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Lost in a Shadow - Episode 1

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LOST IN A SHADOW
Lost in a Shadow - Episode 1

Written by Chidiogor D-f Nwafor

Paul staggered as he got to his room. Dave was already asleep. Paul sighed and fell on the bed, drunk and sleepy.

Waking up the following morning, he gasped. He was already late for work and also late to take his son to school. What had happened last night? He wondered. He could remember driving along the express way when he sighted a bar. He remembered walking into the bar, ordering three bottles of beer, drinking and nodding to the sound of the music blaring from the DJ. What was he looking for in a bar? He was not a person that drinks. He had only tasted alcohol back in campus. He had gone out with a couple of friends and had been forced to drink. He could have easily refused but he wanted to prove he was man enough. He realized too late that it was not worth drinking. The severe headache and stomach ache he felt was agonizing. He had vomited and fallen on his vomit. A friend of his told him later when he was sober that Omotola was around while he was misbehaving. Omotola was the girl he had a crush on back then. Embarrassed, he couldn't look her straight in the eye again. Alcohol was sure a mocker.

Paul lazily rose up and prepared for the worst. His head ached baldly. He felt someone invisible was pounding him on the head with a pestle. He managed to prepare himself for work and his five years old son_ Dave_ for school. He tried to explain to the headmistress about his lateness but the old woman refused to listen. She kept nagging and threatening that if such repeated itself, Dave will be punished for late coming.

Paul angrily left for work. His boss_ Mr Taiwo_ was waiting for him with a huge frown on his face. Paul, seeing the look on his face, knew what was coming next_ another scolding. Mr Taiwo, his boss, was a short, fair and robust man with bald head. He was a fifty years old man with round face and long eyelashes. He was known for his strictness and blazing black suit. He wore recommended eyeglasses which he drew to his nose whenever he spoke to anyone. He was well feared and greatly envied by people. To them, he had no problem. Just like the adage that says_ he who wears the shoe knows exactly where it itch_ Mr Taiwo's wife was a barren woman. They had to adopt two kids whom most people referred to as their biological kids.

Paul retired to his office looking melancholy after all the scolding he received that morning. He sat on his chair and sighed deeply. He needed to rest. He did not get much sleep last night and the night before. The thought of him getting drunk was still shocking to him. He was glad Dave was asleep when he came back. He would not want to be a bad influence on his son. All he had now was Dave.

Paul gazed wearily at his office. His office was well furnished and comfortable. There was a big mahogany desk in front of a well polished arm chair. There were books and files of different sizes arranged neatly on the shelf by the side of the wall. There was also an intercom and a computer set on the desk. On the wall were different photographs of Dave and Amanda.  There was also a portrait of a woman carrying a calabash on her head. It was a beautiful piece. It had been given to him by his uncle on his wedding day. Amanda had wanted to keep it at home but he insisted on keeping it in his office. Amanda had gone crazy accusing him of falling in love with the woman on the portrait.

Paul smiled sadly at the memory. Amanda could be crazy sometimes and loving other times.

After some minutes of gazing around, Paul stood up and walked to the window. It was a busy Monday morning. The road was crowded with people and vehicles. Hawkers took advantage of the traffic to sell their goods. Paul sighed once more and closed his eyes.

Mr Paul Okafor was an only child. His mother, Mrs Okafor had three miscarriages after Paul. Paul was a middle aged man with an extraordinary shape of a model. He was well built with broad shoulders. He had nice set of white teeth that shone whenever he smiled. His hairs were well cut and combed neatly. He worked as a computer programmer. He was not so wealthy but he lived a comfortable life. Amanda was his wife. They had gotten married five years ago and things had been moving well. Paul thought they were madly in love  until Amanda asked for a divorce. What had he done? Where had he wronged her? He thought she wanted to spend her life with him. He thought she loved him. He thought... The creaking of the door interrupted his thoughts. He turned around just to see his close friend, Mr Jimoh Jegede_ an impish fellow_ walking in.
"Man, what's wrong with you? I've been knocking on your door since." Jimoh held his shoulder. Jimoh was some years younger than Paul.
"I'm sorry. I was just lost in thought." Paul sighed.
"What's wrong with you? You look pathetic. What's all these stubbles on your face? Don't tell me you didn't shave this morning." Jimoh studied his face.
"There's nothing wrong."
"There's actually something wrong. I know you Paul. What happened to you?"

Paul looked at his friend and shook his head. He knew Jimoh well. He would not give up until he knew what was going on.
"It's Amanda." Paul began. Jimoh listened with rapt attention. His lips were slightly parted and he kept shaking his head while Paul spoke.
"So you mean Amanda left the house three days ago?" Jimoh blurted out as soon as Paul finished talking. "So while you were out, she was busy packing her things? Ah! Women! Women! How could she do that to you? Wasn't she thinking about her son? Where is she now?"
"I don't know Jimoh. I really don't know. I've called her parents and  siblings. I've even contacted her friends. No one knows her whereabout."
"What are you going to do now?"
"I really don't know Jimoh. It's all like a dream." Paul rubbed his jaws.
"Cheer up! This is not the end. You're a strong man. You will get over it. You see why I don't want to get married?"
"What if I don't want to get over it?" Paul whispered.
"You should. You will." Jimoh stood up and patted Paul's shoulder. "Let's go out this evening. That's one step to clear your mind."

Later that day, Paul went to his boss to ask for permission to pick up his son from school. Mr Taiwo had looked him from his head to his toes with his glasses resting on his nose.
"First you come late, second you're asking for permission to pick up your son. Oga, Where's your wife? I thought she is at home?"
Paul gasped. He did not know what to say. Should he tell his boss that his lovely wife is no where to be found.

The question kept ringing in his ear. He could see the picture of him arguing with his wife. He had refused to sign the divorce paper when she brought it to him. Amanda was a good wife. She performed all her wifely duties well. She understood him more than anyone. Why then did she leave him? He thought she had given up on the idea of divorcing him when he received a call from Dave's teacher three days ago telling him that Amanda had not come to pick up Dave. He tried calling Amanda's number that evening but it was switched off. Annoyed by this, he went home shouting Amanda's name. Little did he know that his gentle wife had gone with the wind. He had returned home just to meet the shock of his life. A deadly object Amanda left for him on the dining table.

Paul was brought to reality when a danfo driver yelled at him. Unknown to him, he had almost caused an accident because of his stupid thoughts. He quickly drove to the school, picked Dave up and dropped him with a neighbour.

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