Author: Uzo Okoye
Genre: Inspirational/Legal Thriller
John Williams' picture perfect life is stripped apart, piece by piece and lies in a crumpled heap, just after he finds true fulfilment. And to make matters worse, a troubling dark secret from his past returns to haunt him.
Will John accept his new reality? Is he brave enough to fight for the truth? Or will the enticement to return to his seemingly perfect past prove too much of a temptation to resist?
HOME FANS ROARED their displeasure to intimidate the referee and dissuade him from giving a penalty. It fell on deaf ears.
The fans knew the rules of the game, and even worse, that a penalty decision could turn the tide of the match against their side. Their only hope was that their keeper could predict which way the dreaded striker would shoot as he had done in the twelfth minute.
Luck was certainly not on their side. The away fans screamed their delight as their team equalised.
Sat in his cinema room, John was beginning to feel the tension ease. He had decided to watch the game on his new 85-inch 3D Sony Bravia flat screen with two of his mates, and although it was not the same as being in the stadium, it was a great atmosphere.
The equaliser came just before the whistle, signalling the end of the first half. John’s wife, Amy, served the boys some drinks and her indigenous hot pepper soup to hold off the wintry shivers.
“This is the game changer,” Sam said, apparently intoxicated and struggling to get his words out.
John’s other friend, Josh was more vocal: “With the equaliser, hopefully, Chelsea now have the confidence to take Arsenal to the cleaners. They have done it before; why not now? We need those three points to stay clear of them at the top of the table.”
The camera zoomed in on the players as they returned to the pitch for the second half. It started slow, and for the next forty minutes, neither side could make an impact. But in the 90th minute, the striker from the visiting team struck from 20 yards, slotting the ball past the goalkeeper. He’d left three defenders in his wake, two of them crashing into each other like cars colliding in a motorway smash, as they scrambled for the ball. But it was now past their keeper, tucked neatly in the back of the net leaving just two minutes of extra time for the home team at the Emirates, to make any reasonable counter attack.
The visiting fans roared their delight at the goal that secured victory. The boys in John’s cinema room were no different – ecstatic in the euphoria of the moment. It took them ten minutes to settle down after the match ended. They thanked Amy profusely for hosting them as they made their way out of the house into the full blast of the November night winds. She acknowledged their gratitude, glad her hosting skills that night was a success.
John saw them out and then returned to the room, sliding onto the Egyptian hand-crafted sofa.
“Thanks for hosting the boys,” he said. Amy nodded her acknowledgement for the second time that evening.
John watched her through the corner of his eyes and remembered the day he first saw her. She was standing in a lovely red dress on six-inch platform heels in the club TwoPoint0. The waiter was filling her slim wine glass with some Rouviére Rosé. His favourite. He noticed she came in with his mate, Daniel King.
John spent the rest of the evening stealing glances at her. She had her hair all braided, falling down to her sides and almost covering her big brown eyes. Underneath was a pointed nose and red lips that pouted. She was petite, at five feet five inches, attractive, elegant and unassuming. He particularly loved how she tilted her head backwards, closed her eyes and laughed throatily when she was amused. She didn’t do much of that these days.
A month later, he met Daniel with another girl at a friend’s birthday party. He couldn’t help but ask about his previous date, and was visibly relieved to hear she was not a date but Daniel’s cousin. She was also free – having just escaped an abusive relationship.
He took her number from Daniel. He wasn’t sure if he was her type. It seemed unlikely at the time. She would be the ultimate prize if she happened to like him. He would consider himself the luckiest man alive. Could he dare make a move on her? It would be an African Shakespearian love story… or tragedy if it all went wrong!
Luck seemed to be on his side when she agreed on a date. Time stood still during their six-month whirlwind romance and in spring of the following year, they were married.
John believed Amy was the woman who would fill the emptiness and void that plagued him.
But a few months after their wedding, he noticed the same old feeling resurface. She was perfect. He couldn’t fault her in any way. Then, even though he didn’t want to admit it, he came to the cold realisation that she couldn’t fill the yawning, aching need down in the very core of his being. There was still the profound sense that something was off. The harrowing gap remained in his guts.
The darkness hovering over his life was suffocating him, and he began to realise that, getting married was, a pointless exercise. Yes, he was happy to have found her – no doubt. But his marriage didn’t give him the answers he had envisioned. If anything, it created more stress and widened the gap of dissatisfaction.
What if all the uneasiness was just a phase? With renewed hoped John focused on the birth of their baby. Surely, this new addition would be the answer to his deep longings?
Dave was ushered into their lives screaming at the top of his lungs at exactly ten past one on 21st May 1996. He gave John the most beautiful experience – the feeling of being a father – he was now responsible for another person. A little man.
Amy came back from the hospital the day after Dave was born. Dave was very fragile, weighing just 6.5 pounds at birth. They hardly had any sleep. And Amy, far from being the happy new mum, was often teary-eyed. John expected an upheaval in their lives, but he also expected it to go back to normal afterwards. It didn’t.
He desperately wanted Dave to settle down so their lives – or his at least – could return to some kind of normality. But life as he knew it was over - the tragic demise of their idyllic honeymoon period. The beautiful experience of being a father came with a price tag – the responsibility for another person, for life.
John and Amy never recovered. Amy continually nagged and cried at the drop of a hat. What was wrong with her? They fought and argued more times than not. It drove him away from the house.
That was when he started the secret rendezvous with Kayleigh. The first time was the day they worked late together alone, on the Silicon Case. She was soon his mistress. They met twice a week. Yes, he was attracted to Kayleigh but he didn’t love her. She was just a necessary evil. He did it to relieve the pressure of home life.
He also wouldn’t say he didn’t love Amy. As long as she didn’t know, it wouldn’t hurt her. After all, a man had to do what a man had to do. The feeling of guilt, though, made him even emptier on the inside. He hated to cheat on Amy, but couldn’t do anything to stop himself. It was like a magnetic pull, and the worst thing was that he couldn’t help notice how deep and empty every night with Kayleigh left him.
He desperately needed something to fill the void.
Eighteen months later, their daughter Lola was born, a second intrusion thrust into John and Amy’s already chaotic lives. But this time John knew – Lola wouldn’t be and wasn’t the answer he was searching for.
Fifteen years later and nothing much had changed. The emptiness remained at the core of his being.
John switched off the TV. Five minutes later he was in bed next to Amy. She was snoring softly.
John wondered, as he always did when left to his thoughts, about one unanswered question – what could possibly fill the void in his life?
About the Author
Little did Uzo Okoye know what God had in store for her when six years ago, she was awakened by a restlessness that persisted. Thus, would begin a journey of many doubts, frustrations, in an attempt to discern answers.
During this time of unsettledness and a deep cry for real answers, surprisingly she is ignited with a desire to write, the answers that formed the basis of a book idea.
No sooner, risking leaving the familiar, her comfort zone and stepping into the unknown, Uzo began the challenging but exciting work of writing her debut fiction novel, ‘Missing Piece’.
Forever grateful to God for entrusting her with this gift, she looks forward to hearing the many testimonies of how ‘Missing Piece’ inspires hope and produces lasting peace, joy and new way of living realised through a personal encounter and walk with Jesus Christ.
Missing Piece will be published in June 2016 and will be available on Amazon, Apple and other retailers where mentioned. The ebook is currently available for pre order on Apple, Kobo and other retailers.
Uzo is a Management graduate from the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria, and currently works as an IT professional in the United Kingdom.
She is a member of the dynamic and flourishing church Kings Court Chapel, located in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire under the senior leadership of Pastor Sola and Pastor Tumise Ewedemi. On Sundays, she enjoys using her gift of teaching Kingdom truths to the delightful and inquisitive kids aged seven and eight.
Married to Ejike Okoye, the couple share their home with their three beautiful children in Hemel Hempstead, the eastern part of England.
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