“The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”
They say family dysfunctions are not essentially bad, that they often are the reasons why some are successful. Juwon’s family dysfunction was twisted in the ‘curliest’ of forms; there was something profoundly wrong with the environment she was raised in. As a child, she lacked the ability to create a powerful, protective structure capable of insulating her from the influences of her immediate environment. Kunle eventually realised this, but not before he had fallen ‘eternally’ in love with her.
It was Kunle’s birthday the day Juwon and her mother moved into the apartment right across his in the Estate in Festac Town. He was ten years old and as he and the other kids at his party stopped to watch her jump out from the front seat, his heart skipped a beat. He had never seen any girl so pretty. It was her hair, dark, thick and long; and her eyes, the way they blinked and rolled. Just seeing her in her bright yellow dress with white polka dots all over, her hair nicely packed at the back with a pink ribbon – was the perfect birthday gift for him, and surely he dreamed of her that night.
The next day was a Sunday and the first thing he did when he woke up was to pressure his mother to take him to say hello to the new neighbours right across the street. It was 6am. She eventually got him to wait till they had returned from service that they will go to invite them over for dinner.
Service seemed to be unusually longer than ever before as Kunle earnestly waited for the benediction to be said so they would rush home, stop by to invite Juwon and her mum over for dinner. He really just wanted to see her again, their coming over for dinner would just be blessing in abundance. And he was blessed abundantly. They arrived some minutes past 7pm and as he sat beside her at the dinner table all of his confidence disappeared. Her presence overwhelmed him, and continued to overwhelm.
Fourteen years after her capacity to overwhelm him is still as strong as it ever was. That is why when she told him about her plan he immediately embraced it without any consideration whatsoever. But time has a way of healing many things, even the lack of common sense that came with his ‘love’ for Juwon. If his healing is whole, then it will deliver him his freedom, and also give Dave a good chance of surviving that which lies ahead of him.
NB: In accordance with the fact that this story has assumed a life of its own, and has expanded beyond what I initially planned, I believe that a title change is in order. ‘LOVERS OR FRIENDS’ no longer adequately describes all that this story entails. Also, I think I want to develop this story to become a much larger effort, a novel perhaps, under the title ‘BENEATH HER BEAUTIFUL’. I do urge you to keep your fingers crossed for more drama, suspense and thrill from Juwon, Kunle, Dave and more!