We were on our way to Owerri; Oseloka and I.
It came like a bolt from the blue, the proposal.
Oseloka had left me his room, together with the properties contained in it. He was already done with school and was awaiting his NYSC posting.
Everything was going beautifully well and I never believed I could have such a peaceful life, talk more of having an almost stable academical life.
We were already in the second semester. The holidays were short, so I spent it in Calabar with Oseloka. That fateful evening, I returned from school, exhausted and all, that was when he popped the question.
There were no decorations, nor flowers, no romantically inscribed notes on the floor, no red roses, nothing of such sorts, but he did ask, and even though he kept on with his awkward, unnecessary laughters, I knew he was serious for I looked in his eyes and I swear, I had never seen him look at me that way; like maybe I was magic.
I said yes, he might have not had a stable job yet, so I thought, but he was from a somewhat wealthy home, and he was the only son. Therefore, there must have been apt reason for him to propose so early.
Oseloka never did things without reason, he was as logical as they came.
A month had passed since I lost my baby. These past month was the happiest and freest month I had ever experienced as a student. I could recall the overwhelming joy on Yvonne’s face when I gave her the cheque, the operation had been successful. She had left calabar for Onitsha; according to her, she wanted to make of herself a responsible and honest young lady while there was still time. I barely heard from her these days, not that I cared though.
I had also heard tales of Olawunmi, how she was the in-thing in Calabar these days and how prosperous her “empire” had become.
I didn’t give two fucks. Sometimes Olawunmi would call, telling me how she wished I was with her, assuring me that she did not have a hand in Yvonne’s downfall.
‘all I went to that baba for was simply to get juju that would make me rise above everyone in this business’, she said
“baba” and “juju” as though they were extraordinarily ordinary things people do, just like drinking water.
In fact, right now, I could bet that she not only made it seem normal, but it was already, in the actual sense, normal to her. Sometimes also, Yvonne would call and tell me how difficult it was to make honest money
‘my dear’, she would say, and then exhale too heavily my phone would vibrate
‘no one easy sef oo. Make I tell you. Runs o, plantain business, I no even know the one wey I go chose. Though Ehn sometimes, I just dey wish say I fit enter runs small’, then, she would conclude by telling me that runs was not good no matter how one wanted to see it, after all, it almost took her life.
Sometimes I felt Olawunmi and Yvonne called me mainly because they were looking for an avenue to let out their guilts and regrets respectively.
As for me, I was free, free like a bird, and happy, and in love, and my love just proposed not quite long ago.
The roads were dusty and rough. Every passenger in the bus “danced” rather unrhythmically as the bus galloped against potholes and bumps.
It was indeed a bumpy ride.
He said his sister was getting married in Enugu and that this would be a great opportunity to meet his family, she had done the traditional wedding back home in Owerri. His father, Chief Thaddeus Ezedunu, had single handedly sponsored the traditional wedding.
‘My father is still young o, he just clocked fifty not too long ago, but if you see my elder sister ehn, you just wouldn’t believe he fathered her, he married quite young you know, nineteen or thereabout’.
I smiled and wondered if that was the norm in his family, the male children getting married young. I had told my parents about Oseloka and his proposal.
My mother was overjoyed
‘Jesus has done it ooooo’, she screamed, my ears almost blocked and she began to sing numerous praises.
She suddenly forgot it was my airtime.
Too often, she would call intermittently and begin to discuss family planning, birth control, and how best to satisfy my “husband” in bed.
I would scoff, if only she knew how beyond satisfactory I had become in that aspect. My father would call and always advice that I should make sure the young man was not an outcast in his village. No one talked about how to keep my family together through prayer, no one.
Today was not the D-day for the wedding, so according to Oseloka, I would have ample time to get to know his family and them in turn, get to know me.
I dressed beautifully today, I knew it, I just hoped the journey had not disfigured my newly braided Bob Marley.
He said his family was at the bus park waiting to pick us up. So as the bus drove swiftly into the bus park, I felt this loud thump in my heart, I was nervous.
I didn’t even know when I held tight Oseloka’s hand and interlocked my fingers with his. We alighted from the bus and took out our luggage. Oseloka was all smiles, he had sighted his family from afar, and had run to hug them, I still searched for them, looking at the exact direction Oseloka ran towards.
I found them, his family.
Oseloka was hugged tight, his sister could not let him go, while his father scanned through the park with his eyes, obviously looking for someone
‘where is our wife?’
I barely heard him, but his lips, I did read perfectly, for Oseloka, beaming dashingly still, pointed at me and motioned me to come meet them.
I could not move, I tried to lift my legs but they would not adhere to the commands of my brain.
Our eyes locked, mine and the chief, he was Oseloka’s father.
The chief that had paid for my foetus to be flushed, the chief whom I would have slept with that night had he not thought of his wife, the chief that knew exactly when I ended my runs business, long after I had lied to Oseloka about ending it.
That chief was Oseloka’s father, and the doctor that flushed the foetus, she was his sister. I could not faint, reasoning eluded me right now.
Instead I turned back, boarded a bus back to Calabar.
That was the last I ever heard or saw of Oseloka, my love, my only true happiness.