Gbemiga’s parents and his siblings gathered around him in their self-contain apartment. He was home for a few days and they listened as he narrated his camp experience. He met young people from different parts of the country. He made new friends and went on a tour in the capital city. He visited places he didn’t go to the last time he was in Abuja and he had a lot of fun.
He also intimated them on how his aunt influenced his positing. He was currently serving in USAID. He was given an accommodation, a four-bedroom bungalow which he shared with three other male Corpers. Aside from their Federal Government allowance, the foreign agency gave them a weekly allowance. If he was lucky enough, he might be retained. He prayed and hoped that he would work at the agency immediately after his service year. He heard that the staff were well taken care of and they were paid in dollars. Many of them were transferred abroad after a few years in the agency. It was his dream to tour the world and he believed working in USAID would make his dreams come true.
He informed his family that he was already saving and would be able to move them into a two-bedroom flat before the Christmas holiday.
The Phillips were very excited. They prayed that everything would work out for their good. Baba called his younger sister in Abuja and thanked her for helping his son. He would be eternally grateful to her.
Remi basked in the good news. Her first child and only son was serving in Abuja and working for an international agency. Their hopes and dreams had finally materialized. She and her husband were going to enjoy the fruit of their labour sooner than they expected. The family was going to be the talk of the neighbourhood. From grass to grace, that was their story. She prayed that the agency would employ him after his service year. When that happened, she would stop working at the paper factory. She might open a provision store or a gift shop or whatever business she could figure out. Her husband was also tired of his security guard job. He would definitely resign too and go into any business he fancied. Their daughters would also stop working and enjoy their brother’s wealth. Their new status would definitely attract responsible suitors who would take care of them.
Lola and Kemi were very excited. If their brother was retained in the foreign agency, he would be earning a lot of money. He would be able to take care of the family and if possible, they might be able to go back to school. They were not getting younger and a few suitors had come to ask for their hands in marriage. They didn’t want to make any mistake and were willing to be very careful before they chose their husbands-to-be.
Gbemiga watched his father as he spoke to his aunt in Abuja on the phone. He looked excited and pleased. His gaze flew to his mother and sisters. They were equally smiling and happiness radiated on their faces. He thanked God for creating the opportunity needed to bring his family completely out of poverty. They had all suffered enough. It was time for them to sit back and enjoy the goodness of the Lord.
Thoughts of Bukky drifted into his mind. He would never forget the day she screamed at him, raising an alarm that could have alerted her neighbours. If he had remained in her place, he would have been mobbed and beaten up. It hurt him that she would do that kind of thing to him, after everything they had been through. She wanted him to leave her alone. He might do just that. After all, she wasn’t the only girl in the whole wide world. It was time he gave his heart the freedom to love again. There were several pretty girls at his place of work. He would get to know them, befriend them and choose who he would date. Some of them were already giving him the green light. It was time to move on.
It was the Introduction ceremony of her elder sister and her sweet heart. Bukky and her sister’s friends helped the caterer to serve the food and drinks to the guests. Family, friends, neighbours and well -wishers came to celebrate with the Folorunsho family and the groom-to-be’s family. It was a day of joy and fulfilled dreams.
She was happy for her sister who would be having her traditional and church wedding that same week, during the weekend. It was like a double celebration because her sister had also gained admission into the University of Lagos to study Sociology. She wondered how she was going to cope. Her husband-to-be lived in Maryland and the school was in Akoka. She reasoned that being married and schooling at the same time was going to be stressful. She prayed to God to give her sister the wisdom she needed to keep her marriage and get educated at the same time.
She began to daydream of the day she would also get married to the love of her life; Chike. How was it going to be like? He promised to buy her wedding dress, shoes and jewelry in U.K along with his suit and shoes. She had already made a list on whom she wanted her chief bride’s maid to be, the bride’s maids, the flower girls and the little bride. She was going to pick from both the Folorunsho and the Nwosu families. She wondered who he was going to pick as his best man and grooms men. She had met a few of his friends. They were all educated, spirit filled and humorous guys. She liked the kind of people he moved with.
She missed him so much. Although they communicated every night on Skype and chatted on BBM during the day, it was different from seeing him one on one. She remembered his kisses and blushed. He would say, ‘Where is my sweet kiss?’ She laughed and smiled to herself. She missed everything about him. The last time they spoke, he told her that he was now had a part-time job. He advised her to prepare for her GCE and promised to send her somethings before the Christmas holiday. He wasn’t sure of he would be coming home for Christmas.
She hoped he would come home. She wanted them to spend the holiday together. She wondered if he had gained weight. The last time he was out of the country, he came home resembling the Wrestle Mania wrestlers. She laughed again and smiled.
Oh Chike. My love. Come home soon.
The ringing of her phone woke her up. She turned on her side, looked for the Blackberry phone and found it on the floor. She sat up, sandwiched between two of her sisters’ friends. None of them returned home after the introduction ceremony. They needed to help the bride prepare for her wedding. She climbed down from the bed, walked out of the room and picked the call.
She recognized her fiance’s voice, “Chike,” she sighed with relief. She had been expecting his call since midnight. She gave up and slept off over an hour ago.
“How is the bride to be?”
Bukky smiled, “She is fine,” she tip-toed across the sitting room. Her brothers and some of their relatives were sleeping on the chairs and mats. She went into the bathroom and locked the door.
“And the groom?”
“He is okay. The traditional wedding is next tomorrow and the church wedding is on Saturday.”
“Nice. I wish I was there.”
She smiled and leaned against the tiled wall, “Me too.”
“I got the pictures you sent.”
“Okay. I will send more, after each party.”
“Okay, Mrs. Photographer.”
She started to laugh.
“How is my baby doing?”
“Hope you are ready for the GCE.”
“Yes, I am.”
“Good to know.”
“I miss you,” she cooed.
“I miss you more. I can’t wait to see you.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Where is my sweet kiss?”
She started to laugh. She covered her mouth with a hand to stiffen the noise.
“I love you.”
“I love you too,” she sighed with relief.
“I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I am going to devour you on our wedding night.”
“I can’t wait.”
“I can’t wait either.”
“What’s the time over there?”
“I think it’s almost three.”
“Okay, go back to bed. You have a wedding to prepare for.”
“How is your schooling and part-time work?”
“I will gist you tomorrow. Sweet dreams love.”
“I am blowing you a zillion sweet kisses.”
“I am catching it rush, rush…” she grabbed imaginary kisses with her hand mid-air.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
The line went static. She sighed heavily and wrapped her arms around her curvy frame.