Read The Story
“You are a shame to womanhood and the institution of marriage, and a shame to motherhood” the voice of the chief judge rang out through the court room.
She was a middle aged woman, probably in her early 60’s but looked fresher. Fair complexioned with an aura of blatant authority.
Her voice portrayed a lot of pride and a sense of responsibility.
Amanda stood face down as the whole court listened to the chief judge let out her scolds before passing her judgement.
The NDA have charged Dr Odili to court for his involvement in illegal dealings of haimdal pills, falsifying medical reports and an accomplice in Amanda’s attempted murder on papa.
Amanda on her own part was charged with basically same charges with Dr odili only difference being she was the first hand suspect of the attempted murder while Dr odili was an accomplice.
I sat across the the courtroom, papa sat at my left flank with a blank misty look in his eyes, he was getting better and robust, with a little difference from his old laugh-filled self.
Wilson and Jessy sat at the other seat behind ours in the row, Ryan was already asleep in Jessy’s arms after hours of boring court activities, little did he know his mother was the bone of contention in this matter.
Amanda’s mother sat beside Jessy, a wet eyes and swollen face. A dim look of self pity and disappointment in her eyes as she watched on at her daughter.
After the DNA test result was found out, it was redone for confirmation and it turned out Ryan was neither my son nor papa’s. She had confessed it belonged to her boy Friend, who she was seeing in school as a student and way after papa married her she was still seeing him.Her mother have taken Ryan to live with her hence forth, papa promised to see him through school till he completes his university education. “after all, he is still my son” he had muttered to Amanda’s mother who was thanking him for his kindness with tears freely flowing down her face. Somehow his face wore a sad look a father would wear if he lost a son, Ryan was part of the family. Blood or not.
Chioma had been absent from the court room, she had gone back to Abuja to put her things in order.
Her parents had tendered an apology to both of us, with the usual “God said that and this in the bible” reeling out from Mrs Ugwu’s lips. I wondered if it was supposed to be an apology or she was preaching to us.
“After much considerations and scrutinization of evidences presented, this court finds the accused guilty as charged” the chief judge intoned adjusting her perky glasses in a little pause.
A bout of murmur and hisses followed her pause, with the clerk banging his fist hard on the desk shouting “Order in court” i’d thought his washed out ties needs some order too.
“The accused have been sentenced to 20years imprisonment” she finishes up banging her wooden hammer crisply on the desk. And the court clerk following up with a shout of “Court……….!!!” his tie dancing to the wind.
Their was a wild shout from the people in the court room, many smiled and nodded while some wore a rather gloomy look.
Tears rolled down Amanda’s cheeks in quick racing succession, Dr Odili had gotten 25years in his own sentence, the NDA had followed the case to the last making sure justice was served right in a hot platter.
We watched as the policemen dutifully guided Amanda into a police van waiting outside the court, being very professional like a receptionist receiving someone into a hotel.
She looked at me, her handcuffs shimmered in the sun that filtered into the open van, her face seemed a little darker than usual and flesh around the cuffs beaming red and swollen.
Could see her lips moving while her eyes was fixed on me. Her hands clasped together like she was in a fervent prayer, could make out the words “I am sorry” from her lip movement.
I nodded slightly and rewarded her with a smile, she let out a little smile at Jessy who still had Ryan on her arms, then her face tilted low facing the floor of the van this time.
* * *
“Nnam, words cannot explain how proud of you i am today. today my son becomes a man” Papa’s voice rang into my head.
I was in my room, a tight black Italian suit and with a gold tie knotted over a shimmering white shirt, a smart shiny black Italian shoe i had imported directly from italy.
I looked at papa’s face it was a mixture of both pride and fulfillment. Happy and tearful as well ladened in a mild grin.
“Your mother asked me to give you this on yourwedding day” papa said stretching a gold necklace with a little gold plate on it, and engraved writing, though tiny was still readable.
it read “Happy married life to you my baby” papa’s eyes were becoming misty and it sparkled under the light. “she bought that days before she died, said nothing can ever make her miss giving you a wedding gift on your wedding day, not even death could” I could swear a tear escaped his eye.
I looked at the tiny gold necklace on my hand, it threw off some spontaneous gold sparkles responding to the lights when hit at the right angle. This was the best wedding gift i ever hoped for and somehow it was like mama was present at my wedding.
Yes, my wedding. it has been 2 months after Amanda was jailed.
Our wedding have being replanned and things had already taken shape. it was now a reality.
The church bells tolled as we stepped in. I was wearing an identical suit and shoes with Wilson.
The church was filled to the brim with people, echoing sound of a slow solemn song oozed from the choir stand.
I and Wilson stood before the priest, who was wearing a white flowing chasuble, papa was in the front row pew, chioma’s parents too and wilson’s. beaming flashes of grinning teeth were visible with tiny whispers amplified by the ever cool environment of a church.
Olumide stood behind us wearing an identical suit too, wiping of imaginary sweats from my face every now and then, the way he stretched his hands to its limit to reach my face was particularly funny.
The church organ changed its tune into a slow steady version of “Here comes the bride” everyone stood up performing a reflex tilt of the heads to face the aisle.
I looked on, my eyes glued to the aisle and so was Wilson’s and the priest who was standing just a foot away from i and Wilson wearing a holy smile and a book clutched in his arms.
Their was a high bout of appreciative awe sound as Ryan, smartly dressed in a miniature version of black suit with gold tie, walked in through the aisle door with Chioma’s little niece who wore a small version of wedding gown clutching a flower.
A tear dropped from my eyes as Chioma appeared in the aisle, a long flowing immaculate wedding gown with tiny sparkling white jewels in some desired places. she sparkled and the smile on her face was dazzling.
Olumide at least got a real job, felt his handkerchief wiping the lone tear from my face almost immediately.
Licia was behind Chioma holding up her veil, she herself wore a beautifully slender pink long gown.
Jessy came almost immediately after Chioma, in her own wedding gown too, an exaggerated big gown. she had never looked more beautiful, could see Wilson’s face light up.
People beamed on with smiles following them with their eyes as they walked down the long aisle with slow graceful steps that seemed to have been counted.
“Do you, Wilson take Miss Jessica as your lawfully wedded wife, promise to love her in sickness and in health, in riches and in poverty, for better for worse till death do you part” The voice of the priest sang out looking at Wilson, this was one of the questions everybody already know the answer to before it was asked.
“Do you miss Jessica take Wilson to be your lawfully wedded wife……………….” her face was glued to his with an unending smile. a gold sparkle escaping from her neck and i could see a similar necklace like the one papa gave me from mama around her neck.
Mama really didn’t miss our wedding.
“Sky” i could hear a whisper and a gentle nudge on my back, its definitely Olumide. “Guy answer the priest na” He whispered “e don reach 10years he asked you your question and you are still mopping at Chioma, come deh shed tears like woman”
That was when the tears in my eyes became noticeable to me, i had spent more than a minute lost in my own world looking at the heavenly creature before me. Some months ago it seemed impossible now its a reality, it really is over.
“I do” I muttered out wiping the tears off my face with the handkerchief olumide slipped into my hand.
“I do” Chioma’s voice rang out filtering into me. My heart jumped, her beauty was unmatched.
“I now pronounce you Man and wife, you may kiss your bride” The priest announced again, i wonder why they are allowed to watch the kisses.
Wilson wasted no time in delving his lips into Jessy’s.
Chioma’s lips on mine was unlike any i have ever felt in my life, somehow their was a special ‘feel’ that comes with wedding.
Could see Chioma’s father hugging papa warmly as they watched on with big grins. Mrs Ugwu clapping hard, her crisp golden head tie towering above others beautifully matched with a similar gold lace blouse and wrapper, flashed a thumb up to i and Chioma her grin was an ear to ear brand.
The reception ceremony lasted till the wee hours of twilight, it is impossible not to notice the way detective David and Licia utilized every little opportunity to talk which always got licia laughing out loud.
I looked around, people were dancing, howling and shouting with flutes of champagne in their hands raised in the air, bottles of beers as a blaring hit song from the speakers got people on the tip of their feet.
David and licia were also dancing, my eyes moved to papa who was laughing out loudly being in the midst of pot bellied politicians, his friends. His usual self was coming back and so was his protruding stomach.
The wedding hall was massive and no expense was spared in decorating it. Jessy and Chioma worked on the plans together. Clicks of photo cameras from media house firms was heavy and the flashes, blinding.
Jessy winked at me and touched mama necklace on her neck, i smiled and touched mine, clutched Chioma’s hands tightly.
everything was perfect for me now and hopefully soon the real Johnysky junior will join us.
It really happened just like papa said “All will be well”
Read The Story