The drive home was the best part of his day, work in the past few weeks was rapidly turning to hell and on this particular day; hell couldn’t have been closer. A traffic light turned red and he stopped his car “I dey owe you?” the voice of a man in the car beside him snapped him out of his thoughts. Tony did not know that he was staring.
Tony was a thirty year old man living on his own in Abuja, he was born and raised in Kaduna; he used to be one those who vowed that they were never going to leave Kaduna but when his dear mother died two years ago, Kaduna was not the same again; so he left.
One could say that he was a mama’s boy but in his defence, he and his mother were kindred souls who had so much in common; Tony was the only boy and last child of three children. His two sisters lived in England with their spouses, they visited Nigeria as often as they could but their presence was not his cup of tea.
As much as he loved his sisters, he couldn’t build a close relationship with either one of them especially his immediate elder sister Janet; she was a constant pain in his life from the day he was born and everything she did to him was all his fault only because his father believed that girls should be treated gently and should be pampered no matter what.
He remembered the day she burnt all his clothes just because he borrowed her headphones and forgot them in school. “Next time, when you borrow something from someone take good care of it” was all his father could say. It was his mother who came to his defence as always but she could never do much because his father had the final say.
“Why in the world am I thinking of Janet this evening?” Tony asked himself as he turned into his street. As he drove closer to his house; he noticed someone standing in front of his house. It was Janet.
He was very surprised to see her and while contemplating whether to drive past his house or stop to see why she was paying him an unpleasant surprise visit; she saw his car and started waving vigorously at him, so he stopped.
“Janet” was all he could say while giving her a weak hug “I have been waiting here for more than six hours. My flight landed quicker than I anticipated” she said ignoring his reluctance to help her with her luggage.
All Tony wanted to do was ask her what she wanted and send her back to England or where ever she was coming from but that seemed impossible to do because of how eager Janet was to pull her luggage into his house.
“Your house is very fine” she said throwing herself on the couch “I had a very difficult day at work today, I just want to lie down and relax” he retorted and headed straight to his room without giving her a chance to say anything.
The last time Tony and Janet saw each other was at their mother’s burial and it was no joke. Janet accused him of failing to take care of their mother and he accused her of running away. Their mother was sick with cancer for almost a year before she kicked the bucket; while Tony was there for her every step of the way Janet assumed her weekly calls were enough to keep the family going.
“Tony, you are a failure and that is why mummy died; you failed at taking care of her… you fail at everything” words from his sister that killed his soul as they buried their mother. He could never forgive her for everything she said to him that day and for her to show up in his place unannounced “some nerve” he muttered.
“Tony… Tony” Janet called but Tony did not answer; she called again this time adding a repeated banging on the door. “What is it?” he finally opened the door. “Can I come in?” she asked with a garment of humility he had not seen on her before. “You know I told you that I want to rest…” “I know I know… please. I need to talk to you about something” she pleaded so he let her in.
Janet began her speech with a genuine apology for the lifelong torture she made him experience “Oh so you know that everything you did was devilish; I thought you believed you were in your rights” her apology did not touch him
“I know okay, I am not saying that it was all intentional to hurt you but daddy…” “Daddy did what? You want to blame daddy?” he attempted to lie down on his bed but she held his hand to stop him “No! No that’s not what I am saying…” “Then what are you saying” he had an intense look in his eyes that could set a dry forest ablaze.
“I’m sorry Tony… I am sorry for everything I did and said to you especially during mummy’s burial. You are not a failure, far from it” “are you done?” she nodded “please leave my room” his words shocked her but she obeyed his request anyway. If her heartfelt apology was not going to change his mind then there was nothing she could do about it.
She was at his house to tell him something; a new development in her life but now that she was sure he wanted nothing to do with her; there was no need saying anything to him. She would be gone the next day. “Goodnight” she said to him as she left the room but he did not answer her.
Tony had a hard time falling asleep; his mind went from the threats he received in the office that day to his sister’s presence in his house. He worked in sales with an investment company and that day was his performance pre-evaluation with his immediate boss; who told him that he would be let go if his performance did not improve in the next few days.
And the only way Tony could improve his performance was by signing a new big time client; the only client he had a chance of signing was a new private hospital. “I need a miracle” he whispered.
He had a meeting with them by 8:am the next day; it was mostly a presentation to convince them on why they should chose IKY Investment group to manage their finances. This was his only shot, if this didn’t work out; then he was going to lose his job and house because he was short on rent money and his rent expiration was fast approaching. These thoughts kept him awake until he fell asleep.
Tony was up by 6: am. When he went to the kitchen to get hot water, he walked past Janet; who was passed out on the couch with an empty bottle of wine next to her.
He showered, got dressed and was prepared to leave without a word to Janet but he changed his mind and tried to wake her up but she didn’t wake up. He called her and shook her but she didn’t even flinch. Fear slowly gripped his soul when he noticed an empty bottle of sleeping pills close to the empty bottle of wine “Janet, if this is a joke stop it!” he yelled but Janet did not move a muscle. He felt her neck for a pulse but there was none. It was then he realized that she was dead.