Tag Archives: Tears of love

The Wait – Chapter 3

Ajoke sneaked out of her house through the path that led to the stream. She had been restless all day. She had missed Kokumo and wanted to see him today at all costs. She knew there was no way her father or her elder brothers would allow her visit a man but she had to. It had been about four months since she saw Kokumo. The last day being the day they had written their final exams. They had promised each other to keep in touch by writing letters but she had not received any letter from him in over a month. His last letter informed her that he had been given admission into the University of Lagos and that he would be picking up his letter in a few days. She wondered if getting into the University had suddenly erased her from his memory. She had no idea of where his house was located but she was willing to make an attempt.

She took out the sheet of paper on which Kokumo had scribbled his house address. She smiled as she looked at his cursive handwriting. The same handwriting which many of their classmates had fallen in love with.  She quickly folded the sheet of paper carefully and put it in the pocket of her dress. She had saved up a little change by selling the garri processed by her mum a few naira higher. She reckoned that one day, she would need cash. Today happened to be the day and the few cash she had saved up was coming in handy.

 

As she sat in the public bus taking her towards Kokumo’s village, she thought about the good times they spent together reading, walking home and sharing the snacks bought by Kokumo. She hoped those University girls she always heard about in skimpy wears hadn’t diverted Kokumo’s attention away from her.

The bus arrived at the last stop and she disembarked looking around like a lost child. Who could she ask for directions?

“Excuse me, ma.” She said to an elderly lady who was about disembarking from the same bus.

“Yes.” The woman responded looking at her impatiently.

“Ë jò ó mà. Àlejò ni mí ní àdúgbò yìí.” (Please ma, I am a stranger in this town). “Títì Alábéré ni mò n lö.” (I am going to Alabere street).

The woman looked at her and pointed to her left. “Títì Alábéré nì yën bèun.” (That is Alabere street over there).

Ajoke curtsied to indicate her thanks before proceeding to walk towards Alabere street. As she got to the beginning of the street, she took out the sheet of paper again to reconfirm her destination. As she walked down the street, she thought about what she would tell Kokumo’s parents. What would be her mission in his house since he was in school? How would she introduce herself to them? She suddenly realized that she hadn’t thought about all these before leaving her house. Now that she was almost at her destination, she suddenly felt foolish that she had been spontaneous about her decision to visit Kokumo’s house.

She saw the number 23 glowing in red paint from afar and knew that she had arrived her destination. The modest house was built far away from the road. Compared to other houses, it looked modern. She stood on the road and continued to look at the house. She suddenly developed cold feet and wasn’t sure she had made the right decision. She was still contemplating on what to do when she heard someone whistling a song behind her. She would recognize that voice even in her dreams. She turned back and walking towards her was Kokumo. He had a hoe over his shoulders and his brows beaded with sweat. Her jaws dropped as she looked at him.

Kokumo stopped whistling immediately he saw Ajoke standing by the entrance to his compound. He used the sleeve of his buba to wipe his brow as he dropped his hoe on the floor. Was it truly Ajoke? He wondered. He stood still and bowed his head, expecting to be scolded by her for not going ahead to fulfill his dreams but was surprised when he heard her sobbing. He looked up in shock, unable to form words.

“Kokumo, why?”

Kokumo shook his head in confusion.

“You were supposed to go to the university, so we could have a better life together.” Ajoke said sobbing.

Kokumo closed the space between them and hugged her. He had missed her so much but had felt ashamed to write to tell her about the change of plans. “Let’s go inside and talk.” He said.

He picked up his hoe from the floor and held her hand as they walked into his compound.

 

Kokumo entered into the house, kept the hoe in its place and retrieved a low stool. He put the stool on the floor in the front pavement of his house and asked Ajoke to sit down.

Ajoke shook her head. “I can’t afford to stay late. I did not tell anyone where I was going.”

Kokumo sighed. “I would not delay you, Ajoke. I need you to sit down so you can listen to what I have to say.”

Ajoke sat down reluctantly.

“My father is dead, Ajoke. He died on the day I received my admission letter from Unilag.”

Ajoke looked up at Kokumo, tears filling up her eyes again. “I’m sorry. I did not know.”

Kokumo smiled sadly. “Yes, I know. I couldn’t bring myself to write to explain everything to you. I had to defer my admission till some other time so I could earn a living.”

“How naïve I was to have thought you were getting distracted in school.”

“I love you, Ajoke. Nothing and no one can get me distracted from you. I was only ashamed that I had to forget about school in the meantime and go to the farm.”

“There is no reason to be ashamed.” Ajoke said as she smiled despite her tears. “I am proud of you.”

Kokumo moved closer to Ajoke as she pulled her up into a hug. They sobbed on each other’s shoulders as they stood together locked in an embrace.

As Ajoke continued to sob, Kokumo lifted up her face and was about to plant a kiss on her lips when he heard someone cough. He stopped and looked as he noticed his mother watching them. In their grief, they had failed to notice that she had walked into the compound.

 

Iya Kokumo had decided to go home early. She wanted to rest as she noticed she was getting tired easily these days. She put the blame on her sleepless nights thinking about Baba Kokumo. As she trudged home, the only thing on her mind was her bed. She was therefore taken aback when she saw Kokumo in an emotional embrace with a young lady. He had never mentioned having any woman, so the sight before her had been shocking. He was about to kiss her when she knew she had to announce her presence.

 

“Màámi, ë káàbò mà. Ë kú àt’àárò.” (My mother, welcome back). Kokumo said suddenly startled. “Ë mà tètè dé lôní.” (You are back early today?).

“Ëkáàsán mà.” (Good afternoon ma). Ajoke said getting down on her two knees to greet Iya Kokumo.

“Káàsán o.” (Good afternoon). Iya Kokumo said as she looked at Ajoke and ignored Kokumo’s statement. “Ömö tani é o? Látì ibo lo ti wá?” (Whose daughter are you and where are you from?). She asked with sarcasm.

Ajoke looked up but swiftly bent her head again, still on her knees. “Ömö Bàbá Àdìsá ni mí láti ìlu Ìpájà.” (I am the daughter of Baba Adisa from Ipaja village).

“Hmm……” Iya Kokumo grunted.

“Màámi, ë jé ka wölé.” (My mother, let us go in). Kokumo said to his mother, uncomfortable with the way she eyed and questioned Ajoke.

Iya Kokumo looked at her son, her eyes intense. “Sé ìwö ni mò n bá sòrò ni?” (Was I talking to you?).

“Rárá, máámi.” (No, my mother). Kokumo responded uneasily.

“Óyá ní ilé bàbá ë, ki n tó la ojú mi.” (To your father’s house before I open my eyes). Iya Kokumo closed her eyes as she pointed towards the entrance of her compound.

“Màámi!” Kokumo protested but Ajoke was already on the feet and running out of the compound. “Màámi!” Kokumo said again as he looked at his mother in anger.

“Àfara sí inu’lé báyìí.” (Into the house right now). She commanded her son.

But Kokumo stood rooted to the spot refusing to heed his mother’s command.

“Sé ò gbó mi ni?” (Did you not hear me?) Iya Kokumo asked her son.

“Mo gbó yin màámi, sùgbôn mi ò kín s’ömödé mó.” (I heard you clearly my mother, but I am no longer a child).

With that, Kokumo walked away from his mother. He ran towards the direction Ajoke had gone in a bid to catch up with her.

 

Ajoke was at the bus garage already when Kokumo found her. It was obvious that she had been crying as she still sniffed and wiped her eyes intermittently with her hands. A bus going towards her destination had filled up and was about proceeding on its journey. The next bus moved forward to take the space of the previous bus. Ajoke opened the passenger door and was about to board the bus when Kokumo closed the distance between them. As she eased into the bus, Kokumo climbed in after her.

She hadn’t noticed anyone was waiting and she had been surprised. She turned to see Kokumo taking the seat beside her.

“Kokumo?” She looked at him with surprise. “What do you think you are doing?”

“I meant it when I told you that I love you. Do you need me to prove it again?”

Tears gathered around the corner of Ajoke’s eyes as she looked at him.

“I promise that I would make enough money to go back to school. And when I am done, we would get married.” Kokumo said as he cradled her face.

The tears that had been threatening to spill made their way down Ajoke’s cheek as she nodded.

Kokumo looked around him. When he noticed no one paid attention to them, he planted a full kiss on Ajoke’s lips.

Ajoke shivered and Kokumo laid her head on his shoulder.

The bus started to fill up with passengers. Ajoke raised her head and looked at Kokumo. “When are you going back home? The bus is almost full.” She asked as she looked behind them.

“I will return when I know you are safely in your father’s house.”

“You are what?” Ajoke shouted. “You can’t go home with me.”

Kokumo smiled as he held her hand. “Stop shouting. Other passengers may hear us. I have not said I am going home with you. I only said I will return when you are safely in your father’s house.”

Ajoke exhaled as the driver shut the door of the bus. The driver took his seat beside the young lovers as he kicked the engine of the bus.

The journey to Ajoke’s home began as the couple hugged each other. Even though other passengers chatted all through the journey, Ajoke and Kokumo stayed quiet savouring the closeness of their bodies. No words were spoken between them till they arrived their destination.

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The story continues…..

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 18

“Hey dawg, what have you been up to?” Kunle asked.

“Well, the usual”. Chinedu said as he locked the door to the house; his phone cradled between his shoulder and his right ear. “And you?”

“Just lazing around. Everything seems calm for now”.

“Meaning?”

“Tochukwu has decided to give you a wide distance for now”.

Chinedu laughed. “And what did you tell her to achieve that feat?”

“Sincerely, nothing. She asked to see me. We spoke and she said she was letting you go for now”.

“For now?”

“Yes, she asked that I talk to you to give her an opportunity to prove that she loves you; should you and Fadeke decide to call it quits”.

“Well, we aren’t calling it quits. I’m on my way to see her as we speak”.

“Good for you. I’d talk to you later, lover boy”.

“Hey, get off my phone”. Chinedu said as he quit the call laughing.

 

Kunle walked around his living room absentminded. Since Tochukwu’s threat, his obsession with Fadeke’s body had died a natural death. He breathed deeply. It was a good sign that he was over her. He was glad that Chinedu did not in any way find out about his obsession and considering Tochukwu’s new stance, he knew there was no way he was ever going to find out. As he said a silent thanks to God, he hoped Tochukwu’s new attitude would last for a long time to come.

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Fadeke spotted Chinedu immediately she walked into the café. He sat positioned at a corner a little secluded. They must have been thinking alike as the corner was not a place where he could easily be seen. He wanted some privacy with her and that spot had provided just what he wanted. She wore a bright orange top on deep blue jeans and had her hair swept backwards and held behind. She put on dark shades to conceal her eyes as she did not want to attract attention. She had simply told her mum that she wanted to see a friend down the road. The dark shades had been a good cover as her mum had not noticed the redness of her eyes. For the moment, she forgot all her worries and smiled. She hugged him on getting to him and wished she could go beyond that.

“Hey baby”. Chinedu said as he pulled her closer to himself. He did not want her sitting across. “You don’t know how much I have missed you”.

She hit him on the chest playfully. “I was at your house yesterday, remember?”

His smile reached his eyes. “Well, I haven’t been able to think about anything since then. You have practically seized my thoughts”.

He tried to take her shades off but she resisted. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I just don’t want to take it off”.

He held her hand. “Fadeke, talk to me. Did anything happen yesterday after you left my place?”

She refused to say a word and started fidgeting with her hands. Chinedu noticed and instantly knew there was something amiss. She did that only when she was anxious about something. He tipped her chin upwards and looked at her through the shades. “Do you know how much I love you?”

To Love & to Hold 29

The statement was the ice breaker as tears started dropping down her cheeks like an open tap. He removed the shades from her face and was shocked to see the bags under her eyes. He pulled her close and was thankful that they sat at a secluded corner. She laid her head on his chest and for a few minutes, she sobbed without making a sound. Chinedu, lost in thought, stroke her back. What could have gone wrong between his house yesterday and this morning when he called her? Could she have been scolded for visiting him at home? He sincerely hoped it wasn’t what he thought.

To Love & to Hold 29b

When she stilled from the sobs, he lifted her head gently from his chest and kissed her slowly and passionately. She kissed him back with as much passion cradling and holding him tight as if her life depended on it.

“I’m sorry I broke down”. She said smiling.

He wiped the tears on her cheeks. “Why did you stain my sweet poff poff cheeks with so many tears?”

She blushed and sighed. “I don’t know how to say this”.

“Say it anyhow you deem fit”.

“My mum is against our relationship, or should I say she voiced out my dad’s stance”.

Chinedu looked at her for a while and said nothing. When he refused to say anything, she looked up at him. “You are not saying anything”.

He sighed. “Is it because of my tribe?”

She was stunned that he was being so direct about it.

“You shouldn’t be surprised. My mum also had her misgivings before I brought you home”.

“Really?”

“Yes, she did. But she eventually accepted you, right?”

“Yeah. So what are you saying?”

“That they could change their minds later”.

“Don’t tell me you want me to take you to my parents”.

“Not if you do not want to”.

“I would love to but…..”

He caught her mid-sentence and cupped her face in his hands. “You are scared that I would not be accepted?”

She simply nodded. “My mum was so emphatic about it. She said my dad had vowed that none of his children, me especially, would get married to anyone from your tribe. She refused to see reasons with me. I had to make her promise to keep our discussion a secret. She went as far as saying all hell would be let loose if my dad found out”.

“That bad?”

“Yes. I’m so confused, Chinedu. I don’t know what to make of the issue”.

He pulled her closer and kissed her. “We’d take it one step at a time. For now, let’s leave out visiting your parents”. They sat cuddled in each other’s arms for another two hours talking about different issues. What mattered for now was the love they had for each other. Their families, notwithstanding, they were determined to stick together.

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 17

“Calm down”. Chinedu said for the umpteenth time.

“Okay!”

He held her hands and smiled. “Do you realize how many times you have said the word “okay”?”

Chinedu had gone to the café to pick her as promised. On getting home, his mother had dropped a message with Ibrahim that she needed to get to her shop and would be back in a few minutes. Fadeke had voiced out her anxiety, fidgeting endlessly.

“I’m just not sure of what to expect”.

He touched her cheeks. “My mum isn’t going to eat you, my sweet “poff poff” cheeks?

She smiled and tried to relax. She hoped her first meeting with Chinedu’s mother would be pleasant.

“I’m sorry, Chinedu. I had to dash down to the shop”. His mother said apologizing as she walked into the house.

Still flustered, Fadeke quickly untwined her hands from Chinedu’s.

“It’s okay, mum”. He said standing up; holding Fadeke as he did. “This is Fadeke; Fadeke, my mum.”

“Good afternoon ma”. She said going down on her knees.

“My goodness”. She moved quickly to raise her up. “I can see why my son is so in love. You are beautiful”.

To Love & to Hold 28

Fadeke looked down shyly. “Thank you ma”.

“Have you been offered anything in my absence?”

She looked unsure of what her answer would portray and decided to play safe. “I’m okay, ma”.

“Please feel free. Let me get you something to drink”. She said ignoring her earlier response.

As his mum walked out of the living room, Chinedu tugged her by the arm. “You okay?”

“I think so”. She said as she clasped her hands.

He sat down on the couch and tapped his side. “Come and sit”.

She was still fidgeting and continued to clasp and squeeze her hands.

“If you continue fidgeting and refuse to relax, I promise I’m going to give you a full kiss right here”. He warned.

“Oh no, Chinedu, please”. She begged. “I’m relaxing”. She said as she willed herself to be still.

********

Two hours later, Fadeke and Chinedu walked out of the house hand in hand. “I like your mum. She’s so funny and I love her attitude to issues of life”. She smiled.

“Well, she sees only the bright side of life. She is my driving force. She gives me a reason to push and make the best of all situations”.

She stood to look at him. “I am glad I met her. Thanks, you made my day”.

“You also made mine, love”. He looked lovingly into her eyes.

********

“So, mum, what do you think?” Chinedu asked as he sat beside his mum on the couch.

“Honestly?”

“Yes mum, honestly”.

“She’s well bred.  She’s beautiful. She’s intelligent”.

“And?” He asked expectant.

“She’d make a good wife”.

“You sure about that?”

“Were you expecting me to say otherwise?” She asked nudging him.

“Considering that I have fallen madly in love with her, I don’t think otherwise would have made a difference”.

“Then go ahead and do the right thing”.

“I will mum, I will”.

As he lay on his bed that night, sleep eluded him. His mum had asked him to do the right thing and he needed to do it sooner than later. He thought about how his mum had gladly accepted Fadeke. He did not think he would get anything other than an acceptance from Fadeke’s parents. Her parents were learned and according to her, accepted all tribes. Tomorrow, he would discuss with her. For now, he was going to go to bed dreaming about her for she had become his love and his life.

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“Mum, can I talk to you for a moment?” Fadeke asked.

Her mother looked up from the fashion magazine she was reading and readjusted her glasses. “Yes, my dear. Come sit with me”. She was sitting in the den outside her room and had a glass of strawberry tea beside her on a stool.

“I need you to keep this a secret for now”.

“Okay”. She said as she sat upright. Whatever her daughter had to say needed her utmost attention.

“I’m dating someone”. Fadeke said and waited for a reaction from her mum. Seeing none, she continued, “And I love him very much. I went to visit his mum today”.

“You did what?”

She looked backwards to be sure they hadn’t stirred up anyone. “Mum, keep your voice down. It’s late”.

“What did you just say you did?” She whispered.

“I went to see his mum. It was just an ordinary visit”.

“Fadeke, you haven’t brought him home yet. You can’t go around visiting mothers of people you are dating”.

“Mum, I went to visit Chinedu’s mother not mothers of people I am dating. Chinedu is the only one I am dating and I did not see any harm in what I did”.

“You are dating an Ibo boy?” (Eastern part of Nigeria)

“Yes, I am. Anything wrong with that?”

“Everything is wrong. Your dad must not hear this. He has vowed that none of his children will marry from that tribe especially you, his daughter”.

“But mum, the tribe does not make the person. Chinedu is really sweet and he loves me very much”.

“Hush” She said shutting her up. “You are just 17 and too young to recognize true love”.

To Love & to Hold 28b

“I’m no longer a child, mum. I know true love when I see it and that’s what Chinedu has shown me”.

“Go to bed, Fadekemi. I have had enough for the night”.

“Mum….”

“I said go to bed. What we have discussed this night remains between the two of us because all hell would be let loose if your father finds out”.

Fadeke sighed. “Goodnight mum”.

“Goodnight. I hope you sleep over what I have just told you and change your mind”.

After two hours on the bed, Fadeke still tossed and turned. What could her father possibly have against the Ibo tribe? Why would her mum want to jettison her happiness over an excuse as flimsy as a tribal issue? Were they not all Nigerians? She hadn’t even accepted that she was old enough to be in a relationship. So many questions without answers. A tear slid down her cheek as she thought about how much she loved Chinedu. Was this going to be the launch of the end of their relationship? A relationship they had both nurtured with so much love? She broke into sobs and dug her face into her pillow. She was torn between her parents and Chinedu and it was breaking her heart. She hugged her pillow and sobbed until she fell asleep.

To Love & to Hold 28c

Fadeke’s mobile phone kept on ringing persistently. She had placed it on the little side drawer by her bed and whoever was calling had decided to keep calling until she picked up. Today was a day she wanted to speak with no one. She had cried herself to sleep and had a very bad headache. She put a pillow over her head so she wouldn’t hear the phone. For a moment, the phone stopped ringing and she was glad that she could go back to sleep. She was going to stay in bed for as long as she could. She pulled the duvet cover closer and buried herself under them. Just as she was beginning to drift back to sleep, the phone started ringing again.

“Oh, what is it again?” She hissed.

She turned to her side and winced. She needed to take pain relievers. She picked up the phone and yelled. “What?”

“Are you okay, my love?”

She heard his whisper and regretted immediately that she hadn’t looked at the caller ID. She tried to sit up but with the persistent headache decided it was best she lay down.

“I’m sorry. I should have looked at the caller ID”.

“Had someone else been harassing you?”

“No, not at all. Ouch”. She winced as the headache got worse.

“What’s wrong, Fadeke?” He asked getting uneasy.

“Nothing darling. I just have this bad headache”.

“Did you sleep late?”

She thought about her discussion with her mum the previous night. There was no future with Chinedu.

“Hello, hello…”

She suddenly realized that she had drifted away. “I’m still here. What did you say?”

“Please talk to me, baby. You don’t sound okay. Do you want me to come over or would you meet me some place so we can talk?”

She thought about the idea of going out. Even though, she really did not want to get out of bed, what she did need right now was to be with Chinedu. “Meet me at the Posh café in about 2 hours. I’d go have my bath and take some pain killers. We need to talk”.

“Ok then. I’ll be waiting”.

Chinedu held onto the phone and was lost in thought. Fadeke was in high spirits yesterday, so he couldn’t fathom what could have caused the sudden change of attitude. Whatever it was, he was determined to get to the root. He looked at his wrist watch and decided to get dressed. He wanted to get to the café early enough as he did not want to keep her waiting.

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 15

Tochukwu had been heartbroken after Chinedu’s refusal to date her. Even though Kunle had tried to talk Chinedu into taking advantage of the situation, he had been adamant. There was no use dating her if he did not love her; Chinedu had said. When Chinedu gave him the liberty to take his place, he had been so elated. To him, Tochukwu was going to be another of his conquests. He had stalked her for two days in a bid to find out where she stayed outside campus. With that accomplished, he decided to pay her a visit.

That fateful Saturday morning, he had left his hostel very early and was knocking at her door at 7.45am. Tochukwu, who was still in bed had risen up to open the door after a couple of knocks.

“What are you doing here?” She asked surprise clearly written on her face. She was still in her baby doll negligee but was not in the least bothered that it was a see-through. Kunle was seeing her without make-up for the first time and he wondered why she bothered to use one. She was very pretty with deep set eyes which were accentuated by high cheek bones. She was truly a beauty to behold. “Damn, what was Chinedu thinking about refusing this damsel?” He thought as he looked from her face to her see-through negligee.

“Excuse me? I asked what you are doing here at this time of the day.” She asked again seeing that he was obviously carried away.

“I came to say hi. Can I come in?”

“Okay”. She replied stepping aside while stifling a yawn. “Did you have to come say hi this early? It’s a quarter to 8.” She continued as she looked up at the clock on the wall.

“I’m sorry if I woke you up. I just felt you would need company, being a weekend. So, I decided to make myself available”. He smiled as she tried to stifle another yawn.

“Why are you smiling?”

“I guess you are still sleepy”.

“Anyway, how is Chinedu?” She asked taking her bath robe from her wardrobe.

“He’s okay. He’s still himself”. He shrugged sitting down on her bed and taking a good look round her room.

“Just okay? Does he talk about me? I mean, do I stand a chance with him?” She asked. “I’m sorry to bombard you with questions about Chinedu but you are his best friend; can you put in a word for me? She pleaded as she sat with her legs crossed on the bed and propped herself up with pillows.

“Tochukwu, I sincerely think you should give up your dream of being with Chinedu”.

“Why? I won’t give up on him”.

“He is my best friend and I can tell you categorically that he is not interested in dating anyone for now. You are a very pretty lady. Why waste your time on someone who won’t appreciate you and what you’ve got?” He cajoled.

“Thanks. I’m flattered but do you know how hurting it is to be rejected by someone you love so much. I haven’t even been given an opportunity to prove myself”. She said as her eyes filled with tears.

To Love & to Hold 25

“Hey baby, leave Chinedu alone and let him go. You shouldn’t do this to yourself”. He said moving closer to console her. “The fact that Chinedu doesn’t want you has not stopped other men from desiring you”. He continued as he wiped her tears which were now spilling down her cheeks.

She desired Chinedu so much that she felt heartbroken by his rejection. If only he could give her just one opportunity. She would shower him with so much love that none could compare. “Can’t you convince him?” She asked breaking into uncontrollable sobs.

“I won’t deceive you, Tochukwu. No amount of convincing would change his mind. He is as stubborn as a mule”. He said as he pulled her closer to himself. He wondered why she was breaking apart over his best friend who cared no less about her feelings. As she rested her head on his shoulders crying, he felt pity for her. He pulled back her hair which had dropped to cover her face and kissed her tear-stained cheeks. He noticed that she did not resist and went further to kiss the nape of her neck. She seemed to be lost in her world of grief and he decided to plant a full kiss on her mouth. At first, she tried to push him away, preferring to remain in anguish but his insistence took the better part and right there; she gave herself entirely to him.

To Love & to Hold 25b

As they both lay in her bed savouring the moment they just had together, she raised her head a little to look at him. “Kunle, we shouldn’t have done this”.

“I know but you were grieving so much that it just happened”.

“But it was wrong of you to have taken advantage of the situation. I love Chinedu and I intend to get him at all costs”.

“Hmm…..” He said as he rose up to get dressed. “I’m sorry if you think I took advantage of you. It wasn’t intentional. As for Chinedu, I think you should give up the fight. I really like you a lot and I think we could roll together”.

“You can’t be serious. You think this one-time together would give you leeway. I would advise you erase what just happened from your memory and never mention it to Chinedu”. She hissed.

“Cool. I won’t mention it to him but I think you should sincerely consider my offer. You are only going to remain hurt trying to win him over. He won’t budge. I know him more than you do. Besides, I have got a lot to offer. You are too pretty to keep on hurting over someone who doesn’t care about you”.

“Thanks for the offer but I would rather keep on trying. Please close the door after you and remember what happened in here must not be heard by a third party”. She said as she pulled up her bed cover, dismissing him.

The knock on the door brought Kunle out of his reverie. He looked at his wristwatch. It was a quarter after 3.00pm already. The knock grew persistent, irritating him. He flung the magazine on his bed and stood up to open the door. Tochukwu was carrying a travel bag slung across her chest, still chewing her gum. Without a word, he stepped aside for her to come in.

“Don’t you think you should have gotten back to me before now?” She asked in disgust.

“I guess I was the only one writing exams, right?”

“Very good excuse. Exams have been over for close to a week now. Anyway, I did not come here to trade words with you. I came for results”. She replied as she pulled her bag over her head to drop it on the bed.

“The result is as it has always been. He does not want you”.

“And you couldn’t convince him? I hope you are not thinking you would get out of this so soon and very easy. You can’t be free until Chinedu is mine”. She spat.

“Look Tochukwu, I have tried my best. You knew before we dated that he never wanted anything to do with you so why would you put me under undue pressure now? If you think you have got information that can ruin my friendship with him, please go ahead; I don’t care. You can’t continue to threaten me over nothing”. He replied angrily.

To Love & to Hold 26

“What’s that supposed to mean? Don’t dare me. You don’t wanna know what I’m capable of doing”.

“What are you capable of? Tell me. What exactly can you do? You are just a miserable bitch”. He said raising his voice. “I don’t even know why I am wasting my time talking to you when I should be on my way home”. He continued as he lifted up his travel bag from the bed.

“Kunle, you called me a miserable bitch? You will know what a miserable bitch is capable of doing by the time I am through with you. I would so ruin you that there would be nothing left to salvage”.

“Get out of my room”.

“I would be back. I promise you”.

 

As Tochukwu sat behind the driver who had been assigned to pick her up from school, she reminisced on what had just taken place in Kunle’s room. He had dared her and she was going to ruin him. She always got whatever she wanted but her desire for Chinedu was proving to be beyond her reach.

***********

Her parents, Chief and Chief (Mrs.) Abanum had been married for twelve years without a child. Every form of medical test was carried out but doctors continually confirmed that they were both medically fit to have kids. When Mrs. Abanum had gotten pregnant for the first time after twelve years, her husband had flown her abroad; away from the prying eyes of relatives. It had been a battle to keep his marriage as his relatives had continually advised him to get a fertile virgin from the village to bear him kids. All sorts had been insinuated about his wife; she had eaten up all her kids, she had handed them over to the queen of the river, she had sold them to ritual killers for wealth and so on.

After Tochukwu was born, her parents tried having more kids but were unsuccessful. Therefore, it did not come as a surprise to all who knew them that they pampered their daughter to no end. Everything she wanted, she got. Every school vacation was an opportunity for her to travel abroad and travel round, she did. She was the typical spoilt child who never cared whose ox was gored as long as she got whatever she wanted. She therefore, grew up to become self-centered and spared no one her tantrums; her parents inclusive.

As she bit her lips in anger, she thought about what she could do to teach Kunle a lesson he would never forget. She could call Chinedu and tell him that his best friend was scheming to date his girlfriend. She could even say she saw them together in a compromising position. That way, she could also get back at Fadeke. She also needs to be dealt with. As she considered what her next line of action would be, a thought filtered through her mind. Would Chinedu believe me? There was a high possibility that he wouldn’t. She knew he loved Fadeke too much to believe any cock and bull story cooked up about her. Kunle, on the other hand, had come a long way with Chinedu. All the odds are against me and I’m going to end up the loser. It won’t be a big deal if I lost Fadeke’s friendship, but I am definitely not ready to lose my prospects with Chinedu.

She thought about what she could do. Chinedu was slipping off her hands; a fact that stared her in the face. The threat she issued to Kunle was also going awry. She had assumed she could wrap him around her fingers for a while and make him do as she wished. But her plan wasn’t working as expected any longer. She chewed on her fingers and soliloquized, “Tochi, think, think!”

To Love & to Hold 26b

“Sorry small madam, were you talking to me?” The driver asked looking back.

She suddenly realized that she was still in the car. “Talking to you?” She hissed. “Abeg, face front. Who is talking to you?”

“Sorry ma”.

She looked at her wristwatch. It was a quarter to 7.00pm. She rubbed her temples trying to ease the headache that was setting in. What she needed now was good food and a bed to lay her head. The troubles of the day had taken a toll on her. Tomorrow was another day.

——————

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 4

Chinedu noticed Fadeke walking towards his direction, engrossed in a discussion with her friends. As she saw him, she froze, said something to her friends and took another turn. He decided to take the turn as well to catch up with her at the opposite end. She sighted him again coming from the opposite end and was about to turn back when he jogged up to her.

“Fadeke, what’s wrong? Why have you been avoiding me?” He said holding her by the arm.

She simply looked at him and turned her face away. “Can we talk somewhere private?” He asked sensing her tension.

“Whatever you say”. She had missed him so much and could not deny it. Avoiding him had been more difficult than she had thought. He had been coming to her lecture hall every day for the past one week and she had always sneaked out of the hall just before lectures ended. That was the best way to avoid him, she thought. Sometimes, she saw him chatting with his friends but she always avoided their path. She longed for him but she was scared of getting hurt.

As he held her arm, he triggered feelings she thought were dead. She wished she could embrace him and tell him how much she had missed him. She wished he could promise her that he wasn’t like the other guys Tochukwu had talked about. She wished he could tell her that everything would be okay.

They walked to a secluded bench resting under a tree far from the prying eyes of all. He sat down and waited for her to sit down as well, but she decided to stand.

“Fadeke, please sit down. We need to talk”.

“Go on. I’m listening”.

“Babe, I can’t talk to you this way”. He pulled her towards himself and she fell into his embrace and broke down in tears. She sobbed uncontrollably and all he did was soothe her. He didn’t understand what was going on and he prayed in his heart that she would open up to him.

To Love & to Hold 10

When her body stilled from the sobs, he raised her head and cupped her face with his hands. “What did I do wrong?” He asked.

“Nothing”. She said tears still streaming down her eyes.

He tried to understand. “So, why have you been avoiding me?”

“I don’t want to get hurt”.

Chinedu looked at her for a second and sighed. “I would never hurt you, Fadeke. I meant it when I told you I love you”. He said wiping her tear-stained cheeks.

“And what happens to me next year when a new set of freshers come in?”

All of a sudden, it dawned on him. She must have heard about the “Use and Dump” tradition on campus. How was he going to convince her that he was for real? That he wasn’t like all the other guys on campus who were just using the girls to catch their fun. He sighed and shook his head. This was going to be more difficult than he had anticipated. Fadeke’s voice jolted him back to reality.

“I asked what happens to me after one year”.

“Fadeke, I won’t pretend that I do not know what you are talking about. You have probably heard about what guys do on campus. I would speak for myself. I promise that I would never do that to you. Just so you know; you are the first girl I would open up to. I have been in this school for three years and I haven’t asked anyone out till date. Every year, I see a new set of freshers but I made a personal decision not to date unless I was sure about it”.

“My roommate was jilted a few weeks back and she’s hurting real bad”.

“Babe, I understand how you feel. I have a few friends who pick new girls every year but the fact that we are friends does not mean I support what they do. They have called me names in the past just because I decided not to tag along but it was a personal decision I made and I owe no one an apology”.

“Do you believe me?” He asked; seeing that she didn’t look convinced. He understood that it wasn’t any fault of hers. The look on her face when she talked about her roommate showed that her roommate’s ordeal must have really gotten to her.

He lifted up her chin so she could look him straight in the eye. “Fadeke, do you believe me?”

“Yes, I do. I’m just so scared”.

“Scared of losing me to someone else?”

She only nodded and lowered her eyes. She hadn’t realized how much she loved him until now.

Chinedu felt like his heart was going to burst. She did love him. He hadn’t been sure of it. But now; she had shown it to him without words.

He pulled her closer to him, wiping her tears and caressing her face as he did. He triggered unspeakable feelings within her. She closed her eyes and her heart thumped within her as she felt his breath close to her face. And in an instant, they shared a kiss so passionate that the world around them ceased to exist.

Right there, with his lips locked on hers, she made up her mind. She was going to stick to Chinedu because he was her heartbeat.

************

Fadeke walked into her room smiling. The last one week had been the best she had had since her resumption in school. Chinedu had been extra caring. When they were not having lectures, they walked hand in hand around campus and a few students were beginning to talk about them being an item. Both of them could be seen chatting, laughing and whispering into each other’s ears.

As she dumped her bag on her reading table, she lay on her bed and hugged herself. Butterflies fluttered in her tummy. She had never felt this way before. She was so much in love with Chinedu. He gave her a reason to look forward to school every day. They were yet to visit each other in their hostels but she did not have a problem with that.

Tochukwu had noticed the recent change in her. According to her, she was looking brighter by the day and wanted to know the secret. But Fadeke had decided to keep mum over the issue. She did not want to relive her friend’s hurt. She also knew Tochukwu would think she was silly but this was her life and she would live it as she wished.

 

Tochukwu stormed into the room looking tired. She dropped her bag on her reading table and looked at Fadeke with condescending eyes.

To Love & to Hold 11

“What is this gist flying around campus, Fadeke?”

“Gist?” She asked as she sat up. “I don’t understand what you are talking about”.

She sneered. “The gist about you and Chinedu”.

“Oh that. There’s gist about us?” Fadeke asked innocently.

“Don’t give me that look. I thought I told you that these guys were all no-gooders”.

“Tochukwu, I love Chinedu and I don’t think he is one of the so called “no-gooders”. Don’t take it personal but I think I have a right to decide who I date. Don’t you think so?” She asked with pleading eyes.

“When you get dumped, don’t come running to me”.

“If I get dumped”, she said stressing the point; “I’ll lick my wounds alone, okay? So how was school today?” She asked trying to change the tensed atmosphere.

“Just okay”. Tochukwu replied still frowning.

“Hey, get over it, girl. Let’s forget about men and have fun. I saw a flyer on our notice board advertising a party coming up soon”. She said excitedly. “Can we go together for the party?”

“Yeah, I saw it too. No qualms. It’s a deal”.

As they discussed the soon coming party and what they would wear, they laughed heartily forgetting everything for that moment. But deep down their hearts, they both had something going on.

For Fadeke, it was her determination to stick to Chinedu but for Tochukwu, it was a whole lot of emotions bottled up.

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The end of the road

Tears streamed down his face as he looked at her as if in a trance. “Do you understand me, Fiyin?” Mrs. Abdullahi asked. “I wish it did not have to end this way but it is a decision both of you will regret later in life. I know you love my daughter very much but it is better to let go now”.

“Okay ma”. Fiyin managed to say. He truly loved Fatima and he had proved it to her on so many occasions. But as her mother had advised, they had to end their relationship. He could not bear it and he broke down in tears again.

Valley of Decision

They both attended the University of Lagos and it had been love at first sight for him. They quickly became an item on campus and some of their course mates had teased them a number of times to get married immediately after school.

However Fatima was never comfortable with the relationship. She had mentioned to Fiyin that she was a sickle cell patient but instead of getting discouraged, it only fuelled Fiyin’s love for her.

She had quite a number of attacks and Fiyin was always by her side to comfort her. He did not care that he missed classes just to be with her.

Mrs. Abdullahi had noticed this and on one of such occasions while Fiyin sat by Fatima’s bedside, she had called him aside and asked for his genotype. “I don’t know ma”. He had answered. “That is very bad, Fiyin. At your age, you should know your genotype. I would advise you find out immediately”.

The test result had shaken him. He was a sickle cell carrier. The little knowledge he had of genetics, told him that getting married to Fatima was risky.

As Mrs. Abdullahi patted his hand, he looked up at her and she smiled sadly. “It is time to say goodbye to Fatima but I will always remember you as the boy who loved my daughter with so much passion”.

———-

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