The next day, at about 2pm, his mom called and asked where he was. After getting off the phone with her, he called Mr. Ojo and told him about his mom coming over to meet him. The old man sighed and was quiet for a while before saying, okay. Sesan wished he didn’t have to trouble the man with this, but he also could understand why his mom would want to meet the man who paid off their eight hundred thousand Naira house rent.
She mom picked him up in her black Kia Rio at his school gate by 2:51pm, and at exactly 3pm, they were parked outside the magician’s gate. Sesan got out of the car and went to knock on the gate. He was in plain white polo top, and brown chino shorts; dressed nothing like someone that was going to work. His mom made a remark about this when she walked up to him by the gate, and he told her the magician didn’t care about formal dressing. She stood beside him, almost a full feet shorter. She was in her sparkling white nurse uniform.
Yusuf opened the gate with a smile on his face, which was quickly replaced by a worried look when he saw Sesan’s mom. Sesan greeted him and Yusuf stepped out of the way for them to walk in. His mom made a remark about the wh0le place being too quiet, and he told her it was a home office, and that he was the only employee working at the place. She looked at him strangely, and then her view went over to the tall coconut tree just before the main entrance.
Sesan knocked twice on the front door, and the magician said, “come in” in a lazy voice.
“Good afternoon sir.” He said as he stepped in and held the door open for his mom to come in. “This is my mom sir.”
Mr. Ojo dropped the newspaper he was reading on the center table and smiled up at them before saying, “How are you Bimpe?”
Sesan’s mom stopped dead in her tracks. She stood there dumbfounded, with a confused look on her face. Sesan looked from the magician, to his mom, and then back at his mom. “You know my mom?” He asked.
“Yes I do.” The magician said and got off his seat. A key fell off his lap, and he bent to pick it up He put it on the center table, straightened out his brown Ankara attire and started approaching them. “I…”
“Sesan let’s go.” Sesan’s mom said, cutting off the old man. She grabbed her son’s hand and led him out of the house. Sesan followed reluctantly, looking over his shoulder in confusion.
“Wait mom.” He said, coming to a halt by the gate. “Tell me what’s going on.”
“I said let’s go.” She responded in a low voice. The stern look on her face made him conclude it was the wrong time to argue with her. From the corner of his eye, he saw Yusuf looking worried as he approached them. Sesan looked back at the Mr. Ojo one last time before stepping out the gate. The man had an expressionless look on his face.
They had driven in silence for about ten minutes before his mom finally uttered her first word. “So you don’t know who he is?”
Sesan turned to look at her with a quizzical look on his face before saying, “No.”
She smiled and shook her head for a while before saying, “You kids nowadays don’t watch the news at all. All you do is read gossip sites.”
“Who is he mom?”
“He is one of the richest men in Nigeria.” She said and Sesan had a lost look on his face, wondering whether his mom had gone crazy. “Ironically, he is the one I wanted to initially go and meet for the rent money.” She added.
“Wait mom, I don’t understand. You said he is one of the richest men in Nigeria?”
“I find that hard to believe.” He said but she didn’t say anything back. He looked ahead, lost in thought for a while, then as if realizing something, he turned to his mom and asked, “You said he was the one you wanted to initially meet for money; how do you know him?”
She took a few quick glances at him, then switched gears before saying, “Sesan, he is my father. He is your grandfather.”
By the time they got home, Sesan had heard the wh0le story. He had always believed his grandfather died before he was born; now he was hearing that the man had abandoned his grandmother after she got pregnant for him. Sesan’s mom also told him she didn’t know about him till after her mother died a few years ago, and he showed up trying to come into her life.
She had lived her wh0le life believing her father had died when she was a baby. And then she heard he had abandoned her at birth, she developed a strong hatred towards him and never wanted to have anything to do with him ever.
When they got back home, instead of going to up to his room as usual, he sat in the living room silently with his mom, going through all that had just been revealed to him in his head. It was too much to take all at once. He had too many questions. Like his mom, he wondered how it happened that he had been the one to answer to the advertisement his grandfather had put up o Facebook. He also wondered why his grandfather, the cofounder of of one the biggest oil companies in Nigeria was now a magician. It just didn’t make sense to him. Did he loose his stake in the company? Sesan wondered.
“I have to talk to him mom.” He said; breaking the silence.
“You will do no such thing. We will look for a way to pay him back the rent money.”
“But mom…Mom, you said you wanted to meet him up for the money initially.”
“Yes. I was desperate at the time. Besides, I don’t like how he went behind my back in meeting you.”
“He didn’t. It’s the universe that did.”
“The universe? What are you talking about?”
“Mom. I really have to talk to him.”
“No you won’t see him again. And that’s finally.” She said with a loud angry voice.
He sat there, taking deep breaths, trying to calm himself down as he was losing his tempter. He knew his mom would never lie to him, but he just didn’t want to believe the same man he had been working closely with over the last couple of weeks could do something that heartless. He needed to think. He needed a walk. “Mom, I need to get something from Ngozi. I need it for a school project.” He said as he got off his seat.
Sesan and Ngozi were in her upstairs living room talking. The place was quite small, with just one couch; a long three seater facing the big flat screen TV on the cream painted wall. It was reserved for the children, and it used to be where Sesan, Ngozi, and her brother played video games in the past. He hadn’t come up here in a while, and he felt nostalgic as they sat side by side on the couch talking. A cooking program was showing on TV, but the volume was turned down.
He had told her about the magician turning out to be his grandfather and how his mom had banned him from ever seeing him again. After initially going gaga over the story and asking him for more details, she suggested he call the man. “At least your mom didn’t say anything about not calling him.” She had said. But he said he respected the man and didn’t think it would be proper discussing a sensitive topic with him on the phone. She agreed with him.
Ngozi yawned, and Sesan wanted to leave, but she pulled him back on the couch. She was clearly tired from the new responsibility she had taken up. It was clear in her voice even. The ever fast talking Ngozi, was talking slowly, and in slurs sometimes. It was funny to him how s€×y he found her slow talking voice. Also unlike her, she was wearing perfume and she smelt so good. She had on jeans and a black tank top, and their bare arms from the elbow area to their arms touched, sending chills up his spine.
After a while of sitting in silence, she put her fingers in between his and looked up at him with a poker face as she said, “Just do what’s in your heart.” He didn’t know if that was meant as a double entendre by her, or she was only talking about the issue with his grandfather. Their eyes locked for a while, and then they both looked away. She slowly disentangled her hand from his, and turned up the TV volume a few notches. They spent the rest of his stay there watching TV in silence.
To be continued
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