By: Faith Lucky.
Rodney drove into Mrs Salome’s compound and found a perfect place to park.
He came out of the car with me and we ambled to the door.
I knocked twice on the door and Mrs Salome opened up after a little delay. Shock was large writ on her face when she saw me.
I also stared at her with surprise. She was looking pale and her eyes were heavy.
Rachel had told me she had been indoors the whole day and wasn’t taking care of herself.
It was obviously true.
“Audrey?” She called pathetically still holding the door and my heart melted.
“Mum?” I called tearfully and we held each others hands.
“Audrey, you came for me”.
“What happened mum?”
We busted into tears and she embraced me.
Mrs Salome dropped the old picture on the table and I took it, taking a look at It.
I was sitting next to Rodney; while Mrs Salome sat opposite us on the other side of the table.
Rodney just glanced at the picture in my hand and took his eyes away afterwards.
It was a picture of a young pretty girl.
“That is my six years old daughter” Mrs Salome started.
“And her name is Audrey”.
She paused and looked at me and I also shut her a stare.
“She was the only thing I had with my husband and meant the whole world to me.” She continued in a more grieving tone.
“But she died in an accident and I lost her. I cried day and night and felt like killing myself with it because I had no other reason to live.
“But coincidentally, that same period, my husband found you floating in a river close by and he rescued you and brought you home. You were still unconscious and I took care of you myself.
“I took so much time and effort taking care of you and I suddenly thought I was taking care of my own daughter.
“You woke up the next morning and the first question you asked was *where am I?* and I told you you were in a safe place. Then, I went ahead to ask for your name and surprisingly, you told me you couldn’t remember.
“I was stunned and asked you again and surprisingly, you told me you couldn’t remember.
“I was stunned and asked you again but you gave me the same reply. I asked after your parents but you told me you couldn’t remember either.
“Then, you became scared and busted into tears, requiring to know what happened to you and in order to stop you from crying, I had to tell you I was your mum.
“My husband suggested we took you to the police but I told him It might be dangerous since you didn’t remember anything from your past and you might probably be haunted down. So, I suggested you stayed with us until you regained your memories.
“You started calling me mum and became so fond of me and suddenly, the pains of losing my daughter few days ago had began to vanish.
“You kept asking me for your name and after a moment of thought, I called you Audrey.
“you were so pretty and innocent and fun to be with. And gradually, I found myself finding solace in you. For weeks, you stayed with us and there was no news of your past. So,,gradually, I decided to adopt you – at least for the meantime.
My husband was just a fisherman and I was a housewife. So we didn’t get to go out a lot.
“It was almost a month later that we got to know who your real family were and that they were looking for you. I panicked as the thought of losing you flashed into my mind. I had become so fond of you and had seen my lost daughter in you and I was scared of the pains I’d have to go through losing two daughters at the same time. I know it was insane, but I had to do it. My husband was against It at first but he couldn’t oppose It for long.
“So, we took you and left for North America and that was where we based. I enrolled you into a local school and prevented you from having friends or going out freely. I was just scared of losing you, Audrey”. She paused and wept.
“Few years later, your father died of an illness and things became really tough for us. But luckily, Tessy found a job for me here and after much thoughts, I was compelled to return here. Besides, I felt It was long already and there was no way you could recognise any of your family members. But the tables began to turn around when the music contest came up”. She paused and wept again, more bitterly.
“I’m sorry Audrey” she continued.
“I hope you can forgive me. I was just being carried away by my daughter’s loss”.
“Well, Mrs Salome, while trying to get over your loss with a poor innocent kid,
you should have realised you were causing loss to someone else as well” Rodney
“And what are you apologising for? Huh? The deed has already been done. You kept her away from us for nineteen years! Do you know what I had to go through because of that?” He said raucously and stood on his feet.
“No matter what you say, Mrs Salome; nothing can justify what you did.” He added and flounced out of the house.
I stood up immediately and ran after him.
“Rodney! Rodney, wait!” I called and caught up with him and he stopped. “Rodney please…”
“I don’t need any explanations Jocelyn. I don’t even want to be here. So,.come on; let’s go home. This place is driving me crazy” he said with a little anger in his voice and grasp my hand.
“Rodney please, calm down and listen to me”
“And what exactly should I listen to, Jocelyn? No matter what you say, I’m not going in there to face that woman!”
“At least, just listen to me!” I said ruefully and busted into tears.
He touched his forehead and took in a deep breath. Then he held me and cleaned my face.
“I’m…I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry” he said remorsefully.
“Please, I didn’t mean to act that way”.
“I know what she did was wrong” I said amidst tears.
“But she’s still the one that saved me and took care of mean. She didn’t put me in danger, Rodney. Isn’t that enough to be a little grateful?
“I know you have every reason to be mad at her. But at least, for my sake; forgive her”.
He kept silent and stared away.
“Will you do it for me?” I asked and he looked at me and after a little reluctance, he nodded.
I smiled and embraced him and took him back to the house and there we met Mrs Salome, crying her eyes out.
“Mum” I called and rushed to her, helping her from the floor.
She continued crying and I embraced her.
“it’s okay, mum. Please stop crying” I consoled her and rubbed her back.
“I’m sorry” she whimpered and I took her to Rodney.
Rodney was at first, reluctant; but I gave him a prodding look and he forced himself to embrace her.
It’s obvious he was just doing it to make me happy.
A lot of preparations were going on at home when I returned. Lots of chairs and tables had been arranged outside and flowers and decorations had taken place. Good looking girls and boys dressed as waiters and waitresses were seen around, setting and adjusting. It was all in preparation for my home coming party.
I returned with Rodney and Mrs Salome and went into the house to look for mum.
I was really hoping mum would go a little soft on her.
I found her in the sitting room, talking to the event planner when she turned and saw us coming In.
“What are you doing here?” She asked immediately in an enraged voice. “How dare you set your filthy legs in my house? Somebody call the police!” “Mum!” I called and ran upto her, holding her.
“Mum please, calm down”.
“And what do you mean I should calm down? She took you away from me, Jocelyn and I’m going to make her pay for it”.
Mrs Salome quickly went on her knees, already in tears “I know I’ve wronged you so much” she cried.
“And I’m sorry for the pains I made you go through. I was just being a desperate mother. Please forgive me”.
“Seriously? I should forgive you?” Mum asked and scoffed angrily and I held her hands.
“Mum please, for my sake. She explained everything to me and I perfectly understand with her. Please, show a little clemency” I pleaded and she looked at me with surprise.
She paced tho and fro for a short time and turned back to Mrs Salome.
“Listen to me; the only clemency I can give to you is withdrawing the court case
I’m already pulling one you. But as for forgiveness, I’m not so sure of that” she said
churlishly and walked away.
I locked the necklace around my neck and had a final perfunctory stare at the mirror. I was good to go.
I sighed and remained standing in front of the mirror, feeling a little reluctant about leaving the room.
I was feeling dizzy and kind of weak and If not that mum wouldn’t permit it, I’d have preferred absenting myself from the party.
Edith was having some family issues and couldn’t be there with me. Nobody had time for me as they were all busy with Jocelyn. I was so despondent.
I finally left the room, taking slow steps as I did and immediately I got outside, the first person I saw was Rodney.
He was coming out of Jocelyn’s room and when he saw me, he halted for a while but resumed walking away.
“Rodney” I called carewornly and he stopped.
He didn’t turn to look at me as I stood behind him.
I bent my head and searched for words.
“What is it?” He asked and I forced myself to speak up immediately.
“I…I just want to apologise for what happened. We haven’t had time to discuss things after the incident. But I really want you to know I’m sorry for what I did. I hope you can forgive me” I said ruefully and sniffed. “You know, Megan” he said.
“I’ve just been a little curious and I only have one question for you. If I hadn’t found out the truth, would you had really kept it all to yourself? Would I still be in pains by now? Not knowing you were swallowing the truth down your throat?” He finally turned to look at me and my heart gave a mighty leap.
“I regret all the moments I spent with you. Those were the worst moments of my life. So get them off your mind” he told me and left and I busted into more tears. TBC.
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