Wednesday, 13 June 2018


♪★★ ★★♪
Amanda finished attending to Mrs. Chinyere and was about leaving her private ward when she asked ''so when is the wedding?"
For a moment, Amanda stood still and looked blankly at her ''whose wedding?" She couldn't recall hearing of any recent engagements.
Chinyere chuckled ''why, yours of course. I heard you were going to marry barrister Chris''
Amanda grabbed the tip of her coat as she stared at the door. Chris? People thought she was going to marry Chris?" It took few minutes before she forced herself to relax. Everyone in the town knew Chinyere as the 'matchmaker'. Besides gossip was one of the favourite thing the townswomen enjoyed most.
''Chris and I are just friends'' Amanda said simply, hoping that would satisfy Chinyere, but it didn't.
''The way I heard it'' the older woman said ''you're a lot closer than being just friends''
This time Amanda couldn't help her disgust ''I'm afraid your sources are wrong. We are just friends, excuse me''
In all the times she had spent with Chris, he had never shown her anything other than common courtesy and friendship. Although they shared many interests and enjoyed each others company. But they weren't in love.
That evening as she sat with Ella in the kitchen eating roast yam. The atmosphere was cool and lovely until Ella said; ''the rumour mill hasn't been this active since you came to town''
Amanda laid down the fork in her hand, her appetite lost. After her discussion with Mrs. Chinyere that afternoon, she had a good idea on what Ella was going to say, and it was not a topic she wanted to discuss.
''People are actually betting on your wedding date'' Ella confirmed Amanda's fears. Though she never expected Ella to per take in the gossips, the fact that Ella knew about the rumours was a sign that it was all over the town.
It was not a pleasant thought, that means everyone watched her activities and tried to guess when their inexistent wedding will take place
''They can bet on anything they want'' the words came out more sharply than Amanda had intended. She added a smile to her next statement ''the simple truth is that am not getting married''
It was Ella's turn to smile ''that's what you say now'' she chewed the yam in her mouth then continued ''it hasn't escaped the eagle eyes of the town's matrons that you and Chris spent more time together than usual this past weeks, besides, Chris would make a good husband''
Amanda turned the yam in her plate around, as if that would restore her appetite ''I agree'' she said at last ''Chris will make a wonderful husband, but not for me''
Ella looked up. Surprised. ''Why not? You two have so much in common''
''Chris and I have a lot in common'' she admitted ''no doubts, I enjoy his company very much, is that enough for me to marry him?"
Ella paused, obviously reasoning Amanda's statement. She dropped her fork. Amanda knew she wasn't the only one who'd had a lost appetite.
''I think you are making a mistake, Amanda'' Ella said looking unhappy ''you'll never find a better husband than Chris''
''Did you hear what I said?" Her voice was harsh, but Amanda knew the topic had to be resolved right now and here ''I didn't come to this town to hunt for husband, and besides, Chris hasn't asked me''
''He will''
He did.
It was their usual night for dinner and it was as perfect as always. But she felt awkward because of the rumour the townswomen were broadcasting. She wasn't going to let that or anything else destroy her friendship with Chris.
But it was obvious to her that the gossips had already affected her. Maybe it wa only her imaginations, but their dinner conversation wasn't as it used to be, and she had been aware of curious looks from other diners. It was totally obvious that people had been giving her and Chris the same speculative glance for long; the only difference was that tonight she was aware of them.
As for Chris, he looked preoccupied, though they talked about several things, it was obvious something else outside the whole topic was on his mind.
They finished their meal and walked slowly down the, talking about the town and its beauty until they got to where Chris parked his car.
Surprisingly he went down on one knee and said ''Amanda I love you. Will you make me the happiest and fulfilled man on earth by marrying me'' he concluded as he brought out a small red box which he opened and brought out an amazingly beautiful ring, a combination of pure Gold and Ruby.
Chris wanted to marry her? Though the rumour was all around the town. She had not believed it was coming.
Chris was her friend, her very dear friend. But her husband? No. Surely he's supposed to know that. Aware of the rumour people will broadcast about Chris kneeling in front of her, she quickly held his hand and urged him to get on his feet.
''I love you too'' she said softly ''but.....''
Chris interrupted ''if you love me, then marry me''
Amanda looked around, the environment was lovely and on a normal day, she enjoyed looking at the flowers, but today none of that pleased her. She wanted her friendship with Chris to be like the flowers blooming and beautiful anytime the sun comes up. But that proposal had changed things and her refusal is further going to destroy the friendship. But still she had to stand on her decision, it was a 'NO' and that is it. Though she would do anything not to hurt him, she could not accept his proposal, she needed the perfect words to explain to him that they were friends, best of friends and nothing more
''Oh, Chris, I wish there was an easy way of saying this'' she tried to free her hands. But Chris wouldn't let go ''I care about you, I truly do, but I can't marry you''
Chris blinked three times. Amanda wondered if he was fighting tears. That can't be, she hadn't caused him that much pain ''you said, you love me''
Chris voice and words sent an ounce of pain through Amanda, she couldn't believe she was hurting her friend, but it was 'Mind over matter'
''I do love you'' she repeated slowly ''but as a friend, not as a husband''
Chris tried to hide his pain ''friendship can grow into love. Amanda, that's what happened to me. I didn't plan to fall in love with you, but I couldn't control it'' he squeezed her hands gently ''marry me, and I'll make you love me''
Amanda shook her head, what started off as a fine dinner was turning into a nightmare.
''Chris, a marriage like that is not what you need, you deserve someone who'd give you her whole heart, but I can't do that, eventually you would get tired of the marriage and that will mean breaking two hearts, you deserve better'' Amanda saw the tears in Chris' eyes, but she maintained her composure ''its better this way'' she said slowly ''someday you will meet a woman who will love you the way you should be loved''
Chris released her hands, but kept his eyes fixed on hers ''I don't want another woman'' his voice filled with strong emotion ''I want you, anyhow, juts you''
Tears filled Amanda's eyes, the man was truly in love, but was she?
No, she wasn't, and love is not a thing of pity
''I wish I can make this work, but I can't, am sorry Chris''

To be continued.


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