Edidiong frowned. “This has to be kept a secret. You understand?” He looked at me pointedly, knowing full well I might not be able to keep it.
I defended myself. “It’s Freke you should tell that to, not me.”
“Tell what?” Ima walked in. “What?”
“Dad is the dead archbishop’s son.” Freke hardly opened her mouth as she spoke.
I threw my hands up in the air. “You see!”
“Freke is harmless.” Edidiong snapped. “She won’t tell the people who matter.”
Ima had beautiful big eyes and she widened them. “Oh, so I don’t matter.”
My brother hissed. “You know what I mean.” He picked up all the stuff in the purse, and put them back.
My head rang in all different kinds of directions. Remembering this story was really not about me but my father, I cannot but imagine what he was faced with. The owner of this purse was his confidential secretary. What kind of relationship did she have with the late church leader that he would confide such a blatant scandal to her. And she carried it around in her possession.
It piqued my interest. What kind of relationship did she have with Pastor Kent Etim? Was she stiff and official, or flirty? Why would she have such a piece of explosive information I am sure the late first lady didn’t have, otherwise Dad may be dead, or never contacted?
“What are you thinking?”
I blinked, and stared at my siblings. “Why would she have this information?”
Edidiong chuckled. “Maybe she’s his very first daughter.”
I couldn’t be amused. We were in the middle of something so delicate, and scary, my journalistic mind was light years gone ahead. This could, and probably would blow up in our faces.
“I think Daddy should be told. This woman works for him directly. She could be sent to poison him. We don’t even know who has this information and who doesn’t. They may all know. See how cold the pastors were.”
I spoke rapidly to stop anyone interrupting. Still, my brother succeeded in cutting in.
“Then we just need to find a way to find out.”
“How?” I cried. “We don’t understand these people. We are new to everything here. We don’t have any friends.” I sighed. “At least, let Daddy and Mummy know.”
Edidiong clutched the purse to his chest. “I knew I shouldn’t have told you.”
“I think Eno is right.” Freke sat up. “We should let them know. As it is, we are probably the only people who don’t know this.”
He threw up his hands in the air. “And we are probably the only people who know. Then what will happen? If this is a big secret the dead archbishop had, and only told his good old kind secretary—”
“He was sleeping with!”
All of us turned to Ima. She had such a foul tongue. Edidiong slapped her before anyone could do anything, and she screamed.
“What’s your problem? What did I do?”
“You are such a fool, Ima.” He turned away from her. “As I was saying. If no one knows, telling Daddy and Mummy will blow everything out of proportion, and you people know your mother. She will shout, scream, tear the whole church down.” He swallowed. “Then what happens to us? We will go back to the village where we came from. We will do housework, and go to a smelly school.”
He opened his wardrobe. “I am not ready to go back to that life. So, in the meantime, I did not find any purse, or see any information. He threw the purse amongst his rumpled mixture of clean and dirty clothes. “If you don’t mind, ladies, I want to watch my TV.”
Freke giggled. My brother jumped on his bed beside her and fiddled with the remote control. Ima, threw herself on to Freke’s side.
I stood for long moments, working up my throat to say something. I couldn’t find words. For fear of touching Edidiong’s dirty underwear, I decided not to go after the purse. He was right too. What if this was some big secret and telling my parents would blow it up.
I straightened. “Well, let’s see if the woman will come after her purse. You are right, Edidiong. No one else may know the secret.”
He growled. “I am always right.
I could slap the smirk off his face. Instead, I marched out and went to vent my raw emotions in the privacy of my bathroom.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/ready-vicar-church-religion-faith-1153149/