He brushed a quick kiss over her lips, but she could not miss the sadness in his eyes
‘I’m so happy to hear this…finally’
Chelsea wished she didn’t notice his sudden shift in behaviour.
As if in an after thought, he hugged her.
Chelsea had a million sirens going off in her head as alarms sounded but she hugged him back and smiled too.
‘I know in my heart that I’m doing the right thing’
‘Yes, you are’.
He finished getting dressed in silence. The silence grew longer as they drove back to town. At some point Chelsea found herself staring at her middle finger, at the diamond ring he had used a whole month’s salary to purchase because like he said, ‘she was special like that’. That was four years ago, just a year after she started her first degree.
He had called her and said he wanted to see her. Chelsea had to lie that she had a family emergency. That was an easy lie to pull off. Her mother was sick anyway, and to clear her conscience she would stop by to visit her. He met up with her and said he had asked one of his cousin’s to make a glorious chocolate cake for her. Chelsea loved chocolates, something she had taken from her mother.
Chelsea had determined from an early age not to turn out like her mother. In fact, if there was anyone who tried to ensure that she never turned out like her mother it was her mother herself. She would always say : ‘I have had enough sexcapades for all the generations of women in my lineage’ ; ‘Please Chelsea, never turn out like me: old and lonely’. Chelsea knew her mother’s biggest mistake was agreeing to be someone’s sidechick. How could you do that to someone else and expect it will not come back to you? Isn’t that why she never consented to dating a guy who even had a girl friend let alone a wife? Chelsea took a sideways glance at Akin and her thoughts returned to that time four years before.
They arrived at the spot at the beach and laid out their mat. It was nearing late evening. Akin and she had spent a lot of time at this particular spot, watching the sun set and taking photos. Sometimes they would catch the second the sun would set and sometimes they would steal kisses as the sun smiled on them and said goodbye. Akin silence on their way here told her he had something on his mind. She had learned to always wait. He would speak when he was ready.
Akin laid out the chocolate and drinks and started talking about his day at work. Soon Chelsea forgot about his awkwardness in the car and chatted about the students who were expelled because they were caught in a sexually compromising situation. She couldn’t confirm whether they really were lesbians though. Akin asked her again if she wouldn’t rather move to another school. Chelsea wouldn’t even consider it. No matter how crazy the rules were in her school, she was at least assured that lecturers would show up for class and there would be no such thing as an ASUU strike affecting her.
The metal was already in her mouth. She remembers Akin saying he wished he wasn’t so nervous that day, he would have taken a picture with which he would torment her for the rest of her life. Their engagement ring was buried in chocolate. Akin asked her there and then to be his wife. She couldn’t say yes…but she didn’t say no. They missed the sun set.
When she arrived home that evening, her mother wasn’t expecting her. If she was alarmed, she didn’t show it either. Chelsea had never hidden anything from her mum. She wondered if this was even a good time to start. Eventually, she told her mother everything and the only question her mother asked was : Do you love him enough to tolerate all his excesses? Now as she sat her in the car with Akin, she still thought of that question. Just an hour ago she would have said yes. Now, she wasn’t so sure. She doubted she could ever be sure.
But she had been sure of Kelvin back in the UK. He was a black boy from a very nice Christian family. Within a week they were talking every single day. Chaste boy he was, he never put her under any kind of pressure. He respected the fact that she was engaged to someone in Nigeria. It was so easy to fall in love with him. Even when she was at her weakest he never took advantage. Once they were so close to making out. She had been annoyed all day because Akin had not remembered their engagement anniversary. He took her out to see a movie and she asked him in when he came to drop her off. He didn’t think it was a good idea but she insisted.
She literally threw herself at him. His lips tasted like she had expected and when she made him run his hands over her nipples… She kept pushing his hands down. They were saved by the phone ringing… It was Akin.
Chelsea realised the car had stopped. Akin turned to her.
‘Chelsea, I need to tell you something’.