I was frantic, something in me had always known that there was a cover-up somewhere. Just then Daddy started walking towards us and Aunty Amara quickly gave me her card and asked me to meet her the next day for us to talk. I collected the card my heart beating rapidly.
Well to cut a long story short, Aunty Amara gave me every information I needed to locate my mother but refused to tell me more, she asked me to go find my mother and to hear the truth from her. I prodded and pushed her to tell me more but she was adamant. Without actually calling my mother or getting in touch with my mother, though I got her number, I simply planned my trip. Maybe I was afraid she will refuse to see me. I was in fevered pitch, everything was happening so fast.
I checked the time on my wrist watch; it was 12:00am. Enough of mind wandering, I buried myself under the bed covers and willed myself to sleep.
By 9am, I was dressed in a black jumpsuit, in a rented cab and on my way to Utako to meet my Mother. It was a 20 minutes drive and in no time I was standing in front of her office door in the duplex that served as her home and Clinic. She still had no knowledge that I was in the country, my heart was fluttering like the wings of an injured bird. What if Daddy was right and my Mother was this evil, heartless woman? I summed up courage and knocked on the door.
“Come in, the door is open.”
Her voice drifted to me, it was like a long forgotten dream, an overpowering nostalgic feeling washed over me and I fought the tears. I had to be strong; I couldn’t afford to let her see me in tears.
I pushed the door open and she looked from behind her desk, there was confusion on her face. There was fear; there was panic and then recognition. She was like a more mature version of me, same oval face, and same tiny waist and round hips. She came from behind her desk and walked towards me.
“Mummy I then allowed the tears to flow.”
There was not going to be any introduction, explanation. Blood they say is thicker than water. We rushed into each other’s arms.
Her voice was painfully familiar as she spoke reassuringly to me and rubbed my back at the same time. I felt like all the lost pieces of my life finally were coming together. She led me to one of the sofas in her office and we sat down. She smiled amid her own tears and said matter of factly.
“You are Cassandra.”
“Yes, and you are Nse; my mother.”
She smiled again.
“Yes I am your mother. When… How did you find me?”
Even as I answered her curious questions, I felt like I was in an alternate reality. Was I finally with my birth mother? I felt like no force on earth will ever keep us apart again. We went upstairs to her living quarters, she showed me around and then we sat down a have brunch. My mother was everything I imagined her to be and more, she was classy, beautiful and with a husky voice that suggested poise and satin sheets.
We went back to the hotel to move my luggage to my mother’s house, she wouldn’t hear of me staying at the hotel for another minute. At the hotel reception, a note was waiting for me from Muna and something stirred in my heart. He simply stated that he was checking up on me and attached to the note was his business card. Wow! We had forgotten to exchange contact information the previous day due to the much heightened sexual chemistry that sizzled between us.
The day had passed pleasantly with me helping Mum in “sales’ behind the counter of her ‘Beauty Essence shop’, we talked earlier in the day and Mum told me that she had been deported from the US.
I was dazed as she narrated what happened, their student Visas had expired. My father had gone and secretly married Amanda who he was having an affair with and both of them had called the immigration on my mother. My father had heartlessly set my mother up to be deported so that he could marry his whore. No wonder I had always felt like damaged goods, my father was evil. I secretly vowed to disown him, he was no longer my family; he was lost to me forever. All I had now was my mother.
I finished with my manicure and strolled into her room where she was also dressing up; we were going for the birthday party of the wife of the Ghanaian Ambassador.
An hour later we were in the glamorously furnished hall with elegantly dressed men and women smiling and posing on the red carpet. My mother went off to greet her numerous friends and I was left alone to wander on my own. I took a flute of Champagne that a smartly dressed waiter carried on a tray and passed around.
Just then my eyes fell on Muna, he was escorting a middle aged, very beautiful, slim woman. The way she hung on his arm was past friendly, it was territorial. My heart did a back flip. What? Was he married? To an older woman? Muna had not seemed to me like a guy who would marry old money. Just then my Mother took my elbow and guided me towards the couple.
“Cassandra come and meet my most cherished client.”
As we moved towards them, Muna turned and our eyes locked. He looked about to jump out of his skin. He quickly let go of the woman’s hand and frowned in confusion as we came to stand in front of them. Mum hugged and pecked the dainty woman.
“Hello Mirabel, long time no see, meet my daughter Cassandra! Long story I assure you. Cassandra meet my friend Mirabel.”
“Hi Nse. Really? This beauty, is your daughter?”
I forced myself to look and act normal even as my heart seemed about to explode with 50 shades of emotions.
50 shades of emotions that filled me with rage and more. ‘Son of a bitch’ had taken me for a ride. I mumbled a half hearted reply and moved away as my Mum engaged in a lengthy discussion with Mirabel. I walked to the balcony and leaned over the rail to catch my breath.
His syrupy voice washed over me like rain and he came to stand very close behind me. My voice was bitter and cold.
“So you are a gigolo?”
He replied breathlessly.
I swung around and faced him.
“You heard me right, that woman is old enough to be your mother.”
He shook his head and avoided my eyes.
“Don’t judge me, that woman is my friend. In my line of work I need connection; it’s not always easy for us guys out here in this country. Cassandra there are no jobs, open your pretty brown eyes and look around. Iam not hurting anyone and you don’t know what we go through in this country. You cannot just waltz in here from USA where the homeless have at least the benefit of food stamps and homeless shelters to look down your nose on us here in Nigeria. Our leaders don’t play fair here, this system is not working. I grew up on these streets, by my wits and my charm. I put myself through college and started caring for my parents before I turned 24 years. This is our story. If I have to smile at a kind older lady to get the Hilux van I need for my company, I will very well damn do it. I ain’t sitting around to pray for manner from heaven.”
By now he was furious and I suspected underneath it all was an underlying pain. Pain that reflected in his eyes.
But I was in shock, I was outraged. He had no excuse to fuck an older woman for money, he was a male escort, how dare he be so strong, intelligent, my dream Man, brilliant and yet have feet of clay? How dare he disillusion me? Why was he so confident even at this point? My anger fueled my acidic tongue.
“You disgust me Muna, don’t ever come close to me.”
“Too late, I know Nse and her friends. I know where you live, you are mine.”
“You mean you service my mother’s friends? Tell me!! Do they pass you around?
I saw anger flash in his eyes, his muscles bucked and his fist clenched. He lifted me from the rail where I was leaning, and pressed me to the wall, frost punctuating his every word.
“You shouldn’t have said that Cassandra.”
With brutality his mouth crushed mine and his palms travelled mercilessly down my soft hips. I pushed him away with all my strength, at the same time fighting the sweet clench in my abdomen. This Naija guy was fire, he was searing me; burning me up. How could I want him with every fiber of my being when I knew all that about him? I was lost. I kissed him back with all my We kissed like starved animals, and I heard his muffled voice from cloud 9.pent up desire. I could feel his smile but I didn’t care.