“I’m so in love with you tra la la la”
Teniola’s singing was so off key that it was impossible to tell what song she was singing or who sang it.
“Please now, don’t drive me crazy with this your music, and how come you never get past the first line?” Julia was smiling as she spoke.
“This Ade guy won’t kill you”
“Oh please let him, it would be a pleasurable death”
“Just take it easy, men are not that reliable you know?”
“You are just jealous” Teni said pouting.
“No I’m not and you know it, it’s just that with men you can never be too sure”
“I’m sure this is about Tunde, what happened with you guys that is so bad; you can’t tell me?”
A shadow passed over Julia’s face and she just said with finality
“I do not want to talk about it.”
“Why nowwww?” Teni was still smiling.
“Because I do not want to” Julia snapped as she walked out of their shared living room leaving her cousin with confusion written all over her face. It was rare that they had any quarrels, hardly ever raised their voices at each other.
Teni was expecting Ade to come for her, she was spending the weekend at his shared self-contained apartment, while his flat mate was away. Their romance was a whirlwind one. They spent every moment they could together and even though it had just been a couple of months, it felt like a life time together. They completed each other sentences, had shared jokes that other people didn’t get, shared secret smiles when in the company of other people.She sat waiting for him to arrive, while puzzling over her cousin’s attitude; Julia walked back in to the living room, still looking upset and asked her cousin, “so when are you telling him you are leaving?” At that very moment
Ade walked in and asked; “Leaving for where?”
There was an awkward silence as Julia mumbled hi and stalked back into the bedroom. Teni shot her departing figure a murderous look and then tried her best to smile at Ade. It was obvious something was amiss so Ade took a seat, held his bearded face in his hands (he had recently begun to sport a beard) and looked questioningly at Teni, who avoided his gaze.
So he asked once again, “Where are you going?” He voice was really soft, but it was mixed with both confusion and anger and he couldn’t tell why.
Teni took a really deep breath and finally looked him in the face. Her happy mood had totally disappeared. She sighed a couple of times, trying to find her voice and when she finally did, it was a mere croak.
“Can we talk about this at your place?”
“No, we talk about it here.“
“Now” She sighed again,
“I am supposed to be going to school in Scotland, my parents are frustrated with the strikes and all, but I am still trying to…”
“When are you leaving?” Ade interjected
“I am still trying to convince them that…”
“When? When are you leaving for Scotland?” Ade interrupted a bit more forcefully
“In three weeks.” She was dry eyed, but you could hear the tears in her voice.
Ade stood up “Ok let’s go” his face was expressionless.
That weekend at his place was the worst ever, it lacked the carefree happiness which they always shared, the ringing laughter, the joyous abandon. She kept trying to apologize, to talk to him about it, but she just couldn’t bring herself to, she didn’t know why, but she just couldn’t.
Ade was also being civil and talked to her only when he needed to, he pretended to be engrossed in a novel even though she could tell that he was not really reading it. Finally on the second night, while they lay on his bed, she dissolved in tears. Her sobbing alarmed him, he had never seen her so vulnerable. He sat up immediately and pulled her to him. She was talking incoherently through her tears. He tried his best to calm her down but the sobs just grew louder. Eventually she calmed down and just held on to him, then they both started apologizing to each other.
Finally when all was quiet, Ade asked; “Why didn’t you just tell me?”
“Because we have been so happy and I didn’t want to spoil it, but I’m coming back Ade, I promise you I am, and I will come home every summer break, Dad promised me that, I promise I’m not leaving you”
“I’m not leaving you either baby, I promise you that.”
The remaining weeks flew by and they refused to acknowledge the passage of time, determined to squeeze out every drop of pleasure and happiness they could from the remaining time they had together.
Finally the D-day arrived and Ade refused to go to the airport with her. “I just can’t watch you leave Teni, I can’t . . . just promise you’ll write every other week and I’ll reply every single one of your letters.”
Julia stood watching, she had not forgiven herself for her outburst although Teni had let go already. She really felt sorry Ade had to find out like he had.
“Can we leave now?” she eventually asked,
“You’ll miss your flight”
Teni wrote every other week as promised, really long letters that complained about everything from the weather to the food and the long boring lectures. At first Ade’s letters were all about missing her then the tone changed to encouraging her to adapt, then making jokes about her complaints. They simply couldn’t wait to see each other again and kept assuring each other of this..
One rainy evening after lectures, Ade ran into Julia, the rain had stopped and so people had trooped out of the lecture halls. Just as Ade was stepping out of the school gates, he saw Julia walking ahead of him, arms wrapped around her body. He called her and walked briskly up to her, he was about to say hi when the rain started again, this time more heavily. They both ran to Julia’s place which was closer. They were both drenched by the time they got into the apartment, so Julia went into the room to change into dry clothes. When she stepped out, Ade also stepped into the bathroom to try to squeeze out as much of the wetness from his clothes as he could. When he stepped back out into the living room, she had a mug of hot cocoa waiting for him.
“Sorry I don’t have any clothes your size.” She said apologetically.
He nodded, then suddenly burst out laughing.
“What’s funny?” she looked puzzled
“Just the thought of you having anything my size; you are so tiny”
“I do not know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult”
“A compliment, you size suits your features so it’s fine”
They talked for a while about Teni and then drifted to other issues, school, strikes, lectures, the rain, and then she noticed he was shivering a bit and went to bring the blanket from the bedroom.
“Take that shirt off and wrap yourself in this.”
“Thanks” he stood up and pulled the shirt off in one fluid movement, and then he sat on the floor, leaning against the chair and covered himself up to the shoulders with the blanket. She stood looking at him for a few moments and then joined him under the blanket.
“You looked so warm under it, I thought it was a good idea to share. Hope you don’t mind?”
“Of course not”
The conversation however became awkward and stilted afterwards and not long afterwards, Ade stood up and said, “It’s really late and the rain has stopped, I should be on my way, thanks for the hospitality”
“Oh anytime” Julia responded airily.
Ade pulled on his shirt and she walked him to the door. At the door, he stepped down and out of the room, the room entrance was slightly raised, so when he turned to say goodbye to Julia, they were on eye level. He stretched out his hand but she hugged him and when she let go, he stood there looking at her, then she leaned towards him, he didn’t kiss her back at first but her kiss was persistent and hungry and he found himself responding as hungrily.
Stay tuned for Episode 9 next week Friday.
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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY NIGERIA