Thursday, 9 November 2017

Bukky Alakara Episode 16

Bukky and her aunt sat inside the shop counting the money they made that day while the sales girls tidied up the place.
“When did you and Chike start dating?”
She raised her head and met her aunt’s excited gaze. “A few weeks ago.”
She grinned, “I knew that both of you will end up together.”
Bukky chuckled and tied the money in her hands with rubber bands.
“You wasted so much time with Gbemiga. I pray that God will pay his family back in their own coin.”
She sighed heavily and held her tongue. The last time she saw her ex, he was leaving for school and she was heading to her lecture center. It was at the bus-stop and they just exchanged greetings, nothing more. She seldom run into his parents or siblings. It was as if they no longer existed, even though they all lived on the same street. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
“Good afternoon ma,” Chike walked in.
Both women raised their heads and grinned at him.
“Chike, omo ibo, omo ina,” Kike teased him.
He chuckled and smiled.
“I got your message. Thanks for the gifts.”
“You are welcome ma.”
“This your abroad I.T did you well o. Your skin looks buttery and posh like those black American actors.”
He started to laugh. Bukky shook her head and smiled.
“Hey you,” he sat beside his girlfriend.
“Hi…” she smiled back at him.
“Are you going to the lecture center today?”
She shook her head.
“Cool. I want to take you to the Lagoon front.”
She beamed. She had been asking him to create time and take her there for as far back as she could remember. Many of her classmates at the center had been there and she was feeling kind of left out.
“I am ready when you are ready,” he announced. He was glad that she was thrilled with his plan.
“Give me a few minutes.”
“Okay,” he leaned against the plastic chair and cross his legs.
“Give me the money with you before you start counting rubbish and start making silly mistakes.”
“Ah-han aunty,” she eyed her aunt.
“Follow your boyfriend and commot for here,” Kike collected the bills from her.
Chike laughed quietly.
“Let me get my bag,” she winked at him and got up.
Fifteen minutes later, they both walked out of the shop and headed to the street the campus shuttles queued. They got into one of the buses at the beginning of the long line with other students, and passengers. Twenty minutes later, they got down from the bus at the last bus-stop. As they walked, Chike pointed out departmental halls, eateries, and other places out to her.
At the Lagoon front, she saw several people, mostly students roaming around. Some were seated on long seats made of concrete, some were in groups and others were in twos and threes. She saw a few lovers in secluded areas, holding hands, hugging and one couple were kissing, lost in their own little world. They found a less crowded place under a tree close to the water.
Bukky noticed two or three canoes afar off. She saw a man casting a large net in the lagoon, while his partner paddled the narrow canoe.
“That is the third mainland bridge.”
Her eyes grew wide. She looked at the bridge and remembered the day she visited her elder sister on the island. There had been traffic on the bridge and most of the vehicles crawled at snail speed.
“If you are game, we can take a canoe ride to the bridge and back.”
She glanced at him, then shook her head. She had never ridden on a canoe before. The narrow and thin way it looked scared the life out of her.
What if they fell off? She doesn’t even know how to swim.
“I am a very good swimmer. I will rescue you if anything happens,” he said quickly, as if reading her thoughts.
“No, thank you,” she shook her head vigorously.
“Where is your faith?”
“Chike, biko, leave me. Go ahead if you want to. I will be right here when you come back.”
He started to laugh and signaled to a lady hawking boiled groundnuts. He bought a few cups and paid her.
Bukky ate the snack with relish. She loved groundnuts and it had been a while since she ate the boiled ones.
“It is a beautiful sight.”
“It used to be nicer.”
She looked around, wondering how the place used to be. The lack of maintenance culture had eaten deep into every sphere of the country.
“Students are no longer allowed to come here at night because of robbers and the likes.”
“I heard rumours that touts sneak in here in the evening, hide and rob students.”
Feared gripped her, “Is there no security in your school?”
He shrugged, saw a boy hawking drinks, called out to him and bought two bottles of soft drinks.
“We will take pictures before we leave.”
“Okay,” she had seen three, four young men hanging around with their cameras at the entrance when they arrived, trying to convince people to snap pictures.
“There is a mini-zoo here too.”
“Really?” eyes shone in excitement.
“I have never been there.”
Narrowed her eyes, “What kind of student are you?’
He shrugged, “We will go see the place together.”
“Can I take pictures?”
“Of course. Let’s see what sort of animals they have.”
She beamed. She might as well sign up for the University of Lagos when it was time to write her JAMB examinations. She liked the school already.
“I will show you around the school some other day. I haven’t really done a tour myself. My nose has been in my books.”
She smiled with understanding, “You might as well graduate with a first class.”
He started to laugh, “Definitely, I will, by God’s grace.”
“Amen to that.”
“How far with your studies?”
“I am no way near writing the S.S.C.E examinations.”
He nodded and placed a hand around her, “Give yourself time, trust in God, study hard and you will be fine.”
She sighed with relief. “Are you through with your project?”
“Nope, but, I am almost done. I hope my supervisor won’t ask me to re-type anything. I am just tired.”
“Awww… my baby,” she pecked him on the cheek.
“Put another one here,” he tapped his lips with a finger.
She eyed him, “Oliver Twist.”
“Oya now, I want a sweet kiss.”
She looked left and right, “We are in public,” she whispered.
“Kiss me. Leave everybody alone.”
“No,” she looked away shyly.
He brushed a hand over her face and turned her head in his direction. “It’s been a while since I kissed you.”
“You said we should take it easy in that department.”
“I know. We are in public. It is impossible for things to get out of hand.”
“True, at least, we are not dogs or those fowls.”
He laughed as he remembered how a c--k chased a hen in the area in order to pounce on it.
“Oya, one sweet kiss,” she winked at him.
“Now you are talking.”
She closed her eyes and waited.
“Who asked you to close your eyes?’
She opened her eyes, “They do it in the movies.”
“You and who is acting Hollywood film?’
She started to laugh.
“Oya, let’s act small.”
She continued to laugh.
“I think… I don’t think, I believe I am going to spend the rest of my life with you.”
She observed his confident face. The last person that said the same words to her left her for sponsorship of his education.
“I have found the one,” his eyes twinkled in delight.
His words warmed her heart. Maybe, this time around, things would be different.
“You are my Prince Charming.”
“And you are my Damsel in distress.”
He drew her close and planted a kiss on her ready lips.
Gbemiga returned home for the Christmas holiday. Breaking up with Bukky had affected him badly. He loved the girl, but, he didn’t want to go against his family’s wishes. Moreover, his uncles and aunt were willing to sponsor his education. He couldn’t forego such opportunity. In the past, he had asked this same people for financial support, but they all turned him down. His parents were relying on him to take up the responsibility as the bread winner in the home. His sisters needed his support and everyone depended on him. If he had continued dating Bukky, it would have been seen as a selfish act and no one would be willing to understand his actions. He had to let her go. Maybe somewhere in the future, their paths might cross again and then, his family might be willing to accept her. He wondered how she was coping without him. he knew how hurt she had been when he left her. He had prayed to God to heal her heart quickly and help her to move on. He decided to visit her and see how she was doing. He wasn’t sure if she would be willing to speak with him. Nevertheless, he would try.
At half past seven, Gbemiga strolled to Bukky’s place. He heard her laughter before he got to her door. Who was she with? Maybe her aunt visited. When he got to the door, he heard a male voice. His tummy turned upside down. Who was she with? Instead of knocking, he went around the house and peeped through her window. He saw her seated on the bed, clad in a sleeveless pink top and a pair of brown black and white shorts. Anger brewed within him when he saw Chike seated beside her. What was he doing in her place at that time of the day? He wanted to speak with her. How was he going to get her so called friend out of the house? It would have been easy if they were still dating, but, he wasn’t her boyfriend anymore and he had no rights over her. He felt sad and angry at the same time.
He opened his mouth in surprise when Chike kissed Bukky. His blood began to boil. He marched towards the door, then halted. He thought they were just friends. That was what she kept saying whenever he stated his concerns about the guy. Did Bukky lie to him? Was she dating the both of them at the same time? He gave a shake of head. She wasn’t that kind of girl. Was it possible that they started dating after he broke up with her? Did she get over him that quickly? The thought made him to grit his teeth. He thought she really loved him. He thought it would take her ages to get over him, but, he was wrong. She had already moved on while he was still pinning for her.
He hissed and marched towards the gate. He wished both of them good luck.
On her parents’ wedding anniversary, Chike drove her to Ikorodu to celebrate with them. Her elder sister was also around. Her younger brothers were so happy to see her. The last time she saw them was at Kike’s wedding party. She introduced Chike to her family as the man she was going out with. While her father chatted with him in the sitting room to talk, Bukky, her elder sister and her mother talked in the kitchen.
“What happened to Gbemiga? I thought you two were inseparable” her sister teased her.
“He is a lost cause,” she didn’t want to talk about him.
Her mother paid attention to her, “What happened between the two of you?”
“He surrendered to the wills of his family and dumped me.”
Both women stared at her in disbelief. Bukky narrated the events that led to her break-up with her ex.
“Good riddance to bad rubbish,” her mother was upset.
“You should have told them that you now have a junior waec certificate. You are not an illiterate,” her sister was pissed.
“And the boy couldn’t defend you. The spineless he-goat,” her mother ranted.
Bukky opened her mouth and closed it.
“I hope this ibo boy is a serious somebody?”
She nodded quickly.
“He looks responsible. You said he will be graduating next year, abi?’ her sister asked her.
She nodded again.
“He is better than that… what is his name again?” her mother stared at her.
Her sister laughed, “Maami… see your red eyes.”
“I don’t like when people mistreat my children. If not for the situation of things, both of you should be graduates by now.”
“We know mum. It is well. All things will work out for our good.”
“Is he the owner of that car?’” her mother leaned forward.
“Yes. He bought it when he travelled abroad for his Industrial Training.”
“Eh-hen… better in-law. Not the likes of Gbemiga Phillips,” her mother hissed.
“He must have made quite a large sum,” her sister winked at her.
Bukky just smiled.
“Is He the one that bought the cake and drinks too?’
“Oya, oya, come and serve your husband food.”
She eyed her mother, “Which husband?’
“Chike of course,” her mother and sister chorused.
She eyed them, “Not until he pays my bride price. He is not my husband.”
“I hear you. Come and give him food. Hope he likes swallow.”
She met her mother’s questioning gaze, “That’s his favourite.”
Her mother dished a meal of pounded yam and melon soup in stainless plates, placed it on a tray and handled it over to her daughter who carried
it into the sitting room. She placed it on a stool in front of her boyfriend.
“Thank you,” he grinned at her.
She smiled at him and glanced at her father. He seemed happy. Whatever they discussed must have turned out well. She returned to the kitchen to meet her mother and her sister.
At past seven, they headed back to town. Chike parked in front of her house and discovered that she was sleeping. No wonder she had been quiet. He woke her up and helped her out of the car. He led her to her apartment, sat her down on the bed and pulled off her shoes. She climbed into the bed and started to doze off immediately her head hit the pillow.
“Bukky, I want to leave. Come and lock the door,” he tapped her on the shoulder.
“Use your spare key,” she turned on her side, backing him.
“We are travelling to Owerri on Christmans eve to spend time with my family.”
She opened her eyes.
“I told your father that I am interested in marrying you and he told me to bring my people whenever I am ready.”
Sleep left her eyes. She sat up quickly, “Unbelievable.”
“I want my family to meet you one on one. I have already told them about you.”
She opened her mouth and closed it.
“I am planning our introduction ceremony for a week before or after my convocation. My family will be in Lagos and we will be able to kill two bed with a stone.”
She eyed him, “You have not even proposed to me, you are already planning our wedding.”
“I will propose officially on your twenty first birthday. By then, I would have graduated and I will have all the time in the world to spoil you,” he winked at her.
She smiled back at him.
“I love you Bukky and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Same here.”
“Say it, I want you to say it,” he eyed her.
She laughed quietly, “I love you too Chike and there is no one else I would rather spend the rest of my life with.”
“Perfect,” he learned forward and kissed her.
To be continued..


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