A TALE OF LOVE - EPISODE 4

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With the proposal out of the way, Brady set to work with his fiancé to organize a memorable wed...


With the proposal out of the way, Brady set to work with his fiancĂ© to organize a memorable wedding reception. However in-between their wedding plans, there was a snag… no, a bolt from the blue. Laide came visiting; and she came with a heart-melting story. If Brady thought he was a tough guy, Laide’s story was going to put him to the test. And surely it did. From the outset Brady wanted Laide to say whatever she had to say and get done with it; his mind was made up and he had crossed the Rubicon by proposing to Monica. So, as far as he was concerned, whatever he had with Laide had been tossed on the trash bin of history. “Laide I don’t know what you hope to achieve by coming here. Like you heard, I have already proposed to someone else and as you can see, I am in the middle of my wedding plans. We can’t be together. It will never happen!” “I am quite aware you have moved on but all I ask of you is to hear me out.” “Do you really think you deserve to be listened to? You stood me out in the rain for no conceivable reason! You made me feel like a fool before my people and after months you show up like a ghost expecting me to let you back into my life. In fact I shouldn’t even be talking to you! When you have exhausted your welcome, there is the door, please use it.” Like an angry he-goat, Brady stormed into his bedroom leaving Laide teary eyed and alone in the living room.

With amazing fortitude Laide bore the words Brady shot at her. Long she waited for Brady to come out. Inside his bedroom Brady worked with Korede on a few details concerning his wedding. Hours drifted by and they forgot about Laide. About 6pm in the evening, Korede stepped into the living room only to see Laide still sitting and waiting for Brady. His heart went out to her in sympathy. He ran into the kitchen and fetched her a cup of cold water and asked if she would mind being served some edibles to snack on. “I wouldn’t mind. Really I am starved,” said Laide. Her words poked holes in Korede’s conscience. After he was done serving her some snacks, Korede went into Brady’s bed room and persuaded him to come out and listen to whatever Laide had to tell him. Really when Brady heard that Laide was still waiting for him in the living room, he was surprised and his conscience burnt with guilt. Like a kid, he jumped out of his bed where he had been sitting for hours, working with stacks of paper and his laptop. Akin to a child who had broken his father’s favourite drinking cup, Brady picked his steps, still feeling hurt for how long he kept Laide waiting in his living room. Sitting next to her on the sofa, Brady gently took her hand and squeezed it like in old times. He didn’t want to but he felt he had to for how he treated. At that, hot tears streamed from Laide’s eyes. Brady was moved in spite of himself. He could tell when she was genuinely hurting. Pleadingly he said, “Please don’t cry, I am here now. You can tell me all you want to say.” “Rejection, that’s all I have known. Rejection, that’s all I have received all my life,” said Laide with tears still flowing from her eyes.

Clearly Brady misunderstood her meaning and so begged for her to explain her meaning, “I don’t understand you. Can you be a bit more precise? I did not reject you. I think you are the one who rejected me.” “I did not reject you either Brady.” “So why did you run away when I was going to introduce you to my parents and siblings?” “I admit, I have not told you the whole truth about me from the first day we began to date; and that is because I have been afraid that you will leave me when you find out who I am. Now that we will never be together, there is nothing to fear anymore. I think I can tell you everything.” Brady’s curiosity picked up a tad and his ear itched. By the passage door Korede stood and listened. “Brady I love you and will never for any reason embarrass you before your people. The reason I avoided your people and made excuses each time you wanted us to go see them was that I was afraid it would end like other times.” “What do you mean by other times?” “You were not the first, second, or third man to make a marriage proposal to me. There were others; but each time I saw their people and they began to ask questions about who I am and who my people are, the proposed marriage got called off.” “So you ran from me because you thought I and my family were going to find out something bad about you and your family that would make us run?” “You only sound this way because you have not found out what made the others to run.” “So why did the men in your past run from you?”

“They found out that I am an outcast dedicated to a god in my home town. I am to live and serve the so called god till death. My people were slaves taken from Dahomey a few hundred years back to serve the god of the land which I today call my home land. I am a second class citizen even in my home town. My case is worse, I and my family belong to a branch of the extended slave clan, who once chosen to serve the god, are required to live single till death. Every time the villagers heard of I, my sisters and my brothers planning to get married, they usually send elders to warn the family we were to get married into. I didn’t show up when we were to meet in Ibadan to see your parents, because Dele, the youngest of my brothers dared the villagers and got married, and so they descended on my people and burnt our house to the ground.  They claim he is the next chief priest, and for getting married he defiled himself.” “Jesus! But who still follows ancient ways in modern times. This is barbaric!” “That is not all Brady, the reason I never allowed you to touch me wasn’t because I was very much disciplined, if you had done that, you would have been joined to the same god by the virtue of that. My two other brothers are virtually childless and the reason is that their children die every three years. Titi is the only grandchild left in my family. Do you know how many grandchildren we have buried since the last time you saw me?” “No!” “We have buried four!”

“I don’t understand; why are they dying?” “Because I, my brothers and sisters are to serve the god without being married, and for getting married the god kills the children who come out of the marriages we enter into.” “So Titi is going to eventual die? O God, save the poor little girl.” “No she is not going to die. She is now three years and two months old.” “What happened?” “The curse has been broken! We invited preachers to our house here in the city and staged a lengthy prayer against the god and his curse. After the prayers, the first miracle we got was Titi living beyond her third birthday.” “So you and your family are free from the god in your home town?” “Certainly we are. But you must know that is not the reason I came to see you. I did not come to spoil your new found love. I only came to explain what happened to you, so you won’t hate me and think I abandoned you. I will never do such a thing. I was only protecting myself from another heart break and you from the curse of a rabid god. I would be crazy to reject someone like you. Believe me Brady, I would hate to live my life without you; but I guess that’s how it is going to be now.” Brady took in a deep breath and thought hard about Laide’s words. Before she suddenly abandoned him, he could not have thought that they would not spend their lives together. He couldn’t even imagine being in love with another lady. Finally Brady found his voice again and said, “I am sorry things turned out this way. I had no clue you went through this much. I really am sorry for not being of any help to you during your trying times.” “It’s okay Brady. I am glad that now you know I did not run away from you with another man. No, you are one in a million. I just can’t forget you in a hurry. I still remember the sound of your heart beat. I still like the glitter in your eyes and your smile. I still feel a jolt in my stomach when I run into anyone who wears your favourite perfume. Many nights I cry myself to sleep knowing I lost the best friend I ever had. I love you Brady, I love the way you put your feet on the ground when you walk and the way you twitch your eyes when you are angry. I hate to think that I will never spend the rest of my life with you.” Uncontrollably she began to sob.

Brady had to hold her and tried his best to comfort her. Along the passage Korede paced angrily; thoughts were shooting through his mind and he could not wait to tell Brady what he was thinking. After Laide had calmed a bit, Brady asked her, “Why did you go to see my mother?” “To tell her that I was not a bad girl; to tell her that I was not the person circumstances made me to look like, and to tell her that I still love her son. I was born with the tag as a slave, a second class citizen amongst my town’s men and as one dedicated to a god. It all has nothing to do with me. You can go verify all I have told you to see if I have lied to you.” Peeling herself away from Brady, she stood up and picked her handbag to leave. “No! No! Laide stay just a little more please”. “No, Brady. It’s about time I left; I have stayed longer than I planned. Don’t forget you have a wedding to plan.” Brady stood up and held her firmly. She obliged him; at least one last hug wouldn’t hurt anyone; would it? While they held each other, the door to the living room from outside swung open and Monica, elegant as ever, stepped in. Brady didn’t flinch and Laide didn’t give a hoot about Monica’s presence; she held Brady as though she would be able to extract a part of him for keeps with the hug. Acting as though she had not seen a scene that could make an average woman go into a fit of rage, she greeted Brady and Laide, dropped her handbag and went into the kitchen drop some cookware she bought. Typical of Nigerian men, Korede walked into the living room to give Monica the impression that nothing suspicious was going on between Laide and Brady. Thankfully, Monica brightened a lot more when she found out that Korede was in the apartment.

To say the least, after Laide left, Brady realized he had not entirely overcome all he felt for Laide. Though the fast pace to his wedding plan continued, Brady however began to look for means to spend more time with Laide. He could not tell where his secret timeout with Laide was leading them to, but their time together felt powerful and refreshed him in a way he never felt when they were together. It bothered him that he could be with someone else other than Monica and be happy. Monica on her part could tell that something was amiss from the way Brady related with her, especially from the day she met him holding Laide. The frequency of his call dropped, and sometimes he called Monica Laide’s name. Realizing he was about to mess things up. Brady decided to confide in Korede. Korede had been nursing strange ideas since the day Laide told Brady her story. Seeing Brady’s confession as his chance to make known his feelings, Korede said to his friend, “There is no way you are going to leave Monica for Laide. But if you let me, I will fix the situation for you.” “What do you intend to?” “Brady, I think I might have a crush for Laide. I believe she deserves better than life has dealt to her. If you let me, I will walk straight up to her and ask her to marry me. I have known her as much as I have known you. She has a good heart. If you let me, I will wed her the same day you take Monica to the altar.” For long Brady thought hard on what Korede said. Then he said, “Give me a few days to think on it and decide what to do.”

To wriggle out of his romantic jam lock with two women he genuinely he loved, Brady had to confide in his mother. After their meeting, Brady called Korede over to his apartment to make known his decision. “I love Monica and she loves me as much and believes in me, but I have realized that the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with is Laide. The sad thing for me now is that I am not planning a wedding with her, but with Monica…” Brady paused with deep wrinkles on his face and a sadness which obviously emanated from the depths of his heart. He continued, “I can’t have them both, and I can’t leave Monica. I have to be a man of my word. It pains me to find two women I can marry at the same. I have to show some honour and let Laide find the love she deserves… I trust you Korede and I believe you will make her happy. As you know her honour is in place. I have known her carnally. If she will accept your proposal, you can have her. She deserves someone like you my friend.”

On the wedding day, there were two couples – Brady/Monica and Korede/Laide. Their joint wedding reception was a show-stopper. It made guests cry and as they told their love stories. The couples, after the reception, left for their honeymoon and have since been living happily…but we have heard that Brady still has the hots for Laide.

THE END!

This story was written by:

UZOMA UJOR

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