The Television Show (3)

Days before the taping of the show, Jolomi watched as Claudine worked, ate, talked and even slept with excitement. She called friends and family telling them that she and her 'mari' will be appearing on National TV. For sure, many of their friends would be watching that day.

So, unsurprisingly, on the day of the show’s taping, a large company of friends accompanied them to the studio.

The journey to the studio was a long one for Jolomi; he kept thinking, as he felt the show would expose his fa├žade and his inability to integrate with the French culture. He imagined how tough the questions would be, how he will mumble helplessly, and maybe eventually snap out in anger.

He imagined he’ll be asked Claudine’s favourite brand of cigarette and he would not know, be asked his favourite French dish and he’ll not have one. He wished there were better ways to be exposed rather than on National TV; how he hated Patrice for giving this 'special gift.'

There were bright lights, huge cameras and attendants carrying all kinds of gadgets. It was twenty minutes before the taping of the show, and Claudine and Jolomi were in the studio, on stage, ready. The multitude of friends who followed them were seated in the live audience section, waving and smiling.

Also vying for the €1 million prize were four couples: three were French, and one a middle-aged francophone couple. The ambiance of the whole studio made Jolomi nervous sick, the extra-ordinary bright lights, excited audience and even the competitors. Afraid that he would pass out from his nervousness, he excused himself to the toilet.

Sitting on the toilet's seat, both hands on his head, Jolomi pondered a possible way of escape. Should he just run out of the complex? Or should he fake sickness? He did not understand why he had to go through all this!

Nights before the show, he could not sleep, kept tossing and turning, wondering if he should tell Claudine about his inner struggles before she discovered on national television.

All those sleepless nights seem to take a toll on him, his eyes were red, his palms sweaty. So in a desperate moment he muttered a prayer for help...

If God had answered his prayer audibly, he would have told him that it was Claudine and he that would win the competition and grab the €1 million prize that day. He would have told him that after years of struggling to integrate in France, Claudine and he will move back to Nigeria where they’ll start a new life.

He would have told him that Claudine and he will open the eyes of his family in Nigeria, that no matter how different cultures may be they could still live together.

He would have told him that in fifteen years time, when the years of chain smoking took its toll, it was he who stood by Claudine’s side till she died of lung cancer.

But at that moment of uncertainty, when no audible voice seemed to answer his prayer, and rescue him from his dilemma, he got up from the WC, left the toilet, and walked back to the studio.

The End
By Aghoghosam (Naijastories)
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