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    Walt Shakes

    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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THE CALL OF THE SONGBIRD (Part 4: Final Episode)

February 14, 2013

January had been a weird month of sorts, in terms of the weather. What was supposed to be a month for the heat had been swept by the rains, and thereafter dusted by the Harmattan; and it seemed February was keeping up with the tradition, if today was any indication. The rain that was cascading down from the skies fell on the roof of Adindu’s car, a constant, almost hypnotic drumming that felt relaxing despite the slightly-muggy interior of the car. He fiddled again with the AC contraption affixed to the dashboard and cussed again when it didn’t work. He would have to take the car to the mechanic tomorrow to fix that. He’d do it now, but he had more pressing matters on his mind. He wound his window slightly downward, flinching a bit when beads of rainfall spattered through the opening onto his body. The air that flowed in was refreshingly cool, so he let the window remain so.

The lights turned green and the snarl of traffic began to loosen. Adindu took full advantage of opportunities to change lanes and swing around slower-moving vehicles. He was in a hurry to get to Chinwe’s apartment. It was time, he thought. Time for a lot of things – to settle down, get married, and start a family with the woman he loved. He had been to Joaillerie Nafeez in Maitama earlier in the day to pick out the perfect ring, and was on his way now to present it to her. The woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He was thirty and it was time.

The thought of proposing to her made him a little anxious. His hands felt slick with sweat against the steering wheel, and each time he pictured himself getting down on one knee, he felt his heart trot just a little faster. Well, okay, maybe he was more than a little anxious. But the swish-hum of the tires on the wet macadam and the metronomic thump of the windscreen wipers did a good job of relaxing him. What scared him, he realized, was the thought of leaving himself open to possible rejection from her. There was one true moment of vulnerability in a man’s life, and that was when he said the words: Will you marry me? Anything that happened after that, the response the woman gave, was truly up to the Fates. And he hoped those three sisters of divinity were smiling down on him today, because he needed all the luck he could get.

And she also had to know.

After nearly a year, Raphael had come back into Chinwe’s life, and the two of them were currently doing the dance of whether they wanted to give their relationship another go. It was that poignant look of hope on Chinwe’s face, interspersed with a gamut of other expressions – uncertainty, pleasure, expectation, a touch of melancholy – that prompted him to finally make his decision to stop waiting around and move his love life into the next phase. He wanted her; there was no need to hide that anymore.

He pulled up before the gate that separated the block of flats where Chinwe lived from the main street. He patted the small bulge on his pocket, took a deep breath and alit from the car, locking up and making a dash through the rain for the building’s stairwell. He walked up the flight of steps to the second floor, depressed the doorbell and turned up a grin when Chinwe opened the door. When she saw it was him, the responsive smile of her face was instant.

“Hey you,” she cooed, turning to walk back into the living room, and leaving him to enter and shut the door.

“Hey back,” he replied. The AC was on full blast inside the parlour and he felt a frisson of cold dance through his skin. “You do realize that it’s raining outside, right?”

“And so?” she queried, sweeping her legs languidly onto the couch as she got comfortable and pressed the remote before the TV. Genevieve Nnaji was gesticulating wildly and saying something heatedly to her co-star on the screen. “Whether cold or heat, I like me a lot of air conditioning.”

Me too, he thought gratefully as he felt his sweat glands shrivel and his wet palms dry up. “Is that Ije?” he asked, walking to one corner of the room and looking at the TV.

“Yes,” – her eyes followed him for a moment as he moved – “finally saw it at that CD shop in Wuse on my way back and bought it for 500 bucks.”

“Nice. So is it as good as they say it is?”

She nodded.

“Where’s Amara?” Amara was Chinwe’s flatmate.

She waved an insouciant hand. “She went out earlier to make her hair or something.”

“Is there anything to eat?” He moved to another corner of the room. “I’m a little famished.”

Her eyes followed him again. This time, there was a furrow between her brows. “Yes, I made jollof rice when I came back from work.”

“Got any plans with Raphael for valentine?”

Chinwe’s eyes narrowed on him. She said instead, “What is wrong, Adindu? You seem a little” – the fingers of her right hand scythed briefly through the air as she sought for the word – “on edge. Is there a problem?”

He paused and thought for a moment. He could whip out a long spiel that would lead up to the moment, or he could just do it. He preferred the latter. He moved over to the couch where she was sitting, and sat beside her. “There’s something I want to show you – to tell you…” She said nothing, but her eyes encouraged him to go on. He fiddled with his pocket a bit and brought out a small black box.

When he snapped it open, Chinwe’s eyes widened and she gasped, “Adindu…”

Nestled on the black satin interior of the box, the ring winked out at them. It was small, with its oval-shaped face set with slanting rows of glittering round stones. The band was gold — delicate and narrow. Chinwe stared at it for a few moments and lifted her eyes to him; eyes that were now gleaming with a sheen of tears. Her lips trembled with a smile. “I always knew it,” she croaked.

“You did?” Adindu’s heart was thumping hard.

“Yes, you doofus.” She chuckled and a few droplets glided down her face. “How could I not? I’ve known you for all my life. At some point, I knew.”

Adindu let out a long sigh, one replete with his relief. “So what do you say?”

“The answer is yes. Yes, I’ll marry you.” And she moved forward and pulled his face to hers in a kiss, one that was ardent and sensual. For a moment, he was immobile, taken aback by the claim of her lips on his. This would be the first time he was kissing her. Then he relaxed a bit, enjoying the sensations that coursed through him as the kiss deepened. But only for a few heartbeats. Then he broke the kiss and leaned back, away from her, his hands clasping her shoulders. His eyes narrowed and looked searchingly into hers. Her face had tensed and she husked, “Adi…” His name came out as a question.

He let out another breath and said in a low tone, “Chinwe, I’m sorry…I – I thought you knew…”

“Knew what?”

“I wasn’t going to propose to you.”

Chinwe froze. Her face seemed to sink in upon itself. She licked her lips and said hoarsely, “Who were you going to propose to?”

Just then, they heard the sound of the front door opening and moments later, the curtain hanging over the parlour’s doorway was parted and a young woman entered. She looked to be in her late twenties, and had a sweet face, not beautiful, but gentle and pretty. Her eyes sparkled prettily and her full lips curved in a delighted smile when she saw the occupants of the room.

“I was going to propose to her,” Adindu finally said quietly in response to Chinwe’s question. His eyes were on the woman – Amara, who she’d been dating for nearly a year now, unbeknownst to Chinwe. The secrecy had at first been as a result of the guilt they both felt, a kind of culpability at what they’d both felt was a wrongdoing to Chinwe. Then the guilt had fizzled out and they simply started enjoying the clandestineness of their relationship, the thrill of stolen kisses and sly steamy glances. But he had grown to love her the same time that he decided not to hide their relationship anymore. He rose from the couch and moved toward Amara, whose face had tightened with wariness, as though she suspected something was amiss and wasn’t sure whether she was going to like it or not. He stopped before her and started going down on a knee.

Her eyes goggled and a mixture of alarm, fascination and delight fleeted across her face when she saw the box in his hand. She shot Chinwe, who had stood from the couch too, a quick look before turning back to the man before her. “Adindu, what are you doing?” she whispered self-consciously.

“Will you marry me, Amara?”

There was first shock, then a beaming happiness that split her face with a wide smile. Then she said, “Yes.” She was laughing and there were tears in her eyes as she reiterated over and over again, “Yes, yes, oh yes, I’ll marry you.”

He stood and gathered her in his arms, and they kissed passionately, ardently, almost desperately. They came up for air moments later, and turned with some discomfiture to look at Chinwe, who stood apart from them, watching them with an expression that was so carefully blank, you knew she was battling a plethora of emotions. Finally, she divided a small smile between them and said, “What can I say – Happy Valentine.”

THE END
Bradley-Cooper-Zoe-Saldana-Kissing-Pictures

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21 Comments

  1. Grace oruitemeka

     /  February 17, 2013

    Oh! Poor Chinwe.. Adindu is a jackass 4 makin her tink twas her..y shw her d ring? Mtchwww
    I dnt knw y dy wunt gt a gun lyk me! #grinnin wickedly

    Reply
    • My goodness, Grace, you are a very dangerous woman. Lol

      Reply
    • And be not wrathful at Adindu. He isn’t a jackass. He was merely trying to get his friend (Chinwe) to understand that he had been seeing her friend and flatmate and was ready to propose to her. There was no way he was to know that Chinwe fancied him too.

      Reply
  2. Doris

     /  February 17, 2013

    Ur so wicked. .I HATE YOU WALTER!

    Reply
  3. Not jes d women joor! Adindu fucked up! Why d hell will he keep reminding her of d possibility of getting married wen they reach 30 and ends up proposing to anoda wen they bcome 30! So heartlesssssss! #launching my missile*

    Reply
    • Choi! Even my guy dey vex ni. Y’all didn’t see that Chinwe wasn’t taking him seriously? Lol

      Reply
      • Yettie

         /  January 16, 2014

        Taaa dia Walt. If Adindu had made his intentions known seriously, chinwe would have taken him serious. Adindu is a goat *crying*

  4. Iniflamez

     /  February 17, 2013

    First Of All, (we aint going down low here), u totally caught me off gaurd..

    Thought Adi was going to propose to Chinwe…

    That feeling when d person u love is dating ur close frnd (almost lyk d Gloria and Toke thing wid Lumi in Finding Hubby)

    Itz Heart breaking… Expecting abt 2 – 9 more episodes cos viz story gat more turns than carousel or should I say Ludo

    Reply
  5. nik

     /  February 17, 2013

    Awkard moment for chinwe, Waltyyyyyy

    Reply
  6. Dnt worry. Next valentine. Ah_boi will break up with ah_gal n wil marry chi_gal

    Reply
  7. Timah

     /  November 8, 2013

    I hate you Walter. I forken hate you!

    Reply
  8. Yemie

     /  November 14, 2013

    Yuck! Walter the kill-joy! You’re such a party pooper! Not fair at all. Chinwe coulda been the ONE. This is sadistic jare.

    Didn’t see that coming at all. Great suspense there.

    Reply
  9. Yettie

     /  January 16, 2014

    *slaps Adindu on d face & kills him off with a spinning kick* I hope he’s dead *straightface*? Or I may be forced 2 use my bazooka.

    Reply
  10. Uzoma

     /  February 11, 2014

    An unexpected twist…nice bt heartbreaking ending!

    Reply

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