O S A G I E D E
They say there's a thin line between love and hate.
I'm living that very line as I pen my side of the story.
Ever since we came back from our honey moon, Eyarr had acted strangely ---- blowing hot and cold. It was always one criticism after the other, nothing I ever did was right by him.
Nothing pleased him - he turned into a complete grouch.
I flopped into the high-backed chair, tired out after a series of meetings. Raising tired fingers to my lips, I stifled a yawn and looked at the watch on my wrist.
A gasp escaped me as I noticed the time. I hadn't realised how late it was.
Eyare would be furious with me.
I sighed as I sunk my head into my hands, hoping not for the first time I hadn't made a big mistake by marrying him.
Gone was the loving man who wooed me at the very beginning.
Oh well, the way you lay your bed is how you'll lie on it, right?!
I shrugged and got up. I stretched, feeling some form of relief as I did so. My whole body was stiff from sitting down on the uncomfortable chair for too long.
I made a mental note to have it changed soon.
As I packed up my things ready to leave, I reasoned that I could always explain the obvious -- meetings galore had plagued me throughout the day.
Picking up my jacket and flinging it across one shoulder, I bent to pick the bag my food flask and flats were in. Removing my heels and changing them, I immediately felt much better as my feet were already getting sore.
Looking up, I saw a shadow outside my office door. So picking up my things, I made my way quietly to it, opened and walked out stealthily. I bumped into a figure at the end of the corridor.
"Grace!, Mrs. Osazuwa!" We both exclaimed at the same time.
"I was just coming from the ladies when I saw the light on in your office, I'm on my way home now," Grace, my secretary announced, eyes big and round with fear, one hand clutching her chest.
"Alright, can I give you a ride to the nearest bus top?" I smiled, trying to reassure her, noticing as the fear receded from her eyes.
"I would like that very much." She smiled, her voice sounding less panicked.
So we both made our way to the lift, all the while making small talk.
Grace began humming a song as we got into the lift and it sounded familiar, so I asked what song it was and she replied with a smile. "Ron kenolly."
I had a room mate back in school who loved to play Ron Kenoly's songs. I wasn't big on gospel songs so had always blocked my mind to it whenever she put it on.
When we got to the car park, it was dark and my car was the only one there. We heard a whistle as we got closer and I turned to look at Grace, who obviously had also heard it. Written all over her face, was fear. I was sure it was also evident in my eyes as well.
It was late and robberies were always reported at the car park at this time of the day from other staff members.
"That's probably the security guard making his nightly rounds," Grace surmised, nodding reassuringly at me.
It didn't help that the lights suddenly went off, plunging us into inky darkness. Fear clawed at my throat, making me skittish, but I willed it away and kept moving, making sure to call out to Grace every other second so as not to lose each other. We made our way like two blind mice, having to feel our way with our hands, through memory only.
A beam of light cut through the darkness and bounced weakly around, landing on the only lone car in the garage -- mine. Silently thanking Grace for the light from her phone, I made my way to it and fumbled with the key.
My hands were shaking so badly out of nervousness that it was hard fitting it into the slot. After several trials and a million accelerated heart beats later, I got the hang of it and the key finally slid in. I urged Grace inside, while I hurriedly got in and put on the head lights.
As I revved the engine and lifted my head up, a man came into view, his stance, one of confidence and assuredness. He gave a small salute and Grace and I looked at each other, mouths agape. When we turned back to look at the man, we noticed he was walking towards us.
There was something about his form, the way he walked -- it was all very familiar. I couldn't quite place it, until he got closer. Grace let out a high pitched shriek, her voice echoed shrilly in the still of the night.
"Tha . . . that isn't the security guard and why is he coming towards us?"
Within a flash, the man was beside my window and I began fumbling with the keys with the intent to drive off.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." He warned. His hand shot out, lightening fast, twisted the key out of the ignition and removed it.
By this time, I had begun to tremble. I remembered that voice, even if I were woken up from the deepest slumber, I would know that voice in a heart beat.
"Well, aren't you going to say hello to your long lost love? I waited out here all evening for you."
Grace looked disbelievingly at me. "You know this man?"
I didn't bother replying her. "Wait for me," I threw over my shoulder as I got down from the car. I walked off to the back, knowing fully well he would follow me.
"What do you want?" I asked through gritted teeth. "Haven't you done enough damage, why did you come back, CAN'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE?" I was shouting at this point.
"Come on woman, don't get your knickers in a twist, can't I say hello to an old love? I was in the area, I just wanted to say hi."
"How do you even know where I work? You've been watching me and following me, haven't you?" It was more a statement as the realisation dawned on me. "Now listen to me," I raised my finger at him in warning. "I don't need your hi's and I certainly don't need you."
"Oh! I can see that," his voice lowered a notch as he moved close to me. "You still make my blood rise, you know that?"
Tracing my jaw with his finger tips, I couldn't move even if I wanted to. Memories spilled unbidden, into my mind and familiar tingles began their race up and down my spine, ending with a low hum, at the base of my stomach.
"You always liked it when I did this, remember?" I snapped out of my stupor and caught his hand as it made its descent.
"Get away from me, Geoffrey, just get away and don't come anywhere near me. I'll have you know that I have a husband who if I may add, will show up with the police if I dont come soon."
"Hahaha!" He threw back his head and laughed gaily. "I'm so scared, I'm shaking."He moved closer to me and whispered. "I'm back, Osa and this time, I'm here to stay. Get used to it." Pulling my head to him, he planted a hard kiss firmly on my lips and sauntered off into the darkness.
I didn't know how long I stood there, staring and having flash backs of our time together, my mind cloudy. I touched my lips and roughly wiped them against my sleeve, furious with myself that he still had this effect on me after all this time. Walking back to my car, I found it empty.
"Grace!" I called out tentatively. She must have gotten scared and run off. I would have to make up a story to her the next day at work.
Over the next few days, I was bombarded with different gifts, all from Geoffrey.
He would wait for me at the close of work, take me out for dinner and make me laugh if he saw I was stressed or tired.
Yes! I fell for him again -- this time, it was worse.
I got so used to him being around that if I didn't see him at the end of the day, I wouldn't feel happy.
I got together with my best friend, Onari, for drinks two weeks later and while sipping on some red wine, her eyes narrowed as she gazed at me.
"Marriage agrees with you, my friend, you look ravishing. Eyare must be really treating you well."
At that moment, my phone rang. I looked at the name that flashed across my screen, smiled and put my fingers to my lips, indicating her to be quiet.
"Hey you, thought you had forgotten all about me? What! You know I have to be at home soon. Okay, tomorrow at 7pm, Lagoon restaurant, deal. I won't miss it for the world, . . . I miss you too." And I hung up, my face almost splitting into two from smiling widely.
"Ahem!" Onari cleared her throat noisily, trying to catch my attention. "I'm guessing that wasn't Eyare?" She asked, eyebrows raised.
"You guessed right." I replied.
'I'm also guessing that was a man you were talking to."
"You guessed right again," I replied, a smile playing at the edges of my lips.
"Osa, I hope this friend knows that you're married and that this friendship," she enunciated the last word, isn't going anywhere?"
"Stop being such a mother hen Onari, shouldn't you be happy for me? I'm in love again."
"What did you say? In love again? If I can remember correctly, the first time you fell in love was to a creep named Geoffrey. Thank God that era is over. So who's this guy and what's his name, anyway?"
"His name," I started . . . "Oh heck! His name isn't important, what you need to know is that I love him and he loves me too."
"He loves you too, right? How do you know that -- what, because he told you? Osa I'm surprised at you. Why do you treat Eyare so shabbily? You know he adores you, he treats you like a queen and --- "
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" A few heads turned towards us wonderingly so I went on more quietly. "I'm going to the ladies to freshen up and when I get back, this subject will be closed."
I got up, taking my bag with me but not before giving Onari a long look. I could feel her eyes burning holes in my back as I walked off. As I got to the toilet stall, I did my business and washed my hands, pondering on my best friend's words.
Was I really doing the right thing by allowing Geoffrey back into my life?
He, the source of all my angst in the past, the father of my aborted child, owner of my heart, body and possibly, soul too.
I let out a long drawn out sigh as I brought out my powder from my bag. I couldn't dey myself happiness. Truth be told I didn't really know what I was doing with him. But what I knew was I hadn't felt this happy in a long time, not even when I was with Eyare.
So making up my mind to continue seeing him, I snapped shut the compact powder and put it back in my bag. Tucking back an errant strand of hair and smoothing down my slightly wrinkled dress, I left the toilet.
Once I got back to the restaurant, I slid into my seat and looked up into the accusing eyes of Onari. "It's Geoffrey isn't it? He's the new found love of your's, right?"
My mouth fell open in shock. How did she . . . and then my eyes fell on the phone on the table and I groaned. I had forgotten to take my phone with me to the toilet, so I'm sure Onari must have done some investigative work.
"And here I was thinking you had become wiser." She went on, eyes flashing angrily.
I slumped into the chair like a rag doll, sinking my face in my hands. "I couldn't tell you, don't you see, it was too shameful, still seeing the man who left me in the cold."
"Why then did you allow him back into your life?" She leaned forward and held my hands in her's.
"I don't know." Tears stung the corner of my eyes as I gazed at her. "There's this magnetism about him that draws me." The tears had begun to fall silently.
"But don't you see; he knows you can't resist him, that's what he's using against you. You've got to fight it Osa, dont give in. Don't forget the emotional havoc he caused you before."
Tears continued sliding down my eyes as I listened to her talk.
"He knows you're weak and can't help it and he's feeding off on that, don't let him. Please help yourself, please, for the sake of your marriage."
"I think it's a little too late for that now." I looked at my friend sadly.
"What do you mean? I hope you haven't done anything stupid?"
"He proposed to me, Onari. He proposed!" And with rising excitement, I continued. "He's trying to make up for what he did, for all the lost time apart. He wants us to run away together. I was going to tell you, really I was, but I know you never liked him so I just kept it to myself."
Onari looked at me strangely. "Okay fine, but you wouldn't agree, of course you won't because you're somebody's wife --- Eyare's wife to be precise, right?"
I didn't say a word, I just gazed, head down at the table.
"I know you're not going to accept this phony proposal of his, right?" Onari continued.
"It's not phony." I shot back, my voice rising. "He means it this time. You should see him Onari, he's a changed man, very romantic and quite caring too."
I waited for a reaction from Onari but getting none, I continued. "Look Onari, see it my way, I want this to work. I wouldn't be so cruel as to leave Eyare immediately, it will take some time. Maybe a month or two, oh I don't know, but leave him, I must. You know I've never loved him; it's Geoffrey I've always loved."
Onari looked at me disbelievingly. "I can't believe I'm hearing this. I had hoped your marriage to Eyare would straighten you out and that you would even fall in love with him. I was secretly happy when I saw you two last week holding hands. But girl, you blow my mind with your meanness and arrant stupidity and I wouldn't be a party to such nonsense," and taking her bag, she got up and started walking away, but turned round and stopped to look back at me, disappointment written all over her face. "It's not too late, you know, you can still stop this madness."
She looked at me for a moment more and shaking her head, walked away.
I stuck out my tongue at her retreating back. I brought out my compact mirror from my bag to check my reflection, thinking about what I would wear for the dinner date with Geoffrey.
"Uhhh, I can't wait!" I squealed in excitement.