It is a cold Wednesday afternoon. The rain never seems to end here in Lancaster. Tiny little unending drops that just have a way of messing up your entire plans. Oh well! I would just stay home again today and feast on McVitie’s Ginger nuts and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough.
That has been my pattern for 3 days now since Chukky delivered his ‘news’ to me. I have been locked up in my accommodation here in Bailrigg crying my eyes out. Life has begun to lose meaning gradually. Everything seems so unreal. A week ago, I could not wait to be through with my Masters and head straight back to Naij. Now, I just want to disappear. I look out of my window and see couples laughing along, sharing an umbrella, looking like they have no care in the world. I smile to myself. A bitter smile because I know too well that they are all deceiving themselves.
That was how Chukky and I were back in Unilag. We met during Diploma in 2003. We both wanted to study Law desperately. I ended up with MassCom but Chukky was lucky enough to get into Law. Our relationship began as soon as we saw eachother. As ridiculous as that sounds, it is true. I’ve never believed in fronting or forming or ‘long tin’. I see it as pointless. He never asked me out formally. We just ‘went with the flow’.
Within two months of meeting him, I had met his mom, his dad, his 3 aunts, and his 2 sisters. They were such an amazing bunch. They made me feel so welcome.
Chukky’s parents were extremely godly and born again. They used to attend MFM on Olasimbo Street near 2nd gate and it was on one Sunday morning that Chukky suggested we went to Church together that I first met them. I remember that morning like it was yesterday. Chukky called me a bit earlier than normal that morning to wake me up. I automatically assumed we were going to the Redeemed Church in Jibowu, Yaba close to school which was ‘our Church’. He used to pick me and my friends up in Moremi on Sunday mornings from his BQ. But that Sunday, he walked down and told me he felt that would be a good opportunity to meet his family who usually drove down from their Festac home every Sunday to Yaba for the 7 am church start at MFM. I had planned to wear a very fitted beige knee-length dress I got from ‘Talk2Me’ in Surelere the previous day with some chocolate brown high heels and a very Mac-ed up face.
As soon as I heard ‘MFM’ and ‘family’, I turned my room upside down in search of my longest skirt, which was not that long, and the only size 10 TM shirt I owned, instead of the usual 8 I wore in order to accentuate my small waist. I also wore flat pumps. I wanted to make a good first impression. I needed my friends for moral support so I begged Lara, Bola and Nkem, my best friends right from our Vivian Fowler days, to come with us. Nkem insisted on going to her church, St Leo’s, as she is Catholic but Lara and Bolade obliged. The four of us then walked all the way from Moremi, through ISL, to 2nd gate and then to MFM that morning.
After church was over, he made the introductions.
‘Mom, this is my very good friend, Ireti’, he said with pride. I knelt down to the cold floor right there in church. I got a few puzzled stares. Some girl in my block who attended MFM too and knew us smiled knowingly and walked briskly away. She knew the drill.
‘How are you, my dear?’ his mom asked pulling me close into a hug. Bent on impressing them, I replied ‘Odima‘ They burst out laughing and said ‘You try, my dear, da alü‘. And that was I became a part of the Chibueze home
Chukky, like the rest of his family, was born again. I was not particularly overly religious. I believed in God. I still do. But that did not stop me from listening to my Tupac, Nelly, Destiny’s Child, JayZ, Tuface on a reg. That also did not stop 11:45 from being my usual destination on a Friday night along with Lara, Bolade and Nkem.
Chukky drew me to God.
The changes I made were first because I wanted to impress him. I gradually dropped the whole clubbing thing. I still wanted to go. But just so that we do not fight, I stopped. I also reduced my ‘worldly’ songs. I stopped saying ‘shit’. I stopped wearing short dresses. I was no SU. But I became what Chukky had in mind for a girlfriend. I did it with joy because I wanted him to be happy. It seemed to work because Chukky would flaunt me everywhere we went. I was his ideal ‘nwunye’- a perfect bride.
With time, I started enjoying the whole thing. I started reading my Bible more without being prompted by Chukky and I started praying of my own accord outside the usual morning ‘Thank You Lord for this morning, ok bye’. I started fasting too. I was growing as a Christian and I was loving it. Chukky, too, was loving it.
I spent my entire 5 years in university making Chukky happy. I would be a liar, however, to say he did not reciprocate. He made it clear that I was ‘trying’ and he encouraged me. He bought me gifts ‘just because it was beautiful day’. He would take me and the girls on regular all-expense paid trips to Silverbird to see the newest releases. He would listen to all my ranting after a bad day with patience and then offer his two-kobo. He would oblige in my request to learn the Igbo language although he really did not care if I knew the language or not. He was good to me and I was not about to take him for granted.
All my friends were envious of us. I knew it. It made me happy though. I walked with so much pride everywhere I went. Sometimes, he would let me drive his car and then he would depend on his friends for transportation. That really ticked the girls in my block off. Their boyfriends never did such. Even the friends I know cared about me were still jealous. None of them had been able to sustain a relationship for that long. We were the envy of both my friends and his. Males and females envied us. Lecturers knew us. The lady who sold stuff in the shop on campus knew us. We were the ideal couple. Or so I thought…
…To be continued
Thanks for reading guys and watch out for La Deuxième Partie (Part II).
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Thats all folks (for now)