LIGHTHOUSE - Episode 2

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - killing me softly by Roberta Flack, we reached my apartment, a volcano ebulliently spewing molten magma, Student Union (SUG) award dinner, University of Nigeria Nsukka, move to Lagos upon graduation, had won a one billion naira lottery.

I had never been in a particularly serious relationship. I used to fantasize so much about love. I wanted it to be perfect…fabulous. I wanted a man who was truly romantic; one that would sweep me off my feet. I got all that I wanted in Emeka…well, so I had thought. That night, I let Emeka take my virginity away. I gave my whole self to him, completely. I went back to my apartment with him. I lived in New Haven, in a one bedroom flat. He wanted us to return to his apartment off Okpara Avenue, but I opted for my apartment and he concurred. I wanted the beautiful night to end perfectly. When we reached my apartment, I had him wait in the living room while I went into the bedroom. I changed into lingerie that I had bought months earlier after meeting him. Then, I placed rose petals from the bouquet he had given me at the restaurant and all over my bed. I turned on a dim light with that fabulous song, ‘killing me softly’ by Roberta Flack was playing in the background – the atmosphere was romantically wonderful. Then, I walked to the connecting door, pushed it open and stood between the bedroom and the living room.

I could see his chest rising and falling like waves as he stared intently at me. “Come honey…I offer up myself to you wholly,” I said. He sprang to his feet and dashed towards me with infectious passion. Our lips went to work as our hands rummaged through each other’s body. We would pause for a moment to stare into each other’s eyes. Our eyes burned with unquenchable passion. Then, we would get back to the business of the night, kissing and touching like there was no tomorrow. Soon, we were both on the bed. My body vibrated with every touch of his finger. I moaned with passion. In the end, I was wrapped up in his arms as my air conditioner doused the heat that was fuming out of our bodies like a volcano ebulliently spewing molten magma into the sky.

For me, that was it. There was no going back. I had found love and I was going to lay my life on the line fighting for it…working for it. I took Emeka to heart. If one could slice my heart open, they would find Emeka in the very core of me.  I placed him safely and carefully in my heart. A single day without him felt like eternity without life – drab, rugged emptiness. Soon, we were voted the best couple on campus at the Student Union (SUG) award dinner. I was not and still not the type to seek public validation, but it just happened. Someone nominated us and when the votes were cast, we were top. The award was not a big deal, but walking onto the stage with the love of my life was the real deal. I was happy to declare to the world that I loved him to bits and nothing would come between us.

My best friend Chidera who was studying Biochemistry at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) was in town. She went to the award dinner with us. She sat to my left and Emeka to my right. “Congratulations!!!” Chidera shouted when we returned to our seats. “Thanks,” I replied beaming with smiles. I wrapped my hands around Emeka all night. With each passing day, our love grew stronger and deeper. Whenever Chidera was in town, she hung out with us. We would go to Happybite on Ogui Road together. We traveled to Obudu Cattle Ranch and to Abuja together. I liked my friend Chidera. Her family had been through a lot. While we were growing up in Onitsha, her brother died, which gave her father heart attack. He died less than a year after Chidera’s brother passed away leaving her mother to cater for five children.

Even though we started on the same street, my father was lucky to make it big in business eventually, so we moved to GRA. Nonetheless, I stayed in touch with Chidera. She was always in our house and I was willing to help. I would do anything for her. I paid her tuition at least twice in university. “I will pay you back as soon as my mother raises the money,” she had said. “Stop saying that Chidera. You are my sister. I’d do anything for you,” I retorted. All the while, I never really saw her with a guy. She would talk about one guy this month and then another next month. I urged her to find a steady relationship and she told me she was working on it…behind my back I guess.

After graduation, I served in Oyo State while Emeka served in Lagos. We were traveling a lot to be with each other. Once I called Chidera during youth service   and she told me she was in Lagos. She has served a year ahead of us, having studied a four-year course. “What is going on in Lagos?” “I have a job interview at Cadbury,” she replied. “Awesome. I am really praying for you, Dera!!!” “Thank you. I hope it works out.” “You should say hi to Emeka. Do you have somewhere to stay?” “Yes, I do. I am staying with one of our relatives in Isolo. “Good. You should say hi to Emeka before leaving town.” “Yes, I will.” I am not going to praise myself, but I truly care about others…especially my friends. I truly looked after Chidera. Well, the job did not work out.

Emeka told me that Chidera had stopped by just before returning to Onitsha. After youth service, Emeka returned to Enugu, and so did I. In fact, I retained my apartment in Enugu and started a master’s degree, while Emeka searched for a job. After several months, he got a job with MTN. I was elated. At the same time, my father was pulling strings for me here and there, so I was positive that a job would come by as soon as I finished master’s degree. I had planned to move to Lagos upon graduation, but with Emeka in Enugu, I was not going anywhere else.

“I hate to tell you this,” Agnes said to me. Agnes was the gossip of our class back in school, so I did not take her seriously at first. “What is it?” “When will you open your eyes, Ifunanya?” “To what?” “Don’t you know someone has been farming on your plot of land?” “What plot of land are you talking about, Agnes?” “I mean your most treasured plot of land.” “Stop talking in riddles, Agnes. If you have anything to say, please blurt it all out.” “I know Chidera is your lifelong friend, but have you any idea that she might be sleeping with Emeka?” It sounded like Agnes was talking gibberish. “What do you mean? Stop kidding around. Biko ekwukwana ife a ozo (Please don’t say that again).” I do have a good sense of humor, but there are lines I don’t like to cross with joke, and Emeka was one of them.

“Open your eyes, Ifunanya. It is either Emeka is tired of you and is looking elsewhere or he is just playing around. As far as I am concerned though, he is tasting another soup.” “Are you really serious Agnes?” “Yes, and the soup is your dear friend Chidera!” I felt stinging pain in my ear, heart and stomach. I wanted to slap Agnes across the face for committing blasphemy. That was the only way I could describe her information. “I know everyone thinks I am a gossip because I say what they don’t have the courage to say. You have nothing to lose. Do some fact checking if you think I am wrong.” I had never suspected Emeka how much more Chidera and I was not the type to snoop around looking through Emeka’s phone. The thought of doing that left a sour taste in my mouth.

I ignored Agnes’ information and carried on as though nothing had happened. One evening, Agnes rang me up. “I have some serious concentrated gist for you,” she declared. “What is it?” “Do you remember when you were serving, there was this week when you did not go to Lagos and Chidera was in Lagos for some mystic job interview that never amounted to much?” “Yes.” “She was in Lagos to see Emeka. They spent the entire week together.” “What?” “How come she picked the week when you were not in town to go for her interview?” “It was a coincidence! You don’t pick your interview date. The company told her when to come.” “And so, what became of the interview?” “Jobs are hard to find, Agnes. You of all people should know that.” “Did she ever tell you that she did not make it at least?” “I guess she was embarrassed to talk about it. Who wants to talk about their failures?” “You are such a blind girl, Ifunanya. Someone saw Chidera with Emeka at the beach that week. They were…they were kissing.” “It is not true!!!” I literally yelled.

“I am sorry if this is too difficult for you, but I think you deserve to know the truth. See, last night, Chidera who is…or should be in Onitsha told Nkemjika from our class that she will be in Enugu day after tomorrow for a date. She told Nkemji that she has a new catch. Nkemji was the one who saw them in Lagos, and she did not confront them. She believes that Chidera’s catch is Emeka, and I believe her. Well, I might be entirely wrong, but why don’t you go to Ragzy tomorrow evening and check for yourself. If we are wrong, then I will be called a gossip for the rest of my life. If I am right, then I’d be saving you from that lying cheat!!!” “Don’t call him that!!” I fired back at Agnes.  I was so protective of Emeka that I was ready to bite Agnes with my teeth if she were closer to me. “I am afraid, if you don’t go there tomorrow around 7:30PM, I will do it by myself and I will be sure to take pictures,” Agnes insisted.

I did not sleep at all for the entire night and the next one. That evening, I took a taxi to Ragzy – the very place where Emeka had asked me to be his girlfriend. I loved that place. I wanted it to remain a memorable place for me; a place where I would stop or dry by and have my face form into a beautiful smile. My legs shook as I walked to the top level of the stadium. My heart was beating. Despite the cool evening breeze, I was sweating like a goat headed for the slaughter house at Christmas. I stopped a short distance from Ragzy and called Chidera. “How are you Dera?” I inquired. “I am fine, and you?” “I am good, I guess. A bit stressed.” “By what.” “Studies,” I lied. “So how is Onitsha?” “Onitsha is fine.” “So you are enjoying your time in Onitsha this beautiful evening?” “Yes actually, I am.” “Send my regards to your mom.” “I will,” she said. “I will come and visit you next week. Maybe we could go somewhere and relax. You are working too hard on your master’s” she offered. “That would be nice.”

I tossed my phone in my purse and returned to the torrid experience of walking to the restaurant. I sincerely prayed that Agnes and Nkemjika were wrong. Well, they were right and I was wrong. Everything I had believed about love went crashing down. Emeka leaned over and kissed Chidera on the lips and she reciprocated. He sat back, smiling as though he had won a one billion naira lottery. All of a sudden I felt broken; worthless. My life began to unravel. Should I go in or should I just walk away? I pondered as pains stabbed me with merciless liberality. A cascade of tears tumbled down my face as my feet remained rooted to the ground.


                                          CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 1

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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LIGHTHOUSE - Episode 2
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - killing me softly by Roberta Flack, we reached my apartment, a volcano ebulliently spewing molten magma, Student Union (SUG) award dinner, University of Nigeria Nsukka, move to Lagos upon graduation, had won a one billion naira lottery. An African Literary Blog
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