I called Lucas that evening to inform him about the skill acquisition program and he was excited for the slot, he quickly sent me some pdf documents that could help put me through. I listened to his calming but yet striking voice that made everything seem okay while I fought against the bulging impulse to ask him all the questions that roasted my peace over the past 4 hours since my meeting with Nsikak but my patient half prevailed, I needed to look into his eyes while we slug it out!

The summit in Nsikak’s fellowship was for one full week, but the trainings were scheduled towards the end of the program. The first slot would be wig making and make up, then craft and cake making, but Nsikak got me fully involved, and according to her, it was no coincidence that she met me now after all these years. The pay was good, business was slow and I had nothing to lose attending these meetings, plus I thought it could help keep my thoughts straight for a while.

It was on the second day of the summit that I encountered ‘Ladi Bodam Dorcas’ from Kaduna state, she taught about forgiveness with so much ease, like something one should do as freely as breathing. I thought I had seen the worst of life, but this woman had seen uglier things.

Birthed out of wedlock; She lived six years with her mother’s sister after her mother got married, until her father came for her. He sexually abused her severally for years until she opened up to her aunt at fifteen and his arrest was staged. As if that was not enough, three years after marriage with one child she found out that her husband was a bigamist with three kids; According to her, she was a saddist who saw life from a point of view that nothing good can come from men until her encounter with Jesus Christ and every heaviness of heart, pain and hate vanished like dust washed off by the rain.

I didn’t know what it was, but something pushed me to meet with her after the section to make acquaintance. I guess I simply felt we had something in common.

A week after the summit, Lucas surprised us. A grey corolla sedan pulled into the compound on that Tuesday morning, and Lucas stepped out of it. The twins were still eating their breakfast when I sighted him through the blinds of the living room. I can never forget the feeling as my heart seemed to switch places with my stomach. It was a fast shuffling that instantly made me feel nauseous. That night was probably the best my twins have had in a long time, Lucas unboxed the gift just as he promised and For a moment, I felt a bound of gratefulness that soften the hardness of my heart towards him.

 A new fear though brewed up in my heart, the fear that my children may have began to see a stranger as their father, a man I had shared my entire experience with, and almost totally erased my reality, yet he never mentioned for once that he was once incarcerated for a criminal offence. Not like it mattered, but why didn’t he ever mention it? My own present was a box of white snickers with ankle pads, I had never been able to resist shoes like that during my school days, time and life’s thorns did not kill that craze. The kids were so excited about their new instruments that we left them in the living room to get exhausted with the familiarization.

Lucas was already in bed when I joined after spending about two hours in the cold shower, plotting my query approach. As I sat on the bed, he threw a smile that said ‘he had no secret whatsoever’, “I miss you so much, and I can’t even believe myself” he gushed, reaching out for my hands. “Why didn’t you tell me about it?” I attacked, suddenly realizing how much I sounded like my father, he was a teacher in a public secondary school for many years and whenever he wanted to sap the truth out of us, he made his attack with twisted questions that awakened our guilt over recent misconducts one or two strokes of the cane, and I in particular would start vomiting all the untold stories since I wasn’t sure of which one I was being interrogated for.

Lucas stared mutely at me like a paused motion picture, there was confusion and uncertainty engraved in his gaze. “If you really care about me as you claim Lucas”, I pushed on, “why didn’t you tell me about it?” The manner at which Lucas asked me what I was talking about made me question the validity of my information. What if Nsikak was actually mistaking Lucas’ identity? “You know exactly what I am talking about Lucas, I defiantly proceeded, you reek of it”. I made that accusation looking sternly into his eyes. I practically watched him break. His white eyes turned brown and his neck bones bulged out. “Who told you about it?” he queried. “It doesn’t matter”, it would have just been less disturbing hearing it from you”.

Lucas got off the bed at once and held his face in shame “It was all for the baby I swear, I wouldn’t have given her the tiniest bit of attention if not for my child whom I haven’t seen since his birth. That’s why I couldn’t say no to her request. But I swear, the training was real too. The forms came up about the same time and I took advantage, you know, killing two birds with one stone”.

Lucas was suddenly sweating, he was talking about a child and a woman, he was also talking about his trip to the U.K and things only got even more complicated. I really did not know this man!

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