Posted by News Express | 28 February 2022 | 1,516 times
“Come! Come have a taste from the refined cup!” a voice called after him as he tried to tiptoe away. “It’s a little too late to retreat now, my good man. Don’t you agree?”
Obiefuna shivered as he realised that he had been caught. He couldn’t think of a quick move to make. He scanned the lobby for easy escape, but the doors were farther down the hall.
Holy Mary mother of Christ! Could he make a run for it?
Before that thought could grow roots, two hefty looking security guards emerged from the twin doors. Arms crossed and eyes on the price; ready to pounce.
Everything seems to stand still. Waiting on Obiefuna to make a move. A move either ways could mar him.
It was all coming back to him. All his Sunday school lessons against greed cloaked as zeal. How unfortunate it would be to end like this!
“I cast my hundreds that he will fail,” a voice came from the room.
“I cast a thousand that he is as resilient as they come,” said another, and then there was silence.
“No need for the bargain, it’s deep rooted in his past,” a voice spoke again.
“Then how would he learn?” another asked?
Standing in utter confusion, he couldn’t make sense of what they were conversing. As they went on and on as if in a bargain, like he wasn’t there. He swallowed hard. But that didn’t help the lump that had formed in his throat. He tried to steady himself, as he brushed down his jacket.
Even that could not help, he had lost his composure. He felt like a little boy in panic, trying to wipe off stains from his shirt. He was powerless and feeble.
The tension in the room, the piercing eyes, his deafening heartbeats, all but nothing was given. He must make up his mind, here and now for it was too late to turn back.
How far have you come, only for more burdens?
As strange as the thoughts running through his mind, he thought of Chekwube. The babe in whose heart he was a king.
He had left with the promise to return for her. A promise he never intended to keep. Whatever they shared, was only known to Chekwube. Who firmly yet sweetly warmed her way to his mother’s heart.
She had proven herself, a properly trained Igbo girl. An original wife material. Fighting all girls and odds to prove she was worthy of his love.
She wept profusely in his arms at Murtala Mohammad Airport. She latched unto him so tightly as she cried in his arms.
He had never seen another woman’s eyes lit up as hers did whenever she saw him. She was fond of him.
He called her ‘my emerald’ and she called him ‘my king’. His mother referred to him as ‘your husband’, each time the talked about Obiefuna. Yet deep down, he was relieved to be moving far away from her.
Away from the morning texts and calls he was obligated to reply and return. For the fear of being guilt tripped with “you don’t love, you can’t have it better elsewhere.”
Auntie Ada stylishly wiped off her own tears as she laughed.
Sometimes you laugh through your misery to stop yourself from crying.
“Look at this one! Are you crying too?” Uncle Emeka teased his wife auntie Ada. He pulled her in, in an embrace.
“Ah women and cry-cry,” he teased “But I’m not going anyway,” he added.
“Stop, joor!” auntie Ada said as she leaned on him. “This is so emotional,” she said as she fanned herself with her well manicured hands.
“Oops babe, that’s my queue,” Obiefuna said as he peeled Chekwube off his chest after the boarding announcements.
Chekwube was trembling as she cupped her face with her hands.
“Babe stop, this is not goodbye. It’s just six months, just six,” he said, putting six fingers forward. He pulled her hands off her face and bent over and kissed her passionately.
“I love you my emerald,” he sniffed. “I will call you as soon as I land. Auntie please take care of her for me.” He turned and embraced his uncle and wife. They bade him farewell as he walked off. Chekwube tried to follow him but auntie Ada held her back.
“It’s OK. Let’s go before this traffic becomes crazy,” she said. But they were all reluctant as they stood and watched Obiefuna.
Whatever choice you make, there’s always a ripple effect.
Standing formidably wicked. Eyes filled with lust and ungodly desires, she approached him. And impulsively, he accepted the cup from her. There was no sign of the smile he had seen on her face. She looked like she had never smiled before.
“Don’t be rude. Partake in the toast,” she said.
Behind her were the two guys, who were whispering sweet nonsense to each other’s ears earlier. They looked at him before looking at each other and smiled.
This is it. He has to face his demons. Before he could make out some of the faces he had seen earlier, the room began to spin. He felt his body fall with the cup from his hand. There were laughter and applause as the fluid from the cup flowed towards his face.
In between the finish line and the new race, there’s a great need for gratitude. As they saying goes, you’ll never know what you have, until you lose it.
•Being a follow-up to the previously published “With the heritage of good name, manna still falls”. Esther Chizaram Ngele, a Nigerian Law School student, can be reached via <email@example.com>
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