“…Love is an ocean, it increases with the presence of rain and flourishes everything around it, even the animals in it enjoy during this season, but during dry season, and drought, it dries up, killing everything in it. When the heart of a man is sold out to loving you, do not starve him of the same love out of pride and ego, for you may break the cord of love and make the Man to get used to not having you around…” Her mother said to her
Mrs. Onwuekwe had come down to the hospital that Wednesday afternoon after Ken paid her a visit earlier;
“I don’t know what Grace want Mama, all I have done was to love her, but she has find it difficult to love me back properly” Ken had said to her with a frown on his face
“I know Grace loves you, she doesn’t know how to show it yet” was what she could come up with
“I don’t know Mama, one day she is acting all lovey-dovey to me, the next day she is doing her own thing, acting like she doesn’t need me at all, like I have no say in her life anymore. I know we were divorced and I will not want to go into what led to it but I thought we have found love again; she told me herself that she loves me…” He said
“We… we… ehm… even made the baby after we came together and I thought she has agreed with me to start all over again, only to keep acting like I don’t still mean anything to her” Ken added
Mrs. Onwuekwe was short of words, she had tried to talk to Grace, she knew she was to blame for Grace’s stubbornness, she had used her children against her own husband before his death, making them believe that their father had suppressed her and killed her career, she had advised Grace years back to always choose her career over any man
“They are not worth any sacrifice, don’t let then determine your life” she had said to her daughter.
That was years ago, when she was still bitter and vengeful, now she is older and wiser, she knows better, and regretted the opportunity to build her own home which she didn’t, she had shut her own husband out of her life until his death due to her bitterness.
“‘Ogom’ My in-law, please don’t give up, let me try to talk to my daughter again, I know she still love you, she just doesn’t know how to show it” Mrs Onwuekwe had pleaded with Ken before he left for his office
She had come few hours later to see her daughter and the unborn baby, and to also talk to her daughter.
“…I lost my chance with your father, he was a good Man but I didn’t realize that earlier, he tried to love me in his own way, but I wouldn’t hear of compromise neither did I want to include him in my plans. I would have had it all, love, family and my career, but I was young, blind and stubborn like you. Your father didn’t stop me from politics…” Mrs. Onwuekwe said with regrets in her voice
“He didn’t?“ Grace asked her mother with surprise
“No he didn’t, I told you and your brother that he did just to spite him and turn you people against him, I felt that was the only way to get to him” Mrs. Onwuekwe said
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“But why? Why Mum?”
“I don’t know, I guess I couldn’t forgive him for taking our arguments too far, he was always complaining about me abandoning you and your brother, Making me look like a bad mother, he said I could go ahead with whatever position I wanted to pursue, but not to the detriment of the family and the kids…”
“Mummy, you didn’t tell us this part of the story, why did you make him look bad?” Grace asked
She was feeling better after spending two days in the hospital, the pain had gone down as well as the swollen from her head too. The flask of food brought to her by her mother was on top of the table, untouched
“The day he reported me to his brothers here in Lagos was the day I swore to teach him a lesson. His family were the people that gave me the option of abandoning politics and taking care of my home or leave the house entirely, I thought he would defend me, but he said nothing, he watched then crucify me and he did nothing, that was when I became bitter against him, though he apologized on their behalf after the meeting, and even told me that I could continue in politics if it makes me happy but I should not sacrifice the family for it, but I had already made my decision” Mrs. Onwuekwe narrated
“Why do you hate him so much Mummy?” Grace asked her mother,
She was in tears, she had loved her father, he was the best father anybody could have, but she was torn between showing her love to her father and loosing favor from her mother, or hiding her fondness about her father, she didn’t show her father how much of a father he was to her until his death, just because her mother had told them that her father hated her.
“I thought I hated him, but I later realize that I didn’t hate him, it was difficult to hate your father, he was a very good and lovable man, and he did everything to make me happy even though I didn’t reciprocate his kind gesture, when I wanted to end the quarrel between us, to tell him that I still love him, I waited for him but he came back a dead man, his face unrecognized, burnt on that unfortunate plane crash” Mrs. Onwuekwe sobbed
“Ken is like your father Grace, you don’t meet people like them every day, he has the purest of heart a and he means well for you, this is your chance to do the right thing” Mrs. Onwuekwe said
“But I love him Mum…”
“And you are cutting him out of your life” her mother cut in
“No Mum, I am trying” Grace defended
“He is confused, he doesn’t know whether you still love him or just playing with his emotions, he said you are stubborn, and wouldn’t listen to him, your pride does not let you listen to him”
“He said that to you?” Grace asked
“And many more, I may not have been a good wife to your father, but please don’t make the same mistake I made, do not wake up years to come and realize you would have spent your life with one amazing man whom you pushed away due to pride”
“Mummy!” Grace flew into her mother’s embrace and wept.
Mother and daughter has not had such intimate conversation before, it was refreshing for Mrs. Onwuekwe, and a relief to know that at last she was undoing what she did.
“Hei, you are back early today” Imelda said to him, he was standing by the door
“I know you will be missing me so I have to come home early to fulfill your fantasy” Kola joked as he stepped into the house
“Who is missing you? Me that was just dancing ‘Alanta’ that I don’t have to put up with your wahala few hours before you return. They both laughed
“What that smell? You cooked?” He asked her, heading to the kitchen
“Yes, I stopped by the market to get fresh Okra to make Okra soup” Imelda said
Kola opened the pot; he sniffed the aroma with his eyes closed and a smile on his face.
“Hmm, smells nice, it better taste good” He said
“Get out” Imelda pushed him out of the kitchen amidst laughter
“So how are sales today?” He asked, wiping his hands with the table towel and relaxing his back against the chair
“Sales were good, I got calls from costumers and neighbors asking why I didn’t open yesterday” but I made sales though.
“I know you will”
They were done with eating and were chatting and laughing so hard, it felt like the old days and none of them was in a hurry to get up from the Dinning.
He wasn’t eager to retire either, so they sat there, chatting, laughing, recalling experiences and hiding their passion and feelings for each other.
She was the one that stood up to clear the table, her hand brushed his as she moved the plate, and she quickly pulled away. He waited on the Dinning while she busied herself in the kitchen.
Then he stood up and walked towards the Kitchen, he watched her work, moving her body to the rythim of the song she was humming, he wanted to get close to her, to wrap his hands around her, and to whisper how much he had missed her in her ears
“How long have you been standing there?” She said to him, catching him off guard
He rubbed his hand on his head, smiling awkwardly
“Long enough to see what a good dancer you are” He said
“See your life, you would have helped me with the dishes, but you chose to feed your eyes” Imelda said, feigning anger
“Common, you shouldn’t feel bad, it is not everyday a Man get pampered, allow me to enjoy this moment” He joked
She wiped her wet hand with the dry towel walked towards the door and shoved him aside with her shoulder, he laughed so hard and caught her hands as she tried to walk pass him.
“Imelda” He said
She held her breath, the way he called her name, the softness of his hand on hers, the way her heart beat, she was afraid she may not be able to hid it any longer
“Imelda I…” He was getting serious after the laugh, she wished he would tell her that he feel the same way for her, she looked at him, eagerly waiting to hear it;
“I missed you so much” He said rather
She smiled weakly, softly wiggling her hand away from his;
“I missed you too, but it was just a night though” she said, turning her back on him, she walked into her room, closing the door behind her.
He stood there looking at the closed door, he had wanted to say something different to her, had wanted to beg her to accept him back, not as a friend but as his Man, but he couldn’t get himself to do so.
He swallowed hard, and walked to his room; he stopped by her door, contemplated whether to knock but decided against it.
She sat on the bed with towel wrapped round her body and her Kinky hair dripping water
“What was he really going to say?” She thought
She had known him for some time now; he was a Man of few words when it comes to the matters of the heart. But she love him no doubt, no matter how much she tried to see him as just a friend, she would always wished he was something more to her.
Her feeling were stronger, as she shoved him and walked pass him in the kitchen, his presence was stronger that she almost threw herself at him.
She was angry, angry at herself, angry that she couldn’t be free with him as he was with her, angry that the fire burning inside of her has refused to quench, Angry that he had kept to his words of being noble.
He tossed and turned on his bed, the air between them was getting heated, he wondered if he said or did anything wrong to her.
She was angry with him no doubt, ‘but why’ he thought.
Trying to behave himself in her presence has not been easy, each day he pretended that he could treat her like a sister, each night he retired into his room with a tortured body and a feeling that was rioting.
He wished it was easy on him, he wished she would make it easy for him to say to her;
“Please be mine again” but she had made him feel like family only, and he now doubted if she still have the spark for him now like she used to before.
“It is my entire fault, I shouldn’t have told her to concentrate on herself first, that was a wrong thing to say, and I may have lost her now” he thought
He dragged himself up from the bed and went out; she heard him unlock his door and listened to his footsteps. She contemplated coming out too, whether it would help if she said sorry to him, for walking out on him.
He stopped by her door, he wanted to knock but wasn’t so sure if it would be a good idea
Then she opened the door suddenly, as if she has been waiting for him
“I…I want to know if you are okay” he stammered
“I am sorry Kola…” they both spoke simultaneously
They stood looking each other for some minutes, he didn’t know what came over him, e wanted to empty his mind and wait for her responds;
“I am sorry too girl but I have to tell you this, I love you…” he saw her eyes widen
“I have always loved you, I was afraid and stupid, I didn’t know what to do with myself so I decided to let you go at first, now I want you back, I want you as my woman, I want something permanent and I want you to stay with me here and every other place I would be going” he had a sigh of relief after his words
She didn’t say anything for a while, she looked at him like she was seeing him for the first time, he was disappointed and ashamed;
“Sorry, I know I have messed up again, please forget that this ever happened” he said and turned to leave
She held him by the hand and broke into a smile
“I would have said those words to you if you have not said them” She said
“Really? You mean you love me too?” He asked and she nodded
“Then marry me, make me your husband please”
She had no word to express her joy, tears were flowing down her cheeks when she threw herself around him;
“Is that a yes?” He asked in her ears
“Yes…yes kola I will marry you” She said
“My darling” He said, hugging and wetting her face with kisses
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