Bukky paid the carpenter living in the neighbourhood to construct a wooden shed for her. She wanted it big enough to occupy a few benches, so that people could sit and eat, while others queue to buy her wares. She had already gotten permission from the landlady. The woman collected a daily portion of bean cake, bread and pap from her. The carpenter promised to start work that day. On her way back to the house, several thoughts ran through her mind. She saw her period a few days ago. It was a relief that she didn’t get pregnant. It had been torture while waiting for it to come. She had been avoiding Gbemiga since that night and every time he tried to speak with her, she played dumb. His actions hurt her and he almost got them into trouble. What if she had gotten pregnant? She wasn’t ready to sleep with him, yet he took advantage of her. She wasn’t sure she would be able to trust him ever again. He had been calling and texting her too. She didn’t care. She was almost regretting agreeing to date him. The sooner he returned to school, the better for them.
She heard her name. She recognized the voice and kept on walking. She halted when someone grabbed her by the elbow.
She turned around and saw him. Desperation in his eyes, tired lines laced his forehead. She pulled her arm away from his grip.
“Why are you treating me like this?” his saddened gaze observed her.
She crossed her arms against her chest and looked him up and down.
“I have not been able to sleep. I can’t eat. Your attitude is driving me crazy.”
She hissed and turned her head.
“Is it because… because I, I … Okay I am sorry. I was taken over by… by… try and understand, I love you. I just wanted to…”
She began to shake her head, “I am no longer interested.”
He opened his mouth and closed it.
“I don’t think I can trust you anymore.”
“Bukky…” he whispered.
She looked up at him and noticed the way his eyes glittered with unshed tears. She stilled her emotions. She didn’t want to be dissuaded from her decision.
“Don’t do this. Don’t break my heart.”
“It is over,” she swirled and started to walk away.
She ran the remaining way home, anxious to be as far away as possible.
He placed both hands on his head, heart thudding against his chest.
Kike and her niece watched the carpenter as he worked on the wooden shed. He assured them that he would be through before the sunset. Bukky hoped that the shed would be ready for use the next day. The number of people that patronized her on a daily basis had greatly increased. She thanked God for expanding her business. Lectures at the Adult Education Centre was starting at the end of the month of January. She had paid for the form and her fees. She was told that her progress determined the books she would be asked to buy. She was excited. Thoughts of Gbemiga clouded her mind. She sighed heavily and tried to erase him from her mind. She heard from one of the neighbours that he would be returning to school that week. She felt sad and happy at the same time. Their break-up had been painful. She still liked him, but, she couldn’t get past what he did to her. It wasn’t completely his fault, but, she was afraid. They were both too young to raise children.
“Your mum is planning to come and see you this weekend.”
She turned to her aunt, excitement written all over her face.
“She will be very proud of you,” Kike smiled at her.
Bukky sighed with relief. The thought of seeing her mother filled her with joy.
Bukky came out of the toilet and strode towards the building. It was dark, except for the light coming from the bulb hanging above the kitchen entrance. Most people living in the compound had retired for the night, but, some were still hanging around the front of the house. She yawned loudly and scratched her upper arm. She adjusted the wrapper tied around her waist and scratched a spot on her neck. She yawned again.
What was that? Fear gripped her. She hastened her steps.
She halted and looked around. There was no one in sight.
She noticed a tall dark figure standing behind the kitchen.
“Please, I will like to have a word with you.”
She recognized her ex-boyfriend and frowned.
“Please, I am leaving for school tomorrow.”
She hissed and folded her arms. She didn’t want to be anywhere near him.
“You can say whatever you want to say,” she stood where she was.
He came out of his hiding place and swallowed hard, “I am sorry for everything. Please forgive me. Please take me back. I will do whatever you want. Please.”
She eyed him and bit at her lower lip.
“Please Bukky, I love you. I cannot live without you,” he went on his knees.
She opened her mouth in shock.
“Please…” tears slid down his face.
Her heart melted. She took a few steps towards him, “You hurt me,” her lips trembled.
“I will never, ever hurt you again. Your wish is my command, henceforth.”
She stopped in front of him and pulled him up.
“Please take me back,” he held her hands.
She dropped her head and sighed. Should she forgive him? Was he trustworthy? She was confused, but, her feelings for him had not changed.
“Please give me another chance. I will not touch you again until you are ready.”
She raised her head and met his pleading gaze, “I think we can start over.”
“Thank you,” his face brightened.
“Are you really leaving tomorrow?”
“Yes,” he nodded and dropped her hands.
“So, till Easter?”
“Yes, but you can visit me at school.”
“I don’t know about that.”
Their gazes locked.
“I am going to miss you,” he brushed a hand over her face.
“I will miss you too.”
He took a step back. He tried to fight the urge to draw her close and kiss her. He turned his head and looked at nothing in particular.
“I will,” he glanced at her, “Everyday.”
She smiled with satisfaction, “I have to go,” her eyes darted left and right. There was no one around. She sighed with relief.
“You too,” she tore her gaze away and hurried into the building.
Gbemiga placed both hands on his head. It would have been devastating if she had not re-united with him. He really, really loved her. It saddened him that she doesn’t want to be physically intimate with him. He felt it would make them closer. Maybe if he took things slowly, she might come around.