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Sunday, 12 June 2016

My Destiny's Game (1)

My Destiny's Game (1)
Any reasonable man whose fiancé dumped him some months before their wedding for some one else, would have counted his losses and moved on.

But not me. I refused to let go and hung on to her.

What man would do that?

A big fool, you might say. Well, I'm that fool. Call me a fool in love and you will be quite right. 

Most people especially my friends, relatives and others who have heard about my story and what Rachel did to me keep wondering if I'm ok in the head. Or what powerful 'juju' did she use on me, they wonder...
      
 There's nothing wrong with me, my mental faculties are all intact. I'm not crazy as some might think. The only 'madness' I'm suffering from is that emotion called love. It's eaten deep into my soul and made me lose all sense of reasoning as my family keep saying.

 The thing is, they don't understand. What do they know about my feelings for Rachel, that when she's not by my side, I feel empty, incomplete as if one of my body parts is missing? Don't get me wrong. I have loved other ladies in my life but with Rachel, it was different...

 My name is Julian and here's my story...

  ***
I got to know Rachel when she moved to our neighbourhood in Surulere, Lagos with her family. 

 Her parents were divorced and she lived with her mother and older sister. The sister, Florence whom everyone called Flo, was the one that first drew the attention of the guys on my street. 

 Flo was stunning looking, one of the most beautiful ladies I had ever seen. Within a few months of their arrival, most of the young guys in the area were jostling for her attention. 

I was in my final year at the University of Lagos back then and during the holidays, when I came home, I used to watch with amusement as some of my friends on the street made 'bets' on who would first date Flo.

 But Flo turned all of them down, stating she was not interested in 'street romance' with idle guys who had nothing better to do than hang around street corners to 'eye' young ladies. 

 They thought she was proud and stuck up but Flo had her reasons. Back then, she worked in a company at Ikeja and on her return from work at night, different flashy cars would drop her at home. It soon became clear that Flo was only interested in certain types of men; those with money, lots of it.

  With all the attention on Flo, the younger sister Rachel was mostly overlooked. It was not that she was unattractive or something.

  But her older sister had the kind of radiant beauty that tended to put all other women around her in the shade. The first day I saw her, I remember she had her arm round her mother's waist and was helping her into their car. 

 The woman had a health condition that made her pay regular visits to the hospital. It was Rachel who was not working or in school then who had to be taking her for her treatment.

 'Such a caring daughter,' I remember thinking whenever I walked past their house and saw her either taking her Mum to the hospital or bringing her back home. 

 It was later when I got to know her better that I learnt about the sacrifices she had had to make for her mother.

 After her secondary school education, Rachel, at 17 had got admission to the university. Unfortunately, it was the same period her mother's illness worsened. 

 Flo was busy with her job and social engagements so the responsibility to be her Mum's carer, fell on Rachel. 

 She had to defer her admission so she could take care of her mother. She had been doing that job for about six years with so much dedication before I met her.

 Rachel and I became friends after I helped her fix their family car one day. She was on her to the hospital with her mother. 

 The car did not start and as I was passing by then, I decided to help. I opened the bonnet and tinkled with the battery a little and within a short time, the car started.

 They were both very appreciative. 

  "Thanks a lot, young man. You saved us a trip to the mechanic," the mother, who was sitting at the back of the car, said. Rachel also thanked me, smiling and waving as she got into the driver's seat and drove off.

 After that day, she would stop and chat with me whenever we met on our street. Then some time later, I was passing in front of their house one day, when her mother, who was sitting on the balcony of their house saw me and invited me inside. 

 "Rachel has gone to the market and I'm all alone in the house. I'm feeling bored so come and keep me company," she stated as she ushered me inside the living room. 

 She served me drinks and brought her photo albums for me to browse. As I looked at the pictures especially the ones of her in her youth, I could see where her daughters especially Flo got their looks from.

 "You were very beautiful when you were young," I said admiringly.

 "Ah, you need to see me back in the day, when I was a young girl. The young men were all crazy about me then! My daughter Flo thinks she's beautiful and behaves and feels like a 'star' but compared to me back then, she looks plain," she said, smiling broadly.

 Looking at the pictures of the slim and shapely young woman with ravishing looks and the elderly, overweight woman sitting opposite me, I found it difficult to believe they were the same person.
Then seeing a picture of her with a young, smiling man who had his arm round her waist, I asked who he was.

 She glanced at the picture, then wrinkling her nose as if she had smelt something bad, she said shortly:

 "My ex-husband." She did not elaborate further and sensing it was a topic she found distasteful, I did not ask any further questions about him.

 Shortly after, Rachel came in. I stayed with them for sometime before leaving. 
 "The food is almost ready. Why don't you stay for dinner?" Rachel, who had been busy cooking in the kitchen said. I told her I had an appointment somewhere and I was running late.

 "Come and visit us anytime, Julian. I enjoyed chatting with you!" Rachel's mother stated, waving at me from where she sat on the sofa.

 Regular visitor
  I became a regular visitor at their home after that. With time, I came to know more about the family especially Rachel's mother. She had worked for many years in a government parastatal until her forced retirement ten years before in her early fifties because of her health problems. 

 "I loved my job but I just could not go on. My heart was giving me problems so I had to quit," she told me one day during one of my visits. 

 By then, she was already separated from her husband so she had moved to one of her properties on the outskirts of the city.

 "We had to move to this house which I had been renting out as the former place was too far from the hospital where I go for treatment," she explained.

 She spoke glowingly about her younger daughter, of her care and devotion to her.

 "I don't know what I would have done without Rachel. She's a daughter in a million," she enthused. Of Flo, she had nothing but harsh words for her. 

 "Flo is like her father: selfish and self-centred, always thinking of herself alone. How many times do you see her around? She claims to be busy with her work. But I know its because of her many boyfriends! When she closes from work, instead of coming home to see how her mother is doing, she prefers to go clubbing!

 If it were not for Rachel, only God knows how I would have coped!" she added, with a slight shake of her head.

 I think it was from that point I began to grow fond of Rachel. Seeing the way she took care of her mother aroused admiration in me which in time grew to something deeper, more profound...

  
Thanks to all my visitors and readers for stopping by my blog today. Stay well, everyone!

To Be Continued (Tuesday 14th June) ...

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