He met Adoo long ago, a stunning beauty: petite but full in every other office. Hers was a chocolate dark skin that shone through any season; glistening and moist. She had the most beautiful set of legs seen anywhere, complemented by a full back and perfect waist. An ample bosom that showcased a full chest and an endearing heart followed up and ended in a most rounded ever smiling face that delighted the weariest of souls. She also had a heart of such endless depths to match. Yes, Adoo was all of this and so much more. He—Ngusha—was not the beast, either. Well, not in any deformity. He was a hunk with a height to compensate for hers, and strength to show for her every frailty. He shared her complete smile and perfect denture in a remarkable face that brought older and younger opposites to obeisance. They seemed to complete each other, as everyone said. Nature seemed to agree for a rough wind always seemed to mellow to a loving whisper at their sight. It seemed a union made in heaven, as indeed they made it.
“I have a weakness for women I can’t fight,” the baritone always whispered to her in tears that broke her to pieces. She detested the weakness and might have left but she had hers too; it made her stay. So, it kept on till a daughter came on further cementing their relationship in a love that grew stronger with every breath inhaled. They were a perfect team and brought up the dear child in a most wonderful way. Adoo had an eye for helping the less privileged and did this to the detriment of her pockets such that the Director of Finance in the State that she was, she hardly had anything to boast of, except perfumes: she was a lover of perfumes. An Engineer, his income came as the bread where hers could not reach due to charity.
One day, Adoo received a call; Ngusha was in the hospital. It was the first of several visits that confirmed him HIV positive. Several people urged her to leave. This surely was the time to leave. As a couple, they had both fought through several trials, including Ngusha’s weakness for women, together. It probably was the cause for his current predicament. This was the biggest trial. In all, Adoo’s weakness prevailed. She loved him more than ever but wouldn’t let him touch her, couldn’t. Then, he was in the hospital once more. This time it was serious and seemed the end. She was there every second of it. Adoo cried and begged God for a miracle:
“He was faithful to his drugs, Lord. If it be for my sake, let him rise. Please.” She cried over and over again till her tears, it seemed, healed him. He smiled in his healing that morning as she awoke after a troubled sleep.
“Hello, Dear.” The familiar baritone said as she cleared her eyes to his voice. It was a near instant recovery. They were excited as he was discharged. At her instant prompting, he shaved and refreshed. For once, Adoo went out of her way and got him a suit and the best perfume she could get. And truly, it was the best. She got herself a dress, then, went to the hair dressers. That evening was the best of their lives. They went to a classic restaurant with their daughter and had a meal spiced up with a radiating love that sparked the whole atmosphere with a fragrance that their combined perfumes couldn’t compete with. Later, as the smiling daughter slept, a father and mother’s loving hands pulled over a duvet. For them, the night was far from over as life called to them. The record player went on forever as they danced, she always leading, in a destined full moon. It was never better. And when forever came to an end, they proceeded to their room. Adoo slowly undressed as Ngusha followed her step, just like in the dance. He kissed her passionately as they made love like never before. Exhausted, they spoke in words only two conjoined hearts could understand. In the moments between those and sweet sleep in each other, he apologized for every single wrong he had done. She had no time for such trivialities; her man was back.
It is said that the spirit spares the favoured and postpones that moment till a time when the other wouldn’t know. So, it was that the spirit came in at that moment between twilight and dawn. He misjudged this time as she felt it at that precise moment. Two voices singing as one can never mistake the absence of the other. No different emotion came for the departed he. Love was all she had had. As such, Adoo could think of none else to accompany him on this most important journey. Then, she screamed as a hand went straight to her mouth; hers. Motherly instinct overcame the lover’s anguish. She could not wake her daughter up. But she could do only as much. She sobbed bitterly as twin rivulets of anguish, steeped in love, coursed down her face and unto his. She looked on at him with the love of all the years, her only weakness. Ngusha had been prepared and she did not fear for his eternity. For the journey there, her tears and love, the greatest gift, sped him in the greatest of ease. But how could she know?
- From Su’eddie Vershima Agema’s The Bottom of Another Tale (Shortlist, ANA Prose Prize 2014 and Abubakar Gimba Prize for Short Stories 2015)
Song for the day: ‘You can’t make old friends’ by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton