Lost But Satisfied - Episode 20

Rays of Hope

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 Normally, Grace would have dropped Ademola with her friend, Mrs Akintoye, but she decided to take him along with her.
Things were expensive everywhere, especially water. She didn’t want Ademola to disturb Mrs Akintoye as regarding water.
‘Mummy, are we going to see Daddy?’ Ademola said the moment he entered Grace’s Kia Rio.
 Grace released the breath she had been holding because of the stench coming from a neighbour’s body. She stared at Ademola and swallowed hard.
‘No . We are going to a party’
‘Party! Will Daddy come?’
Tears welled up in her eyes. She had not told him that his father was dead when Bidemi was first reported dead. And she had not told him about his father’s sudden appearance in Green City 'I don’t know, dear… I don’t know. If only I can see him once more’.
‘Mummy, why are you crying?’
Indeed, tears were pouring down her face and she didn’t even know. She got out her handkerchief and wiped the tears off her face.
‘I’m not crying-', she sniffed and gasped, shaking her head,’ I’m not crying’.
 Even in her twelfth year of knowing Bidemi, her seventh year of being in a relationship with him, she still couldn’t control the obsession she had for him.
‘You will be alright’, Ademola said. 
 Grace smiled at him and he bared his teeth. That was the latest slang they used in the house.
 Ever since, she became the deputy Editor-In-Chief of the bestselling Newspaper in Fortune City, The Morning Dew News, she had always wanted to meet the CEO, whom few people met

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. And today, the first of January, she was getting the opportunity she had always craved for.
  As she turned the corner of the street, rain dropped on her windscreen. She screamed with ecstasy. her voice echoing the voice of people outside.
‘Rain… Mummy… Rain’
 She stopped the car and turned towards the house.
            ***
 After a forced morning devotion with Pastor Matthew, Jerry prepared for the call from Miss. Jacobs. He wore his red-checked-with-white shirt and a cream trouser, making his fair skin glow. Pastor Matthew advised him to take a small Nokia phone with him.
‘I don’t need it. This one’, he said, pointing to the techno in his other hand, ‘will be enough’.
‘You don’t know what you need until you need them’.
 ‘I won’t need it at all’.
 ‘It is not advisable to reject a gift of an elder especially his gift of advice’.
‘Okay…’ He collected and pocketed it.
Meanwhile, Pastor Matthew had paid some men that would cut down trees in the middle of the night. And now, he was complaining about the fund, which Jerry promised to help him with when he returned from his visit to his father-in-law-to-be.
  As he was about to leave the house, a drizzle of rain began to pour on the dry ground.
‘Pastor,’ He said as he stood on the door post, ‘are you sure I should go?’
‘Yes go….’
‘Don’t you think this is a bad sign? The rain’.
‘No… This is not a rain’ Pastor Matthew said as he concentrated on his construction.
‘I hope…’ Jerry said, his voice lingering off as the rain stopped as if it had not fallen at all.
 He checked the time again - 3:30 pm. He replayed the description of his journey as he moved on: Pastor Matthew had given him directions.
Jerry felt he should use public transport because Pastor Matthew would need his car to do his business of the ark. He was alert for any movement, if any at all, as he moved from the bush into civilisation. The walk was tiring but he was happy when he entered Folarin village.
‘That means there is still hope’, a woman said to her neighbour as Jerry came out into an untarred street.' The rain will be back soon. It will wash away evil hearts and plans and it will refurbish our country’.
‘Mama, my own concern is the price of food that is gradually increasing’.
 Jerry continued his walk, hoping that he would soon see a bike that would take him to his destination.
 He couldn’t fathom how everything still smelt the dust. The little drops of rain had reduced the stuffiness of the dry season. No one could explain what had happened but no one seemed concerned with the water coming back. All they needed was to get enough water for their family.
‘Ah!’ A fat woman shouted, jumped from the stool she was sitting on and ran. The way she ran made Jerry rush out of the way for her. He retreated as she ran like a wounded elephant.
‘Two-hundred-naira water’, she shouted as she rushed towards a skinny boy that was carrying a big bowl. The boy had splashed some of the water before the woman started running and maybe because of the way the woman was running toward him, he splashed more on the dry ground.
 With a blinding slap, she removed the boy from under the bowl. He cried out as he fell. The bowl landed on his feet, making him cry more.
‘My water… My water… My money’ the woman cried and pounced on the little boy. The water rushed towards them, sinking into the dry ground.
  Some people saw the fallen bowl and ran towards it with anything they could grab- cups, plates and the ones that had been used to eat, someone even took a potty-, and they scooped the water they could and ran out of the reach of the woman that was lamenting.
 Jerry shook his head as he beckoned on a bike rider and climbed it after cleaning the dusty top, describing his destination to the bike rider.
‘Is it getting this bad?' He murmured.
When he got to FCU, he received a call from Rita that they should meet at KFC before a popular bank. And she described the way he would go when he asked for direction.
  When he saw her, he couldn’t close his mouth. She was very beautiful and different as if she had been renovated. She wasn't wearing a wig today; instead, her hair had been attached with human hair and was oiled, flowing. She was putting on a red sleeveless short gown, which held on to her body firmly, and she was wearing a small chain to compliment the lovely earrings she was putting on.
  Jerry couldn’t help but notice her nails, unlike her, were fixed and painted. And her lips, worth staring at, was painted red, portraying affluence and real beauty. She was different.
‘Wow’, Jerry said as she came towards him with a radiant face. She embraced him tightly, resting her head on his chest. Jerry inhaled her body spray and held it in.
‘Jerry… Jerry’, she kept on saying, her shrill voice sending a big smile to his lips.
 If time would permit it, if the wicked men of this world would allow it, he would have loved to stay there hugging her. However, he had to stop hugging her in the public especially now that his life was in grave danger.
 At the moment, he agreed with Pastor Matthew. Was that what he would have missed?
‘Rita, let’s go inside’ he whispered.
 She smiled at him, turned, and pulled him after her.’ Good! It’s time I tell you about myself… My real self’.
 Jerry was perplexed. He hoped she wasn’t another impostor.
 When they got inside. Jerry led to a corner that was secretive, cool and cosy. When the waiter attended to them, he allowed her to do the ordering,
‘I’m still wondering why you asked us to meet and eat here, Rita’.
 Rita looked up at him and smiled again.’ I’ve to let you know something before going to my father’s place’.
 Jerry looked at her with mixed feelings. He bent his head to a side to assure himself he was safe. Something in her look made him know that whatever she going to say wouldn’t affect him like those of the beautiful night thief.
‘Then spit it out. Don’t keep the heart of man yearning for something you can give him immediately’.
‘What’s your problem?’ She said as she took a spoonful of the ice-cream and pointed it at Jerry’s mouth.’ Fill the belly first and fill the head later’.
 His eyes darted to the door and back to her eyes. He opened his mouth and swallowed the content of the spoon.
‘Oh My Good God!’ someone shouted.
 The guy was dark 5.7ft tall person, handsome in his own way. Jerry and Rita looked up to see the guy going down on his knee.
‘Rita….’ The guy said, his face becoming sad.’ I’ve searched everywhere for you?’
 ‘Kay…’ Rita said, confused and half laughing.’ Don’t bother, it’s over. Move on with your life’. 
She brushed her hair to the back with her right hand. 'I’ve moved on with my life. See, this is my fiancé. He’s not like you, gold-diggers. He’s not pompous and definitely not a loser. Meet Jerry’, she said smiling broadly.
‘Please, I don’t want us to be over’, Kay cried, his eyes becoming red. ‘It wasn’t my fault. Sodiq-'
‘Scrap it. I don’t like to dwell on the past, it dirties the future. So, if you don’t mind, I need to collect my own spoon of ice cream from him’, she bared her teeth at Jerry.
 Jerry felt proud.
‘Rita, please I’m not Stanley, Joel, Maxwell, Segun. It’s I, Kay… I’ll never do such a thing. Sodiq framed me…’
 Rita rolled her eyes and smirked.
‘Kay, you are pouring palm oil on my neat reputation. Please, leave, my fiancé would soon be annoyed. Please don’t let him be’
‘Okay…’ Kay said, standing,’ I’ll like to pay you back for everything. To show you I didn’t run away with your ten million naira’.
 Jerry was surprised.
‘Kay... Leave it alone… Ahhh! Leave me jare’, she shrieked.
‘Bros. You need to leave now…’ Jerry decided it was time to interfere.
‘Okay… Take my card. Please.  Do me that favour.’ Kay said as he brought out a business card and gave it to her.
 She smiled at him, shook her head, and tore the business card.
‘Please, I’ll not leave here if you don’t collect it’.
‘Rita… Take it and let him be’, Jerry said, raising his brows. She smiled, as she understood what he meant, so she collected the business card and drop it in her bag.
‘Now… I’ve done your wish… You can leave’.
‘Thank you… I’ll always love you’, Kay said as he stood and left her side, looking back from time to time as he headed towards the door.
 ‘What was that…?’
‘That’s part of the things I want to tell you’, she said,’ but don’t be a spoiler. First, give me my share joor’.
 Jerry sighed and did as she requested, knowing that she wouldn’t tell him until the time she had planned. She checked her wristwatch.
 They kept playing and she was making Jerry happy as they kept talking that he didn’t even remember what she wanted to tell him until 4 pm.
‘Okay… It’s time to tell you’.
 Jerry sat straight.
‘Every information you know about me is correct except that I’m not a teacher. I’m a very rich businesswoman and deals in importing of golds for sale. You see… I’ve been having trouble with men trying to dupe me. I’ve had many relationships which would look rosy at first but would later go down the drain’, she sighed as she stared at him. ‘I’ve not told you my age. I’m 28 years’.
 Jerry raised his eyebrows.
‘Yes… I know… I know I’m older than you but I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. I know you love me with all your heart. You were not after my beauty; neither were you after my money. You were not like other men, you didn’t want to have sex with me, use me, and dump me. You had a big plan for me…. Jerry, please don’t leave me because of age. Age does not matter, you are wiser than many fifty years old and more matured’.
 Jerry stared at her. Even though her confession was not as heart-smashing as that of the beautiful night thief, he couldn’t fathom how to do this. He should have known. He should have sensed something. He ran his hand in his hair as his mouth remained open. Rita’s expression was stoic as she watched him. 
  He stood and left for the door. Rita didn’t follow him, she sat there, and watched him leave with tears deciding whether they should fall from her eyes.
 Jerry looked at both side of the road and crossed. Rita was still staring at him through the glass of Kfc. He couldn’t organize his thought looking at her. There was actually nothing to lose. He knew he still loved her. And she was the only one that might remain the one he loved especially now that everything that was happening to him.
 He crossed back to KFC.
‘Okay… You will always be my love. I think I should tell you something also’, he said as he sat and raised her head for she had dropped them on the table. He held her hands and stared into her glassy eyes.
 He took his time and narrated his whole ordeal to her, not missing a part. And she, a good listener, knew men don’t love to be interrupted while talking.
 When he finished, he waited for her reaction. She didn’t talk; instead, she called on the waiter, paid him.
 ‘Jerry, we need to leave to my father’s place. If what you say is true, which I do not a doubt, we need to get going’.
 He rose to leave. Rita rushed to his side and hugged him.
‘Thank you… Thank you’, she said, whimpering. He patted her hair.
‘Let’s go before my people come around’, he said smiling.
 And they journey, on the first of January, to her father’s place, having assured themselves of the love they had for themselves.

Read " Purified Tomorrow: The Mad Awakening " by the same author ( Akíntayo Akinjide )

. Jerry, not knowing that was the last time in a long time he would be returning home, went with her.
                        ***
 This was a new year and Jessica's grounding was over. She made sure her father was out of sight and ran off, not minding those that were preparing for the party. Her father said some very important people were coming. And that she needed to be in her best before their arrival but she couldn’t be in her best when she had not told Jerry about himself. She rushed off and almost hit three people with her car but she didn’t wait. There was urgency in the air and she needed to tell him. Moreover, she wanted to talk to Pastor Matthew again as her father had suddenly intensified his search for Jerry. He had used every method possible to find him but he hadn't gotten the opportunity to do so. Nevertheless, she knew her father, every means (evil or not) is a means.
‘Bidemi?’ she said the moment she opened the door of Pastor Matthew’s secret abode. 
‘He had gone to his fiancé family…’
‘What?’ You allowed him to go out’.
‘He had to see her’.
‘Wait… Wait which fiancée is that? Who is she? 
‘She is-'
 ‘How could you allow him to go?’
‘He had-‘
 ‘Ohhh… Uncle Matthew, I hope he is safe’ she said as she headed for the door.
 She banged the door after her, disturbing the serenity of the room.
 She opened the door again. 
‘Where did he go?’
‘Aderibi something street’.
‘Aderibigbe… Oh my God!’ She shouted as she rushed out of the door.
‘Where is that?’
'Have you forgotten our baami's fake name?'
 Jerry was in trouble and she needed to be there before his arrival on that street. If any of her father’s people saw him on that street, he was done for. What’s wrong with Bidemi, can’t he stay put? Can he not stay in one place until he was made whole? 

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