“Your what?” My sister stopped the car and looked back at me.
“Look Victor, that girl has caused you enough pain. I don’t think there is a need in going back there to see her… to open up old wounds.”
“But these wounds have not healed Ester. Don’t you see? Everything I try to do, she is always connected to it. She’s like a hook in my neck, and until I cut that thread, I won’t be able to live on.”
She sighed, and rested her back into the car seat. “Do you still love her?” she had to ask. She couldn’t ask if I hated Cynthia but rather she spoke of love.
“Just take me to her or I will do it myself.”
“Okay ooh, your wish. And you know what? God help me not to lose my temper when I see that little witch,” she hissed and started the car.
When the car pulled up in front of my old house, nothing felt familiar. I was a stranger in what was once my home. I looked at my sister and then back at the gate before finding the courage to push it open. As we stepped in, there was a little girl playing with her toys in the big compound. She saw us and smiled. She ran over to me and asked, “Are you looking for my mummy?” I knew I was staring into the eyes of the child I once thought was mine. She was so beautiful and she was the photocopy of her mother. She tugged on my shirt to get an answer to her question. I was dumbfounded; all the memories were rushing back in. The day Cynthia told me she was pregnant, the joy of that moment I haven’t felt before and I doubt I would ever feel again. The first time I held Iffy in my arms at the hospital, I was her father and she was my daughter. But looking down at her now, I was just a mere stranger; one of mummy’s conquest.
My sister who was obviously more familiar with kids moved closer to the little girl and asked, “Is your mummy home?” Iffy nodded her head and pointed to the front door. With her in front, we all marched to the door.
I knocked. She opened. It almost felt like a flashback to the day she dared to come back into my life after faking being dead but this time, I was the one who was back from the dead.
The instant our eyes met, her eyes widened in shock. Her face lost all its color. It was as if my presence had sucked up all the makeup on her face. Her lips began to tremble. She held the door half way and refused to open it further or close it either. Her daughter then made herself presence known.
“Mummy” Her mother remained quiet, not sure if she heard her daughter.
“Come on honey…” She tried to shut the door as soon as her daughter was in, but I was smart enough to know she wasn’t going to let me in and so I held the door back.
“Cynthia, at least welcome me into my own home.” She heard my voice, the man she had lied to and claimed to have loved. She gave up and I slowly push the door fully open. The smell of cigarette filled the living room. The smell was so strong my sister began to cough.
“Victor this is not the place to do this. How can a mother place her child in this kind of environment?”
“I don’t need you to tell me how to raise my child.” Cynthia replied.
“Oh victor you had better warn this little smart mouth before I do something stupid.” She moved closer to Cynthia. “Look, I know all that you have done. I never had much regards for you but for his sake, I decided to let you in and this is how you pay our family back?”
Cynthia began to back up against the nearest couch. “For God sake, the child isn’t even his!” My sister was doing more of the talking while I tried to familiarize myself with the place I once called home.
“What is the matter? I heard…” Mrs. Ada, my house keeper walks in. The instant she saw me, she came running into my arms.
“My son, is this really you?”
“Wow. Mrs. Ada, what are you still doing here?” I was shocked to see her still working. She looked much older than she was the last time I saw her.
She sighed and looked at Cynthia. “She wouldn’t take care of the child so I had to stay.”
“Sugar what’s all this noise I’m hearing?” a male figure stumbles into the scene. The anger that had been building up inside of me finally gave way.
“Who is he, and what is he doing in my house!” I yelled.
“Look mehn, I think I should be the one asking you that question.” The young man looked boldly at me.
“Oh victor,” Cynthia began to cry, as she moved closer to me.
“Don’t you dare touch me.”
I looked to my left to find iffy seating in a couch with her head bowed down.
“Someone take that child out of here.” Mrs. Ada quickly took iffy by the hand as the little girl began crying.
“Stop shouting! What? What do you want from us?” Cynthia’s voice rose above mine. What did I want? I asked myself.
“I came here because I was in need to see you. I need you to let me go.” My sister followed in the direction she saw Mrs. Ada went. She gave me that look, reminding me not to do anything stupid. I nodded my head and she was gone.
I began again. “I need you to go tell the police the truth.”
“I need you to tell them that I didn’t kill James.”
“You guys are sick…” her pimp said, as he fixed the upper button on his shirt. He walked out from the room without a second glance.
“Who are you saying killed him?” Her once innocent tears filed face was now wearing the Cynthia that I knew of.
“I don’t know, but you’re the one who testified that I killed him, and so you will clear my name. I’m not a killer Cynthia.”
“Oh victor, now that you are back we can be a family again.” She held on to my shirt as she cried. “You and I… with Iffy; our little girl. I have missed you Victor. Don’t you see how much she’s grown? She looks every bit like you. She knows you are her father… I showed her pictures. I told her nothing of James so you see; we can be a family again.”
She kept spitting out words as if she was going crazy. She was trying hard to get my attention, she wanted to twist and turn my head like she knew how to. Forced kisses she planted here and there. She thought I was the same victor who purposed to her after 1 year of dating. She wanted me to be the same victor she had lied to before.
“I can see you have lost your mind.” The insult didn’t settle well with her, it made her even more desperate and furious.
“You know what; you and James are the same.” In that moment, I knew I had her where I wanted her and so I needed to keep her mouth running.
“What did you do to him? If you will just tell me the truth, we can go back to the way it was, as if nothing happened.” I held her hands. She rested her head on my shoulders and began to weep.
“He was going to leave me that day Victor; I couldn’t let him leave me to face you alone.” I began to pat her back, encouraging her to keep talking. Her hot tears that fell on my shoulder bore a hole through my skin.
“I went to his place and he had his bags packed to leave without me, forgetting the plan we had made.”
“What did you do to him?” I was finally getting what I wanted, one more push and I would finally break her.
“I still love you Cynthia, I always will… Just tell me and this will all be over.” I planted a kiss on her forehead.
“I shot him. I aimed… to his heart. I killed him. He is gone.” She whispered again, “his gone.”
By the time she looked back into my eyes, she knew she was finished. She slowly fell on her knees.
“Please don’t take her away from me.”