I got home at 11 pm. My parents had been worried. My mother looking crazed. They sat in the parlor along with my three siblings.
“Where are you coming from?” My mother shouted at me. She tied her wrapper properly as she walked towards me. She was a very temperamental person and I think that I was similar to her in many ways. Perhaps that was why we did not get along.
I greeted my Dad and my siblings and I turned to them. My arrogant former self would have been ready for the confrontation with battle ready words and actions. It was the reason I moved to a place of my own, to avoid confrontations with my family.
I sat down because I was drained of physical energy having not eaten for many hours. My mind on the other hand was alert. I felt I had just been given a new lease of life. Not many got this opportunity and I knew it. I was going to live again.
“Mummy, Daddy, I am sorry that I stayed out late,” I said.
“Is that all? You are sorry?” my mother responded, her body shaking with anger. I saw my Father signal to her to calm down.
“No mummy, it is not all. I actually went to the third mainland bridge,” I told them, looking at each one, pleading with my eyes that they should be merciful to me.
“Why will you do that?” Veronica, my sister looking puzzled asked me. “At this time of the night also.”
“I was tired so I went there. I could not bear it anymore,” I said, tears rolled down my eyes. My body shook with tears and I cried out. “I was tired of everything. Everything!”
My mother fell on the floor. My Dad looked alarmed along with my siblings.
“I have been beaten down. I lost everything. My job, my house, my fiancé, my friends all gone from me. My wedding was cancelled. My family disserted me. Even my own mother hates me.”
“Jesus!” my mother screamed. “That is not true. That is not true.” She shouted at me, tears running down her face. She came towards me and grabbed my shoulders, “you are my daughter and I love you. Afurum gi na anya. I can never hate you.”
“But you never even cared or comforted me when I was disgraced, condemned by the world. You all abandoned me to my misery.”
We all wept and held each other. My Father prayed for me, and for us all. This was a new beginning for my family.
I woke up the next morning with vigor. It was clear in my mind what I was to do. My thoughts had been on Rosco throughout the night. I got a chance to live again and he could also if he found someone to give him what he gave me. If he was not an angel then he had a real gift of saving lives. Since I had no job I thought about doing a service to the community.
I borrowed my Dad’s car to go on an errand my mother sent me. As I pulled out of the street where I delivered a package, a car hit mine from behind. I was livid but I had to restrain myself like I never had before.
“I am so sorry,” a young man said to me, he was about my 2 or 3 years older than I was.
“It is okay. But this is not my car and you need to take care of this.” I pointed to the broken lights and dented parts. He was a very handsome young man. He kept no beards and had boy like charm.
“Can I give you my card? You can call me and I will take care of the damage. I am running late for a very important meeting but I promise you that I will take care of it.” he pulled out a card from his back pocket, his jeans looked like he was yet to break into it. The card read ‘Kesandu Iheme, CEO, Kaizen Group’. I was shocked. The popular Kaizen group CEO bashed my Dad’s car.
“Let me try the number first to make sure that it rings before you go,” I said and he laughed. I dialed the number and it rang.
“It’s my personal number,” he said, smiling at me like a cat that liked a mouse.
When he drove off, I thought about him and his company. He was estimated to have a turnover of $1 billion and this was not Naira. My ideas would come to life with some good money and I planned to visit him instead of calling so that I could pitch my idea also. I got on my laptop and wrote a proposal.
Kesandu became a regular feature in my life. He did not give me any money as I had hoped but he gave me something worth more. A building that was converted to hostels as a rehabilitation centre for people who needed a lifeline to start again; people who needed to get out of their limiting environment. I targeted people like Rosco but I never met him again. I looked for him and described him every time I went out to talk to people at Isale Eko, Apongbon, and other slums with high population of ‘Area boys’. I named the first building Rosco’s place. We also provided Skill acquisition and got jobs for some. Some of these guys went back to their former lives but a number of them turned around for good.
By this time, Victor came into my life again. He was excited about the change in me and how I worked to build others up instead of tearing them down with my boorish ways. While Kesandu partnered with me in securing funds to build more centres, Victor helped me in the actual care for these men. He organized security for me to protect me from the very ill-mannered ones. Interestingly I was skilled at fund raising having stayed around Kessy for a while. His knowledge of finance was intimidating; a wealth guru he was. With some money, I was able to develop small businesses that the centres could run to sustain expenses of hosting people and also keep the men busy. I also improved my financial knowledge from association with Kessy and I was able to make sound investments that generating money; passive money.
I had a fantastic life. I had the support of two strong men; givers to the core.
Time and time again, Victor would take about us getting married but I was very much focused on my work with Rosco’s place. My mother started to warn me to be careful of leading both of them on.
When I asked her who she was leaning towards, she would sigh.
“My dear, I don’t know. I am confused myself.” She said to me.
One quiet Sunday, Kesandu took me on a helicopter ride to an upscale restaurant in Abuja. I was ecstatic. I was the subject of many scrutiny; being with the rich and handsome Kessy Billionaire after all.
We ate and laughed. He was used to touching my hands while he talked and I loved it. His public display of affection was just the excitement I needed.
We were standing on the balcony of the restaurant and we star gazed. The next few minutes were mind-blowing. Fireworks popped in the sky forming words that made me and the rest of Maitama gush and gasp.
“Will you marry me?” was written bolding in the sky. I turned to Kesandu and I found him on one Knee and a gleaming diamond ring winking at me. I said a big fat yes. I was in heavens. The proposal was epic, just as I dreamed a proposal should me.
On the ride back to Lagos, the scale started to fall from my eyes. I started to think about Victor. I was sad within me.
Later than night, I ran to my mother and spewed everything. She did not show excitement because she knew I was torn.
“Nwa ega egbum. A gwara m gi agwa.” Was all she said. It was obvious she wished that she could help me out.
The next day at Rosco’s house, I was looking through an agreement with Victor when he saw the ring on my finger. His demeanor darkened like night came early. He left immediately. I watched him sit in his car and cry for an hour. He wept like I had never seen a man. Proud Ibo Man shedding tears was not a common sight in my world.
The next evening, Victor showed up at Rosco’s after office hours in his suit and tie as if nothing happened. He focused on his work like a man who had to work or die. My heart broke.
I thought of our history and his total devotion. It was like I had him in my hands. He was 80% still.
Kesandu made up for the 20% and some more. But we had had never been tested by fire. He had everything he needed and I felt as if I was an important extra to his fantastic life. He was always in control and I guessed that the fact that I was discovering things gradually got me thrilled. He did not reveal himself; I probed. Kesandu was a great man; a successful businessman and a Christian too. I listened to my God, my heart and my mind.
That is my story. As I put the photo book aside, Victor came into the room and grinned from ear to ear. I was like a battery of a phone to Victor; I kept him alive. To Kesandu, I was like an accessory like a phone cover or ear piece to enhance a great package and make it greater.
“What?” I said, wondering about what amused him.
“I think I found Rosco.” He said.
I screamed with Joy.
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The Story began here: To Live Again, To Live for Gain – A Story of Rebirth
Nwa ega egbum – This child, you will not kill me
A gwara m gi agwa – I warned you
Nwa m nwanyi iga ghi enwe ihe nile – My Daughter, you cannot have everything
A gwa nti ma o nughi, e bere isi, nti esobe ya – A word is sufficient for the wise (If you tell the hear and it doesn’t listen, when they cut the head the ear will follow)