Tola’s mind was in turmoil. She had thought herself the luckiest woman alive. How could this happen to her? The sudden memory of her best friend clouded her thoughts.
She remembered the days of Esther fraternizing with old married men, pleasing them as they wished and being given anything she wanted in return.
Tola remembered her grief when she learned her friend had been poisoned by the wife of one of the old men she slept with. No one could point fingers because the man was an affluent person. She had vowed in the name of her best friend to never end up like her. But here she was.
Her phone buzzed, she reached in her bag for it. It was her sister. Again. She sighed. Might as well pay her a visit.
A few hours later Tola arrived to find her mother bedridden and her sister red-eyed with worry.
“Where have you been? I’ve been calling you for how many days, do you realize how sick our mum is? How do you expect me to take care of her by myself?” Tomi yelled. Her hands shook as she glared at her elder sister.
“Oh my God! I had no idea!” Tola responded, terrified at how pale their mother looked. “What happened?”
Tomi proceeded to enlighten her sister on the horrors she had faced for the past few days. Their mother had cancer, the type that gave her frequent seizures. She had been in and out of the hospital and their finances had run dry. With their dad out of the picture, Tomi had no choice but to rely on Tola.
Their mother could be completely cured but the doctor said they would need to pay 5 million naira. By the time Tomi got to this point in her explanation, tears were already sliding down her cheeks.
“What are we going to do?” she cried. “We don’t have that kind of money.”
Through the shock that Tola felt, her thoughts went to the cheque that had been sent to her just that morning. The numbers on it played across her mind like a musical. She had to tell her sister.
A few hours and some cold drinks later, Tola was done explaining her situation. Her sister’s expression hardened. She had been worried about Tola since she stopped sending them money. Now, even more so. All she had to say was for Tola to leave the man and move on with her life. These married men just weren’t worth it. She deserved much better.
Besides they needed the money badly. Their mother’s health was at stake.
By the time Tola returned to her mini flat, her mind was made. They were done. She picked up her phone once again. It reminded her of him. She squeezed her eyes shut and made the call. The sound of his voice made her waver for a second. Only a second. It was over. They were done. The call lasted a full minute. She was not about to hear his excuses.
Time passed and Tola became a nervous wreck. It had been three weeks since she ended things with him. Virtually every day, she would meet a new gift on her doorstep, in her classroom, at her friends’ houses. Always with a note saying:
“You can’t hide from me.”
She had blocked his calls and changed her locks. It seemed nothing would stop him.
One day, a breezy Saturday afternoon, she decided it was time to put a stop to his madness. She made the call. They would meet at her favorite bar, Rhapsody’s.
As soon as he arrived, Tola got down from the stool she was sitting on and said, “I need you to leave me alone!” her eyes flashed, there were no pleasantries, “This rubbish of yours has gone on long enough”
The corners of his eyes crinkled, “Can’t you see how much I love you Tola? I can’t live without you”
She rolled her eyes.
“I mean it. I’ll prove it to you. I’ll divorce my wife”
“You must be joking! Do you think I would fall for a lie like that?”
He took her hand and slipped a set of car keys in it. It was a Mazda Mx-5. A real beauty
Tola’s eyes widened, the automobile enthusiast in her momentarily awakened.
“To prove to you how committed I am to you, in two weeks, I’d like you to meet my car dealer. He will upgrade this vehicle to another latest one for you. By then, my wife will also be out of the picture. Does this satisfy you? Can you see that I love you?”
Tola nodded, her eyes wet, the events of the past few weeks completely forgotten. He loved her, he had been doing all this for her. No man would give a multimillion naira car to a woman If he didn’t love her. Wasn’t he just the sweetest man in the world?
A few miles away, the Chief Inspector of Police was elated. Finally, a lead. The trap was set. It was time to catch the prey. ff