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Nora took me in her SUV, we drove in silence for a while, with me wondering if she was really taking me to the police station, so I could see my father. Then she spoke to me, in words that were shocking to my ears.
Nora: “Adeleke, I know you think I am harsh, or I don’t like you. I understand you are going through a lot of changes since your mother died, but you have to trust that I and your dad are here for you” she said, her eyes on the road. I was looking at her the whole time, trying to see if she meant what she said. But Nora had this kind of face that you could never use to tell what she was ruminating, in the recesses of her mind.
Leke: “But you lied against me” I said, trying to figure her out.
Nora: “A harmless lie my dear. I did not want to worry your dad, he just lost his wife” It sounded reasonable to me, so that when she offered me Ribenna juice, I did not hesitate, I drank all of it, and I smiled at her.
When we got to the police station, my father and his lawyer were already at the counter, I rushed and held him, I had missed him, and after the talk with Nora, I attributed all his new characters to losing Mother.
Bamidele: “My son, I am so sorry for what you are going through” he said and kissed my head, my heart burst with love for him. Then my world shattered…
Nora: “You have to let Bamidele go, Adeleke confessed to attacking his nanny, Mary” she threw the bomb and kept her usual passive face, like she was not about to destroy my life forever. I looked at father, who was staring at Nora, I wondered if he also knew about this.
Leke: “Father, is that why you wanted me here?” I asked
Policeman: “What kind of mock story is this? That this little boy mangled those legs I saw?”
Nora: “I did not believe him, until I remembered that his dad had told him he is schizophrenic” she said. I looked to my father, but he was not even looking at me, he would not save me, nobody would save me. My mother was dead, Mary was decapacitated, and my father had just turned against me. My life had just taken a turn for the worst. The police immediately seized me, they took me into their interrogation room, where they kept asking me all sorts. While I was in their custody, my room at home had been searched, coincidentally they had found a thick iron rod, and also gone through my books. It seemed the fact that I read books written by atheists made me an evil person, capable of attacking his nanny. From the police station, I was taken to the hospital where my blood and other body fluids were tested. Traces of Zolpidem were found in my blood, and it was concluded that I was mentally unstable. So instead of being taken to prison, I was a child, the court sent me to a mental institution.
The day I was led into the mental institution, Father was beside me, but I made sure no part of my body touched him. I already hated him.
Bamidele: “It is all for the best son” he said, as the door closed, locking me in for ten long years.
In those years, photos of my mother and the books I usually read were my succor. I went into the mental institution with a plan, I was going to be the easiest patient they had, pretend to take all my medications; of course I would not really take the medications because they made you crazy if you are not. So I would always stay up in my room reading and talking to my mother’s pictures. I am sure wherever she was; she would be moaning the fate that had befallen her beloved son.
One day, Nora came to visit; this was on my seventh birthday. She brought cake which she shared with the other children loonies.
Nora: “How are you?” she said as we settled into a couch in the visitors lounge.
Leke: “I know what you did. That juice you gave me in the car, which was why that drug was found in my blood. I have never been medicated before. You lied against me again, are you going to tell me now that you were doing it for my good?” I asked her in a very cold voice.
Nora: “I have been selfish, your father is innocent of the crime he was accused of, and he has a governorship ambition in the coming election, I could not let him go down for that. Would you have preferred your dad to be destroyed?” she asked. All the while, my face had been turned away, but when I turned to look at her, the light fell on an object, a big diamond rock sat on her finger.
Leke: “You are getting married to my father?” I asked incredulously. It was just months after my mother’s death.
Nora: “You will probably spend your entire life here, but you will be well taken care of, I will take care of your father and all he has” she said and walked away swiftly. I got up to leave for my room, when I heard my mother’s name mentioned on television.
News Anchor: “Disturbing news about the death of FolakeAboderin has emerged just days after BamideleAboderin’s engagement to society lady, Nora. A reliable source tells us that her neck was slit right inside the Aboderins mansion. The question on everyone’s lips is, did she slit her own throat, could she have been suffering from mental sickness, seeing as her only son has been committed to a mental home” I stood transfixed as I gazed at the television screen.
Leke: “My mother’s throat had been slit?” I whispered in disbelief. I knew for a fact that she had not done that to herself, she loved life too much to kill herself. She was looking forward to Christmas, she was looking forward to seeing me grow, and she could not have slit her own throat. I went back to my room to ponder the things I had heard. I was sure that the same person, who killed my mother, also attacked Mary. What did the person gain from harming these women? If I found the gain, I could find the killer.
Ten Years Later
On my sixteenth birthday, I was certified normal and released from the mental home, straight into the streets. Many years had passed, but the pain in my heart over my mother’s murder had not been eroded. It was as fresh as it was, years ago. My first port of call was my mother’s fashion house, I was sure no one would recognize me because, staying put in one place for years had taken a toll on my weight. Where I was a skinny child, I was now a burly teenager, I had height too. I walked into the shiny building, with polished floors that reflected your image as you walked, and big chandeliers hanging from the high ceilings. I was a bit lost, till I sighted the receptionist. She was a pretty lady with over toned skin and the longest Brazilian weave I ever saw. I was at her desk asking after a job opening, when Nora walked in elegantly with her aides running after her. She looked the same as she did the first time I saw her, ten years ago. She was still elegant in face and physique, and yet still not beautiful in my eyes.
Leke: “Who is that woman?” I asked, being careful not to sound interested.
Receptionist: “She is the owner of this place; she is a powerful woman oh.” The receptionist replied with delight, she was ready to divulge all the juicy details I was sure. I had found my first informant.
Leke: “What of her husband?”
Receptionist: “Ha he is late oh. Before he died eh, he was just like a vegetable, paralyzed from up to down. Madam tried during that period oh. But she is bouncing back sha” she replied, licking her mouth like the gossip was sweet. I was stunned at first; my father was dead, now I was truly an orphan. I did not mourn my father because I was not sure of his role in my mother’s death.
So I started as a cleaner in my mother’s company, giving them false names, I kept my life as AdelekeAboderin in a box and resumed life as Mikhail Samoa, a Ghanaian boy, it was a low level job and there were no security checks. I also began to go for GCE and JAMB classes in the evening, I had my plans, and they would not work without a sound formal education. While I worked, I found out things about Nora, how she lived her life these past years. One day, I had gone to check my GCE results and found out I aced my papers, it was not a surprise though. In the mental home, I had a gateman smuggle in books for me to read, so I was almost genius, studying was a lifeline to me. So while, I was celebrating with a few workers in the lobby, Nora walked in with her aides.
Nora: “What is going on here?” she barked.
Receptionist: “Sorry ma’am, Mikhail just aced his GCE and JAMB” she said. She turned to me and said,
Nora: “You!” My heart skipped a beat.
Question: Does Nora recognize Adeleke, is this the end of his plans?
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