Forever 2

 

After everything she had been through in her young life, she couldn’t believe this was where she was to end up, rotting away from a disease contracted from her father.

She guessed it was fitting though; her sin had prevented her from living a full life so why prolong the inevitable. She had shut herself from the world, could barely stand the sight of a man not to talk of his touch, could not fathom trusting a man enough to let him in her life, have children with him and then watch him molest his daughter, could not even break the chain of despair her father had wrapped around her since she was thirteen.

Better to die now, no one would miss her and she would definitely miss no one. She knew this was the last straw, this would be the straw that would break the camel’s back, this was going to be the death of her; literally.

 

King watched as the young lady wove her way drunkenly through the cars in the parking lot until she got to a small Toyota parked some distance from his car. It was her erratic movements that arrested his attention but it was her attire that retained it. She was dressed classically albeit casually and he couldn’t believe a woman that exudes such class would be so drunk so early in the day.

He continued watching her closely as she searched through her purse presumably for her key and eventually dumped the contents out. His curiosity was satisfied when he saw her take out a set of keys, opened the car door and quickly went in. She started the car and just sat there, not moving with the car apparently running. King wondered what was going on and he felt compelled to check up on her. He told himself he was just concerned about her, but the fact was he was undoubtedly curious about the young woman.

King approached the car cautiously, careful not to attract undue attention to himself and be mistaken for a stalker or worse. He got to her car and saw her head on the steering wheel. He gently rapped on her window to attract her attention but there was no response. He rapped harder and she raised her head abruptly, looking a bit disoriented. She looked like she didn’t know where she was, like she was trying to get her bearings. King kept a smile on his face so she wouldn’t be frightened. She looked at him questioningly and he could see tears streaming down her face but she didn’t seem to notice. In fact, she didn’t seem like she knew most of what was going on around her; she just kept staring at him, waiting for him to explain the reason for his presence.

King indicated she lower her windows so she could hear him speak. She kept looking at him morosely and he repeated his request. Her eyes finally cleared and she reached to lower her windows, all the while looking at him expectantly.

Once the windows were fully lowered, King could see her face more clearly and he saw she was even younger than he thought she was and she was incredibly beautiful. Her eyes, filled with tears, seemed like a pool he could fall into and never come out of, they had such depth and awareness, he couldn’t fathom it. He looked endlessly into her eyes until she nervously shifted her gaze. That brought King back to the present. Her beautiful face was scrunched up tight from trying to keep herself from crying, even with that it was still arresting.

“Are you alright ma’am?” King asked

“I’m fine.” She answered quietly

“Are you sure?” King was more concerned now

She frowned and closed her eyes as if to ward off an evil spirit. “Oga wetin now? I told you I’m fine. What do you want?”

King was a bit taken aback by her vehemence. “I’m just looking out for you miss. I can see you are not feeling so well.”

“I’m feeling great, thank you.” With that she rolled up her window, laid her head on the head rest and closed her eyes.

King didn’t need anyone to tell him he had been dismissed. He watched her for a few moments more before walking slowly back to his car. All along he was haunted by her beautiful face, those depthless eyes and the tears in them. He wished there was something he could do for her, he wished she would lower her guard enough to let him help her, at least cheer her up.

He leaned back on his car, still watching her car. After a few minutes of standing still, under the hot sun, looking at one spot, King was ready to throw in the towel and move on but he had a strong check in his spirit to hold on and remain where he was. Before long, he saw her reverse and drove out and he decided to follow her. After thoroughly convincing himself of the prudence and importance of following her, he put his car into gear and drove after her out of the parking lot.

 

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 couldn’t understand the seeming aversion this lady has 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 couldn’t help himself.

 

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