Nelson was just having his bath in the morning when he heard his phone ringing. He rushed out of the bathroom and picked the call before it cut, full of expectation. He didn’t recognise the number.
Nelson: “Good morning…..”
Man’s voice: “Good morning, Mr Igwebuike……. How was your night?”
Nelson: “Very fine, sir. Please, who is this?”
Man’s voice: “I am Yunusa Safid, Managing Director, Apex Bank of Nigeria…”
Nelson: “Really??!” He screamed, excited.
Mr Safid: “Yes sir. Your loan of 139 million which you took and invested in the Fembrigbe oil exploration had just been returned by the company to our bank. So, it is my pleasure to tell you that you aren’t only debt free but you also have a total of 12 million with us which is the amount you have paid to service the loan so far. We have removed the original interest on the loan.”
Nelson: “Oh, thank you sir. God bless you! Thank you so much!!”
Mr Safid: “We will expect you in our office before 10 am so you can sign a few papers.”
Nelson: “Thank you sir!!”
Mr Safid: “Congratulations, Mr Igwebuike!”
Nelson: “Thanks!” He said as he rounded off the call, grabbed his shirt and trousers and ran to his wife’s shop attached to their house. “Seun!! Seun!! Seun!! Guess what?” He asked her as she came out of the shop.
Seun: “What?” She asked excited. Things hadn’t been the same between them since her confrontation with him over 2 weeks ago. He had been angry and she was resentful. These days, they were barely talking so she was excited that he was happy.
Nelson: “They just called me at the bank, my loan has been settled!!”
Seun: “Oh! Praise the Lord!! God is good!!”
Nelson: “I know!!” He laughed as his children, who had now been going to a very cheap school came out of the shop to know what happened. “Children, guess what?? You will go back to your old school soon!”
“Yaaay!!” Susan and Evan shouted
Seun: “Old school ke? Noooo! This school they are going isn’t bad now.”
Nelson: “For my children? It is terrible!”
Seun: “Which money will take them back? Did repaying a loan mean that we now have excess money?”
Nelson: “They gave me the 12 million out of the money I have used to service the loan so far!”
Seun: “12 million!!! Eh ehn!! Their old fees is still there, about 4 million, add that to new fees they will now pay, are we not talking about close to 8 million? When we spend 8 million on school fees out of 12 million, what remains?”
Nelson: “Why are you so pessimistic?!”
Seun: “I am being realistic!!”
Nelson: “You know me!! Do you think I cannot double that 4 million in a week? Don’t you know me?”
Seun: “Know you? No I don’t! Have you done what the Pastor told you? Ehn? That you now think you’re a money doubler.”
Nelson: “Did I do it before my loan was repaid? Did I do it?? Restitution is useless, God has forgiven me!! So stop your nonsense theatrics and acknowledge I have more sense in this family.”
Seun: “Okay!” She said, feeling deeply hurt that her husband refused to listen to her. “Alright, do whatever you like. I trust God to do whatever he likes too.”
Nelson: “Please, mind your business! You have spoilt my mood. I’m going to the bank.”
Seun: “I’m sorry, forgive me.”
Nelson: “Whatever!!” He said as he left the house passing through her shop to the street.
Tony: “Mummy, I agree with you. Our school fee is too much. I don’t hate this new school, we will adjust.”
Seun: “Thank you dear, God bless you. God keep all of you for me.”
At the bank, Nelson met Mr Safid and signed the papers that transferred the money into his account. He was glad for this reprieve and was already making plans on how to recoup the money he had lost. It took him a while to decide if he should keep Seun as his next of kin.
Recently, her attitude had been knowing and condescending as if she thought she was better than him, all because of what that Pastor had told her. He decided to forgive her since she had always been faithful and left her as his next of kin.
He was glad this loan issue had been settled. He couldn’t wait to go back and laugh in the face of Pastor Jim when he bought another car and took it to church. Restitution ko, restoration ni. It wasn’t that he didn’t regret what he did but he had asked for forgiveness from God. Restitution was overkill in his opinion. Wisdom was profitable and approaching some people that you were part of those who killed their child years ago was not wisdom in his opinion.
He reached into his shirt to palm the rosary he never took off since the day he got it and panicked when he didn’t feel it against his chest. He remembered removing it when he shaved the hair on his chest in the morning and he never wore it back. He had rushed out after the call and never bothered to go back inside.
His heart beat nervously in his chest and he made his way out of the bank. He felt like calling Seun to bring the rosary to meet him at the bank but he knew she wouldn’t touch it. He tried her number anyway but she didn’t pick up.
He called a taxi and went home all the while begging Ada’s spirit not to visit him that day. He was in the taxi, scared and jumpy. The driver looked in the mirror often to see if something was wrong with him. On challenge road, the Taxi waited for the traffic light. They were there barely 20 seconds when a huge trailer bearing a container came barrelling out to make a turn in front of them.
He saw it and screamed for the taxi to make a reverse, the man tried but there were cars behind them. Nelson saw the heavy container wobbling and tilting in their direction.
Nelson: “Ada, Ada, please, I beg you!! Pleas, I will do the res……” Those were his last words to the ghost he believed was chasing him as the container crashed on their cab flattening the car and everything in it. Including the innocent driver and the guilty passenger.
Rita came out of the bus with the help of Reverend Father Paulinus as she made her way to where Ada’s parents stood, waiting for her. After her surgery and physical therapy, she was able to walk now but with assistance. In a short while, she would be able to walk by herself. She had managed to get through to them through Ada’s uncle who lived in their house in Lagos when they were abroad. When Ada’s mother saw her, she burst into tears of joy.
Chidindu: “Oh Rita, Rita, Rita, how are you dear?” She asked as she hugged the now limping Rita.
Rita’s guilt and fear of what she was about to confess did not allow her the joy of embracing totally a woman who had always treated her like another child.
Rita: “I’m fine, ma.”
Chidindu: “O dear, Father Paulinus mentioned your accident when he called us a few weeks ago. Hope you’re better?”
Rita: “Yes ma.” She nodded as she saw Ada’s father come forward. He held her hand tightly in a handshake that conveyed his mixed joy at seeing her again. “How is Sochi?”
Chidindu: “Oh, Sochi is wonderful. Enjoying motherhood the second time around. Her daughter Ada is already 7 months now. Come inside, I’ve pictures!!”
They went inside, her mother chatting all the way in about her grandchildren. As guilty as Rita felt, she was delighted to know that their family had something to cheer them up. After they sat down, drinks were offered and declined, Rita bolstered herself for the tough discussion ahead.
Mr Chineme: “Rita, we are sorry we seemed to forget after everything with Ada. Our grief was just too great to bear at the time.”
Chidindu: “Yes, we are sorry we left you alone. I am glad to see you made all your dreams come through despite all the opposition against you. I’m so proud of you!!”
Rita: “Oh, please Sir, Ma….im not…”
Chidindu: “Oh, Rita! You were always so modest. I know you were avery good friend to Ada, may God bless you for….”
Rita: “No! Please no ma!! She cried out as she burst into tears. “I wasn’t a good friend to Ada!! I wasn’t!! I failed her!!”
Mr Chineme: “No, Rita, don’t say that. If that’s the case, we all failed her, it’s not your fault what….”
Father Paulinus: “Please, Mr and Mrs Chineme, Rita has something to share with you over the phone like I told you before. Kindly listen to her.”
Chidindu: “Oh?? Okay dear, speak please.”
Rita: “You see ma………” She started and told them about the fight and the dream and everything that happened afterward including Kosi’s withdrawal from school.
Chidindu: “Why didn’t you say anything when we looked for her, Rita?” she asked as she wiped tears from her eyes with the sleeve of her blouse.
Rita: “I don’t know why ma. Fear, selfishness, I don’t know. Please forgive me.” She begged as she tried to get on her kneels.
Mr Chineme: “It is fine Rita. We forgive you. I wish you had spoken earlier so we could even have closure on this. After 20 years, how do we hope to find the people involved now??”
Father Paulinus: “We could hire a private detective to find them.”
Mr Chineme: “Hmmm, should we?” He asked his wife.
Chidindu: “I don’t know, i want to know what exactly happened to her. Even if it will hurt me again, I need to know what happened. But I have forgiven the person who killed her. I just want to know how she died. I am sure Sochi will also want to know.”
Mr Chineme: “Okay, we will ask Sochi and then we will do it before we go back to London.”
Rita: “Thank you sir.”
Chidindu: “Rita, we forgive you and I know Ada would have forgiven you too. She loved you so. Please, don’t doubt it.” She went to where Rita sat and embraced her.
Rita felt again the pang of years gone by. She would give anything to go back and never have fought with Ada. The reasons now seemed so childish and juvenile. Ada had been a genuinely good person who hadn’t deserved a back stabber for a friend. Now, she knew she would always have her limp as a reminder of how stupidly she betrayed her friend.
Final Episode coming soon! Don’t miss it!
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