Friday, September 13, 2013

TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH Part 3


Read Part 1 H E R E

Read Part 2 H E R E

The thoughts raced through my mind at an alarming speed. I could hardly concentrate and held on to the steering wheel a little tighter causing my long nails to dig into my palms and force some pain. I realized I was drunk. Okay, maybe half drunk, I assured myself as I recalled how I had taken a deep swig out of the Vodka bottle and nearly emptied its contents as I stood by my car in the parking lot. I had managed to leave the bar with a lot of eyes trailing me with disdain after settling my bill and paying some extra for the broken glasses. I caught the disappointment in Stacy's eyes one last time before stepping out into the night. To hell with that! I said to myself. She was just a freaking waiter and Lord knows I could have a hundred girls who were hotter, finer and definitely not waiters!

I did not know who to hate more at that moment – Mike or Anita. For the moment, I settled on Anita. I had always known all women were bitches. That's what my dad had fed into my head right after mum walked out on us two days after my seventh birthday. Anita had barely started walking then. However, I always made an exception when it came to my kid sister. She was the apple of my eyes in the very essence of the word. I could do anything for her, even die for her if I had to. I loved her that much. In fact, I had practically raised her myself. I was her big brother, her friend, her confidant, her everything! When my dad had been so heartbroken and never wanted to have anything to do with her because she was the splitting image of mum and reminded him too much of her, it was me who had shouldered the responsibility of being the dad she never had. It had taken so many years for dad to finally accept her and love her as a father and it was I who had made
that possible. Now, Anita was going ahead to stab me in the back!

I cast my mind back to my best friend, no scratch that; my now ex-best friend. Where did Mike find the audacity to try my patience like this? How could he do this to me? Our friendship had transformed into an unbreakable brotherhood over the years right from the first day we met when I had gone to submit a late assignment.

"Would you get out of my office before I spit on you?" Dr. Ese Idioko screamed.
I shook and got on my knees quickly. "I am sorry ma." I pleaded. "I was not in school when you gave the assignment ma. I had to leave school to take care of my sick sister and I just returned yesterday . . ."
"Then, go and submit your assignment to your sick sister", the woman said, flashing me a look of disgust. "You first year students act as though you are still in secondary school. Please leave my office, boy!"

I felt tears well up in my eyes. I had stayed awake all night to get this work done as soon as my roommate informed me of the deadline when I returned to school the previous day. I couldn't bear to start my first year with a carry-over in FMS 110. I resigned to my fate and was about to get up when I heard a voice.
"Mum, please allow him."
I looked at the direction the voice had come from and noticed a young man of about my age seated at a corner of the office.
"Michael, don't get me upset this afternoon, you hear me!" Dr. Idioko lashed out at the young man. "How many times have I told you not to interfere whenever I am dealing with my students?"
"I'm sorry, mum", the boy apologized. "It's just that . . ." He broke off as his mother's angry stare intensified. I was a little confused. Apparently, I had started a war between mother and son. He looked in my direction and flashed me a 'sorry-pal-I've-done-my-best' look.
"Are you still there?" she said as her gaze settled on me.

I got up in an instant and mouthed a quick apology as I headed for the door, wondering how I would recover the 20 marks I had just thrown away in the course.
"Wait!"
I turned and felt hope building up in me. "Yes ma'am"
"Submit it over there" she said, pointing to a huge stack of papers I assumed to belong to my colleagues. I obeyed and prostrated in appreciation. "Thank you ma. God bless you ma."
"Don't thank me. Thank him!" she said dismissively as she looked over at her son. The boy smiled mischievously. "Thanks mum" he muttered with a wink.
"Thanks sir" I said after a quick rumination of how to address him. He looked about my age but he had saved me and so was ready of all the respect I could accord him at that moment. He simply smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up.
That was the day I met Mike.

We bumped into each other in a campus restaurant some days and I insisted on paying for his food in spite of his refusal. We had a long chat and I realized he was in a second year student of Civil Engineering, a course his mum detested. Had she had her way, she would have wanted him to go into the Management Sciences. He was her only child, a product of a failed relationship with his father, a man he barely knew. She had never remarried.
"My mum is like ten men rolled up in the body of a woman" He said, "But no matter what, she's still a woman!"

From that day forward, Mike and I became like two peas in a pod. In fact, before long, I was Dr. Idioko's favourite student of FMS 110 and I ended up scoring an A in the course. I became a regular in the Idioko household and even lived there all through my second year when I had accommodation problems. Mike and I also did a lot of bad things together – things that still haunt me – and it was for this reasons I could not bear to see him marry my sister.

I thought about my sister as I turned into my street. Anita was about to make the biggest mistake of her life and I was never going to allow her make such a mistake. Not while I was alive. First thing tomorrow morning, I was going to call her up and ask her to come and see me. Then, I would give her the talk.

As I pulled into my driveway, my headlights flashed on a figure seated on my front porch. I squinted to have a better look. For an instant, I thought I saw Stacy, the waiter. Good heavens! Was I dreaming? It had to be the booze! As I moved closer, I had a better view. It was Anita! I was shocked beyond words. Speak of the devil! The lights settled on her as I brought the car to a halt. I realized my sister had been crying her eyes out!

Watch out for TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH Part 4

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