Hi guys, welcome to the penultimate episode of Generations. It’s been a long time coming and the story will come to an end tomorrow. Please stay tuned.
“I swear I will have my pound of flesh back. Does Emeka think he can use and dump me just like that?” Kike’s voice was a cacophonous mumble of desperate words. It was 2am in the morning, and she had been shouting since she arrived at Rolawe’s apartment.
“The problem is not Emeka. The problem is you.” Rolawe tried to convince her friend.
“You believe he can fill the void in your life. Is it not obvious that he has no clue?”
Kike’s face was stained with tears, and standing before the mirror she decided to listen to see if her friend’s words would appeal to reason.
“We have issues that we all have to face, and bring to God for once in our lives. Face it darling.”
“Face what?” Kike shouted.
“Your issues…face them for once and bring them before God.” Rolawe bellowed back.
Remembering stories of her conception and childbirth brought a rush of blood to Kike’s face. She imagined again that her father was still alive. She imagined he was somewhere on earth living his life, not knowing he had a daughter going through hell.
“Sometimes I wish I had a father. I wish I had a home I could go to. A place I could call home. Rolawe, you don’t understand. What will I be doing, living with Emeka in the first place..?” She said.
“We all have a Father. The Father of all fathers; Kike, you walked away from Him. You shut the door on Him, and decided to live your own life.” Rolawe moved closer to her friend, who stared blankly into the mirror.
“Getting your mojo back is all about your Father, the One you left.” Rolawe held Kike’s hands and prayed silently for her.
Kike suddenly hugged her friend hard, and swallowed her words for a few seconds until her body started to shake visibly.
“Please pray for me Rolawe. I thought I could get by without God. I was just generally tired of life.”
Replaying the last few months of her life in her mind was like watching a horror movie. She realized it was impossible to get her virginity back but getting back to God was possible.
I have only one life; I give it to you all over again, Lord. Help me get on my feet again
Her words were inaudible, but her face was covered with pain and regret. And, if you could please help me find my father. Could you?
The airline had barely touched down in Johannesburg when James unfastened his seat belt, and opened the luggage compartment above his head. He held the briefcase in a little carefree manner with as little suspicion as possible, and waited patiently for the final announcement from the pilot. He had barely slept for twenty four hours, and his head was light as a result of alcohol served in-flight. He caught one or two persons staring at him, and then it occurred to him that they may be looking at a drug smuggler. From an aristocratic background, he would never have imagined himself transporting a briefcase containing hard drugs from one country to the other; however, for the prospect of a benevolent lease on his life, it was worth it. Lati would have bundled him out of the airport and taken him to an abattoir where his body would be butchered into pieces and arranged for sightseeing at the centre of University of Lagos campus. His mother’s heart would literarily fall and shatter to pieces if she heard of any such thing.
The noise from behind the plane grew so loud that he had to abandon his thoughts. A white flight attendant and a fellow Nigerian were exchanging words on the aisle close to the last row of seats, and before he could react, the passenger hit the hostess on her mouth. A little jot of blood on her lips, and people screamed invectives at the fellow Nigerian. The hostess disappeared into the inner cabins without a word further.
“We don’t take shit where I come from. You think you are superior because of your skin. Come close, and I’ll burst your lips one more time.” The man was ready to exchange fisticuffs.
A few minutes later, the door to the airplane opened amidst so much tension and pressure. Passengers exited the plane one after the other until the announcement came that all black passengers on board will have to be on a separate queue.
Realizing the possibility of thorough and extensive search, James began to scream.
“This is most unacceptable. This is discriminatory. We all have equal rights.”
There were murmurs all around as policemen and immigration officials rallied around the aircraft. Sweat broke all over James’s face, as he realized he could not make it to the third checkpoint anymore. A special check point had now been created for all the black people on board. This briefcase must not be subjected to a search. His eyes twitched, and his big hands vibrated so heavily that the briefcase hit his legs several times until he almost fell to the floor.
“Hey …hey…This way, you drunk scum!” A policeman watching arriving passengers barked.
Grateful I am seen as a drunk man. James straightened up a little staring in the direction of the policeman, at the same time avoiding direct eye contact with him.
The Nigerian man that burst the lip of the airhostess was arrested and handcuffed a few metres ahead.
“Step aside I said. You!” The policeman looked at him and maintained an indignant poise threatening him without words.
Confused, James rushed away from the crowd towards the toilet. The policeman simply pointed his gun from across the room.
“Stop right there! Now!”
Seeing two plain clothes men run towards him, James froze in his tracks for a few seconds before his legs took off across the hall at the pace of his heartbeat. A panic whistle was blown, and almost immediately, the entire departure lounge was surrounded by policemen. The briefcase flailed back and forth, as his arms swung hitting his legs until they became an albatross to his imagined escape, causing him to fall to the ground.
“I am not a criminal! Noooo. Leave me alone. I am a human being like the white man.” His voice was drowned in the midst of ten policemen that had surrounded him. Undeterred by his noise, the policemen handcuffed him, and took him away with the briefcase.
He was to learn later that night that he will be prosecuted for smuggling fifteen kilogrammes of cocaine into the country.
The next day came with a ray of hope until he was forced after several hours of gruesome torture to confess to the assault of the airhostess on his flight from Nigeria.
With no legal representation, James played victim to the South African legal system at the peak of the apartheid. He wept profusely as the judge handed judgment of thirty years imprisonment with hard labor in a maximum security prison in Johannesburg. I travelled all the way to pay penance for my many sins.
Having announced the purpose of their visit Alamu and Femi, Kike’s two uncles stared at the open ceiling wondering what the female Octogenarian that sat on the large arm chair in the tastefully furnished mansion of the Akano’s would say. Having made a few findings, they knew the old woman spoke sparsely but not without much wit. They did not know what to expect as Chief (Mrs.) Akano stared intently through her spectacle at the picture in her possession.
“She has her father’s eyes. Infact her smile is a vivid replica of my son’s.” She looked up at the two men.
“My late husband’s forehead is staring at me through this picture. I would love to meet her!”
Alamu and Femi shifted with joy in their seats on realizing the much anticipated conflict was only a figment of their imagination. They listened to the woman explain how she believed her James did not leave the earth without a token
“It’s been twenty three years since I last saw him, and that’s such a long time to grief. I believe I will have respite when I see his daughter.” Her Queen’s English was flawless.
“We heard the story about a woman who reported him to have impregnated her daughter. I travelled to far away Iseyin where we were told the lady lived. The search was fruitless especially when the school did not have a valid address.”
“We were forced to call off a full scale investigation into James’s disappearance because; as the President put it to my husband it was a domestic case and not a case of national importance.” I will tell you the exact words used by the President in a private dinner here in our house.
“You are a respectable minister of the federal republic. Your son’s disappearance must not interfere with the smooth running of the premiere university!” She narrated.
“This was not unexpected, since we knew the Vice Chancellor of the University at the time was a bosom friend of the President. We were forced by the Presidency, and compelled by diplomatic codes of national service to drop charges against the school.”
“The state security service would not be bothered, not even by one of the many letters that I wrote personally. Our son’s disappearance could not be investigated in the best interest of the nation.”
“The PRO once told me that launching full scale investigation would unearth the rot of cultism on the university campus, which would make for very bad publicity.”
In an unusual lengthy discussion, Mrs. Akano told the agony of abandoning the search for her son against natural wishes of a mother, and the compensations of an oil well from the President who went ahead during his second term to inaugurate the Vice Chancellor of the University as a minister of Education.
“I don’t think I ever forgave my husband for not having the spunk to challenge the Mr. President. Personally, I received several invitations from the first lady to state dinners, foreign trips, and campaign visits. No one knows that many years after I still haven’t forgiven myself! I could not stand up to confront a system that inflicted such devastating pain on my family.”
Looking up at the two men she wiped her tears.
“My driver will go with you to Ibadan. I must see my son’s daughter without delay. It could be that God has finally heard my prayers.”
“We are sorry to hear all of this. Our mission here was to assist Kike trace her father.” Mr. Alamu said solemnly.
“We did not wish sad memories as we planned the trip. We looked forward to a possible happy reunion.” Uncle Femi added. “And by all means, we will be glad to be back to see you with our niece.”
Mrs. Akano gave orders to have her best driver drive to Ibadan in her late husband’s classic green 1986 Mercedes Benz S-Class. It was a car, which though still looked pristine carried with it some of the pains of the past twenty three years.