By Akpede Isaac Olutosin
* Present Day ***
During one of Miss Anne’s numerous group discussion, Ben is looking as unconcerned as he could be.
He is seriously trying to keep away from Clarieta but the group thingny wouldn’t allow him keep total distance, he tried to keep his distance from Miss Anne also because of what happened the other day in her office when they shook hands, even though in reality the handshake didn’t last for more than 5 seconds but to him, it lasted for a long time, he saw flashes, more like visions.
At first he thought it was one of his fantasies about Anne but this time, it was different.
He really couldn’t make sense out of all he was seeing because they were blurry, it has happened a couple of times after the first handshake, it happens anytime they shake hands.
For this reason he has decided to pull out of the group but he hasn’t find the courage to walk upto Miss Anne to inform her about his decision.
As soon as they were done, the three other guys left while Ben stayed requesting to speak with Anne.
“Please be brief, we have to be in class right this minute” Anne said
trying to sound as formal as possible, her crush on Ben has kept on increasing day after day, if only Ben could see through her and see how she is melting right now just because she is alone with him.
“I just wanted to tell you that I am pulling out of this group for personal reasons” He said with a straight face.
“Okay can we talk about this after class” she asked.
“Yeah it’s okay then” he replied.
They both walked side by side into the class, Ben Carried some of her textbooks for her, he dropped the textbooks on the front desk and walked to his seat.
Ejiro was staring at both of them as they both walked in like married couples, there was jealousy written alll over her face, Ben noticed but he couldn’t care less what she thinks.
Ever since him and Isaac have been noticing some strange characters in the girls, the love they had for them has been gradually decreasing which really makes them wonder if they even ever loved them or what they felt were just pure infatuations.
Ben and Isaac are now sitting together like they used to before the emergence of the girls into their lives while Ejiro and Clarieta were sitting right behind them, everything was just not going on well, even the aura in the class doesn’t seem right.
It’s just like everyone in the class were in a bad mood, Miss Anne noticed this also so she made her lecture as brief as possible, she rounded up and left the class.
“Guys we have to talk” Ejiro addressing the four of them, none of them replied instead Ben just stood up and left the class.
He went straight into Miss Anne’s office, he was prepared to stay adamant on his decision to quit the group thing only to get into the office to see Miss Anne crying.
“Excuse me Miss, what’s wrong, why are you crying” He asked .
“I am fine, I am not crying “she replied trying to wipe her face and pose like nothing is wrong.
‘No no you can’t tell me that you are just crying for no reason, you can talk to me” he said and moved closer to her.
“Ben my father is dying, the doctor said he has only few months to live” she bursted out loudly and was now crying uncontrollably.
Ben didn’t know what to do, he just held her in her arms like a crying baby. She buried her head in his arms and almost cried her eyes out.
Ben did all his possible best to stop her from crying, he told her some encouraging words and they worked wonders, she laughed a little to some jokes Ben cracked, In a short while she started smiling.
“Thank you very much Ben, you are really a good person. So why is it you wanted to pull out of the group, let’s be brief because I have another class in an hour’s time and I have to prepare” she said.
“Oh that, never mind, we will talk about that some other time” He said and made for the door.
As he was about to step out, she called him back.
“Ben I really wish you don’t pull out of the group” she said with the face of an innocent kid.
He just smiled and closed the door behind. He embarked on the path that led to the class but was called by Isaac.
He turned back and saw Isaac, Elo and Clarieta under a tree.
He approached them and said hi, he was now smiling sheepishly, he doesn’t even know why he is smiling , maybe because of the way he was able to help a depressed soul or the way he held Anne in his hands, it was just like he had pictured it in his fantasies, or maybe he is now in love with Anne.
“We have decided to go and have a discussion at our house, we really need to know what’s happening between us four, what do you say” said Ejiro.
“It looks like you all have already decided so why should I be the odd one out, as long as you will cook that special type of noodles for me” he replied and pecked Ejiro on her cheek.
She was surprised because he hadn’t done that for days , if not weeks now but she didn’t show her surprise.
After eating the noodles together, Clarieta suggested that they should drink some alcohols, they kept on drinking until they were all tipsy and then Isaac suggested they play the spin the bottle game.
“The rule is simple, who ever the bottle point in his or her direction will be asked a question by the person sitting next to him or her” Isaac explained.
Immediately Ejiro brought the bottle of the drink they just had to the center, they were all sitting on the rug in a circular position.
Ejiro spinned the bottle and it stopped pointing towards Ben, she was so happy because it was a golden opportunity for her.
“Ben do you still love me” she asked.
For a minutes Ben thought about telling her that he is not really sure about how he feels for her anymore but he looked into her eyes and realised he couldn’t hurt her like that.
“Definitely baby I still love you just like I have always loved you from the beginning” Ben replied.
She jumped on him and kissed him.
It was Isaac’s turn to spin which he did, the bottle stopped pointing towards Clarieta and Ben’s the one sitting next to her which means he is the one to ask her a question.
“Clarieta who are you” Ben asked
“It’s a sacrifice of life and only a life could be sacrificed for a life, so are you willing to sacrifice yours for hers” said the chief priest.
Everybody was keen to know what Ajadi’s decision will be, they were anticipating his reply but instead he stood up and moved closely to the chief priest.
‘How much time do we have left’ he asked almost whispering.
‘She is dying already, there’s no time at all, you must reach a decision right now’ chief priest
He walked away from the chief priest to where Adisa was.
“Adisa my friend, you are more than a friend to me, you are my brother and now as a brother I ask you to take care of my wife and kid as if they are yours, take care of them just as I would have cared for them my brother, please can you do that for me” He asked while kneeling on one knee in front of Adisa.
Adisa knelt down on one knee too and they shook hands in the warriors way.
“Ajadi igo Omo Balogun, I vow on my life that I will protect and take care of them more than you would have done” he replied and drew him up, they hugged for what seemed like a very long period of time and then untangled.
“Ajadi walked back to the priest, you may proceed” he said and knelt down infront of him.
The chief priest started reciting some incantations and then brought his staff to Ajadi’s head, he continued with his incantations slowly and steadily.
The chief priest is really a man of age, he had grey hair all over his head and beards, he obviously can’t walk again without the aid of his staff.
While all these was happening, someone had already went ahead to inform Ajadi’s family who were absent from his marriage rites about what was happening at the village square. Ajadi’s father had ordered all of his family not to step foot in his marriage, but when they heard about what he was about to do, his mother and sister defiled the order and ran as fast as their legs could take them, his father also reluctantly followed them even though it wasn’t a thing of pride to go against his own order but he had to do it for his only son, his pride and joy.
After running for a while, his mother and sister got to the village square closely followed by his father, by this time the sacrifice had already been completed, he was already breathing heavily. When he saw his family, he couldn’t help but cry, his mother and sister ran to him, his mother held his head in her arms.
Mother forgive me, I know this wasn’t how it was supposed to end, I love you mother, I love you sister and father please forgive me, what better way to die than to die for love. If war couldn’t take my life then am glad love did, I love you all was the last word he struggled to say and then he took his last breath.
His mother and sister cried like mad women, his father couldn’t help it also, he shed a tear or two and then ordered some youth to pick up his corpse.
The whole village wept, they just lost their greatest warrior.
He didn’t die fighting a war, he died fighting for love, everyone cried.
A little while after he died, Omolabake came back to life and when she realised that Ajadi died in her stead…. She lost her senses or maybe that’s just what the villagers thought because she insisted she was seeing Ajadi.
That he is even talking to her, she was smiling and talking back to him, some people believed that she was really seeing him while some believed that she was mad. Nobody was really sure of what really happened to her.
Was she mad or was she seeing him for real ?
… To be continued