BELOVED Part 1


Solomon Okafor, sat some meters away from his study table. He had a book in his hands, while his eyes scanned the other books on the shelves. The distraction was so much, that he got his eyes off the book he was reading, several times. 

He stood up, adjusting the starched shirt he had on and pulling  the cord suspending the window blind. 

He returned to the table with the overhead light out and just a study lamp focusing on the book he had in his hands. His hands rested on his jaw, supporting his chin, and he went out. Only to flick his eyes open, after the loud sound of his book hitting the ground filled up his ear. 

He picked up the book, and slapped it hard on the study table. On the same table, were some other books arrayed up to a height. 

He walked out of his study room and saw his wife sitting with their only daughter in her laps, on getting to the living room.

He could not talk because his bills were unpaid. This made him feel like a weakling. Business was bad and his wife just would not understand. 

He had his eyes on the center table from where he picked an envelope.

'She must have picked it from the mail box', he thought.

He checked it out. The envelope had the name of his bank on it. He knew his loan was overdue and could not stay away from the instant headache.

 

He left Anambra for Lagos in luxury. His mum ought not even know he had spent all he had in just two years. His wedding was a luxurious one. No one could have predicted things would fall apart. 

It all happened after saving 25 million naira in Trice bank, which folded up two months later without the hope of him getting his money out. They declared bankruptcy and that was all. 


Solomon's phone rang. His eyes followed his ears. He moved across the room to the extension box, laying beside the dusty deck. He unplugged his phone and stopped the noise. "Hello!" He said sharply, as he cut away the terrible gaze hanging down his wife's face. 

His smile grew cold with the news, finding it hard to settle his head. 

-His rich mother is sick.-


****

12:30 AM. The large clock hanging from a height, made a 'visual scream' as Ngozi made contact. 

She removed her hands from the pressing iron's handle and rushed to lock her door. It was midnight already and she knew it was wrong to keep the door open. 

She got there and found the door locked. 

She moved across her small living room angrily, as her eyes swept past her brown couch, wooden center table and back, coming to the TV for a stop. She glared for no reason and then, had her nose filled with smell from her burnt cloth. She rushed to the rear of her living room, right behind her couch. She lifted the iron and tears gathered in her eyes.

Her favorite blazer was burnt already and like that wasn't bad enough, her phone was crying for attention. 

She unplugged the iron and picked her phone, only to slam it against the adjacent wall. It came back for her; Nokia would never disappoint. 

It was back at her feet, with a blinking screen and an open message. 

"Mama is very sick. They want us home." The message read. 


*****

Okafor Junior, as he was called, felt belittled, circled up by four of his mates. It was just some minutes after the evening prep, and it was clear he was a step closer to being bullied. 

He was in his final year in school, far away from his old grandmother, who had always been his mother. His mother died when he was just two. He had to live with his grandmother, since it was hard to locate his father, who suddenly vanished two weeks after his mother's burial.

He was born with growth issue. He looked shorter, smaller and weaker than the rest of his peers. His rich grandmother had done all her best. She took him far away to one of the best schools in the South, where his aunty could easily check up on him. 

Junior had his hands against his chin, as his jaw dropped in terror. The green braces holding firm his teeth flashed. 

He knew why they hated him and for some reasons, he could not stop. He was more brilliant than them all and was also the most favoured. The teachers liked him; it was clear he couldn't be hated. 

The lights came on and everything became still. The boys dropped all that they had in their hands hurriedly, as they made for an opposite exit, hiding their face. 

"Junior!" The feminine voice came for the boy, as he went for the floor with his hands. He sat with his knees up  and legs rooted to the ground. He hugged his legs and dug his face inbetween them. 

The soft hand reached him again. He felt the soft touch against his back, and the cold feminine voice asked again. 

"Are you hurt?" 


He was taken to the Porter's apartment, where a call awaited him. 

It was his aunty on the phone. 

"I am coming to pick you up tomorrow, OK? We are going home. Mama wants to see you." She had said hurriedly, after asking about his health and wellbeing.




┬ęGodwin Okhuoya