One moody gloomy Tuesday night, as I was strolling back home from my office in the Kilo area of Surulere in Lagos, the tragic story of my life started. I had suddenly imbibed the habit of night crawling ever since Laura dumped me a couple of months back. I would trek home looking worn out, having already been reduced to a tape worm-like human being. I looked dejected and totally rejected.
Laura had completely messed up my entire life. She had turned me into a pun at the hands of love and left me with a broken heart. She had taken me straight into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and left me there without a boat or even a life jacket. She had taken me right to the highest point in the clouds; exhausted all the fuel in the airplane and escaped with the only parachute on board, living me hanging in the air. She had completely made a mess out of my life. Smoking like a chimney and swimming in a bowl of alcohol were all I had to show for her presence in my life. I had even completely forgotten about God and every other person around me. Nothing mattered anymore. I was moving close to hell and I didn’t care a hoot.
A lady had accosted me and begged for twenty naira.
“Uncle, could you kindly assist me with a hundred naira? I was robbed of my belongings and now I am stranded at the bus-stop. Please help me sir.”
Puffing away at my cigarette in my usual manner, I looked straight into the eyes of the owner of such a very angelic voice that could be begging for such a meager amount of money.
Standing before me was the most beautiful earthly creature I had ever set my eyes upon. She was a tall light complexioned lady, spotting a blue denim over a pair of black jeans. Her long well knitted braids gently caressed her buttocks. She had well-formed dimples and a beautiful set of blue eyes which pierced though the dark serene night. She looked like a mulatto. I was mesmerized.
Without hesitating a bit I handed out to her crisp five hundred naira note fresh from the mint, which she gladly accepted and thanked me.
“Thanks a lot sir. May God replenish you, a hundred folds”, she said as she vanished into the silence of the cozy night.
As I trudged home her thoughts pervaded my mind. For a moment I forgot about loneliness which had long entwined me like a rope. A part of me longed for her once more but a part of me waded me off from the thought as I remember the barracuda of a lady, Laura once again. Her remembrance was like a dagger piercing through the core of my heart.
I was soon to meet this mysterious lady again on one Saturday night – two weeks after our first meeting. I was on my way to the billiards’ joints, somewhere in Yaba, where I usually spent some time, when I felt a gentle tap on my back in the bus I had boarded. I looked back to see who it was and I was shell shocked to see this damsel again. I had never imagined in my wildest of imaginations that I could come across her again in my life.
Spotting a Gianni Versace denim which was now synonymous with her over a pair of Gucci black jeans she looked more gorgeous than she had been the first time we met. With the smell of her eau gently caressing the air, she greeted me.
“Thanks for the other time”, she said, throwing at me some beautiful smiles.
“The pleasure is all mine”, I replied, pretending not to have been taken in by her beauty.
It was as if she had really planned out that day as she cancelled her own outing to honour mine. Who was I to refuse such an honour. No man in his right senses would refuse such an offer.
We spent the rest of the evening together at the joint and discussed at length. I got to know that she was Lola Williams, a 300-level student of Mass-communication at the University of Lagos. That was the beginning of another journey into another affaire d’amoire.
Unknown to me, Lola happened to be the only child of the Williams, one of the richest families on the Island. My visit to their mansion on the popular Banana Island swept me off my feet. They were very rich. I mean exceedingly rich. This place was something completely out of this world. I had only seen such a thing in the Hollywood movies. The state-of-the-art masterpiece had a mini zoo where rare and exotic animals were kept. For the very first in my life I saw a real peacock, the most beautiful bird on earth. The place was simply a heaven built right here on earth. I had never thought in my life I could have had an opportunity of seeing such a powerful edifice let alone be a guest inside it. I was treated like a king.
On that same day, I got the greatest shock of my life, when I found out that my coming in contact with Lola had not actually been by a stroke of fate as I had earlier believed but a grand design orchestrated by my best friend Adams and the Williams. When I knew this, I was very sad.
“Lola”, I addressed her, sitting on her bed and holding unto the album which she had earlier given me, which had some of my pictures. “How were you able to pull this off?” I was dumbfounded. If there was anything I hated in my life, it was a set up and a desperate lady. I wasn’t ready for another Jezebel to ruin my life. Her beauty no longer mattered at that point in time. She was beginning to look like Laura.
“Tunde, you can’t understand. You have every right to be annoyed with me but you shouldn’t really be”. She whimpered.
“I shouldn’t be annoyed, you say? Somebody has been intruding seriously on my privacy and toying with my life and you say I shouldn’t be? I have only seen this type of a thing in movies; I never knew it could happen to me. Wonders shall never end.” I held my head.
“Please my love just let me explain and you’ll understand. I have no ill intention towards you or anybody, I swear to God.”
“There you go again. Women and God”, I cut in. “Please just leave God out of this . Ok?”
“I did it for you. I mean for us.”
“For us you say? I asked, now calmer and surprised as I looked straight into her eyes from where I sat.
“Yes for us. I did it for us.”
“Yes Tunde, she did it for the two of you”, Mrs. Williams cut in. She must have been eavesdropping on us.
She went ahead to narrate to me how her husband, Mr. Williams had mapped out a strategy for her daughter to meet with someone who truly loved their daughter. After the first disastrous outing which nearly cost the life of their daughter by one crook called Segun, he was not ready for another son of Adam to toil with her emotions again. He had vowed to do everything within his will to make sure her daughter met the Mr. Right.
After Adams who happened to be a friend of the house had narrated my ordeal to the family and they seemed interested in me. They had been on my trail for quite a while. They were just waiting for the right time to make their move.
After the whole narration, I felt very sorry that I had showed my anger without hearing her out first. I begged for her forgiveness.
“Come on, I’ve forgiven you. I would do the same if I were in your shoes”, she said forming a beautiful smile with those lovely dimples of hers. We hugged each other right there in the presence of her mother.
Our love life flourished like a full blown blossom. What we shared was true love – something completely out of this world. She was the snail and I was its shell. I was no longer the moody man I used to be. I was always beaming with life. I was now robust. My cheeks had already come out, and my skin was silky and succulent like that of a new born baby. We were a perfect match. We had both suffered at the hands of love and now it was time to enjoy what life had in stock for both of us. And to show that we wanted nothing to put an obstacle in our path, we had planned getting married as soon as possible. When two people are truly in love they could go to any length at fulfilling their life ambitions.
We had already spent two years together, during which we had done our Introduction and she had moved in with me. I had stopped working with the advertising agency I was working with and had now established my own, which I named after us: “L and T Media Consulting”, courtesy of the Williams. I had two beautiful cars to my credits and lots of money stashed away in the bank. My Juliet had already finished schooling. We intended celebrating her graduation with our wedding. It was to be the wedding of the year.
During the two years of our courtship, we had never made love to each other. I was never a sex freak. I never bothered her about it and she equally didn’t disturb me. We were exactly birds of a feather. We never went beyond kissing even after we had done the traditional introduction. We were felt our wedding night was the best time for us to do it.
One unbelievable thing was the fact that she was a virgin. Despite the fact that she had been involved in a relationship before, she had never shared her “secret” with anybody. The world is so corrupt that it seems all the virgins are out of town. I was really blessed to have met someone like that .The man she loved was only after her parents’ wealth and the moment he was done, he vanished into the thin air.
One night, some minutes before the hour of twelve, I had just come into the living room to meet my Lola, stack naked before me. I stood there with mouth wide open. What the hell was wrong with her? I thought. I gently walked up to her, picked up her night gown from the sofa and tried putting in on her but she refused. She started kissing me all over. She seemed like a sex starved animal. I was shell shocked.
“What is wrong with you Lola”, I asked her as I gently tried to pull her away.
“I should be asking you the same”, she replied resting her head on my chest. “Are you not my husband?”
“Yes but not yes. I mean we are not fully married yet.”
“Even after a very elaborate formal Introduction like the one we did? If we aren’t, why are we then living together? My parents allowed me to move in with you because they feel you are now my husband. I can’t withstand it any longer. I’m dying inside. My body yearns for you. Or am I not pretty enough for you?”
“It’s not like that my love. It hasn’t been easy for me too. I’m not a log of wood but I just felt we should do the right thing. It’s just a few months to our wedding”.
“We have already done the right thing. The marriage is just the icing on the cake. It’s now or never. I want you now. I can’t even wait for another minute let alone a day.”
All pleas fell on deaf ears. Indeed we had done the right thing. At least we had done the Introduction and the parents allowed her to move in with me. The whole world wouldn’t believe we had not been doing it. So what’s the point? I finally succumbed.
We did it right there on the floor, our bodied glued to each other like two worms in “coition”. We rolled from one end of the room to the other. As I gently smooched and forced my way into her she wined and moaned like a little baby that has just voiced out for the very first time. She was in pains, but I could see it in her eyes that she was enjoying it. She held on to me tightly. She wouldn’t let go. Even when I had come, she still held on to my buttocks. Such was the passion she felt and we were both on cloud nine. I never knew joy has a very slender body. I didn’t know that my joy was but just for while.
Barely two weeks before our wedding, tragedy struck! As at that time our wedding preparations had been in top gear. Invitations had been sent out to the crème de la crème in the society. Top on the list of the invitees was the governor of the state, who happened to be a family friend of the Williams. Our wedding ring cost over half a million naira and one of the best wedding planners within the metropolis was hired to take charge of the event. In addition, we had planned spending our honey moon in Bahamas on the Caribbean. The Williams wanted to give their only child to have the best wedding ever.
We were supposed to pay one of her uncles, who resided in Ibadan, a courtesy visit. It became impossible for me to go, because I had a big project I was handling. It was the biggest project I had ever handled. Any trip to a far distance could affect it.
“Darling come on give me a smile”, I said putting an arm around her. “I’m very sorry that I won’t be going with you. Of course you know I would have loved to be there but we both know what is as stake. My clients would not take it lightly with me if those billboards are not mounted today. It would cast a serious doubt on my reputation. We could visit uncle tomorrow or another day.”
“No tomorrow would be too late. He’ll be out of Lagos. We must see him today. He is the most important person in my mother’s family.”
“Then why don’t we just give him a call. I’m sure he would understand. Besides, you are in no good position to be travelling around anyhow. I’m sure uncle would understand.”
“Honey, why are you talking like this? It’s like you don’t know Uncle Segun. He would rain thunder and brimstone of insults on me if I tell him such a thing on the phone. He would narrate to me how he had bathed my mother when she was small and all sorts. Please just let me go and see him. I must go.”
“Ok in that case let Zainab go with you. She’ll keep you company. What do you say to that?”
“Ok no problem but I’m not happy with you . Hope you know that.”
“Please my love. Don’t be angry with me. I promise I’ll make it up to you”, I planted a kiss on her forehead and in turn on her belly. “Please take care of my bundle of joy. Ok?”
“I will. I have to be on my way so that we can quickly get back.”
That was the last time I would set my eyes on the only thing that brought me joy. I never knew that was the last time I would behold Lola’s face again – the heavenly sight of my angel. I never knew I was leaving her to keep a date with death. I never knew I was leaving her to walk straight into the chasm, death the leveler, had dug up for her. If only I had known I would have prevented her from going or perhaps went with her. If only I knew.
I stared at the wall-clock and it was some minutes past the hour of eight in the night and still my wife and my niece had not returned. I became very agitated. What could be holding them back? I thought. I tried calling their mobile phones but all were switched off. I was in total confusion.
I phoned her mum to help get Uncle Segun’s number. I called him and he informed me they had left hours earlier. I became more agitated and confused. Something kept telling me something was very wrong. I couldn’t wait at home any longer. I had to go looking for my wife. And just as I was about getting my car keys, the phone rang.
“Hello”, said the voice at the other end.
“Hello. Please who’s on the line?”
“Am I speaking with Mr. Olaniyi Tunde?”
“Yes. How may I be of help?” I was getting impatient.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to come down to the University Teaching hospital, here in Ibadan sir.”
“For what, please?”
“I’m afraid your wife was involved in a ghastly motor accident.”
“My God! My God!! I screamed as I dropped my cell phone and dashed out of the room, like a hare chased by a greyhound, I couldn’t even wait to hear anymore.
An hour later I arrived in Ibadan only to discover that my beautiful angel, Lola and niece, Zainab had both died in a car crash!
It still looked like a terrible dream, but when I would wake up into reality, I didn’t know. How could death deal such a horrible blow to me? How could he take away my joy so soon and replace it with melancholy? All night long it had been another sad love song rocking my radio. All I had in this world vanished into the thin air within a twinkling of an eye. Just when I had thought I had lost the battle with love, Lola had come around like my guardian angel to rescue me from the dungeons of sorrow and loneliness. She could have at least given birth. Perhaps the child could remind me of her. But instead she decided to go with it. She left me with nothing. She was gone. She was gone like a comet blazing across the azure. Like the colours of the rainbow, she had vanished. She was gone forever. Gone forever with the winds!