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Lost in a Shadow - Episode 3

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LOST IN A SHADOW
Lost in a Shadow - Episode 3

Written by Chidiogor D-f Nwafor


So this was what Amanda wanted: a rich, handsome and young guy. So she wanted to marry money? Anger began to swell inside of his chest; anger that brought tears to his eyes. Various thoughts began to seep into his mind. So this pilferer had only wanted one thing: Money! But she kept on lying, bringing all form of excuses. He wanted to punch her  and her stupid boyfriend in the face but he restrained himself instead he patiently followed them, tagging along secretly so as not to bring any form of suspicion to himself. The two lovebirds walked into  a nearby eatery and took a seat by the window. Amanda was  telling her new found boyfriend that she wanted hot peppery soup. A murderous thought came to Paul as he thought of pouring the hot peppery soup into her eyes.

After some minute of staring at the love birds, he summoned courage to approach them. He stood beside Amanda without her knowing for she was busy relishing the peppery soup.
"So this is the reason you left me and your son?' He voiced out.

Amanda stiffened at the sound of his voice. She slowly turned around and her eyes widened as she saw Paul looking at her angrily.
"Who is this?" Her boyfriend questioned.
"I'm her.."
"I don't know who he is." Amanda cut him short and Paul's mouth parted as he stared at Amanda in shock.
"I've never seen him before." She continued still staring at him. "I wonder what he's talking about."

Paul stood like an abandoned tree, dumb founded. His mouth was agape and his eyes were wide with surprise. Never had he thought that Amanda would deny him so easily; so quickly.

"Waiter! Waiter!!" The guy yelled angrily and a going man walked quickly to their table. Paul watched dumbfounded as the man accused him of stalking his girlfriend. "I came into this eatery because I heard it was the best in town only to meet this stalker making a nuisance and disturbing my peace. Is this how you all are so loosed? Where are the security here? Don't they know their jobs?"

There was a big commotion at the eatery as huge guards walked up to Paul and dragged him out roughly.  Paul kept yelling Amanda as he was being dragged out like a garbage out of the building. Amanda turned her eyes from him and stared at the wall  instead.

Paul was dumped outside the eatery; wiry the way he was dropped, he landed flatly on the ground. Embarrassment, shame and other emotions he could by describe consumed his whole being. He was heartbroken; shattered; torn; words weren't enough to express what he was feeling.
"How could Amanda do this to me?" He kept asking himself as he walked sluggishly to his car; with drooped shoulders, head bowed; dejected and broken.

Paul couldn't stop himself from narrating the ordeal he experienced the other day to Jimoh who listened with rapt attention and with pity hanging on his face.
"Women! Women!!" He shook his head vehemently. "Paul, you need to get over this woman. She isn't worth it. She had just proven that she is a useless, disgusting and fiendish person with no feelings at all. You need to forget her."
"I'm trying Jimoh. God knows I am. But it's so hard; so so hard." Paul wiped his face with his hands.
"One step in accomplishing this is to leave that house so as to wipe every memories you shared with her away. Burning her stupid photographs could also help."
"Burn her pictures? What about Dave? What if he wants to see her photograph later in the future?"
"So you're willing on showing Dave that woman's picture? That woman that is a disgrace motherhood? You're willing to let him go close to that witch?" Jimoh blurted out.
"She's still his mother, no matter what. I wish I could change that but I can't." Paul sighed.
"Oh yes, you can!" Jimoh chirped in. "She abandoned him in your custody so that means he's yours now; yours to cater and fend for; yours to love and cherish; yours to protect and one thing you need to be protecting Dave from is that woman. I'd keep Dave away from her if I were you for she's up to no good. I'd make sure I clear whatsoever remaining memory Dave has of her. I would make sure Dave doesn't remember her face again for that's what she wants. If not, why would she leave?"

Paul nodded in approval.for he found great sense in what Jimoh had just said. Why should Dave meet such an horrible person; someone with no feelings at all? She wasn't worthy to he called his mother for she had failed woefully in that job. Paul made a vow right inside him never to have anything to do with her again. She was an outsider now! He would deny her just as she had denied him. He'd live his life like he had never came across a person named Amanda. He'd build his home like she never existed.
Thoughts of how he had met her suddenly flashed into his memory as he sat. He remembered how he had been sitting in his living room, arms crossed; watching his favourite television programme. He remembered the knock at his door; loud and resounding. He had opened the door only to see his mother standing with a young lady who stood shyly and who couldn't meet his eyes.
"Mum! You didn't tell me you were visiting today? I would have prepared something special for you?" He had whined.
"Don't worry my handsome son. I wouldn't be staying for long." His mother: Mrs Okafor had replied with a smirk on her face.

Paul knew that smirk. He knew it only appeared when his mother was cooking up a surprise. He raised his left brow as he stared at the coy girl standing lost at the middle of the room.
"Who's she?" He had whispered to his mum.
"Let's go inside first." She had whispered back.

He remembered how he couldn't take his eyes off the young Lady for he was curious to know who she was. He mum had pretended not to notice his curiosity and anxiety as she made effort to waste more time by performing her little tradition of dropping her bags; much slower this time, moving around and examining the house to know if he had improved on his neatness and finally settling to have a cup of water. Paul waited patiently as he watched his mother. Alas! He couldn't take it anymore so he yelled: Mum!

The shout had startled Mrs Okafor so much the the cup she was holding fell down and water spilled on the floor.
"Hei My God! This child won't kill me! Do you want to give me hypertension? Do you want to increase my blood pressure? Wouldn't you allow me drink some water before you interrogate me." She had screamed. "Do you know where we came from? Do you know how far we had walked? Do you know the places we had passed. Do you..."
"I'm sorry mama. It wasn't my intention to scare you." He had interrupted for he knew she would go on and on, recounting how many vehicles they had taken and how many people they had met on the road.
"You didn't even offer your  guest a glass of water. Instead you're shouting." His mother continued, completely ignoring his apology.
"I'm okay mama." Amanda replied shyly as she ran to clean  the water from the floor. Mrs Okafor smiled broadly as she stared at her. "Nwanyi oma! Beautiful girl!" She muttered as she grabbed Paul's hands, drawing him closer to her,
"Isn't she lovely?" She had asked as they both watched her mop the floor.
"Mama, you know I don't lime these dilly dally. Who is she and what's she doing here? Is she you new house help or is she..."
"Shhh! Don't say that again." His mother had slammed her palm to his mouth. "How can you call this beautiful woman a house help? Look at her! Does she look like one?"
"Then who is she?" Paul asked wearily.

Mrs Okafor smiled curtly to herself as she began. "She's the second daughter of Mazi Ekwe. You know him na? That man that..."
"I know him mama." Paul had cut in impatiently.
"She's his daughter. She's a good girl and since you had refused to get married, I decided to..."
"Mama! I never refused to get married. I'm just too busy with work."

Just then, the lady walked up to them with a beaming smile. She bowed her head and took small steps to them.
"Come my daughter!" Mrs Okafor had coaxed and Amanda obliged by moving closer.
"This is Amanda Ekwe. Since you were busy with God knows what, I decided to take up the task of searching for a good wife. You know I'm not getting any younger." She pouted but continued "Now, lift up your eyes and take a look at her, isn't she beautiful?"

Amanda shifted uncomfortably as she stood. She let out a shy smile and quickly looked down to hide her sheepish smile and blush. Mrs Okafor had looked so proud and confident of herself as she stood admiring Amanda like a piece of art work placed in a museum; like a specimen kept for experiment in the laboratory.

Paul had wanted to scream. He had wanted to yell; to shout at his mother for taking laws into her hands but one look at those beautiful black eyes made him think otherwise. He let out a defeated smile as he kept looking at Amanda whose eyes were fixed squarely on the ground.

"I should get going now. You two should talk; get to know each other better." She had adjusted her wrappers and had placed a hand on his shoulder as she whispered, "You'll like her!" She had winked, those type of wink that required sticking out of tongue.

If only he had knew that that was the beginning of his misery; if only he knew she'd bring him so much pain and injury,  he wouldn't have let her stay even for moment. She had looked so sweet, so pure, so fragile and so helpless. He had seen her as a fragile rose flower planted by the roadside and which need protection from the harsh glare of the sun and the heavy beating of the storm. He never knew that that fragile rose flower of his would one day turn to a weed filled with thorns. Like his father would say: If we had all known, we wouldn't have made the mistakes we made.


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