Ene’s heart skipped many beats, as she opened the small box containing the three letters she had received from Oche. Tears rolled down her face, as she read through the first letter…
I believe you are fine. We had a rough journey, but I am glad we arrived at our base safely. It’s been very difficult to get you off my mind…I can’t forget every moment we shared together, your kisses…and my entry inside of you. God bless the day you stepped into my world. I promise to love you forever and ever and ever and ever and evvvvvvver… I’d surely keep in touch… much love…
She kissed the letter passionately, casting her mind back to when she met Oche.
Enewas eighteen years old when the civil war broke out in Zambezia. Her father was suspected to be part of the brains behind the secession attempt. He was captured and subsequently executed by the military government. Ene was taken to a refugee camp outside Magambi – the state capital; by a rescue team after her mother was shot dead.
Deep sorrow engulfed her whole being, making it difficult for her to eat, or talk to anyone in the refugee camp. After a while,she fell sick and was taken to the shabby refugee clinic for treatment. Oche was part of the peace keeping troop sent from Nigeria to Zambezia. He was assigned as an escort to the medical team which went to deliver drugs at the refugee clinic. His eyes fell on the female figure on one of the mats in the female tent of the clinic. He drew closer, and was attracted to the tenderness that engulfed her person. Somehow, he knew he felt a thing for her.
“Young lady, how do you feel today? Hope you feel better?”
Ene turned in the direction where the voice came from. She did not utter a word, but gently turned to face the other direction. Oche stood there for a while before asking again. He quietly walked away without receiving an answer. That night, Ene tried so hard to do away with the picture of a handsome soldier who was at her bed side at noon. Somehow, she wished she was polite enough to have given him an answer. She was discharged from the clinic a few days later. She couldn’t help taking a second look at any soldier that passed by. Something inside of her longed to see the handsome soldier again. It took another three months before new drugs were supplied to the refugee clinic again. Ene made her way to the clinic, when she sighed the health vehicle from a distance. She turned to walk away, when she could not identify the soldier whose picture remained in her heart.
“Hello, good to see you on your feet”
Ene turned to see Oche, who had stretched out his hands to shake her. They spent twenty minutes getting to know each other. Soon, it was time for the medical team to leave; Oche and Ene were locked in a warm embrace, having their hearts communicate to each other.She was surprised to see Oche a week later. He told her he was through with his services in Zambezia and would return to Nigeria in three days time.
That night, they walked down a secluded road, until they were left alone. Ene could not hide the little tear drops that rolled down her face, as she laid in Oche’s arms. They sat quietly, with many thoughts running through their minds. In a moment, they kissed with such a rhythm that erased the knowledge time’s passage.
“Oche, I wouldn’t survive in this place without you…”Ene said, hugging him tightly.
“Hey, I have a plan…”
Ene wiped her eyes, folded the letter in her hands and opened the second one. The feeling of loneliness took over her, with a lot of sweet moments of the past running through her mind.
My heart beat,
I got your letter…believe me, I know exactly how you feel. I feel the same way too. I wish we were together… never mind, I’ve got good news. Our troop would return to Nigeria in six months’ time, and I hope that we’ll never return here again. I can’t wait to walk you down the aisle… See you soon… I love you so much.
She sobbed for a long time, holding her pillow closely. After a while, her thoughts raced down memory lane. She could remember vividly, how she came into Nigeria.
Oche had stolen uniforms fromthe bag of a member of the new medical team, who was to replace a member the old batch. He gave the uniforms to Ene on the eve of their departure day, informing her of everything she had to do, to avoid any form of suspicion. The medical team, as well as their escorts entered into the military van which was headed for Nigeria. Ene sat beside Oche, sleeping almost throughout the forty-eight hour journey which brought them into the Nigerian boarders. They slept at the military barracks in Adamawa, before heading for Oche’s home town in Benue State the next morning.
Oche’s resolve to join the Army was as a result of his quest for survival after he lost his parents. He had no support from his relatives, so he found his way into the Military, barely few years after his secondary school.
Enefound her new environment strange. The climatic condition was different than that of Zambezia. All the same, she was glad to be together with the first man she ever loved, especially after losing her parents. That night, Oche proposed to marry Ene. She was shocked at first, lacking what to say. A deep kiss conveyed her answer. They were wrapped in each other’s arms throughout the night, whispering love tunes in each other’s ears.
The beach by the River Benue was a perfect spot for love birds. Ene spent most of her evenings there with Oche. They loved the beautiful sight of sun set, so they agreed to witness it together every evening. Most times, they returned home, holding each other’s hand, expressing thick love, with gestures that could only be understood by soul mates.
After a month, the third battalion Peace keeping force was assembled at the State office of the Armed Forces. Oche came back home that evening with news…bad news. They were to return to Zambezi in twoweeks’ time.Ene burst into tears, wondering how she would stay alone in Nigeria, without the warm embrace of Oche.
Two weeks came in a flash, and the eve of Oche’s journey back to Zambezi, was a sad one. They went to witness the sun set as usual, but this time, each person could mutter only a few words. They held hands in a very slow walk back home. Dinner was also eaten in silence. Ene could not help shedding tears, as she watched Oche put his belongings in a bag. They wept bitterly, holding each other so tightly. Oche pulled something out of his pocket and kept it beside their bed. In a moment, they were without clothes, their hands exploring body contours.
“Sweetheart, come into me…open me, be my first…”
On hearing these words, Oche reached for the thing he kept beside their bed. Ene helped him to put it on. They expressed so much pleasure…they were both first timers. The blood stained bed sheet was replaced after they had their bath. That night, they enjoyed each other’s body to the peak.
Ene handled the third letter with shaky hands. She closed it for a while, and held it against her chest. After a while, she summoned courage to open it.
It’s been very difficult surviving here. The rebels have launched another major attack on government troops in Magambi. We have been asked to extend our stay indefinitely… I wouldn’t be coming back to Nigeria at the end of next month as I told you earlier. I miss you so much. I promise to always love you…
Loads of kisses…
This was the last letter she received from Oche in five years. She opened her diary, picked up her pen and scribbled some notes:
The world hates people in my shoes, so our legs are cut off and we can no longer walk on that lovely path, with those people and things that made our lives worth living…fate snatches every touch of spice that comes with true love…Oche, you left me in this dark and lonely world, now my life is tasteless, without the spice that comes from resting in your arms…
NAME: OGBOLE AGALA
COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE: NIGERIA
BIO: I am a final year Law student at the Benue State University. I developed thick love for the pen in 2006, after my secondary school. Between 2010 and now, I’ve won a couple of literary awards, including: CN Essay Competition (March 2010); Beautiful Lines Poetry Contest (August 2010); Intercontinental Bank Nigeria@ 50 National Essay Competition (October 2010); World Bank International Essay Competition – Certificate for Best Authors (April 2011); NS Anthology Flash Contest (April 2012).