Lost But Satisfied - Episode 19

Last Year

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 Sometimes, adults see children as fools- rather, as people with low IQs- and tend to do and say everything in front of them as if they are deaf. Bidemi Adeoti’s (A.K.A Jerry) story started in the compound of Delight Nursery and primary school. During the regular long break which was fixed for 11:00am.

Four little boys and two little girls of about the age of six each ran across the field playing the game they called ‘catcher-catcher’, which entails one of them touching one of the other kid. And if he/she touches any of them, then the person touched will be the catcher . Yes, easy. But it is hard to catch the other children especially when every other person except the catcher has about 10 invisible houses- usually the corner of a place or under a desk and sometimes the middle of the field.

 It was with this same frustration that Ademola Adeoti, Bidemi Adeoti's son, ran after the other kids; he was bent on catching them. He had almost touched a girl when she shouted ‘kilinkilinkilin, I have entered my house’.

 He ran after another person but was cut-short by this person’s house. Therefore, when he saw Ayomide, the girl who cried at every touch, he ran to her and knew he would touch her. With all his strength and will, he ran after Ayomide who was shouting ‘you cannot catch me!’

And yes, yes almost there

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. He was few inches away. And he touched her but he couldn’t control himself as he ran onward, into her. She fell flat on the grass of the school.

She cried,’ my hand’.

The other children ran to meet them and watched her as she laid on the floor, crying. The other children began to talk at once, and someone went to report to their teacher.

‘I will tell my daddy for you’, Ayomide cried.

‘Sorry, Ayo. I will give you biscuit’

I don't want’ she moaned and bent her head to a side.

‘I will give you that thing that I bought that time’.

‘No’, she said again, still crying.

‘I will give you my daddy's car’.

‘My daddy too has car…’

‘My daddy said that his car uses water.’

 Ayomide stopped crying and scowled.

‘My daddy said that cars use petrol’.

‘Ah! My daddy told my mummy that joor’, Ademola said, assured that he knew what he was saying.

 The children pulled Ayo up and their teacher came around. She warned them to desist from engaging such game, saying it would get them injured.

When Ayomide got home that day, she told her daddy about the car and forgot about it but her father didn’t. Her father had been looking for a way to make Chief Suberu happy. And had always wanted the job of the editor-in-chief of the newspaper owned by the chief, but he didn’t know how to get it. He knew that if he passed the information to Chief he would get the job and lot more. And so he did pass the information to Chief Ajanaku Suberu.

                                                           ***

 Bidemi Adeoti (who in later life would be called Jerry) was ready and was getting impatient as he waited for his wife, Grace. She was, then, a Teacher at Delight Nursery and primary school. He was in his brown golf car. He hated being in this car for so long but his wife was keeping him waiting and the only solution was to keep honking the car. He picked his family- Ademola, his son and Grace- thirty minutes after the closing hour.

‘Daddy, Daddy’, Ademola shouted as he ran happily to meet his father, who had come out of the car.

‘Oh! That’s my boy. How are you?’

‘Fine. My aunty says that she loves you’.

‘Hun.’ Bidemi raised his eyebrow. He had learnt never to take whatever his son says with levity, ’why will your teacher say that?’

 Bidemi tickled Ademola’s cheek.

‘Ehn…Mummy say-’

‘Said.’

‘Mummy said that you buy-’

‘Bought’

‘Bwought. But my aunty say- My aunty said bwought is when someone bwing something’.

‘It’s bought.  Bought is the past tense of buy. You know what past tense is, right?’

 Ademola nodded.

‘Good. That’s my boy; now tell me what your aunty said.’

‘Eh ehn.... Mummy said you bou…’

‘Shhh. Your mummy is coming. Get inside.’

 Bidemi and Ade entered the car as Grace moved towards the car. Her nose flared up in anger as she saw Bidemi’s face. She opened the car, entered, and dropped her things on the chair beside Ade, at the back seat.

‘I said I was coming’, she said as she entered the car.

‘You didn’t tell me anything’.

‘I told A…’ She smirked and turned,’ Ademola didn’t you tell your daddy what…’

 Ademola stared at her with his fingers in his mouth.

‘And you know I told you I have to go to Mr. Thomson’s place. You know if I don’t go today, it is till next week Thursday again.’ Bidemi said.

‘I know…’ Grace grumbled.

‘Or do you like to be the only one paying the bills and everything?’

‘I said I know’.

To avoid any such thing as a quarrel, he decided to face the road. He hated when he was angry and she was angry. One of them was supposed to have a clear mind at that moment. Although, he was not driving fast, a bike rider almost ran into him, making him skid to a halt.

‘Are you okay?’ He shouted as the bike rider rode off as if he didn’t know what happened.

‘Do you want to kill us because you are angry?’ Grace said as she steadied herself in the car after she was sure Ademola was all right.

Rest assured that if he replied they would keep on arguing till they got home, Bidemi decided not to talk. Quickly, he checked his side mirror to be sure he didn’t cause mayhem for oncoming cars. He didn’t see any trouble at the back, which was good for him. He slowed down, and paid full attention on the rear-view mirror. Bidemi shook his head as tried to remember if he had seen a black car that day. The car was three-cars-away.

 Many black cars had passed by his side that day as he plied the road that led from Fortune City University (FCU). These different cars had moved harmoniously that day, making him fall in love with the particular black car that was following him now. In fact, he almost hit a car because he was looking at the maker of the black car from the rear-view mirror. So, he was sure the car had been there that morning.

 The car was there when he took his wife to school that morning and when he was going to the FCU.

‘Do you want to kill us?’ Grace said again, nauseating him as he drove faster.

 Ademola shouted. Bidemi checked the rear-view mirror to be sure Ademola was all right.

‘Kill us… Kill us because of money. As if I said I was tired of you. Did I complain about the money we have been using?’

 He needed full concentration now, but Grace kept frustrating him into talking and he wasn't ready for that.

 He suddenly turned towards another road...

‘Oh God!’ Bidemi muttered as the black car followed him.

‘Mo go, Bidemi…I’m stupid’, Grace said, bewilderedly, making Bidemi turn his face away from the road to look at her.

‘Guy, face front? ‘A bike rider shouted as Bidemi quickly changed path into the road that leads to FCU.

‘AH! Grace’, Bidemi shouted, banging his hand on the wheel. And the car honked. ‘Someone is following me…’

‘Is that why you didn’t reply me?’

‘Don’t you understand? This person had been following us since we left home in the morning’.

 Grace looked at him, swallowed hard, and looked back; stretching her neck to be sure he was saying the truth.

‘Daddy, who is that?’ Ademola said and tried getting up to look through the back screen.

‘Shut up, my friend’, Grace said,’ and get down… Get down, I say’

 She rose and smacked him on the back. She faced the front again.

‘That’s why I want to go into FCU, we will be able evade him there…’

 Grace replied with several nods.

 ‘Where… Where is it?’

 ‘The fifth car from us’.

 They were on the lane that led into the FCU. Until the traffic warden told them to move into the university, they can’t move. When the rough dark woman controlling the traffic motioned for them to move, Bidemi felt like turning at the roundabout in front of FCU but decided against it. He would pass the second gate.

  Trying to avoid being seen, the driver of the black car kept moving at a far distant.

‘Do you see them?’

 Grace turned swiftly and looked at them. Ademola had risen to look at them.

 ‘Ade, get down. Now’, Bidemi ordered.

‘Yes. There are two guys at the front’, Grace said with a shaky voice. ‘I’m not sure, but it seems I see some other people behind’.

‘Good.’

‘Good? God! Bidemi drive faster’, she shouted.

‘I will do what I can. Let me concentrate.’

‘I am doing my best. Who are they?

‘I don’t know. Grace calm down. It’ll be alright’.

‘Don’t tell me it will be alright? Who knows if it is those German again?’

‘That’s impossible. They don’t know I broke the code and that was many years ago’.

He used to love puzzles and had helped a friend, Charles, solved one that later caused problem for them but his friend took the fall for it.

‘What if they are the one?’

 Bidemi shook his head ‘That’s impossible’.

‘What if it’s capo? What if he is after me, after all these years?’

‘Come on, Grace. Be calm. Cappo is now a Christian’. Grace used to be a cultist in her first year in the University.

‘Can it be those Boko Haram again?’

Bidemi and his friends had gone up against Bokoharam once but they failed because some corrupt people pre-empted their moves.

‘No….’ Bidemi shook his head as he turned into another road. 'Maybe…'

‘Oh! Please shut up! You’re making matter worse. Think of the way we can avoid these people, and then tell us what we would do…’

 Grace swallowed hard as she took in a deep breath. She turned again, and looked at the car intently.

 Bidemi drove past two popular halls in FCU. They sped on and the driver of the black car sped after, not hiding his intentions any longer.

Knowing the roads very well, he deceived them into driving somewhere and indeed they missed the road. Bidemi smiled at Grace and she smiled back.

‘Baby, get up’, Grace said with relief as Fela Hall. They both finished from Fortune City University as Linguists. So, she knew they had escaped the guys.

 Bidemi decided he was being edgy for nothing and so he reduced his speed.

‘I’m sorry for that’, he said.

‘Bidemi’, Grace shouted.

 The black car ran towards their car but Bidemi was faster. He stepped on the brake, making the cars behind ram into his.

 Bidemi turned quickly to see if Ademola was fine, and he was fine- a little bruise on the lip. His eyes were stretched out in their sockets as he stared Bidemi.

 Grace was panting.

‘Are you fine?’ Bidemi asked her.

 She lifted the upper part of her face.

‘Talk to me… Tell me you are fine’

‘Bidemi…’

‘Tell me you are fine’.

‘The men’, Grace said as two men from the car walked towards them.

          ***

  Then, Jessica’s phone rang, making her stop her narration. Martha was on the other end and she said Chief had been looking for Jessica to confirm if she had used her drugs. He had sent people to her room but no one met her there. Martha had covered for her that she went to a friend’s place and that she, Martha, didn’t know the place. Chief had tried calling her other numbers to no avail.

Seeing that he didn’t find her, he had asked Chioma, his secretary to look for Jessica with her laptop.

‘Oh God!’ Jessica said as she scrambled out of the sofa.

‘What’s that?’ Pastor Matthew asked, turning from his work to face her.

‘Chief. He is looking for me’, she said and hurried towards the door.

‘So what happened? When will you come back to tell me the rest’.

‘Later… Bidemi….

Read " Grabbing The Hot Gate " by the same author ( Akíntayo Akinjide )

. They didn’t catch you that day. You later went to them by yourself’, she said, closed the door after her and ran for the path that led away from the house. Jerry ran after her.

‘How did I go to them?’

 ‘We’ll see later’, she shouted and disappeared through the bushes, the dry leaves rustling after her as she ran through them.

 Jerry smacked his head.

 Although the memory was fuzzy, he was beginning to remember most of the things she described especially the features of his son.

 The event came to him again. The men walked towards the car that day and Grace was whimpering and shaking horribly.

 He held on to the steering of the car, knowing that any opportunity for him to escape might be a final one.

 The chances of escaping was becoming slim, when Abefeles (the school police) came towards the cars, making the men back off. And that was how he and his family escaped.

  Then, he couldn’t remember anything afterward. He hit his head severally with the hope that it would produce any form of memory but nothing came. He returned to the room and was still thinking of this when he dozed off.

                             ***

 Jessica got home and tried sneaking into her room, like other days but she met her father seated in front of her door. His countenance said enough for her not to talk. She folded her and pouted, trying to give him her look but he was not deterred.

‘Where did you go? Do you want to kill me?

‘Baami…’

‘You are not leafing this house anymore till next year’.

 ‘It’s not like that… I was….’

‘Where?’ Chief said as he stood to leave. ‘You want to disgrace me in the public’.

 He shook his head and stormed out, his fat body rocking from side to side.

Jessica knew he would be monitoring her throughout the remaining days in that year; yet, she wanted to see Bidemi to tell him all he ought to know. She wanted to see him again and keep looking at him like she did when he was there, to keep adoring him.

 She wanted to know why he left the get-together organized last year earlier than expected.

She sniffed, looked at the rug, shook her head and climbed the bed.

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