“which member of my household have you been talking to?” Amaka said, looking critically at me.
“what the hell are you talking about?” I pretended, as though I was aloof of what she meant.
“stop acting dumb with me, you know exactly what I’m taking about,” she said with her eyes narrowing ominously.
“do you think I’m so dumb? I know several ways to kill a rat my dear. Let’s not digress, who is the father of the boy if I am not the one?” I asked, folding my arms, standing in front of her.
She turned her face from me, then walked towards the bed and sat down. I walked to where she was and asked, “Amaka, why are you doing this?”
Suddenly, someone knocked on the door. She hurriedly asked me to enter the bathroom. I stood up, slowly walking towards the bathroom, but she pushed me on my back to hasten me into the bathroom and shut the door. I heard the kids telling her they were set for school.
“alright sweetie. Don’t forget your lunch,” Amaka said.
“it’s in our bags,” a tiny voice responded.
“we need money mummy,” a more mature voice said.
“…thank you mummy,” the girls echoed after a brief silence.
“alright, rush to the car, you are the late for school.” Amaka said.
“mummy, bye bye!” the girls echoed.
They ran off and shut the door with a bang. I waited for a minute then came out, while my head ached terribly. I sat down on the bed and laid backwards facing up.
“Guess the house is almost empty now,” I said.
Amaka didn’t respond. she just stood up and went out of the room. I looked at the jog of coffee waiting for me, sat up and moved to pour myself some. I mixed it with enough milk and half spoon of sugar. A sip from it felt really good, so I took more, thinking of my plans for the day.
I later went to the shower, had my bath and was feeling better afterwards. Amaka came in with the baby, she handed him to me without a word then went out again.
I immediately took out my phone and took some snappy shots of the baby, it was then I saw 18 missed calls. 6 were from Sandra and 12 from mum. I quickly dropped the baby on the bed and called mum.
“where are you?! I have been calling. Ruth said you are not with her. Where did you go to?” mum said immediately she answered.
“I am with a friend, I told you before,” I said.
“why did Ruth leave without telling me? Were you guys fighting again?” she asked.
“but you said you called her, why didn’t she tell you?” I asked.
“she only said she was sorry, that she had to attend to an urgent thing at home” mum said.
“if that’s what she says then,…” I tried to be vague.
“please, hurry up and come back. I want us to go and visit your brother.” mum concluded.
“alright mum,” I said and hung up.
The baby laid gently on the bed kicking his legs, beating the air with his hands and laughing. He looked so much like me. I could see my baby picture in him. I was so excited that I forgot completely about the headache and the cut in my hand. I carried him from the bed threw him up when Amaka came in.
“hey! stop that!” she yelled and rushed to collect the baby from me. “don’t you know he can fall down?” she added.
I didn’t say anything but quietly took my phone from the bed and said, “I have to run. Mum needs me right away. Hope the coast is clear?”
“It’s okay, you can go. But, can you make it to kings royal hotel later today?” she asked, cuddling the baby.
“I don’t think I can. I have engagements all day,” I replied.
“Mike! Remember you owe me,” she said, frowning.
I looked at her figuring what to say but couldn’t find any. Then popped out the only word that came to my head.
“let’s talk about it later, I’d be busy today. I promise to make it up to you,” I said, heading for the door.
“Mike!” she called on my way out. I turned to see what it was and then she said “just remember you owe me.”
Mum and I went to see my brother. He was looking so emaciated and this made my mum break into tears. Prior to the time we arrived the station, I had spoken with Sandra and told her about our going to visit my brother. She asked for the name and address of the police station so I subconsciously waited for her call or visit while we were there. Just before we left, I called Sandra again to let her know that we were leaving.
“don’t worry sweetie, you can go. I’ll have to visit on my own,” she said.
“I thought you were going to come. I waited for your call and for you,” my voice relayed my disappointment.
“don’t worry sweetie, it’s going to be fine,” she said.
I felt betrayed and at the same time disappointed. But I had to put on a bright countenance to encourage my mum.
Throughout our journey home, mum said nothing to me and responded with a nod each time I spoke to her. When we arrived home, she sat thoughtfully in the sitting room, gazing into the thin air. It was obvious what she was brooding about. I retired to my room to see if I can catch a little sleep. Few minutes later, mum called me from the sitting room. I went to her. She didn’t look in my direction but hit the chair with her hand twice indicating that I sit beside her.
“my son!” she said after I sat. “this is a precarious situation we are in. I am pushed to go against my ethics. I can’t stand seeing my son rot in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.” she paused, shook her head and wiped her eyes with her hand, then looked at me and said, “have you returned the money?”
“no. I haven’t,” I responded.
“good! We have to see if they can consider us with that,” she said.
I felt pity for her seeing her in that condition. Right there I decided to make it and redeem my family from the clutches of poverty no matter what it takes. The next day, I was getting ready to go to the station with my mum when Amaka called. I told her what I was up to. She seemed to like the idea and encouraged me with some soothing words.
Just as we were walking down the street, Sandra’s car was driving toward us. She parked in front of us. I noticed there were two persons in front before the door opened. My brother came down first, followed by Sandra. Mum was delirious. She shouted, jumped, danced and almost tore her clothes. I had to hold her to prevent her from going Unclad. But she broke loose and ran to hug my brother. It was really a happy day and Sandra was the hero.
To be continued…