Magical Attraction – Episode 7

Around 9am the next morning, he was outside the magician’s house; this time not in his mom’s Kia, but in the front passenger seat of Ngozi’s blue hatchback Renault. The car was silent as he composed his thoughts, and went through all the questions he wanted answers to.

He turned to the side to look at Ngozi applying makeup with her eyes focused on the rare-view mirror. She was dressed casually in blue jeans, a black top, and had she a black bandanna covering her hair. She looked a little like Genevieve Nnaji. Even though she still had a splash of her tomboy swag, she was looking more beautiful than she had ever looked to him.

“Are you going to go and talk to your grandpa or you’re going to be staring at me all day?” Ngozi said and he laughed lightly. She rolled the lipstick in her hand a few times till the top part she had been using to paint her lips rolled out of sight, and then she capped it. She turned to face him as she rubbed her lips together. “Oh, you are wearing that blue polo top I got you?”

“Yes. Thanks again.”

“It looks really good on you.”

“Thank you. And thanks for the ride.” He said as he opened the car door and got out.

“You want me to wait for you?”

“Nope; I think I’ll be here a while.” He said, leaning on the car window now.

“Okay. I wish you luck.” She said with a smile.

“Thanks. Bye.” He said and hit the roof of the car before turning around and walking towards the gate. Ngozi honked twice and drove off.

Yusuf opened the gate before he even knocked. He looked shocked to see Sesan earlier than usual. Sesan greeted him and stepped into the compound. He had called his grandfather the night before, immediately his mom finally gave him the go ahead to go and see him, so the man was expecting him.

Sesan met him in his regular sitting position when he walked into the house. He was still in his pajamas and had a big white mug in his hand with steam dancing around the top.

“Good morning sir.” Sesan said as he proceeded into the living room.

“Good morning Sesan.” The man said with a warm smile on his face. Sesan sat opposite him in an upright sitting position, with his hands clasped. “I guess we should get right to it.” The man said and Sesan nodded with a smile.

After a prolonged silence, the man said, “Before I start, I would like to say the man you see sitting in front of you today is not the man I was fifty years ago.” He stopped to take a sip from his hot cup of tea, dropped the mug on the table and continued with, “I met your grandmother when I was in my early twenties, fresh out of the university. I had just returned from England at the time.” He stopped to smile, and look into space, reminiscent of the old times. “It was the sixties; there was no AIDS back then and we barely used c-ndoms. I was reckless and ruthless at the time; going from one girl to another. But your grandmother was really special; I just wasn’t ready for the responsibilities of fatherhood.” He cracked his knuckles a few times before continuing with, “My brothers and I had just founded Quantum Petroleum at the time and all I cared about was the growth of the company.”

Sesan’s eyes popped out; shocked at the realization that his grandfather was a co-owner of Quantum Petroleum. That was the biggest downstream oil company in the country. “I asked her to get an abortion, and when she refused, I got angry and left her. Abortions back then were quite dangerous, but I didn’t care. I was really heartless back then.” Sesan imagined his grandmother as a young girl, pregnant and helpless, and it saddened him. She was just about Ngozi’s age when she got pregnant, and he couldn’t even imagine how Ngozi would handle an unwanted pregnancy. “By the time I had come to my senses, and went to look for her, she was nowhere to be found. I got tired of searching after a while, and believed she would at least come to me when the child was born, but it she never did. One month turned to one year, one year turned to ten years, ten years to thirty years. Time goes by so fast when you are making millions and traveling the world.” He sighed and reached out for the mug, took a few sips, and placed the mug back on the table.

“And then one day a few years ago, I saw her obituary on the walls of a church I had been invited to. I went for her funeral, and approached your mom, but she didn’t want to have anything to do with me.” He stopped to rub the back of his neck for a while before continuing with, “I kept trying over the years, but she kept making it clear she wanted nothing to do with me. I had been married twice, but never found happiness. My career had been my life. I had all the money in the world, but I felt unfulfilled.” He sighed and sat back in his seat.

The room was quiet for a while before he went on with, “I had always been fascinated by magic, so I resigned my position as the group chief executive officer at Quantum Petroleum and traveled to India.” He had a smile on his face now. “My kids and other family members were furious, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to make the most of the remaining years I had left. I wanted to do something that I loved which at the same time would put smiles on the faces of thousands.” He reached out to get the mug again, and took down the remaining content in it. “It wasn’t an easy task because of my bad health, but I had money, lots of it, so it made things easier. I learnt from the best. They were exciting times.”

After a short pause, he went on with, “And when I came back to Nigeria early this year, all I could think about was getting to know you.” He smiled at Sesan. “I had a young man that worked in the IT department of Quantum Petroleum that I had paid handsomely to keep a tab on you and your mom over the years. Johnson did a great job.” When he saw the quizzical look on Sesan’s face, he said, “Sorry about that. I just wanted so much to be a part of your life.”

“I think I understand.” Sesan said.

“I had left my mansion in Parkview, Ikoyi, and moved into this two bedroom bungalow just so I could live an ordinary life. Of course my kids didn’t like that, especially Nike.” He said with a smile.

There was a question that had been on Sesan’s mind for the past twenty hours that he needed an answer to, and when he saw an opportunity, he asked, “Sir. How did you get me to see that ad on Facebook? Was it magic?”

“Maybe that was a bit magical, but Johnson did that.”

“How?”

“Thanks to accuracy of reach in Facebook advertisement; he narrowed down the reach of the advertisement to male, born in December, twenty-one to twenty-two years old, in Akoka. Of course a few tens of people called, but I knew you would call. I just knew. Once you did, we deleted the Ad.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“Yea, that’s the beauty of technology I guess.”

The room went quiet for a while, and then the man asked, “Now that you have the full story; do you still want to go on working with me? Do you still want to learn the magic tricks?”

Sesan had gone through a roller-coaster of emotions while listening to his story, but he felt he couldn’t hate someone for mistakes they made in the past if they had become remorseful of those mistakes. He looked up at the man and with a smile on his face, said, “Yes sir.”

To be continued

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