A crisp July breeze rustled the leaves of the guava trees lining a quiet side of the court. It’s been one year since Ubokobong had started fighting for her children, but Phoenix’s lawyer seemed more powerful than they’d thought.
The divorce was simple and easy. It didn’t take him up to five minutes to sign the papers and get his own lawyer ready. Every time Phoenix appeared in court, he always accused Ubokobong of sleeping with her lawyer. “This bitch lives in his house, I can’t have my kids live in their mother’s boyfriend’s house, I can’t have it.”
“I live in my own house now my lord. I live in Thomas Estate, Ajah. I own a two-bedroom apartment, and I own a business now, I am financially strong enough to take care of my children, but he is not. He womanizes and he doesn’t have a job. Many times he has been arrested and almost convicted, but I saved his ass because his own family deserted him and left him to die alone in his miserable life. My lawyer is my friend, and he has nothing to do with the downfall of my failed marriage to this lunatic!” Ubokobong said loudly in court, leaving people to murmur and mutter words noisily.
Finally, the judge gave his judgment and ordered that since they are two kids, the male should be given to the father and the female to the mother.
Ubokobong wept bitterly that day in the arms of Olufemi, “I need my both babies. He won’t be able to take care of my son. I don’t want my son to be like That bastard!” She cried on. Olufemi held her hands to his car and settled her there. “We have tried Uby, we have. We are lucky that we got to have your daughter. You have to understand that your ex-husband has a good lawyer. And we are so damn lucky!” He shook her and kissed her forehead abruptly. “We will go get your daughter tomorrow. At least, you can get to visit your son and he can come for the holidays. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?” She nodded amidst tears. “Thank you very much.”
“It’s fine, girl. Don’t cry anymore. Please I beg you.” Olufemi said, handing her his handkerchief, she quickly took it and wiped the tears in her eyes.
The next morning, she drove into her former compound with police escort. Phoenix had already prepared Daniela.
Ubokobong knocked on the door softly, and when the door opened, she walked in without waiting to be told. When Phoenix saw the policemen, he chuckled.
Ubokobong walked straight to where her son was sitting and hugged him tight to her body, “don’t worry baby, I will come to pick you over the weekend okay?”
“The weekend isn’t this weekend bitch! Next weekend!” Phoenix yelled. Ubokobong gulped as she stared into the eyes of her innocent son, “okay baby?” She said to him again, he nodded calmly and hugged her firmly for his small body. He was just 2 years old, and Ubokobong couldn’t imagine that she was going to be living apart from her son. She got to her feet and wiped the tears in her eyes, “are you ready Dani girl?” She asked her daughter, “yes mommy.” She replied girlishly.
“Hey, do not forget to pack all your bitchy clothes before leaving, they give me nightmares!” Phoenix said. Ubokobong quietly went into her bedroom and took all her luggage. She stood for a moment, just after the policemen had helped her empty the room which was filled with all her stuff; walking around, there were no sweet memories left in there for her to giggle on.
When she walked to the sitting room, she could hear Phoenix whispering to their daughter, “do not ever be like your mom, she is a bitch and a whore, and she will never make it through life. Always think of me your dada, and know that I am the only one who genuinely loves you with my whole heart….”
“Don’t tell my daughter such nonsense. She knows that you are a deadbeat dad and you’re not worth being her father!” Ubokobong screamed. Phoenix rushed at her, pushing Daniela aside, “no! Don’t beat my mommy!” The two kids screamed in unison. The policemen rushed into the sitting room and held Phoenix firmly. “Leave me, leave me alone let me deal with this harlot!” Phoenix yelled, struggling to beat Ubokobong, but she held Daniela’s hands and ran out of the house. Driving to her new home that afternoon, she wanted to be with her daughter for a whole month without anyone else interfering, not even Olufemi.
“Mommy, what is the meaning of harlot?”
Daniela asked as Ubokobong closed the car booth.
Ubokobong paused with the suitcase in her hands. “Where did you hear that from?” She asked.
“Daddy calls you that all the time, he tells all his friends including aunty Caroline that you are a harlot. What does it mean?”
Ubokobong squatted before a Daniela, running her hands over an oval-shaped face, touching the blue ribbons on her hair, gulping, she said softly, “Anyone who calls a woman such a name is either suffering from low self-esteem, or the person is having a difficult time accepting kindness. You should avoid such people in your life baby.” Daniela nodded at her mother’s words and followed her to her new home.
“A whole year has passed and you haven’t given me the money you promised,” Chidimma said to Arinze as she packed his clothes into a brown suitcase on the bed.
“You haven’t given me a reasonable business plan my love.”
“How many business plans, Arinze? How many bikonu?
“See, I am a businessman. I want you to submit to me a well-written business plan. Business doesn’t look that way.” He buttoned his shirt and sprayed over five perfumes on his body.
“And what about the will? you haven’t said anything about it either.”
“Because I have been very busy and not ready for that yet.” He paused and looked at her face, “It seems you don’t know that there is time for everything.”
“You create time to do things as important as this.”
“I don’t want to get you upset. See you when I get back from Dubai,” he kissed her softly on the lips. “When I come back, I will send Mr. Wilfred, the account manager to send you the money.” He said and kissed her again, leaving a smile on her face. “You want to buy a Spar franchise, it’s for my own good so that I will boast to my friends that my wife owns Spar.” He winked at her, leaving her with a smile. His kind of wink was special, it made her heart tinkle. She accompanied him to the airport that morning and they waved at each other.
She immediately got a text message from Naomi on her way home from the airport, ‘Come to my house, there is a powerful man of God I would want you to meet. I would have called, but I am afraid your husband might not like this idea.’
“Mr. David please stop the car.” Chidimma said, “take me to my cousin’s place at Surulere.” She said. The driver immediately reversed back and entered a road that led to Naomi’s house.
They had their midweek service that afternoon, it was a big church and Reverend Adenuka’s fellowship was written boldly on the signpost. Chidimma joined in singing all the praise and Worship songs, clapping her hands and dancing too.
“If there is something you want God to do for you, please come out.” The pastor announced. Naomi immediately turned to her, giving her the signal to go out too. As she walked into down the aisle that led to where the female minister stood, she held her belly firmly and whispered to herself, “Dear God, just give me one child, and I promise you that I will make him serve you in your vineyard all through his or her life on earth.”