The Potter’s Hands
Written by Sonia Okehie
Brokenness is the easiest trigger for a genuine change in a person, but the fastest is when they fall in love with someone they can’t get until a genuine change takes place. In this life, a lot of people weren’t privileged to have a silver spoon in their mouths when they were born and also don’t have the zeal and discipline not to let their background determine their actions. One very common means so many unprivileged youths have subjected to in order to survive in this unfair world is by engaging in ‘Internet Fraud’ popularly known as Yahoo. It takes only the grace of God and a high level of brokenness to change a person that has been rooted deeply into this dubious scheme. Well, it’s safe to say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as this was the reality of a kind hearted yahoo guy named ‘Terry’.
Several years ago in a polygamous family, the cry of a bouncing baby boy was heard two years after the birth of two girls and his name was Terry. While growing up, Terry didn’t have an awesome childhood because his family members were always involved in one fight or the other. The polygamous and envious nature of his family made it almost impossible for everyone to live in peace and harmony.
In a family that consisted of five wives, poverty was the order of the day because there wasn’t always enough to go round for everyone. Terry’s dad was a palm-wine tapper and made little money every now and then but it was never enough for him to successfully carter for his family. I deeply wonder why Terry’s dad married five wives when he knew for facts that he wouldn’t be able to take care of all his wives and kids. It was such a nightmare growing up because Terry never had a normal enjoyable childhood like other kids.
As the years went by, Terry’s dad passed on; leaving his family in disarray. At the time of his demise, the oldest son of the entire family wasn’t even up to 20 years of age; talk more of how young the other children were. The five wives didn’t have any source of income or livelihood so none of them had an idea on how they were going to provide food for their children.
Due to the lack of income and funds, Terry had to drop out of school with his sisters in order to help their mum in the farm. The school they went to was a free public school but it required them to provide some basic items every academic term in order for them to enter their classes. These items weren’t too expensive but where would the grieving widow get it from? They could barely eat two square meals a day, talk more of saving up money to buy some needed items for school.
Those days weren’t the best for the young boy and the worst part of everything was that the inter-marital fights never ceased. Today the wives would fight for piece of land to farm in and tomorrow it would be another thing. Due to the constant throwing of abusive words and tantrums, Terry’s spirit was damaged and crushed at a very young age. Despite being a lovely kid, he started having the need to defend his mum during those fights; as the only son that he was. As time went on, he gradually became more vocal, brutal and emotionless, but above all, he still had a good heart.
Right from the age of fifteen(15), Terry started hustling to put food on the table for his mum and sisters. Just imagine such amount of pressure on a teenage boy that’s supposed to be in class learning like his mates. The pressure became too much that he started seeking for other means to make bigger money so it could carter for all their needs. In that desperate state, Terry got introduced to internet fraud by one of his senior friends.
“See let me tell you guy, this soft drinks you dey sell for road no fit help your family. I don tell you since make you join us for this thing wey we dey do but you no hear. I get two laptops and I go give you one make you start work. We go teach you this work and before you know wetin dey happen, money don full everywhere” One of Terry’s friend said one fateful day. After their discussion that day, Terry began to have double mind about the ‘Yahoo’ offer and finally joined after much persuasion.
It was a lot of work for Terry before he could finally master the act of scamming people. Before 6 months elapsed, he was able to make his first money through that fraudulent means.
Oh my! You need to see the happiness that overshadowed Terry when he received his first money. He was extremely happy and couldn’t contain his joy. Immediately Terry got home that day, the first thing he did was to buy bag of rice and food stuffs for his mum and siblings. Everyone was surprised as to how the money came about and when they asked, he told them a different story.
Finally, they began to believe they would make it through those hard times and were never going to beg for food again. Terry never truly disclosed the nature of his business to his family, all he made sure to do was for them to feel the effect that he had Landed. With time, other wives started envying Terry’s mum as they felt luck was shining on her family alone. Not withstanding, Terry still supported his step siblings and step mums too.
As the years went by, Terry became a ‘Yahoo’ King. Before the age of 25, he was stinkingly rich and was doing very well for himself. Due to the constant computer exposure and interaction with various people from all around the continent, he became quite learned and enlighten. Terry could type well, he knew how to construct proper sentences and was a bit fluent in speaking the English language.
Without being told, one would never believe that Terry didn’t finished primary school, talk more of smelling the four falls of the university. What a good improvement and I guess that was the only positive thing he gained from his fraudulent ways.
Up until 25 years of age, Terry had never dated any lady but have slept with an uncountable number of ladies. Due to the level of money and material things he had acquired over the years, women flocked around him on a daily basis so it was easy for them to warm his bed any time. The word ‘Love’ was alien to him and wasn’t even a word on his dictionary. Life continued same way for the young man until something happened one fateful day.
Turns out that the police got an information that fraudulent activities were going on in Terry’s house so they raided it one hot afternoon. Fortunately, Terry and his boys were able to get rid of every hard evidence in time before the officers came into their house. Despite the fact that no laptops or hard evidence were found in Terry’s house, he was still arrested with every other person in his house.
When they got to the police station, everyone was detained as they awaited further investigation on the officers part. Turns out that the cell was built in such a way that both boys and girls inhabited in it. There was a corridor and so many cell that were locked at the time he was brought in with his friends. Due to the tension at that time, Terry wasn’t able to notice anyone of anything asides the cell the officers locked them up in.
That day was a nightmare for the young man but he wasn’t that scared because the officers didn’t find any hard evidence to charged them with. He knew that last last, it will boil down to sorting them with money and he was up to the task. Well unfortunately, they were brought in on a Friday, so they had to wait till Monday before any bail could be granted. Terry felt it was going to be one hell of a weekend until he meant a reserved pretty lady in the same cell named ‘Maya’.
It happened that on Saturday morning, all cells were opened and some people came out to sit on the beds in the corridor. Terry came out to receive some fresh air when he caught sight of a quiet lady in a cell not far from where he sat. Immediately his eyes caught sight of Maya, his heart skipped several beats and the first thing that stroke his mind was the question; “Why is she here?”.
As Terry sat in the corridor that fateful day, he stole numerous glance at Maya and didn’t know how to get her to come out from her cell. Curious to know why such a quiet lady was in the cell, Terry asked one of his cell mates about her to know what her story was. “I really don’t know, she came in with a bunch of other ladies just yesterday and have been quiet all through. I guess she was implicated because she doesn’t look like the ladies that were brought in with her” the other guy said.
On hearing that short story about the mysterious lady, Terry summoned up courage to make the first move and talk to her. “Hi, can you come and sit here too, you look sad” he politely said. Maya immediately gave him a sharp stare and his heart skipped another beat. She nodded ‘No’ and continued reading the book she was holding. Unable to give up, Terry kept persisting till he was able to get her to sit in the corridor with him and other cell mates that were playing card there.
“Are you OK? You look a bit sad” Terry inquired, “I’m fine but just sad and stressed out” Maya calmly said. They revealed their names to each other and continued with the conversation. “Why are you here? Because I have been asking myself what a lady as quiet as you is doing in a police cell” he continued, “Well, some ladies in my compound got into a fight and almost killed someone. I wasn’t even in my room when the fight happened; I returned from work in the evening and met police arresting everyone in the compound. Apparently, the fiance to the lady that was rushed to the hospital called police and everyone in the compound was implicated and arrested since the officers couldn’t identify the fighters. We came in yesterday and no one has even spoken to me yet” she sadly narrated.
When Maya was done narrating her ordeal, Terry took a deep breath and was glad that she had cleared his doubts. Maya reciprocated Terry’s question and asked why he got arrested but he lied and told her a false story. In no time, they became quite close and were a good company to one another.
In the evenings, Terry would order for asorted food through the officers and it would be delivered. Maya became his number one priority to take care of and he didn’t want her to eat the prison food. Despite the fact that Maya had become very close to Terry, her reserved nature was still very much intact and she avoided ‘See Finish’.
In the time span of two days, Terry realised that he had a very deep connection with Maya than he ever had with any lady throughout his life time. For some strange reasons, he felt the need to protect and provide for her; even though she never asked. Terry had already made up his mind that he was going to pay for her bail the next day, which was Monday. He always went to her cell door to check up on her and sometimes begged her to play Cards with him. Their relationship was genuine and not forced and it truly made Terry happy.
The long awaited Monday finally came and Terry was able to bail himself and his boys sharply. Immediately they were done with his case, he brought up Maya’s case and volunteered to pay for her bail so she could leave together with them but the offer was unfortunately declined because Maya wasn’t up for bail yet. The case that got her and the other ladies from her compound arrested hadn’t been resolved.
Highly disappointed and sad, Terry pleaded with the officer to call him immediately Maya was up for bail so he could bail her. It was then that Terry even realise that he hadn’t gotten her number from her yet. The fact that they had bailed themselves made it impossible for him to enter the cell again.
There and then, Terry kept thinking of a way to get his number acrossed to Maya just in case the officer doesn’t call him immediately she’s up for bail. As he thought deeply, a brilliant idea came to mind and he acted on it quickly.
Terry hurriedly went outside and bought food for Maya. When the food was packaged in a take-away pack, he asked the seller for a pen and wrote: “Call me with this line immediately you are up for bail” on the napkin used in wrapping the spoon and also included his number. He stylishly wrapped the napkin around the spoon, took the food back to the police station and begged the officer to help give it to Maya before finally leaving.
When Terry had left, the officer went inside the cell and shouted “Who’s Maya?” and she indicated. The food was passed acrossed to her and she smiled warmly because she knew it was from Terry. She gently opened the food and unwrapped the napkin to access the spoon when she caught sight of the lovely note on the napkin.
With gladness of heart, Maya blushed and said; “Awwn, how thoughtful and sweet”.
Written by Sonia Okehie
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