The cold draft coming from the huge decorative windows of the banquet hall made Nkiru regret, for the briefest moment, wearing her new strapless, sleeveless gown. Shivering a bit, she looked around for a moment, assessing her fellow revellers.
Turning, her eyes connected for the briefest second with the bluish- gray ones of her first love. Suddenly, the cool air in the room turned scorching. The blush was in her face now and she couldn’t get rid of it. She remembered. A flood of memories assailed all at once. Nights spent trembling with anticipation; joy with the slightest hint of terror thrown in to spice things up a bit. Reading in the library, eyes connecting along crowded rooms…
It had been innocent. No blood lost there. No one hurt. An amicable parting. Till date, he was the best kisser she’d ever known. So she turned around, smiling and met his gaze again, hoping there was no significant other who’d take exception. She needed to exfoliate. What she did not need was battery acid thrown in her face. She met his gaze and he smiled and nodded. She let out a breath. A nod was good. It meant he was as fine as she was with the ending of things. So she nodded in return. Turning away, she noticed that she was not the only one looking. She thought about matchmaking then dismissed the idea. If they were meant to be, they’d make their way to each other eventually. But if one was needed, she’d be stoked to give a letter of recommendation.
At the announcement that all guests were to take a seat for the first lecture, there was a virtual stampede, as though the perfumed guests could not stand the scents of each other. Plus, 2 hours spent on one’s feet must be gruelling for people accustomed to sitting through their whole lives. She smiled at her own innuendo. Why was it that she was never this witty outside her thoughts? Taking the opportunity the organizers had unknowingly provided, she escaped for a walk.
Breathing in the cool night air and preparing to walk back inside the hall, she noticed something- a cloud of smoke- coming from the bushes. Intending to go ream the eejit out for smoking near something notably so highly flammable, she was stopped when that very same eejit languorously stretched and began walking towards her. She groaned inwardly and thought about escaping before he could see her. Thinking however took too much time and before she knew it, he was in front of her and she had to look up to see his familiar, amused, hazel eyes. She cursed herself; a social conscience should never be developed in the night. Repeating the line inside her head, she stored it away for Twitter. It would make people think she was “mysterious”.
The first guy of her own nationality she’d stepped out with, Michel (he’d stylized Michael, which should have been the first clue) was also the first person who’d broken her heart. Who’d had enough of it to break. Michael Arogundade was a fascinating juxtaposition, a blend of cultures, nationalities and ideals. The strangest person she’d ever gotten close to, he would open doors for her, compliment her dressing, then tear the said dress and leave her to walk home half naked. He’d worn (designer) jeans to his grandmother’s funeral and yet he’d taken her to a sports game, where they’d sat in the bleachers, while wearing a suit. He was an intelligent idiot, an uncouth gentleman.
And she had gone to a rehabilitation centre, for 3 months, because of him. He had never seemed interested in her body, which had only made her more aware of his. He’d had more money than she did, so she’d given him hers. Remembering now, their whole relationship had been an inexplicably hard- to- fathom lesson in reverse psychology. Till date, she could not explain the draw, the pull that had caused her to behave like an immature buffoon around him. Looking at him now, she still could not understand it. She remembered that song by Kardinal Offishall and Akon, “Dangerous”. The song had been her ringtone for him, and now she hummed it in her mind as she inched slowly away from the hand shakily reaching for her. The Bible had said “Flee all appearances of evil”. And in this instance, she totally agreed.
Getting back inside the hall, she dilly dallied awhile, trying to catch her breath. Catching sight of her brother in law, she quickly averted her eyes. What her sister did not know, would not hurt her. Her sister had known they’d dated, sure. What she hadn’t known was that she’d consummated her relationship with him, again, 29 hours before she’d stood directly behind her holding flowers, looking as she did now, desperately at anything other than him. She hung her head in shame. That was the lowest she’d sunk. It was hard to believe she’d been forgiven. Wholly, utterly.
On the advice of her pastor, she’d not told her sister the details of what had transpired between them. But when her sister had come to her, bemoaning her childless marriage, she’d had an almost impossible urge to blurt out her pregnancy scare. Till date, she felt like such a fraud. Raising her head imperceptibly, she looked straight at him, smiled and nodded. Peace, however small. She’d tackle Uche later.
Finally, heading into the auditorium, predictably freezing now, her eyes immediately caught Damayo’s. He was searching for her. She looked at her wedding ring, flashing back to the night they’d told each other their dirtiest secrets. He hadn’t judged. His love hadn’t died. He’d revealed a love for her that night, a love so pure, one she’d never thought she’d find. She’d asked God for a mate, a partner. She hadn’t expected him to give her a best friend too.
Looking back on her mistakes, on her past, flashing through a slideshow of all her boyfriends while clutching her still- flat belly, she knew she’d made the right decision in coming to Him. To God.
Still musing, she walked over to the seat her husband had drawn for her.
Come to ME, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Though your sins be as scarlet, I will wash you and make you white as snow.”- Isaiah 1:18.
The year is drawing to a close.
Make the right decision.
Accept Jesus into your lives today.