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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Destiny's Game (4) Finale


The incident happened two months before our wedding. The arrangements were going smoothly with the reception venue booked, invitation cards sent to the printers and our outfits including Rachel's wedding gown almost ready for the big day.

Running around making all the plans was stressful but I did not mind as they were plans for our future together as man and wife.

I thought Rachel too was happy or so I thought. How was I to know that she was seeing someone else besides me even as we were making plans to marry?

I only got to know of her deception one day when I got a call from her mother one Saturday morning. 

She wanted me to see her at home on an urgent matter. 

Thinking it had to do with the meeting I was to have with Rachel's older brothers on the traditional marriage ceremony at her father's house the following month, I went over.

The woman was not her usual cheerful self when I arrived at her place. She looked pale and weak and I thought she was ill. 

But she assured me she was fine when I remarked on the way she looked. She was alone in the house as Rachel, who had got a job in a media house, was on duty at work.

"Why don't we go to the hospital? You don't look too well, Mummy," I stated as I sat in a chair. 
She shook her head.

"I'm fine. It's just that..." she started to speak then stopped. Then to my surprise, she exclaimed:

"How could she do such a thing? I used to think she was the most sensible of all my children!"

I looked curiously at her, not comprehending what she was saying.

"What's the matter, ma? Who did what?" I inquired.

For answer, she picked up a paper from the centre table and handed it to me. 

It was a letter addressed to me. I read the contents quickly not believing what was before my eyes.

How could this be true; my own Rachel with another man? How? Was someone playing a cruel joke on me, I wondered as I flung the letter angrily on the ground, too dazed and confused to say anything for a while. 

Her mother looked at me warily, a look of concern and anxiety on her fleshy face.

"I tried to stop her but she would not listen! Such a stubborn girl! I don't know what has come over her! " the woman fumed.

In the letter, Rachel had written that she had called off the wedding, that she could no longer marry me when she was still in love with Tony, her ex-boyfriend. 

He was back in the country and she had left to be with him and I should not look for her. She was sorry for taking that decision but she could no longer continue to deceive herself...
Picking up the pieces

To say I was devastated over the unexpected turn of events was stating the obvious. 

 It took me over a year to recover from the shock brought on by Rachel's betrayal. 

 I just could not get over the fact that she had dumped me just weeks before our wedding for an old flame. 

 How could she? Was it something I had done? She had assured me she was over the guy so how could she hook up with him again? 

 So many questions that needed answers to but there was no one to answer them. 

 With time though, with the help of my family and friends, including Rachel's mother who was not in support of her daughter's actions, I picked up the pieces of my life. 

 I tried to put everything behind me and start all over but try as I could, I could not forget Rachel.

 I kept thinking about her, wondering what she was doing, what informed her actions and...

  She was like an obsession for me and I simply could not let go.

 I did not see her for nearly two years after our break-up. She had left the country with Tony after she left me and I heard they were planning to marry. 

For sometime, I did not hear much about her. I had moved out of our old neighbourhood and I did not see her mother that often.

 Then one day, I had gone home to see my parents when my younger brother, Mark who still lived at home told me that Rachel was back in Nigeria.

 "I saw her three days ago at Madu's chemist shop down the road. She came to buy some drugs for her mother. She asked after you," he stated.

 Rachel back? 

I wondered if she was in the country on vacation with her husband as it was the Christmas period when some of our people abroad often travel home to see their family and friends.

I wanted to ask my brother about that but resisted the urge. She was married to someone else now and no longer part of my life or so I thought.

About three weeks later, on my way from another visit to my parents, I was driving towards the gate on the street when someone called my name.

I looked through the window and saw Rachel. My first instinct was to ignore her and just drive away. 

But seeing her again, hearing her sweet voice killed all the anger and frustration I felt at the way she had treated me.

I got down from the car and we exchanged greetings.

She said she had wanted to see me since her return to the country and wanted us to go somewhere quiet where we could talk.

I was initially reluctant but had to give in after much pleading. That day, she apologised profusely for what she had done, stating that it was stupidity on her part and Tony's smooth words that made her do it.

"I'm really sorry Julian! I don't know if you can ever forgive me for what I did to you. It was a terrible thing for someone to do to his fiancé. Please, find it in your heart to forgive me!" she pleaded earnestly.

 I smiled wryly at her words.

 "I forgave you long ago, Rachel. All I wish for you now is happiness with your husband."

 "What are you talking about? What husband?" she said quickly.

 I looked at her confused.
 It was then she told me the story of her time with Tony abroad. She explained that she and Tony had never married though there were plans for that. 

 She said the guy turned out to be a criminal who was deeply involved in the drugs business and other fraudulent activities.

 "I only found out when I got to Canada. Right now, he is in prison for a drug related offence-he was given a fifteen year jail term," she said. 

 It was all news to me and you might say, it serves her right for what she did to me, dumping me for a sleaze bag like Tony. 

 But instead of feeling happy at her predicament, it was pity I felt for her.

 That day, I realized I still loved Rachel, that infact, I had never stopped loving or wanting her.

Anyway, to shorten the story, Rachel and I got back together. People who knew us and our story particularly my family and friends thought I was crazy to take her back after her treatment of me.

 "You still want that woman back after what she did to you? Are you sure you are alright, Julian? There's nothing wrong with you 'upstairs?" my good friend Dapo asked, with his forefinger pointed at his head. 

He had come to my house earlier that day and found Rachel there. As soon as she had left to buy some drinks at a nearby store, he had started bombarding me with questions.
I smiled at his words.
 "Of course I'm ok! You won't understand the way I feel because you have never been in love," I retorted.

 "Well, if this is what love does to people, making them reason in an irrational manner, then I never want to be in love!" he fired back.

 I simply laughed at his words, feeling happy and contented for the first time in years. 

 My Rachel was back and that was all that mattered to me. 

 I don't care what people have been saying, that she has charmed me or used voodoo or 'juju' or cast whatever spell on me. 

 They simply don't understand.

 What do they know about my feelings for Rachel, that when she's not by my side, I feel empty, incomplete as if one of my body parts is missing? 

 Now she's back in my life, I feel complete, a total being again.

 Rachel and I are like the tortoise and its shell, inseparable. It was our fate, our destiny and there's nothin anybody can do about it...

The End!
 
Did Julian do the right thing by accepting Rachel back or you consider him a fool as some believe?

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