Owen was heart-broken. He had been heartbroken for so long that he no longer remembered how it felt when he was happy and in love. He was trying to remind himself, but it kept eluding him like a forgotten dream. He remembered the dates and the places he went with her. Everything in his day reminded him of her. It had been six years since they last spoke but each time his phone rang, he wished it was her. He often woke up at night thinking about the softness of her lips or the way she cried when she was happy, when she was sad or when she felt she had hurt him. But he could not remember how it felt to be in love and happy. That was one thing he wanted to feel, but it was also the one thing he could not feel. So, he buried himself in work.
Image credits:Pixabay Link]
"Hello, handsome. Welcome home," Ada said, smiling like someone who was privy to a secret that he did not know. He sat down and pulled off his shoes.
"How are you, beautiful?" Owen replied.
Ada had been friends with Owen for about eight months. Owen had not dated anyone since he broke up with Lisa two years before. When he was Lisa, he could not imagine having to live his life without her. So when Lisa insisted that their relationship of two years was not working for her anymore, he was devastated. Everyone told him that he would feel better once he started dating again but he knew they were wrong. Two years had passed after Lisa left when he met Ada at his favourite fast food restaurant. She was about five feet seven inches tall, with very dark skin. Her skin seemed to shimmer when the light hit it from certain angles. Among the girls that worked with her, she was the only one that served people with a constant smile on her face, giving you the feeling that you were being served by an exotic air hostess. And what struck Owen was how she had no apparent interest in tips. When he left her a tip, she smiled and thanked him as if he had given her the world. Otherwise, you still got her genuine appreciation for your patronage.
Image credits:Original image Link]
She was about offering the excuse that her boss did not allow it and, Owen was expecting that.
"But this is just a conversation between you and a customer. How is he going to find out that you said a bunch of numbers?"
"Fair enough. But you won't type it on your cell phone, you won't write it down, and I certainly am not going to pass any paper across to you. Agreed?"
"Fair enough," he replied.
"61-06-70...," she began. Owen quickly stopped her, knowing that it would be more difficult to memorise the number in twos rather than in threes.
"Wait. 610-670... Continue," he said with a smile. She was impressed that he was able to repeat the six numbers, so she just went ahead and completed it.
"8163. Now is there anything else I can get you?" she asked, trying to distract him from the last four numbers.
"610-670-8163. No, Ma'am, that's all I need," Owen replied, and they both laughed.
Image credits: Pixabay Link]
"Will you marry me?" she asked.
He waited for her to laugh but when she didn't, he felt it was part of the joke, so he laughed until he realised that he was laughing alone.
"You're serious?" Owen asked.
"Of course, I am serious. I cannot think of anyone else better to spend the rest of my life with than you."
"But we are not even dating," he said, still trying to shake the shock of what she just said.
"Whose fault is that, sweety? Simply because I am a virgin, you decided not to take a chance with me," she said, as she relaxed a little.
"That's not fair. You wanted to remain that way until marriage, and I agreed to respect your wishes. It is not fair for you to turn around and say that it was all my fault," Owen replied.
"Still, you have not answered me. Will you marry the girl or not?" she repeated.
"I am sorry. My heart is not in the right place to be marrying anyone. If anybody, it should be you, but I am sorry," Owen said.
"Okay," she said.
They ate their burgers in silence. After that, Ada had a bath and went to bed. Ada was having problems with her accommodation at the time and had been staying with Owen until she had things sorted out. Living with her was so easy because even though he loved her, she did not encroach into his personal space and she had a knack of knowing what to say and when to say it. It was second nature for her to understand what he was going through and how to make it better but it scared him that he would hurt her at last.
Two months later, Ada came to Owen with news of her getting married to a childhood friend of hers. He could hardly believe it, but he had no right to object to her happiness. And he had no doubts that the pressure coming from Ada's family for her to get married and cease to be their responsibility had something to do with her decision. He was worried that the man may not really make her happy, but she seemed excited about the prospect of becoming his wife, so he wished her well. On her wedding day, Owen cancelled everything he had to do and was in attendance even though it felt awkward when he noticed that everyone was feeling sorry for him. He could not blame them, because they did not know the full story.
After her wedding, Ada spent her honeymoon in another city and when she returned, it was to pack her bag and move back to that city to go and live with her husband. Owen missed her, but he figured that her relocation was probably for the best. The two friends continued to speak on the phone and exchange messages. After some months, Cliff, Ada's husband gradually stopped featuring in her conversations with Owen. Each time they talked, Owen had to ask about him, and her answer was invariably, "Fine". It was barely a year after their marriage that Ada called Owen to inform him that her husband had travelled outside the country for the past one month. It sounded to him like she had been crying. It was after a while that she narrated her ordeal with Cliff after they relocated to Lagos. He cheated, beat her and accused her of being responsible for their inability to bear a child. She felt horrible but hoped that he would change. Instead of a change for the better, he woke up one morning and informed her that he was relocating to Malta in search of "greener pastures". Ada felt that her barely one-year-old marriage was over. Owen did what he could to console and assure her that things would turn out right.
Things got worse. It turned out that the pastures in Malta were not as green as Cliff thought it would be. He returned home seven months later, broke, angry and frustrated. He took over the business they started before he left, which Ada had nurtured into a profit-making enterprise. He suspected everything she did, accused her of being unfaithful while he was away and made her life hell. His anger made him start drinking, and he would often hit Ada in his drunkenness. She tried to rationalise his behaviour and blamed herself in part for not being everything he wanted and hoped that things would get better. That hope disappeared one day he got drunk and so angry that Ada feared for her life. She found an opportunity and ran out of the house. She sat on the stairs and considered her options. She realised that she was lucky to have gotten out alive. She walked out and thought about her life. Three hours later she had walked ten kilometres across town to her sister's house where she spent the night. When she woke up the next day, she went to the bank and transferred what was left in her business account to her personal savings and relocated eight thousand miles from the city.
Image credits:Pixabay Link]
Authored by: @churchboy
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