Sabine raised her body from where she was bent over Jessica. Her face was emotionless, cold. She looked at Jessica in the eye.
Sabine: “I brought you food. You can keep the cooler.” She said quietly.
Jessica stretched her hand to grab Sabine’s hand that still rested on the bed but Sabine removed her hand from the bed, turned and walked out of the hospital ward.
Jessica: “I am sorry. I thought I was helping. I was wrong, am sorry. Please Sabine, I am sorry.” She whispered, crying.
Femi drove until he got to the motel where he was supposed to drop of the parcel that got him a hundred thousand dollars. He had almost opened it but he advised himself. If he should open the parcel and see the contents, he might not last another day on the streets.
He drove into the motel premises and came out of his car. He walked to the reception and asked for a room. He paid and climbed upstairs. On entering the room, he sent a coded message to his boss informing him that he was at the drop off point. He then ordered for food and sat down to wait for his contact to come.
He was tense and edgy. He had a large quantity of drugs in the car. It would go very bad for him if a police car should drive into that motel all of a sudden and the policemen start asking questions. About two hours later, a car drove into the motel. He peered through his room blinds. Two Latino guys got out of the car and walked towards the reception. It was Mannie and Carlos Santino. He watched them in tense silence. Some minutes later, he saw the reception guy walk out with them and point his room to them. The two men started towards his room. He quickly rushed to the bathroom and washed his face. He cleaned up and went to sit down.
A knock sounded on his door and he said ‘enter’. The doorknob turned and the two men entered.
Mannie: “hey Femi, it’s been a while. Where you been?” he asked smiling.
He had a gravelly voice that was a result of the two packs of cigarette he smoked every day.
Femi nodded and handed over the parcel to Mannie.
Mannie: “do you know what is inside?” he asked still smiling.
Femi: “I didn’t go through it. I don’t know what is inside, boss.” He replied, carefully watching Carlos who was moving around the room silently.
Mannie: “good man. Well somebody has been real cozy with the FBI and we have been curious as to that.” He replied, tearing the parcel open.
Femi’s mouth gaped open as he saw pictures of a man, his wife and children being butchered by men wearing hoods to hide their face. There was blood everywhere. As he stepped back in shock, Carlos shouted a warning and there was a bang. Smoke filled the room and soon, choking on smoke, Femi passed out.
He woke up to see himself looking DEA agents staring back at him. He turned and saw Mannie and Carlos in cuffs, staring at him with murder in their eyes.
“kai! I am dead. I said it. My instincts told me that this deal was too good to be true. I should have said no and managed my $10,000. What will I do? I am finished.” He thought as he stared at the faces looking at him.
DEA Officer: “you are going to be telling us a lot of things Mr. Femi, a lot.” The man said, smiling.
Femi held back the bile that came to his throat as he saw Mannie glower at him.
“Mo gbe o! I am dead.” He thought, his heart palpitating.
A MONTH LATER
Sabine looked at her discharge certificate for a second and dropped it into her bag. The pregnancy was not obvious to the casual observer but she knew her body was undergoing changes. She boarded a keke and gave the driver directions to her place.
As soon as she entered, she immediately started parking her bags. She cleared the room and gave some of her things out to her neighbours then she burnt the rest. She stood looking at the empty room, her bags packed at the corner.
“There are no good memories here; Just sadness and tears. That is all I am taking with me.” She thought looking around slowly.
She came out and locked the door. She handed the keys to her neighbour to give to the landlord anytime he surfaced. She then boarded a keke headed for the airport and was soon in Lagos. The next day, she boarded a flight headed for the United States.
Jessica listened to the doctor as the doctor told her that she could no longer mother a child; she had no womb. She wanted to weep but no tears came.
“I deserve it. See what N210,000 has bought you? You have lost a friend and your womb. The worthless piece of shit that placed you in this predicament is nowhere to be found. How do you go home and explain this to your mother? Jessica you are a fool” she thought to herself.
She had started this thinking in the second person recently. It was as if she was trying to disassociate herself from the person who had done those stupid things.
She asked the doctor if Sabine had come to look for her since that day and the doctor told her that she had not. She felt like weeping but the tears refused to surface. It was like a load on her chest that she couldn’t get off. She just stared, clear eyed through the window, out of the doctor’s office.
She got up and went back to her place. At her room, she dropped her bag and looked at the cooler on the table. She had gotten a nurse to wash and wrap it. It was the only thing she had of a friend, whose heart she had broken.
“I cannot go back home like this. I can’t go back and act like nothing happened. I will go to a place where nobody knows me. A big city, somewhere a single lady won’t seem out of place. Lagos, I will go to Lagos.” She thought, determinedly.
Brume walked into the airport terminal and breathed deeply.
“Finally back home. After one year of service. Fucking service, where those girls wanted to kill me. Home sweet home…I am back and am ready to shake this town. Lasgidi!” he thought, with a smile on his face.
He stopped a taxi and gave the driver his house address. He got home and his parents were happy to see him, his mother especially. She had prepared good food and had invited his friends to come welcome him. His siblings were also excited to see him. His mother complained that he was a little on the thin side and encouraged him to eat as much as possible. An old friend, Timi came to meet him where he sat eating his third helping of fried rice,
Timi: “bro how far na? You wan chop till you faint o.” he said smiling.
Brume: “omo I missed Mumsie food joor. I was eating out every day in that Kano o.” he replied, his mouth filled with meat and rice.
Timi: “yeah, but Sabine’s still your favourite cook sha o?” he replied, picking a seat close to Brume.
Brume: “don’t ever mention that girl’s name near me again. Didn’t you hear what she did?” he asked angrily.
Timi: “guy you never hear of photoshop. Sabine was too decent a girl to do a thing like that. Besides I know how much that girl loves you. I am surprised you quickly believed such a thing. Who snapped those pictures? Did you hear Sabine’s side of the story? Who is the guy whose face was conveniently blurred? These are things you should find out.”
Brume: “guy this discussion is making me lose my appetite. Can we drop it? What’s done is done.” He replied angrily then returned back to his food.
Timi looked at him sadly and shook his head.
“We never seem to know the value of what we had until it is gone. One day, you will realize that Sabine is a good woman.” He thought to himself as he watched Brume eat.
Femi’s case was brought to court and in no time, he was sentenced to seven years in prison. He had given the DEA a lot of information to get this deal. He discovered that the trip had been a set up. His boss had sold out to the DEA to save his own self. The DEA didn’t really want him. It was the Santino brothers they wanted and he had given the brothers to them on a platter of gold. He prayed he survived long enough in prison to complete the seven years sentence. He had cried in court on hearing the sentencing. He didn’t know what to do. Everything had been taken from him.
They led him away as camera snapped pictures and recorded videos for news. He tried to cover his face with his manacled hand but couldn’t. He was soon placed in a van and taken to prison.
Question: Everybody seems to be trying to start a new life. Do you think Sabine will be able to forget the past and move on?
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