Ini’s when Priscilla, a cousin of hers dropped by to chin-wag with us. She was in her early 40s, strickenly attractive and a successful estate agent. A divorcee with two boys, her last relationship had stretched over four stormy years until she kicked the man she once called her ‘soul mate’ out of her life. She wasn’t settled ten minutes when her phone rang. 30 minutes later, Festus was already at the door, grinning like a foolish love-lost man –
Priscilla’s flavour-of-the-moment, just made a not-so-impressive impression!
I’d met him once and saw right through him. He was supposed to be running a security outfit and he definitely looked the part of a bouncer. He was over 6ft, burly with a shaved head and a funny-looking tattoo. But he was a lively chap and we all grudgingly listened to his flash tales. ‘So you’re married,’ I asked him, staring pointedly at a wedding ring on his finger. “No way,” he grinned. ‘I’m divorced. The ring wards off all the women who want to throw themselves at me.” Cheeky so-and-so!
Yet rumour had it that as well as being a chronic womaniser, he’d been married a couple of times and had children all over the place. A sort of ‘for this corner, he deh dia’ kind of guy. An ‘area father’ – meaning he could boast of kids dotted all over the neighbourhood. Rumour was also rife that he was one of the heirs of a very wealthy man who died a couples of years back and that Festus would soon inherit a large sum of money. Based on this, he proposed to Priscilla and gradious plans were made for the wedding. The poor girl put a deposit on most “- of the things needed for a society wedding including a big hall and extremely expensive cake. Needless to say, there was no wedding.
Weeks after what was to be the big day, Ini called to ask me to come over to hers as oon as I could. Priscilla was atthe verge of committing suicide! I mean, how melodramatic could you get! The Priscilla I met when I got to Ini’s was a shadow of herself. Festus was in hospital after suffering a second stroke, four weeks ago. This time, the whole right side of his face was drooping and limp. “His blood pressure was so high the doctor said. and it caused a blood clot on his brain. He was lucky to be alive though and he’d discharged himself to come home. `It’s my family,’ he said, explaining why he had the massive stroke. ‘Thev don’t approve of the wedding and they won’t attend!
“I really felt sorry for him. He looked so horribly ill I couldn’t ask him why they kicked against our wedding. When days later he said he was stepping out to have a word with his family, I told him he wasn’t strong enough. But he went anyway. When I didn’t see him the next day, I phoned round everybody that could know of his whereabouts but nobody knew anything. When I called my office, my PA answered. ‘I don’t know how to tell you this,’ she said. ‘Uncle Festus left a voice-mail on the office phone saying he’d done a terrible thing.’ I was dumbstruck. Desperate, I called the only member of his family a friend told me of. ‘I haven’t been in touch with Festus for two years. The only contact he has with any of us is dad.’ Dad? What dad? Wasn’t he dead? So there was no inheritance? Just a pack of lies with me left holding an enormous bill for a wedding that was not likely to take place.
“A few days later, I woke on what should have been my wedding day. I received a text from my darling fiance: ‘I’m really sorry darling,’ it said.‘Whatever rumours you must have heard, just know that in my heart of hearts, I really love you … ‘
Well, in my heart of hearts, the truth was now staring me in the face. When I eventually got him on the phone, he agreed to meet me for a heart-to-heart this Saturday. That’s why I’m here. I can’t face him or I would kill him. I want my cousin to help me find some answers to his nightmare.”
It was obvious Priscilla was heart-broken. “Festus’ love for me felt so real. How could he have made me look like such a fool?” Remember what is said about if things look too good to be true, they probably are? In the end, Ini virtually twisted my arm to confront this love rat. I owed her one, I had no choice. But the charmer really disarmed me. He looked genuinely broken too and actually burst into tears when I asked him why he went to all that extent with Priscilla.
“I’ve been married three times and I have 15 children – from my marriages and two other relationships”, he cried. It was all I could do not to keep my mouth gaping! “I’m still legally married to my current wife but I love Priscilla – heart, body and soul.
“l’m sorry I lied to her. Once I started, the lies just kept on coming and I got carried away. Please assure her I would repay all she had lost so I could get her back. It’s my only hope of redeeming my self-esteem from you and her family.”
The man’s audacity has no end! The best thing was for Priscilla to cut her losses and go back to the cautious care-free woman she once was.
Culled from The Vanguard