DOUBLE LIFE - Episode 2

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Concorde Hotel Owerri, Australia, The police had overwhelming evidence, drugs, twenty-three years in prison, my own house.

Some two years later, my house was nearing completion. I had roofed it, so the next thing was to start plastering the walls. I could not wait to see it get completed. “Honey, I am pregnant,” Ogechi told me just a few nights before I returned to Australia during one of my numerous trips home. “I am overjoyed darling,” I said. I threw a party for her at Concorde Hotel Owerri. It was a lavish party. The next day, I wrote her a check for ten million Naira, before flying out to Sydney.

“Mr. Uchenna Ogu, you are under arrest for drug-related offenses,” a policeman said to me at the Sydney international airport. I began to sweat profusely. However, I believed that with Alvarez’s contacts, I’d soon be free. I was wrong. Australia has zero tolerance on drugs. The police had been following me for months, gathering evidence. They had even been to Nigeria. I was shocked when they told me some of the property I had bought in Nigeria. There, my life changed forever. The police had overwhelming evidence against me. I was shocked in court when they presented bank details, pictures and all sorts of evidence against me. Alvarez was nowhere to be found. He got wind of an imminent police raid and fled the country, leaving me to hang and dry.

Lisa rallied every penny she could, which was not easy because the court had frozen all my accounts in Australia. I had some millions I had stashed at home, so Lisa worked with that, hiring some of the best lawyers in town. My family in Nigeria made frantic efforts to sell my property, but that would not work either. Ogechi had possession of all the documents, and some of the houses had been in her name and mine. Despite their efforts to convince her to release the documents so they could sell some off the property to raise money to help get out of jail, she was adamant. “This is what I stand to gain from this marriage,” she insisted. “What if we spend all the money and he does not come out? What happens to me?” She asked. I even managed to plead with her over the phone, but she would not budge. The lure of money was stronger for her. Why did I even expect her to do anything different? I threw money at her and soon she was in my bed and then she was my wife. Nonetheless, it still hurt me deeply that she would not consider my sufferings at all.

“You won’t believe this,” my mother told me one afternoon. Earlier my brother had called to let me know that she had been crying a lot about me. So, I rang her to cheer her up. “What is it mama?” I asked her. “Ogechi is now dating Eberechukwu,” she said. “What do you mean mama?” “The news is all over town. Eberechukwu is now living in the same house – your house with your wife Ogechi,” she explained. Eberechukwu was my best friend. We were from the same village. We went to school together, played together and grew up together. “You are joking mama,” I answered. “Ask your father and brothers. Your brother Kelechi went to the house yesterday. It was early in the morning and to his shock, Eberechukwu was in the living room with Ogechi in his arms. I can’t believe this.”

I had been in detention for less than six months and my best friend was already enjoying my wealth with my wife. When I confronted Ogechi about it, she hung up on me and Eberechukwu would not take my call either. Some weeks later, I received a letter in my cell. Lisa had tears in her eyes when she handed me the envelope. Ogechi had managed to find my address in Australia while I was visiting home. She had written Lisa to tell her that I was married to her with one child and another on the way. She sent wedding pictures of us to Lisa and that of our child too. “I am disappointed in you, Uchenna,” Lisa said to me. Her eyes were teary, and I could see her heart going up and down as she breathed heavily in anger. “I guess that was the reason you never allowed me to travel to Nigeria with you.” I could not even utter a word. I was overcome with shame, shock and utter confusion…and anger too.

“I don’t see the reason why I should use the money you left in the house to try to get you out. Your Nigerian wife should do that. I am keeping every bit of that money. After all, I need it to raise the kids. You can rot in here,” Lisa said angrily. She got to her feet, took one last look at me and walked out. I have not seen her since then. Ogechi’s wish had come true – I had no one to help me out of jail. Now, she could have all my wealth to herself. Months later, I heard the most terrible words I had ever heard in my life. The judge in my case delivered his sentence after the state had assigned me a lawyer who argued in futility to free me from the grasp of the law. “Mr. Uchenna Ogu, you destroyed a lot of lives – the lives of young men and women who were held on the end of your line of drugs. You took their dreams and future from them by feeding and fueling their appetite. Your quest for wealth drove you to a point where you had no feelings whatsoever for your fellow humans. You are indeed, a threat to society. For that reason, I do hereby sentence you to twenty-three years in prison without the option of parole due to the level of drug trafficking you were involved in.”

Sometimes, when I sleep, I still hear those words that finally condemned me to eternal damnation. Each day feels like 124 hours in this dungeon and I have to go through this for another twenty-three years. I reckon I’d be dead by the time I hit five years in here. I wonder what my children look like. Lisa does not bring them to see me. She is bent on forgetting me and making sure that they too forget me. I am told she is dating someone else now. She is even living with the guy in the house I once shared with her – my own house. Back home, Eberechukwu and Ogechi are getting married - well, they were going to until Eberechukwu talked Ogechi into signing all the houses over to him. I was told he convinced her that he needed full control to be able to manage the houses effectively. After all, he had performed her traditional marriage rites, so why would she not trust him. I guess everyone has their weak point – when love comes into the picture, all things change.

Ogechi fell for him and now, he has called off the wedding, after taking hold of all my property. Ogechi has even been evicted from the house she lived in Owerri. She is trying to fight hard, but without the financial proceeds from the houses, she does not have the clout to fight Eberechuwku. My brothers told me that Eberechukwu has sold one of my houses for several millions in Port Harcourt. He has liquid cash to fight Ogechi who is currently operating from the village with little or no money. Like smoke in the air, the evil wealth that I amassed continues to fuel a war that does not seem like it will end soon. As I sit here in solitude, I try to find a place of peace - I can tell you this; that is not easy. However, I am still seeking God’s forgiveness. Some days I feel like I have found it and other days, I feel completely unworthy and lost. On some days, I wish I could kill Ogechi…and Eberechukwu. Some other times, I curl up with the singular comfort of my small, skinny pillow as I cry my heart out, wondering where it all went wrong for me. It has been hard to accept that I had a good life but I threw it away. My brother sacrificed so much to send me out here, and instead of doing him and my entire family proud by studying, I opted to make it big as quickly as I could. I am paying dearly for my double life – it was great for a while, but the pains I go through each day far outweigh the fleeting joy and excitement I felt for just a while.

The above story was narrated by Uchenna Ogu (actual name withheld) and was edited by editorial team.


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DOUBLE LIFE - Episode 2
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Concorde Hotel Owerri, Australia, The police had overwhelming evidence, drugs, twenty-three years in prison, my own house. An African Literary Blog
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