Perception – Episode 2

By Dr Ogonna Okeke
It was the end of the second day of the fashion show. while Amoge was packing her work items, William called to say that he had arrived and was waiting for her .She got into his car and they drove off.He took her to a place off Stadium road, where they enjoyed a hearty meal of ‘bole'(roast) plantain,yam ,fish  and a glass of perishingly  cold fresh palm wine.

     They went to watch a movie at the cinema after the meal. Amoge loved nollywood movies so they settled for one that had good reviews. There was something unsettling about being sitted beside him in a cold dark cinema room .She stole glances at his side view. She never thought that William would grow up to be this handsome.
    The movie ended and William went to drop her off at the hotel. Just before she got down from the car, Amoge asked him “you had a question for me yesterday which you never asked”.He turned to face her and while looking into her eyes, he asked ” why didn’t you reply even one of my letters?”. “Which letters ?”she asked . He told her that he gave  Lola a letter every  summer holiday Lola  came to London while they were still in secondary school.He said that he only stopped sending letters when Lola moved over to the UK to start her A levels programme . When the era of   Facebook came,he searched for her but didn’t find her on any social media platform.He kept trying to call the number he got from Njide ,his cousin but it was always switched off. No one else seemed to have her number. He said that he gave up trying to contact her any further at that point.  He didn’t understand why she never replied him or called him because he put his current mailing address and phone number in every letter he sent to her.
        Amoge told him that she remembered sending a letter to him via Nipost  using the address Lola gave her when they resumed SS1. She wrote to inform him of the 12As he got in the Junior WAEC exams. When she didn’t get a reply, she just felt he had moved on with his academics and life generally in the UK and never bothered trying again.

She also sent a request on facebook although she used ‘ebony beauty’ instead of her official name as her username and has always had the picture of a beautiful beach as  her profile picture since she was a very private person. She said that she  secretly felt hurt that he never tried to keep in touch with her.

   ” There has to be a good explanation why Lola never got the letters across to you” ,William said with a frown . He went on to talk about how the other friends went their separate ways after secondary school .Obinna was adopted by his aunt in the US when his parents passed away in a fatal car crash.Njide went back to the North  after secondary school and was able to gain admission to study medicine in the University of Jos.
           “All that is in the past now”, he said and they hugged each other. Amoge  went into her room  after bidding William farewell,she had a hot shower and laid on her bed.She thought about her relationship with Lola while they were in school. They were very close until SS1 when Lola started drifting away.She claimed that her participation in the school’s Press and Jet clubs made her busy.
Amoge also wondered what William wrote in his letters to her.She would never get the chance to know now ,she thought to herself in disappointment. She wondered if he  still saw her as a sister.Amoge was finally able to sleep off amidst the numerous thoughts going through her mind.
     She was woken up by William’s call.”Do you like Jazz music ? , he asked.”Sure!” she replied .”Since today is the last day of the fashion show and you are leaving tomorrow, I’ll come and pick you up for dinner at a restaurant where strictly jazz music is played”. “That would be nice” , she replied.
     The show was finally over .Amoge was glad that she impressed her client. She chatted with Obinna for some time and he told her that he would be returning back to Lagos the following week. They said their good byes and promised to keep in touch.

Amoge hurriedly went to the hotel to freshen up.She packed her natural long hair into a pony tail and wore light make up.She put on a simple but classy outfit . William picked her up from the hotel room and they drove down to the restaurant.
The music was superb! They had fried rice with peppered chicken and salad. The food was delicious. When the meal was over ,they moved over to the lounge .Amoge loved every second of their outing. She couldn’t classify it as a date.He hadn’t said anything yet to imply that it was one.
Her thoughts were interrupted by his question,”So what’s the name of your boyfriend?”
He asked. “I just have friends ,nothing serious at the moment , the last person I was serious with said that I am over independent for a woman after 4 years of dating ” she replied with a frown.  Amoge told him that her ex boyfriend’s attitude changed when she started getting big jobs .He started complaining that she wasn’t submissive to him.The new car she bought broke the camel’s back.He just told her plainly that their relationship had  no future .William told her not to worry .”It’s his loss”, he said with a smile .

       They had a lovely evening . William decided to go and drop Amoge off since she had a morning flight the following day.They discussed on their way to her hotel. William also talked about his work and family .”So any special lady in your life?” ,Amoge asked with a little anxiety . “Please let the answer be no” she said to herself.

  “Well a couple of flings in the past. I told myself that I would not settle down till I met the “one” “,he replied. They finally got to her hotel, William turned the ignition off .He faced her ,held her hands with his cold soft palms and said. “I am really glad that we had this opportunity to meet again”.She looked at  him with a sparkle in her eyes and replied,”same here,I had a great stay in Portharcourt,thanks to you”. ” I promise to keep in touch”,. William said. He saw her off to her room ,they said their good byes in a tight embrace.

Amoge went back to Lagos as planned. She had a lot of work lined up in the coming weeks that helped her not to dwell on William so much. William called her regularly and they enjoyed talking to each other over the phone.

William came  to Lagos a month after she left Portharcourt.He came to see his dad who had a successful hip replacement surgery. Amoge was able to see him for the few hours he was able to squeeze out from his family . He looked so happy to see her. They talked for hours till he had to leave.

         It was 4 months since Amoge met William at Portharcourt.Their friendship blossomed into a beautiful one.They could almost predict each other’s reaction to certain situations.
Amoge  laid on her bed wondering where things stood between the two them.After a failed long relationship with her biological clock ticking at the same time, she didn’t need a time waster around her.

She had tried a couple of times to indirectly ask William what his intentions were but he kept saying ,”I love our friendship, let’s not spoil what we share”.He treated her like a queen .She couldn’t complain.

Although they saw each other once a month because of the long distance,he always made it count. However the pressure from Amoge’s friends and family members made her second guess William’s love for her.
Her phone suddenly rang.It was an unknown number. “Can I speak to Amoge?,” she heard the male voice say . Good morning ,this is Amoge speaking ,how can I  be of help to you.”This is Mr Banigo,I am calling on behalf of the management of Marigold estates. We would like your services for a photo session and Anniversary party for our MD.Will you be free three Saturdays from now?” I will check my schedule and get back to you on that so that we can work out all the modalities “she replied.

       Amoge remembered that William’s elder brother’s wedding was in two weeks time .She was looking forward to seeing him again. She had already picked out the dress for the event. Hopefully ,she would get a chance to be introduced to his family, she thought excitedly.

      It was some days to the wedding. William had come into town from Portharcourt and went to visit Amoge at her house. They were enjoying a sumptuous meal of Bitterleaf soup and pounded yam prepared by Amoge ,when William’s phone rang.
“We just landed ,the female voice said. I am waiting for you” .”I am on my way “,he replied and hung up the phone. “Who was that ?”,she asked.
“Oh! I forgot to mention earlier that Lola is coming in from London for the wedding. She asked me yesterday to come and pick her from the airport and I accepted”.

      Amoge had mixed feelings about the phone call. She was glad that Lola ,her old time friend was coming to town but then again she remembered that it was this same Lola that didn’t give her the letters from William. She also wondered why William never mentioned to her that Lola would be attending the wedding .They talked about everything .Why was this information omitted she thought to herself.

      William picked Lola from the airport. Lola was so happy to see him.When they got into his car,the first thing he asked her was, “why didn’t you give Amoge her letters? “.Lola replied “which letters? “.William tried to juggle her memory by reminding her of the year and place he gave her the letters .Lola said “Oh! those letters,it’s been ages.I gave them to her .Did she say I didn’t do so . We were just kids then ,I am sure she does not remember.

        William saw the look on Lola’s face.She looked very sincere.He thought to himself that they were all close friends back then and there was no reason why she shouldn’t have delivered the letters to Amoge.

      It was the morning of the wedding day.Amoge was beautifully dressed in a traditional attire .She drove her car to church for the wedding. William was helping out with last minute wedding preparations.
She got to the church early and sat in front of the church waiting for other invited guests. She tried keeping herself busy by reading some news on the Internet when she heard someone scream her name in a foreign accent. She looked up to see Lola. She looked so beautiful .Amoge remembered how pretty she looked way back in secondary school.she always felt Lola had the total package. Beauty,brains ,charisma and money.

    She got up to greet her .”wow! It’s been ages ,so good to see you “Lola said.”same here” Amoge replied.They chatted for a few minutes and went into the church for the ceremony.

The church service ended and the couple was taking pictures with family and friends. Amoge could not take the anxiety any longer ,she couldn’t keep looking at Lola and pretend that all was well.She took Lola to a quiet corner of the church compound and asked her ” Lola dear, why didn’t you give me the letters William gave you? “.”I don’t remember anyone giving me any letters to give you “Lola replied.”are you guys dating? ” she asked with a mishevious smile on her face. “Well something like that Amoge replied with a straight face .”Are you sure that he did not give u any letters? “. “Babe relax “she said ,”you know that I would have given them to you,if he did”.

     Amoge was surprised.She didn’t know what to think anymore. Could it be that William lied to me she said to herself. She decided not to fuss a lot about it and enjoy the wedding.
       The wedding reception venue was breathtaking.It was so beautifully decorated. There were lots of important dignitaries at the wedding and there was so much to eat and drink. William introduced Amoge to his parents briefly and took her to her seat.During the reception, William was all over the place making sure that the guests were satisfied. He checked on Amoge a couple of times. Amoge noticed that Lola was always going to were William’s parents were seated.The smile on their faces when she came around was so glaring.

       Amoge got a call on her phone from a prospective client and went outside to pick the call because of the noise .From a distance, she saw William and Lola talking. She wondered why Lola stood so close to him . William looked so engrossed in the conversation ,he laughed at every given opportunity, or so she thought . Amoge felt hurt.She was his guest at the wedding and they hadn’t even spent up to 15minutes together.

         She completed her phone conversation and went back inside the wedding hall . William joined her at the table after some minutes.He tried having a conversation with her but she replied him in monosyllables.

It was time for the couple to dance with friends and family. William asked Amoge to go with him to the dance floor and she said” you can go dear ,I am very tired and I may have to leave early” .

       William went to dance with his brother and his new wife . While he was spraying naira notes on them, Lola joined them on the dance floor.
The dj took the music to the next level. It was like he saw Lola and decided to play Nigerian hit songs.

Lola and William became the spectacle of all the guests. They danced as if they had no bones and showed off the latest dance steps.
Amoge thought to herself ,”I might as well leave them so that they can have all the fun in the world”.

…To be continued


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