she climbed the staircases and walked some few steps away, moving a bit further down the path when she heard his voice from behind. `i think his voice is coming from the slaughter room’ she thought and turned round to face where she was coming from.
The door was locked but she pushed it gently and gained entrance into the slaughter room.
There was the table-tennis board at the middle with Kazeem the left hand clown on one side and Mr. Oriyomi on the other side, both holding bats, as the tennis ball was sent on irrelevant errand back and forth, in full speed. Both players moving and changing angles.
The moment she entered was when Kazeem sent his opponent a looped ball (looping), and Mr. Oriyomi smashed the ball across the right side of the table sending Kazeem who was at the left side running to catch up with the smash, he collided with Theresa.
“Oh God!. Who be you na?”
“Oga them don beat you make you commot”
“Guy drop bat abeg” Abiola said collecting the bat from Kazeem who was still groaning, trying to blame his loss on Theresa.
“I for carry that smash if to sey she no disturb me” he boasted and left the bat.
“Hey Akpere (basket)”Mr. Oriyomi made jest “next time you go carry am. Next!”
“Start” Abiola said bending low to serve the ball and declare the game started.
Instead of his opponent saying `welcome,’ he said “wa je ya (you’ll be beaten)” and the ball resumed errands.
There were windows made of wood, about 14 of them in the room. Those waiting for sets were seen leaning on the frames.
Izu was among those who stood watching, but didn’t know how to play the game. He just enjoyed the chants Mr. Oriyomi often gave whenever he played. He saw when Theresa came in and went towards where she stood at the door.
“I need to see you, please”
“I hope say no wahala sha?” Izu asked puzzled.
It was last 2 nights they had visited the hotel and she hadn’t said anything since then about the incident. Hope everything was okay? He thought.
“No dear, there is no problem but it is quite important” she explained.
“Okay! Let’s go” and they left to the upper floor.
They entered the JSS3 white classroom and some girls and guys where there and they didn’t stay there. They checked JSS3 green and it was deserted. They went in and shut the door behind.
“Yes, what is it?” Izu asked sitting on a desk.
“I don’t even know how to begin” she said and folded her hands to her chest.
“Ermm!. It seems we might not be seeing each other again” she let the cat out of the bag.
“But why na?. Shey something happen that day wey we go the hotel?. Abi your madam complain?” He asked. His eyes were now jaundiced. What this girl was trying to say, he doesn’t know. `abi na wetin I do that day make her dey talk this kind rubbish’ he thought.
“See, Izu!. I’m sorry, nothing happened but,…….” She was completely distressed now. Her emotions were telling on how she felt revealing the news to him might make him feel.
Water dropped from her eyes. She sniffed and breathed hard. The was the only guy she ever loved. His love were worth more than gold even though, people – mostly her friends complained about the type of guy she was in love with. “That guy wey no fit speak english well” they had derided her. But she didn’t care, she loved this guy so much.
She remembered she had said in one of those moments, people were deeply in love “I will never leave you, no matter what. Not even distance can separate us” but all seemed to have been words of mouth. She can never stand by those promises made in the euphoria of true love, – when the love was just at its beginning. Those time one felt like a man that had just been bestowed with a new wife.
“Why na Theresa?. Why you dey cry?. Tell me wetin happen!.” He didn’t know what she cried for but it was no good, whatever it was.
His cheerfulness that was not even half cheerful, seemed to have depreciated in the space of seeing her tears. He was troubled and inquisitive. His mind searched through many possible things she might be driving at, might be trying to say.
“I,……..I,……” She broke down again.
“Please, you are getting me afraid. Talk wetin you wan talk na!.” He pleaded, using one of his hands to wipe her tears.
She brought his hand down and inter-locked hers in his, holding it out with some few space between them. “My madam said we would be travelling out of the country, we won’t be coming back again” she finally broke the bad news.
This was a suicide statement she just said, but she didn’t know how Izu would react. She knew he loved her but how genuine was his love, she couldn’t tell. Recently he had started seeing the girl Enore in SS1 and she had felt otherwise about his love. She looked into his eyes to ascertain how he felt but the she couldn’t read his emotions.
He released his hands from hers and walked out of her presence.
“Izu! Izu!! Izuchukwu!!!” She called out but he didn’t look back, didn’t even make to halt. He just kept going till he was out of the door.
She felt she had betrayed him. She couldn’t control her tears, she wept bitterly, – snot flowing down her nose. She sniffed to control the mucus. Pierced sharp cries enveloped the room. She cursed her sister, her madam and her life the way it had been turning out. She regretted ever coming to serve as a maid. But it was all useless, if she hadn’t come, how then would she have met him?.
“i must find him and explain to him I will continue loving him no matter the distance. I must find him” she said looking deranged, wiped her tears to go find him.
She rushed down to the slaughter room but he wasn’t there. She raced, jumping stairs, one or two to the third, approached the hall and it was already getting short of people, – he wasn’t there.
“Theresa!. What’s the matter? Your eyes look swollen” Doris, one of her very close friend asked but she shouted in annoyance “leave me alone.” Leaving her friend and the people around in shock – as she raced to the field.
People stared after her as though, she was mad. She was definitely out of hands they thought.
To Be Continued….