Click here to Read The Prologue
Click here to Read The Part 1
Click here to Read The Part 2
Click here to Read The Part 3
Click here to Read The Part 4
Click here to Read The Part 5
Click here to Read The Part 6
Click here to Read The Part 7
She was getting quite heavy, both in mind and in body. She stood before the mirror naked. Her belly protruded and tapered off towards the floor. The time was getting near and she thought more about Izuchukwu these days. He has a right to see his baby once he was born. He had a right to see his son and to be his father. But, she was still very angry at him and Kate for what they had done to her.
Sometimes, she felt like punishing him forever for what he did. She could keep his baby away from him. But, she knew that would not be right. Sooner or later, he will want and need a father figure. No one better than the biological one.
She had found it difficult to trust a man ever since. She had several approaches from Nigerians and other men, but she could never get herself to break down the barrier she had erected against them in her life. In the end, she always drifted away from them. She had come to accept the fact that she loved Izuchukwu too much. She had also come to accept the fact that she forgave him for all that had happened. After all, he was only a man and men do silly things. Men are usually led by their what exists between their loins and women by their hearts.
It is the way of the world, and she accepted that fact. However, she hurt that she couldn’t have the one man she had come to truly love. She can’t have him because he belonged to another. It was a queer quirk of fate that it should be that way. So, while she forgave him and Kate in her heart, she couldn’t forget. She couldn’t forget that Kate, her friend, put her through all the heartache she obviously knew could only be the result of her hare-brained stunt.
She caressed her big belly. She loved Izuchukwu and that was one reason she wanted to keep a part of him with her. She wanted him in her life, even if by proxy.
If she can’t have the man, she will settle for some part of him. She can still draw some emotional catharsis from caring and loving a part of him. More importantly, it will be one reason to see him again. Even if she still wants him to suffer as she had suffered, is still suffering, too.
She knew how hard the events in Brazil a couple of months ago would have affected his business plans in that country. It was one of those things that are unforeseen, but when they happen they kick you hard in the teeth. She hadn’t seen or predicted that happening, and she was sure neither had anyone else. She only hoped he was alright after the dust settled.
She moved away from the mirror and went into the wardrobe to get her clothes. She had an appointment at the gynecologist’s. From there she was going to see a few friends and then come back home to her lonely apartment. It was how she had lived since coming down here. It was not fun, but she needed to be away from where her hurt was planted. As far away as possible.
Nowadays though, she has thought more about seeing Izuchukwu. She wanted to see him right now. But, she will wait till after the arrival of the baby. She shrugged herself into the flowery gown she took out of the wardrobe and slipped on the flat soled sandals to match, slung her bag over her shoulders and eased herself out of the flat.
She would see him; but not today.
“Life is a bitch!”
“Yeah, I have heard that one before.” They were sitting at the Blue Ridge off Acme Road in Ikeja. It was well past midnight. But, he didn’t feel like going home.
Home had no meaning to him anymore. Since Oz left him two years ago, the place had lost its emotional value. Now, it was just a place to sleep and to punish himself with the memories of the good times he had with her and his daughter.
That was his first hell.
He still kept the other flat he took out when he dated Olamide. He went there still on weekends and whenever he could.
That was his second hell.
His third hell was his businesses. One by one he had been beset with one misfortune after the other. It was like when both women left him, his good luck charm also packed its bag and followed them out of the door.
First, it was his Brazil venture that got busted. Tried as much as he did, he couldn’t recoup his financial outlay from the Brazilian government. That part of his business life was a nightmare. It led to him having to plug huge financial vacuums with the bank with funds from other businesses, which in turn affected the smooth running of those other businesses. Eventually, he had to close down his restaurant, he sold off his supermarket strip to another franchise – that still hurt when he passed by the branch at Ketu and saw how it was thriving under another name written on the pylon.
In the year after the Brazilian debacle, he had reverted to the stock exchange market and that kept him afloat. It helped him to stabilize. But, that was a potential mine field that could blow up in his face any time. He needed a more stable field to play in and an escape from the high pressure stock speculation game.
He reverted to his old friends and drinking. That was how he was out late with Steve. Steve was one of those friends of his making good money from importing generators from Japan. He was trying to sell him on the idea to pitch in his funds into the business and partner with him.
Steve had bigger plans, he wanted to begin importing generators and high tension cables and other power distribution items. He needed more capital and that was part of why they were at the Blue Ridge. To discuss business.
The other reason was personal to him. He didn’t want to go home and he needed a listening ear to all his emotional woes. For some time now, he had been an emotional wreck. No other woman had been in his life since Oz and Olamide left, none could even come close.
He had done enough damage as it is.
“Just Look at me. Two years, I can’t even find my wife and daughter. I don’t know how she looks now and I am sure my daughter can’t remember she has a daddy. Life is a bitch!”
“Like I said before, Izu, I have heard that before. What you need to do is to pull yourself together and face the world. You have made a lot of wrong judgment calls in business. That’s why you have been losing all your key business ventures. Just keep it together and you will see that life is a sweet bitch.”
“But it is. It kicks you in the teeth when you are just beginning to have a good time. I loved her, but now she is gone and with my daughter too,” Izu sipped his glass of FES, his mind going back over the last twenty-four months. It was exactly two years when they both left him. The two women he ever truly loved and cared about.
Both of them running away from him and taking along his children.
“Hmm….I hear you. But how did you think you could pull it off? Really? You were married and all… you confess you love your wife…how then could you love another woman?”
The silence grew steadily as they continued to sit and look at the others as they danced and frolicked on the dance floor. Izu continued to nurse his glass of FES saying nothing. That same question had bugged his mind ever since Oz and Olamide left him.
But, Steve didn’t understand. He didn’t even know the story. He didn’t know Oz’s role in all of this mess. He didn’t know how his own mind worked, and how he and Oz and Olamide connected.
Izu felt lonelier than he had ever been. He felt more lost than he had ever been in his life. His heart ached and called for his two women to come back. One way or the other he had a believe they could work something out. Love was involved and it was obvious they all loved each other.
It could work….
“Now, to business na man mi. What are you saying?” Steve’s words brought him rudely back to the present.
“I’d let you know by the end of the week.” He knew he was going to go into business with him. He needed the money. He needed to get back his strip of supermarkets, or start a new one. And he also needed to go back to his brooding.
Half an hour later, he was back in his flat on Kudesoh street where he sits before Oz’s and Olamide’s full portrait pictures three nights a week till dawn, praying that they find pity and come back to him.
“Steve!” his armpits suddenly oozed hot sweat. He can’t be hearing what he was listening to over the phone. “Steve, tell me this is some April fool’s joke!” He was holding on so tight to the receiver that his knuckles showed white. His body temperature suddenly dropped and all of a sudden he felt cold.
“But, you guaranteed. You assured me this was 100% safe and risk free!” He was almost screaming now. He should be screaming more, all his life savings had gone down the drain. He was in deep trouble.
This was not supposed to be the case. This was the piece of business that was supposed to get him back on his feet, according to Steve. It was the deal that was supposed to fetch two hundred percent profit, and it was the deal that was meant to serve as his launch pad back into the main stream of business wheeling and dealing. He had moped up all his funds from the stock market and pitched his tent with his friend, but now he was being told all of that would remain a dream.
“The goods were seized by the Chinese customs officials. Apparently my contacts were smugglers and they had been under surveillance for a while. Izu, I am sorry. I really don’t know what to say. It is a tragedy….”
“You damn well know it is! Steve, I am finished. You have finished me. I should just look for a way and end it all now.”
He lashed out viciously at him for misrepresenting details of the deal to him, insinuating he had colluded to defraud him. They had shouted and threatened each other. Eventually, he had realized that he had been doomed for a long time.
Just like Steve said to him just over a month back, he had made several errors in his business judgment calls, and those errors have come back to haunt him.
“Look here Izu, you are not the only one who lost money here. And if it is worth anything to you, I am sorry.” With that Steve had dropped the call.
And, that was that. He was penniless and he had no clue what to do with his life.
Thanks for following the story so far. It has been a joy-ride, yes? Of course, the whole story can’t be all perfect – it is the imperfections I’d like to hear about. These stuffs help if only you know about them.
If you spot anything, please do not hesitate to point it out. I hear some of y’all have had challenges leaving comments. All you need to do is to click the comment box, type you comment and click the “post comment” button.
It’d be nice to hear your thoughts people. It’d be nice to know what you guys feel after reading this story, or even before.
Very soon we would close up this story. It is coming to its end, a head. I have enjoyed writing it, have you enjoyed reading it?
To my two very good friends – Lizi and Sally, I say thank you for your own angles to the tale. It would have been better, I am sure, if it worked out how it was planned.
The blog will be a year old on October 1, 2013. I will be marking the anniversary with another series of stories – Eggshell.
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