“Lola, you can’t be serious?!” I said, feeling her hurtful words stab the very heart that beat for her.
She looked at me with glittering eyes that did not mask her sudden disgust for me. It suddenly felt like I was looking at and talking to a complete stranger.
“You can’t be serious.” I continued, my shaky voice betraying my sorrow. “After everything we’ve been through together?!” In anguish, I held my head.
“Look, let’s not make a scene here, ok? Just leave.” She said without an iota of feeling.
“Lola, please just give this a thought. Are you going to throw away everything we had just like that?” I pleaded desperately, totally unaware of when my knees touched the ground.
She looked down at me in contempt from her towering position.
“Stop disgracing yourself and get a life!!” She said contemptuously.
“Lola, but I love you. How can you do this to me?” I said with tears in my eyes.
She gave an evil laughter. It was more like a cackle. It shocked the life out of me.
“Just look at you! You are as broke as a church rat and you want to love. Where do you think you are?” She asked, her words hitting me hard.
“But Lola…” I said shocked but she cut me off.
“You think I’ll just waste my life waiting for you? Your mates are out there doing big things, you are here fooling yourself! For how long did you think I was going to put up with your bull shit?!”
I couldn’t believe my ears! Her words burned deep into my soul. This same woman I gave 40% of my meager salary every month?!
“Lola!” I gasped.
“Please don’t call my name again. You are a disgrace. Its a wonder I even put up with you this long!” She said with every atom of seriousness.
“But…but you said you loved me…” I stammered hopelessly.
She laughed again. Dry and unrecognizable. I remembered when the sound of her laughter used to fill my life with joy. I felt the exact opposite now.
“Love indeed.” She said, genuinely amused. “Please start going, my fiance is coming over soon…”
“…and he won’t be happy to see a pauper at his doorstep.” She said, barely noticing my interruption. She made sure she waved her left hand in my face so that I saw the flash of the encrusted diamond ring on her finger.
“His…his…doorstep?!” I stammered stupidly. “But…but…this is your uncle’s house?!”
She sighed in exasperation. “You’re pathetic!” She said venomously and with that, she slammed the door to my face. I remained on my knees stunned, thinking it was all a bad dream but the pain on kneeling on the floor began to bite at my knees so I had no trouble distinguishing a nightmare from reality.
Slowly, I stood up and dusted my black trousers. I still couldn’t believe the exchange we just had. Lola? My Lola?! I wiped my eyes quickly as the famous song by the legend Bob Marley rang in my head, “No Woman No Cry”. I started my slow and painful journey towards the gate that led outside the compound. The gate man stepped aside in pity having partially witnessed the exchange.
I’d had my doubts when she first told me her uncle just got back from the States and told her to come stay with him. Her aunt, ‘Aunty Joy’ as I fondly called her who lived in Surulere suddenly was not good enough and didn’t seem to know who this ‘Uncle Phillip’ was but Lola claimed he was from her mother’s side. The house was a tastefully furnished 3 bedroom flat in a high rise estate at Ikoyi. I marveled at the opulence whenever I came to visit on weekends. I had waited in vain hoping to meet this uncle of hers but apparently, I was on a ‘long thing’! She had played the game to perfection.
I turned and looked back one last time. I saw two children looking at me from the balcony directly above her apartment. They couldn’t be more than 10 and 12 years of age respectively. They made no attempt to disguise the fact that they were laughing at me; a grown man of 28 who had just got his heart shattered in pieces. I smiled through my pain. They obviously didn’t know what it felt like, what I was going through. When I considered what had just happened, I felt the warm tears as they poured from my eyes. I saw a movement from Lola’s window. She was checking to see if I was gone. I shook my head and walked outside the compound.
This was four years ago.
I never saw Lola again as I swore never to revisit my painful past. Anything I had that reminded me of her, I burnt. It wasn’t easy getting over her after having her as my one and only for five years but I managed. I had been in several relationships since then but it never really held the thrill, the fulfillment that I once felt when I was deeply and foolishly in love.
I couldn’t forget Lola because we had so many beautiful memories together. Each time I heard a couple of songs on the radio, it was like being teleported to the past where everything was right with the world. Every song had a memory well preserved in a box that seemed to open each time I heard it. Melancholy was the hangover after the song played out. I sometimes wished there was a way to blot out that part of my memory that still held Lola so tight but alas, it was a cross I had to bear. I learned to live with the pain.
I was doing a lot better now. I’d changed jobs and had a private business of my own which I ran on the side. I had a rare opportunity two years ago to partner with the father of a client who invested heavily in real estate and needed a young and capable hand to steer his affairs. He had bought a lot of properties on the Island and we were in the process of building high rise apartment buildings in Lekki, Ikoyi and Ajah and I was in charge. I also had an interior designing company so I was making cheddar right, left and center. I was very comfortable. I had two cars and a house on the Mainland. I never really was the extravagant type so I lived a modest life but there was nothing I wanted that I couldn’t get. Except the right woman.
Time, however is not without the cruelest sense of humor.
(To be continued…)
Malcolm O. Ifi is on twitter @saymalcolm