Dear all, this is the last episode of this short series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Tomorrow, I’ll share another story with you, so please look out for it.
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has bought I See You Through the Peephole, and also encourage you to get your own copy if you haven’t. You can do so here. I also want to share with you this news; the concluding seasons of The Blue House will be available for sale very soon, so watch out for it if you’ve been waiting for it!
Ifeanyi stood in front of the six-inch mirror and combed his hair meticulously. His mother came into the sitting room and sat down on the brown worn out couch, looking at him sadly. Ifeanyi could hear her sighing and saw her shifting uncomfortably in her seat but he refused to give her the attention she wanted. She had deceived him, and he found that hard to forgive or forget. All he wanted, was to get as much money as he could from the small woman and get his own place.
His mother cleared her throat and spoke up. “Ifeanyi.”
“Hmm,” he grunted.
“Come and sit down.”
“I’m going out now,” he replied examining his hair, his back to her.
His mother looked down at her hands and remembered the first day she saw him at the orphanage and how helpless he looked. There were better looking babes in the room but there was something about him that called out to her. She ran a finger down a vein and remembered how her husband had almost not agreed to take him.
“Let’s take this girl!” He had insisted, holding on to a dark-skinned baby girl with wide eyes.
“No, we need a boy! We need a man in this family,” she had responded and eventually he had given in to her. Ifeanyi had always been self-absorbed. As a child he would cry hysterically until he got what he wanted and now as a young man he would sulk and snap at her and her husband until they agreed to whatever he wanted. She thought back on her actions over the years and wondered if she should have been sterner with him.
“He’s a child, don’t worry, he will grow out of it.” she had always told her husband whenever he broached the subject of their son’s behavior.
“Ifeanyi, sit down. I need to talk to you now,” She said firmly.
Reluctantly, the young man turned towards her and folded his rms.
“You won’t sit down?”
“I’m in a hurry.”
She pursed her lips and put her palm together. “I don’t like the way you’re treating your father and I. it is not right.”
“How am I…?”
“Let me finish!”
Ifeanyi put one hand on his waist and the other on the door.
“Your father and I did not steal you. You mother gave you up for adoption and we decided to take care of you. Yes, we should have told you earlier but are you going to act as if we are nothing because of that?”
Ifeanyi stared at her expressionlessly, refusing to allow her words to get to him.
“Won’t you say anything?”
“I’m sorry,” he replied mechanically. “Can I go now?”
The woman shook her head and said to him. “The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know.”
Ifeanyi nodded and walked out of the room, secretly happy about seeing the small woman who had promised him some money at their last meeting.
Nkiru watched Ifeanyi worriedly. They were seated in the smaller kitchen of the restaurant, she was eating some spaghetti while he had a plate of eba and vegetable soup before him. The chef wasn’t around, so they could do as they wished. In the larger kitchen, they could hear the other cooks yelling at one another as the smell of fried chicken wafted into the room they were in.
“I think you should be careful with her.”
“Nkiru! Now you’re sounding like my mom. You should be happy for me, you should be happy for us! At least now we can afford to go to the movies and I can take you shopping.”
“Money isn’t everything Ifeanyi, something is just not right about her. What does she really want?”
“She said she wants to be a better mother.”
“And has she taken you to meet her husband and children?”
“I don’t even want to meet them and I’m sure they don’t want to see me either. Look, this woman is rich, her children won’t be happy that she’s bringing home a poor son from nowhere.”
Nkiru shook her head in disagreement. “Ifeanyi…”
“Hold on.” He sat up and removed an envelope from his pocket. “This is one-fifty thousand. She gave me four hundred thousand naira yesterday. I withdrew this from the bank today so that you can pay your house rent.”
Nkiru put down her fork and sighed in surprise.
“Look, everything will be fine. Stop worrying. I’m planning on getting a lot of money from her.” he stroked her face. “And when I do, I want to take you out of this restaurant. I want to open a restaurant for you. Wouldn’t you like that?”
Nkiru’s frown gave way to a pleasant smile. “Really?”
“Really.” He replied, taking her hand and kissing it. “Now take this money and stop worrying. I’m going to be rich!”
They were in a hotel, not too far from where he worked. Ifeanyi had just come in was impatient to go and meet his friends who he had promised drinks and barbecued beef. Agnes had explained to him that it was her hotel and she was working late.
“I need you to sign this document, it will grant you access to my family’s resources. My husband’s family is very wealthy, so there are a lot of legal procedures we must adhere to before you can enjoy the benefits of…”
“Just give me a pen, I’ll sign it.” the young man said.
Agnes handed him a pen, amazed at how right Ugo had been. The boy was too impatient to be rich that he simply signed the document without reading it at all.
“I think we should toast to this.” Agnes said, handing him a glass of wine and raising hers to his.
He clinked her glass impatiently, almost spilling his wine, took a big gulp and set down the glass.
“So when are you going to transfer the money into my account?”
“The five million?” Agnes asked.
“Isn’t that we talked about?” he replied irritably.
“I thought you needed money for your fees.”
“I need money for a lot of things. Just give me something in bulk.” He gesticulated enthusiastically.
Agnes smiled and reached for her checkbook. “Obviously, you’ve spent all the money I gave you the last time we saw…”
“That’s not your business…” he yawned, and rubbed his eyes.
Agnes smiled again and continued to write, by the time she was done filling the check, the young man was fast asleep in the chair beside her. She looked at him contemptuously and made a call on her phone, “Come and take us to the hospital.”
When Ifeanyi woke up the next morning, he found himself lying on the ground on a lonely road. He immediately sat up straight and wondered what had happened. Feeling a slight pain in between his elbow and his arm, he saw that his skin had been pierced. Who had done this?
He looked around him disoriented and tried to recollect what had happened. His last memory was of him and the small woman, he had just signed a document and drank some wine. It was obvious to him now that he had been drugged. But to what end? He touched his crotch and found nothing amiss. His pockets had been emptied by someone, so he had no money or a phone to call for help. Slowly, he got up and began to walk.
“He’s not your son.” the doctor had said.
Agnes couldn’t understand how this was possible, she had followed the instructions of the matron at the orphanage. Had she been played after making a huge donation? Angrily, she went back to the orphanage and humiliated the matron who was equally surprised at the turn of events. Confused, she then searched the records again and discovered something.
“I’m sorry ma, there were two Ifeanyis in 1993. The one I sent you to, was born by another woman.”
“What? All right, what about the one I… the other one?”
“He died ma, three years after…” the matron read the file agitatedly. “He died of measles. I wasn’t here ma… I don’t know how it happened…”
Agnes sat on a nearby chair and stared blankly at the floor.
Three days later, Ifeanyi sat beside his mother who was picking beans.
“Mummy, I’m sorry.” He said shamefacedly.
“You shouldn’t call me Mummy, after all, you found your real mother.”
“You’re my real mother.” He said passionately.
The woman laughed cheerlessly. “Son of a rich woman! Come and buy us some red oil for this beans now?”
Ifeanyi looked away, his mother would never forget.