My Pain, My Gain 3
‘Where do I go from here? The event that took place several hours ago was life wrecking. I couldn’t get over what had happened. I kept playing the whole scene in my head. My mother finding out that I had been sleeping with Paul; the fact that my mother isn’t my real mother, or the fact that I am mother’s daughter? I just couldn’t believe how I have played my life. All these years, I had blamed my mother for all that had happened, not knowing that the blood of a betrayal had been flowing freely through my veins. Wait a minute! Make that the blood of two betrayals. My father whom I had always looked up to; he was my hero, the man that gave me everything I ever wanted. Yet, he was the same man who betrayed his own wife, and slept with a prostitute and a thief. Yes, I said it. My blood mother was a prostitute and a thief. She was the one who started this whole battle in our lives.
I had no idea of what to do or where to go from here. Mum had excused herself to her room since the whole confession. I knew her heart was breaking; finding out that her husband had molested her only child, and kept her as his mistress under the same roof was a horror to behold. I actually wouldn’t blame her if she hated me after this. She was the victim in all these; she had been the victim all the while. She had been living with all the lies, deceits and betrayal all her life. She served them, loved them and was loyal; she stood by them all, and got nothing good out of it.
Sophia sat in the living room staring into the air. She was tired of crying; the pain in her chest was becoming unbearable, and she didn’t want any illness added to the one she was dying of. She realized how difficult the revelation would do to Kathleen, and how she would move on from all these. She knew she had to make things right, she had to let her know that none of these were her fault.
This morning after she left Kathleen in her room; she had gone into her own room and started to bring out everything that belonged to Paul. His clothes, shoes, their wedding pictures, and everything he had in the house. She took them all to the back garden and burnt it all. She couldn’t believe how she’d lived with the monster for many years and never figured out what he was doing to her daughter. Although she’d suspected he had been cheating on her; from the numerous text messages she had seen on his phone, the unexplained business trips and excessive spending and bills. But she never knew he was also sleeping with her own daughter. She felt like a total failure.
Kathleen had locked herself up in her room for three days. Her mother had to force her to eat something during these days. Sophia also took the time to apologize for neglecting her all these years, and for many other things that had happened. She had refused to go back to work; she knew something was changed inside of her. She couldn’t go on doing the things she did before. She had to make a change in her life, she had to come clean to herself and to everyone she did hurt, but didn’t know how.
She couldn’t bring herself to face Mrs. Jones; she felt bad for all that she did. She also regretted sending the email to Collins. She felt ashamed, and couldn’t face him after all that he knew about her. She had logged off from all social networks, and deleted all her accounts from them all. She refused to pick up any calls that came through her phone, and after few days of messages alert and missed calls, she took out her sim card and flushed it down the toilet drain.
On the fourth day, she got out of bed to have a bath. She finished, and got dressed; then she decided to go through her wardrobe to throw some of her old clothes away. She knew she would never wear some of it again; it was her way of letting go of some of her pasts. Then, she spotted an old box she’d kept as a young girl. They contained some old photographs, diaries, a bible and some books she used to treasure, but had kept them locked away for many years.
She opened it, and the first thing that caught her attention was an old picture she took with her father. It was on a fateful Sunday he had taken her out for ice-cream, and then took the picture when he poked her nose with some of the ice-cream. The beautiful smile on their faces brought tears to her eyes. She missed him so much, and wished he was here to tell her what to do. She remembered that particular day; she had left the tap running in her bathroom, and went off to church with her parents. On getting back home that afternoon, the whole bathroom and her bedroom was flooded with water. When Kathleen discovered this, she switched off the water, and went to hide somewhere in the house. She felt because she had been warned severally to always switch off. Her father had discovered this, and found her where she was hiding. He asked her why she was hiding, and she said she had been afraid. That day, her father reminded her about the story of Adam and Eve, how they also hid from God after eating the forbidden fruit. That incident brought about sin to mankind. He explained that, although they had sinned against God, but He still loved them. He also loved us so much that he sent his own Son Jesus Christ to die for all our sins. Her father also explained that he had also done many terrible things, but the Lord forgave him all his sin. He told her that when she does anything wrong, she should never hide from the Lord. She should always come clean to him, and His mercy and unfailing love would always be available to her.
Kathleen learnt in that incident that her father loved her no matter what she did. Even more, that the Lord loved her no matter what mistake she’d made in life. She’d forgotten that lesson until now. The picture reminded her of something great, something that was about to bring about a change in her life. She realised that she had been hiding and making more mistakes. She felt she was unworthy and couldn’t stand in the presence of God because of her sins. Just like Adam and Eve, she was afraid of what the Lord would do.
Kathleen allowed the tears bunching her eyes flow freely down her cheeks. She knew she had to go back home. Her father had always taught her that her home wasn’t just the four walls of her house; her home was also the presence of the Lord. She never did understand much of what he talked about then. He would always speak of the unfailing love of God. He said he wasn’t perfect, although Kathleen thought otherwise. She saw him as the most perfect man in the whole world. He did no wrong in her eyes; he was a good father to her. She remembered him telling her that when he sinned against the Lord, he did felt ashamed of himself. He said he couldn’t stand to go into the presence of God, but he knew the more time he was away from God, the greater the chances the devil had in his life. Kathleen had no idea what he meant in those days, but she knew now. He had been talking about the things he did to her mother, his betrayal. She was too young then to have understood all these.
Kathleen placed the picture on her bed, and knelt down. She wanted to pray, she wanted to say something to God, but words failed her. Her heart was screaming out to God to help her, her body was asking for forgiveness, yet her mouth wouldn’t utter the words in her heart. She was flooded in tears; she was moaning, and her hand had a tight grip on the bed.
“Oh Lord…” she whimpered.
She felt unworthy to stand before him. She couldn’t just ask him to forgive her of all sins. It felt like a free ticket than she deserved. She wouldn’t believe she could just pray and ask the Lord to forgive all the things she had done wrong, the people she had hurt, and he would just forgive her. Just like that! She felt she does not deserve to be forgiven, she does not deserve any mercy from him.
She knelt down there moaning in tears, but her mind was re-counting all the things she had done in her life. The mistakes, the sleeping around, the lies, deceit, those that trusted her, but she betrayed. The burden was just too much to bear; the pain was breaking her heart.
“Please, help me…,” she cried out. “Help me daddy…,” she broke down into more tears. She had not meant to say the word ‘daddy’. It just came to her. She was referring to God as daddy. She couldn’t imagine how torn down her own father would have felt if he was alive to see all the thing she had done. How much more God had felt knowing and seeing all her sins. She felt like a filthy rag before him, she wanted to stand up and run as fast as she could.
“I am sorry…,” she wailed, “Please forgive me….” She cried brokenly. She knew there was no where she could run to that the Lord couldn’t find her. In fact, she was tired of running, she was tired of hiding. Her mind flashed back to when she was hiding from her father after she had flooded her room; she remembered how her heart had been pounding so fast in fear of the punishment she could receive, only, her father never did punish her. Instead, he told her about the love of the father. The mercy that we do not deserve but he gave freely to us.
She knew that if there was anyone that could save her now, it could only be the Lord. She lay down on the floor and cried out for mercy. She prayed that he could wash her clean, that he would take all the evil she had done and cleanse her heart. A lot of things were making new sense to her now; she remembered when she prayed as a young girl and she would ask God to forgive all the sins she did committed. It was merely a religious routine to her back then, but it had a new meaning to her now. It wasn’t enough to ask the Lord just to forgive without cleansing. She had to also pray that he wash away all the things she had done. To take away the pain and the effect it had on her. She wasn’t asking for a new memory, like it never happened before, she was asking that He takes away the dirt, the stains it had on her. That night, Kathleen cried and prayed. She begged and prayed for mercy; she asked the Lord to make her new, to change her life. After then, she slept off there on the floor.
Sophia sat with unease at the waiting room of the St. Andrews hospital. She’d been waiting to see her doctor for twenty minutes; her heart seems to be pounding so fast that it felt like it was about to burst out. She had called in a few days ago to book this appointment after some unusual way she’d been feeling. A part of her didn’t want to get too optimistic about the result, but another part believed this may be the result of her prayers. Compare to weeks ago, she’d been feeling much better and stronger in the past three days. The fatigue she usually felt was lessening, and a renew of strength in her body. She had been praying for a miracle, a healing that only God could give to her, and felt this was it.
“Mrs Coker.” The Nurse called, but Sophia was lost in her thought.
A gentle tap on her shoulder made her jumped.
“I’m sorry to startle you,” the nurse said politely, “the doctor is ready to see you now.” She smiled at her.
Sophia nodded, and picked up her hand bag from the seat next to her. She followed behind her without saying a word. The pounding her heart made it difficult to speak.
The nurse led her to the room, and opened it. There, Doctor Lucas was waiting.
“Sophia, how good to see you.” He greeted.
“Hello.” Sophia smiled, and sat on the chair he offered.
The nurse dropped the medical file on his table, and went out of the room. Sophia noticed how big the file had become; it was only a few pages several months ago when she discovered something wasn’t right in her body.
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t see you before this, I was away on a medical retreat.” He took off his glasses, and smiled tenderly at her. Doctor Lucas had been their family doctor for quite some number of years. He had been a friend of her late husband; they attended the same University back then several years ago, and remained friends. It had been heart breaking for him when he announced she was dying of cancer, and that there was nothing medically he could do for her after months of treatment.
“So, you are here about what we discussed on the phone?” He made eye contact.
“Yes.” she braced herself to hear his thought, but before he could speak further, she started to explain. “It is possible, right?” she asked, and didn’t wait to hear his response. “Anything is possible,” she added. “I can be cured,” She sat forward to him. “I know medically it can be deem nonsense, but there is nothing impossible for God to do.” Her face lilted up to hear his response. “You and I know that God can heal all diseases? I have heard cases of people dying of cancer, and suddenly, the doctors couldn’t find any traces of it in their body.” She clapped her hands together. “It is possible, right?” she saw the distress look on Doctor Lucas’s face, so she settled back in her seat.
Lucas smiled warmly to her, and closed her file on the table. “You know I am all for miracles and I certainly believe God can do anything-
“Exactly what I am saying,” Sophia jumped in her seat. “I feel so much energy that I haven’t felt in months. I feel strength in me.” She raised her hands into the air.
“Yes I understand.” He said, and inhaled deeply.
“But-“ Sophia looked at him like he was about to say something different. She sat down. “What you mean but? I mean, you don’t feel the same way I do?”
He stood up from his seat and went to stand in front of her. “Sophia, I am your number one fan of fighting this disease. I want you cured, healed in fact from any traces of cancer in your body, but I don’t want to get your hopes up until I can see the results of the test I ordered you should take a few hours ago.”
“And what does the result say?” she swallowed hard.
“I expecting them by tomorrow.” He put his hand on her shoulder. “However, I want you to take plenty of rest; I don’t want you stressing yourself because of so much energy I see in your eyes.” He smiled at her.
“I haven’t felt this much energy in so many months,” tears were bunching in her eyes. “I just feel great.” She wiped the tears quickly before they could roll down.
“You look great.” He said to her.
She let out a soft laugh. “You always say the nicest things to me, but I stopped believing you a long time ago.” She teased him.
“You do look great, and I know the good Lord is in control of your life.”
Sophia brought her hands to her cheeks. “Thank you Lucas. I am blessed to have you as my doctor.” She stood up.
Doctor Lucas stepped away from her to open the door. “Please, do take things easy, ok.” He opened the door for her.
“I will. Thank you again, and my love to Angela and the kids.” She said on her way out.
“See you soon.”
“Bye.” She said, and walked out of the room.
Sophia walked out of the hospital building in haste. She was eager to get back home and do the things she’d been dreaming to do for days now. She wanted to go to the beach, and had planned to ask Kathleen to come along with her. She was looking forward to walking in the sand barefooted, and the wind blowing over her face.
She was getting to her car when she saw a familiar face standing by it. Anger arose in her when she saw Paul.
“How dare you.” She shrieked.
“Sophia.” He looked solemnly at her.
“What are you doing here?” she shouted at him. She had wanted to call the police on him the day after Kathleen had confessed to her. She had been furious and wanted to lock him up, but Kathleen had begged her not too.
“I was waiting for you.” He said.
“You do have the gut to come near me after what you did.”
“It’s not what you think, please Sophia-
She interrupted. “What!” she was stunned. She couldn’t believe he just said that. ‘What should she have thought?’ “Did you just say that?” She shouted. “You raped my daughter, you sick bastard.” She screamed at him.
“Please Sophia.” He tried to hush her when a man walking by had looked at them.
“Don’t you dare hush me?” She shouted louder. “I don’t want to see your face again; I don’t want you near me or my daughter.” She warned.
“You have to hear my side of the story.” he tried to touch her.
She jerked away. “Don’t you dare,” she shouted out in tears. “What kind of an animal are you?”
“Sophia.” He called out.
“Don’t ever call my name again.” She stepped away from him, and then walked back and faced him squarely. “I was at the hospital, grieving for the baby I had lost, your baby, and you were at home forcing yourself on my daughter. She was a child Paul; she was just a child, my baby.” She screamed at him, and started to hit him harder on the chest.
Paul tried to hold her hands, but she moved away before he could stop her.
“You are a wicked man,” she spat at him, and then wiped her hands down her face. She tried to steady her breathing, and reduce the swelling in the chest. She could feel her heart racing, and wanted to get it under control.
“I really don’t know what to say to you in this state you are in.” He said coldly.
“This state.” She repeated, and felt anger bursting through her dam. “In this state, I would like to kill you!” She clenched her fist in disgust.
He looked stunned, and then he had a smirk look on his face.
Sophia felt repulsed by him standing there. He had no sign of remorse on his face. She realised that he was just a monster, he was a man whose mission was to destroy her life, and he almost if not succeeded in doing that. She had made a mistake the very first day she meant him, and then another greater mistake when he asked her hands in marriage and she accepted. She had been so blinded that she refused to reason with few friends who had warned her about him. They said he was in for her money, but she believed otherwise. He had been so nice to her, but preyed on her vulnerability.
Paul looked at her for a minute, and then picked up his car keys that had fallen on the floor when she was hitting him.
“I came home –“
“No no no….” she shook her head to disagree. “Don’t you call it your home; It’s not your home. It was supposed to be a haven to protect my daughter, to keep her safe but you made it hell for her.” She pointed angrily at him. She couldn’t believe he could still come to the house. He had no business to come over again, that was her house, the house she owned.
He chuckled. “Alright, I went over to the house, and Gabriel said you went to the hospital, but I couldn’t find any of my things.”
Her head dropped forward in exasperation. She made a note to warn Gabriel, her gateman about this when she got home. He had no business telling anyone where she went.
“Your things.” She looked at him in disgust.
“Yes, my things. I couldn’t find them.”
“I burnt them all, everything.” She straightened.
“You did what!” His hooded obsidian eyes held nothing but disdain.
“I burnt them.” She saw the horror on his face. She wanted to do more to him; she wanted to take everything away from him, just like he took something away from her daughter.
He threw his hands in the air. “God! You are so-“
She moved closer to him before he could finish, and faced him squarely. “if you dare mention God again, fire will strike you right here.” She poked him hard on the chest.
“How could you?” He looked angrily at her.
“I would like to do more than that to you,” she clenched her jaw at him. “I will like to destroy everything you hold dearly, but couldn’t find any. “Now listen and listen careful cos I am only going to say this once. I do not want you in my life. Your name has been written out of my life, my accounts, my properties or anything it was on before. You do not hold or have any right over me and if you dare come ten meters to where I am again in your life, I promise, you will regret it.” She locked eyes with him so he could see the fire in her eyes.
Paul swallowed hard.
“One last thing, let my lawyer know where to send the divorce papers.” She pushed him hard from her way; got into her car, and drove out of the parking lot leaving him standing there.
Sophia felt her hands trembling after driving for a few minutes; she had to pull to the side of the road to try to steady it. Tears flushed down her cheeks; she had sworn in her heart to kill him when she sets her eyes on him. She couldn’t believe she had to let him get away with his crime. She wanted him to pay, she wanted him to rot in jail, and above all, she wanted him to rot in hell.
Kathleen had begged her not to involve the police; she said no one would believe her, considering her own lifestyle now. She said Paul knew who she had become, and it would only be her words against his. She had confessed to her mother all the other things she had been involved in, and not even the police would give her the justice and clean slate she wanted.
She struggled to steady her breathing and reduce the swelling emotion in her chest. She broke down into more tears right there in her car, she felt defeated and hopeless. She had thought if God had indeed healed her, it would be a second chance to make things right, but somehow, she knew there wasn’t any second chance. Lives had already been destroyed, mistakes that no one could go back to amend had been made. Suddenly, she put the car into ignition and started to drive away, she knew one place she had to go. It was a place she had not been to for several years, somewhere she’d dreaded for a long time.
After about thirty minutes of driving, she parked her car in front of the Lagos city cemetery and found her way to her late husband’s grave side. She stood there for a few minutes staring at his name on the headstone, ‘Edward Coker’; there were over-grown weed all over the place. Then, she bent down and started to pull out the weed with her hands; tears sprang in her eyes. Her heart was breaking, she had tried so hard to stay away from him, and from the memory they shared. He had been her first love, the only man who knew her; they had their weaknesses, and setbacks in their marriage, but they worked through it, together. When Edward died, it was like her whole world had crashed.
After clearing the leaves away from his tomb stone, she knelt down and wiped the tears away from her eyes.
“I haven’t been here in a while,” she started. “I am so sorry….” She whimpered. “I am sorry for staying away……; I just couldn’t bear to see you here.” Suddenly, she let out a loud groan. Her throat felt like it was burning, there was pain in her chest; tears of utter despair filled her. She had a tight grip on her stomach and cried out.
“Oh God,” She cried out. “I messed up Ed. I really messed up.” She groaned. “You always knew what to do, you were the strong one.”
She felt a hard lump growing in her chest. “I am not strong like you, I don’t know what to do…..Tell me what to do,” she whimpered.
“Madam, are you okay?” A man was standing by her side. She had not seen him walk up to her.
“What!” She jolted.
“Are you alright?” The man asked again.
She stiffened, and stood up quickly. “Yes, I’m ok.” She said, and started to walk away.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” the man called after her, but she continued to walk away.
She continued into her car, and drove away.
Kathleen had been hiding in the downstairs guest toilet for over an hour. It was when she heard a car drove into their compound. She had looked through the window and saw Paul came out of the car. She couldn’t believe he was back; she became frightened; old memories flashed through her mind so she went quickly to hide before he could see her. She had gone into the toilet to hide, but heard his footsteps when he came into the living room. A few seconds later, he walked upstairs, and then back downstairs.
Kathleen was trembling in the toilet, she sat with her knees to her chest, praying so hard he couldn’t check in there. Then, she heard him cussing and shouting for his things. Kathleen knew he wouldn’t find any of them since her mother had burnt them all. Then, after few minutes of barking hard in the living room, she heard a big bang on the front door. She later heard him driving out of the compound.
She couldn’t believe the amount of fear she felt, she wanted him out of her life, not to be afraid of him, and hiding for the rest of her life. But she couldn’t bring herself to face him; she was not strong enough to stand and look straight into his eyes again.
Again, she heard the door open again and someone walked in. She felt her heart skipped a beat. She heard footsteps fading away, like the person was going up the stairs, then few minutes later, the steps started to get closer. Her heart was beating so fast, sweat beads rolled down her head. The door opened, and her mother poked her head in.
“Kathleen, are you in here?”
She swallowed hard when she saw her mother. Sophia was stunned when she saw her face; she looked like she’d just seen a ghost. “Are you alright? she asked.
Kathleen went quickly into her mother’s embrace. He was here, he came home.” She shivered.
“Did he hurt you, did he touch you?”
“No, no he didn’t. I hid in the toilet; I couldn’t let him see me.” She whimpered.
Sophia brought her back into her embrace. “I am so sorry dear, I am so sorry…,” she rubbed her back. Sophia didn’t want her daughter living like this; she didn’t want her hiding for the rest of her life.
“I promise you Kathleen, he will never hurt you again. Never!” She patted her back to assure her. She knew what she had to do, she had to make things right. She had to protect her daughter at all cost.
Sophia sat in her car, looking straight at the entrance of the Ritz hotel in the central part of Lagos. She inhaled deeply and got out with her bag. She had called Paul earlier today that she wanted to come see him. He had been so thrilled to hear from her, so he texted his hotel address to her.
Sophia entered the building, and walked to the reception.
“Hi, I’m here to see my husband, Paul Adams.” She smiled at the lady at the reception.
“Ok, please give me a minute.” The lady picked up the telephone and spoke into the receiver; few seconds later, she smiled and put the phone down. “You can go up ma’am, room 46. Take the lift to the third floor.” She pointed towards the lift.
“Thank you.” Sophia nodded and walked towards it.
She took the lift, and pressed the third floor. Then, she walked up to his room, and knock lightly.
Her heart leaped when he opened the door; he had a solemn smile on his face.
“Sophia, I am so glad you are here.” He said.
Her face was void of any smile.
“I’m really glad we can work through this,” he went to stand at the centre of the room.
Sophia put her hand into her bag, and brought out a gun.
He turned around and froze up when he saw the gun.
Her face was quivering in rage.
He swallowed hard. “Sophia!” he put his hands up. “What are you doing with at?” he moved slowly away from her.
“I have to make sure you don’t hurt her again.” She pointed the gun at him, and used the other hand to shut the door.
“Sophia,” he muttered. “Please….”
“You can’t hurt her any more if you are gone.” She flashed an angry look at him.
“I will never hurt her…, I swear.” He was trembling.
Her face was smouldering with resentment. “But you did before, you hurt my little girl.”
“I….” he stammered. “I… don’t…” shame and indignation caused his mouth to tremble.
“You are a monster Paul, an evil man.”
Sweat rolled down his face. “I am sorry…”
“I have to protect my daughter; I have to make things right.” She stepped closer to him.
“Think about what you are about to do, think about the consequences.” He said.
“What consequences?” She shouted.
“You might end up in jail, or sentence to death,” he nodded his head, “Please…” He begged.
“Guess what? I’m already dying. I have nothing to lose.” She dropped her bag on the floor, and held the gun with her two hands.
Paul shook his head to disagree; he saw the angry look on her face and he knew exactly what she wanted to do. He moved away from her until his back hit the wall. “I will never hurt her; I swear to you; I will never touch her.” He moaned in tears.
“I know you won.” Then she pulled the trigger. Bang! She felt adrenaline drove through her body. Bang! She pulled the trigger again.
To be continued.
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