Lost hope (Part 3)

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Ikenna ignored her question and carried on with his frown.

“Well,” the Lawyer started to say“We still need to see them, you have to make an arrangement for that__

“Baby!!!!” An excited voice called from behind. Janet and the lawyer whirled around to see Ikennas light skinned girlfriend advancing hurriedly towards them. She ran into Ikenna’s arms and hugged him tightly, and for the first time since he walked out of jail Ikenna smiled. Janet’s heart stung, she used to be the reason for his smile.

The light skinned, lengthy weaved girlfriend tooIkenna‘s face in her hands “Baby! Thank God you are out, I am so sorry I’m only just coming, traffic was so terrible__” 

The lawyer cleared his throat, forcing the girlfriend to stop her charade and acknowledge his and Janet’s presenceThe girlfriend moved to Ikenna’s side leaving her arm wrapped around his waist. She looked at the lawyer and Janet with no iota of joy on her face, she didn’t like them anymore than Ikenna did.

“When can we see the boys?, Mr Jide went on. We are ready to go with you right now” 

“I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to my mother, I don’t even know if she’s around_”

“Mr Ikenna, you realize that you could still be held in vontempt if you do not release those boyto your wife to see?

The light skinned girlfriend looked afraid, she glanced at Ikenna who didn’t seem moved. “She can come to the house next tomorrow” he said. “I’ll make arrangements for them to be there by then

“Or she can just go over to the house. You know the address don’t you?” The lawyer asked Janet to which she nodded.

“My mother moved” Ikenna said, “Look I’m tired” he said referring to his worn out state. “She can come tomorrow. Let’s go” he said as he took his girlfriend’s hand into his and pushed forward. The lawyer and Janet stepped aside, making room for the couple to walk past them to the girlfriend‘s parked car – that used to be Janet’s car. Ikenna had bought it for her as a birthday gift but took it before she left his house.

“Don’t worry” The lawyer consoled Janet. He knew how expectant she had been. “Let’s wait for next tomorrow”

Janet simply nodded her head. She hated what she and Ikenna had become. How was it so easy for him to unlove her and move on like that? She had thought she didn’t care about the divorce, but seeing him with her, the way he smiled when she embraced him, the way he looked at her and took her hand into his, hurt, why did it hurt?

She choked back on her tears – she didn’t know if she was teary eyed because of her boys whom she had believed she would see today or if she wanted to cry over Ikenna who once promised her forever...

“Let me drop you at the junction” the lawyer offered.

“Thank you” Janet agreed and followed his lead.

***

The following day Janet waited as the dark skinny looking mallam placed her earrings, bracelets and necklaces on his digital scale, one after the otherall the jewelry she owned sat on the wooden table of the mallam except for her wedding band. 

She wasn’t going to give that up just yet.

Three hundred and ninety thousand” the man offered.

Janet’s heart leaped for joy! She didn’t know they cost that much. “Haba mallam, u no fit make am four hundred?” she attempted to get a higher bargain anyway.

The skinny dark man shook his head in a serious manner” I don try”

“Oya no wahala, give me” an inwardly happy Janet said, but displaying a non satisfied front.

The man withdrew into his inner room, brought out the cash and handed it over to her. Janet counted it, confirmed the amount and put it into her hip purse. She left the shop and proceeded into the market, carefully watching her back.

She went into a customer‘s shop and asked for a private space, she was shown the dressing room to which she entered, retrieved some of the money and put it into the pocket of the bum short she wore under her jeans skirt, she wasn’t going to take any chances with the Balogun market pick pockets. 

She made her way to the area of the market where food items and utensils were sold and began to buy the things she needed to start her eatery.

***

Good afternoon sir” Janet said to her lawyer over the phone. Ehi was seated by her as she made the phone call.

Good evening madamhave you called him?” The lawyer already knew why Janet was calling.

“Yes sir, but he is not picking” an already worried Janet complained. “I called three times sir”

Okay, let me try, I will call you back” he said and hung up the phone.

“I hope Ikenna doesn’t try any rubbish today o” an empathetic Ehi said, shaking her leg.

“Hmn!” Was all Janet could say, she didn’t want to believe that Ikenna was actually avoiding her calls.

Let’s just wait sha” Ehi concluded , relaxing into the parlor couch.

Janet’s phone rang. “Hello sir” she spoke into the handset.

“He didn’t pick mine either” the lawyer said.

“Hei God!!” 

“Can you go to the house? Talk to the gate man, let’s know his whereabouts”

“Okay sir, I will” she ended the call and pulled her weight immediately off the couch. “He said I should go to the house”

“Okay, let me come with you”. Ehi grabbed her car keys from the center table and both women left the house to Ikenna’s.

Janet got down from the car before Ehi was properly parked. She knocked at the big black gate and Abu emerged from his inner room. Ah Madam! Welcome o” he scratched his head, delighted to see her, but Janet wasn’t feeling pleasant. Ehi walked to her side. “Good evening Ma” Abu greeted her.

“Your oga dey?” Janet asked.

“No oo” the gate man shook his head.

“When him go come back?”

no know o. Him come back day before yesterday come carry bag with small madam and dem never come back since, na only for phone me and am dey carry talk”

Janet’s knees grew weak. He has run away” she said to Ehi in a barely audible voice.

“Thank you” Ehi said to the gate man and guided a worn Janet to the car. She opened the door and Janet got in.

She sat quietly as Ehi drove away from the house. She looked lost in thoughts and refused to engage in the conversation Ehi was so desperately trying to have with her.

It had been months since she saw her boys, things had begun to look up with Mr Jide in the picture but now that Ikenna had disappeared into thin airshe felt hopeless. She knew then that she would never see her sons again.

“Stop here” Janet said as they climbed the third mainland bridge.

“Why?” 

“Stop here!!” she screamed at the top of her voice causing Ehi to impulsively bring the car to a halt. Janet climbed down from the car and began to run towards the rail. Ehi got out and raced behind her shouting at the top of her voice “Please help!!!!”

She reached Janet and both women began to struggle as Janet tried by all means to jump into the lagoon.

“Helppp me!” Ehi yelled as she held unto her sister with every strength she had in her.

A police patrol team sighted both women and ran to them. They overpowered a crying Janet and began to drag her away from the rail.

“Leave me alone!!!” cried Janet. “Let me die! Let me dieee!” She wept. Ehi stood aside and cried with her sister.

The team put her into their carEhi got into hers and drove behind them to the station.

They got to the statioand Ehi immediately called Mr Jide informing him of the turn of events.

I’m coming right away!” he promised.

The lawyer got to the station an hour later, he met a worried Ehi sitting on the bench outside the building.

“Ah thank God!” She said with relief, rising to her feet.

“Where is she?”

They remanded her, can they even do that?”

Yes they can, attempted suicide is crime under the criminal code. “Wait here, let me speak to the IPO” Mr Jide said and went in search of the investigating police officer.

After an hour, Janet ran into the arm’s of a relieved EhiBoth women broke down into tears of joy.

I’m so sorry” Janet apologize. “I just couldn’t take it anymoreI’m sorry”

Ehi hugged her sister tighter, she was more glad than anything to have her back.

–EIGHT MONTHS LATER–

Janet’s eatery boomed more than she expected it to. She sold from a caravan she placed in front of Ehi’s house. She would package her food beautifully, snap and post it on Instagram. People started to call her for home and office deliveries and soon, she was cooking for weddings, birthdays and other events. She went about her business with her chin up, but not a day went by that she didn’t think about her sons. Ikenna was still nowhere to be found, not even his colleagues knew his whereabouts. Janet wondered where they wereher instincts told her he must have left the country but she wasn’t sure. She focused on building her business and getting a place of her own with the hope that someday Ikenna would emerge and the Law would finally take it’s full course on him.

Justice delayed is not justice denied her lawyer had told her.

She had just gotten back from her shop when she called Ehi and her husband to the sitting roomThe couple joined her, wondering what was so important that she had to call them both. But Ehi was smiling because her sister was smiling too.

“This must be good news” Ehi‘s husband said as he saw the constant smile on Janet’s face.

Janet laughed, “It is.”

Let’s hear it then

Janet‘s grin widened. “First of all, I want to thank you two for taking me in and standing by me for almost two years. I am very grateful. I found a place of my own like you both already know, and now, the people that were working on the house are done and I’m ready to move in”

“Awwwwwhhhh Sis!” Ehi got up to where her sister was seated, she embraced her and remained seated besides her, resting her head on her older sister‘s left shoulder.

Ehi’s husband smiled gladly. “You’re welcome. We will all miss  you. You’ve done very well for yourself. You’re very welcome” he nodded his head feeling pleased.

“Thank you” a satisfied Janet said. “And thank you for Mr Jide and for paying him for my matter, God will bless you continuously”

Amen! You’re welcome

I’ll miss youuuu” Ehi dragged her words and all three laughed.

 ***

Janet‘s home was made of a two bedroom. She occupied one of the roomand painted the other room blue, she put in two small beds and decorated the walls with masculine wallpapers. She placed reading table and had stickers glued to the wardrobehoping for the day her sons would come home to her.

***

That morning, Janet had just finished wrapping up some foods. She placed them neatly in a basket and handed them to her delivery boy to deliver in an office. She withdrew into her caravan and started to arrange cutlery on the empty tables when she felt the presence of people standing in her doorway. She froze for a second before gradually turning her head to the direction of the doorway. What her eyes saw caused her body to begin to shudder. The cutlery she still had in her hands dropped slowly to the ground making clinking sounds.

Mummy!!!!” Chike and John screamed as the light skinned tired looking girlfriend let go of their hands.

Janet fell to her knees and the boys ran into her waiting arms. She laughed, cried and laughed again. She couldn’t believe it!

The boys held unto their mother and refused to let go. Janet wasn’t going to let them go either. She stayed on her knees with her happy boys in her arms.

She finally looked up at the light skinned girlfriend still standing in the doorway twisting the corners of her lips, but Janet didn’t care why she had that irritating look on her oval face. Her boys were in her arms and that was all that mattered. “Thank you” she said to her.

“I didn’t do it for you!” The girlfriend said. “I’m too young to be a step mother, I’m tired of looking after these two stubborn boys, scattering everywhere, always whiningnever satisfied, they have stressed me out! she complained. “You can keep them, Ikenna is fine witmy decision, after all, I’m having mine too” she rubbed her still flat tummy, turned around and walked away.

With her sons still in her arms, Janet spread out both armsraised them to the heavens and in a loud teary voice, praised the Lord in a song.

—THE END—–

Written by Ogbugoh Terundu Joy.

4 Comments

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  1. Lovely story. I wish there’s another part telling what went wrong with Ikenna and Janet’s love story…

  2. Nice story
    But it would have ended with something awful happening to ikenna and his girlfriend.
    Tank God janet got her boys back