Mrs. Bakare: “how was your outing with Major Olayinka?” she asked.
Both of them had just had dinner and they were seated in the sitting room watching one of those popular Philippines soap operas. Egbe turned to her slowly.
Egbe: “it was okay, I guess. It felt good to be out and relaxed…” she replied.
Mrs. Bakare: “so he is not as bad as you think?” she asked.
Egbe: “No… but that does not change anything. He stole my child from me and he has to pay for that.” She retorted.
Mrs. Bakare: “so what are you going to do? Are you going to commit murder? Are you going to kill the man your son has come to love as his father because of your thirst for revenge? Will Desmond show you gratitude if you should murder the one person in his life that has shown him love?” she asked softly.
Egbe: “I would have shown him as much love and even more. He is my son. Major Festus stole him from me and that I cannot ignore. What do you want me to do? Sit on the sidelines while Desmond grows up thinking those gross people are his family? He will have to understand. I am doing this, all of this, because I love him.” she replied hotly, tears gathering in her eyes.
Mrs. Bakare: “it is good that you have considered your feelings but have you considered the boy’s feelings. Nothing good comes out of hate and revenge, my dear. If you want that boy to love you, you have to love all that he loves. You have to see the world through his eyes, you have to accept all that he accepts and fight his battles with him. You see that man, that Major Olayinka that you have demonized so well, he saved your life. Your son is getting the best that life has to offer today because of him; that you are here today, in this house, with a degree in primary education today, is because of him. If you had been were you where several years ago with Desmond, your in-laws would have hounded you to your grave. You would have been broken and what hope would you have given the boy ehn? I ask you? Think well, think deep. In this world, there is always a reason for things and remember this, good is its own reward. I have said my own.” She said softly but determinedly.
Egbe looked at the woman she had come to love like a mother; she didn’t know what to say. She knew Mrs. Bakare was right though. The things she said were not the problem, she knew. It was not about revenge or hate; it was about love. She hated herself for it. It was a betrayal of everything but it was the truth; she was falling in love with Major Olayinka.
Femi Olusola Chambers was a new addition to the chambers that lined the cool hallway of Madam Tinubu House; a huge building at Ikeja, popular for having more law chambers than any other building in Lagos. Over eighty percent of the over 60 offices in the building were occupied by law firms. Barr. Femi Olusola had gravitated towards the building after winning his third human rights case; a landmark case of police brutality. His client had been awarded twenty-five million naira and he had claimed his percentage from it. With that one case, he had moved from a struggling lawyer to a name in the business.
Barr. Femi stared at his friend curiously. “He is disturbed but I know him. He will never say what is wrong.” He thought to himself. “So what brings you to my office this early in the morning, my friend?” he asked aloud.
Major Festus: “I want to write a new will.” He said
Barr. Femi: “what is wrong with the old one?” he asked, curious.
Major Festus: “something has come up which makes making a new will vital.” He replied.
Barr. Femi: “care to share this change in situation? How is Florence by the way? I see you are taking good care of her. I saw you guys chilling at the Alcove, some days back. By the time I got to where you were, you guys were gone.” He said.
Major Festus opened his mouth to speak then thinking better of it, shut it back and stared at the man silently.
Barr. Femi: “it seems you are not in a talking mood today…okay…okay… I will set the paperwork. Just list the changes, you want effected and I will get it done.” He said, sighing.
Major Festusd brought a piece of paper on which he had written the changes he wanted made in the will and handed it over to Barr. Femi. He took it and looked at it, his eyebrows rising slowly as he read. When he was done, he looked at Festus sadly;
Barr. Femi: “she will be furious o.” he said.
Olayinka: “I will be too dead to care.” He replied.
Florence called Doyin and asked him if he was on her side, and cared enough to help her. Doyin was silent on the phone for some minutes then he spoke
Doyin: “what do you want me to do?” he asked.
Florence: “there should be something, a drug, or something that can induce epileptic seizures or something… I don’t know. I just want the whole thing to look natural. You understand me? I want something that will make people think it was an illness. Can you get me something like that?” she asked.
Doyin: “I will check and get back to you.” he said.
Florence: “okay, good. Can I see you this weekend? I miss you.” she murmured into the phone.
Doyin thought about the other man, he had seen her with and sighed. He said okay; he will be with her during the weekend. He ended the call and stared at the wall, unseeing for some minutes before rousing himself and going back to work.
Egbe went to church on Sunday. It had been a while since she went to church. She had never been much of a spiritual person; taking every day as it comes. She listened to the priest’s sermon on forgiveness and love. She felt as if she had been directed to the church that day despite the fact that she had only gone to the Catholic Church because it was the one closest to the house. She had not actually come for the preaching though; she had come to seek solace, understanding and maybe, revelation. You see, falling in love with Festus was never part of the plan. She had wanted to pay the man in his own coin but above all she wanted her son back. She still wanted him back but it was now a complicated mess.
After mass, she stayed back, deep in thought. She stared at the altar and tried to form a prayer to God.
She was angry with her heart. It wasn’t right to feel this way for a man that had caused her pain, a married man for that matter. It wasn’t right at all. She knelt down and she begged God to help her, to direct her as she seemed to have failed herself.
Desmond never joked with his Sunday jollof rice and chicken. As soon as he and his parents came back from church, he would hang around the kitchen until he was served his plate of food. He would eat with his eyes glued to the cartoon channel, a glass of chilled orange juice by his side. This was the only day, his foster mother cooked and surprisingly, she was actually a good cook. On this Sunday though, she refused saying she was not feeling too fine. She called the cook and told her what to do, then she sent Desmond to the sitting room to join his father there. Desmond left quickly and the women set about making lunch.
While they were watching TV in the sitting room, the soldier guarding the gate came to the back door and informed Florence that someone was looking for her at the gate. She quickly rushed to the gate to meet the person. It was someone he had sent to a research laboratory in UNILAG. Doyin had simply told her what she could use but had refused to be involved. Her discussion with the man was brief. He gave her a small parcel then left immediately. Florence stood quietly thinking, then suddenly coming to a decision she rushed back to the kitchen.
When she got there, the cook was not there. She checked the door and saw the woman spying on the television through the connecting door from the dinning section to the sitting room. She quickly opened the pot and poured the contents of the package into the pot and stirred the contents quickly. She then shouted for the cook and the woman came, running back to the kitchen, a guilty look on her face.
Question: what do you think Lady Florence has poured into the pot? What can you suggest for Egbe to do now that she had fallen in love with Festus?
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