The Author of “Life” was so pleased with himself. By his reckoning he had written another international bestseller to add to tons of initial ones. He got such accolades for his creations that he was dubbed the King of the bestselling list. However, the way he figured it, “Life” was going to be the best of the lot by a long shot. He absolutely loved the plot and believed it would be a hit that would be translated into every language in the world. He gave the pages of “Life” another once over and saw that it was very good.
Kemi was beside herself with joy. It was the graduation day for her masters program and she had taken loads of pictures on her camera phone to immortalize the moment. She had said cheese enough times to drive any hungry rat mad and was basking in the joy of the moment. There was enough to eat and drink and everyone around her was euphoric.
To make matters better, she had gotten a place in one of the multinational oil companies where she planned to build up a nest egg to enable her travel to America. There, she was going to pursue her PhD while lecturing and researching. She was also engaged, to be married as soon as possible to a guy who was totally besotted with her. Kemi’s future was full of glittering silver linings devoid of clouds.
The hatred Diabo Culebra had for The Author of “Life” was rabid. Diabo was also a gifted writer who wanted to become the best in the world by any means. He felt this could only be achieved by knocking the number one off the bestselling lists. Diabo is twisted in his thoughts and this reflected hugely in his books which are full of terror, gore and blood. If your leaning is towards unrelenting robberies, indiscriminate killings, swathes of destruction, then he is your man. His stories are horrific thrillers that usually end in tragedy and death. This was one of the reasons he could not stomach the Author of “Life” whose stories always had fairy tale endings. Diabo usually referred to him as “The Soppy One” with disgust. His dislike could not be hidden especially since “Life’s” writer had become so wealthy from his works that real estate, sport clubs, mines, zoos, publishing houses, film studios, fashion houses in the tune of billions of dollars belonged to him. Even Forbes has not been able to come close to estimating his net worth. Diabo coveted these things with every fibre of his greedy being.
Since his pride could not make him stomach coming second to anyone, he decided to strike like the snake he is. Having found a disgruntled staff working for his enemy, he enticed her with 30,000 dollars to betray her master after she told him about the potential of her boss’ new story. The Judas got the story of “Life” on a flash, corrupted and crashed the system of her employer thereby ensuring no copies were left. Subsequently, the story was given to the evil instigator who was so jubilant because he knew how much pain this was going to cause the other writer. The Author of “Life” was so attached to his works that this action wounded his heart deeply.
Diabo, when he saw the story knew it was a winner and proceeded to change the plot to his own taste which when published was going to put him on top. It was also going to make him some good money but most importantly enrage the original creator.
Though Kemi’s life was rolling on smoothly, she was a bit confused when it came to the issue of marriage. The only feather missing from the cap of her life was a wedding band and now she was in a hurry to get one wrapped around her finger.
She had been going out with Gabriel (she calls him her angel), her classmate in the university and both of them just finished their masters, however he was yet to get a job. On the other hand, there was Teddy, a guy she met at an eatery who had been asking her out forever.
Teddy was a handsome, rich guy about town; the brother was so fine he was nicknamed “The god”! Kemi knew she would never have to struggle financially with a guy like him. She had always dreamt of a grand wedding filled with fun and fireworks. With Gabby, she knew she might not attain that in the next six years and she was tired of waiting. Her attraction for Teddy was more sexual and conniving than anything but she assumed love would grow with the years. For crying out loud, love was overrated! Kemi also intensely disliked Teddy’s habits of smoking and drinking heavily but her philosophy was that people change, so with time, he would do away with them. “The god” was a far cry from Gabby who always listened to her and even when he said no, he did so without really hurting her feelings. Teddy was a different kettle of fish altogether. Once, he was so enraged that he violently slapped her after she got him miffed. Afterwards, he was all sugar and spice, so much that she let it go. Her line of thought was that we are all imperfect beings. However, deep within the sea of her soul, nagging feelings nibbled at her like a school of tiny fish but she managed to pay them no mind.
Kemi went ahead to call it quits with Gabby.
It was a quiet night, one of such beautiful ones when the stars have a winking party. You could hear the philandering winds whisper sweet nothings to every flora in sight. Birds achingly cooed out to their lovers from secret places. It was on such a night that she stabbed her fiancé deeply in the heart with the dagger of treachery.
“Ke-mine (his affectionate moniker for her), why? You cannot do this to me, o le se mi bayi”. Gabby cried, his face a mask of pain. His visage was akin to that of a little boy who was abandoned in a thick dark forest after trustingly following his mum there at night. He looked lost.
“Gabby, ko ni work se. It will not work. It is over!” She replied. Having come prepared, she had steeled her heart and formed an implacable dam around it which kept at bay the flood of love pouring from Gabby’s wrenched heart.
As she turned to move away, Gabby grabbed her hand and clung to it. “Ke-mine, do not throw it all away. Let’s give it another shot. It will work if we give it our all. Please, joor”. He implored beseechingly.
“Gabby, let it go, I am Teddy’s now!” She said looking into those honey coloured pupils she had recently loved so much.
“Eh! Te-what”? With a wave of disgust washing over his face he dropped her hand like it had suddenly become a viper. He walked away from her with slow motion like movements. His face was a spectrum of utter confusion, disbelief, incomprehension and revulsion until at last he turned and ran like he were demon-possessed.
His final look hurt and shook her but she had made her decision albeit a painful one. She knew mentioning Teddy was going to be the final straw since Gabby could not abide him and always felt he was beneath her.
The light of the moon formed a halo around the park bench on which she sat and its reflection off the white dress she wore made her seem like a disconsolate ghost as she sobbed her heart out.
By the time she stood up, the memories of the past had been buried in the park and it was a resolute version of herself that strode out.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned with Teddy. His attitude changed when he realized he was now the head honcho of her heart. They had become live-in-lovers and started sleeping together because he said he wanted to ensure she was fertile before they tied the knot. This was at the insistence of his mum. After six months of not taking in, he took her to see some specialists where they ran a battery of tests on her. She felt like a guinea pig and could not believe what was happening to her. Firstly, she was amazed that such a cosmopolitan man like her boyfriend could be so traditional and backward. Secondly, she was the one that used to mock her friends that they could stoop so low with all their education and enlightenment and allow some guy make a monkey out of them. By now, she had sacrificed so much that she did not have the mental fortitude to fight. So she gave in, anything so long they could get it out of the way and get married.
Irony of it all was that it was three years now and they still had not gotten married. Funny thing was that Gabby by this time had walked down the aisle. After their break up he fell in love with a lady who was willing to start out with him at his level. He had gotten a job, his own apartment and was moving up the rungs of his career even though he was still not earning enough to have Teddy’s financial muscle. She saw from the pictures on Facebook that it was a modest affair but not the kind of glorious image she had in mind for herself.
One Friday evening after battling hellish traffic at Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos to get to her home in Victoria Garden City, Lekki, she was beat. On getting home, the main thing on her mind was to soak herself in a steaming hot bath, eat some semolina with Egusi soup, quaff some Fumman pineapple juice, watch a movie and sleep till late morning on Saturday. All her plans turned out to be the best plans of mice and men….Teddy insisted on her accompanying him to a night club. When she refused, he freaked out and to allow peace reign, she dragged her tired body after him.
On their way back, he was drunk as usual and when she offered to drive, the kind of expletives he unleashed on her would have made a sailor blush. Cowered, she gave in as usual. On the way, they ran into a broken down truck that had no hazard lights on and to save himself, Teddy swerved the car so that her side of the car took the whole brunt.
When she came to, the first person she heard was Teddy talking to a doctor.
“Doctor, are you sure there is nothing we can do to save the leg? Without a limb, she is useless to me! I can never go out with a cripple, talk more of marrying one.”…
Shattered, she screamed his name which only came out in a hoarse whisper and as they both turned to look at her, she plunged back into the inky river of unconsciousness that welcomed her with comforting arms…
TO BE CONTINUED….