They hadn’t seen each other for two and a half months.
Ayike pranced around in tears like a lost puppy when she got into his company hall.
“Where is your director?” She beseeched with her hands on her head.
“The third office on the first floor,” The receptionist replied,everyone in the hall stared at Ayike due to her dramatic display.
He was attending to some foreigners when Ayike ran into his office with her hands on her head,she knelt down before him and he hurriedly asked the foreigners to excuse him.
“Please help me Simon” she yelled as she wept uncontrollably in her black kaftan.
“What’s wrong?” He asked as he stood up from his chair and attempted to pull her up.
“Its Ireti!” His heart throbbed fervently when he heard her say that,he had been having premonitions of late but he regarded them as mere thoughts and nothing more.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“She’s missing,we’ve searched everywhere for her. The police are yet to find anything,they don’t know where she is either..they’ve been searching..”
“What? Why didn’t anyone tell me? When did this happen?”
“A week after you came to visit us that day…I don’t know if she has been kidnapped,my best friend is missing” she yelled in tears.
He escorted her to Ireti’s mansion. The maids and several colleagues of hers were seated,they all looked like they had been crying for a while.
“Why didn’t you inform me?” He asked the trio of maids that were seated together.
“We did Sir,we called your house. I told the lady that picked my call,and she promised to tell you..Maye and I also went to your house the very day it happened..Your grandma told us that you weren’t interested in our Madam and we should inform someone else.” Asake narrated.
He went into her room and wept uncontrollably. Thoughts of what he said the last time he stepped into the room raked his mind.
“Where are you?” He lamented,prayed,soliloquised and searched her things for a letter or a clue of some sort, all to no avail.
Asake knocked the door severally before entering.
“I’m sorry for disturbing you Sir. Madam Ayike asked me to look after you,she has gone back to the police station” she explained lowly.
“Please Sit,did she act differently during the last days she spent here?”
“Yes Sir,her dad died a day after you came here.The Queen Regent asked her to stay and await her arrival before she disappeared. The news crushed her Sir,she couldn’t eat,sleep or smile anymore. Whenever we tried contacting you,we met a brick wall” she explained as she bit back tears.
And then the memory hit him! He remembered the dialogue that ensued between them when she returned from South Africa,how she begged and pleaded with him to hear the ‘urgent information’ she had to share.
He fell down to the floor in tears,and random memories of her struck him like lightning bolts.
“I wasn’t there for her…” He sat still on the rugged floor for hours with tears dropping down his eyes. Ayo entered a few minutes later.
“I’ve been searching for you…. I just found out…”
“I chased her away Ayo! I chased my number #1 fan away!! Please help me…I can’t live without her” he cried out and breathed heavily.
“You’ll find her,just calm down. I believe she’s safe,please cheer up brother. I can’t stand seeing you this way” he said as he held onto Simon tenderly.
He hugged each and everyone of the maids before leaving.
“I’ll bring her back to you..I promise! See you all tomorrow and please,keep checking her things for a clue of some sort.” He asserted whilst he hugged Ayike finally.
“I know Ireti can’t do such without informing you…she’s not that kind of person. Just be calm.” Ayo assured him as he escorted him into his room.
“Please tell Mama that I want to have a private discussion with her in the living room” he ordered a maid when he got home.
“When did you start making decisions for me? When????”
“What do you mean Son?” She asked as she feigned an innocent look.
“You knew! You knew!!” He cried out in tears.
“You knew she was missing….all this while…..and you told me nothing…..you kept trying to talk me into getting married to Patricia and her seductive antics….you’ve destroyed me Mama” he leaned back on the wall as he tried to wipe his tears away.
He banged his head against the wall when he remembered that she would have done the same if she was present,with either her hands or lips. Ire couldn’t stand seeing him in tears or pain.
“But Son,I thought you had finally ended things with her since she got pregnant for her lover,”
“Who told you that I ended things with her? I can only end things with her when I’m dead.”
“What if she absconded with her lover? You’re smarter than this son,think straight!” She voiced out slowly.
He hit the fragile aquarium with his hands and started bleeding uncontrollably.
“Ahh! My Son!! My Son!!!” She yelled out loud and the maids rushed out to find out what was happening.
He lay on his bed staring weakly with red eyes.
“We need to take you to the hospital my Son” His grandma said emotionally.
“I can’t go to the hospital,it reminds me of her. Everything reminds me of her,” he responded in tears and she rested his head on her bosom.
A nurse was called to dress his wound and after giving him some pills,he fell asleep.
“Be calm…” His counsellor said to him while he slept.
He woke up the next morning with a mild headache, only to find Ayo staring at him with a smile.
“You feel better right? I’m off to the office..I know you’re too weak to come with me..this Ups package came in for you today. It was sent to our branch at Ibadan last week”
“I think its from Ire” Simon replied and he sat upright on his bed.
He sat up and tore open the package. It was an enveloped letter. He tore it open and found out that he was right,it was really from her.
The letter reads thus;
I write this letter in tears and utmost pain. It hurts me to pour out my heart and open up to you in such a distant way,I wish I could say this whilst looking at your white face,beautiful black eyes and cherry red lips. Forget about me Sims,like I’ve forgotten about you. We weren’t meant to be,I’m going to live the life I’ve always wanted and I’m glad to inform you that you aren’t a part of it.Please don’t search for me! I don’t wanna be found. Have a great life without me! Regards to Ayo and Mama.
He tore the letter in anger and threw it out the window.
“What did it say?”
“Nothing important Ayo. You can leave for the office. I’ll be just fine” he declared falsefully.
“Arrant nonsense! That’s crap!! If she thinks that will make stop searching for her then she’s dreaming”. He got up a few minutes later,and headed for the police station.
It was a tiny station,with cells that were cubby hole replicas.
“Good afternoon Sir” the inspector greeted him courteously,and he paid back the gesture.
He was a fat man with a giant midsection and tribal marks. His uniform looked like it would soon rip into pieces,it was too tight for the huge man who talked with his tongue.
“I shouldn’t be saying this to anyone,its because of how important you are Sir,”
“Saying what Sir?”
“Its obvious that the people at the top don’t want her to be found, we received a memo the very day the Princess was reported missing,she was declared unimportant,we were asked to stop looking for her and we obeyed. Maybe she absconded with her lover who might be a politician or royalty” the middle aged man responded sincerely.
They waited for four days without finding a single clue,he refused to go to work or eat any solid food. His chin was adorned with little shrubs of dark hair because he refused to shave,Simon looked unkempt. He was asked to come and clear out her drawer by the director of the clinic where she worked.
He got there by midday.
“I’m really Sorry,I should be doing this in three months time but we’re on strike,her things are unsafe here” The elderly man said nicely.
Amongst the rather personal belongings given to him,her pink diary was found. He opened it the instant he got into the car,and started reading. He found notes that made him cry like a little child.
Friday-4th of April 2002.
I held onto my baby for the first time in five years! My heart danced and throbbed at the same time,I was excited to see him after hours of waiting. He hurt me with his cold words,I couldn’t breathe due to his allegations but,I don’t really feel bad. He knows I’m not a harlot,he’s the only man I’ve ever loved. I could feel the unseriousness in his words. He was obviously trying weakly to neglect the emotions which held him captive. I love him now and forever! His lips tasted even better than I knew them to,I just wish we were together on happier terms. I won’t stop fighting for him, I never will.
Almost all the pages were about him but,the most decisive and revealing was the one she wrote when she had dinner with his grandma.
Thursday- 6th of June 1997
She called me a spoilt harlot and It hurt me deeply. I think I’m one for fighting my destiny, knowing I should be getting married to my bethroted, yet my heart belongs to Sims. I just wish I was born a pauper with no responsibilities or boundaries whatsoever. I would rather be poor than live without him,I wish I was more feminine,more of a suitable wife material for him. I don’t think he knows that I learnt home making skills whilst abroad because of him,I should have told him that was the hardest training I had ever received. But whenever I remembered him and imagined myself becoming Mrs Braithwaite, I discovered that nothing was too much of a sacrifice to give my love. I wish his grandma wasn’t so cruel to me,it wrecks me to see my heart defying the only family he has because of me. I’m going to earn her love and approval someday,without this I can never get married to him. He won’t make her unhappy because of me,I won’t live to see that happen.
The page was disfigured by a few discolourations caused by tears. He began to wail sadly and felt like crashing into the ground. He flipped over to the next page and kept reading till he got to the last page which was more epistoral than narrative. He locked himself up in his room and he read the final page with mixed feelings of fear and curiosity.