I was still sitting there thinking of what to do when Sandra suddenly walked in startling us both, I could tell she was surprised to see Nancy sitting in my chair.
“what’s going on here?” She asked looking suspiciously at both of us, Nancy cleared her throat in an attempt to reply as she hurriedly stood up from my chair and picked her bag, “I was just briefing her further on the project” she replied, “but I must take my leave now” she said walking towards the door, “I’ll be back for a feedback on our discussion” she called out to me before walking out and slamming the door behind her.
“What was that all about?” Sandra questioned after she was gone. I heaved a huge sigh, contemplating whether or not to tell her the truth and finally replied, “it’s a long story, I’ll tell you about it later.”
I could tell she wasn’t satisfied with my response but she just shrugged and said “okay”
Nancy had sent an email with Obinna’s picture to me later in the day titling it “incase of future reference” All I could do was shake my head when I saw it, she was clearly very desperate.
I left work very early that day before she could come to ask for any feedback, I needed to discuss with my mum and hear Nonso’s side of the story before finally deciding on what to do.
That day when I got home, mum was sitting glued to the TV watching the evening news, she didn’t even notice when I walked in or realise that I wasn’t my usual bubbly self when I greeted her. “Have you heard the news making rounds about your father?” She asked barely taking her eyes off the TV, “no I haven’t” I replied, “what’s the news?” I asked curiously, “look she said pointing at the headlines written at the bottom part of the TV as the newscaster read the news, “what?” I screamed after I read the headlines, all the issues I currently had suddenly flew off my mind
“how did this happen?” I asked, “does Steven know about this?”,
“how would he? When the both of you don’t watch the news” she replied sarcastically.
“What’s going to happen to Dad now?” I asked rather concerned about the news, “It’s not my business anymore” mum replied nonchalantly, “I’m just a spectator like every other person who’s hearing the news, all I have to do is sit back and watch what happens” she said sipping her juice. I could tell she was unhappy about the situation but was trying to act like she didn’t care, it was also obvious that she felt vindicated.
Poor Dad! His lustful desires had led him into a deadly trap, apparently all the funds from his multi million naira company had been embezzled, not some or half but all of it and he was left bankrupt and in debt. The whole crime had Teni written all over it, that was why she married my Dad in the first place, he was probably blinded by lust and made her joint signatory to major accounts and being the greedy pig she was, she succeeded in embezzling most of it in less than a month after their marriage. The Teni in question had been declared wanted by the police but was nowhere to be found, she had probably fled the country before Dad could find out. I could only imagine how heartbroken, lonely and stupid Dad must’ve been feeling with no family around to console him, the poor old man!
I was already feeling sorry for him; with this new development, there was no way he was going to become governor. I only hoped that his dirty old friends would at least learn from his stupid mistakes.
Mum had made up her mind to steer clear of the case; as far as she was concerned, Dad was a complete stranger and deserved to be treated as such.
I just hoped Teni had not infected him with HIV before leaving for his sake because I was quite positive that they had been having unprotected sex and HIV is a sexually transmitted virus as we all know. It damages the immune system thereby interfering with the body’s ability to fight disease causing organisms. It may take years before the virus weakens the immune system and as such an individual may be infected with HIV for years without knowing. It has no cure, but can be managed with drugs that slow the progression of the disease.
It wasn’t too long, before Dad attempted to reach out to mum and the rest of us but mum and Steven refused to take his calls. I on the other hand felt sorry for him and paid him a visit. My heart sunk when I set my eyes on him, he looked so unkempt and devastated and the stench of alcohol coming from his mouth was repulsing, it was hard to breathe while sitting close to him but I had no choice than to endure the torture for his sake.
“I’m a failure” he began saying with tears in his eyes, “I tore my family apart with my own hands” he said staring at both his hands like extra fingers had just grown on them, “Teni has destroyed me” he said, putting his head in his hands while he wailed loudly. I didn’t know what to do, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, I just sat beside him and offered him a shoulder to cry on. I could see he had realised his mistakes and was genuinely sorry but I couldn’t help but think his remorse was coming a little too late, Mum had been hurt badly, she almost killed herself because of his thoughtless behaviour, I really doubted she was willing to forgive him and even if by some miracle she did, I could almost bet my life on it that she would never return to being his wife again. Dad had thrown away his diamond to chase an ordinary stone.
The next day I asked to meet up with Nonso at a restaurant not too far from Steven’s place after work, I planned to confront him when I saw him.
“Hi babe” he said attempting to give me a peck on the cheek when he saw me, I leaned as far back as possible to avoid it, I figured he must’ve thought it was a friendly outing.
“I’m sorry, I guess I was a little carried away” he said sounding genuinely sorry.
“Have you placed any orders yet?” He asked, “not yet, I stumbled across something interesting yesterday and I thought you might want to have a look before we started eating.” I replied, “what is it?” He asked curiously, rubbing his hands together in excitement like a little child, I’m sure he was thinking we were on some sort of romantic date with many pleasant surprises awaiting him but little did he know he was in for a shocker.
“Hold on!” I said trying to calm him down, “I’ll show you in a second”
I brought out my phone, scrolling through series of pictures till I finally found Obinna’s, then I dropped it on the table and slid it over to Nonso. “Surprise! Surprise!” I said sarcastically, waiting to see his reaction, the smile on his face faded slowly when he realised who was staring back at him in the picture, then he slowly raised his head to look up at me like he was scared to look at my face. “It’s not what you think” he stammered…..