Diary Of An Urban Man 8 “Twist Of Fate”

15th August, it was Alex’s birthday, I couldn’t believe he was 25 years already, I thought of Beckley on each of his son’s birthday not because of his biological status but because they both shared same date as birthdays, it came with many memories of past years that I shared with Beckley. His birthdays was always remarkable I made sure of that but the feeling gradually faded through the 25 years I didn’t set my eyes on him, bit by bit every feeling died away only Alex reminded me of him, every time I stared into his eyes I saw Beckley, they shared same dreamy eyes that made me go gaga years back. I had wished to celebrate this day with my son who was in the far away city of Manchester studying for his MBA final exams.
It was a quiet morning as my husband had left quit early and I had little to do for the day. Finally I was glad things were getting on fine, Beckley was so far away our paths might probably never cross again, I was glad I left Lagos, I was glad he didn’t knock on my door for 25 years, I had refused picking the few times he called, everything ended in Lagos and that part of my life was over. My mother’s death had hit me pretty bad and as the only child I inherited everything she owned. I felt so bad I wasn’t by her side during her final days, just how much more cruel could heart attack be? After the burials ceremony was over I knew my days in Lagos was over too. I wanted Alex to have a home, since Beckley wasn’t so sure of his feelings I needed to do it alone. Leaving the celebrity life completely wasn’t an easy decision but the joy Alex gave me was worth its every bit of disappointment. Then there was my husband, even though we didn’t march down the aisle it was a perfect union, one that didn’t come with so much hassle and pain in the butt. Jide was a responsible man but above all just the father Alex needed. We didn’t have other children because of a medical problem my hubby had, but Alex was enough for us. We were both committed to our businesses which grew tremendously, I had taken over mother’s eatery business and expanded it from one outlet to eight outlets, I won’t deny the fact that my celebrity status helped me a lot. Everything was just perfect.

I wished I was on same flight with Ada and they kids, it would have been easy to die with them than to be left alone to grieve. It was just so hard to believe that I was speaking to my wife hours ago and now she had vanished I won’t even get to see her body nor those of my two boys “Chidi and Ebuka” even my little princess Amara who had just named her new teddy “Daddy” in view of my birthday, I wasn’t going to ever see her giggle again. It was so much for one man to bear. I sat by the large swimming pool staring at the stars reflection, sparkling, the sight was peaceful and so beautiful it amazed me, it didn’t grief with me rather it smiled back like I didn’t just lose my family in a single swoop, my thoughts went back to my previous birthdays when we had family time with my kids, while Adaku baked my birthday cake between cooking a delicious lunch we would devour afterwards. She was a good cook I often anticipated my birthdays because it was a ritual to have a house party.
My phone rang louder than usual I nearly jumped into the pool, I imagined it would be Adaku, I prayed in a split of seconds for the caller to be her and she would tell me how sorry she was, that she missed the flight, that her and my kids were fine, together they would sing me a happy birthday over the phone, And I would hear my little daughter’s voice straining her tiny voice to outshine the boys like she did last year, I did get a birthday song from the caller but it was Christine wishing me a happy birthday, I couldn’t break the news to her as it would devastate her, not yet I cautioned my self.
She inquired about my family whom I lied were out in the pool having fun. Please I’d like to Amara later about a little something later, okay sis. I knew she was planning for my little girl to visit her in Rome only she didn’t know Amara was no more. I held unto the last hope of the morning tabloid which would release the names of victims affected. It was sure a dead end but it was the last straw of a drowning man. The night was deep and my thoughts was filled images of Ada and kids burning to ashes, I couldn’t not keep up any longer, I lowered the camped bed by the pool and fell asleep.

How can so much misfortune befall a man and change the cause of life forever, if I had lost all my money I’d willing accept poverty but what is left of a man who lost his family and much more when he won’t even bury their corpses. I didn’t need the papers anymore it was on national television, it was a national tragedy, and the whole 145 passengers aboard lost their lives there was no survivor. On the list of names my families name shone brightly. There was no mistakes, no second chances; they were gone, reduced to ashes. I had to switch off my phone as calls kept coming in trying to confirm the news; I was tired of their exclamations and wails. I was too hurt to cry, I was in a complete trance. Life has changed for worst; all that I lived for is gone. There was no other family apart from my sister Christine and my Brother left to share my grief with. How can I lose so much at a time, I felt cursed by God.

It was Jide my husband who brought the news, even if though Beckley was my past, the news pierced my heart into two, I was bleeding internally for him, I felt it, how could so much tragedy befall a man at the prime of his life. When I was alone in the kitchen preparing dinner I knew I won’t eat, tears kept streaming down my face. I cried for a lot of reasons, I thought of my friend Christine how the news would devastate her, I hadn’t called her since I left Lagos I cut out the friendship too, it was one of the important things I left behind in Lagos. I cried because it was a better relief than holding unto grief within. I know Beckley had not forgiven me for leaving him when he had finally came to his senses to put a ring around my finger but I did what I thought was best at the time. Even though I knew Jide was impotent and couldn’t father another child, one was enough for us to raise together he said. Love would keep us together not children. I had a feeling Beckley would be back for his son, only time would tell.

Both Papa and Mama had passed away peacefully years back; Alex and Christine were both living abroad. Other blood relations in the village asked that I came home and bury them but their was nothing to bury, a huge memorial service was to be held in their honor, it was a national mourning, I asked Alex and Christine not to come home because of me, I wanted to grief alone at least for now, the both promised to visit during December celebration. The only family that sat with me at the service was my wife’s aged mother and older brother. At some point I wanted all these to be a dream that I would wake up and Ada would be by my side reading the bible on her tablet as she always does on Saturday mornings, but this Saturday I woke alone in my bed, the house was so quiet I could hear my foot steps echo, my children’s room looked as though they just left for school and would soon be back.

Jide knew I was bothered and I guess he suspected it was Beckley even though he never brought it up but his remarks pointed in that direction, I wanted to clear the air but I wasn’t ready for the heated argument it might generated. I didn’t want my husband feeling I had another man on my mind. My concerns were for my son who would soon be in the eye of a storm, Beckley would soon come knocking and Jide had never made it a secret that he was going to hand over his managerial seat to Alex when he was done with studies, his two daughters would only be given tokens. It was a perfect plan, one that would benefit my son and husband greatly, Jide’s lineage would be preserved even though his bloodline would be lost. One mistake really was we never told Alex about his biological father and what transpired before he was born, he only grew up to know Jide as a father and me as his mother, it was easier that way at the time but everything has changed. Will Alex resist the lure of his biologically father when he knocks, only time would tell.

December came so fast I didn’t realize it was here already till I received a call from Christine that she was coming into the country by weekend, I practically had been too intoxicated with everything to feel the passage of time, I worked with much more aggression keeping up to date with every social events, more celebrities bought their clothing and accessories from me, I spent half the nights at the clubs often coming back too drunk to climb the stairs to my bedroom, in fact I preferred sleeping on the sofa, it gave me a feeling that Ada was upstairs snoring away, every stick of Benson I smoked was my last till it was the 20th one in the pack and the circle had to start again with a new pack telling myself same lie. The whole house smelt of tobacco I had since stopped caring if it smelt or not, I just loved that light headache cigarette gave. Bottles of jack Daniels littered the house, I smoked and drank everywhere around the house, I didn’t care anymore life has done its worst there was nothing left for me to cherish on earth.

My house became a home again and was certainly gearing up for a bubbling Christmas celebration, My brother arrived with his family two days after Christine arrived, she really had a tough time cleaning the big house, she kept hissing at every cigarette butt she picked, brother your are on a suicide mission and I won’t let that happen to you, your misfortune can still be salvaged you have a son, all you need do is find julie, My brother brought it up at dinner again, we need to find Julie and you guys thinks she would easily part with her son after so many years. There is power in persuasion besides we have got the law on our side we just need to prove your the biologically father. Are you guys actually suggesting of going to court? Not yet Beckley but if it comes to that why not! I had dreaded a confrontation with Julie all these while but it seems so inevitable now.


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