Joel returned home very tired and worned out having trekked for most part of his return home from the restaurant. He was lucky to meet one of his cousin’s neighbor driving home and he gave him a ride for the rest of the journey back home.
He laid down lifelessly as his heart beat faster than usual and his legs shook even as there were no pressures on them.
His mind wandered back to his meeting with Natasha. She was still as beautiful and classy as ever, but the height of the meeting was getting to see his son for the first time since his birth, even though the boy doesn’t know he was meeting his father, he(the father) knew he was meeting his son.
He felt his pocket for his phone.
Just then the door into the living room opened and his cousin walked in.
“Hey cuz!” Ike, his cousin called as soon as he walked into the brightly lit living room.
“Welcome bro.” Joel replied not moving an inch.
“I bought pepper soup. Fish and beef.” Like said as he settled down on one of the sofas and proceeded to emptying the contents of the plastic bag he held.
“I chose not to be fooled.” Joel replied not making an attempt to move, after all, the last time Ike came home with the news that he bought pepper soup, turned out he bought roasted plantain, fried fish and groundnut.
Ike ignored him as he emptied the content of the bag. He proceeded to drop a mini-sized carton of beer on the table.
The sound of bottles was what piqued Joel’s interest and the odour that followed made him restless.
Ike would only take beer if there was pepper soup. And take pepper soup if there was beer. The sound of bottle means there is beer.
He stood up immediately and sat on the nearest sofa. “I thought you were joking.” He said as he grabbed a bottle and gulped the content.
Regular drinkers will tell that it is better to drink a beer when it is good because it intoxicate less in that state.
“What’s the occasion?” Just as an after thought, Joel asked.
“I figured you had a bad day and wanted you to forget it.” Ike replied.
Joel laughed hysterically that he almost choked on pepper. “What made you think I had a bad day?” He asked.
“I don’t know.” Ike replied. “Okay, tell me how your day went.”
Joel took a large chunk from the fish before starting the story of how his day went.
“The day went well. I met Tasha at KFC and my boy was with her.” He began.
“What’s his name?”
“Philip. That was the name we agreed to name our first son when we get married.” Joel replied. “The boy is cute, though I can’t say if we share much resemblance, but if anything, he is just as persuasive as I am.”
“The boy know you are his father?” Ike queried.
“Not exactly, we are kinda taking it slow.” Joel replied.
“How slow?” Ike asked, his time depicting shock and surprise. “Did you know what she has told the boy about his father? She will only demand that you take things slow if she has given the boy a different tale about his father.”
“That cannot be true. Tasha doesn’t want to rush the little boy because it could affect him.”
“A boy of that age is curious to know who his father is. Nothing can be too much, except she has told him a lie before now.” Ike explained. “You watch Nollywood, don’t you? Wake up man.”
The picture was starting to form slowly before Joel.
“Do you think I should call her?” He asked.
“Why would you call her?”.
“To know if she got home safe and to know how my boy is.” Joel replied.
“Do you have to appear needy and desperate? Why can’t she call you?” Ike asked. “And by the way, if you guys spent only two hours together, you should have been home since or did you go out?”
That was when it hit Joel that he hadn’t told the story of his lost wallet.
“Bro, I lost my wallet today and the as so embarrassed cos Tasha had to pay for the things we took.” Joel replied.
“Still hasn’t answered my question.”
“I trekked.” Joel replied.
The laughter that followed his response made him regret telling his cousin the truth.
“Your ancestors been trekking since the time of Moses across the red sea.” Ike added.
Joel stood up, grabbed a bottle of beer and walked out of the living room.
“I know you want to go and call her, and I promise you it is a wrong move at the wrong time.” Ike said to him as he shut the door behind him.
Tasha was sitting alone inside the living room, the television was on, where a group of football analysts were arguing on top of their voices as if God was going to reward them. She half listened to the TV programme and the remaining part of her attention scrolled through various Instagram posts.
Her mind drifted off into the activities of the day which started with a visit to the Pastor who had invited her for a prayer session. The Pastor in his usual self made sure she left with something to think about. The man of God had seen a vision concerning Philip and had given a warning and how to avert possible problems.
Even though she doesn’t consider herself much of a Christian, she is simply a church goer who listen to the word of God through His servants and she never fail to pay her tithe. She doesn’t follow the doctrine, neither does she obey all the fundamental rules, but if one thing, she fears having Pastors see vision about her, especially the not so good ones.
“Madam, your son is destined for greatness but he is going to face some tribulations. He has a lot of battles to fight. To win those battles, he needs you.” The Man of God had begun. “I know he is a little troublesome, but the Lord says the boy is lacking something.” He continued. “Even though he will win the battles, his stubbornness may prevent him from winning.”
By this time, Natasha’s heart was pounding and one could see through her chest. “Where is his father?” The Pastor asked.
Tasha knew there was no point lying to the man of God. “We are presently not together, but he is here in Lagos.”
“A father figure is all your boy needs to face his battles and win them squarely.” The Pastor announced. “Peace be unto you my daughter.”
Tasha thanked the Man of God as she exited the Pastors office into the receptionist’s office where Philip who had excused them earlier sat.
“Let’s go darling.” Tasha said as they both left the Church premises.
That was how her session with the Pastor went. It was after they left the church that they met with Joel at the eatery.
Talking of Joel. He is Philip’s father and if Philip needed a father figure, the figure has to come from his biological father, or by Father figure, the pastor meant any adult male?
Maybe Raymond will be the father figure Philip needs. She thought.
Her vibrating phone caught her attention. It was a call from an unknown number. Unknown because the number was not saved on her phone, but judging from the arrangement, the number has been calling her everyday in the last few days and she has become familiar with it.
“Hello.” She answered.
“Hello, Tasha.” Joel’s voice came on. “Is this a good time?” He asked.
“Not exactly.” She replied with a frown.
“Oh! Sorry for disturbing you, I just wanted to know if you got home safely.” He said.
“We did, thank you.” She replied.
There was silence at the other end. “Okay, goodnight.”
“Wait! Wait! Wait!” Tasha screamed just before he could end the call.
“Yeah?” Joel asked.
Another moment of silence followed. “I wanted to ask about your wallet, how did you fix yourself?” She asked.
Joel chuckled. “I trekked back home.” He answered.
“Seriously?” Tasha asked, concern evident in her voice.
“Yeah, I did.” He replied. “You should see how tired I was when I got home. My legs swollen and stuck.”
“You know you could have told me and I would have given your transport fare?” She asked.
“I know, but I couldn’t, because, seeing you after five years and asking for money sounds somehow. Even the food you paid for embarrassed me.” He replied.
“Okay, I could have given you a ride.” She said.
“I hate to inconvenient people.” He replied.
“You haven’t changed one bit.” She chuckled.
“Neither have you. Still high handed and strict.” He replied.
“I have to go now, thanks for checking up.”
“It’s the least I can do.” He replied. “Goodnight.”
The line went dead before he could ask when next they’ll see. But nonetheless, he enjoyed the conversation. It reminded him of five years ago when all was good between them.
Maybe we can get back together. He thought as he returned into the house to relay the news to his cousin.