The rain had reduced to a slight drizzle, the strong wind still causing a little uproar, sounding like an erupted volcano, though the stars and the full moon could be visibly seen, giving the night a cool bluish colour, sparkling the atmosphere.
He thought it was safe to drive home, he started the car engine and drove her to his detached duplex after seeing the rain minimize. Though she contemplated coming with him because of her night shift, she later agreed to her subconscious advising her to follow him. She had known him for quite a while, he looks different from the men she had known, the men she described as “cheats, inhumane and birds of the same feather” but seeing Charles, her notion about men seemed to have taken a positive turn. She only hoped her instincts wont delude her concept.
He led her to sit in the garden, just few meters away from the balcony with tables and chairs arranged in pairs, food and drinks already served on the table as if already planned after the strong wind had stopped. Despite the cold, she opted to stay outside which Charles had obliged to. The last stray of food and drinks was brought in by the chef.
“Are you sure you are alright?”, he inquired after glancing at her using her palms to rub her forehead which was covered in a headscarf.
“Just a slight headache. Am fine okay, stop worrying”, she replied.
“Listen, I will go and get some drugs in the pharmacy store down the road”
“Am okay. Its just stress, that’s all”
“Okay, if you say so”, he agreed.
He watched her closely as she ate the food slowly and then, she looked up when she saw he wasn’t eating.
“Why are you not eating? I thought you brought me for dinner?”
Just then, he picked up his fork and knife and started eating his plate of fried rice, egg and plantain.
“I hope the food is good? My apologies for not asking”
“The food is delicious I must say. Thank you for the food”
About a minute of silence erupted between them again.
“I want to really know you Ruth, tell me more about yourself, your past”
She took the last spoonful into her mouth and paused then, staring glumly at the plate like she had never seen it before or it now disgust her. The animated look on her face vanished like a smoke in the air, giving way for more clarity. Seeing the look on her face, afraid that she might burst out crying after seeing her face crimson and her bulging eyes gathering water, Charles said softly;
“I think I may be a little too fast with us, its okay if you don’t want to talk about your past. I understand perfectly I promise”
“No, thank you for asking. I just couldn’t keep hiding my real self from you. You are a good man and I love you to the depth of my heart. I have had a rather rough past ,an excruciating experience I wouldn’t normally disclose to anyone but you”
“I know. I have had some bad experiences in the past, some bad things I have done that am sorry to say, am proud of. I have something as well to tell you. We can let the pain of yesterday off our chest by telling each other and embrace the new ‘Us’
“It’s a long story Charles. I may not be able to tell all”
“I just need an excerpt of it”, he said softly, reaching across the table to take her hands in his.
“We can do this, you are the best thing that has happened to me in a long while. You are the reason why I am still alive today”
She shrugged off his hand and walked away from the garden, stood at some distance away from the table, staring upwards at the bright stars, the same stars that reminded her of the time she was with the last person that she loved as Charles. Charles trailed her as she paused.
Ruth is a selfless lady who never seemed to be happy and never gets what she wants. Her life is controlled by her parents who expects her to play by their scripts in order to resurrect their financial crisis and help her siblings finish school if only she agrees to Wed the son of her father’s old friend who was returning from abroad. When an altercation breaks out, Ruth is left with no choice than to play again by her parents script and sacrifice her happiness for them but would it end up being a disaster or a blessing in disguise? A must read for parents and adults in relationships. Available on okadabooks.com.