THE PATH - Episode 1

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - million thoughts jostled for attention, Barclays head office, Waiyaki Way in Nairobi, falling in love, Love, talk over the phone.

“What are you doing, Margret? How many years have gone by since James left Nairobi for the USA? Are you blind? Can’t you see that he has forgotten you? You are not getting any younger my friend, so you had better start thinking about your future. You have a swarm of presentable young men hovering all over you like excited bees, and you are busy waiting for James. For how long? For how long are you going to wait for him? Open your eyes woman and find another man and carry on with your life. Love is not tied to a pole or a tree. Love is flexible. The moment you snap out of that ‘hangover on James’ and begin to think rationally, you will find yourself falling in love with another person,” said Awiti. She was standing menacingly in front of Margret who was seated despondently on the couch in her living room. Awiti had a hand to her waist and another one in the air waving and gesticulating animatedly. “But I love him Awiti. I still love him despite the years that have gone by…and when we talk over the phone, he continues to profess his love for me. I have mentioned to him severally that I was considering ending our relationship, and each time, he pleaded with me profusely to give him some time. Why would he do that if he did not love me anymore? He is still keen on us getting married,” Margret explained.

Her voice had a pleading tone to it…pleading to God for succor. There was a dryness to her tone and a sinking feeling in her stomach. It had been six years since James moved to the USA. Each year, he postponed his plans to return to Kenya for multiple reasons as he worked on his master’s degree and later PhD. He never stopped calling Margret, whose love for him had remained staunch. Of late, though, Margret’s stalwart love for James had come under severe test. “Stay there…fold your arms and wait for James until you clock thirty seven…then you’d come to understand that a woman’s clock ticks faster,” Awiti said mockingly as she headed for the door. She stomped the floor as she walked away in anger at her friend’s insistence on waiting for James.

One week later…
Her purse was dangling on her shoulder as she sauntered off her office building; Barclays head office on Waiyaki Way in Nairobi. The sun was still beaming down, albeit with reduced intensity. She had not driven to work today. She wanted to spend her Friday evening without the hassles of driving through traffic. She slowly walked down the street, taking time to inspect the shops. While her eyes scanned the shops, her heart was carrying huge burdens. She had not been able to get Awiti’s words off her chest the entire week. As if on cue, there he was. Elim was standing by the roadside. Both his hands were firmly tucked away in the safety of his pockets. He wore a characteristic smile on his face as Margret walked toward him. “Your beauty glows brighter than the fading sun that will soon hide behind the thickening clouds,” he said poetically…as he always did. “Do you always have to be poetic?” She asked smiling. “I can’t help it. Elegant words annex my tongue and seriously demand that they be spoken eloquently whenever I see you. My heart gyrates on sighting you with nuclear energy more forceful than that of Uranium whenever you are around me. How was your day sweet angel?”

Margret smiled and blushed a little bit. She looked past Elim to prevent making eye contact with him. Even though she had been saying no to Elim for nearly two years, she had come to admire his persistence…and his words were beginning to leave prints on her mind. She looked down and then up and down again as she struggled to find an answer to Elim’s mesmeric words. “Were you stalking me Elim?” She managed to ask. “No, I was not, beautiful one. My heart is tied to yours by inexplicable and unseen bonds…bonds that tug at me even in my sleep. Last night while I slept, I saw you walking this path in my dream. I knew you’d be here after work, browsing through the streets before taking a taxi home.” “You liar. You must have been hanging around waiting for me.” “Why would I do that when I already feel the waves in your heart inside of my own heart?” She smiled blushingly again. “Please, would you have dinner with me? There is a restaurant two streets away. The food is great….And, I know with you around me, it would be even greater.” “Your sweet tongue has failed you terribly Elim. It is not working on me.” “I am only asking for a quick dinner not a date Maggy!”

“I am sorry, I can’t make it.” “Please Margret. Please don’t say no. Can’t you see? Can’t you see the searing pain that your ‘no’ leaves in my heart each time? It burns like a furnace, but when I think of how much I care about you…I hang tough. I keep coming back. The truth is, I can’t live without you. Please, have dinner with me tonight. For once!” A part of her wanted to go, while another side wondered if that would mean that she was being unfaithful to James considering that she was still technically in a relationship with James. Should I just go? It is only for dinner after all. But actually it is not for Elim. He loves me so much…If I go, it would send him the message that I am breaking down…giving in to his words and persistence. A million thoughts jostled for attention in her mind. She wanted to say something but she did not know what to say. Her lips remained sealed as Elim’s eyes peered beseechingly at her, begging for a yes. His eyes had grown bigger and his hands were clasped as though he was saying a praying. She felt a pang of pity for him. At the same time, she could not help but think that he was good looking, kind, resilient and did care about her. What if I lose him and James? She pondered.

Then, Elim began to sing lines from the song, ‘Like I'm gonna lose you’ by Meghan Trainor (featuring John Legend), “I found myself dreaming. In silver and gold. Like a scene from a movie. That every broken heart knows we were walking on moonlight. And you pulled me close. Split second and you disappeared and then I was all alone…Let's take our time. To say what we want. Use what we got. Before it's all gone. 'Cause no, we're not promised tomorrow.” The last line hit Margret like a rocket. She had heard similar sayings time and again. What if everyone else is right? She thought as she fought back tears…tears of confusion. Behind her maze of gut-wrenching confusion she managed a plastic smile that did little to hide her dilemma. “I am going to kneel down here and beg you to have dinner with me Maggy…I don’t want to embarrass you but I will go on my knees in front of everyone here unless you agree to come to dinner with me,” Elim pressed further. He slowly began to lean over indicating that he was willing to kneel and beg her. “No! Please don’t do that. I will come to dinner with you,” she said finally. 

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Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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THE PATH - Episode 1
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - million thoughts jostled for attention, Barclays head office, Waiyaki Way in Nairobi, falling in love, Love, talk over the phone. An African Literary Blog
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