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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Heartstrings (6)



About a week after that first meeting,  she returned to my office for the recording of the interview with my CEO. The interview went well and we later had lunch at our staff canteen.

With us was her cameraman or woman (for she was a lady) named Janet.

"What time do you close from work?" I asked Becky as we ate.

"Why do you ask?"

"I want to take you out after work," I said, praying silently she would accept.

"I don't really have a closing time; it depends on my schedule which is really tight right now with productions and other stuff. Maybe some other time, " she said.

That turned out to be nearly a month later after several calls and messages.

"It's easier to see our President at Aso Rock Villa than to see you, " I said teasingly the evening I had picked her from her home for our first date.

She laughed.

"Not my fault,  Demola. Blame my job! As you can see, we journalists are very busy people. It's a jealous profession that takes nearly 100 percent of your time."

"But what can't work all the time!" I protested. "All work and no play..."

"Yeah! I know! But what can I do, with endless deadlines all the time, " she said   .

"Ok. Let me have fifty."

She glanced quickly at me.

"What?"

"Fifty percent of your spare time. That's all I ask," I implored.

"Greedy guy! " she said, smiling.

"I know I am...when it comes to being with you!", I said, turning from the road to grin at her.


  ***

Despite my best efforts, we could only see occasionally over the next few months. Sometimes, when I longed to see her, I would drive to her office after I had closed for the day and wait for her in the car to finish her work.

I would drop her at home and spend some time with her before heading home. By this time, I had fallen deeply for her; I wanted to make her mine. But sadly,  the feeling was one- sided.

Becky made it plain she had no space in her heart for me then.

We were at Eleko beach one Saturday afternoon when she opened up to me. It was her day off work, so that morning, we had left Lagos early as the beach resort was some distance away from the city.

 While I swam, Becky sat watching me and the other funseekers around. Later, we sat under the shade, eating and chatting.

It felt so good being with her there, I wished we could stay there longer.

"Do you have to be in the office tomorrow?" I asked.
 She nodded. "Hmmm."

"A pity," I said. "It would have been nice if we could spend the niight here at the resort." I placed my hand on her shoulder and my fingers slipped up to caress her cheek.

She held my hand there and said:
"I'm sorry,  Demola."

What for?" I asked,  wondering what she had done.

"I can't give you what you want. I know you love me... You're a cool guy and I like you and enjoy your company. But I can't love you back."

"It's not your fault! " she added quickly when I tried to speak. "The problem is me."

 It was then she told me about her ex - fianc√©,  Lanre.

"I loved Lanre with all my heart and he was crazy about me too. We planned to spend our lives together. But there was a problem, his parents," she  said.
Lanre’s parents, she explained,  who were Muslims were against his relationship with someone like her of a different faith.

"They didn't want to see me with Lanre and they made that clear. At a point, I stopped visiting him at home because the hostility from his parents was just too much. We did all we could to stay together- he pleaded with them, blackmailed, threatened;  it was no use."

At this point, Becky's voice became softer and her eyes grew misty. Then, she took a deep breath and continued speaking.  "With such opposition, our relationship was doomed. We had no choice but part for good."

I could tell by the sad look on her face that recalling the incident was painful to her. I took her hand and squeezed it.

"The break up was hard on me," she said. "I had built my hopes, dreams and happiness round Lanre and when we parted, it was like a very vital part of me was gone. I nearly had a break down. " She paused and gazed at the sandy ground for a moment. "Even now, more than two years since we broke up, I can't forget him...I still love him very much. I've tried to let him go but it's been difficult. "

She looked up at me then added: "That's why I can't give you what you desire, Demola. In my heart, there's only room for Lanre; whether we're together or not."

Perhaps with hindsight, I should have just let her go and forgotten about her. But by then, it was too late. She was the one pulling my heartstrings and I simply could not stay away from her. So, I pressed on.

"Time heals everything. So, with time, I believe you'll be free to love some one else," I posited.

"That'll be when? Two, three or ten years? What man will have the patience to wait?"

I looked keenly at her.

"I'll wait for you, Becky," I said.

Her lips curved in a sad, little smile that made me want to hold her tight and help ease some of the pain of the loss.

 ***

My friend Kefe thought I was mad.

"How can you even think of doing that?  Wait for how long for her to accept you?  Eternity?" he said in a derisive tone.

He had stopped over at my house on his way from  church and I had told him what happened at the beach the previous day.

"You won't understand Kefe! I love Becky very much. I think she's the one for me."

"And I think you're being foolish, Demola! What's so special about this lady anyway? There are lots of beautiful ladies out there in this city, yet you want to keep hanging on to one whose heart and mind are elsewhere. I thought you were smarter than thi,  man!" he said hotly.

 "What matters is winning her in the end. I'm hopeful  it shall happen one  day!" I said in an optimistic tone.

 He sniggered at me, stating mockingly; "Keep hoping! Mr Hope!"

  ***

Four years. That was what it took to win Becky. It was not easy but now that I had got my heart's desire, I'm  ready to do anything to keep it.

 The morning after Becky spent the night at my place, I began plans to take the relationship to the next level. The next day after work, I stopped over at the City Mall on the Island and walked into a jewellery shop...


To be continued.

Don't miss the next episode of Demola's story  coming soon!  Do stay tuned!




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