She stood still, her eyes swiftly capturing every part of my body. She had her head slightly bent sideways, her facial expression happy in a way that told of her victory. She had on a beautiful sleeveless floral ankara gown that revealed only her toes. With each piercing gaze, it was as though she could see through me. She knew I had failed, perhaps I have. It hurts. I was lean and pale.
“What are you doing in my house?” There was mockery behind her smile, her hands were folded over her full chest and her hair surrendered on her slender shoulders. I couldn’t utter a word, I really wanted to explain myself, I guess she was right.
“Uhm… I… wah…” I paused. My fingers were trembling. She has this much spell over me, her presence gave me a strange feeling, as though her soul was stronger than mine.
She had always been the better one, she got higher grades than I did back then in secondary school. She always wanted to take the lead. She was the main and I was the deputy senior prefect, I guess that was the magical glue that bonded us. We did everything together, we were almost inseparable, perhaps until… oh never mind.
Her nose was rather round than pointed, I usually teased her about that, she still had this stunning beauty that I could not comprehend. Maybe it wasn’t just the face, she was smart and intelligent and it made me work twice harder until I beat her twice for the award of ‘Best Student in Chemistry.’ She vowed to beat me next time, but she didn’t, she couldn’t. She lost her father. It was then that I saw the demons in her. Her anger level increased, mood swings and lousiness devoured her. She irritated everyone, not excluding me. She was right, I was selfish, I should have been there for her as a best friend but I wasn’t, I was focused on being a good deputy, trying to take over the post she couldn’t handle so well.
She once sneaked into the school laboratory and mixed chemicals. Suicide beckoned on her, she took in a few quantity and fainted that was after she broke a test tube to cut her palms, she had lost some good quantity of blood before the fat male lab attendant came to her rescue.
The principal, Mr. Onwukaike, suggested suspension so she could get herself together. Rumours were beginning to spread, they said she was possessed by evil spirits. How students were quick to spread a well-spiced rumours was amazing yet annoying. It was easy to buy into the false story because she truly behaved like one under a demonic spell. Pathetic. I had little cognizance that perhaps, it could be her own way of reacting to trauma.
We avoided each other, unpredictably, even on our graduation day. Well I got the award of the best graduating student, something she casually said that she would win, I enjoyed every moment of it.
She congratulated me and left with her head bent, I had expected a warm hug from her, I would have done the same, but I couldn’t find her, I was already drowned in the pool of students, well wishers and teachers hugging and showing pleasantries trying to tear me apart.
Her mum didn’t keep a job until her husband’s demise and it complicated things for the family; her graduation outfits were old, her hair was packed in a ‘handicapped ponytail’ although she had earlier shown me, on a guardian magazine, the picture of what her hair would look like when she would get on the stage to grab the precious hands of academic dignitaries that would be present on that day—the Speech and Prize-giving Day; curly hair extensions and a volume speaking make-over or ermm… make-up.
She had to work, save and borrow to pay her school fees and that of her younger brothers and that was how she was able to graduate in the university as a pharmacist.
We became friends after a get-together party organized by our alma mater. I was glad to meet her again, her hips appeared rounder but she clearly had no butt unlike the yan— Oh, forget it. She said I was taller than she had expected and yet ugly, but every girl out there knew it was the opposite.
We decided to work together because she had a lot of ideas. As at then she had a project at hand, and since I was an architect, it was easy to engage her with conversations concerning work. Well…
Accidentally, we became lovers. She’s my wife or maybe not anymore.
“What do you want?” She snapped her manicured fingers in my face until I came back to reality.
“I want you back.” I finally found my voice.
“What happened to the Yankee babe?” she said with a smile. Gosh. She’s very clever. How on earth did she know that the woman I had been seeing was a Yankee lady?
“All that glitters isn’t gold,” I said. She could sense the guilt in my voice. Most of our lives together, I had been the one hurting her, she endured many of my mistakes. After we had a heated argument about the Yankee woman last year, although I was careful not to disclose to her that I met the lady on a trip to Yankee, I pushed her. I swear, it happened accidentally. She lost our first child. With the blood dripping beneath her, she ran to the kitchen and returned with a frypan which she used on my back.
She had cried, “Give me back my child!” The family doctor had confirmed that the baby was truly lost. I apologized severally, she refused to let me into her room for at least a sincere talk. I wanted to let her know that it was the only cheating scandal I had.
She left the next morning and never returned, she didn’t take my calls either. She owned a company so it was easy for her to get a new house.
“Sorry it’s too late, I got myself someone who isn’t confused like you, he’s a romantic guy,” she said with so much relish and pride.
“Swear that you don’t still love me.” I was scared, I really loved and respected her. She was the only one who knew how to handle me, she was the reason I had a successful career. She’s certainly the only family I trusted more, she’s the only one who can lend me money to refund my business associates, the money that the Yankee woman had made away with.
I quickly got down on my knees, she had her face somewhere else. When it seemed she wasn’t looking my way. I got up, my both hands were placed on her shoulders, she didn’t resist, I leaned forward and kissed her. She pulled away after five minutes. She could see through my eyes.
“Give me two months to choose between you or Gozie.” She pronounced his name clearly, and with a smirk and that made me feel jealous.