After Tomi’ s death i lost the will to live. I wanted to drown myself in the bottles so i could join her where she was. I almost succeeded or i thought i did until i opened my eyes in a hospital room with my mother hovering over my bed. I took out the drips and demanded to be discharged. My mother cried and pleaded with me but my mind was made up.
For a guy who had played and broken many hearts i was weak. Life had just given me a feel of my own tonic and for the first time in my life i realized what it means to have your heart broken. I kept picturing her face as we made love, her smiles which seems to go all the way to her eyes, her laughter and her voice kept ringing in my ears. Tosin tried his best to draw me out but i had lost all zest for life, it was like my life breath had been s—-d out of me. How do you keep breathing when your oxygen tank has been cut off? how do you continue to live when a vital part of your heart has been mercilessly ripped off before your eyes.? How do you survive the thought that you watched helplessly while your heart was being roasted on a pit of fire? I was emotional crippled and i couldn’t forgive myself. I had failed to protect the one thing dear to my heart, i failed to protect my woman.
My bedroom door creaked open and Tosin, who has been camping at my house ever since the fatal incident occurred came in.
” You have to snap out of it Kel” he said.” If you continue like this you might end up doing serious damage to your body”.
” I have heard you ”
” I made some hot coffee, care for some?”
He went out of the room and came back with two mugs of coffee.
” Has my mom left?” I asked, accepting the mug from his hand.
” Yes. They all left like thirty minutes ago”
” Have you…..have you seen her corpse?”
” Yes and she was buried today” he replied.
” Why didn’t anyone f*ucking tell me it was today?” I shouted. ” My God!” I held my head between my hands in anguish.” How could i not get to say good bye to her?”
” Sorry man. I didn’t know, her parents claimed her body before we could and they took her to their Home Town immediately”. He explained.
I nodded. ” I f*ucked up Tos. I shouldn’t have let her out of here in that state.She was so hysterical, i should have tried my best to stop her! This is all my fault!”
” It is too late for regrets and blame. Kel, it is time you let go of your guilt”
” Hell! ” I exclaimed.” How are her parents coping? ”
” I don’t know” He said, ” My guess is, not too well”.
” Do you think i should go see them?”
” No, that will only cause them more grief.” he answered.
I fished out a car key under my pillow.” I believe this belongs to you. “.
He took the key from me.” I think we should find a way to lend financial support to her parents but they don’t have to know that it came from us”.
” That is a good idea” i seconded. ” I will like to visit her grave”
” She wasn’t buried here in Lagos” he reminded me know.” She was buried in Ibadan ”
” I will find a way to see her wherever she was laid to rest” i scratched my beards.” My life is such a mess! where do i begin from?”
” You can start by shaving off those grasses on your jaw ” Tosin joked.
I laughed for the first time in weeks.” How’s Kelly?” i asked to change the gloomy atmosphere.
” She is fine.” He said.” She’s staying with my mom for now”.
I nodded. ” What is going on in the real world ?”
” Dantata” he said between clenched teeth.” Nigga thinks he’ s God’ s gift to women”.
” He’s trespassing on your territory? ” I asked ” Put him in his place”.
Tosin looked deep in thought like he was seriously considering what i said. I knew he was deeply thinking of how to put his rival in his place. I couldn’t say i was surprised to see him sporting a black eye few days later. I didn’t even ask what went down because i knew ‘ someone’ had been put in his place.
Some days later, i was enjoying the solitude and serenity the darkness of my room provided but Tosin’ s shout as he watched a football match downstairs made it impossible for me to surrender myself into the comforting arms of sleep so i decided to go watch it with him but as i opened my door i could hear other voices too. I wanted to go back into my room thinking it was my parents but as i continued to climb the stairs leading to the sitting room downstairs my ear caught the words….
” Tell him Linda. Tell him everything you told me”
I crept closer to them and listened as Linda narrated the events that led to her mother’ s death and how she had found her mother’ s diary only few days after being contacted my her lawyers. She had sounded so vulnerable and lost and i could swear that for once she was scared.
” He tried to poison me too!” I heard Victoria cut in.
They were all so engrossed in their conversation that they didn’t hear me walk into the room. Linda looked up teary eyed and went on her knees before me.
” Kelvin i am so sorry for the grief i have caused you. I admit that i was selfish and i thought of only myself.” She sobbed.” Please find a place in your heart to forgive me”.
” I couldn’t save Tomi’s life. Although i hold you responsible for her death i will stand before a preacher and give you my last name and protection ” I said.” After that you will be on your own”.
She was still on her knees sobbing as i made my way back the stairs. Yes, she was a terrible person and she allowed her emotions to control her but i couldn’t watch her lose her life or lose her inheritance. I have known her since we were children and i knew she would have grown up into a kind and compassionate woman just like her late mother if she hadn’t witnessed the death of her mother at the hands of her father. No child deserves to have such weight on their shoulder, nonetheless, she was still a terrible person and i doubt if she could just shed off her wicked character like a new blouse. I owe her nothing but my conscience wouldn’t let me watch while another human being is being treated unjustly. I picked up my phone and dialed Chief’ s number.
” Kelvin, my son how are you?” He asked.
” I am fine dad.”
” Your mother came home an hour ago, she was so worried about you. In fact we all are, you see son, things like this happen and you have to be a man and take heart”.
” Ok sir”
” Women are not worth the trouble son” He said. ” It is only a weak man that cries over a woman when there are thousands of beautiful women out there. I presume you called me for a reason”.
” Dad i want you to call up Mr Joseph and arrange a date for the wedding”
” My boy i have called it off. Your mother insisted that she doesn’t want Linda in your life anymore so i had to call it off.” He said.” But i must let you know that Joseph signed off one of his companies to Linda, as her husband you will be in control of it. Marriage to her is a good business i tell you.” He laughed loudly.
” Set up a date for the wedding and i want it as soon as possible”
” That is my son! A lion cannot give birth to a sheep nau. Omo Oko ni e” he laughed heartily.” I told your mother that you will soon get over this other girl and that you would come around.” He boasted.
My father contacted Linda’ s and a date was fixed for the wedding. I don’t know how the women were able to plan an elaborate wedding in such short space of time and they managed to send out thousands of invites too. I couldn’t care less if the wedding took place in a rat hole or paradise. All i wanted was to get it done and over with as quick as possible.
On the actual day of the wedding i woke up with a nagging headache and i felt like a ram being carted to the slaughter house. Tosin and i were on our way to the church when i realized that i had left the rings back home, I wanted to go back for them but he offered to go back for it with a taxi. Not long after he left i ran into traffic ahead and i was stuck there. My phone buzzed and i picked it up.
” Hello. Did you see the rings?” i asked.
” I found something better” he said,” Where are you?”
” Stuck in traffic” i replied.
” Wonderful. Find a place to park, i will be with you soon ”
” What’s going on?” I asked.” I think i am a little late for the ceremony”
” Just trust me Kelvin”
When the traffic started moving again, i drove into a car lot just after the traffic light and i dialed his line.
” Hello. I am at the car park after the traffic light” I said into the receiver.
” Good. Wait for me.”
Few minutes later, i spotted his car driving into the car park. I walked up to him and stopped in my tracks. I almost fainted at the sight of the person beside him. If Tosin wasn’t with her i probably would have thought that i was dreaming. I kept staring at her, in shock and i was lost for words. So many questions were dancing in my mind.
” Kelvin” She said, ” I am alive” She walked up to me and touched my frozen arm.” I wasn’t in the bus when it went up in flames, i am so sorry i put you all through stress and emotional turmoil. ” She shook my arm gently. ” I stayed away because i was angry and i felt used but i have realized that i was wrong. We all have our past and it wasn’t right of me to use yours against you “.
” Kelvin say something” Tosin said. ” You are freaking me out”
I was staring at the both of them immobile and my eyes were widened in shock, my jaw hung open and i kept blinking my eyes in confusion. It just couldn’t be, i was sure that i was dreaming and i didn’t want to succor to the sweet comfort this illusion was giving me that my Tomi was alive. I saw Tosin clenched his fist and before i realized his intent he struck me with his fist, on my jaw. I moved backwards rubbing my aching chin.
” Ouch! What was that for?” I moaned.
” I told you, you were freaking me out” he replied.
” Kelvin i am not dead! ” she shouted.” Look at me, do dead people look this healthy?”
” She’s real bro. She wasn’t in that bus that caught fire as we thought”
” Tomi” My heart was pounding faster. ” Tomi”
” I am alive Kelvin ”
I pulled her into my arms, almost squeezing the breath out of her. She was sobbing in my arms while i let a joyfull tear slip out of my eyes. It was a miracle, a gift, that i was holding her in my arms once again. This time around i am never letting go of her again.
” Tomi, my love. I almost went crazy when i thought i had lost you forever” i said.” Please don’t ever do that to me again. Life without you was meaningless, i couldn’t sleep, i couldnt eat and i was so lost without you. Don’t give me such a fright again. ”
” I missed you so much too and i was afraid that it was too late for us. Please forgive. ”
” Just promise never to leave me again. I can’t bear it if you leave again”
” I promise i will stand by you no matter what happens ” She promised.
” How…….how did it happen?” I asked. ” How did you escape unscathed?”
She explained how she had gotten a call from her parent about her aunt’ s death and she had alighted from the bus to take s bike to her parent’s. I wasn’t concerned about the details, i was too content and happy to have my Tomi with me, in my arms, where she belongs. Tosin cleared his throat and i released her from my arms but still held her close to my side.
” We have another problem” he said.
” What happened?,Tomi are you alright? ” I asked her.
” Your wedding ” she replied sadly.
” Oh Sh*it! Tomi it is not what you think. I am not in love with her and neither was i happy about it and i wasn’t marrying her just to please my family. My father even called off the wedding ” I said hurriedly. ” I only agreed to it because she needed my last name to get back what belongs to her.”
” You can’t leave her stranded at the altar, no girl deserves that” Tomi said.
I pulled her into my arms.” Oh my Tomi. You are just too good and you are so kind hearted. I can’t Let go of you now that i have found you again. Life has given me a second Chance with you and i am not about to blow it.”
” What should we do?” She asked.
” I will give my father a call” i replied.” He will take care of everything ”
” Don’t ” Tosin said.” I will go take care of everything”.
I sighed loudly. ” Tosin are you sure? It will get messy. Linda will throw fits and her father won’t take kindly to the embarrassment. I don’t want you to be caught up in the midst of all that ”
” Trust me buddy. Leave everything to me, take your lady love and sail together”
I laughed. ” I owe you one buddy”.
” No you don’t. Consider it payment for all the time you came through for me.”.
I pulled my love closer to me as we both watch him drive out of the park. I bent my head and claimed her soft lips in a kiss.
To be continued..