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“Well?” I mouth to Fola as he walks out of the hospital into the hot glaring sun. He subtly checks his phone before answering me. He gives me a thumb up and a strained smile. We enter the car and zoom off to see Barrister ONI- Peters. I’m so excited to finally meet him in person. We have been talking a lot about Fola. He confesses he is a bit worried about his new relationship with Fola since they are basically strangers and have to work together for at least a few years. He said he has a son though so he isn’t totally clueless but Fola’s condition was pretty daunting. I assured him I am here to help both of them every step of the way. I’m just happy for Fola after everything he has been through. Now, I think the therapist gave him good news. Everything is falling into place nicely. I look into the rear view mirror at him and he is engrossed in something on his laptop though he gives his phone brief glances. Even a blind stupid person would know he was waiting for a message from Ella. I know I came on a little strong this morning but it couldn’t be helped. I know I have to reduce it though because of what I witnessed between them this morning. Fola is pretty gone. He was gazing at her with such transparent love that I could actually feel my nose prickle. I just hope she won’t hurt him too deeply. We are supposed to meet the Barrister in his stately home in Ikoyi. When we enter, a maid leads us to his study. Fola is looking around appreciatively as we follow her. We are doing okay by ourselves but nothing like this.
Soon, you will be in charge of places like this or even more.
He glances at his phone and raises his eyes to me giving me this slightly worried look. I give him a reassuring look.
Wow. Barrister wasn’t what I expected. I expected an over jovial, loud, portly man. My jaw wants to hit the ground but Fola just stands there smiling and unsurprised. If not for the flecks of grey in the hair on his head and chin, one would think he was in his thirties. He even looks better than some men in their thirties. He looks better than me.
He walks around his table and grabs Fola hands. “It’s like looking into the past. The identicalness is unmistakable.” He says then as if suddenly realizing Fola’s condition, smiles self-condescendingly.
“Barrister.” I say and he turns to shake me too. “Samad?” He asks.
“Yes. That would be me. Please call me Sam.” I say.
“Gentlemen, please sit.” He says and gestures for us to sit at the same time. I think he is a fast learner and is considerate. I like him.
Fola puts an ipad I didn’t even know he was carrying on the table and begins typing on it. I smile uncomfortably at the barrister and glance at it.
Before we begin, I want to know what happened to my cousins? Why all this sudden interest in me and my well-being?
He passes it to him.
Barrister turns to me. “Doesn’t he do sign language?” He asks.
“No. He doesn’t like it. He isn’t really comfortable with it.” I reply.
“Oh well. I have been practicing.” He says and types swiftly on the iPad.
I don’t see what it is but Fola smiles briefly. I feel useless. There I was thinking they would need me but they seem to be getting along pretty well. This is not what I expected. This meeting is going to be a long boring one.
After they are done, the barrister passes a large sheaf of paper to him and we are soon on our way. I’m so relieved.
When we get home, I can see Fola’s hesitation at the gate and I pretend I don’t see him slink away towards Ella’s house.
I shake my head. I guess twenty four is the new thirteen.
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