Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Wait – Chapter 19

The next session started a few weeks later. It was their final year and Enitan was bent on having Ajoke for keeps before she fell out of his reach. He started picking her up from home on days they had lectures and they drove to school together. They talked about various issues on their ride to and from school. He asked about her children’s father and she told him he was dead. As far as she was concerned, that is what he was to her. Dead! She told him about her salon and how she managed it together with her studies. Enitan got more impressed daily by her doggedness to succeed.

Gradually, he started getting involved in her children’s lives; having man-to-man talks with Adegbenro and seeking Adebola’s approval of his relationship with her mother. He should have had no reason to worry; they already liked him. He met Iya Ajoke when she came to stay with the kids so that Ajoke could prepare for her first semester exams. She had been happy that her daughter was finally going to pick up the pieces of her life. She and Baba Ajoke had regretted their actions in the past and this time, they were going to take a back seat and allow their daughter to chart the course of her life.

 

The first semester exams inched nearer as Enitan and Ajoke got closer by the day. They soon became inseparable and their classmates began to call them a couple. Most of them were not surprised at their relationship and even told them they deserved each other. They were given a short vacation after their exams and Enitan used it as his opportunity to get acquainted with Ajoke’s business. He gave her ideas on how to improve on her services and his idea brought a huge turn-out of clients to her salon.

The second semester began a few weeks later and a feverish feeling fell over most of the students. It was their final semester in school and a number of students had mixed feelings. The semester moved faster than expected and their final exams were soon at the corner. Enitan and Ajoke studied most evenings in Enitan’s house sharing and comparing notes and ideas. After long hours of studying, Enitan would order a quick take-out for dinner before dropping Ajoke at home.

Their results came out a few weeks after their exams and Ajoke and Enitan graduated with a first class. It had been a joyous day for both of them as they hugged each other; grateful that their hard work had paid off. Ajoke was happy that finally; she was a graduate and she was grateful to Kokumo for it. She sent him a text message informing him about her result and asked if he would not mind attending her graduation in school. He called her when he received her text message. He congratulated her and told her he was proud of her but declined attending her graduation. Ajoke had been at a loss for what to say. She had wanted him to be a part of her big day but he told her he was unable to make out time. Enitan was a few metres away from her; talking to his uncle and his wife as he gave them the good news and invited them to his graduation. She turned away as her eyes filled with tears.

 

The graduation ceremony took place a week later. Enitan and Ajoke were both given awards for the best graduating students in their department. Their score had been a tie and the Dean of their faculty had decided they both deserved it.

It was a joyous day for all the graduating students and they could all be seen taking pictures with friends and family. Ajoke had invited only her brother, Adisa for the ceremony. She smiled as Enitan took pictures of her and Adisa with her mobile phone. She was about to collect the phone from Enitan when someone tapped her lightly on her shoulder.

“Would you mind taking a picture with me on my phone?”

She turned around and gasped. She hugged Kokumo tightly as a child who had missed her mother would.

“You said you were not coming.” She said.

“I know but I thought long and hard about it and decided to make it.”

“This means so much to me.” Ajoke said smiling.

“I know.” Kokumo said as he brushed her cheeks lightly with his thumb.

Enitan stood uncomfortably as he watched the show of affection between the two.

“Enitan, meet Kokumo; my best friend from way back in secondary school.” Ajoke said as she looked at Enitan. “Kokumo, meet Enitan.” She said as she introduced them.

Enitan stretched out his hand to shake Kokumo. “Hi.”

“Hello.” Kokumo said as he took the extended hand. “Could you take a picture of us together?”

“Sure, why not?” Enitan replied. He took the phone from Kokumo and took a picture of him and Ajoke who was beaming with smiles as she put her hand around Kokumo.

Kokumo did not miss the look in Enitan’s eyes every time he looked at Ajoke and he thought it wise to make his visit a very short one. He congratulated both graduates and wished them success in their journey to Law school. Ajoke wanted to see him off to his car but he told her not to bother as he did not want her leaving her friend alone.

“Oh, his uncle is here. Let me see you off quickly.” She said. She turned to talk to Enitan but noticed he was already walking towards his uncle. Adisa was also seated with Enitan’s uncle and both of them seemed engrossed in a conversation.

“I told you.” Ajoke said as she turned back to Kokumo. They started walking towards Kokumo’s car which was parked a few metres away from the hall.

“He loves you. Please give him a chance.”

Ajoke turned to look at Enitan. He was talking to his uncle’s wife but she noticed for the first time that he wasn’t smiling. “You think so?”

“Yes Ajoke. It is very obvious.”

Ajoke exhaled. “I like him but I haven’t been able to forget about you and…..”

Kokumo stopped walking and looked at Ajoke. “You have to. You can’t bring your life to a standstill. You know I almost did not come here today simply because of this. I did not want to bring back memories which should stay buried.”

“I know and I’m trying. He is really sweet but I don’t want to hurt him.”

They got to Kokumo’s car and Ajoke rested on it.

“I have a family now. You should build yours with that young man. Open your heart to him. Live your life again and live it to the fullest. You deserve it.”

Tears filled Ajoke’s eyes as she thought about Kokumo’s words.

“Thank you.” She said as she hugged Kokumo.

“You are welcome.” Kokumo said hugging her back.

Kokumo eased into his car and started the engine. He smiled as he looked at her.

“I will never forget you, Kokumo and I will always love you.” Ajoke said as she placed her hand on her heart.

“You will always remain here.” Kokumo said as he tapped the left hand side of his chest.

Kokumo drove away and Ajoke stood there till his car disappeared in sight.

Ajoke sighed as she used her fingers to dab her eyes to stop the tears that were threatening to spill. When she gathered her emotions together, she walked back to the graduation venue looking out for Enitan.

His uncle, his aunt and Adisa were about leaving when she got there and she apologized for her time away.

“Oh, it’s fine. Enitan told us you were seeing off a friend that came for your graduation.” Enitan’s aunt said.

“Yes ma.”

“Should we expect to see you soon for a visit?”

“That depends on Enitan, ma.” Ajoke said as she looked at Enitan.

“Okay then. I hope to see her soon.” Enitan’s aunt said smiling as she turned to Enitan.

They all walked to the car park where Kokumo’s car had been parked a few minutes ago and Enitan’s uncle offered to drop Adisa where he could get a bus back home.

The trio eased into the car after congratulating Enitan and Ajoke again with hugs. Enitan’s uncle started the engine while Enitan and Ajoke stood and waved as the car drove away.

********

Ajoke noticed that Enitan was unusually quiet as he drove home. They had earlier agreed to have dinner on their graduation day.

“Are you okay, Enitan?” Ajoke asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Enitan said as he looked at her but his trademark smile was missing.

Enitan parked in front of his residence and eased out of the car without a word. Ajoke was confused as she eased out of the car and walked behind him.

He opened the door and slumped into the couch in the living room as he closed his eyes.

Ajoke stood before him wondering what the problem was. “Enitan, is something wrong? You have been unusually quiet.”

Enitan sat up and looked straight at Ajoke. “Maybe because you decided to disregard my feelings and flaunt your ex-boyfriend before me? Huh? Don’t you think that is enough to make me “unusually” quiet?” He said as he raised his hand to signify his quote.

Ajoke exhaled as she sat down beside him. “Kokumo and I were best friends in secondary school. We had plans for a future together but my parents gave me out in marriage while Kokumo was still in the university. My father wanted me to get married on time because he could not afford a university education. He felt my husband would send me to school. Kokumo and I were heart-broken but there was nothing we could do. I got married, had my kids and met Kokumo again ten years later. He asked why I hadn’t gone back to school and I told him I had a salon already. He reminded me of my dream to become a lawyer and encouraged me to go back to school.”

Ajoke paused as she held Enitan’s hands.

“He bought me the GCE form that same year with all the reading materials that I needed and also bought me the Jamb form the next year. He made sure I did not lack as he provided for me throughout the school sessions.”

“So why didn’t he get married to you?” Enitan asked, a confused look on his face.

“He had a fiancée he was committed to already. Letting him go still remains the most difficult decision I have ever taken. Not long after that, you asked to be my friend. At that point in my life, I was not interested in any man and I felt love was no longer worth it.”

“Do you still love him?”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“I assume that means a yes. So what are you doing with me? Are you playing games with my heart?” Enitan asked as he stood up.

Ajoke could hear and feel his hurt and pain deeply etched in every word he spoke.

“No, Enitan.” She said as she stood up and walked towards him. “I would never do anything to hurt you. Kokumo told me it was obvious that you love me. He asked me to open my heart to you and receive the love you have for me.”

“How else am I meant to show my love for you, Ajoke?” Enitan asked in frustration.

Ajoke held Enitan’s hands as she embraced him. “I’m sorry. I did not want to hurt you.”

“I love you Ajoke. I always have since the day I set my eyes on you.” Enitan whispered into her ears. He kissed the nape of her neck and Ajoke shivered. He pulled her away from his body and cradled her face; tracing his finger on her lips. Ajoke looked at him and the only thing she saw in his eyes was love. He loved her and she was willing to give him a chance. She closed her eyes; it was time to let Kokumo go.

Enitan closed the space between them as he kissed her gently at first. She let out a sigh of surrender as Enitan took her lips and ravaged them in a passionate kiss.

——
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

The Wait – Chapter 18

Ajoke walked to her room; her kids following right behind her. They sat down on her bed and looked at her expectantly. Ajoke dropped her bag on her bed and noticed the look on her children’s faces.

“Why do you both have that look on your faces?” Ajoke asked.

“We want to know how your date went.” Adegbenro said.

Ajoke looked at her son. “What did you discuss with Enitan?”

“He didn’t tell you?” Adegbenro asked.

Ajoke eyed her son. “If he did, I won’t be asking you. He said men stuff. What does that even mean?”

Adegbenro shrugged. “Well, it was men stuff. I was trying to protect my family.”

Ajoke let out her breath as she tried to sit on the bed. Adegbenro and Adebola created a space in between them and she sat down. She pulled her arms around them and looked at each of them.

“I love you both. You know that, don’t you?” She asked them.

They nodded.

“And I want you to be happy.”

“We are happy, mum. But you are not.” Adebola said.

Ajoke smiled sadly as thoughts of Kokumo filtered into her mind. Her kids had been so fond of him and his sudden disappearance had taken them by surprise. They had asked day after day about him but she had refused to provide an answer. She guessed they must have figured out what the issue was.

Adegbenro turned to look at her. “Mum, we want you to be happy. We want you to find love again.”

Ajoke looked at her kids and was surprised. Where was all these coming from? How had her kids grown so fast before her eyes? She smiled as she kissed each one on the cheek.

“We love you too mum.” Adebola said; voicing out their mother’s unspoken thoughts.

They hugged her and laid their heads on her shoulders.

 

Hours later, Ajoke lay on her bed unable to sleep. She tossed and turned as she thought about Kokumo’s last statement to her.

“It would be unfair to you and to those we love if we keep our lives at a standstill. Please don’t do this to us.” Was it time to move on?

 

Enitan opened the door of his apartment and let himself in. The décor in the living room was simple but tasteful in appearance. He picked up a remote from the glass table in the centre of the room and switched on the TV with a button. A newscaster was reading the evening news. He sat down on the sofa directly in front of the TV and watched. His mind was however far away as he only watched the moving images. How long will he have to wait before voicing out his feelings to Ajoke? He had noticed her in their second year. It had not been love at first sight but he had been fascinated by her dogged attitude to her studies. While most ladies in their class were bothered about taking selfies, social media and hanging out with the wanna-bes, she had caught the attention of most of the lecturers with her excellent grades.

Gradually, he began to like her and said “hello” to her anytime she passed by him. He noticed she only came to school when she had lectures and was out immediately after she was through for the day. She did not mix freely like the others and he had wondered why.

He exhaled as he rested his head on the couch. Seeing her family with two grown kids had caught him unawares but it had only strengthened the love he had for her. He had to tell her how he felt, even if it meant she would never talk to him again. He could not hide it forever. Right there in his living room, Enitan made up his mind about Ajoke.

 

A week later, Ajoke was at her shop attending to her customers when she received a phone call from Adebola that she was needed at home.

“What’s the problem?” Ajoke asked.

“Erm….mummy, you need to come home now.”

“Why? Can’t it wait?”

“No mum.” Adebola said.

Ajoke gave instructions to her girls and walked the short distance from her shop to her house. As she approached her house, she wondered what the problem could be. Her kids hardly pulled her away from work. She just hoped it was not something serious.

As she opened the door to her house, she was startled by shouts of “Happy birthday”.  She looked at her kids, surprise clearly written on her face. Adebola and Adegbenro were grinning from ear to ear and they encroached on her space smothering her with hugs and kisses. Ajoke was overwhelmed by the love and a tear slid down her cheek. She looked at the wooden table in the middle of her living room and saw a massive birthday cake and a wrapped box. Her jaw dropped as she looked at her kids.

“How did you do this?” She asked.

Adegbenro smiled. “We got a little help.”

Ajoke’s brows shot up. “From who?”

All of a sudden, Enitan walked in from a corner of the living room. “From me.” He said giving her that smile that always made her heart melt.

Ajoke was at a loss of what to say. “How did you know about my birthday?” She asked him.

“We are in the same class. Have you forgotten?” He said as he closed the space between them stretching out his hands to her. Ajoke took a deep breath as she went into his embrace. She closed her eyes as tears streamed down her cheeks. Was she falling in love with him?

Adegbenro quietly carried the cake from the living room and nodded to his sister as they both left the lovers to discover themselves.

Enitan raised Ajoke’s head up and looked straight into her soul. “I love you Ajoke. I can’t hide it anymore.” He said as he wiped a tear from her cheek.

Ajoke lowered her head.

“Please give me a chance to love you.”

“I’ve got a lot of baggage.” Ajoke sniffed.

“I know.” Enitan said smiling. “It has only strengthened my resolve to take care of you.”

Ajoke looked up and saw love in his eyes. Could he handle her heart which had been splintered into various pieces by Adejoro and Kokumo? What was left of it that she had to give to him?

Enitan held Ajoke’s hand as he walked towards the door.

“Where are we going?”

“We are going for lunch.”

“I haven’t told them.…..” She was saying before Enitan interrupted her.

He beamed a smile at her. “Your son gave me a go ahead.”

Ajoke gave Enitan a puzzled look as she shook her head wondering how much information had passed between Adegbenro and Enitan.

 

Enitan had parked his car a few metres after Ajoke’s house so she hadn’t noticed it when she arrived home earlier. When she saw the spot it was parked, she smiled. He opened the door and she eased into the car quietly. Enitan drove to one of the newly established restaurants on the outskirts of the village.

As they took their seats and waited to be served, Enitan held Ajoke’s hands on the table. “Let me tell you a little story.” He said.

Ajoke nodded and listened.

“There was a young woman who lived in the town of Ilesa. She was given out in marriage to her husband at the age of eighteen. Nine months after her marriage, she had a son who was named Olaitan. The family of three lived happily. She was a petty trader while her husband was a bricklayer. He built houses for the rich and famous. This made him very popular in Ilesa. Two years after; when Olaitan was weaned off his mother’s breasts, she attempted to have another child. One year led to two years, then three years but Mama Olaitan was unable to conceive again. She tried all she could. She visited the herbal doctors and churches but pregnancy eluded her.”

Ajoke shook her head in pity.

“She gave up after some years and decided to face her business and her small family. However, when Olaitan was nineteen, his mother fell ill. Her husband made some herbs for her to drink and some were applied on her body. Her sickness however refused to abate. She fell in and out of sickness for about six months. One day, Olaitan’s friend who was an auxiliary nurse in one of the health centres visited him at home. They had finished from the secondary school together and she had secured a job in the health centre while Olaitan intended to go to the University. She had looked at Mama Olaitan with concern and asked her if she had been to the health centre. The answer was negative. She asked Olaitan to bring his mother to the health centre the next morning.”

The waiter brought their food and Enitan began to eat. He signaled to Ajoke to eat when he noticed she was waiting for him to continue.

“The next morning….” Enitan said as he continued his story. “Olaitan and his mother arrived the health centre early so as to avoid the long queue. Olaitan’s mother was checked by the doctor and it was confirmed that she was six months pregnant. She found it hard to believe what she had heard. Even Olaitan was lost for words. He was going to have a baby brother. Baba Olaitan was overjoyed when he heard the news. However, the joy of the family was cut short when Mama Olaitan died a few minutes after giving birth. Her labour had been prolonged and it was a miracle that the baby survived as both mother and child were in distress.”

“Wow.” Ajoke said as she shook her head.

“That’s not the end of the story.” Enitan said smiling.

“Okay?” Ajoke said. She had finished her food and she pushed the plate away from her.

“Eight days after, the child was named Eni-itan, because his father said he had a story to his birth.”

Ajoke smiled. “This is your story?”

“Yes, that is my story.”

“So your brother took care of you from birth, I assume.”

Enitan took a deep breath. “He gained admission into the University and I had to be left alone with my father. My father got a wet nurse who took care of me till I was a year old. I was seven when we lost our father. He fell from one of the high-rise buildings he was working on. He broke his neck and died on the spot.

Ajoke gasped as her hands flew to her mouth. She stretched out her hands to hold Enitan’s. “I’m so sorry.”

Enitan smiled. “Olaitan had to take me out of the village. He brought me to Lagos to stay with my maternal uncle and his wife. They took care of me till Olaitan graduated and could stand on his feet. The house I live in belonged to Olaitan. He relocated to the United States with his family some years ago. He left his business in my care and we have an agreement on profit-sharing.”

So, Law is your second degree, I presume.”

“Yes, it is.” Enitan smiled. “I have a degree in Business Administration. When I took over my brother’s business, I decided to come back to school and get educated on business law.”

“Wow.” Ajoke said. “This is a whole lot of information in one night.”

“I’m glad I shared it with you. No one in class knows about me.”

“So why did you decide to let me into your life?”

“Because I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Enitan replied.

Ajoke shook her head. “I can’t do this to you, Enitan. You deserve someone better.”

“Shhh……” Enitan said as he put his forefinger on her lips. “I want you and not someone better.”

Ajoke exhaled. If Enitan found out about her past, would he sing a different tune? She had not totally let Kokumo out of her heart. She still loved him even though he was beyond her reach. Sometimes, her nights were so lonely that she reminisced on the time they spent together exploring each other’s bodies with Kokumo making her scream in ecstasy. On such nights, she cried herself to sleep as she longed for the man who had been her first love and had set her body on fire with his touch. 

Memories of Adejoro had become a distant past and she had no feelings left in her heart for him. As far as she was concerned, he was only the father of her children. Would she be able to push thoughts of Kokumo behind and look forward to Enitan’s love? So many questions begged for answers in her life and she knew the ball was in her court to play it as she wished.

——
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

The Wait – Chapter 17

Ajoke was about retiring to bed when her phone rang. She wondered who could be calling her at 9.00p.m. She had gotten home tired but her kids were not ready to let her be. They had missed her and they wanted to chat with her before going to bed. Even though, Iya Ajoke had tried to shoo them away, they had persisted. Eventually, Ajoke had to listen to their gists about school and all that had happened in the last one month while she was away.

She picked up the call after the third ring. “Hello.” She said.

“Hi Ajoke, is it a bad time to call?”

“Hi Enitan.” She said recognizing his voice. “It’s okay. I was just wondering who could be calling me at this time of the day.”

“If it is too late, I can call back tomorrow.” Enitan replied.

“No, it is fine.”

“I just wanted to check up on you.”

“Aww…thanks. I appreciate the gesture.” Ajoke said smiling.

“And erm…I wanted to ask if you would still go out to dinner with me?” Enitan asked unsure of what her answer would be.

Ajoke laughed. “Enitan, do you give up?”

“No, I don’t.” He said breathing a sigh of relief when he heard her laugh. “Is 6p.m tomorrow a good time?”

“Hmm….that’s fine.”

“I’ll pick you at home.” Enitan replied.

“But you don’t even know where I live.” Ajoke said laughing.

“Should we bet on it?”

Ajoke stopped laughing. “You know where I live? Have you been stalking me?”

“Hey relax.” Enitan said when he noticed the tone of her voice had changed. “I know where you live, I mean the street but I don’t know your house. And to your second question; no, I have not been stalking you.”

“So how do you know the street I live on?”

“I visited a friend who lives around your area some months back. We were walking out of his house when I saw you. I asked him if he knew you and he said not really but he pointed your street out to me.”

“Am I supposed to believe you?” Ajoke asked.

“I cross my heart, I have not lied to you.”

“Okay, 6p.m. Call me when you are close by.”

“Thanks Ajoke. I really appreciate this.”

Ajoke grunted. “I hope I don’t regret this.”

“Why would you? I would never hurt you.” Enitan said almost in a whisper.

“See you at 6 tomorrow. I need to catch some sleep.”

“Thanks. Sweet dreams.”

Ajoke refused to respond and ended the call.

 

The next day, Enitan was on Ajoke’s street at about five minutes to six. He parked his car and whipped out his phone from his pocket. “Hi Ajoke, I am on your street. I am by the Majestic shopping complex.” He said when she picked up his call on the first ring.

“Okay, that’s a long walk from my house.”

“I can come closer. Where exactly is your house?”

“It is way down the road; two blocks from the health centre.” She said.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Okay.”

Ajoke looked at herself in the mirror. She was wearing one of the dresses Kokumo had bought for her. She hugged herself as she thought of him. It had been a while she heard from him. The last time, he had sent her a text message that he had a daughter. She had responded with congratulations. A week later, he sent her another text informing her about his daughter’s names. She had refused to respond this time. The thought of another woman having a child for him was enough to dampen her spirit. He still credited her account at the end of every month and she wondered when he would stop.

A knock on her door brought her back to reality. “Mummy, you have a visitor.” She heard her daughter say.

That was fast; she thought. She took one last look at the mirror. She had applied light make-up and she looked simply dressed. She sighed as she opened the door and walked out of her room. Her daughter was standing outside the door. “Do you have a date, mummy?” She asked.

Ajoke smiled. At thirteen, Adebola was becoming self-aware. She always looked out for her mum and her brother, Adegbenro. “Yes dear. Something of the sort.”

“You look beautiful.” Adebola said.

“Thank you darling.” Ajoke replied as she hugged her daughter.

She held her daughter’s hand as they walked into the living room together.

 

“Hi, you look stunning.” Enitan said standing up. Ajoke noticed he had been talking to her son and she wondered what they could be talking about. She also wondered how he knew the exact house she lived in. She however, decided to keep her thoughts to herself.

She gave her son a puzzled look as she greeted Enitan. “Hi Enitan.”

“I was chatting with Adegbenro.” Enitan said smiling when he noticed the look that passed between mother and son. “Are you ready?” He asked.

“Yes, I am.” She said hesitantly.

Adegbenro stood up and hugged his mum. “Have fun.”

“Thank you.” She said.

“Bye mummy. We would wait up, okay?” Adebola said.

“Okay dear.” Ajoke responded as she waved to her kids and walked out of the house with Enitan behind her.

 

As soon as they stepped out of the house, she turned to look at him. “What were you two talking about?”

“Men stuff.” Enitan smiled.

“Like what?” She said rolling her eyes.

Enitan suddenly burst out into laughter.

Ajoke stopped walking and looked at him in confusion. “What is funny?”

“I love the way you just rolled your eyes. It makes you look sexy.”

“Ahh…” Ajoke said with shock.

“C’mon, let’s go have dinner.” Enitan said holding her hand so she could continue walking.

They got to a white Toyota Corolla and Enitan pressed the unlock button on the remote in his hands. He opened the door for Ajoke when he noticed that she stood before the car and kept looking at it. She was speechless and she looked at him when he signaled for her to go into the car. She eased into the car and Enitan closed the door before jogging to the driver’s side.

“You don’t need to say it. I know what’s on your mind.” Enitan smiled as he started the car.

Ajoke looked at him quietly.

“It’s intentional not to drive to school. So I jump buses like every other student.”

Ajoke nodded.

“Hey, loosen up. This is me; I ain’t hiding any other thing.”

“Really?” Ajoke asked with sarcasm.

“Cross my heart.” Enitan said as he did a sign of the cross on his chest.

In a few minutes, they arrived at a classy restaurant and sat at a table for two. The waiters brought a menu for them and they both ordered a light dinner. They made small talk about school while they awaited their dinner. They were through with their dinner and were sipping their drinks as Ajoke spoke about her expectations of their last year in school.

Enitan smiled as Ajoke spoke.

Ajoke looked behind her. “Why are you smiling?” She said as she turned back to look at him.

“I really do like you a lot.”

“Hellooo, we were talking about school?” Ajoke said with sarcasm.

“Yeah, I know. Ajoke, I have watched you this past years and I can’t deny the way I feel about you. Coming to your house today has opened my eyes to see you in a different light.”

“Where is all this coming from?”

“From my heart.” Enitan said as he held her hands on the table.

“I don’t understand. What did you see in my house and what is all this about?”

“Let me take care of you, Ajoke.”

Ajoke pulled her hands from his grip. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me.”

“You are the only one who thinks so.”

“What are you saying? Does this have anything to do with your discussion with Adegbenro? What men stuff did you two talk about?”

“Hey, take it easy.” Enitan said laughing.

“This is not funny, Enitan. Can we leave now?” Ajoke said getting angry.

“Ajoke….” Enitan said stressing her name. “Do I upset you that much?”

Ajoke closed her eyes and exhaled. She was beginning to like him and she actually did not know why she was upset with him.

Enitan stood up and stretched his hand towards her. “Let me take you home.”

Ajoke took his extended hand and they walked out of the restaurant.

 

 

Ajoke was quiet all through the journey home. She looked out of the passenger window and refused to make eye contact with Enitan. Enitan also decided to leave her to her thoughts. He loved her but he could not tell her just yet.

He reminisced on his discussion with her son. Adegbenro had asked him who he was and he had told him he was her course mate and a friend.

Adegbenro had asked him if he was taking her out on a date and he had responded in the affirmative.

“What are your intentions with my mother?”

Enitan had been shocked to hear the word “mother” but he had smiled to conceal his shock.

“I like her a lot and I just want to be friends with her.”

“Don’t mess with my mum. She’s all we’ve got.” Adegbenro had warned him.

He had looked at the young man before him. He loved his confidence and the way he looked out for his mother. There had to be a story behind her having two kids and no husband. He looked round the living room to see if he would see the picture of their father assuming she was a widow but there was none.

 

 

Enitan parked his car in front of Ajoke’s house. She was about to open the door when Enitan stopped her and took her hand. She looked at him and was scared of what she saw in his eyes. No, this is not happening again. Enitan kissed her hand and dropped it carefully. “Thanks for the company.” He said.

Ajoke was at a loss for what to say. “Thanks for the dinner.” She said and stepped out of the car.

Her kids were already at the door by the time she got to her door step. They hugged her and welcomed her back. While Ajoke and Adebola walked in, Adegbenro stood at the door and looked at Enitan. Enitan smiled and nodded at him while Adegbenro nodded back; an unspoken agreement between the two. Enitan put the gear in reverse and drove out of Ajoke’s residence.

——
The story continues…

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The Wait – Chapter 16

Three weeks later, Ajoke returned to school for her fourth year. She buried herself in her studies with the intention to forget about Kokumo. This proved difficult as Kokumo continued to credit her bank account monthly. Everything around her brought back a memory of him; her phone, her dresses, her shoes and every tangible item that she owned. Many nights, she hugged her pillow and cried herself to sleep as she mourned the loss of the only true love that she ever had. Her children noticed that she no longer smiled and asked her what the problem was. How would they understand? She thought as she looked at them. When she refused to say anything to them, they asked her why her best friend, Uncle Kokumo, no longer visited. Tears began to stream down her cheeks and she stood up abruptly lying that she had a headache and needed to rest. Her kids left her alone and she went into her room and lay down on her bed in tears.

In her second semester, one of her lecturers gave the class a project to work on and paired the students in twos.  She was paired with Enitan and given a tight schedule to deliver on their projects. Ajoke stayed up late many nights reading and researching on their project work. For once, her mind was totally off Kokumo. Enitan also brought his own repertoire of knowledge and they both put their energy into the project. They were asked to do a class presentation and Enitan urged Ajoke to present their findings. Even though she was jittery at first, she put in her best. The lecturer was impressed with Ajoke and Enitan’s project and they were rewarded with the highest score. Ajoke was excited that her sleepless nights had not been in vain. As she put her books into her bag prepared to go home, Enitan walked up to her smiling. “Ajoke, your delivery was fantastic.”

“Thank you.” She replied.

“Can I take you to dinner?”

Ajoke stopped and looked up at him. “Why? For what?”

Enitan shrugged. “Just to say thank you.”

“I don’t think that is necessary. Besides, I did not do this alone. If I remember, we were teamed for the project.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

“Enjoy the rest of your evening.” Ajoke said as she slung her bag over her shoulders and walked away.

 

The next day, Ajoke was reading in class when Enitan slid into the seat beside her. Ajoke looked up and frowned. “What do you want?”

Enitan smiled. “Good morning.”

Ajoke nodded. “Morning. How may I help you?”

“C’mon Ajoke, why are you so uptight? I just want to be friends. I’m not going to bite.”

“You know what? I think I should leave now.” Ajoke said packing up her books.

Enitan held her hand trying to stop her from leaving.

“Will you leave me alone? What do you think you are doing?” Ajoke said raising her voice.

Enitan dropped her hand and stood up. “I’m sorry, I will leave.”

As he started walking away, Ajoke felt sorry and called him back. “Enitan.”

He looked back at her.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. Please sit down.”

Enitan smiled. “No, it’s okay. I assumed working together could make us friends. I apologize; my assumptions were wrong.”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“Please go ahead with your reading. I don’t want to be a nuisance.” He said as he walked out of the classroom. For the rest of the semester, Enitan avoided Ajoke.

 

A week to their exams, campus became agog with activities as students began to organize tutorial lectures for themselves while some teamed up to read and burn the midnight candle. Ajoke asked her mother to come over again to stay with the kids, so she could have some time off to read. She stayed up many nights reading but she kept on having difficulty understanding a particular course. The more she read, the more confused she became. She decided to talk to one of her course mates in school the next day.

“Hi Tolani.” Ajoke greeted as she saw her course mate walking towards her.

“Hi Ajoke. How far with your reading? I won’t be surprised if you dust us again this semester.” Tolani sneered.

“Abeg, leave that matter jare.” Ajoke replied smiling. “I need help with Taxation. Anyone handling tutorials on it?”

“Ahn.…ahn, I’m surprised you are asking me.” Tolani looked at her in astonishment.

“What do you mean?”

“Is it not your team mate organizing the tutorials?”

“My team mate?” Ajoke asked.

“Yes nau, Enitan. He is the pro in taxation and he has been doing tutorials for the past three days.”

“Oh right!” Ajoke said surprised.

Tolani eyed her. “Everyone knows both of you are first class materials. I’m sure that is why Mr. Subomi teamed you guys together.” She harrumphed.

“Let me go find him.” Ajoke said ignoring Tolani’s comment.

 

Enitan was seated in class in a corner reading. He was so engrossed in his book that he did not notice that Ajoke was standing before him. Ajoke had to announce her presence by clearing her throat.

“Hi Ajoke.” Enitan said looking up with a smile.

He always has a smile on his face; Ajoke thought. “Hi. I guessed I would find you here.” Ajoke said a bit uneasy. She knew after the last encounter with him, he clearly avoided her.

“Please sit down.” He said tapping the seat beside him.

Ajoke sat down with her palms in her laps. “I am sorry about the last incident. It looks like you have been avoiding me.” She said.

“Avoiding you? No, I haven’t.” Enitan shrugged. “You came to school for a reason and it looked like your intention was to stick to that reason and avoid any fraternities.”

Ajoke wondered how she was going to ask for help considering that she hadn’t been particularly nice to him.

“So how may I help you? I’m sure you did not come here to talk about our last encounter.” Enitan said turning to face her.

“I need help with Taxation.” Ajoke said avoiding his eyes and glad that he had gone straight to the point.

“Okay. When do you want us to start? Right now?”

“Huh….erm….yeah, if you don’t mind.”

Enitan smiled in his trademark way. “I don’t.”

“Thank you.” Ajoke said.

“You are always welcome.”

After two hours, Ajoke was satisfied that the course which had given her sleepless nights will be a walkover for her during the exams. She thanked Enitan again before leaving him alone to continue his reading.

 

Taxation was the last paper on the exam schedule. Ajoke decided to make Enitan her reading partner and they both sat together in class reading, sharing and comparing notes and handouts. Enitan made sure he continued to refresh Ajoke’s memory on all he had taught her anytime they read together. In three weeks, exams were over and students heaved a sigh of relief.

As Ajoke walked out of the hall after her last paper, she met Enitan sitting on a bench opposite the class. He stood up as she approached him. A smile played broadly on his lips. “How was it?” He asked as she fell in line with him.

“Easier than I imagined.” Ajoke said smiling. “I should say thank you again.”

“Oh come on. How many times will you do that?” He asked as they started walking towards the main gate of the campus.

“Well, I don’t know how I would have written that exam without your help; so better get ready to hear another thank you when the results are out.”

Both of them burst out into laughter.

They got to the gate and stood at the bus-stop waiting for buses that will take them to their different destinations.

“Would you mind giving me your number?”

“Not at all.” Ajoke reeled out her mobile number to Enitan who saved it immediately on his phone.

They stood chatting and laughing at the bus-stop until the buses going towards their destinations arrived.

—–
The story continues…

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