The Brand Of Cain

The Brand Of Cain

PROLOGUE

‘Abomination!’ Tortoise bellowed, ‘So much for eating faeces!

Wait until the rest of the village hears what you have done.’

(C.N. Adichie, Purple Hibiscus)

 

1985.

RMD––Richard Mofe Damijo wasn’t famous in 1985. Neither was Tuface; a mere schoolboy. Agbani Darego haunted no young men’s dreams. Don Jazzy, Terry G., DJ Jimmy Jatt, Keke and D1––their fame was yet to be established in Nigeria.

General Ibrahim M. Babangida was the President of Nigeria in 1985––he overthrew Major General M. Buhari’s government. That same year, Nigeria won the Under 17 Junior World Cup in Japan.

The best-seller among Nigerian novels was Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (though it was actually first published in 1958).

The movies: The Village Headmaster, Taxi Driver, Mirror in the Sun, Aiye.

The music: Orlando Owoh, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, I.K. Dairo, Majek Fashek, Sunny Okosun, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

It was a different time, a different world.

Nobody knew that a year later, Dele Giwa was going to be murdered by a letter bomb. No prophecy was made that in four years’ time, the great footballer, Samuel Okwaraji, was going to collapse and die on the field of play.

1985. It was the year when Ada Bright was still a beautiful lady of twenty-four.

 

She was happy, and she believed Samson would be delighted too.

Ada Bright crossed the busy double-lane of Alluta Express road. She was going to her fiancé’s house for the first time––he would really be surprised. She had come to suspect that he didn’t want her to know where he lived; they had been dating each other for almost a year and Ada hadn’t known where her beloved boy-friend resided. Every time she asked him, Samson had always given different unconvincing excuses for not telling her his residential location, and Ada had been left confused––trying everything she could to believe the bad liar, but she could not. At first, she had thought he had been cheating on her but she had overlooked such thought of probable infidelity when, to her amazement three months earlier; he had knelt before her with a ring and proposed marriage to her. She had noticed how he had looked into her eyes with pure innocence and unmasked admiration, and right there she knew Samson had really loved her deeply, this made her ashamed of herself for allowing the thought cross her mind that he was not being entirely faithful with her. She was one of those few ladies who, by instinct or the subconscious mind, knew the guys who really loved them and those who didn’t, in her own case; it had taken her the nuptial ring for the instinct to manifest.

Ada had seen the radiance of true happiness in her boyfriend’s face when she acquiesced to his proposal. Yet, she still felt he was hiding something important from her, something different from her initial suspicion. About two hours earlier, she had cunningly persuaded Obinna, her fiancé’s friend, tell her Samson’s residential address. She had to see her boyfriend today.

She boarded a public transport bus heading for Plateau Way. Jos, which even few of her inhabitants and descendants knew that it is actually bearing the hidden acronym ‘Jesus Our Saviour’, established by the missionaries, had suffered several violent religious clashes between its Muslim and Christian dwellers. It was reported that the original name of the popular city was Gwosh; which was a village situated at the site of her metropolis. The Hausa wrongly pronounced Gwosh as Jos and it had struck since then. Ada sat by the window and decided to pass the time with a book. Books were good companions; you could lose yourself in a book. But it was too much effort to focus on the prints; she found herself reading the same sentence for the third, fourth, fifth time––without the slightest degree of comprehension. Besides, she was bored with vicarious romance. Stories about dangerous love affairs were interesting to read when you yourself had a faulty love affinity with your paramour, but a woman needed more than Barbara Cartland’s gothic romance novels to understand the intricate conundrum surrounding love relationships. She closed the book and returned it into her hand bag. She had plowed through almost the entire oeuvre of Cartland anyway. She looked out the vehicle’s window at the traffic, the people moving on the sidewalks, the shop windows and the blueness of the sky. She watched without interest at a herd of big, fat cattle being driven by a small skinny Fulani boy.

The breeze that whooshed in as the bus gathered momentum felt good on Ada’s body, it was blowing her hair and she made no effort to stop it. Ada knew she was beautiful and she was proud of it. Many a time, she would spend almost an hour in front of the large mirror in her room and carefully check her face and other parts of her body to make sure there was no spot––or pimple to disfigure her perfect countenance. She knew she had a nice face, long black hair, and there was something massive for a man to grab hold of––she always laughed unashamedly at that thought. She had a heavy bosom for a woman of her size. The mirror was Ada Bright’s favourite work of art, and if she had been a bit androgynous she’d have married herself.

She saw him for the first time ten months ago when she was in a night club; he was staring at her. Other men in the club were also staring at her, most of their focus lied on her bristols, but Samson was looking straight into her eyes. Ada had always been brave to face any man staring at her because they never seemed to get their collective pupils off of her two titanic challenges. This particular man was looking straight into her eyes and she found herself feeling uncomfortable. Nobody had looked at her the way this strange man was. She tried to look back at him.

The man had a fine appearance. He was a fine figure of a man: tall, dark, quite heavy around the neck and shoulders, not a tad fat, and with long legs. He had a strong face, clear eyes; his face wasn’t so much as pretty as a celebrity’s, but he possessed that kind of face that appeals to a woman; his face had been so perfect and his eyes so kind that she briefly mistook him for Saint John the Devine, just that this one was dark-skinned. Except for the mouth––that was small and thin, he appeared close to perfect, and she could imagine how he was going to act in bed.

And yet at first he was not the kind of man a woman would look at twice. He had no moustache; his cheeks and chin were so smooth that they seemed never to have known a razor, and his hair was trimmed short–– a clipper probably went over his skull every week. It was as if he wanted to look like a nonentity. She knew that he was a very handsome man and would look sexier if he added more styles to his physique.

She wondered what he would look like undressed. He would have a flat stomach and hair on his nipples, and you would be able to see his ribs because he was slim. Ada found herself doing what men always say they do with sexy-appearing women; she had mentally undressed him.

The man approached her.

“Hi, I’m Samson Oliver. May I know your name?”

My God! He has a deep sweet masculine voice.

“A-D-A” she spelled. “That’s my name.”

“Will you dance with me?” he asked, his hand stretched towards her.

Exactly what I can’t wait to do, she thought.

“Sure.”

“Then let’s dance.”

On the dance floor, Sam wasn’t the only male admiring her undulations because most of the men forgot who they were dancing with when they saw her––her appearance caused several pairs of eyes to sparkle with fornicatory intent. He was also a good dancer, and to have herself in his strong arms, feeling his chest against her own breasts, her hands on his heavy shoulders, his long legs touching hers, gave her a bang she thought she had gotten beyond feeling.

That was how the love story of Ada and Samson started.

Ada had envisaged their first love making occurring at the most expensive suites of Eko Hotels, with beautiful wall paper and a white linen-covered mattress, probably with a view of the sunlight and a beach. But instead, they made love in the backseat of a cosy Volkswagen Beetle and Ada had surprisingly loved it immensely more than any other she had experienced. She had decided that Samson was the man she would marry. She loved him so much that she wore only one kind of panties, an honour to her man. Every pair she owned bore this embroidered phrase on the silky crotch: SAM’S HAVEN. She had stitched the words on the panties herself, with the emblem of a triangle signifying the crocheted ‘Haven’.

Ada got off the bus and carefully checked the address she had written on a small piece of paper. She crossed the road to the other side and beckoned to a taxi driver––a very dark-skinned Hausa man; after haggling over the fare for some time, they struck a considerable bargain and she entered the taxi beside the driver.

Having driven through different junctions and streets, the taxi driver stopped in front of a small building. Samson’s house was a three bedroom semi-detached house in a street of exactly similar houses. This particular area had its houses in close proximity to each other. The tiny front gardens were all being used to grow vegetables. Samson’s apartment, which had its number boldly inscribed on the door, was of a very neat and trim appearance standing in the quiet street. The door was painted brown and the steps were particularly well-whitened, the brass of the knocker and handle gleamed in the afternoon sun.

Ada paid her fare, leaving a generous tip for the driver, and went to the door. She paused for a moment before knocking, and when she knocked, the door was opened almost immediately.

“Ada!” Samson said in an astonished tone, as if he had just met his next door neighbor in the middle of the Sahara Desert. “What are you doing here?”

“Hi sweet,” she greeted. “I wanted to surprise you.”

“How did you know this place? Who gave you this address?”

“Don’t you worry about that, I have more surprises for you. Let’s go inside.” She looked around her, “If I may say, you live in a grand house.”

“You can’t come in now, I’m sorry. You should have informed me before coming here, you know I don’t like surprises. You’ll have to go now; I’ll see you next week.”

Ada was perplexed. She saw it instantly; the change, it worried her. This man she was seeing was not the Samson she knew. “What is happening?”

“I can’t tell you now, I promise to tell you when we see next week, okay? I’m sorry.”

That moment, a little girl of about two years old came to the door from within the house and started tugging at Samson’s hand.

“Hapa––pood!” she slurred.

Ada stepped back. What’s going on here? She looked at the baby––she was a cute fair complexioned girl, and she possessed that familiar innocence of a little angel. She had a gap where two milk teeth had fallen out from below and new ones were yet to be replaced. Ada looked up questioningly at Samson.

“Who’s she?”

Samson looked away, he could not answer. She realized with awe and disappointment that his solid refusal to talk was as good as a confession.

With trembling lips, Ada said softly, “She’s your daughter.”

“It’s not what you think, Ada.”

“Then what is it? Please tell me this girl’s not your child.”

The little girl could not understand why the adults were arguing, she was looking at the two, wondering when the strange woman would leave her daddy alone so that he could come and feed her.

“Answer me, please.” Ada’s voice was shaky now.

“Ada, you know I’ll never do anything to hurt you. I’ll explain everything to you.”

He came forward to hold her but she stepped away from him.

“What do you have to explain anyway?” she asked. “She called you ‘papa’, didn’t she? So, you’re a married man, Sam.” She held her hair firmly with both hands.

She was finding it really hard to believe what she was witnessing. The man she had loved with all her heart, the man she had cherished, adored, worshipped––was a family man. The feeling of disappointment overwhelmed her instantly, she could feel some emotional parts of her evaporating, and another part of her inner body was rendered numb. Disappointment!

Tears began streaming down her cheeks slowly, and then she looked into Samson’s face with anger and said:

“I despise you!” she said with so much vigour that the tendons of her neck stood out.

It’s hard to love, she thought as she walked away, when you know how much love could be taken for granted. Sam was a cheat; he’d cheated on her, he’d done to her what no sane human being should ever do to another. Taking the love another had for you and mocking it, trading the innermost secrets of the manipulated for lies from the manipulator.

She could remember, with sadness, the moments they had both shared––the sweet memories, the exhilarating experience, the love, the care, the laughter, the fun, and so much more. She was still confused, not believing that Sam could so much as betray her trust. But he did.

That was how the love story of Ada and Samson ended.

They never saw each other again.

Comments

comments


16 thoughts on “The Brand Of Cain” by Larry Sun (@larrysun)

  1. Profile photo of kaycee
    kaycee (@kaycee): Head Wordsmith - 150590 pts

    “.. most of their focus lied on her bristols,” ??

    You really write well, but this story is dead and buried.
    Nollywood.

    1. Profile photo of Larry Sun
      Larry Sun (@larrysun): Beginner - 811 pts

      This is only a prologue. I tell you, the story isn’t a bit predictable.

  2. Profile photo of shadiat
    shadiat (@shadiat): Writer - 8748 pts

    Good writing, but d story is too too predictable.

    1. Profile photo of Larry Sun
      Larry Sun (@larrysun): Beginner - 811 pts

      Yeah, the prologue is downrightly predictable. But not the story, trust me ;)

  3. Profile photo of jabanz
    jabanz (@jabanz): Newbie - 320 pts

    @shadiat yeah thats the kind of problem that Nigerian writers face, but the story ain’t bad

  4. Profile photo of topazo
    topazo (@topazo): Head Wordsmith - 59627 pts

    Beautiful writing but the descriptions became to cumbersome and stalled the flow at some point. And the ending was too abrupt and doesnt give a hint about the main story…

    1. Profile photo of Larry Sun
      Larry Sun (@larrysun): Beginner - 811 pts

      Thanks, Topazo.
      There was no reference to this prologue in the main story until Chapter 23.

  5. Profile photo of Melody
    Melody (@ifiokobong): Junior Writer - 3768 pts

    Love your sense of description but check this out : i think it would have been better to say she boarded a bus instead of the tautology of “public transport bus”?(paragraph 3) .

    1. Profile photo of Larry Sun
      Larry Sun (@larrysun): Beginner - 811 pts

      Thanks a lot, Melody. Correction noted. Bless you.

  6. Profile photo of Angel
    Angel (@Judith85): Newbie - 475 pts

    I’ve read the complete novel on nairaland. You are indeed a very good writer. Your novel is one of the best novel I have ever read. It’s just too unpredictable and very interesting. More ink to your pen.

    1. Profile photo of Larry Sun
      Larry Sun (@larrysun): Beginner - 811 pts

      Thank you, Angel. I’m glad you loved it. Will post the sequel soon.
      Bless you.

  7. Profile photo of mikeeffa
    mikeeffa (@mikeeffa): Writer - 8257 pts

    bros i congratulate you for stepping out- just take time and always allow another pair of eyes to go through and you will be fine. keep writing well done

  8. Profile photo of elovepoetry
    elovepoetry (@elovepoetry): Wordsmith - 34579 pts

    nice story… keep it up

  9. Profile photo of Redmosquito
    Redmosquito (@Redmosquito): Junior Writer - 2356 pts

    Larry Sun. You sef don come here abi! U no want make I shine abi!

    1. Profile photo of Larry Sun
      Larry Sun (@larrysun): Beginner - 811 pts

      Hey, great man! We meet here too. Now that you’re here, I’m subjected to breath under your shadow, cos you’re a star.
      **Where my Baygon?**
      LOL! Bless you.

  10. Profile photo of Larry Sun
    Larry Sun (@larrysun): Beginner - 811 pts

    ONE

    Richard Philip was angry––angry with life, angry with self, angry with everything and everyone. He was a graduate without a job. He could not imagine himself lacking in job having graduated from the higher institution about a year ago. The ink was barely dry on the certificates of some people when they had started working. Even those with the worst qualifications and grades could be seen knotting ties around their necks and heading for offices.

    Although Richard was not the very studious type in school, he still managed to end up with a good result because he had a higher intelligence quotient and assimilation gift than many of his classmates. He had personally seen university life as a four-year vacation from the realities of life. His judgement on the discouraging value of higher education reflected this belief. He had also seen it as a long part of some other people’s life which was studded with parties, dates, escapades, affairs, unexplained absences, threats of expulsion, and an endless parade of yearning for the opposite sex that seemed to be the order of the days. He was generous in addition; he loaned out his lecture notes to truant classmates, coached some of them on the courses they’d missed, covered up the absence of many of his roommates, until he finally got through these four years to acquire a Bachelor’s degree. He didn’t show up for graduation, he had taken off to look for jobs even before finishing school. But his certificate was mailed to him.

    He was a twenty-seven year old man of average height with close-cropped black hair, dressed in a blue and white striped long-sleeved shirt, a pair of black trousers and shoes. He was quite beautifully structured, and he possessed the appearance of a man most ladies would fantasize about. As a baby Richard had been so pretty that people thought he was a girl. He had no friend or relative except his mother who was the only woman he had grown to love and respect. When he was in his first year in the University of Nigeria, he had been sexually abused by a gang of girls. It wasn’t in the least a satisfying romantic image; five ladies had taken turns on him as they rode him aggressively, and when they were done he had splattered on the hard floor as if he had been hurled in front of a locomotive in motion. He had always wanted to keep himself till that honeymoon night, but he unfortunately lost that pride to a cluster of university hookers. He had narrowly escaped being infected with HIV; it was that moment when the last lady was about to climb over him that someone had flashed his torch from far off. The ladies had scrambled off laughing to themselves, and mocking that sixth lady who had not been successful with her attempt to do the hot guy. That last lady had just gotten infected with the human immunodeficiency virus two days previously. Since that moment Richard had always been afraid of being alone in the midst of ladies, he didn’t know how lucky he was beforehand. Many seemed to show much interest in him, but he had refused to allow the handshake reached anywhere close to the elbow. Now, what he was really interested in was to get himself a good job, which he never got.

    Noise was everywhere, and Richard hated noise. The decibel rate of that room was enough to make a corpse complain. The Cyber–Café was full of people seriously engaged in internet scams. Richard was there particularly to check any available job on the internet––he’d gone to almost all imaginable companies in the city of Lagos but he always ended up empty handed and frustrated.

    Sitting next to him in the sordid cyber-café with a computer was a gum-chewing boy of about fifteen years old who was not interested in anything being displayed on the monitor screen but Indecency.

    On another computer at his other side was a big, maybe six feet three or four giant with long curly hair and a beard. He wore a bandana around his big head. And a gold earring was hanging on his left ear-lobe. He looked like a pirate. A gold chain around his neck so thick you could look up a bicycle with it. Richard wasn’t exactly a small man but sitting next to this large thug made him feel like a midget. Another man farther beside that Great Wall of China beside him was a short dark young man with tinted white hair which was frizzled out from his head and formed a halo over him, as if he had just stuck a finger in an electric socket, he was looking much like a cartoon character than a human being. He needed a shave, and some little trim of his grotesque goatee. His clothes were rumpled and wrinkled; they hung loose on him like shapeless rags. It was the man’s goatee that annoyed Richard most about him. He believed men should either be clean shaven; like himself, moustached or wear full beards. Another noisy group of five men were standing at one corner, debating loudly on professional football matches.

    One boy jumped up suddenly and bellowed at the top of his voice, his raucous laughter catching the attention of everybody around, “Maga don pay!” He began dancing like someone who had just received Chloroquine injections in both his bottom cheeks.

    I better get out of this sanitarium before I become insane myself, Richard decided. He logged off the system and got out of the café just when the boy’s fellow scammers were congratulating him on his luck.

    The streets of Lagos had changed for the better with the help of the God-sent Governor, Baba Fash. The roads had been re-paved and circular holes had been cut out of the sidewalks to allow the planting of young flowering trees. Old and condemned buildings had been demolished and new ones built. Traffic congestions were controlled, there was no one-way driving, no illegal parking of motor vehicles, and reckless drivers had been committed to hospital psychiatric wards to get their brains observed. Dress like a hooligan and find yourself behind bars. The concrete pole which had fallen across the busy road a week before had been re-erected; the broken concrete had caused a fatal accident on the motorway, claiming the lives of five travellers and making movement of vehicles a complete standstill that fateful afternoon.

    There was even more noise outside. In front of a shop was a crazy Nigerian Hip-Hop music thundering from two speakers as large as coffins. Men and women were bargaining, buying, selling, arguing, laughing, praising, criticizing, conferring––over goods like eggs, chickens, roosters, soaps, fish, peppers, butters and cassava flours. Yet, some market women were ceaselessly calling on passers-by to buy goods in which nobody was interested; one sweating woman clutched a screaming infant, she tried to soothe the baby by putting her bosom to its mouth, but the baby itself appeared tired of salty mammary gland, it turned its face away from its mother’s bosom and continued shrieking. The nursing mother in question ignored the crier and continued to unravel with another woman beside her the puzzle surrounding how today’s tomatoes had lost their tomatoey tastes. After walking a few kilometres out of Market Lane into the Chevron Roundabout, Richard took the second exit into Nollywood Road; there were many vacant shops with ‘For Rent’ signs on their walls and dusty windows. People walked up and down the busy streets like ants through sugar. Just at the intersection of the Marvel Supermarket was a purse lying on the ground. Richard stopped when he saw it, the purse was looking fat––nobody would deny that it contained something valuable. Without thinking twice, Richard quickly picked up the purse and continued walking as if nothing had happened. He walked for a couple of minutes before he stopped to search its content. The purse contained a mobile phone, many rolls of money and different cosmetics ranging from a simple nail file to a compact plate of mascara. The amount of money in the purse, Richard found out after counting, was quite tempting. He returned everything into the purse as he had found it; he knew the owner of the phone would call. He had already walked a few kilometers from where he found the purse when the phone rang. He brought it out and pressed the green button.

    “Hello?” he said.

    “Oh, Thanks be to God.”

    It was a cool, gentle, mellifluous feminine voice.

    “Who is this?”

    “It’s the owner of the phone that you are illegally in possession of.”

    Richard was shocked, “I’m not illegally possessing anything, I found it on my path.”

    “I don’t care how you got it, okay? I just want it back. I searched inside my bag just now and couldn’t find it, you don’t know how devastated I have been. So, can I just have it back?”

    Richard refused to be easily convinced, “How do I know you are really the owner?”

    “See, Mr. whatever…it’s not the phone that I need, it’s the SIM card inside. I just need it back, okay? You can keep the phone to yourself, I don’t care.”

    The woman had already decided that he was a thief; she didn’t even know him yet. He was in an annoying mood today, but this strange woman had cut him in the raw.

    “Anyway, come to The Delicacies restaurant along Queen Aminat way. You’ll find a deserted shed opposite the restaurant, go to the shed and pick up your SIM card.” He terminated the call.

    “Hello, hello––” she checked the phone and realized that the man she had called had terminated the connection. She was grateful. At least, the man was kind enough to tell her where to pick her mobile card. She could not imagine how she was going to feel if she lost that SIM card. You rarely lose your phone or money in Lagos and get it back. There was a time, maybe prior to the year the country gained her independence, when they said you could leave your belongings almost anywhere and find them untouched when you returned. These days, even the clocks in churches are being purloined. She paid for the call she had made at a local call centre and jumped into her car; she switched on the ignition and drove to the described location.

    Richard stood sentinel at the front of The Delicacies restaurant, keeping a careful watch over the purse he had dropped on a table standing in front of the shed, making sure that no wrong hand got hold of it. Over two decades earlier, the piece of land occupied by the restaurant was formerly holding a large private hospital, and beside the shed opposite was an old bank building which had been neglected. Its strong room was now being used in the nights by weed smokers and sellers. He had decided, after his annoyance had ceased, not to take anything from the purse. He kept everything in the purse as he had found. Richard was no saint, if he had wanted to take somebody else’s property, it wouldn’t have been this way, it was too easy, too clean; there was no likely danger in it. And to Richard, the danger in a crime was what made the crime interesting. When Richard was in the university and in need of some money for handouts, he’d stolen the Professor’s Nokia phone and he had indirectly sold it back to him in another casing and colour. He had once tried smoking cigarettes and Indian hemp just to know how they tasted. He had gambled and conned just to feel what gamblers and con-artists felt. He had even successfully picked the pockets of a pickpocket at the bus-stop.

    He leaned against a tree and put his hands in his pocket to await the arrogant woman.

    Then just down the road was a glistening black jeep approaching.

    She stepped on the brake of her vehicle when she saw the sign board of the restaurant; she switched off the ignition and got out of the car. She was about to cross the road to the other side when she noticed a young man with a hard face staring at her suspiciously. She ignored him and crossed the road. To her utter astonishment, she saw her purse as she got there, and all her things were intact, not even a kobo was taken out of the money. The lady joyfully made her way back to her car and as she was about to climb into the vehicle, the young man presently staring at her came towards her.

    “Is that purse you’re clutching your property?” asked Richard.

    “Yes, I came here to retrieve it.”

    The voice is unmistakable. It’s that same gentle voice, the voice was very soft and sonorous, it might have been a little girl’s voice but not quite.

    “Then you’re the arrogant woman who spoke with me on the phone.”

    “Are you the man who found it?”

    He felt he should feed her a piece of his mind, “Who are you to speak to me in such a manner? You think I give a rooster waste about your things?” his voice was cool but it carried a tone of irritation.

    The lady looked at him. The man is angry, really pissed off.

    “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” she said solemnly.

    Richard studied her, she was a beautiful woman in any setting; tall and slim with fine bones which defined a regal face that matched her bearing, and her face was soft and unlined. Her nose, ears and mouth had been created with a stunning sense of proportion. She had high-set bosoms and very beautiful supple legs; he had seen her movement when she crossed the road, an unsteady grace in every step, an unconscious and sinuous rolling of the hips that could take many men’s breath away, she had carried herself with a confidence found only in women well able to defend themselves. And she was dressed in a small collarless shirt and a black skirt which outlined the sexy shapes of her lower body. This skirt was worn just above the knees in a season when most of the girls wore them just below the edges of their panties. A gold chain with teardrop pendant laid smugly in her cleavage and her dangling earrings were a primitive creation of stones and beads.

    “Apology accepted, but always devote more care to your things; you may not be so lucky next time.” Richard said, after getting his eyes off her lithe body.

    “Handsome and kind young men like you are as rare as hens’ teeth these days.”

    Richard was not amused. “Thank you for the compliment. I have to be going now.” He turned to go.

    “Wait!”

    Richard stopped and turned. “Can I help you?” he asked

    “You look so mean. Don’t you smile?”

    “Let me risk repeating myself––Can I help you?”

    “Um–actually, my name’s Abby Martins. Can I know yours?”

    Richard frowned, “Abby? What does that mean?”

    She smiled, evidently at her success in confusing the stranger, “Abigail.” Her smile alone could melt the average man’s ear-wax, but Richard’s ear-wax was not melting.

    “Nice meeting you, Abigail.”

    “You haven’t told me your own name.”

    “I am Richard Philip.”

    “Richie,” she smiled, “What a rich name you’ve got.”
    “Must you shorten every name you come across?”

    She laughed.” You don’t mind being called Richie, do you?”

    Richard shrugged, “Anyway, I should be on my way.”

    “Oh–it’s been nice knowing you, handsome. See you.” she waved and mounted her iron steed––a black Lexus. Richard watched as she drove away.

    He continued thinking about her as he turned to go home, there was no doubt that she was a very beautiful girl and probably a good company. She also possessed the effervescent personality of one of those ladies often seen presenting TV game shows. She might likewise be one of those spoilt rich politicians’ daughters who didn’t know what suffering really meant. Yet, Richard longed to meet the nubile young woman again. He only knew her name; he did not have her address––not even her phone number. Seeing her again was akin to one out of every fifty million chance of winning the Lagos State Lotto jackpot.

    Not knowing what fate would deal him, Richard shrugged, giving up the hope of ever seeing Abigail again. What neither the two knew not was the fact that where both of them had met now, another man and a woman had met there twenty-three years earlier, and that meeting had shaped the lives of these two younger people into what they could never had imagined. It was far back in the eleventh month of 1986.

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