The Missing File – Chapter 1 Part 3

“She don dey come already,” Charly announced to the three boys, particularly to Nazaretha. Nazaretha straightened up his shirt and prepared himself for another trial. He took a peep from where he was at Tayonet Cyber Cafe where Ibukun worked. This time, he was ready to disappoint Chinko and Sunday who were of the opinion that he was just wasting his time and that there was nothing for him that day with the girl.

Finally the girl came into sight, she was looking furious and unhappy, searching the ground thoroughly as she walked towards her place of work.

“Oya na,” Charly tapped Nazaretha on the back when he saw that he wasn’t moving yet.

Nazaretha finally stepped out of their hiding place and proceeded towards the girl, he could feel the eyes of his three friends on him from behind.

“Ibukun,” Nazaretha called as he got close to her. She ignored without even stopping to look at him, she continued to move forward and search for her keys.

“What are you looking for? Maybe I can join you in the search,” Nazaretha offered, not minding the passersby that were now looking at them.

“Don’t you have work to do?” Ibukun slammed at him. “Can’t you see it’s too early for you to start roaming about the streets?” She eyed him, hissed and walked away from his presence. She went straight to the front of the Cyber Cafe and began to fondle the huge padlock with her hands, feeling agitated but disgusted at the same time with Nazaretha’s presence.

“Are you searching for this?” Nazaretha asked, dangling the keys from the entrance of the balcony.

Ibukun turned back and stared at him in surprise. She took a quick walk to him and attempted to snatch the keys away, Nazaretha hid the keys from her.

“Come on, give me back my keys.” She said to him.

“Come on, give me back my keys.” Nazaretha mimicked, poking his nose at her. “How do you prove that they are yours?”

“Okay, Please,” she pleaded, rubbing her palms together.

“Try a little more,” Nazaretha said.

“Please na,” she pleaded in the same manner again. “Today is Friday and my ‘oga’ would be here soon. He’ll be pissed with me if the shop is not well swept and arranged yet.”

“Okay,” Nazaretha stepped into the balcony and proceeded to the aluminum door with the keys. “I’ll help you open it.”

“Don’t worry, just give it to me.” She said and rushed after him.

Nazaretha hid the keys again, “if you’re going to keep doing like this, your ‘oga’ may meet us here.”

“Okay,” Ibukun gave up. “Open it.” she said and placed her hands on her waists, watching him while he unlocked the padlock.

“Here,” he said after opening the doors widely.

“Thanks,” she said and open her palms for him to drop the keys there.

“Let me help you with cleaning also,” Nazaretha said.

“Huh?” Her eyes widened and she shook her head no.

“I want to browse too, so let me help you hasten the process.” He said.

“No, just wait outside if you want to browse. I’ll tell you when the shop is ready,” she retorted.

“No, you won’t clean fas…” Nazaretha was saying when a familiar voice interrupted him from the back.

“Na-za-re-tha! Ehen? Na here you come abi? Papa dey house dey find you o.”

Nazaretha froze in shock and anger, why had she come at a time like this when he was just making progress on his task. Never had they met on the street before, it was only at home or at her shop, today she had decided to come meet him on the street and worst still speak pidgin English when he was already forming “tush” for Ibukun.

Ibukun already turned back and was looking at the lady’s face and Nazaretha’s, expecting him to reply his sister. But Nazaretha did not want to turn back, he wished she would just pretend as if she had not seen him and go. It was bad enough that she had come to spoil his show with her pidgin English and he didn’t want to turn to see her dressing because he was sure she’ll be dressed in an old woman fashion, which was a kind of picture he was told by his friends not to present to Ibukun.

“Nazaretha, you no hear?” Patience shouted and stepped into the balcony.

“Leave me o aunty,” Nazaretha said angrily and hurriedly walked past her without turning or waiting to say goodbye to Ibukun.

Ibukun just stood there, watching the drama, she greeted Patience in low tones. Patience turned without replying and followed after Nazaretha. Like Nazaretha had presumed, she wasn’t dressed properly, she was putting on a singlet for ladies and a wrapper was tied around her chest, her hair was also covered with a loosely tied scarf.

As Nazaretha hurried away, he saw his friends at the corner, with the disappointment for him written on their faces. He took his gaze away and hurried down the street, back to his house.

“Nazaretha, where did you keep the bag you took from me yesterday?” Ogbighe was the first to confront Nazaretha immediately he walked into the house.

“Papa, which one?” Nazaretha asked, staring at his Dad in surprise. His anger with his sister was slowly fading away.

“The one you collected from me when I returned from work,” the father replied.

“I kept it in your room,” Nazaretha said to him and walked straight into their parent’s room to search for it.

His father waited in the living room for him and after several minutes without seeing him come out, he joined him. He saw Nazaretha searching furiously everywhere for the bag, he folded his arms and continued to watch his son.

“I’ve searched all those places already,” he said making Nazaretha turn to look at him.

“But I kept it here on your table.” Nazaretha said, looking confused.

“Please try remember where you kept it, my boss is waiting for me. We have some important things there,” Ogbighe said, getting impatient with his son. This was the first time Ogbighe’s boss was ever keeping anything with him, so Ogbighe saw it as a rear opportunity, it could also mean that he would be promoted soon and his pay would be increased.

Nazaretha placed his hands on his waist and tried to recall the events of the past day, he was with his friends when his father had returned home in the evening. He saw the father from a distance and left his friends alone to help his father with the bag, he kept it was on the table in his parent’s room. But no sign of the bag could be seen on the table or anywhere near it, could it be that someone had moved it? He wasn’t bold enough to ask his father if he or his mother had by any chance moved it.

“Oh God!” Ogbighe exclaimed as his phone began to ring. “Thou art the one who saves me from all tribulations, thou would surely make a way for me in this thing that is about to befall me.” He prayed quickly before answering the call.

“Ogbighe, where are you?” A voice shouted from the other end of the phone.

“Sir…” Ogbighe stammered, trying to find an excuse to give his boss, but as a good Christian, he would rather face consequences than to lie. “Sir, I’ll be bringing the bag soon,” he finally said.

“Just come back now, I would postpone my visit to the bank to next week.” His boss said.

“Okay sir,” he said and cut the call. He made a quick silent prayer and opened his eyes to see Nazaretha standing in front of him with the bag already.

“Where did you now keep it since?” He slammed at his son and snatched the bag before hurrying away.

Nazaretha stood still watching his father hurry out, he wished that there was a way he could turn the blame around and put it on his father. He had found the bag under the bed opened and left carelessly. His Dad must have been the one who opened it like that because no one else was bold enough to touch his bag.

As he stepped out of their parent’s room, his eyes met with Patience, they both eyed each other wickedly and walked past without saying anything.

…to be continued


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