Emeka did not come after you, and neither did he call or text to say he was sorry. You were sure he did not regret his mistakes, and it baffled you. Were you so unimportant that he could not make a clean breast of his actions, or worst still, concoct a lie to appease you? You were drowning in a sea of negative emotions; confusion, anger, disgust, regret, self-pity – but you still loved him and wished he would retrace his steps back to you.
You had already met his mother, a stunning dowager in her early fifties. Her appearance threatened you, a sweet teenager, despite how men never let you escape without stealing a second glance at nature’s deliberate perfection. She approved of you, agreeing you were good for him. It was glaring from the conversations you had recorded the time she came around – there were no discrepancies in the translations of the three Yoruba friends you had consulted.
You did not know what to think anymore. Sulking became your thing. You did not eat well or attend lectures for the five days you waited for Emeka to return – Fatima assured you that he would, but he did not. At that moment, you reflected on your relationship with Emeka and felt he had lied about many things. You even began to doubt if the woman you had met was his mother at all – mayhap he staged the whole thing to make you feel important even though you meant nothing to him.
Then, and there, in your room, you concluded you had been nothing but a plaything in his hands all along – you failed woefully at heeding your mother’s warnings. You decided you were done crying over spilt milk – there was no getting back all you lost because of your naivety.
You stepped into the bathroom for a long bath, showering with water and even more tears. Lathering your body with more than enough soap for three days, you scrubbed, hoping to wash away every reminiscence of your romantic spell with him. You were hurting yourself, but you did not care – like the phoenix, you sought rebirth. And after what seemed like forever, you stepped out of the bathroom.
You took time to tend to your hair, easing it into a bun. Then you rubbed vanilla-flavoured petroleum jelly on your skin. As you did, you remembered when a friend of your mom recommended a particular lotion to perfect your skin tone, and she had refused.
“I do not want my daughter to become a skin-bleaching sun-ripe oyibo like the one her father chased to his death,” she had said.
True to your mother’s words, you never used anything but petroleum jelly and coconut oil for your skin in the almost-twenty years you had seen – you failed to see reasons why you needed anything else.
As you dressed up, a thought crossed your mind.
You caught it mid-flight.
‘Someone dear is in big trouble!’
to be continued…
To what extent do you think Emeka deceived Grace?
Who do you think is in trouble?
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P.S: This work is purely fictional. Any semblance to actual persons (living or late), places, or events are merely figments of the writer’s attempt at keeping in touch with reality.