By Ekeoma Ajah
some alarm in Tamuno’s previously mocking eyes. Chike gave in to his rage and it throbbed like molten fire in his veins. It felt good to unleash his frustrations on the man he now had by the throat. Only when he finally noticed a screaming Ogemnabia wedging herself between him and Tamuno, her hands trying to loosen his grip, did Chike feel the roaring in his ears start to recede.
“Are you mad?” Chike heard Ogemnabia shout. “These men have guns, and your daughters are sleeping upstairs! What is wrong with you?”
The room was quiet as death. Chike looked at Ogemnabia’s face then. It was not the tears that got him weak in the knees. It was the look she had, like she was trying to reason with a stranger whose sanity she found questionable, whom she could not trust. He let go of Tamuno and noticed the policemen standing around him, brandishing their weapons.
Chike’s heart broke when he saw their seven-year-old daughter, Adaeze, on the stairs, her face between the poles of the banisters, eyes wide with fear. Patience, the nanny, soon appeared, hurrying down the stairs to scoop Adaeze up in her arms and take her out of sight.
Ogemnabia turned to Tamuno, who stood rubbing his neck. “I beg you in the name of God, please give us some time to pack.”
Tamuno glared at Chike before turning back to Ogemnabia. “Just because of your children,
Ogemnabia stood by the closed door of the bedroom watching Chike race about the room, gathering his important documents into a bag.
“Are you going to make yourself useful anytime soon?” he said to Ogemnabia without pausing to look at her. “Two hours is not a lot of time, you know.”
“Chike, you said you had paid for this house,” she said, staring at him in disbelief. “I asked and you told me the house was completely paid for.”
“I told you what you needed to hear.”
“Don’t start that thing again where you make everything my fault. I wanted to know the truth, I never asked you to lie to me.”
“No, you didn’t. But I know what you want, what you’ve always wanted: a life with no problems, smooth, with Chike taking care of everything, you never breaking a sweat. I told you what you needed to hear.”
Ogemnabia decided not to take the bait. She moved on to her next burning question. “When did you know the house was going to get taken from us?”
“As soon as I left the company but Sebastian said we would have till August twelve. He and the Pinnacle chairman agreed,” Chike stopped his motions and for the first time looked remorseful. Ogemnabia was surprised to find that she did not care. He continued speaking. “I didn’t know how to tell you. I wanted to, I swear, but things were bad enough already with me no longer having a job. I didn’t want you to see me as a complete failure.”
Ogemnabia acknowledged to herself that this was not an apology, but even if it had been it would not have mattered. This was just the latest in a string of abuses and hurts that Chike had put her through.
“You were too proud to tell me something this important,” she said quietly. “Don’t you see what you’re doing to this family? What you’ve already done?”
you have two hours,” he said. The workmen groaned and muttered their dissent. “Two hours on the dot. So at exactly…” he looked at his watch, “8.58… anything left in this house will be forfeited.”