He removed the Cece Winas CD from its jacket and slotted it into the DVD player on the shelf. He had about twenty minutes to prepare for church. It was a good thing that he lived close by.
“I wasn’t looking-All the colours were grey-It’s hard to notice-When you’re out in the rain-All of a sudden-Colours are starting to change-You brought the light-Now the darkness”>darkness is gone-The search is over-Now I know you are the one-Somebody tell me-Where does an angel come from-Cos you’re more than just the one-Yea you’re more than what I wanted-Everything I never had-Gotta get it right through your heart-You can show me where it’s at-You are the miracle I needed so bad-And you’re more than what I wanted-Everything I never had,” the music filled the room.
He hummed the song while he buttoned the sky blue long sleeve Mark and Spencer shirt. The lyrics of the song brought back memories, good memories. He could still picture her creamy brown oval face in his mind’s eye. His heart beat accelerated at the thought of seeing her again after the church service. He had planned everything. Where they would go, what they would eat, what they would talk about, everything. He was eager to know all about her. He wanted to know everything. It had been a while since he had been attracted to anyone at first sight. His last relationship didn’t work out because his ex-girlfriend wasn’t ready to get married. She enjoyed his company and swore that he was everything she wanted in a man, but she needed a few years to solidify her career before thinking of marriage. He had promised to support her every way he could, but, she chose her career over him.
He gave a shake of head and put on the black suit. The moment he saw Didi, he felt a peace within him. He had a strong feeling that she was the one he had been searching for all his life, the woman he would spend the rest of his life with. There was something special about her. He would derive pleasure in uncovering the beautiful gift God had given him on a platter of gold. An excited smile spread over his face. He was going to see her again that day.
“Didi you are more than what I wanted, everything I never had…” he sang out loud.
She lay on her side and pulled the blanket up to her chin. An ache in her tummy roused her. Was it indigestion? She ate oatmeal the other night. Oats aided digestion, the fiber in it prevented constipation, and it definitely didn’t turn her tummy. She groaned. It was as if her intestines were tied in knots. Brutal sharp pains engulfed her.
Oh God… help me…
What else did she eat? Her mind became blurry. She couldn’t think because of the pangs that nagged at her. Someone knocked. She heard the door open.
“Look at this sleeping beauty,” her friend’s voice filled the room.
She closed her eyes and opened them. She wished the pain would go away.
“Why are you still in bed?” she approached the bed and pulled the blanket away from her friend’s body. She was coiled up in a ball. Was she in pain?
Didi turned to look at her and snatched back the brown blanket. She lay back on the bed and covered her slim frame.
“Are you okay?” she settled on the bed.
She shook her head.
“What is wrong with you?”
No response. Mara eyed her. The doorbell rang.
“I will be right back,” she got up and headed out.
She caught a glimpse of Mara as she left the room through the corner of her eye. She noticed that she was dressed for church. She had on a red knee length pencil skirt with a white short-sleeve V-neck blouse and a pair of red high heel sandals. She looked stunning. A sharp throbbing pain gripped her.
Oh God help me!
She held her belly. Mara and Shalewa walked into the room.
“Why is your friend still in bed?” she eyed Mara and kicked at the bed.
She shrugged, “I met her that way.”
She stepped closer, “Didi, are you awake? Aren’t you going to church today?”
She glanced at Mara who shrugged again. She frowned.
“Both of you should better find your own way to church. I am leaving.”
“Come on Shalewa.”
The dark skinned tall plump oblong face lady hissed and walked out.
Her neighbour hissed again and slammed the door behind her. She turned to look at her friend.
“Didi I have to go. Get off that bed and eat something,” she hurried out, leaving the door open.
God where are you?
She groaned and tried to sit up. She felt very weak. She felt like throwing up and using the toilet all at once. What was wrong with her? Was she ill? She rarely fell sick. Her mum told her when she was a child that she had a very strong immune system. She pulled her weight from the bed and tried to stand. Her knees buckled. She fell, hitting the tiled floor with her buttocks.
“Aaah!” her belly tightened. Her stomach felt like it was being turned inside out. She held it with both hands, unable to stop herself, she vomited. Smelly whitish semi-solid liquid gushed out of her mouth, spilled on her night-wear, thighs, and around her. Her breath came fast and hard. She threw up again and again. It was as if life was being wriggled out of her.
Oh God please help me.
Uwa leaned on the dark blue Toyota Corolla car and waited in excitement. He was going on a lunch date with the lady of his dreams. His eager eyes scanned the crowd gathered at the car park. Where was she?
“Our Protocol Officer.”
He heard a familiar voice behind him. He smiled and turned around. Shalewa and Mara approached the car, grinning at him. Where was Didi? His eyes darted about. Maybe she was still in the auditorium or probably in the restroom adjusting her make-up. His lips broadened in a Cheshire cat smile.
“Hi,” Mara flashed her white set of teeth.
“Hi,” he nodded at her and turned to look at Shalewa, “Hi, hi.”
He returned his gaze to Mara’s fair round fair face, “Where is your friend?”
Shalewa hissed and unlocked the door of her car, “She was still in bed by the time we left this morning.”
He threw a glimpse at his friend who was obviously cranky. Didi wasn’t in church. He paled at the realization that they might not go on a date after all. He believed she had a good reason for not showing up that morning. He was a bit disappointed. Truthfully, he was very disenchanted. He had hoped to take her out and spend the rest of the day with her.
She got into the vehicle and started the engine, “Are you coming or not?” she directed her gaze at her neighbor. Mara felt torn between standing there with him and getting into the car. She turned to look at her. Her grouchy disposition irritated her.
“Look I am hungry, get in or I will leave you here.”
She eyed her. No wonder she was so crabby.
“I will come with you, I want to see Didi,” he fished out his car keys from his pockets.
“Hurry up,” she fired the engine.
Mara got into the front seat of the Toyota car and smiled to herself. She was excited that Uwa was coming home with them. She hoped he would stay for lunch. There was ogbona soup in the freezer. She could make him Semovita or eba. They would eat together and chat. She couldn’t wait to spend the rest of the day with him. This was the opportunity she had been looking for.
Uwa hurried to his car, a white Skoda parked behind the Toyota. He unlocked it, got in and started the engine. Shalewa had already driven off. He followed and caught up with her at the gate. He felt a tinge of happiness at the thought of seeing Didi that noon. A smile spread over his dark chocolate square-like shaped face.
Didi opened her w€t dark brown eyes. She felt extremely weak. She had been sitting on the tiled floor all morning. The room oozed with a foul smell. She couldn’t get up, she had no strength. Her stomach contents surrounded her. She had also defecated on herself, not once, not twice, but several times. The stench of it all made her wish the ground would open and swallow her up. Where was Mara? Where was her best friend? Why did she leave for church without her? Why wasn’t she concerned that she was still in bed instead of preparing for church that morning? The Mara she knew would never abandon her, but she had done just that. Why? She wondered if the church service had ended. Her friend would soon be home. The thought gave her some relief. She needed help. She began to hear voices. Was she back? She looked towards the open doorway. She heard someone laugh. It sounded like Shalewa. Then she heard a male voice. Who did they come home with? She strained her ears and listened. Her heart missed a beat. She recognized his voice.
Oh God no! What is he doing here?
She looked down at herself, her facial expression changed from relief to panic.
He can’t see me like this. Jesus, God… no!
She tried to get up, but her hands were too weak. She froze when she heard footsteps. She remained motionless, unable to speak or move. Her heart beat skyrocketed.
She lifted her head and saw Shalewa standing at the doorway. Her hands were placed on her head and her mouth was ajar.
“What happened to you?” her dark shock gaze found Didi’s tired ones. Mara and Uwa walked into the room.
“What’s that smell?” she covered her nose and shot her friend a stonily stare.
Shalewa approached her, “Didi are you okay?”
“The whole room smells like a sewage tank,” Mara took some steps backwards and bumped into Uwa.
He watched the one his heart beats for closely. She didn’t look well. Her long brown weave-on was in tangles around her strained oval face. Her night-wear was stained with puke and drenched with faeces. She was a total mess. He felt pained. What happened to her?
“Why didn’t you go to the bathroom if you felt like throwing up? I can’t believe this. Now the whole house smells badly,” Mara rolled her eyes and placed a hand on her forehead.
Didi stared at her best friend. Why was she upset? What was worse, a smelly house or her state of health?
“I don’t even know if I can sleep in this house today,” she began to pace the room.
Uwa stepped forward, knelt beside her and lifted her up. Shalewa and Mara were caught unawares by his gesture. Didi could hardly believe it.
“Where is the bathroom?” he threw a glance at Mara.
She gawked at him. If he could carry her friend in her despicable state, then he must really like her.
“We need to clean her up. We can’t leave her like this.”
She pressed her pink lips together and pointed at the brown wooden door opposite the bed. He carried her across the room and kicked the bathroom door open with his leg. He placed her gently in the bath-tub.
“I need your help,” he called out to them.
Mara and Shalewa exchanged glances.
“I am not going in there.”
Shalewa eyed her annoying neighbor.
Uwa came out of the bathroom and observed Mara, “You need to bath her.”
“Bath who?” she scowled at him.
He placed both hands on his hips, “I am a guy. I am just a friend. I am not her husband.”
She started to shake her head. Her short jaw-length braids danced about her face.
“Come on Mara. You are supposed to be her friend,” Shalewa chimed in.
His dark brows knitted in a frown, “Aren’t you her best friend?”
“Oh please… I am not her mother,” she spun and marched out of the room.
Shalewa approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder, “Mara can be… you know… but, she has a good heart.”
His doubtful stare regarded her, “I find that hard to believe.”
“I will bath Didi.”
A smile of relief spread across his face, “Then I will clean the room.”
“It stinks,” she wrinkled her nose.
“Tell me about it.”
She found her way into the bathroom and shut the door behind her.
Mara lay on her bed feeling infuriated. Uwa’s feelings for Didi were deeper than she thought. She had been shocked to her marrows when he carried her stinking friend in his arms. She had thought she would have him all to herself when he came home with them, but the moment he saw Didi in that pathetic state, he dashed to her side like a knight in shining armour. She thought her plan was going to work, but it had backfired. The Andrew liver salt she poured into her friend’s dinner had made her too weak to attend service that day. Didi had reacted badly to the purging chemical. Nevertheless, she would be fine in a couple of days. She rolled on her tummy. She must not give up. Things might still turn around in her favour. She needed better plans. Uwa and Didi must be separated before they had the chance to date and fall in love. When she wanted something, nothing stood in her way, not even her best friend. At the end of it all, they would have a beautiful relationship and end up at the altar. They were perfect together. She sat up. She would take a cold shower, change into something s£xy and go and look for him. Her face brightened. She got down from the bed and zoomed into the bathroom.
“I called a doctor friend; he said you will feel much better after eating and taking some Boscopan tablets.”
She nodded. She was already feeling better. The hot watery milky custard he prepared for her gave her some relief. She was still weak, her tummy hurt a little, but she was no longer feeling nauseous. The hot bath had also refreshed her.
God bless you Shalewa .
She had been ashamed at her best friend’s behaviour and her neighbour’s sisterly care had astounded her. The thought of bathing someone covered in vomit and excreta was revolting enough. The act of doing it was gigantic. She would call and thank her again later.
“You need to rest. You need to call your boss at work and get a sick leave or something.”
She lifted her dark brown eyes and met his concerned dark piercing gaze. She would ask her friend who worked in the same department with her to fill a sick leave request form for her and give it to their head of department. They might give her a few days, but if she was lucky, she might get a week leave.
“I was a bit terrified when I saw you looking like a rag doll drenched in puke and… and… oh my God,” he placed a hand on his forehead and shook his head.
She wondered where he found the boldness, courage and will-power to lift her up in his arms.
“You look better now that you are cleaned up.”
She grinned, “Thank you for taking care of me.”
“Anytime my lady,” he bowed comically.
Her smile widened and she mimicked a Briton accent, “Aww… my knight in shining armour.”
He smiled back at her and brushed a hand over her creamy brown oval face. She shuddered lightly. His soft touch had sent heat waves down her spine. She looked away, cleared her throat and tried to get up.
“Hey… don’t,” he stopped her from sitting up, “You need to lay back and rest.”
They heard knocks. Their gazes flew to the closed door. The door opened and Mara strolled into the room. “How are you feeling?” she walked towards the bed and sat on the other side. She met her friend’s tired gaze.
“I am better.”
She glanced in his direction, “You are still here.”
“Yes, I am,” his full attention was concentrated on Didi.
“Where is Shalewa?”
“Back in her flat. She is God sent,” she smiled.
She hissed, “Because she bathed you, abeg.”
Her friend paled, “If you were in my shoes, I would have scrubbed you clean.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I am not cut out for that kind of thing. I can barely wash my own toilet, talk about your smelly buttocks.”
She laughed quietly, “You are a case.”
“I am glad that you are feeling better,” she noticed that the room had a nice scent, “Who cleaned this room?”
Her smile widened, “My knight in shining armour,” she winked at Uwa.
“Anything for My lady,” he lifted her right hand and kissed her knuckles.
Mara watched them and gritted her teeth. It was hard to find men like Uwa. He was special. She couldn’t understand why he chose Didi over her? She needed to act fast. They seemed closer than she had thought. Even though they had just met, something seemed to click between them. They flowed!
He stared at his wrist-watch briefly, “I have to leave now. I have a meeting tomorrow morning. The earlier I turn in for the night, the more energetic and sharp I will be in the morning.”
She felt a pang of sadness. She wished he could spend the night with her, but that wouldn’t be wise.
“I will check up on you once the meeting ends tomorrow.”
“My doctor friend said I need to bring you to his clinic for examination. If we can’t go tomorrow, I will take you there next tomorrow.”
“Okay,” she nodded. Their gazes locked. He brushed a hand over her face again. She s—-d in breath and trembled at his touch.
“I will miss you.”
She nodded, she could hardly speak.
“I have to go,” he dropped his hand and got up.
She reached out for his fingers and held it, “I will miss you too.”
He smiled and squeezed her hand, “I will call you.”
He blew her kiss. She released his hand and blew him a kiss in return.
Mara seethed. They were physically attracted to each other. She could tell. The chemistry in the air was quite obvious. How was she going to separate them?
Uwa waved at her and backed out of the room. She waved back, sighed heavily and lay back on the bed.