“Nazaretha! Why did you refuse to answer me since?” Ogbighe barked angrily, immediately Nazaretha walked in through the door.
Nazaretha was coming back home angrily, angry at Patience and was ready to vent his anger upon her without forgiveness because he never knew if he would ever be able to muster that kind of courage that came over him after reading the article on how to woo a girl. But he wasn’t ready for what he just met at home now, his father was as angry as a mad dog. He was speechless, never had he seen his father as angry as this. Ogbighe was sweating furiously with his shirt unbuttoned from up to down.
“Where did you keep the file you took in my bag?” Ogbighe asked with a serious look on his face.
“File? I didn’t take anything from your bag Papa,” Nazaretha answered.
“What do you mean by that? Apart from me, you were the only one who touched the bag yesterday.” His father accused.
“Papa, I didn’t take any file. You know that I can never open your bag,” Nazaretha insisted.
“Then how did the file leave the bag?”
“Papa, I don’t know o.”
“What do you mean by you don’t know?” Ogbighe stamped his feet on the ground and got up angrily.
Nazaretha had to move backwards in a bid to escape the wrath that was written all over his father’s face. “I dropped the bag on the table yesterday without opening it,” Nazaretha said trying to convince his father.
“But the bag wasn’t found on the table,” Ogbighe shouted, unconvinced. “You were the one who came to bring it out from where you hid it.”
“Papa, I didn’t hide it.”
“See Nazaretha, that file contains a cheque that has been signed already, it’s worth millions of naira.”
“Papa, I didn’t take it.”
“Just shut up now, shut up!” Ogbighe slammed, closing his eyes in anger. “Before the count of three, I want you to get the file for me.” Ogbighe said and began to count with his mouth and fingers.
At the count of three, Nazaretha was still standing there, frustrated. His father opened his eyes and rushed to pounce on him but Nazaretha was faster, he slipped away and got out through the door.
Lydia and the rest of the house were watching the unpleasant drama. Even Lydia had never seen her husband so furious. He had explained to her while they were waiting for Nazaretha how he was asked to go and pick up a file in his boss’ office but he ended up picking the wrong one, that explains his reason for coming back home earlier that day to pick the bag which he had purposely left behind. His boss had believed him at first when he said he made a mistake of picking a wrong file but things began to change after Ogbighe returned to the office and couldn’t find the file. His boss had still tried to give him a benefit of doubt when Ogbighe explained that he must have dropped it mistakenly at home. Then hell was let loose when the boss received the alert that the sum of five million naira had been cashed from his bank account, he immediately began to threaten him with the police. Ogbighe had to run home to search for the file and prove that it wasn’t from him the cheque got out.
Nazaretha stepped out of the house in fear of his father’s wrath but he stepped out to run into the men in black, the good friends of Nigerian citizens. One of them pushed him away violently.
His father also rushed out to meet Nazaretha but ended up meeting what he feared most.
“Are you Mr Ogbighe?” One of the policemen barked him.
“Yes…” He stammered, panting heavily. He would have loved to run back inside to hide but it was too late to do so, one of the officers was already very close to him.
“You are wanted in our station right now, to answer some few questions.”
“Okay, let me… Let me go and wear my clothes and shoes,” Ogbighe said, panicking visibly.
“No Mr Ogbighe, you’re not allowed to do so. Please put on this sandal and follow us,” an officer said, pulling him back with his belt. He took out an handcuff.
“Mama Magdalene, they’re taking me away o,” Ogbighe shouted as he managed to put on the sandal. The officers started to lead him away.
“Ah! Papa,” Patience and Magdalene wailed as they rushed out of the house to see their father being led away.
“Ogbighe!” Lydia shouted and ran after the police officers without putting on her slippers.
“Madam, please get away. Your husband is only going to our office to answer some questions,” one of the officers shouted rudely and pulled her away.
Nazaretha was still standing speechless outside the house, making no sound or movement as the police officers led his father into their van. He stared indifferently at his sisters who were wailing and crying.
“Nazaretha,” his mum said amidst tears. “Please, go and bring the file your father is looking for.” She pleaded, kneeling down before him.
“Please mama, don’t kneel for me, the file is not with me,” Nazaretha said, taking his face away.
“Nazaretha, please. Someone has cashed the money already, getting the file and the cheque is the only way to prove your father’s innocence.” The woman continued to plead.
Nazaretha began to walk away, “Mama, I didn’t take any file,” he said stubbornly.
“What’s happening here?” Covenant, Nazaretha’s immediate elder sister who was just returning from her hairdressing salon asked.
Nazaretha paused for a second and stared at his sister, he shook his head in pity and continued to walk away.
It was already past six pm and the day was getting dark, Nazaretha kept walking down the streets with no particular destination in mind. His head bowed and his hands in his pocket.
“Nazaretha,” he heard someone call him from a shop behind. It was Charly, buying provisions from a food store. He stopped and turned. “Charly,” he called softly and patiently waited for Charly to join him.
“Wetin dey happen na? Why you dey walk like that?” Charly asked, looking concerned. He was in a white singlets and arsenal FC football shorts, a nylon containing two sachets of tomato paste and two eggs was in his hands.
“I no know sef,” Nazaretha replied.
“You no know?” Charly said and caught up with him, they began to walk down together, this time towards Charly’s house.
“I no know jare,” Nazaretha replied. “I don enter big trouble.”
“Big trouble?” Charly paused and stared at Nazaretha’s face, he laughed briefly, thinking Nazaretha was only exaggerating a light issue.
“Why you dey laugh na?” Nazaretha asked angrily.
Charly laughed more. “Abeg, make I drop this thing for my mama first.” He said as they had gotten to the front of his house. He quickly rushed into the house and returned a minute later without the nylon. “Ehen, wetin you talk say happen?” Charly asked as he returned, cleaning his wet hands on his shorts.
“Police don arrest my papa o,” Nazaretha stated.
“Police?” Charly asked in a surprised tone.