Good Evening Everyone, Welcome to the final episode of ‘Without a Home’. Personally, one of the highlights of this month was writing this story. I enjoyed every moment I shared my thoughts on this medium. I hope we all had fun, and we have learnt a thing or two, because that’s the whole essence of “thepassionchronicles”. Enjoy.
Roju strutted after his father who was walking towards the final customs check point; their Virgin Nigeria Flight VA 467B was due for take-off in 1 hour, and he was happy for the get-away opportunity. The only thing that made him sad was that he did not have his playful brother by his side. If Tade was with him, they would have fought over who carried the luggage, and they would make so much noise the immigration officers would allow them through the check-in points with little or no frisking. It was normal for his mum to join them during their holidays; as she was always very busy. One day he blurted out in the presence of his father that he hated his mom’s job.
“You are always very busy. Can’t you get another job?”. The quietness that ensued in the room after his statement made him realize he must have said something really terrible, but here he was with his dad at the airport on their way to London, and his mother was nowhere to be found.
“Dad…”, Roju tapped his father on his back.
“Listening, son..”,Charles responded without looking back.
“Where is mummy? I thought this is meant to be our family holiday.”
Charles looked around him, to be sure nobody was listening to the conversation he was not willing to have with Roju. Being sure his son was not heard by anyone around, he decided not to respond. He did not have the courage to tell a ten-year old boy that his parents were likely to go through a separation and maybe a divorce in the near future. He would have the invidious task of first explaining the meaning of the words divorce and separation, and then endure a harrowing session of intelligent interrogation from his own son. Reticence or diversion of attention was going to save the day.
“Show your face to the immigration officer son”, he hoped that would help Roju forget his last question. The trick worked, as Roju answered a few questions about the holiday he was about to embark upon. He knew his father’s house in England was in East Croydon, and of course he will be spending the next couple of weeks there. Watching his garrulous son exchange banters with the immigration officer put a smile on Charles’ face. His report card confirmed his bold and enthralling character.
“Have a nice holiday sir and gentleman”. The Comptroller Felix ushered Roju and his father into the departure lounge. They walked through the glass door and looked for Gate 16, where they will be boarding the flight to Gatwick Airport.
The security man passing cars at the entrance of the departure lounge at the airport jolted at the sight of a beleaguered woman, who jumped out of a Honda Pilot, and disappeared into the mammoth crowd at the airport. His team will be sacked for the irresponsible behavior of this female driver. He ran after her quickly, hoping to catch up with her before a scene is created in front of the airport. The fear of losing his job to the stupidity of this woman made Lieutenant Olabisi shout from the crowd as he saw the woman matching with alacrity towards the departure gate.
“Hey…hey…Stop. Hey..”. Followed by two of his boys, he pushed through the crowd. Not knowing the extent of damage this woman’s action could have on his career, he shouted on top of his voice.
“Madam..I command you to stop!”The noise in that area of the airport suddenly gave way to silence, and all eyes turned to the three policemen running towards the woman headed for the departure gate.
“Leave me alone. Officer help me…help me.. I need to get past this gate. If I don’t pass now, my family is finished.” She shouted hysterically, as the crowd looked on.
Lieutenant Felix caught up with his assailant who was shouting at the top of her voice to be let through the glass door into the departure lounge. He thought for a few seconds on the best line of action to take, and he concluded that the best thing was to retrieve her keys from her, and have the car impounded at the airport police station until she showed up.
“Madam Can I have your car keys? You car is preventing the free flow of traffic. I will park properly and wait for you outside”. He knew he could have her arrested immediately, but it would be better to save his job by getting the car out of the way first.
Sisi Lara threw her car keys at the officer, and continued to shout.
“Sir, if my husband makes it out of the country tonight I am finished. Please let me in. He is with my son”.
Comptroller Felix heard the woman from behind the immigration counter. He immediately connected her with the garrulous little boy and his father who were checked in about fifteen minutes before that moment. He asked his officers to let her in.
“Madam, what’s your son’s name?”
“Roju.”, Sisi Lara quipped. “Please assist me. Please sir. I beg you by the God of heaven and earth. Save my marriage. I do not even know the airline. My husband’s phone has been switched off all day. Please.”
“Yes ..yes..but I’m afraid madam, their flight is due for take-off in ten minutes. I’m sure they will be seated in the plane by now.” Comptroller Felix could see the desperation on the woman’s face; after asking a few questions he was convinced that the boy and his father would likely be on the Virgin Nigeria Flight taking off in ten minutes from Gate 16.
“Follow me!”. He told her and ran through the departure lounge, with Sisi Lara screaming behind him.
“Jesus, help me. Help me…Jesus…help me…save my home. Save my marriage…Put an end to my loss..I have lost Tade, please don’t let me lose my marriage..”. Her face was covered with tears as she ran after the officer.
“Virgin Nigeria flight…”, the comptroller shouted as he approached Gate 16.
“Last Call… the door will be shut in five minutes.” An officer at the gate responded.
Comptroller Felix said to Sisi Lara.
“Madam, run past him into the plane, while I engage him”.
Sisi Lara threw caution to the winds and pushed the officer aside running into the plane through the aisle. Comptroller Felix grabbed the Flight officer by the wrist and whispered. “Help! Her marriage is on the line.”
Sisi Lara walked briskly through the aisle of the 300 seater- economy cabin of the Boeing Jet 747 filled to the brim with passengers.
At every row she whispered “Charles…Roju..”, by the time she got to the front of the cabin, five air hostesses had gathered around her. It was at that moment she threw caution to the wind and screamed.
“Charles..where are you? Rojuuu…”, the hostesses held her two hands and were forcing her down the aisle back to the door when Charles stood up from the last row in the cabin.
“Excuse me..excuse me..that’s my wife”. The hostesses exchanged glances, and let the woman go, while an embarrassed crowd of passengers looked on.
In tears Sisi Lara ran towards her husband who was standing by the aisle, and knelt down before him weeping.
“Olowo ori mi…….please don’t go away from me. You are all I ever had.” She sobbed.
“My career will now take a back seat. You and our son…are my number one priority”.
Roju looked from his father to his mother, who was now drenched in her own tears. Charles knew the events of the last five minutes may be embarrassing, but the success of his marriage was worth all that and more. He had prayed Lara will come to her senses, and the audacity of her actions could not be ignored. She must have gone through so much to arrive at this point. He lifted her up, kissed her passionately before an excited crowd of travelers, some of whom already had tears in their eyes from watching extreme emotion displayed on the flight by a husband and wife.
“For better, for worse; you remain my wife.”
Weeping loudly in the flight economy cabin, Lara held tightly to her husband with one hand, and pulled Roju with the other hand.
Comptroller Felix, who had made it into the plane, apologized to the travelers while Charles picked their hand luggage from the luggage compartment. The planned trip was over but their marriage was saved.
Hours after negotiating with the police and paying for damages, the family was home. Charles and Lara were locked up in their bedroom till midnight.
Nine months after, they had a daughter…..“Ifewaposi, Oluwatunmise Kuti”.
Thank you for reading, it was a pleasure having you around. Another series starts in the month of May.