THANK goodness that was the last animal for the day. Everyone knew he didn’t take clients on Thursdays except for an emergency and special cases. He packed his equipment and had a quick shower to get off the animals’ hair and scent. He loved his job but not as much as he loved his child and he looked forward to the last Thursday of every month! Since his wife divorced him, he only has a chance to have his boy for a weekend once in a month. His wife has been spiteful ever since she asked for the divorce. She has frustrated all his effort to make things work again. He hoped they could get back together for the sake of their son. Truly, he made a mistake by cheating on her but what could he have done when his wife was like a robot? All the feelings she had had gone to their son but he also needed love and affection. He found it in the arms of another woman.
HIS ex-wife was a very rich and influential person in the society. Many people wanted to be in her good books and one of them had seen him with his girlfriend and they had told his wife. He has had affairs in the past and his wife didn’t care but all of a sudden, she cared. It was like she was already looking for a way to divorce him. Before she caught him, she had been indifferent to him. She didn’t care about how he spent his life but lately, she became vigilant. He begged and begged her but she insisted on divorcing him. After months of silent treatment, the man went to court to fight the divorce suit but he lost and was also denied the custody of their son. He was very bitter about that. He closed his office door and faced his ever-smiling receptionist.
‘Good afternoon Dr. Oriyomi! You are off to see Junior?’ She said cheerfully. The lady was introduced to him by his wife’s sister. He had no idea she would be a good worker and friend because she was in a depressed state when she came to him. He liked to think he saved her.
‘Yes Becky but I still have some things to take care of.’
‘Okay boss. Please give this cake to Junior for me! He loves my cake!’ She announced with pride!
‘Yes, he loves your cake and adores you too! With the rate you are going, you will spoil him rotten!’
‘Oh let me! He’s a sweet boy! Please bring him to the office tomorrow. He loves to be around the animals!’
‘You mean he loves to be around you? Hahahahahaha! Thanks for the cake, I love them too!’ He said leaving his office as Becky’s delightful giggles escorted him out.
DRIVING home from work, he began thinking of his son. He didn’t know it was possible to love someone as much as he loved his son until the nurse placed the tiny bundle in his arms. First, he was frightened but once he learned that the tiny boy wouldn’t break if he cuddled him, they became best friends. The small boy delighted him with his little movements, his laughter, and cries. He was there when he took his first steps, when he said his first word which was DADA and when he first used the potty. He loved the boy beyond explanation and that was the reason he was mad at his wife for using the boy against him. She has reduced his access to their son and she hated her for that. The first month without his son running into his arms when he came back from work or troubling him before going out in the morning gave him a terrible headache. His heart ached so much that he would clutch the boy’s picture to himself but as the days rolled by, he learned to live without him.
HE entered his son’s favorite toy store and got new toys. He got enough for five kids to play with but he still worried about it being enough for the young boy. He called the housekeeper and his temporary cook to meet him at the house. They were waiting for him when he got home. He supervised the cleaning of his house and the cooking of all his son’s favorite dishes. His wife would have stopped him from giving him all of these things but he didn’t care. He just wanted to spoil the child rotten because he only has him for the weekend. He placed all his new toys in the sitting room where the boy would see it immediately he entered the house.
IT was almost seven in the evening when he was able to get out of the house. All the foods had been cooked and stored in the freezer. All he had to do was heat it up. He put a bunch of rose flower he got for his wife and a small car toy beside him on the passage’s seat. He hoped the flowers would make her happy. His wife’s house was thirty minutes away but the traffic could turn it into hours so he decided to take a shortcut he just discovered. He tried to work positive vibes into his system because meeting his wife these days could be exasperating. The woman she had turned into was a stranger to him. She drank heavily and her patience was on a short fuse. He always wondered why she was so mad and mean towards him and the world. He wished she opened up to him so he could help her but his wife has always been a loner. He parked his car in his former driveway and stared at the house he lived and loved for years. He called on all the calmness and patience around him to himself and got out of the car.
Armed with the toy and flowers, he rang the bell to a house he used to have the keys. Their maid, Victoria opened the door. She smiled pleasantly at him.
‘Good evening sir. How are you?’
‘Good evening Vic. I’m fine. How are you?’
‘I’m okay sir. I’ve been waiting for you. You know today is my off day. I have packed Junior’s bag, everything is on the couch. Madam is…’ She was saying when a happy cry tore into the room. They both looked up towards the stairs where the noise was coming from. His son was running down the stairs screaming;
‘Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!’
‘Careful!’ The father screamed. He gave the toy and flowers to Victoria as he braced himself for the jump that was coming. The boy flew into his arms and he staggered.
‘Gentle boy! What have you been eating?’ The father said to his son. The son giggled kissing his father’s neck.
‘I miss you daddy! What did you buy for me?’ Junior asked squirming out of his father’s arms. Victoria willingly came forward with the toy. The boy collected the toy car happily.
‘Cool! Thanks dad! I want to show mummy!’ The boy took off again. Victoria laughed softly.
‘I’m leaving sir. Goodbye.’
‘Why don’t you wait so that I can drop you on the way?’ He asked.
‘Arh! Thank you sir but I want to see a friend around the corner.’
‘Okay then. Let me give you transport fare at least.’ He said taking out money from his purse and giving it to Victoria who took it with appreciation. Just as Victoria was leaving he heard footsteps and he looked towards the noise. It was his ex-wife.
SHE had a cup filled with liquids he was sure was alcohol. His wife used to enjoy wine once in a while but some months before they parted, she started drinking heavily. Part of him blamed himself for her behavior but he could not do anything about it. She has refused to acknowledge that she has a drinking problem. He should have brought up the drinking problem in the court during the child custody trial but he didn’t want to fight dirty. He looked at her staggering down the stairs and trying very much to look composed. Akin was very sad and angry at the same time. He couldn’t have such behavior around his son! He might have to go back to the court and ask for his son again.
JOY took her steps carefully, the steps were moving just so they could confuse her and make her look drunk but she has gotten their trick! She saw her ex-husband standing at the bottom of the stairs. He was looking up at her pitifully. Why was he looking at her like that? She didn’t hate him and he had not really offended her, he was just standing in her way of happiness and true family. She had to let him go. He was a good man to her and their boy. She should have given the boy to him but she needed the boy to pursue her happiness. With a few missteps, she got to where he was standing. The pitiful look on his face had turned scornful. What has she done again? She took a big gulp from her cup before facing him.
‘Hello Joy…’ Akin said trying to hide the bitterness in his voice but not succeeding.
‘Hi! Why are you looking at me like that?’ She struggled to say.
…to be continued…
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Written by Olatorera
Edited by Olatorera and Ola Adeyemi Smith.
© 2016 by IBIOLAT communications.