It has been a busy day for Ken, he has spent half of the day on the new site, looking at architectural drawings he didn’t understand, good a thing that Mr. Lee, the Chinese expert was there with them, he was able to explain most of the drawings to him. The sun wasn’t friendly with him either; it came down on him as if it had a score to settle with him.
He was still contemplating going to grab a bottle of coke for the second time when he saw her, the sun turned her in to a silhouette from a far, he dimmed his sight, shedding his face with his hand to be able to see who it was that was coming in.
It was her alright, it was Grace, he couldn’t believe she found him , he stood at the spot waiting for her, He wanted not to feel anything but his heart disagreed, he was happy seeing her. As she came closer, her face broke into a genuine smile, his eyes gazed at the beautiful face that was once his wife, her smile became wider as she approached him, he couldn’t help but smile back.
They both stood looking at each other, didn’t know what to do with themselves, their hearts swell in pride for what they actualized, yet there was this painful reminder that it was no longer foe both of them, they could no longer claim this glory together.
“Hi” she said, few inches away from him, she was holding a bag with her two hand, moving her body from side to side like a school girl
At that moment he knew she was proud of this achievement, and he was happy,
“Hi” he responded with smiles
Without thinking he gathered her in a hug, partly to thank her for her contributions to making this possible, on the other hand, he wanted to give himself the pleasure of holding her again, even if it was for few seconds
“You did it” she said in his ears
“No, we did it” he corrected
They became aware of their bodies and quickly withdrew, Ken felt awkward,
“Sorry” he said
“For what?’ she asked, biting her lower lips
“For hugging you, I should have remembered you now belong to another Man” He said desperately seeking for a way for her to confirm if she was seeing someone else
“Here, I got this for you” she handed the bag to him, carefully avoiding responding to his assumption.
He opened the bag, his face widened with a childish grin; at last his hunger would be quenched. He thanked her and she nodded in response
“Come let me show you around, you will see some of men working too” he said
He asked how she got to know that he was there, she answered that she got to his Office and found him absent, it was Edu, his friend that told him where to found him.
He wondered why she would want to see him at that time of the day, leaving her work,
“I Just want to see you, at least to congratulate you properly” she had been dying since last night, after Ken saw her and Morgan, she had waited for him to respond to her text message but he didn’t, she has told Imelda to cancel other appointments and take her calls. She did not tell Mary where she was going, she did not want her to talk her out of it.
“Hey Ken, I have been looking for you” Mr. Lee approached them
“Who is this Pretty woman beside you” Lee asked
“She is my … my Wife” Ken answered, shocking both himself and Grace
“Oh, Ma’am, welcome to our new company” Lee said shaking her hand
“When you are done, please come over to the store, there is something you need to see” Lee said to Ken over his shoulder as he walked away.
They walked in silence for a why, Ken wondering what would be going on in Grace’s mind, while Grace wondered why Ken would introduce her as his wife.
“Why did you do that?” she finally asked
“Am sorry but… believe me, I didn’t know how to introduce you, that was what came to my mind at the moment” Ken explained
“You would have said I am you sister or even a friend” Grace said
“Am really sorry, it didn’t occur to me at the moment” Ken apologized
“Does it make you angry, I mean, introducing you as my wife, does it bother you?” he pulled her to a halt, she stood facing him
“Not really, just that I am no longer your wife” she said looking away from him
Ken ran his fingers on hers, it dawned on him that he didn’t want to lose this woman, he had loved her from the day they met at the Banking hall, she was almost screaming down the bank, demanding to see the Manager in other to lay a complaint, he had watched her from where he sat, he had wondered what type of woman she was, who would not mind where she was and what people would think about her and placed her demand without fear, he had watched her walked with the Bank manager inside his office, few minutes later, they both came out discussing and nodding their heads in mutual agreement , he also observed that she apologized to the Cashier at the bulk room for her out bust before she left.
He had followed her out, demanded for her Number and an opportunity to see her again, she was reluctant at first, but he persisted;
“I like you” he had told her
She was petite, in his own kind of way, he didn’t observe how well formed her Hips were until they met again, and she was wearing a short gown.
Holding her hand now, in a site , a dream they both conceived together made him look at this woman again, she was as beautiful as ever, she had the cuteness a babe that made him desire to wrap his arms around her and never let go,
“I have never stopped seeing you as my Wife Grace, even when you made me sign those papers, I thought I had to set you free because I love you, I prayed you would look back and realize we could mend this…” she said to her
She opened her mouth and shut it, blinking severally, she didn’t know what to say
“I don’t want to move on, and later realize I didn’t do all I would have done to keep you, I am a patient man grace, I would wait for you to sort yourself out, but don’t forget I am also a Man, with blood running through my veins, I may not wait forever,
“K…” she said
“Come let me see you to your car, Mr. Lee is waiting for me” he cut in before she could say any other word
“Thank you for coming here Grace, it really meant so much to me” he said
She nodded in acceptance, she couldn’t say anything, she was closed to tears
“Hope we are still meeting on Saturday?” He asked
“Hmm” she nodded in agreement, fumbled with her car keys before she turned the ignition on
Grace wished she wasn’t driving at the moment, she would have allowed the tears to flow, she looked at the rear mirror and saw him still standing where she left him, looking at her
Grace got to her house and saw some people waiting by her gate. A house she moved into three months later after her divorce, she had moved back with her mother, but found out she could no longer cope with her mother’s constant questions on why she divorced her husband.
She was skeptical about getting a house and staying alone as a divorced woman, she knew how the society frowns at this. She had wanted to nurse her sorrow in her father’s house but when it became obvious that her mother would not give her some minutes peace, she sort for alternative.
“Sister, mama will make you go mad one day o, you no go pack leave that house?” her younger brother, Ekenedilichukwu had told her one of the days he came back from school
“Where do I go to now, you know I don’t keep friends, and to move in with church members would raise more gossip” she has said with frustration
“Sister! You are a rich woman o, why are you talking like this now, get a house for yourself, I know very well that you can even afford buying a small house if you want to, you are just being stingy to yourself” Ekenedilichukwu had meant it to be a joke, but that was not the first time her brother had indirectly told her how stingy she was;
He had called her stingy on her last birthday celebration and Ken gave her a Toyota Rav4 2013 model, she had complained to Ekene that Ken shouldn’t have spent that money in buying her that car as she was comfortable with him dropping her off to work with his own car.
“But sister, if you still insist you don’t want to get your own house, you can come stay with me in school for a while, that is if you don’t mind sharing the space with me and my girlfriend” Ekene had offered.
So began her search for a suitable house. The first apartment she went for was at Lagos Mainland, she had concluded modalities with the house agent and was about to pay when she got a call from the agent;
“Madam, abeg no pay o, Landlord say him no wan give his house to a woman way no get husband”
that was how she was throw again to the streets in search of another apartment until Mary told her of a family who was about to relocate to Calabar and needed to get someone who would take care of their house properly for them. She had moved into the two bedroom apartment at Broad Street Lagos Island, within two weeks. That was about two months ago
Grace tried to figure out if she could recognize any of the Boys standing by her gate, when she couldn’t place their faces, she concluded they must be some estate boys on a mission to collect monies from residences for whatever reason.
As she stepped out of her car they greeted her with smiles and allowed her drove into her compound before the stroke; in a flash, she saw her life gone out of her very self as daggers, pocket knives and some shiny metals danced before her eyes,
“So na you dey deceive my babe abi, na you dey tell am make she dey tear eye dey answer me anyhow abi” one of them said to her
He had his hand round her neck and was almost choking her, she could smell Alcohol in his heavy breath
“Atijo obirin, ohun lailoriire elegbe, Ahmad! Make we show this woman small pepper” one of them said
“Boy leave am, I just wan make she know watin we fit do” the one with the heavy alcoholic breath responded
“Make we arrange this woman small na, e be like say na D*** dey hungry am, if we visit her Toto eh, her body go cool down” another boy said, working towards her
“O boy forget am, no be watin we come here come do” Ahmad said
All those while, she was shaking like an elephant grass in the harmattan season, it was like she was watching a bad horror movie, but this time around she was part of the casts
“See, make I tell you, I go wound you for this town if you no leave Imelda alone, that girl na my babe for life, na me get am, no dey tell am stupid things, you wan make she end up like you abi? Old woman without shame way leave her husband, if you hate Men eh, no be so other girl hate men, so no carry you reggae spoil my blues, no near my Imelda again, I dey warn you now o” He said
It was over as quick as it started, they bounced out of the gate, leaving her cowering on the floor coughing and with her hand on her neck.
Imelda came back and met him outside the door, barricading the entrance with his body, with a plastic smile plastered on his face.
“Ifemi, iyebiye m[/i]i, welcome back” he said, opening his arms for an embrace.
Imelda was dumbfounded, she had her phone on her ears, she had gone on a dinner date with Kola, which was the first time she had gone on a date with anyone aside Ahmad.
Kola has insisted on them meeting after work, he was a chief chef at [i]The wheatbaker hotel, Lagos, she had waited for him to delegate responsibilities before leaving with him to his place. He had treated her to a nice Dinner, she didn’t even remember what he called the dish he prepared for her, but it was nice watching a man treat her right.
They had talked about his job, she knew he was avoiding asking her about the scenario that brought them together, and she wasn’t keen to tell him neither about it, nor about her relationship with Ahmad, so they stuck with discussing about their jobs and Lagos generally.
He had invited her into his Kitchen to watch him cook, she watched his muscles moved as he whisked the eggs and flip then in the pan, she had never imagined a Man with an apron, but seeing it on Kola made it beautiful.
“So tell me, why do you decide to honor my invitation today, after rejecting my offer severally” he was asking, but she didn’t hear him, she only saw his lips moving,
“Imelda are you okay?” he asked her
The food was almost done, the sweet aroma filled the kitchen
“Ye…yes… sorry I didn’t get what you were saying” she confessed
He looked at her with suspicion, like he knew something was going on in her mind, but he was afraid to ask what it was, so he repeated his last question to her
“Nothing…, I just feel like going out for a change you know…” she was uneasy
It was like every part of him reminded her of all that Ahmad was not and may never be. He was slowly wiping his hands with the kitchen towel and looking at her, his eyes made her uncomfortable,
“eh… let me wait for you at the dinning” she said eager to escape from what it was she felt inside.
“The food is read, you can help me set the table, that is if you don’t mind” he said
She never knew she was hungry until she tasted the delicacy, one of the best meals she ever eaten in years after she left home. She didn’t know whether it was only the food, or the Man that prepared it, but the food soothed her spirit like the blue cloud above the mountain, and like spring water from a sacred fountain, it lifted her spirit.
‘Thank you so much Imelda, am glad you gave me your time today” he told her when he dropped her in front of the transformer before her street,
She had insisted he drop her there, she didn’t want Ahmad to see her and get agitated like the last time, but she didn’t tell him that, she had told him that she needed to buy some groceries before going home, he had wanted to go into the grocery shop with her but she declined.
He was the one speaking with her on the phone when she saw Ahmad and suspected that he was up to something.
“Please let me call you back later Kola” she said with her eyes still fixed on Ahmad to understand what brought about his new friendly attitude.
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