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Must Read: Two Realms (Romance Thriller) - Season 1 - Episode 24
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The leather covering her car seat looked new and not mended, but it was; the thread lines, though vague, weren’t invisible.

The carpenter approached and talked to Jide with the pidgin diction. Jide did not reply with same this time, but with the popular Yoruba and talked fluently with it. Before she could open her purse, he had already brought out some notes from his pocket. Though she preferred paying, no complaints. She could use the moment. She skirted hands round him and smiled, sU-Cked all his lemon and tried to reach his abdominal muscles. They were so far into his polo-shirt that she couldn’t feel them even when she leaned forward. “Thank you.”

“Go straight home,”
he said.

If he couldn’t find better words, he should best stay quiet. “I never knew you were Yoruba.”

“I’m not. I’m from the eastern Nigeria. I’m Igbo.”

“I believe what I heard you speak with the carpenter was the Yoruba everyone speaks.”

“Yes. Maybe after three years in Lagos, you will be able to speak that.”


She ambled to her car, waved at him and started.

He watched her drive, and she watched him through the rear-view mirror. He was so young in the shorts. Yes, he was, and anyone would guess middle twenties, but no, not middle twenties; he was in his thirties, hard to accept, but true. He entered his car and zoomed.

She parted open her brains and brought out some of the lemon. Bit by bit, she let them crawl out of her head. Then, she thought of home. Mum home, dad home, aunt home, a full house. Her smile widened.
#

Ezinne waited for the traffic light to turn green. When green, she pushed the gear and sped past the junction before the light would turn red again and she would have to wait for eternity for the green to return. The continuous blinking amber light was a warning that the system was faulty, and that any moment the red would display and remain constant.



Thanks to the commissioner of transport and his league of men that legally stole Nigeria’s money. Legal thieves, Rick would call them, with so much annoyance. The last thing they cared about was to erect proper functioning traffic lights.

The sun started hitting the side window. Its rays extended to the rusted zincs atop the roadside buildings, gradually bringing their deep sandy rust to life. It hit the treetops without pity, turning their green into a blinding white. She diverged into a sandy lane and meandered between the numerous storey buildings and encroaching flowers.

Not flowers, she realized on gaining a closer look, but clusters of surviving weeds, camouflaging amongst few wilting tulips.

The road to Bakare’s house was still clear. The church’s signboard hadn’t moved an inch, but had turn into a plate of dirty lines of rust. Bakare probably still lived in the region as three years was too short for a rebuild. She veered into Meji Street. Trees had found a place.

Bakare Damijo would never follow the trend and up his building. He hated many questions. She parked in front of his gate, where she stood and peeped through a hole for a view of the quiet ground that grew quieter as she opened. The streaks of sandy brown that stained the white bungalow’s bottom had doubled. And there was a car, a Chevrolet, one that would not arouse many questions and was probably acquired illegally, directly or indirectly. Underground deals never brought much unless on a lucky day.

She knocked and knocked again. Twice was enough. He had heard and had probably seen her. No matter how much she knocked, it would take forever before he would open.

He would first reach his crow’s nest and view all around to ensure whoever at the door was the only person present. Coward.

Minutes passed before she heard a click.

The door half-opened and there was him, his beard carved round his mouth in his typical way, shamming some innocence. His eyes still brought out smoke.


“Ezinne.”
His deep bass came up. He avoided any eye contact, but the contents of his eyes so much blazed. Something hid between the smokes. It was guilt, a selfish guilt.

The air living with him released cold fire that penetrated her silk and smelt all like him.


“How did you know I’ve arrived?”

“George told me. I thought I’d visit.”
She sat on the yellow sofa, still new. Nobody sat on them. Nobody came to the house.


“Why do you care?”


Why wouldn’t she care? She had to care for a man who made her suffer much. “I never visited you your whole time in Port Harcourt, so why wouldn’t I now that you’ve returned?”

Some clusters slunk off his face, but he still avoided an eye contact. He offered wine, but as much as she could manage dining with him, she didn’t take wine, or no more took wine.
He ambled to the refrigerator. “Since when did you stop taking wine?”

“Since a long time.”
The huge painting of his orchard that used to hang on the wall was no more, and the portrait of himself that he constantly kept at the wall’s right edge had been replaced with a blank wall. The house now revealed his true self—blank, pale, and without beauty.

He arrived with a packaged fruit juice and two wineglasses. “I guess things have changed,” he said, setting the glass on the table.

She picked a glass with its foot. There was no problem dining with the enemy. “Things have.”

“You’re married?”
His eyes rested at the ring round her finger.

“Yes.”

“Then I’d say I didn’t cause so much trouble,”
he said with confidence, as though he actually did not cause a trouble. He filled her glass with the creamy liquid. “Nice of you visiting.”

“When did you arrive?”

“Two weeks ago.”

“Why didn’t you contact me?”

“I thought you’d hate me by now.”

“Yes. I hate you.”
She took a sip. Sometimes saying the truth aloud helped.


“I’m sorry.”



She looked into his eyes and hated seeing herself in them. The Bakare she knew could frame any face or mood he wanted. His facial expression didn’t count. “For what?” she asked. There were so many things to be sorry for.

“For all that happened.”

“Which are?”


Skin gathered round his eyes. “Come on, Ezinne, you don’t want me to start going through those.”

He still hadn’t accepted the wrong he did, would never accept, and would never be sorry. “Would you answer me?”

“I’m sorry for your ordeals.”


Her ordeals. It had always been that to him, always her problem and not his.

Things hadn’t changed. He remained that same Bakare Damijo.

“Where’s your baby?” he asked.


“I killed our babies, Bakare.”

His face became lined with puckers, fixed at the glass on the table. “How could you kill your baby?”

“I aborted our babies. They were twins.”


The lines on his face relaxed and he placed a palm round his jaw. “You aborted your own babies?”

“I aborted our babies.”

“Let’s not near there, Ezinne. Those aren’t my babies.”


Three years and nothing had changed in him. No remorse, no pain. And she was wrong; no guilt in his eyes. All those, he was successful in killing, in transferring to her. “You have proof they aren’t yours?”

“We both know there were other men.”

Wrong. So wrong. There were no other men, and he knew it. “You’re still saying that after three years.”

“’Cause it’s the truth. Ezinne, let’s not talk about this. It’s gone.”


Yes, it was gone, but its effect yet lingered. His negligence, cowardice, caused her a womb, and he sipped juice with a complete self, suffering no pain, feeling no remorse, but sipping as though nothing mattered, as though the woman could take care of herself. Yes, she could take care of herself. “It’s gone. Let’s not talk about it.”

“Why did you abort them?”

“Let’s not talk about it.”


He shrugged. “I thought you could use some words.”


She nipped a last sip and la!d her glass on the table. “I’ll come see you another time,” she said as she rose. “I only wanted to know if you still live here.”

“What for?”

“We aren’t enemies.”

“I guess we’re not.”

“And George has been treating your orchard nice.”

“Good of him.”

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