Dial Episode 25 is on…
So there I was…alone, confused, hurting, terrorized and in great emotional pain.
I was basically left with nothing. No friends, no advisors, no remedies…nothing, only my money. But, I was in a situation which money couldn’t solve. I wanted the pain in my heart to stop. I could have hit the town with money and brought home ten girls to stay with me, to make me forget Dede, but my heart rejected it.
There were thousands of women in the world, so why was her departure affecting me so greatly? Why should the absence of just one girl whom I barely knew fill me with such emotional pain?
I lived like a slouch for two days. I drank mostly, because I couldn’t eat. Basically, I watched movies, drank liquor, went to the roof to swim and sometimes just sat still with my cornrow grey hair and wept silently.
It was a futile attempt to forget about Nana Bosomba and his evil curse on me. It was around noon on the second day, when I woke up on the roof with my hand trailing in the swimming pool, and my head splitting with a horrible hangover headache, that I finally decided that I needed to take action about my condition.
The decision didn’t come out of the blue, no. When I woke up with the headache, I made my way to the elevator and rode down to get some painkillers from my medicine cabinet.
It was after I swallowed two tablets, and decided to shave my beard, that the decision was made. I had already brushed my teeth, and as I reached for the electric shaver, I saw my reflection in the mirror and paused suddenly.
I could see the faint web lines around the edges of my eyes! The web that was associated with age! Squinting, I leaned forward, turning my head and looking intently at that horrible piece of evidence.
I was indeed growing old rapidly!
Nana Bosomba’s ultimatum came to my mind forcibly…
“You will die, Mr. Biko…”
He had given me a way out, though, a slack in the rope around my neck. Hunt down five girls on my list and get at least one of them to forgive me!
With a deep sigh I turned away from the mirror and walked to the living-room, shaving forgotten. Time to find five girls to help me reverse this curse, and go after Dede.
My MacBook was still on the seat where Nana Bosomba had left it, and so I took it and marched to my bedroom study, put it on power, and then I sat down and powered it on.
This was it!
The selection that would either lead to my redemption…or to my death.
I navigated to the DIAL LIST.
Forty-six names, but two were not eligible. Dede and Akos of Wowo.
I was suddenly filled with a strange bout of sadness as I looked at the names of all those women on my list. It had been amazing fun, great fun, filling me with inexpressible joy to add to that list.
Invariably, it had become the monster with the lethal venom that would kill me. My heart was beating rather loudly as I tore off a sheet from a yellow pad, and picked up a customized pen from the desk planner.
I looked at my list again. I had to choose five.
Five names of women. But I had to be very careful indeed. I needed just one of them to forgive me completely, but I had to make the choice as if I needed all five to forgive me. I had to choose the five that had been more emotionally engaged with me, and who had the softest spot for me.
Thus I scrolled up and looked at the list. One jumped out at me immediately, a name I knew I could count on.
07. KUMASI ROAD OLDIE
Yes, the distinguished elderly lady I had met on the Kumasi road, taken to a hotel, and made love to throughout the night. My mother’s mother, my own grand-mother whom I had slept with without knowing we were related.
I had known somehow, all along at the back of my mind that she was one bonus I could count on. For starters, she was my grandmother, and they had been fighting to be acknowledged and forgiven for the evil they had done me and my father. My mother, in particular, called almost every month to ask me to forgive her. Secondly, I had manipulated and bought their ailing company, and now I owned majority share in it. I could collapse that company anytime I wanted, and since it was their only livelihood, they wouldn’t do anything to upset me.
So I put it down carefully.
She was a banker.
Next was another banker, a girl who had loved me so much that she had stalked me almost every day for a year.
She had been the neighbourhood beauty, the Christian freak no one could have…but I had pursued her, boned her, and cut her adrift. She had been one of the most passionate after the breakup.
I was now scrolling down the dial listers, looking for three more names, when the glass doors of my gigantic wardrobe slid open silently. I sat in the chair and stared at the glass doors with narrowed eyes.
Those doors operated on proximity-based sensors. They only opened when a hand was reached out toward them, and the sensors picked up the waves. They were not supposed to slide open just like that, unless there was something wrong with the sensors.
I sat for a while looking at that open wardrobe door for a while, and then I sighed and got to my feet. I put down the pen and reached for a knob on the huge desk which switched on all the lights in the room, and then I walked slowly to the wardrobe and stood in front of it.
My bedtime clothes were hanging neatly on each side of the wardrobe, and my bedtime slippers were arranged on a little rack at the bottom of the wardrobe. I had a room, my dressing room, two doors from my bedroom, filled with clothes that made it look like a clothes store. Thus, the bedroom wardrobe only contained night stuff.
There was a large full-length mirror in the middle of the wardrobe, and I stared at my reflection for a long time, still wondering why the glass doors had swung open. Maybe, indeed, there was something wrong with the sensors.
I took several steps back, expecting the doors to close because I was out of range of the sensors, but they remained open. I was in the process of turning away, when I saw something strange.
My reflection in the huge mirror was getting foggy!
It appeared as if there was some sort of smoke in the mirror!
I took slow steps forward, and the smoke in the mirror became denser and thicker, slowly blotting out my image. By the time I was close enough, the mirror was completely filled with a thick plume of smoke, and I could not see my reflection.
I looked around frantically, but there was no smoke in the room!
I looked at the mirror again with bulging eyes, and saw that the smoke was beginning to clear rapidly from the mirror…
And when it was clear again, I realized to my horror that I could no longer see my reflection in the mirror! What I saw in the mirror was a nice beautiful house with a nice garden around it.
My heart started hammering as I looked at the white house in the mirror, feeling so strangely disoriented. For a wild moment I thought I had gone mad, and I was seeing things, but then the front door of the house in the mirror opened and a man came out.
He was dressed in an all-white shirt and trouser outfit, and he was walking rapidly toward me, as if toward a camera…and I saw that it was Nana Bosomba of Wowo!
I screamed with terror immediately and turned away!
I fled toward the door even though I heard his voice behind me.
“Mr. Biko, Mr. Biko, don’t flee!” he was saying behind me. “Please don’t go! I just want to talk to you! Please don’t be scared!”
But I was terrorized!
I was almost at the door when it swung shut!
Screaming, afraid, disoriented and horribly disoriented, I reached out for the handle, but suddenly I felt a strange power pulling me away from the door, a force like a powerful wind, pulling me relentlessly away from the door and toward the mirror.
“No, no, no, go away, go away!” I muttered with terror.
“Stop being a coward, Mr. Biko!” Nana Bosomba’s voice said behind me. “Look, I just want to talk!”
“I don’t want to talk to you, aboafun like that!” I whispered tightly as I fought the wind pulling me back, my hand stretched toward the door. “Leave me alone, Mr. Wowo, just leave me the fu*k alone!”
But of course it was a battle I was not going to win.
I was drawn back relentlessly until I was near enough to the mirror. I stopped struggling then, beaten and bullied beyond any hope. My shoulders were drooped, and my strength was gone. I fought down the tears by gnashing my teeth savagely, and then I turned slowly and faced the mirror.
Nana Bosomba filled it in his white attire, almost completely blocking out the white house behind him. He smiled in that kind, infuriating way, and he raised a green apple to his lips and bit it with obvious relish.
“Sorry, Mr. Biko,” he said gently. “I didn’t mean to scare you, no. Sorry about that. I just wanted to tell you to be real careful with the five names you choose. Remember, if none of them forgives you, then you’ll die. So be careful and choose wisely!”
“Oh, you evil man!” I said in an unsteady voice. “You evil, vile, wicked man! Why can’t you just leave me alone?”
His eyes went dark with instant anger as he looked at me, and he threw the apple away suddenly, and for a moment I saw that his eyes were no longer the eyes of a human being, but they were blazing like real amber fire! There was red-hot fingers of blazing fire in Nana Bosomba’s voice.
When he spoke I saw traces of smoke coming out of his ears and nostrils, and deep down in his gullet I saw flames of fire.
“Stop making me angry, Mr. Biko, and face your responsibilities!” he growled fiercely, and I saw smoke filtering out and curling out of his grey hair. “Oh, you think I am wicked, huh? You’ve refused to think of what you did to my only daughter! I had to bury my daughter in the cemetery of dishonourable people because you dishonoured her!
I loved that girl with a passion! Yes, I have sons, but she was the only daughter, reminding me of her mother! I raised her up, and she was the joy of my life, Mr. Biko! You think I am wicked? Oh, you don’t know half the things I wanted to do to you! I’m not super-human, Mr. Biko, and don’t you dare forget that! I am a grieving father! And if it had not been because of the wishes of my daughter not to harm you, you would’ve seen the real anger of a grieving, pained, angry father!”
And my mirror cracked into several fragments at that moment by this man’s passionate outburst. I looked into his fire eyes, and saw the smoke swirling around his head, and at that moment I felt his pain, and I felt his passion, and a great sorrow finally filled my heart, and brought tears to my eyes.
He looked down, and he seemed to take a shuddering breath, and then he slowly looked up at me. The fire was gone from his eyes, and for the very first time I saw tears in Nana Bosomba’s eyes.
When he spoke again his lips were trembling with anguish.
“She was my joy, Mr. Biko,” he said in an unsteady voice, and he was no longer the self-assured powerful man anymore, but a broken shell of a grieving father. “I couldn’t protect them, no. My powers are not able to completely protect my own blood, and that’s my vulnerability! I gave her a chain, but you let thugs steal it from her, so I had no idea whatsoever that she was about to die, Mr. Biko!
You took her from me. You drugged her, and you slept with her, and discarded her like a toy! She was all alone in her lost world, a little broken girl with nowhere to turn to. She killed herself, and I couldn’t help her! And you had the effrontery to list her! You even had the nerve to tell me, to my face, that she was involved with someone else! I buried my daughter in a horrible cemetery, and I couldn’t lay her down beside her mother!
You didn’t even show up for her funeral! And you had the audacity to sleep with my sister too! I am a grieving father, Mr. Biko, and my heart is filled with wrath! I wanted to make an anaconda swallow you whole! And yes, I wanted to strike you blind and crippled! I wanted to take away your wealth and make you beg on the streets like a scum!
Oh, I wanted to make you die slowly like the bastard you are, but no, Akos begged me to treat you with fairness. You’re only growing old, Mr. Biko, but at least you’re alive! So don’t you dare stand there and tell me I’m a wicked man, Mr. Biko, because you don’t want to see me wicked! No, you don’t want to see me going into a wicked mode! I am just a grieving father!”
And his head bent, and his shoulders began to heave silently as he wept brokenly for his dead daughter. The more he wept, the more crack lines appeared in the mirror, and soon his image became so distorted that I could barely see him well.
And for the very first time since I met him, I understood the enigma of Nana Bosomba of Wowo. A grieving man, a father whose life I had ripped apart with my irresponsible behaviour toward his only daughter. A man who had enough power to cut me down to size, but who was limited by the wishes of a daughter he loved beyond imagination, torn in equal parts by his urge for revenge, and by his love for his daughter, a love deep enough for him to respect her last wishes.
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I saw myself through his eyes, and finally I came to realize that, in a macabre sort of way, he had indeed treated me fairly.
“I’m sorry, sir,” I whispered tremulously. “I am so sorry! Please, forgive me!”
He cleaned his face furiously, as if he were angry with himself for that show of vulnerability, and then he looked up through the cracked mirror and smiled that gentle smile I knew so well.
His voice was soft and gentle as he spoke again.
“We’re past that, Mr. Biko,” he said softly. “I cannot forgive you just like that. I need to know that you’re indeed sorry, because I don’t want another father to suffer the pain I’m going through right now. Mr. Biko, I can’t allow you to let another innocent girl take her own life, and make her father grieve the way I am grieving! So yes, we go on…and now, listen carefully…”
And, the moment he said that, the thick smoke glided across the mirror again, and I heaved a sigh of relieve, thinking he was gone. But, slowly, the smoke cleared from the mirror…and I saw that all the cracks were gone. It was a smooth mirror again, and Nana Bosomba was back to his smiling evil best.
“You fuck*ing bastard,” I said, but I didn’t say it out loud; I said it in my head.
“You’re more than a fuc*king bastard, Mr. Biko,” Nana Bosomba said in the mirror.
“Apuu, you think you’re wild aaaama!” I said, and I laughed insanely at that moment, and soon the laughter turned to a hysterical bleat, and somewhere deep inside me I knew that if I didn’t get hold of myself, this evil man would drive me completely mad in no time.
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