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.
‘Why are you behaving like this? What’s your problem? You have a drinking problem and you need help! Let me help you!’ Akin said.
‘Help? You have helped me enough! Just leave me alone! Who told you I have a problem. Can’t a rich woman enjoy what she has bought with her money? Why do you all hate me?’ She said heading for the bar to refill her empty cup.
THEIR son, who was playing with his new toy watched from afar as his parents argued. He had grown up fast in a year when his parents started fighting. Most times he had stopped the fight by crying or dragging one of them away. He needed to do it again. “Mummy his very angry at dad and everyone else keeps shouting at mom!” The young boy thought. He rushed into their space just as his father was about to say something.
‘Daddy! Daddy! Let’s go! I am hungry! Did aunt Becky bake me a cake?’ The boy asked pulling on his father’s hand. Akin was sad that his son was witnessing this. Deep down he knew the boy was trying to make peace. Plastering a smile on his face, he knelt down to his level.
‘Yes she baked you a cake and we have ice cream, banana yogurt, macaroni, jollof rice, chicken wings and everything you love in the freezer!’ He said watching as a great grin split his face into two.
‘Wow! Superb! Let’s go daddy!’ The boy said joyfully.
‘Go and kiss mummy goodbye while I put your things in the car.’ He said picking his son’s luggage and heading for the door.
HIS mother was a lovely woman. She used to be nice to everybody but lately she has been nice to only him. Sometimes she scolded him for little things but he knew she loved him. He wished he could find a solution to his mother’s problems . He promised himself to bring her some cake when coming back. Aunt Becky’s cake would make anybody happy! He moved closer to his mother. When Joy saw his son, her heart soften. She felt sorry for the little boy. She scorned herself at that moment. What has she turned to? She hasn’t been there for the poor boy. She admitted for once she has a drinking problem and she promised to get her act together as soon as possible. If only they would give her what she wanted! She dropped to the floor and pulled the boy into an embrace. She squeezed him tight and the boy did the same. Everything they couldn’t say to each other went into the hug. She kissed his ears and eyes and hugged him back. The mother began to cry. The boy pulled back and looked at his mother’s face.
‘Why are you crying mom?’ He asked confused.
‘Ehm-ehm… Something got into mummy’s eyes. I will miss you.’
‘I will miss you too. Do you want me to stay with you?’ The boy asked wiping off the tears on his mother’s cheeks.
‘No no! Go with daddy. Mummy will be fine.’ She needed this weekend to herself and to sort out her issues and problems. If he didn’t succumb to her wish this weekend, she would blow the whistle on him!
‘Okay mummy, remember to write your book. You are always happy when you write in your small book!’ The small boy said to his mom. Joy loved his boy more at that moment. The boy was so attentive and inquisitive. She had begun keeping a diary since everything started. She has written down how it all started and how and where it was going. It made her happy to reliving her past with the man she loved.
‘Okay my love, I will write it and put in it how much I love you!’ She said catching a teardrop before it fell. However, the small boy saw it.
‘Don’t cry mommy… Okay! I will bring cake for you, you hear? You will be happy when you eat aunt Becky’s cake!’ The boy said with certainty. The mother laughed and hugged her son again.
‘Yes, I will be happy when I see you again!’ She said looking up as Akin came in. He gave them some more seconds to hug before he said;
‘Ayomide, wait for me in the car while I quickly talk to mummy.’ He had to do this now, today! It was now or never! The boy kissed his mother’s face and ran out of the house saying;
‘I love you mommy!’
‘I love you too baby!’ If only she knew that would be the last time she would kiss him, hold him or hear his voice, she wouldn’t have let him go…
HER former husband banged the door on his way out. He was really angry with her but she understood him. After the heated argument they just had, she realized she had really hurt him and now he was threatening to go back to court and ask for her son again. She watched from the kitchen window as her ex-husband left angrily and drove away. She tried to wave at her son but he wasn’t looking her way. She went to the kitchen and washed her face. She took out a cup and pour some water into it. She added ice and squeezed fresh lemon into it. She tasted it and added more lemon. She took her filled cup to the kitchen table. She opened her special cabinet, the one no one else knew about. She used to hide her jewelry and priced possession that she didn’t want to take to the bank or keep in the family vault there as no thief was going to check the kitchen for valuable goods. That same place now housed her precious diary. Her son has seen her open it plenty of times but she was sure he couldn’t find the hidden place. She began to write down her pains, wishes and hopes for the future. She laughed and cried as she wrote down from her heart. She was completely carried away in her own world until her phone rang. She wanted to ignore it but it was her personal line, the one only important people in her life knew. She looked at the caller ID, it was an unknown number? Why would someone call this line with an unknown number? She couldn’t understand it. She wanted to drop it but bad thoughts came to her mind. “What if your son and his father were in an accident and they found your number on them? It may be your son calling for help! He might have been kidnapped or…” She didn’t wait for more crazy thoughts to cross her mind.
‘Hello?’ She said cautiously into the phone.
‘Are you home alone?’ The caller asked rudely. Joy was relieved and worried at the same time. She knew the caller and doesn’t want to see the caller but she knew they had to meet to settle this once and for all.
‘Yes, I’m home alone!’ She replied and the phone went dead! This person can be rude! She didn’t know how she survived this long with the rude, selfish and ungrateful human being!
SHE knew a storm was coming and water and lemon could not give her the courage she needed to face her demons. She downed her infused water in one gulp and headed for the bar. She knew she promised to stop drinking for the sake of her son but needed the warm liquor in her system. She needed a false confidence it provided to face this person coming. Firstly, she took two shots of Tequila for fast effects then she began to mix a dirty martini for herself. She could feel the heat in her blood by the time she carried her drink to the kitchen. She was hungry, she opened her fridge to find food then she changed her mind. It would be easier to handle the alcohol and the nauseating nuisance that was coming on an empty stomach. She closed her diary and hid it in her secret place.
SUDDENLY, a premonition came to her. She started remembering the wrong decisions she had made and was feeling guilty. She was cold from head to toe and her heart was pounding. She was shaking. Could this be as a result of too much alcohol? Something was telling her to leave the house and go look for help. Should she call her doctor? She just felt like leaving the house but if she left, she would miss this person coming and that wouldn’t solve her problems. She needed that out of the way to move on. Immediately she made up her mind to stay at home, she stopped shaking but she was still cold. She became very sad and all she could think of was her son. She took her drink in big gulps and finished it in seconds. She felt if she had more alcohol then she could overcome the feelings she was having and she would feel warm. She was too cold. Just as she was mixing another cocktail for herself, a faint knock called her attention. Why would someone be knocking the door when they can press the bell? She walked to the door with unstable steps and checked the security monitor. It was the person she was expecting and she opened the door.
‘Why are you dressed in black?’ Joy asked her visitor.
‘Are you going to control my dressing too?’ The visitor replied. Joy threw her hands in the air. It was obvious this person has come to fight and wasn’t ready to resolve their issues. She walked to the kitchen with unstable legs. She heard a rude laughter behind her but she continued walking till she got to her cup.
‘And why are you laughing?’ She asked her rude visitor.
‘You are an alcoholic, how do you expect to keep or take care of him when you can’t even take care of yourself? Give him to me and give us the money! Let’s end this trouble once and for all!’ The visitor said and so they started the argument!
THEY have been screaming and shouting at each other for minutes and non of them gave each other what they wanted. If I have to win this fight I have to change tactics, the visitor thought.
‘Okay Joy, I’m sorry! I know I don’t deserve him but for this once, can’t I be happy? You have everything, I just want him. Please…’ The visitor began to cry. The person fell at Joy’s feet and held on to her crying and begging like a toddler who wanted his favorite toy.
‘I’m sorry for all the pains I made you go through. Please forgive me. Please have mercy on me. Please!’ The person begged on and heard Joy sigh. Good, it seemed Joy was falling for the trick. Joy bent down and touched her shoulders.
‘Okay stop crying, you know I hate seeing you in tears. Stand up and let’s talk about this like two adults.’ Joy said to the visitor who was crying and looking sober at her feet. She thought, “maybe I’m being too hard and purposely hurting this person because of the person’s past mistakes and wickedness towards me.”
THE visitor continued crying at her feet and Joy pulled the person from the floor and guided her to one of the kitchen chairs. She took a seat opposite the visitor who has stopped crying but was hiccuping. Joy took her visitor’s hands in hers and rubbed gently, she looked into the person’s eyes and said straight from her heart;
‘Darling, I have always given you what you wanted but this time, you have to leave this one for me. He’s the only one I’ve ever truly loved and you know this. Can’t I be happy this once? Please, let’s stop arguing and fighting. I’m tired of it. I will give you money, properties, and any other thing you desire but I can’t give him to you. I’m sorry. I hope you understand.’ The visitor knew that Joy’s mind was made up. Listening and looking into Joy’s eyes told the visitor this was a lost battle. The visitor sighed and withdrew from Joy.
‘Is that your final decision?’ The visitor asked Joy for the last time and Joy nodded. The visitor knew it was over.
‘Okay.’ The visitor said and relaxed into the chair. The visitor gave a show of a terrible headache.
‘Are you okay?’ Joy asked.
‘No, I have a headache, can I have some aspirin?’
‘Sure, I think I need one myself!’ Joy said leaving the kitchen. As Joy went in search of the drug, she kept on thinking, this was too easy, this person doesn’t give in like this. There must be a catch somewhere! Or maybe the person is also tired of fighting. “Anyways, I don’t care as far as I get what I want.”
THE visitor watched as Joy walked happily away. Joy must think she had won the battle! The visitor looked at Joy’s half filled cup and took the chance she’s been waiting for.
JOY gave the aspirin to her visitor and threw two into her own mouth. She wanted to get water but she thought, “what the hell?!” and washed down the drugs with the remaining cocktail in her cup. She was going to drop her cup in the sink when she felt dizzy. She quickly grabbed the chair near her to steady her legs. “I really need to stop drinking!” She told herself. She held on to the chair till she was closed enough to drop on it. She shakily dropped her empty cup on the table and yawned silently. She was feeling weak and sleepy and it was becoming very hard to talk or move for that matter. She felt heavy. She turned slowly to her visitor and there was a smug smile on the visitor’s face. She looked like she has won something. She wanted to ask why the person was smiling but she couldn’t talk and it was beginning very hard to hold her posture and she dropped her head on the table not to gently. She watched her visitor stood and came very close to her. The visitor bent Dow and whispered into her ears;
‘Goodbye my darling. We will take care of everything you left behind…’ The visitor kissed her cheeks and walked away.
Joy tried to grab the visitor’s dress but she couldn’t move at all.
…to be continued…
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Written by Olatorera
Edited by Olatorera and Ola Adeyemi Smith.
© 2016 by IBIOLAT communications.