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[av_heading heading=’NWALA ; The Bittersweet Story (Part 3&4) – Opeyemi Akintunde’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’ size=” av-desktop-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=” av-desktop-font-size=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-desktop-font-size-1=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” subheading_color=” seperator_color=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ av-desktop-margin=” av-desktop-margin_sync=’true’ av-medium-margin=” av-medium-margin_sync=’true’ av-small-margin=” av-small-margin_sync=’true’ av-mini-margin=” av-mini-margin_sync=’true’ headline_padding=” headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-desktop-headline_padding=” av-desktop-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-medium-headline_padding=” av-medium-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-small-headline_padding=” av-small-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-mini-headline_padding=” av-mini-headline_padding_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ av-desktop-padding=” av-medium-padding=” av-small-padding=” av-mini-padding=” icon_padding=’10’ av-desktop-icon_padding=” av-medium-icon_padding=” av-small-icon_padding=” av-mini-icon_padding=” link=” link_target=” id=” custom_class=” template_class=” av_uid=’av-ljwrtwxe’ sc_version=’1.0′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]
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NWALA; THE BITTERSWEET STORY
My mother, my father, the two maids, my three cousins had rushed towards my room.
“Nwala?” My father called my name with a questioning tone.
“Mummy, what is this?” I showed her the text message.
“Daddy, please help me tell mummy I am not my sisters, I am not marrying a man she will choose for me… I am Nwala, I make my choices and Daniel is the man I will marry, not Reuben the General Overseer’s son”
Everyone present was shocked, except my parents of course.
My Cousins were initially shocked but couldn’t help but later give muffled laughter…
“You see, even Tobi, Uche and Amara can tell that the marriage will be a joke… Do I look like a Pastor’s wife? Mba! Mba ( No! No!) Mummy, this one you did not see it well.” I said pacing in my room angrily.
“Nwala, is that why you wanted to kill me this morning?” My father asked madly.
“I am sorry Daddy, I woke up to his text message, and I am like, ‘like play like play’ if I do not stop mummy, I will be married before next Sunday to a man I don’t even know”
“You don’t know Reuben?” My mother finally found her voice.
“Yes mum, I don’t know him”
“You don’t know Reuben you have been in church together for 8 Years. Reuben that you are in the same Hospitality unit. Reuben that leads prayer session?” my mother started listing the guy’s C.V.
“Mummy, I only know Reuben as the G.O.’s son, if I have my eyes closed, I can’t even remember his face”
“If only this girl knows the Big opportunity, she is about to lose…” My mother said out loud shaking her head in regret.
“Nwakaego, if Nwala doesn’t want what you think is good for her, let her have what she thinks is right for her”. My father said before exiting the room. After my father speaks on a matter, it was always final.
I saw how immediately downcast my mother looked. I was partially happy my father had given me my liberty, but partly I felt I was being the black sheep. I knew my mother meant well but she had her domineering way about it…
“I will go for the lunch, at least let me see the market you want me to buy…” I said hoping to lift my mother’s spirit up, but she looked me in the eye as if to say “I know what you are up to” She didn’t have to say it, I could read it in her eyes.
“I am not planning to do what you think I am going to do” I said but my mother was not interested.
“Mummy G.O. Nwala” Uche teased
“That will be Mummy G.O Wahala (Trouble)” Tobi said
“You guys should stop it” Amara said moving into the room to where I was standing while the boys disappeared.
I could still hear their taunt…
“Wahala Nwala for mummy G.O”
Amara was my maternal cousin who had lost her mother to cancer, she was two years older but still in her second year in the university. After her mother’s demise, my mother took over her welfare and that of her brother; Uche.
“Nwala, you are lucky” Amara said
“Don’t start Amara, lucky to have the G.O’s son interested in me? Babe, I am not some lame girl. I have someone in my life”
“I am not referring to that, I am saying you are lucky to have a mother who is here for you” Amara’s words hit me deeply…
“I wish mum was still around so I could tell her everything, even to how I can’t find a missing pen, but I don’t have that. Nwala, you have that, cherish and make the best out of it. Even if you don’t like her choice for you, sit and have a talk. Those sitting sessions; I don’t have that; I would give everything in the world to have just a 10 minutes conversation with my mother again” Amara’s tears flowed…
“I am sorry Amara…” I said hugging her tightly. For your sake, I will have lunch with him and afterwards have a conversation with my mum…” I committed
Amara’s advice no doubt softened me a bit.
Amara walked out of my room, and my phone was the next point of call.
Lunch will be great. Today would be fine SIR, as I have school matters to attend to as from tomorrow. I believe it will be at Shalom Resturant?
Would 2pm be a perfect time?
I replied his text and like someone working at a Customer Service Center, his reply was almost immediate;
“Nah…lol… Shalom Restaurant is the Church Restaurant; I was thinking of somewhere more pr!vate that has a beautiful scenery”
My eye popped…
“Yeye dey wear perfume” (Something stinky is trying hard to smell nice) I thought to myself.
I read the text like five times…
“Bishop’s son wants somewhere pr!vate and beautiful; it is true these pastor’s kids are always shady. This one must be a playboy, pervert, flirt… Uncle, I am not one of the girls you must have been dating pr!vately from Church” I said to the empty room.
“No problem sir, your call sir” I was emphasizing the SIR, because I wanted to use it to measure a long yard of distance between us…
“You are the lady, please choose the location” He texted back.
“Oga, which one be all this back and forth, firstly, I am not a lady and secondly you are wasting my time” these were the words I typed, but I erased it.
Instead, I calmly wrote..
“Red Hilton, 1pm” I replied.
Red Hilton was close to the house, so I needed somewhere I could drive to. Yes! I had a car even as a 300-level student, my father deals in cars remember?…
Nwala is not your regular girl…Do you understand?
Well in case you don’t yet understand me, Wait for it … It’s coming…
NWALA; THE BITTERSWEET STORY
You could call me a chameleon; I am a man on the inside but you can trust me to show up to an event like a diva.
For the sake of misleading my mother, I gave the lunch a killing outfit because I intended to kill the intentions in the heart of the G.O’s son.
The moment I got down from my vehicle in my white shirt dress draped in orange velvet with hot olive green heels with a small purse to match, I knew Reuben must have sworn I was there for the taking. I gave my car key to the Red Hilton staff, for proper parking. The moment I stepped into the restaurant, he was already on his feet…
“His suit! Hmm! Not bad ooo” I thought. He decided to be gentlemanly by pulling the chair out for me, and that’s where I started my drama.
“Please don’t, I have hands” I said
I saw the look of shock… and that definitely threw him off balance…
“I am sorry about that; I just thought every lady would want a man…” He said
“I am not every lady, SIR Reuben” I said straight up. He looked to his side and smiled…
Since I got his silence, I decided to fill it with my words…
“I am not like every lady, in fact I am no lady, don’t let the pretty dress deceive you. I am a man living in a woman’s body. Not a submissive kind of person. I have coconut head like everyone in my family says. I am the new generation woman who believes in gender equality…”
“Interesting” Reuben cut in
“You find it interesting?” I asked
“Yes because you fit exactly the kind of wife I need. Strong yet pretty” He said smiling.
My head went on a roller coaster ride…
“You need a wife who is strong and pretty?” I asked like he just spoke gibberish…
“Oh like, I, Nwala am a need meeter? Like I am just some piece of art to complete your collection, Ha! Ha!” I laughed so hard he knew he had said something wrong…
“I guess that didn’t come our well, can we start this lunch all over again? I came here just to have a friendly chat with you but you came with war, and that threw me off balance” Reuben said. “I apologize for what I said or how it came out… I take back my words. I don’t need a pretty and strong wife. I just want to get to know you” He said.
His apology weakened me… I maintained silence.
“What would you like to have?” He asked
“Just a glass of wine would do” I replied’
We were quiet for about two minutes…
“What course are you studying? He asked
“English Language, but I plan on doing business” I replied
“Nice…taking over your Dad’s business? He asked
“Nooo…? ” Why was this guy saying the wrong things.
“Oh! Personal business dreams? He asked
“Oga what is your business?” Was exactly what I wanted to say but I decided to maintain my calm.
“You have someone in your life?” He asked finally when it was obvious I was not interested in his chitchat.
I nodded affirmatively. There was no point hiding.
“You just came for appearances because of your mum” He said and I nodded again.
I thought this man would be sensible enough to say…
“I am sorry for bothering you,” but instead he made me choke on my wine when he said
“Can you give me the chance to be your friend, get to know me and find out if I stand a better chance” …
I choked, and he rushed towards me helping me through the phase… After breathing in and out, I said to him.
“SIR, I have known my boyfriend since I was eight, and now I am 20 years old, so it has taken me 12 years to know this man, and for me to compare you both, it will take me another 12 years to get to know you and of which I don’t think I have that luxury of time.” I said bluntly
There was stiff silence, there was nothing more to be said, but Reuben the fighter still had something to say…
“I have had my eyes on you for 3 years and within those 3 years, I knew it was you I wanted to be with”
“Sorry, I didn’t get that?” I said blinking my eyes
“Nwala, we have been in church together for 8 years but I became emotionally aware of you three years ago. I decided to let time tell if it was just a crush, but it’s been 3 years and I still feel butter flies in my belly when I see you”
He lost me that moment… Did he just say it took him 3 years to come to terms with his feelings for me… That spoke volumes about who he was, he must be a very slow thinking person. I was not a slow person, whenever I saw something that needed to be worked on, I jumped on it.
“Wow! Interesting to hear, but unlike you, I always know what I want immediately, I don’t have to wait three years to be sure… Sir, No offence, but the truth is you are not who I want.. I would love to take my leave” I said.
I couldn’t pretend to be enjoying the lunch.
“It’s okay, but can we at least be friends?” He asked
“I don’t keep a lot of friends” I replied
“I am sure my addition to the few friends you have shouldn’t be much of a trouble”
“This guy is a persistent troublemaker ooo.” I concluded within me.
“Sure… but I only catch up with my friends once a week, like I limit friendship calls to once a week so I can concentrate on my academics”
“I will respect that! Thank you for honouring the lunch date” He stretched out his hand for handshake.
I took the handshake and the warmth of that palm was second to none. It was a relaxing feeling. There was something comforting about that palm. I couldn’t help but look to his hand… I noticed I had held on for too long. I quickly let go…
“See you around!” I said and walked out of the restaurant. I had lost my composure and my anger in that few seconds that felt like peace.
As I walked towards my car, thinking about that strange moment, I could feel someone following me. I turned back to see Reuben following me.
“Just want to ensure you get safely to your car” He said.
Ordinarily I would have given him an answer like…
“I am not a lady that needs a man to walk her to the car”
Surprisingly, at that moment, I had no strength for such words, I was still ruminating on the peaceful handshake.
I simply nodded.
The restaurant staff drove my car towards where I stood with Reuben breathing down my back.
“Thanks” I said rushing into my car and speeding off.
The ride home was me checking my hand over and over and reliving that moment. I had never felt that kind of peace in my life. Tears started flowing down my cheeks. I couldn’t tell why I was crying, but I knew I had touched something I had never touched before.
War, Conflict, Rebellion had always been my air, my fuel, it was just the way I had been wired.
To oppose things was just my oxygen, but my shaking Reuben did a number of things to me.
I felt naked, I felt condemned, I felt wrong, I felt there was a better life than the one I was living.
I felt Peace or better put, a yearning for Peace from his hands…
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1. The Story was Inspired by the Living Word
2. TO SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY OR TO GET THE HARD/SOFT COPY OF THIS NOVEL, PLEASE CONTACT THE AUTHOR ‘MRS OPEYEMI AKINTUNDE’ via EMAIL: [email protected] or PHONE NO: 08151103646. God bless you.