Fate and careful planning had brought Martin my way again. My seeing him at the interview was no surprise as I had known from a contact within the company that he would be on the interview panel.
Now for the next stage- making him fall in love with me (for real this time) then dumping him like he had done to me.
He would then have a taste of what I went through all those years ago.
From the way he was assessing me with his eyes when we met, it might not be too difficult to achieve that.
All I had to do was wait patiently, then pounce like a lioness on its prey…
His call came even earlier than I expected, the following day after we met.
“I planned calling you yesterday but there was so much going on at work so no time. Tiwa, I still can’t believe it’s you I met yesterday! I’ve been looking for you everywhere since my return to Nigeria! I even…,” he paused. “Only for you to walk into the office! It’s like a dream! Look, we need to see and talk. Can I see you this Friday?” he asked earnestly.
What was he talking about? He had been looking for me? What for? After the way he treated me? Or had he forgotten, maybe with the passage of time? But I had not forgotten and I would remind him when the time came.
I did not want to make things easy for him so I declined his invitation citing other commitments.
He seemed disappointed.
“I so looked forward to seeing you again!”
Indeed you do, liar, I thought derisively.
He called regularly after that even wanting to visit me at home. But I refused to give him the address. It was all part of the game – playing hard to get.
Then two weeks later, I got an email from the company that my interview had been successful.
That I had to appear at the office to pick up my appointment letter and take care of other formalities before resumption.
I was glad I got the job, which was a well paying one with all kinds of perks. I had bills to pay and other commitments including taking care of my son, Henry.
But I was also happy that it would give me a chance to carry out my vengeance on Martin.
I showed up at the company the very next day. I spent some time in HR filling some forms and other stuff.
I finally finished and was heading towards the lift when I ran into Martin.
“Tiwa! I didn’t know you were around. Congrats. I see you got the job!” he said, smiling at me.
“So, how have you been?” he asked. Then without waiting for a reply, he took my hand.
“Come, let me show you my office. It’s on the seventh floor.”
We entered the lift which was occupied by a few staff.
“Here we are,” he said, ushering me into his spacious office.
“Care for anything? Coffee, tea or a drink?” he asked.
“No, I’m fine. And I need to go. I have an appointment somewhere and…” I began to say when he cut in.
“You are going nowhere Tiwa till we talk! What’s the matter? Since we met up again, you’ve been so cold to me. It’s like you’re even avoiding me. If anyone should be angry and offended, it’s me. But I took everything in good faith and still tried to remain friends. So, I don’t understand your attitude at all,” he remonstrated with me.
I gazed at him as if he was mad. What was he talking about?
“Angry at me? What did I do to you?” I said sharply.
“I know it happened long ago but have you forgotten the letter you…” he was saying when the door opened and a lady walked in. She was dressed in a short navy gown and very high heeled shoes that showed her long slim legs off perfectly.
“Martin darling, can we go for lunch now?” she said, going over to him. Then she saw me.
“Oh, you have company!”
Martin did the introductions.
“Trisha, this is Tiwa, a friend.”
“Nice to meet you,” she said, giving me a look-over with her heavily made up eyes with long fake eyelashes that looked like spider legs.
I stared back at her unblinking, wondering what her relationship was with Martin.
‘None of my business anyway,’ I thought.
“Give me a few minutes, Trisha. There’s something I need to sort out here, ok?” he said.
“Alright. But don’t keep me waiting, darling,” she said, giving him a quick peck and holding him in a proprietary manner as if to say ‘Hey, keep off, bitch. He’s taken!’
After she had left, Martin sat down and stared at me for a moment.
“So, what’s with this attitude, Tiwa? If I remember clearly, you were the one who wrote me stating you were no longer interested in the relationship, that you wanted to move on with your life. That I should forget about you and…”
“Stop, Martin! Just stop with all these lies! I never wrote such a letter!” I nearly screamed at him, too upset to care we were in an office environment.
Even now, after all these years, he was still lying, trying to deceive me, make a big fool of me like he did all those years ago…
Martin quickly came round and stood near me.
“What did you just say? You didn’t write, telling me you wanted to end our relationship?” he queried.
“Actually, I wrote,” I said in a quieter tone of voice. Then taking a deep breath, I said: “But it was to inform you about the pregnancy. You’re aware about that already so no point telling you again.”
“I’ve to go,” I said, getting up.
“Wait! Hold on! Pregnancy? What pregnancy?”
We sat on seats under some trees by the lagoon front. Across the water, opposite us was Victoria Island, its imposing buildings looming tall in the horizon.
We had left his office after I told him about being pregnant for him. He had denied receiving such a letter from me and when the argument was getting too heated, he had insisted we go somewhere quiet where we could talk.
“Tiwa, are you sure about this?” he said, an incredulous look on his face. “You were pregnant with my baby and my mother was aware and nobody told me? My God! How could this have happened?” he said in an anguished voice after I narrated everything including my visit with my mother to his house.
Initially, I thought he was simply pretending to cover up his dastardly act of abandoning me when I needed him most. But his distress looked real, not faked.
“You mean you had a baby for me? All these years and I didn’t know? Oh God!” he said, his hands gripping his head.
If he did not know I was pregnant as he claimed, what happened to the letter I wrote him then?
And the one he said he received from me ending our relationship? Plus all the others he said he wrote which I did not receive…
What really happened all those years ago? There was so much mystery, so many unexplained occurrences…
The mystery was revealed some days later…
Before we parted that day, Martin had said:
“I want to see my son. But before then, there’s something I need to sort out. I want you to be there, Tiwa.”
That day, a Saturday, he came to pick me at home and we went to his mother’s house.
I had not seen her for years, infact since the day I got the letter from Martin. Even when I had
my baby, she never came to visit and has never shown interest in my son, her first grandchild.
The woman was shocked to see Martin and I together and could not hide it.
“What’s going on here? Martin, what’re you doing with her?” were her first words to us.
“Mum, I believe I should be the one asking the questions here! First of all, what happened to the letter Tiwa wrote to me telling me she was pregnant over ten years ago? And I want the whole TRUTH!” he thundered at her, obviously furious.
She looked a bit disconcerted at the fury on his face. Then she began to speak, and the things she said took time to sink in because it was just unbelievable, like something in a nightmare…
“To think all these years, you went through all these, so much pain and suffering because of my mother and her evil schemes! What gave her the right to toy with our lives that way?” he asked rhetorically.
We had arrived at my little apartment a short while earlier.
I had no answers to give him. For I was still dazed myself at his mother’s confessions…
“It was all for your sake, Martin!” she rationalised. “I did it so you could focus on your education and make something of your life. I didn’t want anything, particularly a young girl like her to distract you. I saw how attached you were becoming to Tiwa and I had to do something to break you up.
So, I destroyed the letter she wrote to you announcing her pregnancy. I also got someone to forge the letter she received from you, dumping her, calling her a holiday fling. Likewise the one you got from her stating she didn’t love you anymore and wanted to end things with you.
“All the other letters you wrote to her through me, I also destroyed. I know what I did was wrong but it was the only way I could protect you…”
As she spoke, Martin’s head was buried in his hands and I could hear him groaning softly as if in great pain: “Oh God! What did Tiwa and I ever do to deserve this?”
And when the woman finished speaking and fell silent, he raised his head up and I could see tears in them.
Then he said in a pitiable voice: “Mum, do you understand the magnitude of what you did? The mess and havoc you’ve caused in our lives? Do you? What did a young girl like her ever do to you to cause her so much suffering? To me and our child as well!”
As for me, I simply sat, dazed, confused, too stunned to speak at the turn of events.
Here was I all these years blaming and hating Martin for causing me so much pain, for breaking my heart and almost ruining my life.
Only to find out it was all his mother’s doing…
Later, when he had calmed down a bit, he took my hand and marched out of the house ignoring his mother’s calls to him to come back…
“My mother tried to change the course of fate by separating us. But we found each other again,” Martin said.
Then he rose and coming to where I sat, knelt down by me and took my hands in his.
He gazed sadly into my eyes and said:
“Tiwa, I know nothing I’ll say or do will ever make up for all that you went through because of my mother. Please, baby, I’m so sorry!
I had no idea about any of this! I was even angry with you and upset as well when you supposedly wrote saying you no longer loved me. I found it difficult to believe because I knew that the Tiwa I left behind in Nigeria loved me very much.
“I returned to Nigeria two years after I left for a visit and went to your house because I wanted you to tell me to my face that you no loved me. Only to be told by the neighbours that your family had moved out. Nobody seemed to know where you had relocated to.
I even told my mother to get someone to search around for you. Little did I know she was the one behind our separation!”
“I’m so sorry!” he pleaded over and over and then broke down and began to cry. I was so overcome with all that happened and with emotions too, that I started crying as well and we both wept in each others arms…
Then he began to kiss the tears from my eyes, my cheeks and then my mouth. My lips opened on their own to welcome his kiss. It was light, tentative at first then it deepened into longing and desire for each other.
Being held in his arms again after all the years of separation was bliss. Like all the old feelings buried deep somewhere in my heart resurfaced, pushing away all the anger, resentment and hatred I had harboured over the years.
We were lying on the rug on the floor and he lifted his head briefly, his mouth curving in a little smile.
“Tiwa, it’s been so long! Life has not been the same without you!” he said.
“Same here, Martin. I’ve been through so much,” I said softly. With a sigh, I drew him tightly to me, luxuriating in the feel of his body on mine…