…continued from episode 20.
I woke up with a back ache the next day after spending the night sleeping on the chair beside mum. Steven and I hurriedly rushed home to prepare for work after making sure that the hospital assigned one of their staff to stay by mum’s side to constantly watch over her like we did all night just incase she tried to harm herself again. I called Sandra’s lawyer in-law as soon as I could to inform him that we would be needing his services again; thankfully, he was willing to take up the case but at a very costly price which I knew Nonso would have difficulty paying on his own, I had to agree to his high charges since we were desperate and he was the only lawyer willing to help so far. Nonso could barely even afford the required initial part payment, I had to dip my hand into my fixed deposit savings to help him out on the promise that he’d pay back; another decision I hoped I wasn’t going to regret.
Working with Nancy everyday after that was hell as usual, it was difficult making much progress when I had to work with my no. 1 enemy, I kept fighting the urge to squeeze her throat each time I saw her walk into our office with the stupid smirk on her face. Every time I caught a glimpse of her, I wondered How she could even sleep at night with all the evil she did during the day; if not for the fact that I really loved my job and the project was only temporary, I’d have resigned a long time ago.
A few weeks and a series of therapy sessions later, mum was much better and was declared mentally stable by the psychiatrist, Steve and I were relieved that we no longer had to constantly watch over her; our happiness and relief had only been short-lived because exactly 2 weekends later, Dad got married to Teni in a lavish empty-your-bank-account-to-make-it-happen kind of wedding and the news was all over the media, from TV channels to newspapers and magazines. Apart from the fact that so much money had clearly been spent on the wedding, the media buzz was a little more than usual because Dad was an aspirant for the gubernatorial elections, it was difficult to turn on the TV or visit any media platform on the internet that whole weekend without seeing Teni’s gold-digging face smiling back at me every time. Just by looking at her face in the pictures, I could tell that she was up to no good, any fool could see that there was clearly no chemistry between them but Dad had been blinded, as far as I was concerned, he was walking eyes wide open into a pit that had carefully been dug for him but I really didn’t care what happened to him, it was none of my business, I was more worried about mum hearing the news, I didn’t want her to go into another phase of depression, it had taken long enough for her to recover from the previous one, I tried my best to prevent her from finding out that weekend, I’d decided that Steve and I would look for a more suitable way to tell her at the appropriate time.
When she came down to watch TV that morning, I had disconnected the cable TV in the living room and lied to her that it was faulty, I told her we were having a mother-daughter day with no disturbances and seized her phone, I was just like a mischievous 5 year old coming up with various silly pranks. “Stop wasting your time, I know about it already” mum blurted out all of a sudden while I was still trying to hide her laptop from her, “I know about it already, a friend called this morning to tell me” she said.
I froze behind the couch where I’d been trying to shove her laptop underneath without her noticing, I felt like a mouse that had been caught trying to steal cheese, “what did your friend tell you?” I asked just to make sure we were on the same page, “that your father is getting married today” she replied. I slapped myself on the forehead with my palm, I couldn’t believe I’d spent all morning trying to prevent her from hearing what she probably even found out before I did, I felt like such a fool on hearing those words. “I’m so sorry” I said running over to her side to give her a hug although I was still confused, “why are you so calm?” I asked, “how come you never said anything all this while?”
“I was enjoying watching you make a fool of yourself” she said chuckling, “the only reason I had to stop your games was because I didn’t want to miss my favorite TV show starting in 30 minutes” she said with a wide grin that made me feel even more stupid, “why aren’t you angry?” I asked, “why do you seem so happy?”
“I almost lost my life around this time a few weeks ago, and if I did, this is what he’d have gone ahead to do…marry his mistress” she explained, “he never for once came to see me when I was down in the hospital and he wasn’t bothered about me. It was from that moment that I told myself that he wasn’t worth losing my life or happiness over. I completely let go of him ever since then. Am I happy about it? Well no! I can’t rejoice over the fact that my seemingly once happy home has been torn apart by a stranger young enough to be my daughter but I’m happy to be alive today, I’m glad I didn’t waste my time taking my own life only to realise when I got to the other side that my husband wasn’t worth the stress. I have my children who love me, and that’s all that matters to me. Your father is history, he belongs to someone else now” She said, I couldn’t believe it was my mum who had just made that speech, the same woman who had been seemingly weak at heart and naïve. “You made the right choice mummy, I promise to always be there for you” I said hugging her as she squeezed my shoulders tightly with her arms in a warm embrace. Steven joined us when he was awake later on, I told him everything that happened and he was thankful for mum’s new disposition to life, we spent the rest of the weekend watching TV and enjoying each other’s company like one small happy family.
The next morning I walked into the office feeling energized and charged for the week, I knew some people were going to bombard me with questions about my father’s latest marriage to a toddler but I was prepared to face them all, I had already practiced different replies in my head that I was going to use to shut them up. I opened the door to my office and was suddenly stopped in my tracks when I saw Nancy sitting behind my desk on my chair, “here we go again” I thought rolling my eyes and walking up to her, “what is it this time?” I asked tapping my fingers on the desk and dropping my bag in the seat beside me, “Good morning Sonia” she said, “please sit, I’d like to have a word with you.”
I was actually shocked to hear her use the words “good morning” and “please” all in one sentence, she sounded sincere and she was never usually that polite, “why are you suddenly acting all polite?” I asked raising my eyebrows in suspicion, “I’m not hear for a fight Sonia” she began, “I’m here to plead with you” ,for a second I thought I was hearing things, “plead with me?” I asked, “for what?”, “please sit” she said pointing to the chair beside me, I thought it was ironic how she was in my office sitting in my own chair and telling me to sit like I had just walked into her own office,typical Nancy behaviour. Sandra wasn’t at work yet, it was just Nancy and I in the room so I curiously sat and listened to what she had to say.
She remained silent and brought her phone out of her bag, showing me the picture of the cutest little boy I’d seen in a while, he looked only about 4 or 5years old, “who’s he?” I asked, “he’s my son” she replied staring lovingly at the picture, “his name is Obinna”, “wow! I had no idea you had a son” I exclaimed in shock, “very few people do” she explained, “he stays with his grandma in Port harcourt” she said, scrolling through her phone and showing me another picture, I looked and I saw the picture of Nonso carrying the little boy and smiling, “Nonso knows you have a son” I asked even more surprised, “yes he does” she replied, “it’s his son too” she added looking at me, “what did you just say?” I asked holding my chest, “Nonso has a son?”, I stared at the picture again and it was then I saw the striking resemblance that I’d been too blind to notice at first. The boy looked everything like Nonso from his eyes down to his lips, no wonder I thought he was cute immediately I saw him, the only flaw he had was the big ears he had taken from his mother.
“Yes he does” she replied “and he was doing a good job at being the perfect dad until you came along” she added, “please I beg you” she said kneeling down, “leave Nonso alone for Obinna’s sake, he misses his Dad so much” she begged. I couldn’t believe my ears, It was like I was hallucinating, how was it possible that my boyfriend of over 2 years had a son that I knew nothing about until now? why did he hide it from me and why was Nancy suddenly confessing after all this time? I couldn’t believe the irony, I had been championing the cause against home wreckers like Teni when I myself was now being labelled as one by my biggest rival.
I stared down at the picture of Nonso carrying the boy again, they looked so happy together. Could Nancy really be telling the truth? Was he really Nonso’s son?
I was blank, I didn’t know what to think anymore…