“Excuse me? Kokoma may have had a thing for you once upon a time. But you have no claim over her anymore. She loves me now. And forever.”
“Chill bro. I was joking. I wish things had turned out better between us. But, i would count my losses and move on.”
They stand there, looking at each other for a long time. Probably appraising and accepting each other finally. Then they hug, which is weird.
“Congrats Jide. And it is nice to have you as a … Big brother.”
Then Edi turns to Tafo. She stands up to meet him.
“I know we have talked about this even before any of these ‘extras’ came around. You are still very important to me and i would do all that is in my power to take care of you and the baby… A boy, right?”
Tafo nods as tears fall silently over her cheeks.
She sniffles and holds out her hands to Edi. “Edward Edichie, thanks for staying true to this marriage. Even though you loved someone else, you did not act on it… Unlike me.”
“Err… Well, i almost did. But, Koko is a strong woman. And honest.”
“So, here is to a beautiful goodbye…”
Their hands stay interlocked as they look into each others eyes.
“Uhm… I am not sure we ‘extras’ understand what you two are getting at.” Kelvin sits on the armrest of one of the sofas, twisting his front hair between his thumb and index finger.
“We are getting a divorce. And starting over again on our own.”
Mr. Edichie stands up, picks up his phone, wallet and car key. “I’d be going to visit your mother. I respect your decision Edi and Tafo. We really should not have forced anything on either of you.”
After he leaves, Jide informs the others of Koko’s location.
“That lady is just… Interesting. Uyo?!?” Kelvin does not want to believe she would just up and go all the way there. But, he knows his best friend. She could be quite impulsive.
“Yes, that is where she first went to. But she is back in Lagos.”
Tafo smiles heartily, “Does she know who you are now?”
“I have not told her yet. But i told her we had to rush mama Edichie to the hospital almost immediately after she left. That is why she is back.”
“So you know where she is right now… Right?”
Before he answers, Edi’s phone starts to ring.
“Hello, dad… Oh. Right now? Okay sir… Alright. We would be there soon. Is she… Okay?”
When he drops the phone, he rushes back into the study as everyone starts asking what Mr. Edichie said. Coming out of the study, he is holding his car key.
“Jide, you need to go get Koko. Now. Mama Edichie is asking for her… For both of you actually.”
Jide leaves the house immediately, promising to meet up with them at the hospital.
“Mum was awake when dad got to her bedside. I don’t know why he thought that was the best time to tell her everything.”
“Everything? Like… HIV, Jide and his mum and Koko’s disappearance?”
“Kelvin, don’t ask me unnecessary questions. Yes, everything. Why else would she be asking for Koko?”
“Tafo, do you want to come along?”
“Yes, i owe your mum many apologies.”
Back at The Gardens hotel, Kokoma had put her stuff together and was pacing the room. Jide’s call about mama Edichie’s request to see them had gotten her worried. She had asked him if mama Edichie had asked for everybody to come see her too.
“I do not know. I left the house immediately he told me about us.”
In her years of nursing, she had noticed a pattern with cancer patients. When they were close to dying, only God knows how they know, they would often ask that their loved ones come around to see them. The scene is always teary.
When Jide arrived, she wasted no time in getting her bags into the car.
“Please drive fast…”
As he drove, she still was not sure how she was going to handle the whole issue of Jide being her brother. Finding her was another sign of how much this guy had come to know her. And she loved him. But, if letting him go was the way forward, she had no choice.
Edi was definitely out of it. She had come to realize again how perfect a person could look from afar. Moving close to him these past days had shown a side of him she was not comfortable with. Even if he was not totally infertile, that was a turn off too.
She smiled at that thought. Who knew if Jide was infertile too?
“You are smiling…” Jide had been glancing at her and he noted when her face changed from the deep in thought look to the angelic smile he adored.
“Yes…” She stretched her hand across to hold his. She would cherish these last moments with the one she would have had for life.