The last time he saw his dad, that night, his father came home late and drunk again. His mother accosted him immediately he entered the house and started complaining, nagging and questioning him of his whereabouts. She reminded him once more of what a shame he had become, and how terrible things were at home.
The sad part was that his father never said anything on previous days. He never responded. He took it like he deserved all his wife was giving him. He always took it and remained mute. Until that night.
That night, Chigozie saw his father do something he thought he would never see. Instead of just walking away like he always did, his father slapped his mother. He didn’t just stop there. He continued. He hit her again. And again. And again.
It metamorphosed from slaps into hard and quick blows.
Even while his mother begged him to stop, he continued. It was like his father had lost all reason. Like he was blind to the fact that it was his wife’s face his knuckles were connecting with.
As Chigozie watched from behind the only couch in their dingy one room apartment, he felt the anger build up from the pit of his stomach, through his veins and pump adrenaline to his limbs. His anger gave him the strength to leave his comfort zone behind the couch and launch forward, into the wresting ring, or rather the bashing ring, to save his mother.
He continuously hit his father, screaming and shouting for his father to stop. He remembered it like it was last night.
How he wanted to save his mother, but got punched and thrown into the corner by his own father.
Immediately, all was quiet, but Chigozie didn’t notice. The pain; the emotional and physical pain, was taking up all his attention. He had hit the back of his head against the wall during the fall, and he was seeing stars he never thought existed.
His father didn’t even try to apologize. He just stood, wide eyed and panting. He stared like none of this was his doing. His mother got angrier and continually punched his fathers chest in futility, mentioning obscenities and cursing the remaining days he would live.
Chigozie thought his father would apologize, wipe his tears away and promise to never be violent with his mother. He thought that his father would swear on his own grave that he would be a better father and husband. What Chigozie didn’t think he would do, was to turn away and walk out the door, but that’s what his father did and that was the last time he saw his father. His fathers back to his family’s face – the last image he remembered of him. He hoped he wouldn’t have to set eyes on that devil again.
The horn from a car behind him dragged him back to reality. The tears still rolled down his cheeks. He didn’t want to cry on the road. The fact that he hated his father, and he was the cause of all their suffering wasn’t helping the situation.
While he was still trying to keep his emotions in check, all of a sudden, there was a cascade of confusion as he approached the junction. There were people shouting, horns blaring from different directions. The tears weren’t helping because he couldn’t see what was happening clearly.
For some reason, he couldn’t stop rolling his bicycle down the street. He tried to communicate to his brain. To tell his brain to make his legs stop, but it wasn’t happening.
When the tears finally dried out, all that he could do was allow his life flash before his eyes. He knew what was about to happen, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
The big lorry, moving and whooshing down the road from the left side, was heading to his direction. The noise from around him, the storm called his emotions, his legs that have refused to stop peddling, and the fact that it seemed like the lorry wasn’t going to slow down even as it was nearing the junction, all added up to the fact that Chigozie knew this could likely be his end.
Help! Help! Help!
His scared heart yelled to no one in particular. Nobody would hear. His legs won’t even listen to him.
Help! Help! Somebody help me!
It was at that moment that Chigozie saw him. The driver of the truck.
Is that really him?
With baited breath, he gazed at the drivers side of the oncoming lorry. His stomach got tied into several complicated knots and it seemed like there was a stone in his throat he couldn’t bring himself to swallow.
It was then that his legs stopped, but they stopped him at the wrong time and in the wrong place – the middle of the road, three seconds before his life would come in contact with the massive, fast approaching bumper of the lorry. Nobody moved to help him.
He wasn’t blinking, wasn’t breathing, wasn’t moving… just staring at him.
Half of the mans face was covered with a mask, but he knew him from anywhere. He could spot those eyes and brows from afar. He knew him. His father…
Peru, fresh air, the view from an exotic balcony, juicy prawns sitting on continental dishes, pretty cheap women, a better life with no commitments, certain uncertain death…
Speeding down the highway, he ran down all the things that would define his life in a few days. He would leave all this behind and forge on to a better life, or a better transition to his death, whichever the shoe fits.
As he neared Alagbaka junction, he wondered if he would miss his wife and his children.
He may, or he may not. It had been months since he last saw them, but what was he to do? He couldn’t run back to them cap in –
That’s when Adeola saw him…
The boy… That bicycle… Why does the boy look so familiar?
It wasn’t that he didn’t recognize the boy, it was more like he didn’t want to.
A few seconds still speeding towards the junction, he agreed that he did know the boy, and the bicycle too. He bought that bicycle for his son on his fifteenth birthday. Just before his life went to shit.
And that was his son, who he hit mid-fight with his wife and abandoned some months back.
Why , why, why, am I seeing him now? Today of all days? Wetin be dis one now eh?
What was he to do? Stop and apologize? Follow him to where ever he was going? Monitor him? Stalk him? Or just keep on driving to his new life?
The boy was still riding towards the junction full speed, despite the fact that other vehicles had stopped when they saw him – the mad lorry and its crazy driver heading in their direction.
Adeola wasn’t stopping either. Seeing his son had set his nerves off. He was experiencing a momentary loss in memory and co-ordination of his limbs. He couldn’t remember which pedal was for the brakes or which was the accelerator.
Particular of mad men like himself, his mind started to play tricks on him. It started giving him suggestions he knew he didn’t want to entertain.
Why not just run the boy down? You’d have less problems to live off while you’re still alive.
Run ’em down! Run the little runt down!
In half a second, he already imagined himself running over his own son with a huge lorry, and continuing on to his life like nothing happened.
He knew couldn’t do that, He just couldn’t do it. Guilt would eat him up if he did.
So he did all he could. He panicked and stepped multiple times on the brakes. Or was it the accelerator?
Anybody looking at the scene on the road that day would definitely find what was happening very, very… very funny – the lorry, jerking back and forth like it was having a coughing fit.
Adeola was so sure he could escape this. He thought he could just not kill his son that day, even if he’d just killed someone else’s son a few hours ago.
The thing with life, is that you could want something, really want it, expect to get it, and then still not get what you want after pouring all your energy into your faith in positive vibes.
Now, due to his lack of coordination and his lack of emotional control, he missed his glorious chance of escape. He hit the brakes, not just on the speed of the lorry, but on his plans for a new life. He also hit the brakes too late.
At that very moment, the eyes of both males met each other. Brown eyes and brown eyes. Abuser and abused. ‘Abandoner‘ and abandoned. Unforgiven and the unforgiving. Father and son.
Their lives flashed before their eyes, with almost similar images. Very vivid images of their not so happy lives.
Everything was in slow motion. As the bumper of the truck moved closer and closer to Chogozie, Adeola’s heart got closer and closer to his mouth. Their eyes never leaving the line of contact.
Once more, for the last time, emotions ran through their bodies. Fear, guilt, unforgiveness, anger, panic and –
Death. Black darkness and death. The sea of nothingness. The answers to unknown questions.
The Murderer and the murdered.
Who else felt that?! What just happened people?
Wait… you thought they were going to hug and make up? *Laughs wickedly* No fam. No.
Did they really die? They didn’t really die did they? I don’t know. Did they?
Is this actually the end? As in, is this the real-real end? Eh, well, it depends on what the characters want.
What do you want?
You know how we do. Let me know in the comment section.
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From Nigeria (the land of live reality TV) with more epic stories,