This piece centres on the desire of everyone to be loved and how we must however overcome certain obstacles and first learn to love ourselves and be happy for others to see the beauty worthy of loving in us.
“Mummy,mummy”a little girl called out excitedly, yanking at the hand that held her as she pointed lovingly across the road in the direction of a shop with a giant plastic ice cream cone hinged above it’s entrance.
It was another really hot and sunny day,the sky all too clear as the sun literally dried up every drain of water that attempted to gather,many were all too eager for the rains to begin.
It was well into april but still no rain and judging by the intensity of the sun the day was prooving no different,some were of the opinion that it was the end of the world,insisting that man could not escape the wages of it’s evil ways.
This reasoning however failed to sit well with a lot of people and indeed experts who rather blamed the sudden climatic change on constant air pollution,revealing that fumes from cars,trucks and factories play major roles in what was presently experienced,not just in the country but around the rest of the world.
As the hands of the clock surrended north wards barely apart to clinch onto 12 and 2,it confirmed sudden to be the word for the day,as residence of lagos began to experience one of the most unanticipated climatic changes ever recorded.
Everyone was caught off guard as the clouds began to gather and soon droplets turned into heavy downpour which would continue all afternoon and though many had prayed for the rains the manner by which it came seemed to dampen their spirits and day altogether, especially the thoughts of the tricky roads they had to deal with.
One man who however refused his spirits dampened was the the chief accountant of the Lagos inland bank,mr Irie onyeneri “another day maybe,but not today” he soliloquized,determined not to let the rain ruin his birthday and all that he had planned for after.
Irie’s celebrations with his co-workers in the conference hall of the bank was however interrupted by a phone call,placing his drink on the table he quickly made for the exit in a bid to escape the noise and laughter to answer the one to whom he would be married to in a matter of months.
“Hello dear” he greeted as he slammed the door behind him.
“Hi kel honey”responded Betty,Irie’s fiancee.She always preferred to call him by his English name,on one of such occasions Irie had asked her why but she had jokingly replied that Irie was such a local name.”Happy birthday”she added.
“I was begining to think you had forgotten”
“And how could I?”Questioned Betty rhetorically.”Although I see I succeeded in giving you a scare,aye?”
Irie did not respond,he just let out a nervous chuckle,he knew within himself that the feeling had earlier crept on him as he had expected her to be the first to call but when she did not,so many thoughts had come flooding into his mind,thankfully he was able to dismiss every single one of them.
“And what’s up with the noise at the background?”Betty asked after about half a second as Irie walked a little further down the hallway still trying to escape the noise emanating from the hall which had grown louder.
“Oh,just my co-workers celebrating with me-they’re a handful”he added chuckling at one of the workers who had gestured comically towards Irie something he could not quite make out.
“Well that’s really nice,I’m just glad you’re having fun and I’m really sorry I can’t be there with you right now,you know how much I’d love to-how much I love you”. she added in almost whisphers.
For half a minute no one spoke,Irie was not sure but it sounded as if betty was a little too disappointed,”Is everything okay beautiful?”
He knew she loved it when he called her pet names and he desperately wanted to make her feel better.
“Yes honey”.She replied hoping he did not notice the dryness in her voice.
“Well if you say so”Irie dismissed still not convinced that all was well,but then he felt it was inappropriate to press on over the phone.
“How about we go out and celebrate?” irie proposed ”just the two of us this evening,probably dinner at Znomi restaurant.”A place reserved for the creame de la creame of the city.
“I like the sound of that,you’ll pick me up at my place then?”She asked not sure why,she knew he always picked her up at her apartment everytime they went out.
“Absolutely,I’ll see you then- say seven?”
“Agreed then”.Betty responded half a second before she added with a rather tense voice.”Don’t be late,I’ve got a surprise for you”.
Irie’s mind wandered to and fro at the thought of the surprise that betty might have for him”I won’t be late,trust me”he finally promised.
Irie soon hung up after continious appeals from his co- workers to rejoin the celebration.
For the rest of the day he just could not help himself continually brimimg from ear to ear.It was however not strange to see him in such a happy mood,as he had always been a jovial person,so much so much so everyone around him had grown so fond of him,he seemed to have a very unique way of making everyone he met feel the same way about him,well that coupled with a rich and greatly influential family name,he was found without blemish.
It was 6:20,Irie glanced at his watch,as he gently pressed the bell to Betty’s apartment,he was definitely early,perharps a bit too early he thought to himself as he rang the door bell again,but still he got no response.”Oh silly me”he cursed under his breathe,realizing that Betty might be in the shower and at such could not hear the door bell.
He gave the door bell one last try as he fumbled for the keys in his pocket and a minute later he was in.His lips parted slightly in delightful surprise as he walked into the living room,there was no way any one could miss it,very well-almost elaborately decorated with balloons and ribbons.
Iries smile broadened as he saw a box beside a handwritten birthday card,picking it up Irie noticed it was really paper weight light,his mind wandered to and fro as to what it’s content could be,she did say something about a surprise but nothing like what he saw crossed his mind-a letter.
That was how Irie’s previous relationship ended before he was dealt yet another blow from his latest relationship with a certain Bimpe that landed him in the bar once again.
It seemed many were caught up in the intrigues of a football game that was been shown on tv and despite Irie’s total lack of intrest he could not help overhearing from discussions among the locals,it seemed the much anticipated world cup had kicked off in southafrica.
“Demons” he cursed underneath his breath,referring to his past two relationships,by this time he had popped open his third bottle but still he could not help himself out of his misery as the words of the letter which Betty wrote began to replay in his head,though disjointed it was still enough to renact the same level of pain he had felt the first time he read the letter.
She had told him that she never loved him and that he was barely a means to an end-insulted him on how stupid he was trusting too easily and loving too much,she wondered why he never suspected, hitting hard on how blind he was on several occasions,as an advise she had told him to forget about love,apparently he seemed not to have learnt from past mistakes but after his recent misfortune,he was seriously begining to consider what was rapidly turning out to be the best thing Betty ever said to him.
By now a small bar fight had ensured bringing Irie back from his trance,his eyes were red,literally on fire consumed with anger and probably hatred,he gulped down another mouthful from the bottle in his hands before letting his fingers run lazily through his hair, reluctantly bringing them down to rub the back of his neck,but still the words from the letter kept echoing in his head and if he had intended to drown the words in the beer,it definitely was not working.
“I must be going crazy” he muttered to himself as he failed in his attempt to stand up.Turning his mind to his present predicament,he wondered if he had been cursed,always jilted,always on the weeping side but unlike Betty who had been so rude,sarcastic and even a bit sinister in breaking up,his latest setback from bimpe,as he chose to call it was a little bit comforting,they had gone out for lunch when she maturely broke up with him,claiming she just could not do it anymore,he never really got a hold of what she meant.
It was becoming a de javu and he wondered if the problem was on his part or their’s,no surprise as to what he’s opinion was.He had always tried to be all that any one could want in a partner,patient, loyal,trusting,understanding,caring and all of that,so much so he was convinced he could become a professeur in the etiquettes of relationships if he so wished-but still.
“Demons” he muttered again “they’re all demons out to make the beer companies richer”.At this point he had emptied his third bottle and was ordering another.
His whisphers this time had not gone unheard,he lifted his gaze in the direction of the voice that spoke,it sounded cool,classy and sweet,but then it seemed shocking,not so much the voice but the person.
Looking around in a bid to be certain the voice spoke to him,again and again Irie repeated the action but the figure continued to stare him in the face,he rubbed his eyes furiously to clear the illusions but it remained-no! impossible he thought to himself,he might be drunk but he sure as heaven was not blind.