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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

'She abandoned me as a baby. Now it's payback time!' (5)

  • My mother shook her head.

"I don't care. Just go and leave me and my family alone! I don't want to see you now or ever!"
Just then my grandma came into the room. She shouted when she saw the cheque in my mother's hand.
"Carol, what's the meaning of this? So, you were serious when you said you were going to give her money and send her away? How can you do such a mean thing? To your own child? I didn't train you to behave like this!" grandma said furiously.
"This has nothing to do with you, Mummy! So, stay out of this!" my Mum said, equally angry.
"That's where you are wrong! She's my grandchild and I have a say in what happens to her," my grandma replied. They argued for a while and I just stood simply watching them. FInally, Grandma said:
"It's obvious you don't want anything to do with the child. That's your problem. As for me, I'm happy she has found her family at last and she's here to stay whether you like it or not. This is my home and I decide what happens here. You can go to your husband's house and control everybody there. You can't do that here!" she said, then turning to me, she took my hand and led me out of the room, saying:
"Come, my dear child. Don't mind your mother. What will you like to eat for dinner? Tell Tina or any of the other maids whatever you want and they will get it for you! And get ready, tomorrow morning, we are going to that newly opened shopping mall in town. We need to buy some new clothes, accessories and other stuff for you. I hear they have some nice things that young people like you love..."

   ***
I stayed with Grandma for about a week and it was one of the best times of my life. The woman could not do enough for me; it was as if she was trying to make up for all the years I had lived in the orphanage without a family. She kept apologizing for what my mother did to me as a baby and even presently, assuring me that she would definitely accept me later.
"I think it's the shock of seeing you again after all these years that's making her behave that way. She will come round later. So, don't worry," she assured me.
"Ok, Ma. And thanks so much for what you have been doing for me, all the love and care you've shown me," I said sincerely.
"What are you thanking me for? My lovely child, I should be thanking you! Your arrival has brought so much joy to me and our family. There's nothing I, your uncles or other family members can do that will compensate for all you went through. Whenever I think of you all alone, with no blood relatives in that orphanage, I feel so bad. Imagine my own grandchild being brought up by strangers!"
The few weeks break I was given at my workplace ended and I had to return to work. Grandma was not keen on my resuming, saying I no longer needed to work as the family would be responsible for my upkeep including education from now.
"You can stop working now. You will have to go to school, preferably abroad. Money is not an issue and you will be well cared for. I'll have to discuss it with your Uncle George; he works as a surgeon in a top hospital in the U.S. All your needs will be met by the family so you can resign from the job," she said.
I told her I would resign at a later date before going to school
"I like the job. Besides I don't like staying idle," I told her. 
"That's alright, my child. But I will miss you when you are gone. I wish you could stay here with me always!" she said.
agreed to be visiting her regularly and also call her on phone. 
"I will come to the city next week. I'll see you then. Take care, my dear!" Grandma said, hugging me tightly and giving me a peck before I left for the city.
 At the AGM
Maria was really happy to see me back at work. We had been chatting on phone and she was fully aware of my meeting with my family including my Mum's attitude to me.
 "How can a woman treat her own child like that; it's really strange," she said as we sat chatting during a short break from our duties.
 I shrugged.
 "Hm. Na so we see am o, my sister!" I said. "Anyway, forget about all that for now. So, wetin dey happen for here since I travel?" I asked.
 "Nothing much. Just work. By the way, where is my share of the goodies that your grandmother gave you? Do you want to 'chop' everything alone?" Maria said.
 "You have to come to the house for that. Or were you expecting me to start dragging bags to the office?" I stated, getting up to resume my duties.
 About two weeks later, the restaurant did the catering at a company that was holding its annual general meeting. I was assigned with some of my colleagues to serve the food at the occasion. I noticed during the meal while I was working that one of the directors, a middle aged man in a dark suit and tie kept staring at me. Sometimes, he would look at me and shake his head. 
 Later, while we were clearing the tables of dirty dishes and glasses, the man came towards me and said: "Young lady, you look so familiar. Have we met before?"
 I shook my head and replied: "No, sir. This is my first time of seeing you!"
  He then asked me my name and who my parents were. I told him my parents were dead, that I was an orphan. I don't know why I lied to him that my parents were no more; maybe because he was a total stranger who was asking me such personal questions.
 The man later gave me his card, stating that his wife's birthday was coming up and he was planning a big party for her.
 "I enjoyed the food a lot. I'll like your company to do the catering for the party," he said. I thanked him, assuring him that I would discuss it with my boss on getting to the office.
 "Call my secretary and make the necessary arrangements with her," he said before leaving. At the door, he turned to look at me again, shook his head and walked away.
 I glanced at the card, noting the name on it. It was a name I had heard recently; someone, I think Grandma had said something relating to it. Then I remembered what she had said and I stood staring fixedly at the card.
 'It cannot be; it must be a namesake or something,' I thought as I placed the card in my pocket.
 I decided to call Grandma later to find out whether the man I just met was...

To be continued

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.


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