In Witness Of A Dream (Part 3)
Thirty minutes later they were dressed and rain ceased just on time. Sophie wore a long-sleeved orange shirt, white bell-bottoms and high heel shoes…kind of 70’s fashion. And for him Amila brought a beige colour shirt and dark brown pants. “Tuck in your shirt,” Sophie ordered.
They walked down the silver corridor in a gloss of white lights. He saw a couple seated at the restaurant lit in amber lights. She crossed to the rear side of the compound and reached a gate aligned to the wide open pathway. This gate led to an alley between the houses in compact settlement. Then they walked out to a narrow lane or perhaps. An empty ground lay before them lit in the moonlight. Patches of clouds traversed above and it shone a full phase of the moon in a cleared sky, still the rains quite unpredictable.
They stepped on the wet soil carpeted of Goat’s Foot Morning Glory, picked trails crisscrossing through the headstones of Mafannu Cemetery to reach the gate. On the main street, they took a turn by a block to arrive at Ramba Restaurant and climbed the first floor with white interiors and red cladding. It was rather empty and quiet.
Food was excellent served of mushroom soup, curries with strong aroma of leaves to go with a warm dish of rice and hard to chew down beef, a dessert that burst into his mouth with an indefinite taste like vanilla yogurt and something odourless.
At dinner he asked, “Miss, what’s the real name of Amila’s place, the address?”
“Do you like that girl?”
“I don’t know how they call now. In old days we call that place Macon Village. You should get acquainted with her and marry her. She’s got a huge lot…an only child.”
An hour later they were back at the gate. They took Shahid Ali Higun instead of the cemetery pass. It was lightly drizzling. At the lobby they gathered inside the office space and did prints of the gay couple. They returned to the room briefly to pick her folders and he took a sip of gin.
The meeting was arranged at the restaurant. Five tables placed together covered with white cloth, decorated with black orchids in two white ceramic vases and glass bowls of perfume. The swimming pool lay lit in water lights and connected to overnight recirculation pumps. Mosquito repellent lanterns lit around.
To his shock and surprise Kaola was greeted by his mother, Lafya, and father, Othadi.
“When did you come?” he asked his mother.
“I came very late this evening,” Lafya replied.
“And what are you doing here?”
“It’s about Sophie Nadz. Sit down and you will find out. Are you praying and behaving properly? I hope you’re not smoking…”
“Mother, you don’t have to ask that every time we come to meet. And this is no place for that.”
Colonel Othadi felt very unhappy at this point to see his son sit down as a witness to his wrongdoings. He exchanged few words and wore a satirical smile to greet his foolhardy son. A smile that conveyed a note he didn’t belong here.
They were dressed adequately. His father wore a jacket, dark blue jeans and a felt hat like a cowboy.
Sophie whispered in Kaola’s ear, “Don Mohora is a meticulous dresser. Take notice…his dinner jacket is stitched with the tie.” Kaola never heard anything like that before.
Sophie Nadz addressed the crowd, “Alright, we are all gathered. Please be seated. This meeting will be chaired by Mr Murshid. I called you here to renegotiate the sale of estate and retake my corporate with Mr Don Mohora, to resolve these matters. I’m joined here by my new partners, stakeholders and shareholders, Lafya and Kaola, my adopted next-of-kin…”
“Hold on!” Don Mohora rose to his feet, “Who is this chap? You didn’t mention this and all these people here…”
“I’m trying to introduce them...”
“Are you out of your mind? This is between us. I’m going to leave this meeting at once. Don’t ever call me again…”
“Sit down!” barked Murshid, Sophie’s lawyer. “You damn got to put your house in order. You do not own Miri lawfully and we are here to turn it down. Now we talk…” Mohora sat down and her lawyer continued, “You registered a sole business involving Miri with the authorities. I’m passing this letter asking you to get out of the place and dissolve that registration all at free will. Otherwise, we go to the court and this will be your final warning.”
“I have put a huge investment. I need to be paid compensation so talk about it,” said Mohora.
“You are wrong. We owe you nothing. Take that business out of Miss Sophie’s place. You go to the court to see if you have anything to claim.”
“We can do this nicely. You should ask.”
“Cut it off!” cried Sophie, “I have asked several times and we are not repeating. You do it the easy way or you want it the hard way. I am prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly.”
“I see! Miss Sophie, you have a lot of nerve to say that. I’m bit amused here.”
“There’s no ground for amusement. This is my final talk. We act now.”
“What is the hard way?”
“Let’s start with the act you pulled under this roof.” She picked an envelope and passed to him. “Take a look at them…in isolation, of course.”
“Are you blackmailing or what?”
“It’s in full colour unless you paint it black.”
Don Mohora glanced at the contents briefly and withdrew to a corner to take a better look. His life and family hang on to a thread.
“Well,” Sophie continued, “Colonel Othadi, tell us your story about the fire. I can hardly believe it. Let’s hear it again in presence of your ex-wife and son.”
Colonel cleared his throat. It was not easy to lie in front of his son. “I cannot describe this fire. There are fires that you can’t see and burns that don’t heal. My house caught on fire and burned to dust. I tried to save my things. All I wrote, my papers, the money burnt to ashes. These burglars stormed my place. I got trapped in thick black smoke…no escape. I was stuck inside my house holding to my belongings when the roof fell down to the floor. I couldn’t find the door.”
“And the money?” she asked.
“I couldn’t save them.”
“But, Colonel, they couldn’t trace a clue of the bank notes in the ashes.”
“No. These burglars made a break. They looted. They found crystal meth in the ashes.”
“Each man at his own greed,” uttered Sophie, “I can hardly believe.”
Don Mohora returned to the chair.
“I just finished a new house! I exchanged my lot, Barbeque, with this piece of land from my colleague because I want to climb inland. Now it’s all gone.”
“So, you’ve been busy, Miss Sophie,” said Don Mohora.
Murshid spoke, “Colonel, we hereby declare the sale of the lot, Malibu, is called off. Miss Sophie Nadz no longer wishes to sell the place.”
“You can’t terminate it now,” said Othadi.
“Yes I can,” returned Sophie, “You have no right to collect a down payment without my knowledge.”
“You did authorise me to cut the deal.”
“It’s over,” said Murshid, “We don’t know where you got the money, how much you collected, whether it’s down payment or commission. You have a problem to solve for yourself with your client whoever he is. The sale is over.”
Don Mohora asked, “Miss Sophie, I want to talk to you in private.”
“I will give you that chance but first you’ve got to settle matters at free will and advice my lawyer how and when you wish to proceed.
“Now listen carefully, I am announcing Kaola here is not only under my foster care but I am going to marry him…” everyone revolved with surprise, “pretty soon Colonel Othadi will be dealing with his own son. It is time to make up your mind and clear up yourself. I’m not going to sit this argument again. We go to court.”
Colonel Othadi didn’t look at his son. He sat by the left-hand side of Sophie Nadz three chairs away. On her immediate left sat Lafya, Kaola on her right and she sat at the far end. Lawyers and assistants representing them occupied all twelve chairs around the table.
“Here we are,” said Sophie, “You know now why I called you here together. We are connected one way or another in the blind side or not. Some final words from Lafya would be desirable…”
And Lafya responded, “I am deeply thankful to Sophie Nadz from the bottom of my heart for calling me and taking my child to her foster care and to pick his hand to wed. I wish to tell Othadi to leave us alone. We take nothing and he must find his way out. One lie leads to another. If he has a stake that doesn’t belong to him, let it go. Now it belongs to his son. Some good will rise from the ashes.”
“Well said,” applauded Sophie.
Suddenly, Othadi flung his arm stabbing Lafya in the eye with a pen in his palm. One other person sat between them. Blood spurted from her eye. The meeting came to end abruptly. They were up on their feet.
“Call Amila, somebody!” cried Sophie, “I call an ambulance.” Kaola rushed to her mother’s aid.
“I have a car,” said Colonel Othadi.
“Go, fuck with it!” cried Sophie.
Colonel Othadi left immediately. He could not believe Sophie swore at him.
“My car,” offered Don Mohora.
“The Guesthouse wagon,” cried Amila stepping to the floor. Murshid carried the little woman under his elbow and a face towel to her eye. Amila led through the back side down the alleyway to the lane that lay before the cemetery. A wagon waited with its headlights on.
Murshid climbed up the sliding door gathering the woman to the congested seating and momentarily blocking Kaola. Sophie climbed next to the driver. Kaola dashed to catch the sliding door on the far side but the wagon pulled off without him.
“IGMH…” Amila cried pointing a finger up that way.
Kaola ran after the van. His mobike left on the other side of the block. He was defeated in a moment and space between them increased. He lost the red tail lights on the main street as the wagon turned a corner. He continued to run.
Kaola reached the reception to find Sadna in a nurse dress standing behind the counter. “Where is my mother?” he asked panting.
“What’s her name?” asked the nurse.
“Lafya…she’s just brought in.”
“Dad stabbed her in the eye.”
“No. She hasn’t checked in. Nobody posted. You should go and check the Emergency Room down the hall on the left.”
Kaola ran to the Emergency Room and began to bang on the glass-fitted door. “Mother!” he cried. “Open up…my mother!” He clenched his fists and fleetingly figured he wore new shoes.