EIGHTEEN

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ETHEL closed the car door was about to hurry
into the house.
‘Welcome Sir.’ Precious gave a low bow. His
normal cheerful countenance was replaced
with a sad one.
‘What happened? ‘
‘This morning there was no sign of her, she
didn’t help with the meal, she didn’t even
come to the table. We were all worried but
thought she had her reasons. By eleven, mum J
couldn’t stand it anymore. She went to her
room, knocked a number of times but there
was no response. She informed the big bros
and they forced her door opened. We found
her unconscious. You know the rest Sir.’
Ethel exhaled deeply.
‘Should I get your laptop and briefcase? ‘
‘Yes please.’ He walked into the house.

Mummy J left the room and closed the door
behind her.
He sat on the seat she vacated. ‘Darling how
do you feel? ‘
She just couldn’t be mad with someone who
had her best interest at heart. She could
almost smile at his worried expression.
He prayerfully hoped she would talk to him.
He felt so guilty. ‘What did the doctor say? ‘
‘You know what the doctor must have said to
me.’ She told him calmly.
He had an urge to take her hands in his but
couldn’t. ‘I’m very sorry Hester, I am sorry. ‘
She looked at him but said nothing.
‘Should I get down on my knees to show you
how much I mean it? ‘
She shook her head. ‘I forgive you but
sometimes I feel you don’t listen to me.’
‘How can you say that Hess, I have always
listened you. I am sorry. ‘
‘Are you sorry about the act of yesterday or
that I was unconscious? ‘
He decided not to lie again. ‘I don’t regret
what I did but its effect on you. We don’t
know if Oladimeji means what he said or not. ‘
‘Ethel …’ She shot a surprised look.
‘I need you to listen to me.’ He interrupted
calmly. ‘I don’t like a fire I cannot quench. We
need to get united now. Stop telling me not to
get involved, I owe it to my parents, Victoria,
Osagie and most especially myself to protect
you. There is a joy you bring to we all and I
won’t let that joy die. ‘ He reached out and
touched her face. ‘Oladimeji doesn’t have
authority over your life. Our life is hidden
with Christ in God, that is the report you
should believe in not the report of a mere
mortal.’
She sat up. ‘How can I ever repay you ? ‘
‘By telling me what I can do to make you
happy. ‘ He winked at her.
Hester laughed holding her tummy. ‘I want to
see my uncle but am afraid that if I go out, a
stray bullet will hit me.’
‘God will never allow that happen. I will get
you all the escort you need, police, naval and
Airforce… ‘ He used his fingers to list.
‘Oh boy! I am about to stare in a Hollywood
block buster movie. ‘ She stared into space
dreamily.
Ethel laughed.
He had more to say but he will keep it till the
dust had completely settled.
+++
n Jan 27
***
Chris swept her off her feet and twirled round
and round until Ethel raised his brows
beaming.
They were locked in each other arms for over
a minute.
‘I missed you.’ Hester whispered close to tears.
‘I missed you more deardarling, I was worried
sick about you.’ He fought back his tears.
Eventually, they remembered he was still there.
With her arm still around him. She did the
introduction. ‘Boyfriend meet my darling
Ethelbert Onyemakazie and Darling ,’ She pulled
Ethel close. ‘meet my sucre banana,
Christopher Douglas. ‘
Chris chuckled as he extended his hand.
‘Good morning Sir.’ Ethel took his hand and
gave a low bow.
‘Welcome Ethel. My darling has told me so
much about you, indeed am grateful. ‘ Chris
took his hand. ‘Let’s go in.’
Hester embraced Chris wife Nnenna and took
the pretty baby girl she was carrying and
twirled her.
Her laughter filled the sitting room.
Hester introduced Nnenna and Stella to him
and Nnenna welcomed Ethel with a hug.
Ethel took Stella who was a year plus and was
attracted to the embroidery on his buba.
Ethel served with drink.
After a while, they excused themselves to do
catch up.
Ethel sang for her Some of the kids melodies
he could remember. After a while, she raised
her head above her head.
‘Dance. ‘ She told him.
He raised a brow still maintaining his smile.
‘Daddy…dance… sing. ‘ She pointed first to his
phone then to the floor.
‘Oh Okay. ‘ He got the message and placed her
on the ground.
Stella bend low and low and threw both hands
in the air even before Ethel could find a music
to play on his phone.
She tapped a foot and bobbed her head from
side to side.
Ethel marvelled as he joined her on the dance
floor. She reminded him of so much… so much
of Hester.
Blood was indeed thicker than water.
He laughed as she smiled up at him before
twirling.
He blessed Hester in his mind, imagine a child
challenging him to dance and him faltering. He
twirled with both hands in the air and bobbed
from side to side.
‘Woah! ‘ Chris laughed. ‘Look what we have
here.’
‘Daddy come …’ Stella beckoned. ‘Dance. ‘
Ethel swept her up into his arms and embrace
her. ‘Can I take her home?’ He looked at
Nnenna.
Hester took a snapshots of them.
‘Do ask my first wife. She has a higher say
than I do.’ Nnenna informed him all in smiles.
Ethel placed her down and she went to meet
her aunt.
Ethel used a palm to fan away imaginary sweat
from his neck. ‘I never knew a day will come
when a Lovely child will beat in dancing. Thank
God for Hester grooming me.’
They all laughed.
‘Did you hear that Ella? Hester told her. She
was seated on her lap.
Stella beamed and looked closely at the camera
Hester had handed to her.
Ethel brought out five new one thousand notes
and handed it to Stella. ‘Go give to mummy, let
her buy you something nice courtesy of Uncle
Ethel.’
‘Thank you.’ She said rather shyly and went
over to give the money to her mum.
‘Thank you Ethel. ‘ Chris told him.
‘Thank you very much.’ Nnenna appreciated.
‘My pleasure. ‘ He returned.
Hester smiled her appreciation to him.
‘I’ll like to invite you to the dining room for a
meal of …’
‘Pounded yam and oha soup.’ Hester completed
knowingly.
Chris and Nnenna burst into laughter.
‘That is one of my favorite. ‘ Ethel stood.
Hester stood and took his hand. ‘That make us
too.’
++
**
‘Oladimeji has good luck honestly because if I
ever get hold of his him, I will crush him in
such a way that he would be good for nothing
to his parents who spoilt him this far than to
be put in a transparent container and be hung
in the presidential Villa. ‘
‘I could have rated everything that has
happened so far as worse but what my parents
did and said is worst and hurt me most. They
didn’t care about Where I was and how I was
faring. Daddy said as far as I could trace my
way back to Oladimeji, he cared less.’ Tears
formed in her eyes. ‘Uncle Chris, isn’t about
time you own up to me, was I adopted? Did
she actually carried me in her womb? ‘
‘Yeah babe, she did.’ He hugged her close.
‘Why should she should choose me when her
favorite daughter is interested. Why should
they decide to hurt me so when I’ve been all I
needed to be to them.’
‘I don’t have answers to all those questions
Sweetheart. ‘ He sighed. ‘A couple of weeks
ago,your dad sent for me with the sole aim
of.me convincing you that that brat is the best
for you. I expressed my disappointment, we
were not brought up that way, he doesn’t want
to listen to anyone. Even Agatha had the
effrontery to protest that you deserve all what
you had to go through, a slap that her
sprawling silenced her till I left the house. I
wonder when she is going to grow up. ‘
Tears rolled down her cheeks.’ She had never
liked me despite that she tried to kill me when
we were younger, I Love her so much.’ She
exhaled and shook her head.
‘I know that well since I was the one that
rescued you. I am brokenhearted, look at my
angel, all sad, emaciated and all. I can’t see
when I want to.’ His tears came down, he
couldn’t fight them anymore. ‘God, Oh my
God, God give you freedom. ‘
‘Oh Uncle Chris. ‘ She clinged to him. ‘I don’t
know how much of it I can take. Tell God to
help me, He might consider your prayer. ‘
++++
***
‘Don’t get like that Sweetie. ‘ Ethel used a hand
to prop himself on the sofa bed in the middle
of the sitting room.
‘You wouldn’t tell not to get like that if you
witnessed how close I was to getting shot
twice! Precious and Chime were on the verge
of being shot while taking turns to protect me!
Ask them how the event was, ask them if
they’ve recovered from what happened earlier
today! It was a narrow escape, it wasn’t even
narrow because all the bridges were burnt. We
have our bath Ethel. How long will this go on
…’ She shook her in exasperation. ‘For how
long …?’
‘All right now dear, calm down. It’s going to be
fine.’
‘Fine! ‘ She scoffed and glared at him in such
way that Ethel had to lower his eyes and think
momentarily about his last statement.
‘I’m tired of lies. Ethel stop lying to me, is
it.ever going to be fine? How long is it going to
take? How long will this go on? A year and half
is gone already. ‘
He listened knowing she was about to break
down emotionally.
‘Look …look me.’ She gestured and even look
down at herself. ‘I can’t even see me when I
look at the mirror, I’m so washed out.’ She
swallowed hard. ‘My hair is falling out …’ Her
voice trailed off and her tears came down. ‘I
can’t eat, I can’t sleep because I haunted to
my sleep. What kind of life is this? Is it not
better I end it all myself? ‘ She was about
throwing herself to the ground.
Ethel grabbed her and held her. She struggled
to break free.
‘Hess, when you do this, i feel heartbroken.
How can you think of hurting yourself.’
‘When I die, you can be rest assured my ghost
won’t haunt you. ‘
He felt cold. ‘How happy that will make me.’
It was the sarcasm it his voice that made her
stop struggling. His face displayed his
disappointment.
‘Lie.’ He pointed to the bed.
She obeyed, not knowing if it was the sarcasm
in his voice or the iciness in his eyes or the
disappointment of his face that had compelled
her .
He exhaled and gave her a lingering look
before lowering himself.
.
Ethel lowered himself beside her. ‘WE are all
created for a purpose, every pain and hurt we
go through in life is for a purpose. God ways
are not our ways. No matter how hard we
question or try to fathom it sweetie, ‘ He
bobbed his eyes from side to side. ‘we might
never understand. There are stories …stories of
people who are facing worst, who have faced
worst. Stories of people who prayed for the
barren and they become fruitful, yet they died
childless. Stories of men of God who were
healing ministers yet died or lost their love
ones to ailment. God ways are not for mortals
to understand. We are the clay, He is the
potter.’ His voice was soft and his brows
darkened thoughtfully as he spoke. ‘Men of the
world have discovered the more fire gold has
to pass through, the more beautiful it
becomes. ‘ He took her cold palm in his and
studied it. ‘There was a message I listened to
recently by a great man of God and a couple
of passages from the holy book that changed
my perspective of life. ‘
Hester looked up at his face, her expression
blank on her tear stained face.
‘Isaiah 35:4-10.’ He told her and picked his
tab on the rug.
“Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be
strong, fear not: behold, your God will come
with vengeance, even God with a recompence;
he will come and save you.” He paused,
glanced at her and smiled.
Hester pursed her lips and blinked severally.
She felt calm.
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and
the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the
wilderness shall waters break out, and streams
in the desert..Hallelujah! ‘ Ethel exclaimed
excited. ‘Sweet, did you hear that? ‘
Hester nodded with a smile.
His grip on her palm tightened as she felt
warm, a.kind of warmth she had not felt in a
while. He continued reading. “And the parched
ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty
land springs of water: in the habitation of
dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with
reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be
there, and a way, and it shall be called The way
of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it;
but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men,
though fools, shall not err therein. No lion
shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go
up thereon, it shall not be found there; but
the redeemed shall walk there: And the
ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come
to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon
their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
‘Amen. ‘ Hester chorused and heaved. She
doubt coming across the Scripture aforetime .
‘Ain’t you a child of God?’ He touched her face
gleaming.
‘I am.’ She had never seen any man so
handsome when he talked about God. She
closed her eyes. Peace… Serenity …calmness …
she saw the spring first …then the Hill, she felt
the breeze caress her face and she felt light.
She beamed.
‘Our lives Hess, are hidden with Christ in God.
‘He chuckled. ‘The devil can only try but he
can never succeed. Faith is the substance of
things hoped for, an evidence of things not yet
seen. Do you have faith? ‘ He looked down at
his companion.
Silence.
‘Hess …?’ He saw her chest rise and fall. He
laughed and covered his mouth in order not to
wake her.
His companion had fallen asleep!
He stood, head for his room and came back
with a blanket. He lay her properly and
covered her .
He just stared at her until the wetness on his
arm jerked him back to reality, he reached up
to touch his face rather surprised at the tears.
He went to seat on the longest sofa and soon
drifted to sleep.
He woke up after 6hours and was rather
surprised and happy she was still asleep.
Probably the longest she ever had since she
became conscious after surgery. He felt her
forehead for any sigh of illness before heading up the stairs.
++++

Do you drop your thoughts, thanks.

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