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STORY TITLE: FIRELIGHTER

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The fire lighter

FIRELIGHTER

15th April 2019.

It was midday when Kenny woke with a dreadful hangover. The previous day had been awfully long and wasted with empty bottles of whiskey littered around. Although light bulbs glowed, a dark side of emptiness engulfed the entire room. He was lying sprawled in bed, his head throbbed painfully, and a party went on in his stomach. Feelings enveloped him; nausea, grief, emptiness……….His phone beeped. There were two WhatsApp texts.                                                                                                                                               The first from LEAD man. It read: Dear Kenny, we have agreed to your request for an anonymous therapy. We forwarded your details to the therapist that will be in charge of you.                                                                                                                                               “In charge of me? silly!”, he frowned.                                                                                                We assure you that whatever that will be discussed stays between you and the therapist assigned to you. We believe in you and that you can Live  Everyday Above Depression.     The other, from an unnamed number: Hi. Good day. I am your anonymous therapist. Nice to meet you. He left the chat background to the person’s profile. No profile picture. What do you know about me? He typed.                                                                                     Just your name, Kenny. Was the reply.                                                                                                 What’s your name? He typed again.                                                                                      Call me Firelighter.                                                                                                                                                       “Let’s try this Ikenna”, he said to himself with a pinched ironic smile and held the phone for a while. The room was still, except the whistling sound from the rotating ceiling fan.

 

26th May 2019.

Dajuamobi

I woke up late like I did every Saturday. After a series of devotion and short prayers, I dragged myself to the kitchen and lit the burner. Yesterday had been hectic, and my cluttered room showed scattered files, sheets, and clothes on the floor, and Rachel Hogan’s GIRL WASH YOUR FACE with Gary Chapman’s THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES FOR SINGLES laid open on my bed. In few minutes, I gave my room a deserved cleaning and busied myself by my desk sipping honeyed lime tea ( my sister’s weight loss recipe) while writing for a blog on SIGNS THAT YOU ARE NOT READY TO DATE. I wondered why I chose the topic, perhaps to prove to myself or what? I hissed, reached for my phone, and switched on my data connection. Whatsapp messages flooded in.                               MOM: I have arranged foodstuffs for you and Lemechi. I will waybill yours next week. Hope you are well?  I replied: Thanks mom (smiley emoticon). I love you.  I got two new jobs as a freelance writer. Tell dad, he’ll be proud.                                               Nwaelemechi: Dajuamobi. Add ginger to the lime tea. It hastens the process, especially with your horrible belly fat. I turned to my brown mug and the scented steam from it. I wasn’t so surprised by my sister’s taunts. I didn’t reply and never drank lime tea after that day.                                                                                                                                  Kathy: Thanks ma’am, I tried it out. I didn’t lose out on anything as you said. I’ll tell you the details later…….Very good Kath (thumb up emoticon). I’m happy for you. Let’s talk later.                                                                                                                                                      Bestie: What!! Since when? And you’re just telling me. Won’t he find out?. But really D.J, are you okay with this? I know that you have always loved him.                                         I smiled. Light bulbs went on, making my room bask in its brightness. I stood, plugged in my laptop, and played Sia’s UNSTOPPABLE.                                                                                                                                     Back to my phone, I replied: Chii, I know it’s crazy, but I’ll be fine. Besides, I’m being professional. He won’t find out, so I guess everything will be fine.                                           “All will be fine”, I whispered. The last message was from him.                                  Kenny: I resumed work today to host my program. I missed it. I missed life. Mom and Dad are proceeding with the divorce. They should have done that long ago, perhaps Steph wouldn’t have died. I won’t keep holding unto the past. How are you doing Firelighter? When are you going to tell me your real name and show me your picture? I shouldn’t have requested anonymity. Have a great day.                                                        I’m good Kenny. I’m glad that you’re improving. I would tune in to hear your voice on the air. Hope you read the book? All the best.                                                                                                                                  My eyes moved to my wall planner and spotted a poem I had written months ago. I sent him the poem in his early days of therapy. He was open and it helped. Yet I wanted to do more but couldn’t. Kenny was a part of my life that had been untouched for a year now. Chii’s words now rang in my head. I’ll be fine. I assured myself.                          “You’ve got this Dajua. You do”. I plugged in my phone.

Kenny

By 2 pm, I clocked out and headed home. I don’t drive, it triggers my PTSD, so I boarded a cab. I was at the backseat when I got a text from Dad: We’ll be in court on Monday. Your mother blames me for Steph’s death. You should come.                                The ride was a bumpy one as the rainy season set in, and I wondered, as we rode through cracked roads, how I could ever love two people hell-bent on destroying each other after destroying Steph’s life. Firelighter had told me to seek love through giving love. To love my parents nonetheless, using their love language, for my peace of mind.

I read THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES FOR SINGLES by Gary Chapman she had recommended. I figured out my love language and wanted to know hers, but I couldn’t ask. It was inappropriate. The past five weeks had been awesome and I shouldn’t ruin it. I picked my phone from the chair and read her messages.                                                 Thanks, ma’am(Heart emoticon). I’m still reading the book. I’ve got news from Dad. They’ll be in court tomorrow. Are you busy? Let’s talk via WhatsApp call.        

She was online.          

Sorry, Kenny, We can’t do calls. Hope you’re good?  Will you attend the court hearing?     

Why can’t we?  I am good, thanks. I’ll go only if you come with me as a support system.    

This therapy session is anonymous, remember?  And I have a program to attend on Monday. It’s a charity event at the Marian  Convection center.                                                       

Does it exclude calls? I heard about the program on air,  I will come to see you.

Silence

Firelighter? Are you there?

She went offline.

Take care.

***

Dajuamobi

“So he still doesn’t know?”, Chii asked by the kitchen counter. Her hands over the utensils cupboard.                                                                                                                          “No”, I replied.                                                                                                                                    “How long do you intend to hide this?”, she was opening the fridge now.” Bia don’t you have food here?”.                                                                                                                          “I ran out of food. I could meet him tomorrow at the convention center”.                                   “What did you eat this morning?”, she asked, looking at me now.                                       “Yale bread with Akara and a cup of Cowbell instant coffee”. I reached out to a plastic container on the counter and kept it in a dish rack.                                                              She smiled. “Look Daj, I’m not against you helping Kenny. Just don’t get your hopes up about him, he never loved you Dajua,  not as you wanted”, she said, full of concern.            “I know.” I fought back the tears.” I won’t”.Chii nodded while I remembered how I would cry on her shoulder whenever Kenny chose other girls over me. I was young back then. So young and naive.                                                                                                                                    On Monday, I left early with my crew to conduct an interview with the founders of the charity organization. After that, we stayed behind to take more pictures during the event. I saw Kenny enter the hall just as the chairman was about to give the opening address. He stood tall and firmly built, wearing jeans trousers with a black turtleneck sweatshirt that clung to his body like a second skin, making him look irresistibly handsome although looking casual. He was looking around, turning his well-sculptured face around the entire hall while I stood afar, watching, missing, and hating him altogether. He sent a text.                                                                                                                Hey, where are you? I’m at the event. Please, let’s meet up.                                                        I wanted to reply: stop stretching your neck, I see you, but  I remembered I wasn’t supposed to know him. He called my number several times but I ignored them, trying to gather contents for the blog post tomorrow. In the past I had always waited for him; a pitiful lovelorn, so I made him wait till the event ended.  I walked towards him and gently tapped his back. I saw the raw excitement in his eyes, the excitement of seeing an unknown Firelighter, I saw it transform into a pleasant surprise as the bridge of his nose squeezed and his cheeks lifted at the sight of me.                                                      “Daj! wow, long time”, He leaped forward and gave me a quick and sincere hug. The hall was bustling.                                                                                                                           “Kenny, what a pleasant surprise! How have you been?”.                                                      “I’m good, How’s Lemechi and your parents?”,                                                                                   “They are good. What brings you here?”,                                                                                                “I’m here to see someone, I got to find her now”, his eyes roving around the hall.    “Oh, okay. It feels good to see you “, my eyes fixed on him.                                                            “What about you?”, he turned to me.” You stay in this city, right?”                                       “Yeah, I do”.                                                                                                                           “Gimme your number, we should catch up”, he said. I sensed trouble.                                “No, Gimme yours”. I shot back, almost interrupting him. He agreed, calling the numbers and I typed.                                                                                                                                     “I have to go to Daj. I missed you” He sighed. ” I missed everyone, I really did”.call me, he gestured, l nodded, he smiled and walked away.                                                                         I watched him. His eyes searched, his phone held firmly to his right ear while mine ringed on my hand. A text came after the sixth ring.

Where are you?

I actually saw you Kenny, but you left too quickly.

What do you mean? I’m still here. Where are you?

Did you actually believe that? Hahaha. I’m busy Kenny. There are tons of things left to do. I can’t meet with you. I’m sorry.

I went offline.

Later that night. He texted. Let’s talk, I’ll call.  And for a moment I couldn’t think. Please. He texted again. The request was simple. Every part of me wanting to oblige, I opened my purse and took out three wraps of bubblegum. I tore it open and chewed.

“Hello Kenny “, I said to myself. I couldn’t recognize my voice.  The voice trick worked.

Okay. I texted back.

Kenny

I spoke with Firelighter for hours and laughed a lot during our conversation. I also got to know about her involvement with the LEAD project. I was shocked to know that she wasn’t a psychotherapist but an avid volunteer, yet she’s so good at what she does. My time with her online was more of a heart to heart conversation than a Q&A session. She knew every right thing to say and she always thought of possibilities, especially with me being able to drive again. I was so intrigued about her and why she had chosen to be called Firelighter.

“Because I’m igniting that fire in you, Kenny. That lost zeal and passion for life”, she said at her end. I smiled at her response.

“Are you married ?” I asked.

“No. Why do you ask?”, I could sense the tension in her voice.

” You’re taken? I mean,  You have someone?”

Silence.

“Hello?”

She yawned. It had to be a fake yawn.

“Let’s call it a night Kenny. I’m tired”.

“Okay, but please tell me your name. At least”

“Goodnight Kenny”.

She hung up. I sent her a text.

 Whatever your name is, you’re special. I testify to that. Goodnight.

 

7th June 2019.

This dreaded day came. I stared at her pictures. She was full of life then. I looked at a funny picture of her holding my head tightly when Mom sent a text.

Ikenna. I’ll be sending flowers to her grave. You should come. You can’t keep running away from everyone.

Steph, my sister, was separated from the love of her life by my parents, and as if that wasn’t enough, she lost her pregnancy. She became so depressed and contemplated suicide. I took her in my car as we drove downtown.

“Put your foot down Kenny”, she said to me.

“Why ?”, I asked.

” I love the feeling of the breeze on my face”.

So I sped to make her happy. In a second, she flung the car door and dashed out. Before I caught knowledge of what was happening, I could only see pieces of her clothes from the wing mirror and a gathering crowd.

Feelings flooded now. Guilt was paramount. I texted Firelighter.

Steph died on this date last year. It’s my fault. I helped her take her own life. I’ll be going away. I need distractions.

Will you be fine?  She replied immediately.

I don’t know.

 Kenny. You’ve got this. Where will you go?

Culture park by Highway.

I bumped into Dajua at the park. We sat, talked, reminisced, laughed, and cried. She held out her hands, gesturing a hug. I rushed into them and she patted my back, lovingly.

“You’ve got this Kenny”, she said, and for a moment I wished she was Firelighter. I drew slightly away from the warmth of her embrace, staring into her eyes, remembering how fiercely she had loved me. I regretted turning her down, keeping her in the friend zone. I regretted cutting everyone out. Grief had turned me into a solitaire.

“I’m sorry for losing touch with everyone, I just wanted to be alone back then”.

She smiled, tilting her head sideways.

“I loved you Daj, but I didn’t want to hurt you. Back then I was stupid and a bad boy in a good boy’s clothes. You were just too good for me”.

“What are you now? A good boy in a bad boy’s clothes?”. She laughed.

“Why did you come Dajua? Why did you come for me?”, I looked at her brown eyes; bemused, trying to find answers. I didn’t give her the chance. I drew her close and kissed her fervently.

12th June 2019.

Dajuamobi

“It’s me”, said a voice outside the door. I opened up. It was Kenny, all smiles, holding a white nylon bag in hand. I was done for. After the day we kissed. I called him with my other number and we spoke every day. He asked for my house address and I texted him. I never in the world thought he would show up without a heads up.

“Hey, can I come in? You look like you’ve seen a ghost”. I stepped away and he came in.” You’ve got a nice room Daj”.he said, looking around.

“Thanks, the rooms in this neighborhood are quite comfy”, I said while collecting the bag from him. I was trying to start a conversation, to get his eyes away from something that might remind him of Firelighter.

Kenny

I got attracted to her wall planner. It had colorful postcards with words on it, each held to the wooden frame with a  pushpin. I went closer to have a  look.

“What do I offer you, Kenny? Hey, where are you going? She asked, almost shouting.

I was about to respond when something struck me. Something quite familiar.

Where’s your light? When comely days turns to bloody nights…………

Firelighter’s poem. I  turned to Dajua. She was right behind me.

“This poem?”

“Erm. .Erm..”, She was tensed and I sensed it. I looked around and saw something else on her bookshelf by the wall. I reached for it. A framed certificate of LEAD PROJECT bearing her name. Something wasn’t right.

“So you know LEAD PROJECT?”.I asked her. I  saw the horror in her eyes. She tried calling my name but the words trailed off.

“You know this poem, You’re a member of the LEAD project, what else ?”. It was getting clearer now.”Aha, You were there at the convention ….. and..”. I felt utterly stupid.

“I am Firelighter”, she said, her eyes, teary.

“So it was all a lie? Everything was a joke to you?”.

“No”, she reached for my hand but I hesitated.”When you took off after Steph died I was so worried about you. You had changed your lines and I couldn’t reach you. I didn’t know it was you till I saw Steph’s picture on your profile and I couldn’t tell you because I wanted to be close. I wanted to help. I wanted you to be fine”. She said amidst sobs.

“There’s a fish barbecue in the bag, Enjoy”, I said, just before walking out.

Dajuamobi

I prepared for work the following morning. The previous night had been tearful and a busy day awaited me with so much work. I was locking my door when I heard his voice.

“Hello Firelighter”.

I didn’t know whether to smile or cry. “I’m sorry”.

He came closer. “I’m sorry too, You had to eat the fish all by yourself”. I smiled. He was two inches away from me now.”I have been wanting to ask your primary love language”, he said, grinning ear to ear.

“Physical touch”, I told him.

“Oh yeah?”, He squeezed me to himself, tucking my hair behind with his middle finger. “I’m sorry about yesterday. You’ve always wanted my good Dajua. Always”. His arms were still wrapped around me. I smiled, placing my head on his chest. Work could wait. This was where I wanted to be.

 

***

“You’re sure?”, She asked him.

He chuckled.” Didn’t you always talk about possibilities?” He reached for her hand.”I plan to make this day memorable, so don’t worry”. He was kissing her fingers now.

” I’m proud of you Kenny”, she said.

“Thank you Daj. Thanks for everything”.He said, staring at her.” I love you “.

She smiled sweetly.

“Let’s go?”, he drew back, holding out his hand.

“Let’s go” She nodded, her hand on his. He led her out of her workplace to a new blue convertible. He opened the door and she muttered a thank you, smiling at him. Within seconds, he kicked the engine to life and the car zoomed off.

ALSO READ, TYPES OF KISSES AND THEIR MEANINGS

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Stories

Five Minutes Before Thirty-three-Part 2

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https://relationshipseeds.com/five-minutes-before-thirty-three-part-1/

“Do you so delight in killing me?” Rhonda spat in bated breath, her hands placed on her throbbing chest, as her face turned to meet, none other but Gladys and her sarcastic chuckle, so very annoying.

  “Jeeezzz… If only you know how obvious your face shows it.” Gladys retorted, “but girl, I just wonder who it is, and I hope — in fact, just forget it.” She flagged a hand immediately, her eyes blinking away from the gift, rested on Rhonda’s face.

    Thanks to her bronze skin, her flush wasn’t so obvious. Rhonda sighed, “anyways, you’re highly welcomed to the board of wonder, and that of hope, may be.” She said, picking up her gift.

    “Gosh, I’m so damn late. Just can’t wait to catch a glimpse of Mr. knight, or is he inside already?” She brushed past Rhonda in haste, into the house with expectancy.

   Sighing bitterly. “He’s inside my cupboard – check it out yourself.” Rhonda uttered in mock grin, trailing behind Gladys, her left hand, banging the door close.

     “None – sense!” Gladys tossed her shoulder bag on the couch, walking up to the wall hanging mini bar.

    “FYI, I’m outta wines – outta champagnes, just to save you the stress, I’m out of anything you can imagine of, on that bar.” Rhonda said in a sing-song manner.

    “What would you ever have?” Gladys fumed. “Biko, go dress up make we waka.” She walked again into the kitchen.

    “I never shower oh,”

    “E get anytime, wen I go come see you ever get ready? I don’t just know, that day ehnnn…” She wriggled her head.

    “Spare me two minutes, and I’ll be done.” Rhonda interrupted.

    “Take ten in short, if it isn’t still okay, take the whole night, I’ll be here waiting. We can always party here, you know.” Gladys opened up the fridge, deliberating on which drink to take.

     “Thank God it’s week…” Gladys’ ears could still hear Rhonda’s receding sing-song voice, before rushing water from the shower overwhelmed it. She walked out of the kitchen with a tray of two glasses and a carton of Hollandia yoghurt eventually.

    Picking up the remote, she increased the volume of the blues playing softly from the speaker, singing along with it. She then unscrewed the drink and poured it into one of the glasses.

    In the middle of downing the contents in one blow, the door cracked open. “Would you take it easy, girl? No matter what, It still won’t quench your parched throat, cos no be water oh. It’s a drink, a drink that needs to be enjoyed.”

     The fruity voice was very familiar, “aproco!” She spat in a break. Then went ahead to gulp down the remaining contents of the glass.

     In a mock shock, “Chei! That’s called drink assault.” Gladys turned to dewy oval face, the glass making a loud thud on the table as she dropped it. The lady with a skin like weak tea with milk, took a seat next to her.

     “Drink assault, ehn?” Gladys’ brow arched, as they bursted into a fit of hysteric laughter. “Girl, how do you come up with such weird words?”

     Sticking her tongue out, the lady wriggled her head, flipping her long braids backward. “Where this madam na?”

 

*****

 

     “And to think, you just arrived ohhh.” Rhonda uttered, approaching the sitting room.

     “Wow!” Both immediately gasped unanimously, mouths agape, as Rhonda stood in front of them.

     “This is…” Funmi shook her head in amazement, thinking of a perfect word, “mhen, this is… glamourama!” She snapped her fingers.

     “Abeghi. Like, who needs those anyways?” Rhonda hasted to the center table, taking her share of the drink.

    “But it’s an English word na, haba.” Funmi said in her best thin voice, sounding like a toddler.

 “We know, English teacher.” Gladys retorted. “Can you just spin around.” She turned to Rhonda, rotating her index finger.

     Her bronze skin was a compliment of the bright gold dress. It was just a perfect dress, like one made specifically for her own hourglass shape. With slant neck and puff sleeves, glittering from the reflection of light, as she gyrated her body. The gown ran straight to the hip area, and flayed down below her ankles in pleats, the back of it, tail-like.

    Her curly braids were tied forward and allowed to dangle by the left side of her face.

    “Mhen, dude just knows your exact size,” Gladys bit her lips.

    “That alone thrills me, I can’t just wait to unravel this puzzle,” Rhonda sipped from her glass, excited, and just in seconds, she turned all serious. “Besides, what makes you think the gift is from a dude?” She asked, Funmi staring at them like a stray cat.

    “Oh, may be you’re into oldies now, right? Or-” Gladys’ forehead creased in worry, “don’t tell me you do girls now?!” She said in mock shock.

    “Pttftt…” If only she hadn’t swallowed her mouthful last sip of yoghurt, it would have ended up a spittle drench on her friends.  “How absurd?!” Rhonda shrieked.

     “I noh even understand una oh, bring me to lime light jhoor.” Funmi just couldn’t hold back her perplexity.

     “Tell her, to tell you,” Rhonda managed to toss the ball to Gladys, throwing herself on the couch. Gladys rolled her eyes.

    “Oh really – Please, how do I get to tell someone else’s story? Abeghi, it’s only you who’s to tell us how you found your knight, ehn?” Gladys glared, tossing back the ball to Rhonda.

     “That’s goodnews, then.” Funmi understood eventually, with a hint of excitement.

     “How you manage to come up with this dude thing, just amazes me. Don’t you think, it could be a fan, a friend, a family member, just anyone, you see.” Rhonda hissed, “just stop drawing those conclusions, abeg.” She dropped the glass into the tray.

     “Oh well, who knows?” Gladys reasoned, while Funmi nodded, “but I still have this strong hunch it’s a dude.” Gladys swallowed her last sip from the glass. Rhonda just sighed, and bent slightly forward to release the stuck edge of her gown from the pressure of her feet.

     Funmi snatched the carton of yoghurt from Gladys who wanted to turn it into her glass again, “she don even finish am sef,” drinking from the carton instead.

     “I thought you didn’t mind na.” Gladys pouted,

     “Can we just get going already.” Rhonda stood, and dashed again into her room.

    “Let’s go, and she’s back into her room. Jeez!” Funmi sighed. Throwing her head in amazement, Gladys just stood to her feet, picked up the tray, and made her way to the kitchen to drop it.

    “Take the carton na.” Funmi hollered, dragging the remaining content with her breath, as the empty carton squeezed.

    Gladys sighed, “You noh get leg?” She hasted towards the kitchen.

    “Mean girl!” She got up, and trailed behind Gladys, to discard the carton.

    “Yippee… and I got ya!” Rhonda screamed in a delightful sing-song manner some seconds later, in so much that her friends stared at themselves both in amazement and quest, while walking back to the sitting room.

*****

(To be continued)

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Stories

Five Minutes Before Thirty-three -Part 1

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STORY TITLE: Five Minutes Before Thirty-three -Part 1

   Rummaging both bedside drawers for the umpteenth time, Rhonda couldn’t see a trace of her dairy. Trying to recall for the last time, where she’d either seen or dropped it.

   She’d ended up squealing, “Ouch…!” after unconsciously biting hard her forefinger that was inside her mouth. Flinging it to sooth the hurt, her eyes darted to the wall clock.

    She’d been too anxious within the day, and a sting of that still lurked around this early hours of the night. It was only half an hour to 7:00p.m.

    “What the heck?!” She gnarled. It’s  been almost twenty-five minutes of dairy hunting, already. She wiped off the beads of sweat on her forehead.

    Wasn’t it supposed to be breezing cold, why was it now a contrary ooze of heat? She walked up to the air condition’s switch, apprehensively turning it off.

    “You’re of no use, jeez!” She scowled at the inanimate object as if it could understand her.

     Where could it be? That shaggy cover, silvery edge, pink color notepad was of utmost importance to her. By the way, what’s with pink and girls? She was already gliding off that pinky phase stuff, thanks to maturity, and besides, white had become her most endearing, and was going to be for the rest of her life. Being the realist she was, she’d rather stay in tune with this founded neutral attraction of hers with no alternative, because life itself is. Taking this dairy thing off her mind was becoming non-negotiable with her head, and allowing anxiety obstruct her fun night? Not at all. She was certainly going to find it somehow, period.

    The image of it, and where she’d seen it that morning before leaving for work, kept coming to her mind. That moment you can’t find something you’d seen a while ago, is just irking.

    It was one of her best gift, received eight years ago. Worth thousands of magic leaves in different colours had already housed so much pleasant, awkward, bad memories, ideas, name it; but above all, had contributed massively to her growth.

    Just left with two leaves upon which she wanted to nibble down those wishes before thirty-three, and now, it was more like the hardest puzzle to solve.

  Could anything be more worse? She ran her fingers through the tail of her braids. Her butts barely kissing the bed, came the doorbell ringing.

*****

   “Damn!” She had the inkling about who it was, but she hadn’t even started preparing yet. Putting her bathrobe on, she waltzed her way to the sitting room, tightening the ropes.

   She glanced through the door’s peephole instead, to confirm, but those beady azure eyes of hers didn’t catch a glimpse of anyone, as expected. She hesitated for a few more seconds, if the doorbell would come ringing again, but it didn’t, and there wasn’t a trace of anyone, still.

    At thirty-two, just few hours to clock thirty-three. She’d grown into a beautiful multi-talented lady.  As a communication manager, she earned the privilege, working for a renowned telecommunication company. Aside that, she was also one of Mainframe’s production editor. Rhonda was accomplished, but particularly, one thing hadn’t balanced all up.

    She’d been through her share of life’s misery. A female turns twenty-five, she’s seen as already old. Questions like, when are you getting married? Where’s your husband? Do you think you still have all the time in the world? All that jazz, and the pressures it comes with, was all she’d experienced, but then, she’d eventually braced through.

   It was much worse two years ago, when she turned thirty, and had ended it all with the so called “perfect one”. As if her life depended on it, her mum’s display of all hope was lost for her daughter, after the shocking confirmation that fateful evening, manages to tickle her in some way, anytime she recalled.

    “You’re now thirty, you should have a kid or two by now.” Her Uncle’s statement. “I’m getting old, I need to drink wine on your head, oh.”

   She’d sighed bitterly, he was only concerned about giving her out in marriage, yet never bothered or supportive of the fact she was eager to further her education. She wouldn’t blame him, because he’d refused to grow with time, else he won’t always have to remind her how a woman’s achievement only ends in the kitchen. How could one she’s supposed to look up to, possess such fogyish mindset, in today’s world?

*****

  Rounding up her Master’s degree had landed her this current dream job, and also served as a refuge that kept her soaring beyond all those pressures that made it seem as if singleness was a stigma or crime.

    She knew exactly what and where she was headed in life, and wasn’t letting nothing pull her down. The job came with its juices, aside others, like the company’s A-class Mercedes, a well furnished flat situated in Alaka way, Lekki Phase 1, where she lived away from her widowed mum, outdated uncle, and the knacks, at least. Also, being and editor came with its privileges.

   It was an all occupied four flat block, and her neighbors were just the best she could ask for, having stayed in the environ for about three years now. Life was quite fair, and her hard, smart work paid off than expected.

   Standing by the door, she felt more perturbed, staring through the peephole, yet seeing no one at the door, still.

    Okay, her nerves were cladding dramatically, so she heaved deeply, an attempt to release the negative energy building up within. It was now dark outside, so she switched the verandah’s light on. It was a weekend, and all three neighbors were out to catch fun as usual. She was no homebody at all, in fact she was preparing to leave too, and would prolly have been ready by now, had it not been the dairy hunt.

    She’d even returned to see Felix, her next door neighbor driving out. But then, who would have rung her doorbell? Turning breezily back to the room, she halted in her tracks, unable to resist the perturbing urge to go back and open up the door.

    Walking up to it, she swinged it open in full force, her eyes darting to her doorstep. There, laid a large white carton box, wrapped in red ribbon. She heaved, a bit relieved, nervously picking up the little card placed on it. Carefully, her eyes made out the contents written on it, which got her lips curving into a smile.

    “Just want to be the very first to gift you. Sorry for the inconveniences this has and will still cause you. I just hope you won’t mind doing me the delight of putting this on for the night? You remain that perfect queen I always adore.

Happy birthday in advance, my dearest, much love):

    Rhonda stood frozen on the spot, totally numb to the surrounding, yet fully aware of the warmth spreading within her. Fresh energy coursed through her, flutters of hope swirling in her heart. The impact from the card, was just too overwhelming, and it’s been so long she felt this way. Oh gosh, just a mere card with so much effect? She sighed.

   It was difficult connecting the dots, it could be anyone and not what her mind was suggesting, right? Like, it’s already been three and a half years, since she dissolved the only serious and promising relationship. Everyone’s green light about it was like the confirmation she couldn’t object, but it just wasn’t it for her. Yes, it was better than the rest, and was very difficult breaking out too, but she had to, and it was so worth it for he was no match for her at all.

  She had no time to entertain or open up scars anymore. The key to such memories and its negative energy was thrown far behind her now. Although, she’d been in a set of three or so, sort of, and she’s been so better off since, walking away with the lessons, each came with.

    Who exactly is this, getting her all perked up through a piece of note?

    And to think, this gift pattern was similar, sort of, her mind immediately toured down memory lane, trying to figure it out. But then, her reverie got interrupted, a welcome back startle to reality, the worse she’d prolly ever gotten.

    “Jesus!”

*****

(To be continued).

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Story Title – Life’s Mystries

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LIFE’S MYSTERIES

From a very rich family, yet very stubborn. Always bringing loads of trouble and problems to his parents in very different ways. Indulged in examination malpractice right from the early stage of junior secondary two. Never for once had he opened his books to read, though he was very intelligent, and that, always resulted a dependence of paying his teachers to pass him.

He had tons of girlfriends, a range of different skin colours, heights and weights, name them? Even the male friends he had, all played a negative role in his life.
He moved from one sort of corrupt act to the other. Indeed, friends can either make or mar a person. Bribery and corruption have been a cankerworm, eating deep into the fabric of our great nation, and Kelly was not exempted from it, he collects money from his parents as fee claims, yet lavishes them on his women, turning a drunk and still pressing on with his bribery acts, so his teachers could grade his passes.

Not just enough, he eventually resorted to robbery at the long run, as introduced to him by his friends, a result of not being able to get money anymore, because his father stopped giving it to him, with complaints that his demands were more than he can do with, and was apparently over the top.

So, without option, he gave into joining his friends in a robbery. They go after fellow students, emptying their pockets, and taking things not belonging to them forcefully. Cultism, the worst society ever in a university world, was the very last idea Kelly and his friends had resorted to, and eventually formed, named the big axe confranity.

A means where they went about raping and impregnating innocent young girls, and yet he found no satisfaction at all. His life grew more shallow by the day. His parents had disowned him, with wishes to rather stay childless than have him as one. The owner of the school tried so many times, to expel them but it was all to no avail because their cult group had powerful backing.

The constitution is that whoever kills must be killed, but he’d never been killed, for all the murders he’d committed. Then, on that fateful day, Kelly mistakenly killed one student of a prominent family background. It led to the arrest he’d always escaped from, and this time he was hooked to five years imprisonment from where his judgement to be killed was passed.

While in the prison he turned into a changed human being after hearing the good news of salvation, he began reading his bible on a daily and also said his rosary.
There was a general decision made for just one convict in each prison cell to be released. There, luck kissed Kelly, and he was being released amongst others in his prison cell. From thence, his life was saved. Stepping out of the prison was a totally different Kelly, who was apparently going into the once free world, where he used to be, to live the best of this next phase of life, he was opportune to have again.

ALSO, READ Story Title: REUNION

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