Monday, January 10, 2011


The signs had long been there. I just chose to ignore them. Maybe, that was my undoing with Edna. But, didn't they say love was worth waiting .. and fighting for? For this queen, I was ready to wage war. But, this story of her parents pressuring her to settle down with one has-been-to, who hails from her tribe, just didn’t cut any ice.

"Do you love him," I asked, switching back to the present.

"Well….," she hesitated.

"....Are you in love with him," I asked again.

"Well.... maybe not in that sense,"

"Edna, do you...." The words began to form into ice crystals of thundering rage, until it met a buffer zone, when it reached my vocal chords. I had never screamed at Edna before. Not in this way.

"Edna... do you love him," I asked, summoning every bit of restraint in me.

"I don't know. I like him though in a way, as a person… but of course not the way I…" she smiled sheepishly as she fidgeted with her hands. Even she was ashamed of her seeming naivety. "…Please I beg you in the name of God to understand. My endless friend, your place in my heart is sure," she cried, tormented by her own guilt.

"DON’T YOU give me that CRAP!!" This time, I couldn't help it. And she was visibly shaken as I clenched my fists. Confused and seemingly helpless, Edna, then I, turned to meet eyes beginning to stare. I didn't mind. This had passed the stage of simple reasoning. The world had long dissolved into insignificance matter ten minutes ago, the first moment she mentioned that other guy.

“Please listen to me,” she begged, reaching out to touch my hands. Those soft, well-manicured hands I had held for countless hours, literally deriving joy from holding it. Those hands that had held my face, many times, tracing imaginary lines of love across it. Those hands that had felt like Heaven’s touch. Those hands I had kissed, which had the finger I would have put the ring on. Those hands that had caressed mine for years and literally driven my fears away. Those hands that were now about to drive me away. 

Just when the tips of her fingers was about to touch the top of my hand, I snatched it away from the table, from her reach, like a child afraid of being touched by coals of fire.

“Can we go somewhere else to talk, please?” she pleaded.

“NO. Let’s finish it here,” I said bluntly. I had risked much for Edna already. Losing my social manners count for nothing now. Yet, I still managed to walk outside with her..

"Edna, tell me, does he love you as much as I do, unselfishly, passionately, eternally?" I asked, almost at the verge of tears.

“What do you want me to say?”  she replied, after what seemed like eternity. Suddenly, it seemed she had developed steel in her voice.

“Is your life been threatened if you don’t go with this other guy? Is it?” I pressed.

“No! No… no. It’s not that. It’s just that…,” she stopped. Maybe there was something I didn’t know. 
"Edna, I would give an arm for you. I would take bullets for you. I would die for you. You're my earth, wind and fire. What would I do without you? Please, just tell me, whatever it is, I promise we would find a way through it together,” I said with resurgence. She just stared at me, with a haunted look. If there was a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, I would chose the sea, as long as Edna was in the waters with me. That was how deep it went.

"Oh, I had something I ... wanted to tell you also. I…I had been meaning to for months…," I stammered.
"What is it,” she interrupted. In a flash, my Edna returned, with soft, lovely eyeballs, beginning to dance like diamonds in the dark. 
For five and a half years, I had waited. For this moment. Some days ago, I had pictured and painstakingly planned the scenario. I would whisk her away to the Island from here. On our way, we would relive key moments of our lives together, from the first day we met till today - the laughter, the fights, the tears of joy and pain. At the private beach, on my cue, her favourite song would play softly from the speakers inside our chalet, and blend with the flutter of the gentle breeze under the palm trees; while I made her heart dance with anticipation. Three hours ago, I had rehearsed and perfected my lines. I just never expected in my wildest dreams that it would turn out this way. At a time when I needed it most, my strength deserted me. I was left hanging, clutching at straws; Edna’s straws. All my cards seemed exhausted. But I still had one joker left with me.

I had wanted to ask her to marry me.

Just then, it was almost like she fell into a brief trance.
“Please,” she gasped. It came out as a whisper. But it was a cry from the heart. Her shoulder sagged. “Please, please, don’t do this to me,” she said. “You’re all I want in my man.  But sometimes what we really love isn’t what life dish out sometimes,” she said. Her words felt like piercing dagger into the heart. Until now, I had never doubted her many promises of eternal love and dedication.

“Who said? Then, refuse it… run away with me! We could elope, relocate to Ghana, South Africa, London, New York, Afghanistan, wherever you want…” I begged.

She forced a smile. It was a poor attempt at humour in this scenario.

“Please, please, let me go… Let-me-go,” She whispered.

And the tables turned. Cupid’s legendary arrow had suddenly become a poisoned chalice. My heart was broken, shattered in tiny fragments.

“Well… I guess the moment has passed,” I replied coolly, dying a thousand deaths in the process. 

Until Hauwa, then Jemila, brought me back to life.

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