BLINKERED- GRACE OCHIGBO
a bridge too far.
Ben and l had to come over to my room. We needed some hours to talk and it wouldn’t be fair keeping Akoji away from his room for that long. Also, considering the fact that he reads preferably at this time of the night. Thankfully, Ben didn’t hesitate or argue as he usually would have done.
Of course! He couldn’t. l don’t know his specific reasons for not arguing though but l feel he did miss me a lot already and secondly, Ben will definitely have more sense of self-control anywhere away from his spacious room, more so that my roommate is around. l mean!, we just got back and the high emotions piled up all these days could make us throw caution to the winds
l rested my head comfortably on Ben’s thighs as he stroked my hair affectionately.
” I truly missed you Tee… God! l felt you were gone. l could hold my phone anxiously for hours hoping a WhatsApp beep will come from you” Ben confessed, smiling “Why are you so strong-hearted, you this beautiful girl?” He poked my forehead with his index finger and started tickling me
“Stop now! Stop Ben! Please Ben, stop!” l said as l tried not to laugh out too loud. Grace was having her usual early night sleep, we can’t afford to wake her up but Ben continued without listening to me. l let loose as l laughed out uncontrollably and really hard. Grace got up from her bed, wore her slippers and headed straight to the bathroom without saying any word to neither me nor Ben. l could hear her running water from the tap. l jumped out of the bed and tried heading towards the bathroom to meet her but Ben caught me almost immediately.
He wrapped his hands around my waist from behind… “l love you Tee ” he whispered into my ears. l tried to wriggle myself off but his firm hands overpowered me. l gave up and just let my mind sink into his arms with my eyelids firmly shut against each other.
“Baby! You know what l always tell you about God creating you on Sunday morning? l meant it. He really took his time to furnish every compartment of you, putting every clay just in their right proportion” Ben still whispered quietly into my ears.
Ben’s words came through my auditory canals as melodious as sounds from a nightingale, his subtle voice did wonders to my entire being. Anytime he speaks, l get lost, feeling extremely unusual in his manly hands. A reddish colour appears on my face, he leaves me blushing carelessly.
“l will be going out Tee”
We both turned to see Grace beautifully dressed in a red flare gown holding a golden clutch. She looked so gorgeous that l could bet she was going out on a date. It’s unlike Grace to ever leave the room at this time of the night, let alone dressed up like this. She just smiled at me giving me no further details and went out before l could even get to ask her the next questions on my mind, without saying a word to Ben. He also ignored her actions and brought back my attention to himself. We swayed slowly to the rhythms of ‘inside your eyes’ by Westlife which Ben started playing from his I-pod. We continued with that slow dance for over an hour with his hands still curdling me lovingly. l didn’t care about anything else right now, l was lost, l wish the feeling l have right now can linger on till eternity. ‘ Could Ben truly be my man?’ l questioned my heart.
I was still with my thoughts when Ben swayed me off my feet and laid me on my bed. My heart raced faster as he leaned forward against my chest, his left hand supported my head and the other hand squeezed my left hand lightly. ‘What is he up to?’ l asked no one in particular. We have been left alone in this room for long , l don’t even know what time it is right now. I am not ready for this but something deep within me wanted him to continue.
l jerked up like something struck me to consciousness but l didn’t get up, l only used my right hand to search for his phone on the bed and picked it up to check the time. The phone’s light came on, it buzzed and started ringing in my hand almost instantly. The caller’s lD startled me. l quickly handed the phone over to Ben who now nearly snatched it from my hands. l guess he was hoping l didn’t see the caller’s name.
“Hey you… ” the caller’s voice came up loud enough for me to hear. He gently dropped my head on the pillow, stood up and walked to the other end of the room towards the exit. ‘Is he guarding against me listening to their conversation?’ l kept watching Ben as he opened my door gently and stepped out. l was confused at first but the confusion was replaced by anger. “Did he have to go out to talk to her?, who is she anyway?, and why is her name saved on his phone as ‘My queen’?”
All these questions flooded my mind as l arranged the order with which l would confront him when he eventually gets back in my head. l patiently waited for over ten minutes for Ben to come back in. l could hear him faintly explaining some things to the lady on the phone as l eavesdropped through the window. Anger, jealousy and bitterness was begining to arouse on my inside even more now.
l readjusted and sat upright when my door creaked open. l almost started rattling when l saw it wasn’t Ben but Grace. She moved straight to her bed and laid down without uttering a word to me.
“What’s wrong with everybody tonight?” l asked aloud enough for her to hear, but she ignored me.
l waited for few more minutes before my door flung open and Ben rushed in like he had seen a ghost. This distorted my balance and l couldn’t remember the order in which l planned questioning him anymore. l couldn’t even remember the questions.
“l have to go now Baby. It’s an emergency and very urgent…” he said, picking up his I-pod and earpiece, he pecked me and made to leave. l couldn’t help but drag him back. He saw the chagrin look on my face, he knew l needed an explanation
“l will tell you everything later Sweetie, but l have to go now” Ben said and walked out hastily, as brisk as his legs could carry him out of the building.
l stood fixed and doleful with my mouth wide open. l couldn’t wrap my head around what just happened. Did Ben just run away to someone else or what? He left without even a convincing explanation. l picked my phone to confirm the time. My eyes popped opened as l screamed
It felt like a family reunion as The Onuhs’ invited The Abuhs’ over for a family get-together breakfast this beautiful Friday morning. Jacob Onuh and his family have settled in finally and the house warming party on Wednesday night was awesome. They got to dine and wine with all their friends and acquaintances including church members they left behind over twenty-three years ago. However, this special family re-union must take place because the house warming was for the ‘general public’. This is family!
They all ate their sumptuous breakfast specially made by Juliet, the woman of the house, cheerfully. Jacob Onuh seem to be the most excited on the table, his fair skin shone brighter as the dining hall lights as well as the early morning sunrays fell on them. A big smile remained firm on his lips as he deliberately refused to adhere to table manners
“Arome, am really seeing what you love that made you stay back in this town. Its serenity is deafening , to think that l have retired from active service. Hope l won’t die of boredom here? It’s really unlike our place. You can’t even put on weight in Lagos cos you are always on the run to beat time” Jacob jeered looking coyly at Arome Abuh who now unlike those days, looked chubbier than himself. Everybody laughed.
Arome was beginning to feel embarrassed and needed to tease his friend back… “Well, thank God retirement age for professions like ours doesn’t take our jobs away from us when life is just about begining.”
Jacob was caught off his guard and gave up talking, as Arome continued. The women laughed out loudest this time. Jacob cleared his throat looking for how to direct the attention of the conversation away from himself
“Well Arome, you know l was thinking now that l have finally moved back into town, we would improve our relationship the more” Jacob finally interjected with his baritone voice.
Arome and Abigail Abuh looked a bit confused. Meanwhile, Juliet nodded happily in support of her husband’s statement. It appears as though it was planned by the both of them before now.
“What do you mean by ‘improve’ Jake? l mean we are family, aren’t we? How better can our intimacy be?” Arome asked looking rather perplexed
Jacob let out a loud laughter before explaining himself… “Ok! l mean we should move from being family by friendship to being family by marriage. That is, l want us to become in-laws… something like that”
Arome now understood where his friend was driving to. He turned in the direction of his wife, who sat on the chair just beside him.
“Honey, was that not exactly what l talked to you about last night?…” He asked but Abigail pinched him instantly, though no one else saw them, and he kept quiet.
Juliet quickly straightened out on her chair hoping Arome will complete his statement, she was truly ecstatic about this discussion. “Wow! You both already discussed this? That is incredible. l was sceptical about how you will take it if we told you. Isn’t it marvellous how our minds now think alike?” Juliet asked rhetorically with so much excitement. ” Jerry, our son, is now in his last semester, he will proceed to law school afterwards, serve and then … marry….” she said lifting her hands into the air
“And our beautiful Tonia will soon be in her final year too, something could work between them. My son is not the women type, am more than sure there is no woman in his life right now. l really want him to settle down and get married in his young days like us, you know?” Jacob said, supporting his wife. He looked at Arome and they both let out a boisterous laughter. The two men are always full of themselves.
“Well, it’s a welcomed idea, a great one at that…” Arome started slowly.”But we can’t force them into it. My daughter can be strong-willed and am sure your son has his principles too, moreover they are both adults now. We can’t force them into marrying each other, we can only just create a meeting point for them and the both can build up from there.”
“You are very correct, Arome, l am sure even if they met in school, they wouldn’t know each other.” Jacob opined, sipped his wine and continued. “they will be on holidays soon, we will see how we can make them begin thence.”
Abigail Abuh dug her fork in her plate of rice absent-mindedly, she hasn’t been eating anything ever since this issue came up. She seem to be far away from the discussion and just remained quiet all along. ‘How could they be planning arranged marriage for children in this generation? It might not be the banal forceful one but arrangement is arrangement nonetheless. How will my baby take this?’ Worrying thoughts drowned her mind so much that she was lost and didn’t hear her husband call out to her. She jittered when he touched her gently.
“Are you not interested in this, Abigail?” Juliet asked the obviously baffled Abigail.
“Uhm?…” She muttered, sitting up.”Interested in what please?” she asked in a sincere tone. She was truly lost from their conversation.
Everybody burst into laughter again
“Abigail, don’t tell me you didn’t hear all we said about hooking up our children to make our family relationship more intimate” Jacob asked smiling at her
Abigail smiled back. Her smile was not real. She didn’t know if what Jacob just said was a question that required an answer from her or if it was a normal statement. She couldn’t say if she didn’t hear their discussion all the while or she merely didn’t pay attention. “How could Arome be in support of this kind of decision considering what they both know?” she asked no one but herself. ruth be told, she can’t support this idea at all. But how can she voice it out? Everyone in here seem happy with the decision already. She heard Juliet calling out to her because she looked perplexed again… She moved her eyelids back and forth as Juliet started
“Abigail! We want our Jerry to get married to your Tonia…”
To be continued…