Not many ladies caught my fancy, but she did. With her chocolate skin, pinkish lips, small but firm buttocks and prominent boobs I considered an exaggeration for her petite frame, she got me interested when I’d barely gotten out of a relationship that nearly killed me.
I tried getting her attention but she didn’t notice me, then the stalking began.
I found out her name was Ejiro, but preferred to call her ‘Ejilly’. Don’t ask me how I came by that word but it sounded romantic to me.
I knew her favorite color was black – even her undies too – wondering if she was in constant mourning. Black didn’t compliment her, it didn’t make her attractive at all but I wasn’t bothered as long as it helped me shield her from predators. No one will ever know her true worth like I did, and I wait the time I may find the guts to approach her and serenade her with my findings.
She will be shocked, no, pleased is better, to hear me tell her that her favorite meal was her work, her NGO known as ‘Fear Drop’, no wonder she was as thin as a model suffering from anorexia.
She championed the causes of battered women. I bet Ejilly would love me very much because I too shun violence; my method of settling scores was unorthodox, so was her success.
At twenty-six my wonder woman ran a very successful business, took care of her diabetic mother and paid the tuition fees of her siblings, and yet she had no university degree.
I remembered an article, five years ago, where a stupid journalist had called her an ‘illiterate activist’, and I felt like strangulating him, but she had handled it like a super-human.
After reading the article, I watched as her face broadened with a smile and the next day she had enrolled for a part-time degree course in Public Administration in the university, and last night I watched her seal an expensive gift of a laptop, and a tape recorder addressed to that journalist with a note that read: ‘God bless you, my graduation is next month’
I watched her popularity grew on the new and traditional media as she encouraged more women to speak up against violence but felt helpless that my affection could not grow on her.
Her creepy aura kept me at bay; I guess that was why she had been single for so long. I wasn’t sure if I could penetrate her wall, a rejection would be fatal. Still I followed her.
I volunteered to walk with her in the protest against violence, keeping a safe distance as I tried to think of a way to introduce myself to her.
More than once I saw this affluent looking elderly volunteer, a man in his fifties, come close to her and she smiled approvingly. That was when I knew my fear had to drop.
That night I mustered courage as I walked to her house but was already beaten to it by that same man from nowhere. I watched them both from afar at the entrance with the door held ajar by her, only this time she wasn’t smiling at him.
‘Go to hell where you belong’ she shouted at him.
‘I love you’, I heard the man say before she banged the door, then he went to his parked jeep and drove away watched by some nosy neighbors.
As he drove away I said to myself that if he ever showed his face again, he would be seeing her in my embrace. So I went to prepare.
Ten days afterwards I stood at her door in my tuxedo with a flower in my hand, and contemplated entering without a knock but thought against it. I knocked and got no reply, so I turned the knob and sneaked inside ready to surprise her but got surprised instead.
Barely inside, I heard her footstep as she walked to the sitting room.
‘Who is there?’
I hid myself and kept quiet but was stunned to hear a deep rich voice from outside.
‘It’s me Ejiro’
It seemed someone had trailed me and was about to expose me. My heart began to beat like a locomotive engine as I watched her open the door revealing that same intruder. She held the door open for him and allowed him inside. I became confused
‘Thank you for having me’, his voice quivered like someone who was about to cry, ‘I know I don’t deserve a second chance considering what I did to you’
‘Everyone deserves a second chance’, she replied and he nodded remorsefully, ‘and I too deserve one’
‘You did nothing wrong, I am the one who messed things up and – ’, he said but she cut in.
‘I failed myself’
He looked at her unsure of what she was saying as she continued, ‘I have always been meticulous but got too busy with work and did not check myself for any growth’
‘What are you saying?’
‘I have cancer’
‘Oh my God!’
‘Don’t blame it on God, I was carefree but you know what, I will survive this too like me, my sisters and mum survived your betrayal father ’
‘I am very sorry and – ’
‘Just so you know, I cannot help you win their forgiveness, it’s your cross’, he nodded. After a momentary silence, she spoke again.
‘By next tomorrow I will have one breast left’
‘A surgical operation will be performed on my left breast to remove what the doctor calls a malignant tumor to prevent a spread of the disease’
I started sulking as she broke down in tears, for the first time, as her long-lost father cuddled her tears also streaming down his face.
No way! I screamed for the first time but she didn’t hear me as usual. Just like my previous lover whom I was severed from surgically, I am about to lose another one, leaving me the loser again. I don’t care if they call me cancer or cantankerous or malignant, I only care about winning this fight and may be her love, as I recoiled back into my position in her left breast.
The story dwells on a young lady’s painful realization that life is too short to hold on to unpleasant memories of the past.