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The Handcuff

I sat opposite the faculty, under the shade of trees, enjoying the evening breeze and revising. I’ve always liked the ones who approached me. We started dating in our second year, and being course mates strengthened our love, that on the day of our convocation, he wore an engagement ring around my finger.

After we graduated, we couldn’t meet like before. I stayed in Lagos and he was in Anambra. For the next five years, we called and chatted but never met. And within that period, I had no proposal from other men.

Anytime we chatted or called, he told me how he wanted our wedding to be and how he couldn’t wait to take me as his wife. He’d tell me he was trying to relocate to Lagos. I had hopes and I held on for another three years. All that period, no man approached me.

One Monday morning, I was on my way to the market to get some food items, when I bumped into one of his close friends in school. We were so glad to meet each other. The next words he spoke made my eyebrow rise a notch. He said, “I am surprised you guys didn’t end up a couple.”

“What do you mean? We spoke last night, and he will soon come to marry me.”

He snickered told to me that he was married; in fact, he wedded five years ago. I gaped as my heart pounded faster. I asked him how true, and he didn’t hesitate to show me some pictures on his phone. He was the best man.

I needed to control my emotions because of the passers-by. A tear rolled down my face as I walked away. The pain that seared through me was inexplicable that I ignored his friend’s plea for me to come back.

I didn’t go home but went to stand in front of a filling station. There, I stood as my eyes fell on the ring around my finger. I twirled it then removed it. “I hate you,” I said in a whisper, threw it far away and sauntered home.

I was almost home when I heard the honk of a car’s horn behind me. I halted and the car stopped beside me. I looked towards the direction of the person in the car and was greeted by a smile. It was a handsome, chocolate looking man, but I wore an expressionless face. He said he liked me and wanted us to be friends. I’d have ignored him, but then, I thought of one thing, when last did a man utter these words to me?

I forced a smile on my face and thanked him. He asked to drop me home, and I couldn’t decline it.

He dropped down to open the door of his car for me, and my eyes gathered tears. I stared at the finger which I had worn the thrown away ring and shut my eyes. I’d had a handcuff on my hand, holding men back to speak with me.

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