© Kemiliz Aiyemo Omotayo
“Baby! Meet my childhood friend and wonderful sister.
Esther! Meet my new baby, Ifeoluwasimi, Ifemi for short.
Esther went pale instantly. A girlfriend! Nooooo!
Even if her ears have started acting up, are eyes were seeing the obvious sitting right before her. He even called her ‘Ifemi’, this is heartbreakening.
“Jesus, come down now and rescue your daughter” she pleaded in her thought.
What exactly was she expecting? They weren’t dating, so why the fuss?
” Esther! Esther” Ben had called out to the lost Esther.
“Are you alright?” He asked
” No, I’m not. I think I need use the restroom urgently. Can you please show me the way?” Esther said after finding her voice and brain.
” Are you sure you are okay, cos you’re not acting like. Well, the location of the restroom hasn’t been changed” Ben worried.
Esther remembered the way to the toilet and went there. She didn’t relieve herself off the waste in her tummy but that of her head and mind.
Many thoughts ran through her mind. She didn’t know what she expected or wanted from Ben but still, what he had just presented to her is indigestible.
” How could Ben serve me this gall to swallow and act like it doesn’t matter. All this while we spoke on the phone about keeping ourselves from fornication, yet he’s into it and boastingly shoving it down my throat. This is truly a surprising surprise. I can’t believe Ben can do this to me” she thought while in the restroom.
She noticed a teardrop and quickly used the back of her hand to wipe it off as she responded to Ben’s call.
“I’m sorry Ben, I think I really need to leave now” Esther said the moment she returned into the sitting room.
“Why Esther, is there any problem I’m not getting?” Ben asked.
Ifemi returned from the kitchen and saw Esther with her handbag ready to leave.
” Don’t tell me you’re leaving so soon, when I’ve been working my ass out in the kitchen just for you” she said using an American accent.
Esther was confused about the accent. “She might actually be faking it. My business here is done and I don’t even need to tell anyone that” she thought.
“Benny, why’s your girlfriend like this? Is she this timid to ask questions?” Ifemi said rudely
Esther thought she heard the word ‘girlfriend’. No she heard it right but was wondering who Ife is referring as one since it’s just the three of them they.
” Calm down Ife, remember your manners. It’s not right for you to talk to my guest like that” Ben admonished.
“Here he goes again, referring to me as guest” Esther thought.
” Then you need to help your guest gets her self-esteem, it’s obvious she’s low on it. And to believe have been excited to meet her all along is really quite unfortunate” Ife said and walked out on them.
It all seemed she was at the Cinema because she really couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
At first, she had thought the two were an item, don’t blame her, but the vague introduction Ben had made.
Even when it’s now clear she wasn’t Ben’s girlfriend, the confidence she has around him is threatening and to think she left to one of the rooms made things even complicating.
“Who is she to you, Ben?” Esther finally find the courage to ask.
” Ifemi is my cousin and I’m so disappointed at how you let me down before her.”
“Really!” Esther asked amazed.
“Yes really. We speak regularly on phone and I believed you are matured enough to handle anything. But then what did I get, you couldn’t even let your voice be heard, you began to shiver like a baby looking for an escape route already” Ben said angrily.
At this point, Esther now realized she had messed up. She isn’t the kind of lady that would be intimidated by another, but couldn’t figure out how she became one just right in Ben’s presence. This was embarrassing.
“I thought she was your lover” Esther said with her eyes laced with tears.
” What if she’s my lover, Esther? What if? I know you to be quite inquisitive, always trying to stay informed, where’s all that? What happened to you?” Ben asked.
All these were too much for Esther to take in at once. It seemed all the walls of the room were closing in on her. She needed a breathing space, but Ben is not letting her have it.
She was convinced in her heart that what she felt for Ben is beyond friendship, but still undefined.
With all that just happened, she believed it was Love, but then there’s nothing she can do about it. Not now, maybe not later.
” I’m sorry I caused this rift between you two, but I actually got less than I expected. Work more on your confidence and learn to go for what makes you happy” Ifemi said as she returned.
“Gosh! Why can’t this devil of a girl just disappear once and for all?” Esther thought
In as much as Esther was bitter about the rude remark of Ifemi, she was more angry at Ben who stood there and watched her being schooled by his newly found baby cousin.
He couldn’t even come to her defense, he did absolutely nothing to shush her running tap yet he had the gods to scold her still. How didn’t she realize this trait in him before now?
She felt bad, really bad. If someone had prophesied that this was what she would go through today, she wouldn’t have believed.
Well, he said he wanted to surprise her and that’s exactly what he did.
” Thanks for the surprise” Esther said and walked out on the two.
She couldn’t help stop being angry. Thank goodness no one was at home because a mere glance at her will tell that her visit was a disaster.
Esther tossed and turned on the bed in thought.
” Is he because he’s now a graduate that he feels he can now treat me like trash? And what was Ifemi feeling like in her fake American accent? Gosh! Well I don’t really have a problem with her but Ben, who doesn’t know how to respect his woman.
He’s just lesser than a man I’ve always thought of him to be.
Graduate or not, I will make sure I’m ahead of him in life” She thought.
She left for her friend’s place as she was too angry to stay alone. She wanted to go to evening service from there but she remembered she wasn’t with her scarf and Bible, also she wasn’t dressed for church. She left for home later when she was sure she’s less angry.
Not long after Esther had left his place, Ben realized how messy he had handled the situation. He blamed himself for the unclear introductory speech he had made and how he stood by and watch Ifemi speak unfairly to her.
But one thing the scene was able to unveil was that he now realized that Esther didn’t just like him as a friend but was actually in love with him.
He felt some butterflies in his stomach.
Yes, he had feelings for Esther since way back. He recognized it was love much later.
He was glad Esther felt the same way about him and he concluded that that was the reason for the confusion and disappointment that was registered on her face when she introduced him to Ife.
He must really go for her and let out on what he feels for her. This is his moment and he shouldn’t let it slip out of his reach.
He called out on Ife and told her he needed to go out.
” Where are you going?” Ife asked but was sure he was going to Esther.
” I’m going for my woman, for Esther” Ben replied her.
” Oops! Where’s that coming from? Your woman? A woman? When did she become that?” Ife asked sarcastically.
” Stop that Ife. You know I loved Esther, and I have filled you in on what I feel for her. You have no right or whatsoever to be rude to her.” Ben stated
” I’m not rude to her but that girl doesn’t deserve you. She isn’t the type of girl you should spend your life with. That girl I saw is just a pretender. She’ll drag you down into her low life” Ife was explaining
” Really, who made you a judge? You’re not even a believer yet you’re condemning someone who’s been in faith since childhood. She might be timid, she might be immature, she might even be unexposed as you have claimed just because she isn’t up to your level and standard. But then, she’s beautiful, right with God, disciplined and reserved, exactly the qualities I desire in a wife.” He defended angrily
” Benny, I’m sorry but Esther doesn’t have the aforementioned qualities apart from her beauty. I can feel it. She looked as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, but hey!” Ifemi replied
” Just stop it there. How possible is it to understand who a person is in less than five minutes of meeting? I have heard enough of this and I will demand you respect her all through your days here till you return to the State.” Ben concluded and set out to leave.
” Have you prayed about it Ben?” Ifemi said just before he stepped out.
Although the question came as a rude shock to him, but he didn’t stop to reply.
Was there even a reply in the first place?
Ifemi, a Christian by birth but not a true believer according to their scale was his paternal cousin. She had grew up in U S and that was their first time of meeting too although they do speak on phone where he had told her about Esther. Ifemi had come to Nigeria and decided spend her vacation with Ben’s family. Ifemi who is usually friendly couldn’t place her hands on why she didn’t like Esther at all. She just perceived bad breath around her .
Ben didn’t meet Esther at home. He called her number severally but didn’t pick up. He sent countless messages to her, yet she read them but didn’t reply.
Ben felt really bad that Esther was ignoring him for the first time ever.
He needed to make things right with her. Just as he was thinking of how else to reach her, he remembered Ifemi’s question. He tried to push it off and concentrate on how to get Esther back but that question kept resounding in his head.
” What’s there to pray about? Do I need to when our togetherness eversince childhood is enough confirmation that God is fully in support of us? I have known her to be a strong believer like myself, with great attitude. Well I will pray later, just to silence Ifemi’s feeling” Ben concluded in his thought.
Just then, he felt a hand tap his shoulder. He had been lost in thought with his head bowed waiting patiently in the verandah of Esther’s house.
He looked up and saw his woman, his desire standing right in front of him.
He felt bad looking at Esther’s cloudy face, which he knew he caused.
Lost for words, he went down on his knees as tears rolled down his cheek.
Esther who wasn’t expecting this emotional breakdown from Ben, at least not soon tried to raise him up.
” I’m sorry Esther. I’m sorry I watched and allowed your ego to be trampled upon. I’m sorry I wasn’t man enough to let you know how much I love you and would do anything just for your happiness. I’m sorry, I’m sorry” he muttered amidst tears.
Tears of Joy streamed down her face. This was what she wanted, a romantic moment like that in the movies.
” I will. I do. I love you too.” She answered to no question in particular.
Ben stood up after he was sure he had been forgiving and the two locked themselves in a tight embrace. The later became shy they were doing this right outside.
Esther pulled him in after opening the door with the speed of light.
Ben began once more to apologise for what he had apologized for outside and even the offense he was yet to commit.
You know, when love sets in…
Esther pulled him close and kissed him passionately.
Maybe he wanted to or not, but he found himself returning the kiss with passion as well.
To be continued…