Adam’s Apple | Episode 10
As we pulled over in front of my father’s compound, my heart skipped a beat. I had never been that scared in my life. Memories of him chasing me with a cutlass flashed through my mind and the way I ran for dear life until I ran into an oncoming vehicle whose driver could have killed me, but chose to swerve into what could have been his own death. Fast forward to a few days later, he is home with me to beg my father on my behalf. Such a twist of fate.
I was still processing all of that in my mind when Joachim tapped my hand. It was 7:05pm but the day was still clear. I could see into the compound. It was unusually deserted, a clear indication that all was not really well in the house.
“Aren’t you coming down” He asked. He still had his seat belt strapped across his shoulder. He clearly did not intend to go in with me. It was quite a challenge to convince him to bring me home. I understood his health challenge but I couldn’t bear the thought of facing my father alone after four days of running away from home. And what better effect would my reappearance have on him than coming home with the person that almost killed me, no – that I almost killed. No! That he almost killed!
Tekena came over after work, and we had to use his car. Although it was quite difficult to convince him that Joachim was in a good frame of mind to drive, we prevailed at last. But on getting home, it seemed the whole dynamics was changing. Joachim seemed to have developed a cold feet.
“I thought you would be going in with me” I queried.
“Yes, I wanted to…but I am scared for you after I have gone. What will your parents think of me…”
“They do not have to think of anything. I brought you here to help me beg them, and have my father forgive me. I need to make him see for himself that he could have killed me, or killed you. Please do this for me, Joachim” I said, holding his arm.
“Ok. That’s fine, but I won’t be staying for long. Remember I have to return this vehicle to Tekena as soon as possible so he can get home early.”
“Aunty Ese!” Ovie, my brother interrupted us. He had spotted me as he returned home from wherever he was coming from. “We don dey find you since naa!” he couldn’t hide his excitement. He ran inside the compound screaming “Aunty Ese don come oooo”
Within a few seconds, my parents and a few others who had visited to show concern about my disappearance were outside the house to see for themselves. At that point, there was no turning back. Not for me, not for Joachim. We had to do what we had to do.
I stepped down from the car as everyone rushed to welcome Ese back home except two men, one of them I later got to know as her father. He had a mean look, really. Middle aged, tall, dark and quite handsome. I was able to see where Ese got her height and gait from. Her beauty is what she got from her mother who is like a carbon copy of her, only looking more mature.
Her father didn’t say a word until all the dust had settled on the frenzy that followed Ese’s reappearance. The focus then shifted to me – the one who brought home their daughter. Ese’s father was clever enough to dismiss the friends and well wishers who had come to congratulate them on the return of their daughter before talking to me.
Ese was inside the room with her mother while I sat in the living room with her father and Ovie, her younger brother.
“Young man, thank you for bringing home my daughter, I would like to know who you are and how you found her” her father set the conversation rolling.
I had to explain how I almost ran Ese over but quickly swerved into a nearby truck, had my vehicle destroyed and landed in the hospital.
“Which hospital” he queried, seemingly oblivious to every other aspect of the story.
“St. James Hospital sir”
“Did Ese go with you to that hospital?”
“Yes, she did. When I came to consciousness, I saw her along with my friends whom she called”
“But I was at the hospital with my wife that evening to look for her, and we were told that she wasn’t there. You know about that too?”
For once, I was scared of him and I was lost for words. I feared saying the truth would complicate matters for Ese, so I quickly lied.
“I did not know that you were around or when you were around, but I know that Ese was not with me all through. She had to leave at some point and returned later. I can’t tell if you came when she was not around”
The response didn’t seem to satisfy him, but he didn’t seem to know how best to probe further. He however kept his gaze at me, probably searching for clues that indicated I just lied. I did same too, hoping that would make me look convincing. Moments later, he broke the silence.
“How then did you find her again and brought her home?”
That question knocked me out temporarily. Ese had told me the story of what led to her being chased with a cutlass. Her father definitely would not like to hear that she had stayed with for four days. He would also not believe that nothing was between us. Heck, he might even think the whole hospital story was a scam. I was lost, I didn’t know if the truth could set me free in that situation. I thought another lie would be appropriate, but Ese and his mother came in at that moment to rescue me.
Ese, on the supposed advice of her mother, knelt down in front of her father, cried and begged for forgiveness. She recounted the whole episode to her father and dropped it on him that she had stayed with me all through.
“Yes sir, she stayed to take care of me sir. To help me get back on my feet. She insisted on staying because she was afraid to come home to you sir. And that is why I had to bring her home.” I quickly chipped in, and joined Ese in kneeling. “Please forgive her sir, and take her back into the family as your daughter”
It was enough to end the feud between Ese and her father. The family was united once again and I was glad to be part of the reunion.
It was not until late in the evening that my phone rang, but it was not my dad calling I had to angrily end the call, not minding who was calling. I was beginning to get really frustrated at his blatant refusal to help. My threat to leave home like my brother was empty, and my father seemed to know it. That was the only reason he would not bulge. He knew I loved him too much to walk out on him.
Things were a lot different with my brother. Dad seemed to expect too much of him and never really saw eye to eye with him on a lot of things. While we were a lot younger, I enjoyed a lot of grace with my father which Jojo did not. Initially, I thought it was part of what every big brother had to face, but as I grew, I got to realize that unlike Mother who loved us equally, Father liked me more than Joachim and he wasn’t afraid to hide it. Even when Joachim left home, he was unmoved.
Mother did all within her power to find him to no avail, but Father kept reassuring us he was not lost. He somehow found out that Jojo had found an abode in Delta State, and I sensed he knew more than he told us, that’s why I tried to force something out of him, but my plan was not working, and I really didn’t know what else to do.
I thought to put a call across to Mum and let her know I would not be going to Delta anymore, since it would be very difficult to locate Jojo without a definite address. The thoughts of finding Valerie was however some kind of motivation. I began to think about how I could do possible keyword searches on the web that could lead me to Valerie.
I grabbed my phone quickly to use google, and waiting for me was a message icon on my home screen. It was from my father.
“You win! Let’s see over the weekend, and I will lead you to your brother.”
Adam’s Apple Continues…