“Hi guys, here’s Episode 8 of Broken…or not? Service isn’t over yet though, the rest will come after NYSC. Thanks for understanding. Cheers! :)”
“Officer, this has to be a mistake. He is my husband.” I said defensively as the Policemen moved to cuff Omololu who stood speechless before them.
The Officer passed me a copy of the warrant. “There is an order from the court to restrain him from you and your daughter.”
“Clearly we look happy and we don’t need the restraining.” I replied.
The Officer nodded. “We are not ruling out the possibility that reconciliation is bound to happen at one time or the other in life, but there is a due process for everything.”
“Even forgiveness?” I probed.
The Officer nodded. “I am not the Judge. He would have to come with us now; you can come down to our station.”
The Second officer cuffed Omololu and led him to their van. I swallowed as I watched the Van leave. I turned in Tiwa’s direction. “I am sorry.”
She nodded. “I know.” She replied and walked into the house.
I followed slowly with my wheelchair.
“I know I shouldn’t have been there, but she needed my help and I couldn’t abandon her.”
The D.P.O nodded. “You should have relayed this to us through your lawyer.”
I nodded. “I apologize and I would try to make up for everything, but right now, I have to take my wife and daughter out.”
The D.P.O shook his head in disagreement. “I understand you, I am not one who loves to see broken families, but we have laws and these laws have to be obeyed.”
“Who reported this?” I asked.
He shrugged and leaned back into the chair. “A concerned party.”
I hissed. “Obviously this person doesn’t want me to help my wife, I just want to know who the person is.”
“Anonymous.” He replied.
“Of course, I didn’t expect you to be so cooperative. So, what cell am I sleeping in tonight?” I asked.
The D.P.O checked through a file. “We won’t be holding you in tonight, you have to report here in the morning with your lawyer.” I nodded as I rose to my feet. “However…” He continued quickly. “You are not allowed near Mrs. Martins.”
I nodded. “I know.”
I watched as Austin spoke to Tiwa from the bar. I drove my wheelchair with a scotch in hand to meet them. “I am sorry for calling you up at short notice.” I said to Austin.
He nodded with a smile. “It’s fine. You know I don’t mind.”
“Tiwa, we would go with Austin.”
Austin smiled at her. “Let’s go.”
“Why did you report my Dad?” she asked staring at Austin.
He smiled faintly. “Why would I?”
“Why won’t you? You have the motive and the opportunity. I know you like her” she said staring at me. I guess she couldn’t bear herself to call me ‘Mom’, she would still use ‘her’ for me.
Austin folded his arms. “Tiwa, I like Ijeoma and I am not going to deny that, but, I won’t do anything that would hurt her too.”
“Can we stop this discussion?” I said interfering. “We are running late.”
Tiwa shook her head sadly. “I have lost interest in the show.”
“I don’t care if you have lost interest or not, you are going.” I replied as I drove towards the door.
“Make me!” she replied.
I turned in her direction. “Tiwa, get into that car now.”
Austin stared at her. “Please Tiwa, let’s go.”
She scoffed and walked out. Austin followed her immediately and I closed the door as I followed them.
I collected my ticket from the attendant and made my way into the crowded hall.
“The stage play titled ‘Magic Time’ by Lord Tanner is about to begin. Please stay in your seats, we are about to blow you away.” The coordinator announced.
I ran my eyes through the hall as I searched for Ijeoma and Tiwa. The Ijeoma I knew would find a way to still come to the show with Tiwa. I hoped not to be disappointed. The lights went out and the stage lit up.
I adjusted in my seat as the play started. Murmurings followed from a certain section of the crowd and I turned to the direction in which the noise was coming. I smiled as I saw Ijeoma drive her wheelchair through the crowd. My smile faded as soon as I spotted Austin with them. My eyes went with them till they took their seat and I could no longer maintain my gaze because of the crowd.
“Sharon is playing the lead.” Austin whispered to Tiwa.
Tiwa smiled at him. “She is beautiful.”
Austin nodded. “I know.”
“Would you go to her after the show?”
He shook his head in disagreement. “No. She is happy where she is.”
“You miss her, don’t you?” she asked.
“I don’t know if I do.” He replied staring in Ijeoma’s direction.
Tiwa nudged him in the waist. “Are you in love with her?”
She nodded in agreement. “Yes and keep your voice down, she is engrossed in the play.”
Austin smiled. “Ijeoma can’t love me.”
“Are you in love with her?” Tiwa probed.
He took a deep breath and nodded. “I love Ijeoma.”
Tiwa sank into her seat. “She doesn’t love you.”
“How would you know?” He asked.
“She loves my father.” Tiwa replied sharply causing Ijeoma to stare in their direction.
Ijeoma stared at them. “Is there a problem?”
“Not at all. Magic Time is really inspiring.” Tiwa replied with a smile.
Ijeoma stared at Austin. “Austin?”
“Nice play.” He replied.
Ijeoma drove her chair a little farther from them so she could concentrate on the play. Tiwa shot at Austin. “My Father doesn’t love Ms. Dominic, he still talks a lot about her.”
Austin threw his face away. “What are you suggesting?”
“That you ignore your feelings for my mother and channel them to Sharon.”
He smiled. “We would make good actors, won’t we?”
She chuckled. “I thought I read my script better than you did.” She replied folding the paper in her hand.
“My facial expression was better…and so were my emotions.” Austin concluded.
Tiwa stared at him. “You don’t love my mother, do you?”
He swallowed. “What if I was in love with her?”
“I thought you guys were just friends.” She replied.
He nodded. “Friends fall in love.”
Austin and Tiwa approached me after the play. “Did you both resolve your dispute?” I asked.
“We weren’t arguing.” Tiwa jumped in defensively.
Austin nodded in agreement. “We were having a friendly conversation.” He added.
I nodded in an unconvincing fashion. “We should have dinner together.” I said as I started to drive ahead. I stopped abruptly as I spotted a man in the crowd who looked like Omololu. “Omololu!” I shouted and started to drive after him. His feet were quicker and I knew that it had to be him.
“Ijeoma!” Austin called after me.
I wouldn’t stop. Omololu came and I had to see him, rules or no rules. “Omololu!” I called as I hurried behind him. He moved swiftly through the crowd and exited the building. I stopped when I didn’t see him anymore. I couldn’t fight my tears as they poured freely.
“Ijeoma…” Austin said as he caught up with me outside.
I stared at him. “Omololu was here.”
He knelt beside me and wiped my tears. “I’ll be here for you.” He said and hugged me.
I swallowed as I watched Austin hug and peck Ijeoma’s forehead. My blood boiled as I restrained myself from coming out of my hiding place. My phone buzzed and Tiwa’s name came up on the Caller ID. I watched her as she stepped away from Austin and Ijeoma to make the call, I then picked up. “Hi.”
“What are you doing, Dad? Where are you?”
“Hope you enjoyed the play?” I asked.
“I did, Dad. Where are you?” she asked.
I took a deep breath. “Turn around.” She did and I waved to her.
“Why didn’t you wait when she called you?” she asked as she joined me.
I shrugged. “I don’t even know what I am doing around her. I feel I doing it all wrong.”
“Are you going to hurt Ms. Dominic by being around her?”
I nodded in agreement. “I am hurting her already, I have to put an end to all these.”
“Are you going to hurt yourself by not being with her?”
I held my head in my hand. “I can’t do this.”
“Dad, can you tell me what happened between you and her. Tell me everything. I want to know.” She said.
I shook my head sadly. “I can’t. It’s too painful.”
“Should I ask her?” she asked. “Someone has to tell me, Grandma says you both were the best in love, why would everything just change. Why are you so complicated?”
I turned away from her. “You can’t understand.”
“I want to. I want to know how the woman that you have always loved, the woman who gave birth to me is a stranger right now. I want to have a family.”
I swallowed hard as her words hit me. “Tiwa, we have talked about this before and I have told you how easy it is for us all if we move on and not talk about the past.”
“What if moving on hurts us all? I know you are still in love with her and it is obvious she feels the same about you. Whatever happened to forgiveness?”
“Stop it, Tiwa! Don’t start sounding like her. What do you know about being hurt or betrayed? I can’t have this discussion with you. Just go home with your mother.” I replied and started to walk away.
“Don’t run away, Dad. If I want a family, I want it with her! I want my own mother!” I stopped in my track and turned at her. “I am not letting go off my mother.” She added and walked away.
Tiwa walked into the dress room and stood behind Sharon with a smile. “You are beautiful.”
Sharon turned in her direction and smiled. “Thank you.”
“I loved your performance.”
Sharon nodded. “Thank you.” She then stared at her carefully. “Do I know you, you are the splitting image of someone I know, but I know I must be confused.”
Sharon stared at her carefully. “Yes, Ijeoma Martins.”
“People say we look alike.” Tiwa continued.
Sharon nodded with a smile. “That must be it. What may I do for you?”
“I want to join the Lord Tanner group.”
Sharon passed a seat to Tiwa. “What’s your name?”
“Tiwa.” She replied.
Tiwa cleared her throat. “Tiwa Johnson.” She lied.
“Okay, so Tiwa Johnson, what high school do you go?”
She adjusted in her chair. “I schooled in Ibadan.”
“Oh, you are not from around here. That’s interesting. Did you come down here to join the Lord Tanner crew?”
Tiwa nodded in agreement. “I read about it on the internet and I was thrilled.”
“I am thrilled. I’ll give you a VIP form to apply, we have our auditions on Wednesdays and rehearsals on Tuesday and Thursdays, let’s see how you fare.” Sharon said as she pulled out a form. “All you have to do is fill it and report at the address on Wednesday to be auditioned.” She said with a smile.
Tiwa collected the form in excitement. “Are you married?”
“No.” Sharon replied chuckling.
Tiwa nodded. “That’s good. My Uncle is very cute.” She checked her wristwatch. “I have to on my way before he starts looking for me.” She said rising to her feet.
“Nice to meet you, Tiwa.” Sharon said as they exchanged handshakes.
Mom dropped a glass of water beside me. “Have you called the Lawyer?”
I nodded in agreement. “I think I should get a divorce from Ijeoma. Olivia is hurting.”
She stared at me. “Are you ready for a divorce? Don’t you want to try forgiveness?”
“It’s too hard to forgive. I can’t forget what she did; it’s too hard for me.”
She nodded. “Ijeoma caught you with Olivia; doesn’t that call it a draw?”
She swallowed. “I am sorry, but, I…I just feel this is the time to let it go. There is still passion between you guys.”
I stared at Mom. “Did Ijeoma tell you?”
She smiled. “What doesn’t she tell me?”
She hissed dryly. “You still connect, don’t kill what you feel. Olivia doesn’t deserve it and neither do you nor Ijeoma.”
“I am the only one Olivia has, I can’t hurt her.”
“Is this about gratitude or love?” she asked. She sat beside me. “Olivia loves you in her own way and I can’t fault it, but I would never agree with her tactics of winning your heart. She pounced when you were vulnerable. A real woman doesn’t do that and likewise a man.”
I relaxed in my seat. “Mom, I find it hard when I think of what Ijeoma did.”
“Then talk about it. You have to ask Ijeoma everything you have been meaning to ask her when that night happened.”
I sighed. “What if I can’t take the answers?”
“Talk to God about it.”
She nodded. “He knows how to help.”
“Mom, just stop it.”
“Look Son, I know it sounds funny, but God is interested in you. He cares about your relationship and marriage.”
I scoffed. “I know, Mom. But, can we not talk about it?”
“Why not?” She asked.
I snapped. “If he did care so much, he won’t have let Tiwa come when we had nothing.” I shouted.
Mom gasped. “Don’t drag Tiwa into this!”
“I…I know but Ijeoma and I were so happy until she came and we had to struggle so hard and then Ijeoma had to leave and everything changed. Why didn’t God just make us rich so she wouldn’t have to leave?”
She took my hand. “That is why he is God.”
The door bell went. “I’ll get it.” I said as I walked to the door. Olivia stood before me as soon as I opened it. “Liv?”
She smiled at me. “Hi.”
“What are you doing here? It’s late.”
“I came to see your mother.”
Mom joined us at the door. “Good evening, Olivia.”
“I came to see you, ma.” She said.
I stepped back as Mom stared at Olivia. “I’ll excuse you both.”
“No, you should wait here.” Mom replied.
I cleared my throat. “Mom, you guys should talk.”
“If you want Lolu here, it’s fine by me.” Olivia replied with a smile. “I’d love to see you too, Lolu. I didn’t know I’ll find you here though so I thought I should see your Mom.”
Mom took her seat and Olivia and I joined her. “I am listening.”
“Although it should be a more personal matter, I won’t mind to share it with you, ma.” Olivia started as she wrapped her hand around mine. “I am pregnant.”
I jumped out of her grip and Mom stared at us. “Excuse me?”
“A month gone. I am so excited.”
I stared at Mom as I panted. “Olivia, can we talk outside?”
“Why?” she asked.
Mom excused us immediately without saying another word. Olivia turned in my direction. “Why are you not excited?”
“Who is responsible for the pregnancy?” I asked dumbly.
She stared at me blankly. “What are you saying, Lolu? You are the father. We are pregnant.”
“We?” I asked as I nodded. “How did it happen? We…We used protection, right?”
She stared at me. “What is going on, Lolu? I am pregnant for you, we are a couple and couples raise a family, don’t they?” she asked.
I nodded in agreement. “Yeah…they do.”
“Now I think you should get the divorce from Ijeoma so that we can get married and have our life.” She said.
I swallowed. “I…I don’t know.”
“What do you mean by you don’t know? We need to raise our baby in the best conditions, I don’t want my baby born without a father.” She said looking into my eyes.
I ran my hand through my forehead. “Can we talk about this later? I am not well.”
She scoffed. “Now I am pregnant and you are not well, what is going on, Lolu?” she asked. Olivia’s eyes were burning and she wasn’t as cool as I knew her now.
“I am sorry, I know I should be a little excited, but – ”
She cut in. “A little? You are about to be a father.”
“I am already a Father.” I replied.
She hissed. “I am leaving, you know where to find me.” She said standing up. I grabbed her hand immediately. “What?”
“I am sorry. I…I have had a rough day. Congratulations! … to us.” I said and hugged her.
I hurled a bottle of Scotch into the bin. “Three points for my effort.” I said smiling as I pulled another bottle from the rack.
“Who taught you to drink?”
The lights came on and I turned round and saw Tiwa staring at me. “What are you doing here? You should be sleeping.”
“I can’t sleep.” She replied and approached me with a cup. “Can I have some?” she asked.
I chuckled. “You? Never!”
She shrugged and dropped the cup on the table. “It’s fine. One day, I’ll be like you and I won’t have to listen to anyone asking me why I take alcohol, I guess depression teaches you these things, right?”
I felt as though a bucket of shame had been poured on me and I tried to conceal the embarrassment as I dropped my glass carefully. “Tell me about yourself.”
“You are not a mother material, are you?” she asked with a smile.
I stared at her. “You are too intelligent, I am not sure I gave birth to you.”
She laughed. “Poverty turned you into this, right? You went after wealth and now, you don’t even know who you are anymore.”
I nodded with a smile. “I guess you are right.” I opened the drawer beside me and pulled out Omololu’s neck chain that he had given me when I left Ibadan. “You want it?” I asked.
“It’s for my father, right?” she asked. I nodded. “Why are you not wearing it anymore?” she probed.
I folded my arms. “How did you know that I ever wore it? Your father might have dropped it here on his last visit.”
She took a seat. “He won’t have. One, he doesn’t drink anymore, so he won’t be by the bar and two, he told me that he gave it to you.”
I hurled it at her and she caught it swiftly. “You can have it. It doesn’t fit me anymore.”
“Or you think you are not deserving of it?” she asked.
My jaw dropped. I stopped wearing Omololu’s neck chain the night everything went wrong between us. I sat in my tub naked for hours that night and I took it off swearing that I would never wear it anymore. I had lost the right to his love that night.
“Am I right?” she asked.
I pulled out the bottle of alcohol and drank in a haste. Tiwa yanked the bottle from my mouth. “Stop running away. Dad always told me that you knew how to talk, why are you not talking now?”
“Stop it! I don’t want to hear anymore from you. Just leave me alone.” I shouted in tears.
She stared at me stubbornly. “I won’t leave you alone.”
I tried to drive my wheelchair but she stood in my way, she blocked every avenue as I tried to twist or turn away. “Let me go.” I cried.
“I won’t let you go! I didn’t spend years at construction sites carrying blocks with my Dad to make a living to let you go without any explanation.”
I gasped. “What???”
“You heard me right, I went with him to construction sites, I pulled blocks after school until everything changed, you have to tell me why you weren’t there with us? Why you never came back for me? I want to know everything.”
Tears ran freely from my eyes as her words echoed. “I…I am sorry.”
“I don’t want you to be sorry. I want to know how things changed between you and my Father; I want to know why he still had the strength to cry at night after hard labour in the day. I want to know what you did to him.”
I shook my head sadly as she spoke. “Am sorry.”
“Just tell me everything. I want to know why he can’t forgive you. I want to know why I can’t have my family together.” She cried.
I tried to hold her hand but she threw them away. “Please Tiwa…” I begged.
She knelt before me. “Please tell me everything.”
“It’s too hard.” I replied.
“Try me.” She insisted.
I shook my head in disagreement. “You won’t understand.”
She held my hand in hers. “I will.” She sniffled a bit and stared at me. “Mom, please tell me.”
My hand and heart froze in an instant. “What did you just say?”
“MOM, please tell me.” She reaffirmed.
With that, I smiled.
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