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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Forever (3)



Alewa drove listlessly through the streets of Lagos, not ready to go home to her empty apartment and far from ready to face her demons yet. She wanted some distractions, she wanted some peace of mind, she needed to not think or feel for some hours but just observe.

 She decided to drive down to the beach, there will be plenty to see and observe there to take her mind off her woes.

As she navigated through the Lagos traffic, she put on her car stereo and listened to some music all the while trying not to think of her life and what it could have been like if her mother had not died and if that man had not decided to make her his pseudo wife.

 Now, she’s so closed off she can’t bear to have any relationship or even make friends. She’s so terrified of forming any lasting relationship with anyone, scared that if she dared, at some point she might be asked about her past, and she could not dare to reveal that.

She finally got to the beach, found a parking space, removed her high heeled sandals and took out the slip-ons she always kept in her car for emergencies like this. 

She put them on, rummaged in her purse for a hair tie and used it to pull her hair into a ponytail when she found one. She put her phones in her jeans pocket, removed her jacket, leaving just her yellow chiffon top, rolled up her jeans, used some facial wipes to wipe her face free of all makeup and traces of tears. She then locked her car, and set off on foot towards the beckoning water.

She walked past tourists haggling over prices of adire, a particular tie and dye material specially made by the women selling them, she walked past couples strolling hand in hand too absorbed with themselves to notice anyone or anything around them, she walked past young boys with earphones glued to their ears and their head shaking as they enjoyed the music blasting in their ears, she walked past young ladies in bum shorts looking for a maga to treat them right that day, she walked past them all, oblivious to the man walking closely behind her observing all her moves.

She was focused on her goal, she walked steadily towards the water until she could feel the coldness on her feet, the cold reminded her that she was still human, it reminded her that at least for now, at this moment, she was alive.

 Alewa closed her eyes, and absorbed the feeling; she stood there and just let the water lap at her feet.

“It feels good, doesn’t it?” King said beside her

Alewa almost jumped out of her skin. She started and quickly turned to the spot where the voice came from. She was surprised to see the same guy at the parking lot standing right beside her. Is he stalking me? What is he doing here?

“Wha…what…what…?”

“What am I doing here?” he looked at her and smiled

She nodded vigorously, at a loss for words.

“Same as you, just enjoying the beautiful serene atmosphere out here.”

She looked at him incredulously. “Are you not the one I saw some hours ago at the hospital?”

“King Karo at your service ma’am. My friends call me K.K.” He bowed lavishly

“You’re a king?” she stared

“No.” he laughed. “My parents just had a thing for royalty. King is my first name.”

“Oh.” She didn’t even crack a smile.

“So, what’s your name?”

She looked at him and just moved away without replying. King watched her go, wondering what her problem was. Is it that she has a thing against men or is it just me? But I can’t give her what she wants, I can’t leave her alone. Lord, is this you or just my flesh? Why do I feel so drawn to her?

Alewa walked on without looking back. She wondered what the guy’s problem was. Has he been following her all this while? What does he want with her? It is just too bizarre to contemplate and she’d rather be left in peace anyway.

I don’t need the hassle of any overzealous guy presently; no matter how good he looks.She thought.

Alewa kept observing her surroundings. She got a soda drink from a nearby vendor and then found a bench a short walk from the water and sat down. She opened her drink, took a sip and kept looking at the water. 

She thought back to all the doctor had told her earlier and wondered what her life would be like now. Her life had never been interesting anyway due to the conspicuous absence of friends and family, now it promises to get even less exciting.

King watched her some distance away, close enough to see every expression that crossed her face and far enough so as not to be construed as a voyeur or stalker. He wondered what she was thinking of as he saw the myriad of expressions go through her face.

 He was stumped, watching her, wanting to be close but having to stay back. He had never been unsure of himself around any woman in his lifetime. 

Ever since he was a baby (as told by his ever ready to exaggerate mother), women had fallen all over themselves to carry him, coo at him or just be near him.

 Since he became an adult, he had to practically fend women off with a stick (figuratively of course) and for the life of him he could not understand the seeming aversion this lady had for him. 

Nevertheless, he was determined to see this through; there was something about her that keeps calling to him, which kept him from walking away.

He saw her stand up and dust the seat of her jeans; she then started walking towards the direction of her car.

 King unconsciously started following her. He knew what he was doing was wrong, it was the highest level of privacy violation, but he could not help himself.


  ***

King stayed in his car for several minutes watching the front door, looking for any sign of life in the house. Everything was as quiet as it looked and he wondered if he was in the wrong place.

He checked the street again and saw he was actually in the right location. He watched the house again and saw the curtains were tightly drawn and the house as silent as a tomb.

He knew for a fact that she was home as her car was parked outside for everyone to see; he wondered what she could be doing alone in the house by herself all day.

He decided to find out.

The three days since he last saw her and followed her to the beach and back here to her apartment had been the most restless of his life. He had thought of her constantly and it kept coming to his mind to pray for her.

 Although he prayed and asked God questions over and over, he still had not gotten any answers to his questions. God was silent, but he knew in his heart what he had to do, hence his visit today.

Alewa stared listlessly at the TV screen. She was on her couch, still in her nightgown which she had been wearing for a week, munching on some cookies with a bottle of 1.5l of coke on the small table beside her.

 She had been perpetually in this position for a week now, ever since she got back from the hospital that terrible day that she got the news she was HIV positive.

She did not see the need to take drugs if she would still die anyway. The doctor had been calling her non-stop all week, telling her to come to the hospital for her drugs as she had not waited to get them the day she got the news, but she had refused to go.

What’s the need for drugs? Why prolong the inevitable? She planned on sitting right there waiting for death to come knocking.

Her father had left her enough money to live on for the rest of her life if she never wanted to work again and if she spent prudently. That was the only good that came out of being related to that man, the fact that he invested his money wisely and left it all to her.

The knock on her door jolted her. Could that be death? Could he be here already? And so soon? She sat there staring at the door, out of her mind with fear. Nobody came visiting her anyway, so it must be death.

Since she moved here, nobody had ever knocked on her door. She was still staring when another knock came. Alewa stood up slowly and approached the door cautiously.

“Who is there?” she whispered, but the person on the other end of the door could not possibly hear her.

“Hello. Anybody home?” a voice called out, it was a male voice.

Alewa moved away from the door towards the kitchen. She was going to get a knife or anything she can use as a defense against any intruder. The voice stopped her again.

“Hello Miss. It’s King Karo. Are you home?”

That stopped Alewa. Where have I heard that name before? King Karo? Oh my God!! She flung the door open before she could stop herself. This handsome devil.

“Hello miss,” King said

“What are you doing here? How did you know my house? I’m going to call the police.”

“In Nigeria? Please.” He smiled

Alewa’s hand flew to her neck while her mouth slid open. Fear suddenly came into her eyes.


To be continued

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