words with care.

“…..you know it’s not fair Papa.” I made him realised that he made a costly mistake with his decision and he agreed regrettably.

“……my dear, I never envisaged that it would cost me this much but when I thought of who Adisa has been to me and because Kofo was involved, I couldn’t help but do what I did…..” He paused and looked into our faces.

He told us that chief Adisa, my grandpa, had been very good to him. He remembered when he was rusticated in his third year in the university because he was a cultist, his people saw him as a total disappointment and a big disgrace to the family name and so they all deserted him, his parents inclusive. Because of his rejection by his immediate family he made up his mind to make it at all cost so he took to the street and became a criminal. But Adisa never gave up on him. He searched for him in every nook and cranny of the ghetto to pull him out of his filthy living. He put his life on the line by visiting him several times when he was staying in the den of notorious criminals, but he was very consistent and never ashamed to call him his friend despite several severe warnings from people closed to them to avoid him like a plague because of the negative influence that their relationship might bring.

After grandpa graduated, he brought Pa Sam into his house. He fed and clothed him with the meagre he earned as salaries. He didn’t see his friend as a burden but a complement and through his love and undeniable attention he became a new person.

My grandpa made his friend one of his senior staff, when he finally had the opportunity to establish his own company and also encouraged him to go for a distance learning business course, which he did to boost his qualifications.

He had to go that far to safe Kemi and her baby then, from the powerful and mean Kofo, his friend’s wife.

“…. children, if I didn’t play that part, Kofo could have sent an hired assassin after them ……I and my friend wouldn’t have been spared from her anger anyway.” He said.

An elderly man unannounced, came into the living room in the middle of our conversations and sat down quetly beside Pa Sam on the double seater facing I and Charles. He and Pa Sam exchanged a knowing look. Charles looked at me and nodded. I kept staring at the man because he was everything my dad was except old age. There was no doubt this was chief Adisa Daniels Adele, my grandfather! He gave me a long look and smiled lightly. It was certain that he was invited over by his friend. Grandfather had already been informed about my arrival and the issues on ground because he didn’t wait for any invitation before he continued the narration from where Pa Sam stopped.

“Kemi was a good woman. I didn’t have the intention of leaving her and her child, not at all, she was a woman who gave me peace of mind since my once sweet Kofoworola had become a pain in the neck. I left them because my wife was closing on them and that could be very dangerous. Samuel promised to take up the responsibility while I remained in the background watching over. I didn’t know our decision was going ruin Samuel, I would have own up to my responsibility and am sorry for that…..” Chief Adele apologized.

“No, Daniels, it wasn’t that, that ruined me. What happened was just a coincidence to my pay back time for all the wrongs I did in the past. When I was a cultist in school and the period I was on the street, I did so many abominable things. So it was nemesis that caught up with me. God only made me feel the pains I had caused other people…..” He confessed.

“Papa, you are the one that has been punishing this family……you have too many secrets for my liking ……and I am ashamed of you…..” Charles cut in.

” Enough of your insults young man ……what do you mean? ……are you any better?…..do you think I don’t know that you were also a cultist?…..your gently brother died praying for you and here you are condemning me……” Pa Sam exclaimed.

Charles stood up and was looking at his father with so much anger. I was shivering uncontrollably as if someone poured an iced water on me or I was drenched by rain. The revelation was too shocking and unbearable for me.

“Charles!……a cultist?”

THE NIGHT I TURNED 18

@ Olutope Olonade

Episode 39

I watched the anger in Charles turned into sadness and regrets especially when his eyes met with mine. He sat down dejectedly and kept mute for a moment.

“Papa! Who told you I was a cultist?” Charles asked slowly trying hard to control his emotions.

“You were different from your twin brother. Your twin was calm and cool headed while you were rough and tough. I became suspicious of your moves. So, there was a day I checked your room and I found some weapons and a T-shirt with the logo of the cult I belonged to when I was in school among your things. I meant to call you and probably counsel you but Kemi’s case sprang up and I barely had time to think about any other thing. Though I couldn’t move when the accident occurred but I heard your brother prayed that God should make you see the light before it was too late….” Pa Sam explained.

“…..too late for me?…..yes, because he realized it was too late for him to mend his ways, Papa.” Charles cut in.

“……. though I was tough and appeared to be rough to people but I wasn’t a cultist, I have never been a cult member in my life. I belonged to the kegites club and it was even against the law of the group to belong to any secret cult. Those costumes you saw in my luggage belonged to Chaste my twin and not me. I hid those stuffs from him when I discovered that he belonged to a cult and I knew without those things he would not be able to attend meetings and go for (their) other shady operations for the meantime until I would be able to convince him to renounce his membership. When his gang noticed that my brother was no longer active like before, they put the blames on me because they knew I never hid the fact that I didn’t like them around my brother. These made them to come after me. I and Chaste were both caught in the heat of the struggles when he met with his untimely death. They compelled me to return their things to them which I did but they insisted I join them to replace my brother but I refused. I might be tough and rugged but not as bad as Chaste…..your humble, cool headed and slimy deadly son who was the third in command of your former secret cult.” He declared strongly to hit back at his father. I squeezed his hand to caution him not to do so.

“The cultists declared a war against me for refuting and refusing to join them after I had known their secrets. I began to run helter skelter, I no longer attend classes regularly. By divine arrangements, I ran into a brother at the library who told me that God sent him to me. He told me confidently that I didn’t need to run anymore because Christ was going to rescue me from the evil group if I could give my life to him. I believed him because I have never met him before and for him to know that I was being pursued by some people that means that God did spoke to him about me. In the midst of of fear and uncertainty, I gave my life to the Lord.” He paused to feel my reaction to his speech.

He looked at me to check if I believe him and when he saw my understanding countenance he resumed his speech more confidently knowing fully well that I was convinced he was saying the truth.

“….the Lord sure fought the battle quite well and rescued me in a way that most surprised me. The second week of my conversion, I was in my room waiting on the Lord, when I heard the news that the campus and its environs were in chaotic situation because there was a clash between three most powerful cults where many cult members and innocent students lost their lives. The security agents were contacted and many of the cultists were apprehended and rusticated by the school management. The cult that I had a problem with was involved and since they had lost many of their key members who knew about my case I was off their hook forever. That became my main testimony which made me to want to know Jesus more and more.” He concluded. I was glad, it ended that way and I heaved a sigh of relief.

“Son, but you never told me that all this happened….” He lamented as tears misted his eyes and he looked up to his son for an explanation.

“Papa, you had a lot on your mind with kemi’s case and the accident. I couldn’t saddle you with more problems, papa”. He replied slowly.

“Honestly, son you still need to work on your temper, especially now that you are planning to be a family man.” Grandpa cautioned. After his warnings he steady his gaze on me and all attention was shifted to me. I brought my face down, thinking of what might be going on in the mind of the old man. He was just like my father, they both had a way of making someone sometimes feel uncomfortable with their long stare. I felt nostagiatic for the years that I had spent with my father when he was alive.

” I never gave up on you, even when your search seemed like I was searching for a pin in the dark. I always hoped that one day I will set my eyes on you alive and I thank God that the day has finally come….” I stood up when I saw him already on his feet to hug me. Pa Sam was right about my grandpa, he never give up on people easily. No wonder he was able to contact my dad despite the long period and distance. His hug felt like it was my father that was holding me to himself. I shed tears. I thought of how fantastic it would have been, had it been my parents were alive to witness the reunion.

Charles changed his seat to his father’s side while grandpa sat beside me cuddling me in his arms like a little baby. I laid my head on his chest, the smell of his perfume was beautifully strong and masculine. It had been long since I felt the touch of a family and I wished we were never going to be separated. My grandpa was playing with my hair while he asked after my welfare. I removed my head from his chest and looked into his eye just like a child would do when he was about to make a report of someone or something done wrong to him when his father was absent. I devoted the opening phase of my saga to recounting how peacefully and happily I was living with my parents before their demise. I continued to share my experience in the towns and cities of the Central region while I carefully deleted the pathetic parts of abortions and perforated womb. At the end of my long narration my grandfather was already in tears while Charles gave me a thumb up for not mentioning the horrible parts of the story. He had clearly warned me that on no account should I exposed that part of my life to anyone else anyhow for reasons best known to him but as for me, I cared less.

I wanted to know what transpired between my grand parents. I wanted to know what made grandpa had another woman in secret aside my grandma, since he wasn’t the type that give up easily on people. Why was my grandma’s case different? I cared to know.

“Grandpa…..who is grandma and why did you decide to keep her in the dark over aunty Kemi’s case?” I asked softly. He gave a heavy sigh.

” I and Kofoworola (meaning: one that doesn’t buy wealth or honour with money), began our love in school. After we graduated she helped me secured a job in her father’s construction company as a civil engineering technologist. I had worked with the company for close to a year before her parents got to know that we both were in a relationship. Problems arose from them because they saw me as a golddigger and an opportunist. The company thereafter became a living hell for me so I quit their company and looked elsewhere for job opportunities which was hard to come by. I resolved in starting my own construction company with the small savings I had and some little financial assistance from Kofo. After three years of my resignation, we decided to have a secret wedding at the registry since her parents refused to yield to all the pleas from us and other concerned people especially, our family members. Samuel my friend here was one of our witnesses at the court……” He pointed to Papa and they both smiled lightly.

“…..We relocated to another part of the town and rented a two bedroom flat which served as my office. It was not easy at the beginning to manage the company. I and Sam worked as factory workers and sometimes we did go for labour work at some construction sites to make ends meet but despite my challenges, I determined to be great in life. I had a vision that my name would open doors of opportunities for my generation so I persisted in my search for a better life. I already had it in mind to name my first child ‘Great vision’ to serve as a reminder of my vow to weather the storm to greatness. My wife got pregnant with your father in the third year of our marriage and I became much frightened because an extra mouth was going to join us soon. I didn’t want my child to suffer so I intensified my search for contracts and luck soon smiled on me. I got a contract from one big private company to construct buildings on their new site for the commencement of a new branch in that area. I was very glad but my problem was that my company was not yet registered and no company would give a contract of such huge amount to unregistered contstruction company. I didn’t know where to turn to so I summoned every courage to meet with my father in-law, Otunba. Immediately, I got to his office I postrated and apologized for taking his daughter in without his permission. He waved that aside and asked for the reason behind my visit and I explained to him. I suggested he share the profit the way he wanted, he smiled and agreed to my term. So I used his registered certificate and letter headings to do all the official documentations and his company’s machineries and labour force for the project. At the completion of the project our balance was paid into his bank account. I went to meet him in his hotel suite as agreed for my share of the proceeds. He gave me a check but the money written there was far below my expectations. The money he wanted to give me was not up to ten percent of our profit. I wanted to refused the check and question his actions but I remembered Kofo’s warnings not to argue with her father even if he cheated me. I took the check from him cheerfully and postrated in appreciation. I thought that at least half baked cake is better than none. I was going by the road side and thinking of how I was going to spend the money judiciously when I heard a car horned behind. It was Otunba again! He asked me as I entered his car if the information he just got about his daughter getting pregnant for me and if the secret wedding was true. I answered in affirmatively. He afterwards ordered me to return the check to him, which I did. He then, sent me out of his car. I watched him as he zoomed off in his car and I burst into tears……”

THE NIGHT I TURNED 18

@ Olutope Olonade

Episode 40

Grandpa’s story was a sorry one. I winced at him and he responded with a knowing wink. He smiled lightly and continued his story.

He told us that when he got home and narrated the terrible ordeal he had been through to his wife. She also cried but did not forget to warned him again never to engage her father in any form of combats over the money issue. She believed that God would make a way for them from another source.

Probably, because of the stress his wife went through the previous evening, she woke up the next morning in labour pains. Grandpa took his wife to the hospital and left her there in Pa Sam’s care to source for money but the money he was able to realize from his hustle was not enough to sort out the hospital bills and other baby things they took on credit. He was negotiating price with a neighbour over his small television set when one of his wife’s friend came visiting. When the lady saw the condition of the family, he asked grandpa to follow her to her bank.

When they got to the bank, the lady asked to see the manager but when they got to the manager’s office they met his father in-law and he postrated to greet him. The lady excused herself and the bank manager asked him to have his seat and handed over to him, a document which revealed a transfer of fifteen million naira from his father in-law into his account. Grandpa said he was amazed over it because that was exactly the whole profit they made on the contract. He went down on his knees and showed his wife’s father the document.

” Yes I know and don’t be surprised son because you worth it. I have kept my eyes on you for sometimes now and I am moved by your courage. I do what I did just to test your patience and morals but I wasn’t disappointed. It is your contract and so you own the profit. I was only a ladder for you to climb to greatness. Just make sure you spend the money judiciously, and take good care of my daughter. Daniel, I am also expecting your family to come and do the needful…..” He ended his speech and left without waiting for a reply from him.

“….I became a rich man overnight! That is why I named your father Great-vision, Onaolamisi (meaning the route to my wealth has opened) and I registered my company name as AdDavison. The first Ad- for Adisa and Adele, Da- for Daniel while Vis- Vision and On- is for Onaolamisi.” He explained.

“….I did the needful. I paid my wife’s pride price and we had a glamorous traditional wedding afterward. Kofoworola was a good woman. She stood by me through my tough and rough times, and so she became the queen of my heart. I treated her as a jewel of inestimable value that she was. We were living in peace and harmony. Sam later got married and started his own family. He too was also living well because he was one of my senior staff and was well paid. We enjoyed a peaceful life until all of a sudden my wife changed and became unlovable, mean and uncontrollable. Our marriage turned to a nightmare as Kofo became a threat to my business and relationships with many people. She never wanted to see people close to me. I lost many of my female clients because of her unfriendly attitudes. It got to a stage that I have no will of my own because I dance to her tune anytime there is a decision to make without realizing it. I have become her glorified house boy and I look on helplessly as she turned herself to a matchless Lady of my home and business empire.

“This is strange….” I said. My grandpa nodded helplessly in agreement. For some moments we all remained in a gloomy silence.

“Grandpa, please, I want to see her.” I requested.

“Sure my princess…..Sam will bring you home tomorrow.” He replied and he stood up to go.

“….I will be expecting to see you then.” He said and left.

I could not sleep well that night. My mind ran over the story my grandpa told me. I wondered what could have turned a loving wife into a hater. So I resolved to find out the mystery behind her weird attitudes.

“So the rich too has burdens that shake them inspite of their wealth and connections….When the poor sing their praises and wish to be like them…….who says the rich doesn’t cry? May be this is why the INTERPRETER said they are waiting for me here. May be God doesn’t want me to build my family on a rotten foundation because……if the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Well I think the answer is prayer….the righteous will pray because …..the prayer of the righteous availeth much” I said to encourage myself in the Lord and immediately I began to turn all my worries and anxieties into God’s hands untill the wee hours of the next morning.

Pa Sam refused to follow us to the Adeles and so we carried our cross by ourselves, so Charles took the lead and I followed.

The atmosphere we felt right from the time we drove into Adisa Adele estate was that of grandeur. My family house was not a disappointment at all rather it was beyond my imagination. The huge beautiful structure that stood in the middle of more that three plots of land by my estimation was magnificent. The mansion looked like some of these five star hotels I see in foreign movies. I couldn’t believe that the builders were from this land or from this planet! The quality of the building materials showed that they were imported stuffs. It was really a display of great wealth!

” This is paradise on earth…” I commented to Charles who simply nodded. I would not blame him, it wasn’t his first time of visiting, so he must have been used to it. I quite admired him, for him to remained humble despite being surrounded with this much affluence.

We were ushered into the main building by a beautiful pinkish lady with a pink gown-uniform. In all sincerity, the domestic staff in my grandpa’s house looked more posh and many than the ones in Pa Sam’s. I drew Charles arm and we hurried into the large living room with the expectation of seeing some of my extended families but was surprised and disappointed to be welcomed by only my grandpa in an usual quietness as I was led through to grandma’s apartment.

“How is my wife faring?” Grandpa asked an elderly man we ran into at the corridor that led to grandma’s room. He was holding a stethoscope, obviously he was a medical personnel.

“Oh! Lady Kofo was still comatose……I suggest we refer her abroad for more medical attention, if it’s okay by you sir.” He offered while his eyes were fixed on me.

“Oh! That’s my grand daughter, the one in the North.” He also introduced Charles alongside.

“Yes Chief!……Onaola’s daughter.” He shouted excitedly and offered his hand for a handshake.

“Abike…..here is our family doctor….” My grandpa said while pointing to the grinning old doctor.

“Definitely he must be the family doc. by his age and for being so familiar with the history and everyone in the family.” I stated my observation with a light smile while I stretched my hand out to meet with his.

“Thanks sir, for taking care of my family and how is my grandma’s health?” I inquired.

“This is amazing! Even Lady Kofo doesn’t have a daughter that this much resembles her. Apart from your look and stature your also speak exactly like her…..as bold as a lioness though unlike her you are so gentle like a dove….you are welcomed home dear.” That was supposed to be a compliment but the comment did not go down too well with me but I decided to put the nosy old man on observation. I asked grandpa for the cause of his wife’s illness. He told me that she had a fall three months ago and she had since then being in a coma.

We followed the doctor back into grandma’s bedroom and there she laid….the lioness…..My Lady…. She was lying on the medical bed fragile and lifeless. I moved prayerfully to her bed side and lifted her hand. She immediately opened her eyes instantly to the amazement of every one in the room except Charles.

Lady Kofo Adele looked up at me with dark staring eyes and became nervous.

“Abike, please forgive me, I am sorry for all the wrongs I have done to you, please…..it’s not my fault….I was used….” She pleaded.

“Kofoworola…..” Grandpa called.

“…..how come you suddenly sprang to life? And how did you know that this is Abike? He further inquired. She dropped her gaze and kept quiet for a while.

“I knew she would come and I have been expecting her.” She replied firmly. A hush descended over everyone in the room.

I sat quietly beside her and held on to her arm. I gave her a soft smile and reassured her that everything was going to be okay.

“No! It’s not going to be okay……” She retorted and let out a hysterical sreams. I stopped the doctor when I noticed he wanted to move closer. I got hold of her body until she calmed down then she started weeping.

“My parents were married for almost for ten years without a child of their own. …..” Grandma was saying. “…….They tried both medical and spiritual treatments but all could not provide them with positive solution. My father changed from a good husband to a bad one. He no longer cared for my mother and there was a certainty that another woman was on the way. The tension in the home was mounting up and my mother was becoming more desperate to give her husband what he was searching for outside. Through a close friend of hers, she was secretly introduced and initiated into the marine occult where they promised to help her. She became pregnant and was delivered of a set of twins. My twin sister died at birth and became a threat to my existence because she refused to return to the river where she came from but was roaming about hoping that one day she too would have the chance to live as human being like me. So I became her target. I never knew this until when people started claiming seeing me in one place while I was somewhere else. They told my mother at the occult that it was my spirit twin that was looking for a way to come back and warned her to do all she could not to allow us meet if she wanted me to stay alive. They requested that I also join the marine occult to assure my safety and so, I was initiated secretly.When my mother died, I was given her position which made me very powerful. I was told by the mother goddess that my spirit twin was still determined to come to back to life through one of my children. We cast a lot and it fell on Onaolamisi. The instruction was that I must not allow my son to give birth to a female child or else I would die the day I set my eyes on his baby. It was a painful decision but I had no choice that to dance to the tune of my safety. I did not want to take any chance so I sealed his wife’s womb when he refused to listen to me not to marry yet. It was a good news for me that my son and his wife eloped before Eliza, his wife gave birth to a baby girl. I began to monitor her growth and movement through the help of my magic mirror. I made so much sacrifices for me to stay alive before and after Abike’s arrival. Part of them was to sacrifice the womb of every of my female seeds from time to time to appease my spirit twin sister who had come back to the world in form of my granddaughter. When I was informed that my son had decided to come back home. The mother goddess told me that I must not set my eyes on her but it was not possible for my son to come home without his daughter so we planned to separate Abike from your parents………” She paused. By this time my grandfather was wailing miserably. I stood up and went to calm him down.

“……..I missed my son so much so I was willing to do all that would take for me to see him without being in danger. I and my fellow occultists with the help of the marine demons summoned her spirit on the night of her birthday but the spirits of her parents came forward to receive the arrows. And from that day I knew that I would never see my son alive. We tried afterwards to kill Abike but the spirit of my son kept fighting for his daughter but not strong enough to prevent us from pushing her into a life of confusion by blocking her way into coming in contact with the information that could lead her home…..” She paused again and looked my side. She got me quite nervous this time.

“…Abike…..and…and when it was time to donate the womb portion…..I donated yours….” She confessed.

My limbs went weak. I wanted to shout but my voice failed me. Instantly, I received the visit of the INTERPRETER.

“……calm down daughter, remember, I told you this morning that you are coming here to hear a mind blowing revelation that can push you into the sin of unforgiveness and you promised me that no matter what, you will keep your calm and be ready to forgo and forgive. This is that moment……daughter in this kind of situation can you keep your promise?

That was the voice of my comforter, how should I reply I him?

To be continued…

Stay Tune👍