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Lost in a Shadow - Episode 4


Lost in a Shadow - Episode 4

Written by Chidiogor D-f Nwafor

Paul decided to heed to Jimoh's advice after many days of pondering about it. He asked the house help to pack all their belongings for they would be moving to Port Harcourt. He gathered all Amanda's photographs and burnt them. Surprisingly, tears rolled out of his eyes. It was obvious he still loved her. He could remember what she had said when she asked for a divorce: "I don't think we are perfect for each other. I think we rushed into this marriage probably because of your mum's persuasion and my desperation to get married."

Lies! It was all a lie. The pain would have been lesser if she had just told him plainly that she had another man. It would have been better; less painful! His heart was aching for her. Sometimes the heart refused to obey the mind.

He wished he could stop thinking about her. He wished he could hate her but... He would give the world just to have her by his side.

Paul sat on the ground staring blankly as the photographs burnt to ashes. Now that he had burnt them, he felt empty.
★ ★ ★

The day which had been scheduled for their relocation to Port Harcourt finally came and Paul didn't hesitate to move into the new house. He had earlier asked for a transfer and luckily for him, he had been granted one. What a good start! It was time for a fresh start. However, he kept contact with Jimoh.
★ ★ ★

Dave was chosen with two other students to represent his school in an upcoming competition. Years had swept by like dusts carried away by the wind and Dave had grown up to be a handsome and charming fellow who was currently in senior secondary. He was loved by his teachers for his academic excellence and hard work. Everyone thought his life was perfect but young Dave knew it wasn't. He knew he was lacking something very important. Just as he had been taught earlier in school about the family, he knew a woman was missing in his home. While he had been in primary school, he had watched how mothers brought their children to school and how they had taken them back home. He had often wondered why no mother came to pick him up. Thomas, the house help had been the one taking him to school and taking him back home. His friend had asked him once then if his mother had travelled or something and he had lied that his mother stayed elsewhere and would be back soon. Coming to think of it, it hadn't been a complete lie. If his mother wasn't dead then she had to be living somewhere else.

He wished his father would talk to him about it. He had tried to pry the information out of his father but each time he did that, his father found a way to shove it away.

The only thing his father ever said to him about this issue was "She wasn't worth your time." This was strange cause why wouldn't one's mother worth one's time? He had often wondered why his father made such statement. He had waited patiently for his father to explain everything to him willingly but his father had been so wilful and obdurate. Each day was filled with loud silences and untold speeches. Questions hung in the air waiting for a day to be answered. There was much to be said and spoken about but nothing was been said about the burning topic. His father acted like all was well.

He wished his mother was around. He wished she would come to the competition to cheer him up. He wished he could see her. Of course, he was happy with father but everyone needed a mother, if not for anything but to make the family complete. This thought of his mother had been growing in him, increasing each day with him, fattening by each pass of time; thoughts huge enough to enervate him, to break him down. He had tried fiercely to push them away but it always found a way to crawl back into his mind. In order to distract himself from his nerve breaking thoughts, Dave had often taken into studying. He read anything and everything so as to occupy his mind with something else and this explained his academic excellence.

However, the will to make his father proud and his mother wherever she was, had added to the reason  he studied hard. Life was short and meaningless and it fadeth away like a shadow but while he was at it, he was sure to enjoy his short time with the people whom he cared about and whom he wanted to be with. This was his motivation and this was why he stayed up all night to read for the upcoming competition.

The day of the competition came and eventually, Dave's school won. The staff of his school were overjoyed and so decided to celebrate their victory by inviting the parents of the kids that participated in the competition to a small party.

Dave was overjoyed that his sleepless nights had finally paid and Paul was extremely glad for his son's success. At the middle of the party, a teacher took Dave aside and asked him where his mother was.
"Since you have been attending this school, your mum had not stepped her feet into the school's premises. Even today that is a joyful day for you, she still didn't show up. Every parent ought to be happy for their children at a point like this. You've made her proud so the least she could do is to honour the invitation and be here for you."

Dave stood, wide mouthed as he stared at the busybody teacher who couldn't mind her business. He felt like giving her a hot slap on her face for talking without wisdom and for pock nosing into his business.  How could she stick her mouth into one's private affair?

Dave heard some boys giggling as they walked past them and this increased his annoyance. The rest of the party became hell for him. He couldn't wait to get out and engage his father in a good talk. He was tired of not knowing the answer to his predicament. He was  old enough now to hear whatever secret his father had been hiding. His father had often used the excuse that he was still a child. However, enough is enough!

Paul noticed his son's countenance while driving back home. He wondered what would have happened to change Dave's happy feature to something very different. He shrugged the matter off and concentrated on his driving. Finally, as they got home, Dave sat on the sofa with clenched teeth and stiffed jaw. "Dad, I need to talk with you."

Paul was taken aback. "Can't it wait Dave? You need to rest."
"Dad, it's serious and can't wait. I need to talk to you."

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