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Love is a verb by Bukky Adediran

“Have you seen Rita? She was here some hours ago and she left you a note. It’s on the table over there.” She ignored my statement, picked a bottle of drink from the fridge and she went to bed. I was really confused. She and Rita were best of friends. What could possibly have gone wrong. I decided I would talk with her about it. The next day was a Sunday morning, I waited till few minutes past 7am for her to come out but it didn’t seem that would happen. I never liked missing worship time in church and first service was for 7:30 am. It would take a 15 minute drive to church.

 

(Knock knock… ) I hit the door to her room slightly with my fist. The third knock pushed the door open so, I peeped in but Stephanie was not in. We shared a common bathroom so   she was definitely not in there. We had never cooked on Sundays, we ate out and rested to prepare for the week’s activities. I opened the blind and then I realized that her car wasn’t in the compound.

 

Where could she have driven to that early in the morning? I called Rita but she wasn’t there. I was tempted to open the letter Rita left the previous evening but on a second thought I decided not to. I went for my keys and left for church.

It was a beautiful service. I looked out for my friends but they were not in service. At that point I gave up and went to see an uncle of mine I had promised on several occasions visit. Activities with Rita and Stephanie coupled with our job challenges made it impossible until that Sunday.

The next time I saw Steph  was at work the following morning.

 

I went straight to her table…   “What’s going on Steph? Where have you been? What’s eating you up?  She looked at me and tears rushed down her cheeks. I pulled her away from prying eyes and we went to the launch room.

She couldn’t say anything. All she did was to hold on tightly to me. I gave her a pat on the back and assured her that she could share it with me. She looked at me and said… “Can we talk about this at home.” And I said yes.

 

We got home that day and she decided she wasn’t talking about it again. I tried to pressure her but she remained adamant. I decided to let her be. I realized Rita was no longer visiting and she stopped attending the same church with us.

 

Two weeks after the event, Stephanie’s Fiancé returned from his trip and he came visiting. They had a long argument and fight. It was impossible for the two to part ways because of the bond I felt they shared. I didn’t understand what the disagreement was all about. She ordered him out of our apartment and told him never to return.

 

One afternoon, on our way back from a customer’s office, I revisited the issue. “Can you explain to me what the problem is Stephanie? You had a fight with Rita and now you broke up with Richard. What’s going on? You’re not doing well. It’s affecting you at work.

 

“I really don’t want to talk about it. I am trying so hard to forget my past. Please don’t…..”

 

“HMMMMMN” I sighed. “But you haven’t touched Rita’s letter ever since she left it for you. Why ?

 

That evening, she took the letter in to her room and that was the last thing I knew of the letter. Two months down the line, there was Charles coming on board. They ate out a lot,  I lost my friend and we became mere flat mates. Our relationship was never the same again. I needed help with my sister’s wedding but Stephanie completely shut down on me. All efforts to reach Rita proved abortive and I got really bored living with Steph.

 

It was now about 8months down the line. I had made a decision to move out of the apartment. I got another one.  She came in after a date with Charles, she had been so discrete about her involvement and I couldn’t tell if they were in a relationship or not. I went in to her room. I saw the letter Rita had written and I asked if she had read it eventually but I was shocked she hadn’t.

 

“I thought you were born again. How can you be so hard hearted.” I walked briskly towards her bedside and opened the letter. I didn’t care if she would slap me or push me out, I proceeded to reading the letter out to her. ”

 

●Steph, my dear sister. I call you sister because my relationship with you actually transcends that of mere friendship. That day, I allowed Collins to visit me at your place.  I didn’t want him to be with me alone in my flat going by the previous event I told you about.

☆☆(I PAUSED TO OBSERVE STEPHANIE’S REACTION AND REALIZE SHE WAS PAYING ATTENTION  SO I CONTINUED). ☆☆

 

I planned to pass the night in your apartment that fateful Saturday. After we had some juice together, I went in to your room to pick my laptop, Collins tagged along and on entering He grabbed me and before I knew what was going on, he raped me brutally.

 

☆☆At that point I began to shake…quietly Stephanie sat on her bed… I couldn’t deduce what was going through her mind. ☆☆ I continued reading it and now loudly with tears rolling down my cheeks.☆☆

 

You  were far away on the Island,  and Debby was on an unplanned  trip. I couldn’t think of any one to call other than Richard and HE came rushing down. He met the whole scene and it was a huge mess.  He got into a fight with Collins who was begging me. It was so bad that Collins left. Richard pulled off his shirt, picked me up from the bed and embraced me. He was trying to convince me to go to the Hospital. I couldn’t help but hold on to him tightly with just my undies on. He tried covering up with his shirt but I held him closely as he stroked my hair with his fingers then you entered.  You didn’t want to hear us … You made a huge scene and threw us both out. If I knew you were returning earlier than I thought, I would probably had waited but Richard was nearby. I  had always warned you about your anger and stubbornness.  Collins was responsible for what happened and not innocent Richard. Find a way to resolve this with him  when he returns from his trip to France.

Yours  truly,

Rita.●

 

At that point, my mouth was wide open, the letter fell off my hands and I looked at my friend, who was already sobbing.

 

“So this was what happened. Don’t tell me you believe this story  Stephenie… So why didn’t you try to hear them out. Now I remember you told me how Collins had tried once to force Rita to bed against her will. So I think that’s why you believe…. Oh my goodness,  I am so disappointed in you. This is exactly 8months after and you call your self a Christian…

 

“Don’t judge me….” She screamed as she sobbed.

 

My phone rang and it was Richard.  What a coincidence.  I quickly picked it.

 

“I am calling you because I do not want to call Stephanie, Rita and I are in the hospital, can you ensure you bring her down. Rita is fighting for her life…”

 

I told her and we left hurriedly to the hospital.  It was a silent ride all through. On getting there we met the shock of our lives. It was a black Saturday. Richard was devastated. He was  on  call and we were so curious to know.

 

Richard looked at Steph.  “I waited so long for today… I waited to prove my innocence to you.  I loved you too much to have betrayed you.”

 

I grabbed him..” Where is Rita? ”

 

He led us in… Stephanie rushed to her  bed side. Held her hands.

 

Rita looked at her with so much sorrow in her beautiful but dull eyes. “Ensure Collins doesn’t get away with this. Find Collins…I love you Steph. Take care of my baby..”

 

“Baby… ”     I yelled. Then I noticed there was a baby cot with a gorgeous baby girl who was peacefully asleep.  “GOSH!” Richard held me firmly as I was about to lose it. Then Stephanie screamed as she rang the bell to call the attention of the doctors.

 

Rita passed on after post operation complications.

 

What a tragedy.  She was an only child and an  orphan who had no support from her parents’ families. She had struggled through life to get to where she was.  Richard, Stephanie and I handled her funeral. She had no one except Steph who was never there at the time she needed her the most. Charles and Richard went shopping for the baby and made sure Stephanie and I were comfortable enough to care of the child. When they came to deliver all they had purchased, She was shocked. We later  realized Charles came into the picture only to engage my friend in order to keep her away from other guys. Richard loved her that much. It was a tough venture for Charles but he made the sacrifice for Richard.

 

Stephanie was totally dejected. We had to  involve her mother who came to spend some months with us. Richard got us another apartment and formally broke up with her. I had to change my decision of leaving. I stayed with her. I couldn’t leave her. Charles’ assignment was over. Richard was on a business trip and my dear friend was yet to forgive herself. I covered up for her so much at work.  He called occasionally only to check on the child and he made sure to send us upkeep despite our fat salaries. I encouraged Steph not to lose hope on Richard. I just felt the strong urge he would come back.

 

Four months down the line, Richard called me, and we both arranged to meet at an eatery not too far from us. I kept it away from Steph. We got there only to realize that there were just Richard and Charles in the small cozy hall for mini events. It was already decorated with nice music in the background. The baby was sleeping peacefully on Steph’s chest, immediately I took the baby from her and went to grab a sit. I could guess what was about to happen. Suddenly two more guys moved in  on us and we became 6 in the hall and right there,  Richard proposed to marry my brilliant, beautiful and gorgeous friend.

 

Amidst tears She said ..”Yes……”

 

The most touching aspect was when Richard announced to the guys….”Meet our very first child, I named her Precious because she’s precious to us.”

I couldn’t help the tears. There was a minute silence for Rita of blessed memory. Richard closed the short engagement party by saying …..

 

“Love is what we do! I love you Stephanie, despite your temper, impatience, arrogance, anger and distrust. I can help you with it all. We don’t need to search for Collins. He doesn’t deserve to know he has a child because I can’t let him lay a finger on our child. Let’s leave Him God. Jesus is Lord!

 

 

Copyright: Bukky Adediran 2017.

 

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