The Men in Her Life
Since she lost her sight, Ife had resulted into using her hands to find her way wherever she was in the house. She made her way out of her room with her hands stretched forward as she moved to prevent colliding into the wall or some other obstacles. She was used to the house, so she used to find it easy to know wherever she was in the house and how to walk carefully in each place. She got into the doorway and walked straight till she was on the stairs. She took her steps slowly and carefully. She held on to the railings as she descended the stairs. When she got to the sitting room, she waved her hands sideways and touched the wall. She walked slowly, taking her steps one after the other till her fingers brushed the back of one of the sofas. She held on to it and slowly walked around it to its front then sat quietly but on the throw. She quickly sprang up, but on realising that it was the throw, she picked it up, sat again and placed the throw on her lap. She used her hand to check her sides if there was any other thing there but nothing she found nothing.
She stretched her hand to the centre table to pick up the remote but only brushed her fingers against the edge of the table. She winced. Since her sight was gone, her hands had been in trouble. They were always the ones that suffered the most. She had once brushed her fingers against the furnace. She had also got them stuck in the shutters while trying to shut it.
She successfully picked up the remote and switched on the television. She knew where each button was located on the remote control. She changed the channel till she got to the channel she preferred most.
The front door opened and a charming young man entered with plasters on him.
She turned to the door on her seat. "Dave, is that you?"
"Oh, what a relief! I was beginning to get scared. You took so long."
He winced in pains. "I'm sorry. I didn't know that I'll be this late."
"Did he decide to help us?" She asked.
"No sister. If only you can see right now, you'd have been shocked at the state in which I am."
"Don’t worry sister, I'll take care of myself."
"O-okay," she said and as he took few steps, she asked, "b-but what did he do to you? Were you beaten?"
"No sis, I'm fine."
Dave mounted the stairs and she sighed.
"I'll be waiting."
Some minutes later, he returned to her in another dress and sat on a different sofa.
"Dave, come and sit here beside me."
"No sis. I'm fine here."
He swallowed hard and went to sit beside her. She touched his face and frowned. She ran her fingers on him and her frown deepened.
"Are these plasters?"
"What happened? Dave, do not lie to me."
"I went to Collins's house but I was not allowed in by his gatekeeper. When I refused to leave, he came out to me and I told him to help us with anything that he has. I told him that we...we're hungry."
Dave cleaned the tears that had circulated in his eyes. "He insulted us. He asked if he was the one who killed our parents or if he was the one that got you blinded. He asked us to sell the house or get rid of our miserable lives."
Ife shook her head slowly as she swallowed hard. "Collins said that?"
"He did. He said even more."
"So what happened? Did he beat you?"
"I continued to beg him but he hissed and turned to leave. My eyes caught the wallet in his back pocket and I quickly removed it. I removed some notes from it, threw his wallet at him and turned to leave but he screamed that I was a thief. Some passersby ran up to me. They had beaten me up before he told them that we're cousins. I fainted and found myself on a hospital bed. He paid my hospital bill before he left."
"Collins did all that?"
"If Collins could do that to you then the rest of our relatives would have throttled you," she said.
He swallowed hard. "Sister, I begged for alms," he said and brought out some Naira notes from his pocket. "I got five thousand and fifty naira."
"Maybe we should start begging for alms."
"I'm not in support of that."
"Why? We're just in this big mansion. It is all we have. Our brother has taken every other thing our parents left behind. We need to feed else we'll die of hunger."
"I'll go and work."
"So you'll leave me all alone? Do you know how scared I was before you returned? What if I die before you return from work?"
He sighed. "But begging–"
"Dave, we have no choice. Let's stay at the gate. We may even find someone who knows us and will help us. At least our parents helped a lot of people before they died."
Dave shrugged. "Fine then!"
She sat on a chair at the gate with a begging bowl at her feet. Dave sat beside her on the pavement. He had cried profusely but Ife did not shed a single tear.
A good looking man of an athletic build walked up to them with shock written all over his face. "Ife?"
She frowned. "Who is that?"
"I don't know him," Dave answered and faced the man. "Who are you?"
The man fell on his knees as tears circulated in his eyes. "Ife, it's me."
"I don't know you," Ife said.
"Ife can't see. Who are you?" Dave asked.
"When did this happen?" The man asked.
"Who are you?" She asked.
"Ife, it's Mayokun," the man said.
Ife looked shocked. "Ma-Mayokun?"
He nodded in tears. "Yes, it's me Ife."
Flash back to two years ago.
Ife was walking down a corridor when Mayokun walked up to her and stood in her way. He wore an attractive smile on his face.
"What's this madness for?" Ife asked.
"Stop neglecting me this way, Ife. I love you and I sincerely do."
"Get out of my way, Mayokun."
"Ife please stop treating me this way."
"If not that you're stupid, how would you think that I will love you? You this pauper!"
"Ife, I'm going to be rich too."
"Maybe in your next life! You're wretched now that's all I know! I'm not for you!" She said and made to go.
He blocked her path once again. "Ife, Ife, I'll cherish you forever. I'll never hurt you. I'll..."
She hissed and made to go but he quickly pulled her to himself and kissed her on the lips. She forcefully broke the kiss and slapped him twice on the face.
"How dare you idiot place those disgusting lips on mine, ugh!" She said as she cleaned her lips.
"Ife, you slapped me?" He asked, caressing his cheeks.
"I did and I'll add to it if you dare me again, you cretin!"
"I'm doing all these because I don't want to lose you to anyone else. I've always been so nice to you. I've saved you from being raped before. I helped you a lot of times Ife, all because I love you. I've been hurt and insulted a lot of times because of you yet I still love you; but you seem not to care. How could you be so cruel? What else do you hate me for? Just riches?"
"Yes! You're poor! I can't date a wretch like you!" She screamed.
He looked around. "Fine Ife, I won't disturb you anymore."
"Better!" She said and shoved him out of her way.
"Ife, you're begging for alms. You are even blind! Can you walk? Ife, can you?" He cried but she said nothing.
Dave was crying profusely.
"I got your residential address from Sewa. I did not even know that you are going through all these. Isn't this your house? Where are your parents? Why are you begging?"
"Take your leave now Mayokun," she said flatly.
"Are you still being proud after all that has happened to you?" Mayokun asked.
"I'm not being proud. That fact that I rejected you doesn’t make me cruel or proud. I refused to date you because I know my parents wouldn’t allow me to, even if I wanted. What kind of a woman wouldn’t appreciate all that you did?"
"What happened, Ife? Where are your parents?"
"Three months ago, my parents and I were returning home from a wedding ceremony that we had attended when we had an accident. We ended in the hospital. My parents died while I survived but lost my sight due to the shards of glass that entered my eyes when the windscreen broke."
"Ah Ife," he cried, holding onto her chair. "Life had been hard for you. Ife, I hate to know that. I hate to see you this hurt."
"Our elder brother Caleb ran away with the documents containing our parents' properties. He left us with nothing but this house; he even sold the cars in it. Their buyers came to pick them. Our servants and workers left us. I was fired as the manager of the boutique I used to head which was my mum's after he had sold it. Dave too suffered. Our relatives and friends turned their backs on us. We exhausted the food at home. Or brother froze our bank accounts. We were hungry and we also had a lot of things that we need. We need to live. Dave wanted to go and work but he couldn't leave me all alone, so we're out here begging for alms."
Mayokun sighed, cleaned his face and stood up. "I still love you Ife but let's put that aside for now. Let's go inside."
Mayokun helped Ife up and Dave carried the chair. They went in with the money in the begging bowl and Dave locked the gate.
Later that day, Dave was in the kitchen while Mayokun sat with Ife in the sitting room. He was fiddling with her lustrous hair.
"I love you Ife," he said.
"Just leave Mayokun."
"Ife when are you going to stop being so cruel to me? I've showed nothing but love to you in all of our lives. What's my sin?" He asked.
"I'll remain single till death in as much as I remain blind."
"I love you."
"You'll get tired of me. You'll leave me eventually."
"I'm blind. How'd you be doing everything?"
"We'll get a maid."
"Still there will be issues. You'll eventually get tired of having me around you. How'd you cope with a woman you can't go out with? A wife you can't show to the world."
Mayokun sighed. "It's all about love."
Ife chuckled. "Love?"
"Love will be weary. It'd be worn out. Irritation, disgust and hatred will set in."
Ife shrugged. "I had always loved you, Mayokun. I love you but I do not deserve you. You deserve someone who'll be able to give you all the joy that you deserve. Mayokun, let me be."
"I'm glad you are not self-centered but you need a man now. Dave will eventually get married. Do you think that his wife would want to have you around her in this state that you are in?"
"I know all of these but I'd rather commit suici–"
"God forbid that Ife. Never have such thoughts again, it's a sin."
She shook her head. "I curse the day that I was b–"
"Ife!" He cut in.
"I curse every mouth that congratulated my paren–"
Dave was at the door with his face tear-stained.
"Life has ridiculed me! I'm a shame to–"
"Ife, stop using negative words. Just be thankful to God."
"At least you are alive."
"Then he should just take the miserable life he gave me! God has treated me unf–"
"Do not sin Ife. God loves you."
"No!" She screamed.
"No!" Her voice broke as she cried.
He pulled her to himself in an embrace. "He loves you. He does. May God forgive you."
Dave turned to leave.
"You're a man Dave. Stop crying or your eyes will be affected too."
"Thank you." He muttered and walked in.
"May God forgive you Ife."
"Amen." She mumbled under her breath.
Two days later, Mayokun and Ife were playing in the sitting room while Dave was in his room when they heard heavy bangs on the gate.
"I'll go and check." Mayokun said to her.
Mayokun walked out into the compound, to the gate and opened it ajar. He rested his gaze on a good looking man whom Dave resembled.
"Who are you?" The two asked in unison.
"What are you doing here? Who are you?" The visitor asked.
"I should be the one asking you that," Mayokun said.
"Did Ife and Dave move out? Did they sell this house to you?"
"Are you Caleb?" Mayokun asked.
He nodded. "Yes. Who are you?"
"I am Mayokun. May I know what you want?"
"Where are my siblings?" He asked.
"Are you here to kill them after adding to their woes? Are you here to finish them off?"
"No. It's not what you guys think. I escaped death and I had to get the properties away from the reach of our greedy relatives."
Mayokun sighed. "Come in."
Caleb entered and Mayokun locked the gate. The two walked into the sitting room. While Mayokun walked over to Ife, Caleb stood at the door with tears in his eyes.
"Mayokun, who was it? Who was at the gate?"
"What are you doing here?" Dave cut in at the door with his gaze fixed on Caleb.
"Dave. Dave, I missed you."
Ife sprang up. "Ca-Caleb? Is–"
"Just calm down Ife," Mayokun said.
"What are you here for?!" Dave barked with tears circulating in his eyes.
"What's going on?!" Ife screamed.
"Take it easy Ife," Mayokun said, holding her to himself. "Your brother is at the door."
"Caleb, what are you here for? What do you want?" Ife asked.
Caleb shut his eyes and shook his head in sadness. "They wanted to kill me."
He opened his eyes. "After I had left the ward that day to get money for your surgery, I discovered that a car was on my trail. I tried to escape but the driver was faster. He parked in my way and came over to my car. The masked driver forced me out of my car into his and shut my car's door. He made me sit in the car with him and pulled off his mask. I was shocked to see Yomi, my classmates back in secondary school. He told me it was our uncle who gave him the job. They wanted him to compel me into signing all our documents as theirs then kill me afterwards but he preserved my life. He asked me to go far away but when I was indecisive of where to go, he took me to a remote village. That’s where I’ve been ever since. Right now, our uncles have been arrested and are in police custody."
Everyone stood silent. None of them uttered a word.
Caleb walked up to Ife and held her in an embrace. "Ife, how would you think that I will run away leaving you behind? What greed will make me do that? Do you think I can really do that just because I'm the one with the documents? Our parents had a lot of properties so why would I want everything? I can't hurt you Ife. Dave, I can't."
Ife cried. "We suffered. Everyone neglected us."
"I know. I knew they will, but that's in the past now. We're safe now," he said and made her sit gently. "Come over Dave or do you still doubt my story?"
"I believe you," Dave said as he walked up to him.
The two smiled, and then embraced. The two disengaged and Caleb sighed. "Now, I think I need an introduction."
"He's Mayokun, or better say sister's boyfriend," Dave said.
"It's nice meeting you," the two said as they shook hands.
"The next thing on our agenda is the eye surgery, Ife." Caleb said.
Ife nodded happily.
Ife regained her sight shortly after a successful operation. She was happy to see the men in her life once again.
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