“Love is the strongest force in the area of life, it weathers storms, it crosses oceans, it climbs mountains, it survives even death”
I was having a quite Saturday when my phone rang. My girl Favour had gone with my daughters to make their hair at Aunty Abigal’s shop. While William had gone to the clinic to check up on a patient who was rushed in the previous night. Nathan was home on midterm and had gone along with him, “boys hanging out” they said. I wanted to use the time to do a few things so I happily bid them bye as they left.
William had promised to take the whole family out to Spar when they get back from the clinic. I was trying to figure out what to wear, my wardrobe really needs an intervention! The phone call interrupted my hunt for a suitable Spar outfit.
“Hello, is that Belema?”
My heart flipped from the sound of that voice, it was unmistakable but I responded nevertheless without admitting that I knew who was speaking.
“Yes this is Belema.”
Of course I knew it was him! he had a distinct rich baritone voice that used to give me a heady feeling back in the day. I was slightly upset that my heart was racing at hearing his voice, after all Chidi and I had parted ways over 20 years ago.
Hmm….Chidi!….Chidi who loved me, who claimed he still loves me. He was my first love and should have been my only but faith pulled us apart when he said “I do” to another.
“How did you get my number?” I asked
He laughed just like I remember the way he used to laugh.
“I’m in Port Harcourt, I came for a training. I will be leaving back to Abuja on Monday.”
“You haven’t answered my question, how did you get my number? ”
“Calm down Bel, don’t tell me you haven’t forgiven me after all these years”.
“I don’t have anything against you Chidi, I’m just surprised you got my number”.
“It’s a long story, let’s just say I climbed many mountains to get your number, to find you. I miss you my beautiful Bel, you will always be evergreen in my heart”.
“Chidi, I see you haven’t lost your poetic touch, go and practice it on your wife. As at the last time I heard, you were married and I hope you are still happily married.”
He laughed again.
“Bel, can we just catch up on old times over lunch on Monday?” Please don’t say no, please I can’t be in Port Harcourt and not see you, please, I beg of you.”
I breathed in deeply. I don’t know why I couldn’t just say no. I should have said no but instead my heart spoke through my mouth before my head could say no.
“I will think about it and give you an answer by tomorrow evening.”
That was how Chidi sneaked into my head and I kept going down Memory Lane of how we met, how we could have or should have ended up together but didn’t. How he married Bridgette and how they separated, I remember the last time he came looking for me at my office in Lagos years ago. Endless memories…Chidi!
I was unusually quite on our ride to Spar later on in the afternoon. I was no longer in the mood to even go out, William asked me if I was OK and I told him I had a slight headache.
The kids chatted away, asking their Dad if Spar existed when he was a kid. I was present yet absent, why did I answer that call? I knew I was going to say yes to the lunch date. Why couldn’t I tell my husband? Perhaps because I felt guilty about looking forward to having lunch with another man. This wasn’t just any man, it was Chidi who stole my 19 year old heart and always found me no matter where I was even after 20 years.
He sent me a text message later on that evening which read: “I look forward to seeing you on Monday my beautiful Bel, I regret loosing you…I should have waltzed through life with you, we would have conquered the world together.”
That night, Chidi slept in my heart and in my head, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Perhaps it’s true that a girl never forgets her 1st love but I don’t want any complications, we are both married. My heart told me it was just a lunch date, logic and reasoning told me to say no, let the past remain in the past. I want to talk to someone, should I tell William? Or should I call Biobele or even Lizzy? Even as I thought about it the only thing I was sure of was that I was looking forward to Monday like pay day.
On Sunday evening he sent another text which read: “It will be a pleasure to see you again my African Princess, let’s have lunch at 12 noon on Monday. I promise I don’t bite.”
He put the address of a posh restaurant in Old GRA.
I replied, “OK, I will see you at 12”.
The minute I walked through the doors of that restaurant that afternoon the alarm bells in my head started ringing loudly.
Dear Diary, I am in trouble!…….
Ibiwari Perrin-Oglafa 2018