Mofe was at his cousin’s house in Gwarimpa. He’d gone there immediately after his meeting with the president. Thankfully, it had gone well and no one had noticed his unsettledness. All he’d kept seeing all through the meeting were an oval face with almond shaped brown eyes, she was beautiful and now, after going over it over and over again, he was pretty sure she was his daughter.
That was why he was here, he needed someone to talk to.
“You did what?” Eric yelled in surprise.
They were at the mini bar in a corner of Eric’s large living room, sitting on the bar, the both of them having a drink. Mofe was having a scotch, hoping the strong liquor would calm his nerves.
“I went to see her, Eric, I had to.”
“You didn’t have to do anything, MJ! Why in the world would you even do that? What you had ended years ago, you have both moved on long since so why?” Eric asked not understanding his actions.
He wasn’t sure how to explain it to his cousin, that he hadn’t really moved on. Eric didn’t know about the dreams and how she still haunted his thoughts after all these years. He had kept it from his closest friend because right from the start Eric had never supported their relationship.
“I had to see her, Ric, I can’t explain it but I had to!”
Eric watched him, as if trying to read him, he probably saw something because he began to shake his head.
“What? Why are you shaking your head like that?” Mofe asked eyeing him warily.
Eric took a careful sip of his drink, swirling the contents of the glass thoughtfully, before setting it back down on the top “You’ve still got it bad for her, haven’t you?”
Mofe let out a resigned sigh, he decided on being a little truthful “I wouldn’t go as far as that, but we didn’t leave on the best of terms and…I just had to clear it all… For myself to be truly set free of her, for me to move on truly and begin something new and pure with Evie, I felt I had to do this.”
“So this was the real reason you came back, wasn’t it.” Eric asked knowingly and Mofe replied with a guilty shuffle of his shoulders. “I knew it, I knew something else brought you down here. I had a feeling you weren’t being truthful when you said you were coming to oversee the project for the government. That project is small fish compared to what your company handles in other countries and you don’t personally oversee them. I knew something was definitely up, I just couldn’t place it.”
“Trust me, I have backed out and left it for Jared Lawson to handle. I almost jeopardised a meeting with the president this afternoon. It will be best this way.”
Eric looked thoughtful once again “So you are leaving the country soon then?”
“Actually…. I’m not.”
Eric’s thoughtful expression became concerned “You have other business to handle?”
“Matter of factly, I do.” Mofe said knowing his cousin wasn’t going to like what was coming.
“Okay… You got some other business opportunities here or what?”
“Actually…. My business with Ezinne isn’t exactly concluded.” He started carefully, focusing on his glass of whisky rather than his cousin’s face which he was sure wouldn’t be pleasing to look at, at the moment.
“What the….!” Eric exclaimed pushing off from the bar counter “MJ, for goodness sakes what business do you have with your ex of over ten years back? MJ! Are you for real here? You have a great wonderful thing going on, a great life filled with so much possibilities the average person can only dream about, a great girlfriend, why go back to lick your vomit?”
“Hey! Hey!” Mofe turned to face his cousin now, he and Ezinne’s affair might be done but he certainly wasn’t going to accept Eric insulting her. She might after all be mother to his child.
“Ezinne is no vomit, we might not have worked out but I will not accept you referring to her, whether directly or indirectly, as such.” He told his cousin crisply.
Eric was visibly not happy with him and Mofe didn’t blame him but he had to do what he had to do. He had to know the truth, had he fathered that little girl?
“So what is this business you have with her? You can’t help but have one more romp in the sack before leaving the country?”
“Oh please, give me a break, Eric,” Mofe said exasperated ” you think I came back to Nigeria for sex? Shouldn’t you know me better?”
“Then please enlighten me on your ‘business’ with your ex” Eric said, doing air quotes with his fingers when he said ‘business’.
Mofe sighed, now turning to look his friend in the face “Okay, let me start from the top. Eric, I have never really gotten over what happened between Ezine and myself. You know how it ended, very dramatic, painful and all that…I still feel guilty, I feel …. I feel…. I’m not sure but I’m just not settled. Since that day we had that fight, that night when I left the country abruptly, heartbroken and in pain, I haven’t been myself.
Maybe if I had given it at least two days to think about it, we might have made up but I left in a hurry, hoping she would reach out to me and when she didn’t, I became angry, resentful. I resented her for a long time Eric, I never told you but that anger and resentment at not being good enough, were my driving force. I purposed to myself that I would rise above all limitations, I would make it big, bigger than anything anyone ever expected and so I buried myself into my work….. I guess it all paid off.” he sighed thinking about it all, the world was at his feet now but it still wasn’t enough, he continued.
“I had relationships but nothing ever stuck, until I met Eve four years back,” he smiled at the thought of her, she’d been ready to make huge sacrifices just to be with him, she put him first all the time and he loved her for it. She really was in love with him, not for his money but for who he was. “Meeting Evie made me decide it was time to move on from all that resentment but funny thing was, I didn’t know how to live without it. I had kept her for so long in my mind that I just couldn’t get her out.
“Believe me, I’ve tried Eric, but I keep having these dreams. Dreams about our past, the fight, some dreams are even of things that never happened. I’m just…. I’m tired of it all, I need to move on, I just want to move on Eric.”
Eric who had been listening quietly all along, finally spoke “Is Eve aware of all this?”
Mofe nodded ” She is,”
” And what’s her take on it?”
Mofe sighed, a slight smile at the edge of his mouth “You know Eve, she always has my best interests at heart, she wants me to figure it all out.” He said with a shrug “and that’s what I wanted to do, see Ezinne, figure it out and get back on with my life” he said recalling the events that had happened that afternoon “but as you well know, life doesn’t play fair.”
“What do you mean?” Eric’s frown resumed its position.
” Ezinne is blind now,” he told his friend taking a swig of his drink as if needing it to calm himself. Seeing her blind like that today had cut him deep, she’d seemed able to cope but it still wasn’t okay.
“She’s ….” Eric was having a difficult time processing this information so Mofe helped him along.
“She’s lost her vision!”
“My thoughts exactly but that’s not even the most alarming part, Eric. She has a daughter… A daughter who’s at least ten years old, looking at her.”
“She got married just a few months after you left, so it should add up……”
Mofe shook his head in disagreement “Nope, I saw her Eric, she is beautiful…” He smiled recalling the dark skinned girl with the eyes ” she’s dark skinned and Eric,” he looked at his cousin, ” she has my eyes!”
Ezinne wasn’t sure what to believe any more. Since the departure of that reporter, she’d been jittery, apprehensive and worst of all, scared. She was scared that Mofe was back and was posing as a reporter. Why he would do that, she had no idea, had he found out about Azora? Had he come here just to see what she was up to and how he could take his daughter from her?
Ezinne stopped her pacing, reached out a hand to find the dinning chair she was sure was close by, her fingers touched it but it wasn’t where it should be, Azora must have moved it. Holding it firmly, she sat down.
He had said his name was Moji but his voice had been so like Mofe’s, She would know it in a crowd, even with it’s accent, she could still swear by it or could two people’s voices be so alike, was that possible?
Also how could one explain that fleeting spark she’d felt at the touch of his hand? It had only ever happened with Mofe, right from the first time they’d touched, only he, had ever sent sparks flying through her system.
Or could her mind and body be playing tricks on her? After all she’d recently been questioning her decision eleven years back to keep Azora’s birth a secret from Mofe and his family. She’d been so angry with him back then that she hadn’t considered what she would do in future when her daughter came of age and deserved to know who her real father was.
Zora was a few months over ten years now and in a few years would become a teenager. Ezinne knew she couldn’t hold back this news from her for much longer. She currently believed her father had died in a car crash when she’d been three years old, same crash which had left Ezinne blind, but that wasn’t true. She’d been too young to remember but Ekene had been nothing of a father to her. Not in blood and neither in kind.
She sighed, what to do?
“Ezinne, are you okay?” Rachel, her friend whom she shared house with had returned from work. She’d been so deep in thought that she hadn’t heard her come in, she wished she had worn her glasses, her eyes would easily give her away, and Rachel would figure she was troubled.
Ezinne turned to her and managed a smile, “I’m fine Rachel, how was your day?”
She heard her set her bags down, her footsteps began approaching her “Don’t lie to me, I saw the look on your face. You’re broke, aren’t you? The centre is broke, isn’t it” She sat down beside her “What is your incompetent boyfriend-business manager doing, he’s supposed to be making money for you, not mismanaging it. I thought you received a donation from a company just a few months back, what happened to the money?”
Ezinne sighed as Rachel went on and on, she’d never liked Emeka, who managed the centres funds and whom she was also in a relationship with.
“This is why I think its a bad idea for you to mix business with pleasure like this. It gives him the right to mismanage your money and you cant do anything about it. When my mother was alive, the centre always had enough funds. Now what is different? Why are we now broke as hell?”
Ezinne sighed “you’re not helping matters by nagging about it.” she said quietly.
Rachel paused for a second as she’d been about to continue “Okay, I’m sorry. I just can’t stand seeing you troubled this way. Cheer up, okay? I bought ingredients to make your favourite dish, Ofe Nsala, you’ll love it.”
Finally a smile appeared on her face, everything around her could be chaotic but she could count on Rachel to be there. She didn’t know how she would have gotten along without her.
Rachels mother, Theresa who was late now, had started the rehab centre. She’d also been visually impaired and since Rachel had grown up with her, she was used to living and assisting blind people. She co owned the centre along with Ezinne but ran a small business so she couldn’t be involved in the day to day running of the place. Ezinne was in charge of that, she was thankful for Rachel’s presence, she kept her going many times when she wanted to break down.
“She’s next door, at Titi’s place.”
“Okay,” She got up “It wouldn’t do for her to see you like this.”
“I’m fine now since my favourite meal is coming up.” Ezinne joked getting a chuckle out of her friend.
“You had better!” She said, her footsteps retreating.
Ezinne sighed, she wasn’t sure what to do about this Mofe issue but as she couldn’t be absolutely sure it was Mofe, she would just have to be watchful. If indeed it was a reporter doing a feature on the centre she didnt want to jeopardise her chances of getting the recognition the place badly needed. He’d said he would be coming the next day, she would just have to wait and see how it all went.