I was simply a woman in love. Swept by the tides of emotion. Consumed by the fury of passion. I fell in love with Henry the way a bird would reach for the sky and cling to the air with it’s wings. We were together all through the University. Henry knew of inches of my being like the palm of his hands. He cherished me with such effortless tenderness. He was caring to a fault. He always did those little things that could sweep a woman off her feet. He said such nice words that set my heart afloat. I blushed at his smiles and shivered at his touch. I enjoyed every single moment we shared together. We talked, laughed, stared , cuddled and clung unto each other for hours. Our love was intense. Mama said he was a responsible man who knew what he wanted in life. Perhaps it was because of his gait, confident aura and those calm enchanting eyes of his. I could barely withstand his gaze. They had an affinity for affirmative replies even when I intended to say the opposite. I said more ‘yes’ and fewer ‘no’. Sisi said true love was hard to find and I had struck a goldmine this time. She would teasingly call him ‘Our In-law’ which drew a shy smile from me.
One morning, I received a call. Henry informed me that he was in Lagos and would from there be leaving for the States. He had by means of good fortune stumbled on a business deal that would pay handsomely. I was dazed. I wondered why he never told me all along. He explained he had been very busy and that everything happened so fast. He said, “You know I love you” but I didn’t know what I knew anymore. For months we were steady on calls and social media, but slowly and steadily Henry ebbed away. I could only reach out to him in my dreams, thoughts, imaginations and fantasies. I tried all I could but he never answered nor returned calls. His friends had nothing to say either. Each time I thought of him tears flooded my eyes and flowed down caressing my cheeks. I missed him dearly.
Time rolled by, a year was gone yet there was no trace of Henry. Paul, a friend’s brother began to lurk around. He was kindhearted and well mannered. He was chatty and tried to say funny things. I said ‘no’ many times but Paul relentlessly persisted. Mama asked me to give him a chance instead of wasting my life for some irresponsible guy. I tried and we became fond of each other. We tagged along for months and soon Paul was ready to exchange vows. I was also ready.
A week to saying ‘I do’ I received a call. At first I was perplexed on seeing a foreign number. When I heard that flow of sonorous vibrations echo in my ears, I realized I had never forgotten that voice. It was him…………Henry. He breathlessly went on and on talking, explaining, evaluating and pleading. I was too shocked for words. He said he was coming back soon. I was apprehensive and tensed for the rest of the week. I watched my bridal joy turn sour. I was easily irritated and snapped at the slightest provocation. I wanted to talk to someone, to anyone, to Sisi but no one spoke of ‘Our In-law’ again. Mama would definitely slap me back to my sense. So I kept my troubles to myself. Henry called again on the eve. He wanted us to meet up as he was in town and was lodging in same hotel as myself and my bridal train. It was a coincidence. I was longed to see him. I was curious. I had questions to ask, many words I hoped to hear. I sneaked down to the lobby. There he sat, that muscular frame, fair skin, those warm eyes. His accent sounded more polished as he spoke. He held my hands and said he was sorry. Damn! I should never have let those hands touch. Waves of emotion slowly but forcefully flowed through me. I was love struck again. That was how I went missing on the eve of my wedding day. The sun rose to find everyone searching frantically for the bride. The hotel’s security camera was helpful as it captured a glimpse of me entering a room with someone. Henry opened the door before the frantic knocking would break it down. Everyone was shocked at the sight they beheld. Mama rolled on the fall in tears. She kept screaming that Henry and I have killed her. Papa said he would disown me. Sisi pulled at Henry’s shirt while raining abuses on him. Paul pleaded with me to snap back to reality but I was way beyond redemption. I was no longer willing to push through with the wedding. He promised to forgive my excesses but no magic wane could do the trick. I was still freaking in love with Henry and I was ready to defile all rationality for him.
Thus, that marriage never saw the break of dawn and so did many other things. Life had yet more balls to throw at me. I never imagined life without Henry but now I know better. Certain things were no longer the same with him. He was now into drugs and soon pulled me down the drain of addiction with him. He used me as a tool for trafficking drugs and I often doubled as a drab for his business partners. I willed to escape that rat hole but my heart clung to him. One of our trafficking trips went sour. Henry was shot as he tried to escape. I was taken to a rehab and then to jail. I served my term and was afterwards released. I have no courage to face my family. I have no will to live either.
I’m thorn between my woes and grief. I have fallen along with this passion.
By Isiwu Oluchi
Image credit: Passion for learning
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