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Friday, August 19, 2016

The Old Flame (2)


 They stood at the balcony at the side of the office building which overlooked an empty plot of land. It was thickly covered with weeds and small trees and shrubs on which birds skipped from one branch to the other.
  It was one of her favourite spots in the building where she occasionally came to clear her head for a while during work. She now watched distractedly as a brown-feathered bird with a white belly perched on a small pawpaw tree, its delicate leaves swaying under its weight.

  She was confused by her reaction at meeting Eric again after all these years. Whenever a scenario like that, of meeting again, played out in her mind, she had seen herself being distant and cold to him. 

 So, why was she standing calmly chatting with him as of it was the most natural thing in the world? 

 Why was she...?

 "So good to see you again, Oluchi," he was saying. "You haven't changed much; just added a little weight. It suits you." His eyes flickered over her, taking in the well-cut navy blue trouser suit to her black open toed high heeled shoes.

 She did not speak but simply gazed at his face- the same face that used to make her heartbeat quicken back in the day, when he meant the whole world to her until things fell apart for them.

 Now fate seemed to have thrown them together again.


 "So, what department are you?" she asked. He had told her he was among the staff from Rockwell that had been transferred to her company to manage it.

 "Marketing and Business Development."

 They spoke for a while then she excused herself to return to work.

  "I guess we'll be seeing a lot of each other then," he said as she turned to leave. 

  She shrugged. "So it seems," she said in a cool, indifferent manner. She did not want to give any indication that seeing him again was affecting her in any way. He stood watching her until she disappeared round the corner to the staircase.

  ***

 That night, Oluchi turned and rolled all over her bed, unable to sleep. The meeting with Eric kept her awake, dominated her thoughts, making her restless.

 Though she had acted all cool, the encounter had left her shaken as it brought back painful memories she had buried deep inside her. 

 Memories she thought would never surface to haunt her as they were doing then...

    Oluchi
  I met Eric in my second year at school. Before then, I had been seeing him around campus and heard of his reputation as a 'bad boy' among the girls. He was quite popular though with an outgoing personality and great looks. He had a car and never seemed to be short of money unlike many other students who struggled to get by in school.

 In terms of looks and personality, Eric and I were opposites. Small in size with average looks, I was the last person someone like him would normally give a second glance.

 Not that he needed to as girls practically threw themselves at him. They did all sorts of things to get his attention. But he only went for the hottest girls on campus- those who looked like models or Miss Nigeria. Like my roommate Timi. A very pretty girl, she had the face and figure of a beauty queen and legs like those of Naomi Campbell.

 We became roommates in my second year and it was through her I met Eric and our unlikely love story began.

 There was an elective course he took in my department which he had been having problems with. Timi, who was friends with him told him she had a roommate who was good in the course.

 She introduced us and I agreed to coach him. Eric had an off-campus accommodation that he shared with friends. I went there twice a week to teach him and that's how we became friends...

To be continued...



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