Vanessa tried her best to get her back to her normal self again but it all proved abortive. For days whether she was at work or at home, she would pick her phone to admire all the pictures of Lanre in her gallery. She blamed herself for not having his baby, for not being good enough for him. She started seeing herself as not being good enough for any man.
On their way from work that Wednesday evening, Vanessa drew her by force to Silverbird cinema where they saw a movie titled ‘Home Dad’ and for the first time in days, she laughed out loud genuinely. She wept and laughed, smiled and wept again. Vanessa let her be and only made comments on the movie at intervals.
After the movie, they went to Shoprite where they got some vanilla flavoured ice cream and ate to their heart’s satisfaction. On getting home, Vanessa decided to sit her down and talk to her.
Vanessa: “Do you know you are beautiful?” she asked looking directly into her eyes.
Nkeiru: “I used to know but not anymore” she replied sadly.
Vanessa: “I am telling you now, you are very beautiful in and out. Much more beautiful than anyone I have ever met in my life”
Nkeiru: “Thanks Vanny. That is so sweet of you to say. But if I am really that beautiful in and out like you say, why did my husband leave me? He must have found someone better than me right?”
Vanessa: “No one can be better than you. This is what you should always tell yourself. He no longer deserves you, maybe he did before but not anymore. Let him go hon. He is just one man in a world where there is many men” saying this made her realise her own mistake with Patrick all along and she determined in her heart from thence to let him go”
Nkeiru: “Hmmmm…it’s not as easy as you think it is dear. He is the only man I have ever loved in this life. Which other man is there that can be like him in my life?”
Vanessa: “You are like this cos it’s what you’ve made yourself believe. You are still very young, clear your mind, get healed emotionally, let your youthful exuberance return, Look beautiful, discard every thoughts of a person who thought you unworthy of him and you will see how much will change in your life. Don’t let yourself remain a captive of marital misfortune or relationship hazards. You can move on”
Nkeiru: “Yes I can move on” she brightened immediately. She slide her phone open and took to her gallery to delete all the pictures of Lanre and the ones they took together, she deleted all the texts between them and blocked him on whatsapp and facebook. Then last of all, she deleted his number from her phone. She felt better after doing these and smile contentedly at Vanessa.
Vanessa: “That’s my girl!” she said sadly wondering if she was going to be able to let Patrick go like that. she went closer, put her arm around her and packed her gently on the cheek.
Nkeiru: “You are a God sent Vanny. Thank you for being in my life at this point. I hope you will learn from me and let go of him now that you haven’t gone too deep?”
Vanessa: “Yeah sure. Let’s go shopping on Saturday dear. Change our wardrobe and buy new makeup kits. We are proud to be single and independent. We love us. Hip! Hip!! Hip!!…”
He roamed the streets of Atlanta for some time, searching for job but none was forthcoming. Even the ones who managed to employ him to do one menial job on the other would later fire him with the excuse of not wanting to employ a homeless guy who could bring hoodlums into their homes later on. They had probably learnt their lesson in the hardest ways possible in the hands of some homeless guy they had tried to help. He did not want to go too far from where he lived in the hope of Anna going back to look for him. He slept under bridges and among some other bunch of homeless guys. At those moments, he got to realise that every state or country have their own share of the unfortunate ones and the dregs of the society. He became one of the dregs of the society in Atlanta. Many times he would let himself imagine what his life would have been like if he had listened to his wife, if he hadn’t wasted their savings on the unfortunate journey he was on.
He could not take the suffering anymore as he found it difficult to feed himself, he almost joined a gang of pickpockets some time back because of how hopeless he had become. He decided to go back to Pete to beg him for another chance and Lucy to direct him to where Anna lived. On getting there, he met them preparing to go for a picnic. Lucy was already heavily pregnant and this reminded of him of his own loss.
Pete: “Hey man! You look terrible” he sized him up from head to toe. “When was the last time you had anything decent to eat? Why didn’t you come back to me since then?”
Lanre: “I didn’t want to disturb you of course. You have anything eatable in the house? I am starving” he said as his eyes roamed the house.
Pete: “Yeah sure!” he led him to the kitchen while he helped himself to the left over pizza he found in the microwave.
Lanre: “How is Lucy doing” he asked with a mouthful of pizza.
Pete: “She is fine. We were just planning to step out but I guess that can wait. I will go explain to her now” he said and took giant strides to the sitting room where he found out his wife was already asleep on the sofa. He heaved a sigh of relief and went back to his friend.
Lanre: “I need your help! I know you have Anna’s address. Please can you help me with it? I need to see my baby, she must have put to bed by now. Please I beg you for our friendship’s sake”
Pete: “Hmmmmm…my dear, I can’t. Anna is already married to another man and she told Lucy the baby actually isn’t yours”
Lanre: “That is a lie. You are only trying to dissuade me from going to look for her. The baby is mine” the veins on his neck popped out violently as he spoke and bits of pizza dropped from his mouth.
Pete: “It is the truth. You know I did ask you how much you knew about her. You see all these white chicks, we Africans think they are naïve but they are not. They are very smart and they play their games well. The man she is married to now is the father of the baby and if you go there, you are only going to disgrace yourself and cause yourself more heartache. I will advise you to just let her go”
Lanre: “No! Give me her address, I need to ask her myself”
Pete: “She will call the police on you and it will be her words against yours. Aren’t you even thinking of your wife at all? How do you think she felt when she found out you were married? Imagine how you feel now? She must have felt worst”
Pete: “The only thing I can do for you is to pay for your flight ticket back home, go and beg your wife’s forgiveness. I pray she forgives you since hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and yeah you did scorn her a lot. Please go back home, you have a family waiting for you there and stop grasping for the wind here, fighting for a lost course. The only person that will end up hurt in the long run is no one but you. You can always come back here when you have yourself established better”
Lanre: “Do you really think she will forgive me?”
Pete: “She is kind hearted, she will forgive you if she hasn’t moved on though”
His heart ached at the prospect of her being in another man’s arms.
Boss brought out his gun and pointed it at him.
Boss: “Drop her on the floor there and take three steps back from her” locust did as he was bid with his hands in the air.
Locust: “All I did was save her so why are you pointing a gun at me?”
Boss: “Guys!” He bellowed. Two men appeared from different directions, saw Locust and stopped. “Tie him up and take him back to the camp, throw him inside the pit till I decide on what to do with him” he said then dropped his gun to his side and walked over to Erica as the men bundled Locust up. She had blood all over her, he checked to see if there was any wound on her but he found none and he wondered why she was so much in shock. He looked at her pitifully and thought about how her life would have been full of glee if he hadn’t carried out the raid that night.
As he lifted her into his arms, she opened her eyes slowly and started to weep when she saw him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and said “Thank God you are fine. I thought you were going to die, I was so scared I had lost you forever” she sobbed into his chest as he walked on speechlessly. He could not carry on the charade anymore, he felt like he needed to be better for the innocent girl in his arms so he could be worthy of her.
Boss: “What happened to you? Where did you go to?”
Erica: “One of the men dragged me somewhere and tried to rape me. I was still struggling with him when Locust showed up and plunged a knife inside him on top of me. Having a dead man with his blood dripping all over me and the fact that I thought he would kill me next was probably the reason I passed out”
Boss: “Hmmm Locust sure is smart” he said to himself.
The next morning, the men thought he would order them to evacuate from that area but he didn’t. He told them to carry on like nothing happened. He ordered that Locust be brought to him.
Boss: “Were you the master mind behind the rebellion? You want to become the leader?” he asked when he was finally brought before him in his tent.
Locust: “I did not plan any rebellion. I had gone to town and it was on my return that I found one of the guys struggling to have his way with her, I plunged my knife into his back while he was still on top of her and brought her to you. I did not even know there had been a rebellion until I started seeing all the dead men on my way here. Please believe me, we’ve been friends for too long”
Boss: “I don’t believe you… the men would never have done this on their own, I will find out in due time and I will kill you…”
Question: Is Locust really innocent? Even if he is guilty will killing him be the best option?
Stay tuned for Episode 22 (You don’t wanna miss this!)…AdeLove Stories…Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!
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