|Join Nairaland / LOGIN! / Trending / Recent / New|
Stats: 1,966,480 members, 4,103,295 topics. Date: Sunday, 25 February 2018 at 04:36 PM
|Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 10:20pm On Nov 24, 2012|
"Sonia? Good morning sweetheart." The huskiness in his tone told her he hadn't been awake long. It was barely seven.
"I've been dreaming about us. Our cruise didn't last nearly long enough. The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that you're going to be my wife in June. I wish you were here right now," he murmured. "Why don't you come over for a little while before you have to leave for work? I want to show you how much I love you."
She wouldn't be going to the university today; in fact, she'd already called Rita, one of the university graduate students, to cover her classes.
"Sonia? Why aren't you saying anything?"
A shudder passed through her body. She wished she could tell him everything he wanted to hear. But the last urgent message, one of many left on her answering machine by her in-laws, had turned her world upside down for the second time in her life. They'd called again from an hotel in Maitama, Abuja not five minutes after she and Divine had walked in the door from their trip with James.
"James. . .we have to t-talk!" She swallowed hard. "I'm just glad I caught you before you left for work."
"Sweetheart? Something's really wrong. What is it?" She could feel his concern. There wasn't a more understanding man than James Okoye. But when she told him...
"Sonia?" He prodded. Don't go all quiet on me."
"I-its about Kenneth."
"What about him?"
James voice had dropped to a lower register. Kenneth had been the ghost between them far too long for Jame's liking. Sonia was terrified of what this news was going to do to him, but she couldn't put it off any longer.
"H-he didn't die in the war, James."
As soon as she'd said those words, the silence on the other end was so eloquent with shock, Sonia didn't know if she could bear it.
When she'd been given that news, she'd gone into shock herself, unable to tell her inlaws what had happened on the cruise-that she'd accepted James Okoye's proposal and would be marrying him at the end of the year's first half, hopefully with their blessing.
She hadn't been counting on it ofcourse, because Kenneth's parents were still in mourning over their only son's death. She was well aware that they would have trouble allowing James into their grandson's life on a permanent basis, let alone accepting him as her husband.
But with one phone call, everything had changed, and her world no longer made sense. After six and half hours of soul-searching agony, it still didn't. She was in love with James, but she'd never stopped loving Kenneth.
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 7:55am On Nov 25, 2012|
The joy she'd experienced on hearing he wasn't dead, after all, that he'd be home in a few hours, was indescribable. Everything had taken on the properties of fantastic dream.
When her normally sober Diviine heard the news, he ran around the house making whooping noises, leaping in the air at odd moments - behaviour so uncharacteristic she barely recognised him - while she'd been in a sort of stupor.
Not until she could function well to carry her suitcases into the bedroom did thoughts of James intrude on her consciousness. Then she was overwhelmed by guilt. Consumed by it.
James was in love with her. And she adored him. She couldn't wait to become his wife. But Kenneth was alive! Her beloved husband who'd been missing in action and presumed dead. The husband she hadn't seen for seven years.
Jame's sharp intake of breath sounded like ripping silk. "So what are you saying? Is he a POW?"
"He was." Sonia couldn't keep the tremor out of her voice. She couldn't stand the thought of what Kenneth had been forced to live through.
"He's been released, a-and is on his way home."
"You mean to Ghana?"
"No. I-I mean he was in Ghana for debriefing, but that's over. The air force is flying him into Hart Airforce Base, Abuja this morning."
Another ghastly silence. "I'm coming over."
"No, James!" She panicked. "You can't!"
The anguish in his voice devastated her.
"There's no time, James. His plane is landing at nine-thirty this morning. As it is, Divine and I are going to have to rush to make it. His parents drove up there yesterday. They're meeting us at the base."
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 4:26pm On Nov 25, 2012|
God forgive her for putting off this phone call until the last minute, but she didn't know any other way to do it. She dreaded the idea of causing James any more pain when he'd waited two years for her to agree to marry him.
"I don't believe this is happening. I just put my ring on your finger ten days ago. Sonia..." He cried in agony.
She reeled, clutching the headboard of her bed for support. The bed she'd shared with Kenneth for seven years. In eight weeks she'd be sharing Jame's bed. Now Ken was coming home....
"Will you be wearing it when you see him?" She knew it was anger that had made James lash out, anger and pain.
This was only the beginning.
"James" her voice shook as tears gushed down her cheeks "--you know how much I love you. You know it."
"Mom?" Divine hollered. "Hurry up! What if Dad's plane gets in early?" I want to see him come in!"
"I'll be right there," she called.
Divine was in shock, too. Euphoric shock. The kind only a thirteen-year-old boy could experience. A boy who'd just learned that his hero father, the man whose memory he'd always idolized to the exclusion of every other male, including James - especially James was alive.
To Divine, everything was so simple. His dad was coming home to be his dad again. Divine had huge plans for them, plans that toppled the foundation James had been carefully laying to reach some sort of understanding with her son.
One phone call had wiped out two years of work. Already James was a memory. No one could compete with Divine's flesh-and-blood father, who was coming home to stay. What more could one ask of life? End of story.
A groan escaped her throat. "I-I've put your ring in my jewelry box."
"And where are Kenneth's rings?"
She closed her eyes in fresh pain. "The same place."
"For how long?" He demanded, his voice fierce with hurt.
Dear God. That was a question she couldn't answer.
He murmured a few bitter curses, sounding as out of control as she felt. "I had no right to ask that of you. No right at all. But I'm warning you, Sonia. I haven't spent the last two years loving you, only to give up now. Remember that, even if you can't remember me after today!"
"James! I'm in love with you darling. I swear I'll call you before the day's out. I swear it!"
"Don't make promises you can't keep."
"Have you so little faith in me?" She cried.
"Mom?" Divine opened the door of her bedroom and poked his head in. "Hurry up!"
She nodded, signaling that he should close it again and leave her some privacy. He frowned his impatience before the door clicked shut. He knew she was on phone with James.
"Lord, Sonia. This has nothing to do with faith and everything to do with the kind of marriage you and Kenneth once had. So let's not pretend."
She flinched from his bitterness. "I - I'm not pretending."
"Oh, hell, Sonia - "
"I have to go," she whispered.
"I know, and I'm being an insensitive bastard." She could hear the tears in his voice. "But I also know that the next time I see you, things'll be different. You won't be the same Sonia who finally made every damn dream of mine come true."
"I haven't been the same Sonia since I got that phone call," she admitted in a dull voice. "To be honest, I don't know who I am, James. Right now there's only one reality - I'm terrified."
"You don't know the half of it, sweetheart."
The line went dead.
|Re: Divided Emotions by chellsee: 8:06pm On Nov 25, 2012|
Hi,Omolola. Ur story is muahhh. Interesting.
I wonder what kind of marriage she used to have with Kenneth. Now dt he's back, wat's gonna happen to James. Ooooo.
Okay, in oliver twisty mood. I want some more. You got a blog whr we can follow ur stories?
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 8:58pm On Nov 25, 2012|
chellsee: Hi,Omolola. Ur story is muahhh. Interesting.
Not yet, still working on it!
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 9:02pm On Nov 25, 2012|
"I'VE GOT A PIT in my stomach" M.T. Danjuma muttered, his fingers clawing the armrest.
Kenneth Brown gazed dispassionately at the bandaged stump below his left wrist, then flexed his right hand, as if reminding himself it was still there. He leaned across the man who was closer than a brother to look out the window of their C-141 transport plane.
What an incredible irony that after six and a half years of being held prisoner in a godforsaken desert, they were returning to one. He sat back and closed his eyes. "I know the feeling."
The plane engines droned on, filling the eerie silence that had been building the nearer they came to their destination. Both he and M.T had survived captivity at various locations inside Iraq, but they'd never known the names of places or the co-ordinates. The Iraqi soldiers had moved them by truck a total of fifteen times, and each time they'd been blind-folded.
Both Kenneth and M.T had agreed that when they got out, they didn't want their family re-unions to happen in Abuja, Nigeria. They just wanted to be debriefed, receive any medical attention at the National Hospital, Abuja, then fly home without losing any more precious time.
There was to be no press coverage, no news leak that would result in their pictures being plastered all over the Daily Tabloids. No gruesome details to recount of an experience they preferred to forget. All they wanted was their privacy and the right to carry on with their lives.
M.T and Kenneth had discussed every conceivable problem they might face after being gone this long and presumed dead. All POWs did. The worst fear among the married ones was the very real possibility that their wives had moved on and remarried. The prisoners with children had the additional worry that some other guy was raising their family.
Kenneth's thoughts fastened on Sonia, who'd never been out of his heart for a moment. Theirs was the kind of love destined to last a lifetime and beyond. They'd talked about everything before he'd left with his unit, everything that could happen - except the chance that he might be taken prisoner, a subject Sonia refused to even contemplate.
But it didn't matter, because he knew she'd wait for him, till the end of time if necessary. That knowledge had been the only thing to keep him sane during his long incarceration.
But nothing-not hope or even faith-could have prepared Kenneth or M.T for the hell of not being able to talk to their wives yet. Sonia had a new phone number and address, listed under S. Brown, which came as a jolt. All he got was an answering machine voice telling him to leave a message, which he didn't feel ready to do. He preferred his first contact with Sonia to be in person.
M.T couldn't even find his old phone number. The operator had insisted there was no listing for Hauwa Hammed or anything close.
He'd been raised by an aunt before his marriage to Hauwa. She was the only relative of his still living in Lagos. But when he called her, he'd been forced to leave a message, asking her to get in touch with his wife to inform her that he was alive and on his way home.
As Kenneth watched M.T retch into a bag, he realized that the trauma of not knowing anything had finally caught up with him. The thrill of coming home had been swallowed up in the anxiety of being this close to loved ones without having made that first vital contact.
Neither of them spoke aloud what they were thinking-that his bride of a year had remarried. Kenneth grimaced, M.T had lost his breakfast and still couldn't keep anything down.
Not until Kenneth had undergone an emotional reunion over the phone with his parents did the tight band around his own chest relax a little. His overjoyed mom and dad not only reassured him that they were in good health, thank God, they answered his single most important question.
Sonia hadn't remarried. She was doing a wonderful job of raising Kenneth's look-alike son, who was thirteen now and already approaching five foot ten. Kenneth's mother forgot her tears long enough to add laughingly that it wouldn't be much longer before Divine rivaled his father's six foot two.
Kenneth couldn't talk after that. Nothing else mattered. The details of their lives he'd catch up on later.
Sonia was still waiting for him. She had never given up hope.
If there was a black cloud on the horizon, it hung over M.T., who had no idea what future awaited him. It wasn't fair, Kenneth thought, not when M.T had just been released from the depths of hell, only to be thrust down all over again if it turned out he'd lost his wife because of a damn war over oil.
"She isn't going to be there, Kenneth."
They had been through too much to lie to each other.
"Maybe, maybe not. If that's the case, plan on coming home with me."
|Re: Divided Emotions by 53cur3m0d3(m): 5:27am On Nov 26, 2012|
U told me I was gonna like dis and hell yeah I'm...reminds me of favorite Nigerian novel "Our Man, The President" by Bode Sowande.I call him Nigeria's James Hardley Chase..
Way to go Sis, I'm already subscribed.If U don't update every hour,I'll disturb U on the phone o
|Re: Divided Emotions by Cuddlemii: 7:21am On Nov 26, 2012|
I never knew you could write too.
Will read this later and give a feedback.
|Re: Divided Emotions by Mynd44: 7:34am On Nov 26, 2012|
53, Chase writes like a kid.
This feels more like Robert ludlumto me
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 11:44am On Nov 26, 2012|
I do! Aii dear
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 11:48am On Nov 26, 2012|
Mynd_44: Nice stuff.
|Re: Divided Emotions by 53cur3m0d3(m): 12:11pm On Nov 26, 2012|
Mynd_44: Nice stuff.I read 2 of dat guy's books last year during my IT but can't remember their names.He's very good plus we all know U're mad, lolzz
|Re: Divided Emotions by 53cur3m0d3(m): 12:13pm On Nov 26, 2012|
Omolola1:I askd for it to be hourly, now I'm bout to get mad and bombard U wit calls (I don't care if U're at work)
|Re: Divided Emotions by Mynd44: 12:15pm On Nov 26, 2012|
53cur3m0d3:Seriouly read Grisham, Ludlum, Clancy and stephen King and you would realise that Chase is child's play
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 7:33pm On Nov 26, 2012|
Updating in 10 minutes
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 7:59pm On Nov 26, 2012|
As soon as he'd yanked on a pullover, James phoned his secretary at home, but she'd already left for work. When he called his office, he got the answering machine. He waited for the beep. "Barb? I'm back from the cattle ranch but I won't be in until tomorrow. Re-schedule all my appointments for another day."
Within minutes he'd locked up his house and sped off on his racing bike toward the mountains. Until two years ago, he'd always lived in Lagos. But after losing his fiancee two years before that to a rare form of brain cancer, he'd needed a change of environment for his restlessness. Biking had always been one of his favorite sports, and now it became a neccessity of his life.
In the beginning, the pain of his loss had been so acute he'd deliberately pushed himself to the extreme, with the result that for a few hours each day, the physical agony camouflaged his heartache. As time went by, he found a certain satisfaction in seeing how hard he could drive himself. He began entering national bike races and eventually traveled to Europe to race. Two years ago, he'd ended up in Abaji, Abuja. Having turned pro, he'd attended a special racing camp to train for the Tour de France.
Abaji was where he'd met Sonia Brown. She'd been out cycling with her son and his friend. They were in the middle of a private road when James came upon them at full speed. He'd almost crashed into them on his bike. Once apologies were made on both sides, he realized he wanted to get to know her better. From that moment on, his world had started to right itself.
Though he continued to compete in cycling races both in Europe and Africa, he never did enter the Tour de France. Everything he'd wanted was right here in Abaji, where he intended to put down roots - where there was the promise of love, marriage and a ready-made family.
Virtually overnight he'd relocated, expanding his family's outdoor-sign business to Abaji. Wilde Outdoors was a successful enterprise he'd helped his father and brothers build throughout high school and college.
It had taken two years to make Sonia see him, instead of Kenneth. Finally, on that cruise, she'd turned the tables and reached out to him, telling him she loved him, begging him to ask her one more time to marry him.
That was what he'd been waiting for.
He'd pulled out the diamond ring he'd purchased three months after meeting her - a promise to himself that one day he'd win her love and be allowed to put it on her finger - then slid it home with an overwhelming sense of fulfillment and joy.
All that was shattered by her phone call an hour ago.
'He didn't die in the war, James'. The gut wrenching premonition that the pain he was experiencing now might never go away, might become worse than anything he'd ever known before, tore through him like a jagged shard.
Visions his beautiful golden-haired Sonia running into the arms of the man who'd loved her since secondary school almost destroyed him.
It was God's truth that Kenneth Brown had more right than anyone to return to land of the living and reclaim his wife and child who'd probably been the only reason he hadn't committed suicide in prison. But it was also God's truth that when her husband had been reported missing in action and presumed dead, James and Sonia had been given every right to meet and fall in love, to enjoy a full rich life with Divine.
When his first love had been cruelly taken from him, there had, at least, been a sense of closure, because her death was final, irrevocable. But there could be no closure if he lost Sonia. Knowing she was living in the same city he was, yet knowing he couldn't see her. Knowing that the woman he loved was affording her husband the pleasure of her company, her sweetness and humor, her intelligence, her sunny smile.
Tonight she'd be sleeping under the same roof with Kenneth. . .
Could she forget what she and James had shared over the past two years? On the cruise?
Would she turn to Kenneth tonight and give him the comfort of the beautiful body her husband must have been craving for seven hellish years? The body James had yet to possess?
Even if she wasn't physically or emotionally ready to sleep with Kenneth again, the real possibility that she might make love to him out of the love she'd always felt for him, out of her compassion for all he'd suffered, ripped James apart. Agonizing pictures filled his mind, blotting out any awareness of his surroundings.
It took the blare of a car horn on the narrow stretch of curving road to alert him to the drop off not two feet from his bike tires.
The only thing holding him back was the sure knowledge that she'd fallen deeply in love with him, James. So deeply, in fact, that he could never doubt theirs was the forever kind of love. Sonia was with him, heart and soul. He had faith in their love. It wasn't going to go away just because Kenneth had come home. Love didn't work like that.
No matter how much she still loved her husband, the man had been gone seven years. Tremendous changes had taken place in her, and undoubtedly in him. She was a different person now, in love with a different man - and it wasn't Kenneth!
That was James edge.
By all that was holy, he intended to keep that edge until Sonia walked down the aisle with him. Unfortunately, Divine would fight him every step of the way.
Divine was Kenneth's edge.
Divine had never liked James. He'd made it plain from day one. Sonia had insisted that, given time, Divine would come around and get over his initial resentment of James's intrusion into their private world.
To James's chargin, however, that resentment had grown into dislike - the major reason he hadn't brought up the subject of marriage a year earlier. They'd taken Divine on the cruise hoping to forge a bond that included the three of them, but when they'd told her son they were planning to get married, James saw the hurt in Divine's eyes. Worse, James felt the boy's silent brooding anger and realized they had a serious problem on their hands.
Sonia reasoned that Kenneth's parents, who had a lot of influence over their grandson, had fueled some of his negative response by not accepting Kenneth's death.
James had been encouraged and relieved when he heard Sonia admit that her son could benefit from some counseling. She'd announced that, in spite of Divine's problem, she intended to marry James. As soon as they got back from their cruise, she would get an appointment for Divine to see a specialist and get the help he needed.
But with one phone call, everything had changed.
The boy's father's unexpected return from the dead precluded any such appointment. All Divine's problems began and ended there.
That bitter irony brought a sardonic twist to Janes windburned lips.
He took the next dangerous curve at full speed, surprised and ashamed of his own jealousy over a man who'd been gone seven years in the service of his country. A man who continued to inspire unqualified love and devotion in the hearts of those he left behind.
Surprised, because such a descriptive emotion was unworthy of him.
Ashamed, because he planned to fight a valiant, honorable, innocent man for Sonia's love - and win!
|Re: Divided Emotions by IZUKWU(m): 9:18pm On Nov 26, 2012|
Lola, i have just one word, wow!,you too much!
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 9:27pm On Nov 26, 2012|
Before Sonia could turn off the ignition and get out of their benz, Divine had jumped from the passenger seat to greet Kenneth's parents. Sonia locked the door and started toward them. The wind seemed stronger than ever, molding her slim silk coat-dress to her body.
Divine was so excited his hostility over her engagement to James might never have been. The fear that he would bring up the subject before she'd had a chance to tell her in-laws in private was momentarily abated.
"Dad's alive! He's coming home!" His voice cracked; it was changing and came out half an octave lower than it used to. "I can't believe it!" He shouted. His cries of joy mingled with theirs as he ran into their outstretched arms, the tears streaming down his happy face.
"I can't believe it, either. I can't. Something must be wrong with me. Kenneth's supposed to be arriving in a few minutes. I'm afraid it isn't true, that none of this is real...."
"Sonia?" Janet rushed up to her and gave her a welcoming hug. "It's a good thing you got back from the cruise when you did. After all he's suffered, can you imagine how Kenny would feel if his own wife wasn't here to welcome him home?"
No. She couldn't.
There was more than a hint of accusation in her mother-in-law's tone. Though she'd practiced restraint by not voicing her opinion about that cruise with James, her disapproval had been simmering beneath the surface.
"This has all happened so fast George and I are still in a state of shock."
"So am I," Sonia whispered. But shock didn't begin to cover it.
"Do you think that's his plane, Grandpa?" This came from Divine as they proceeded toward the hanger. All four of them turned to the north to watch the plane's approach.
Sonia's heart leapt into her throat. Could Kenneth really be on that plane coming in at such a sharp angle? George had his camera ready, then lowered it, "Nope. That's a C-130. Your dad's coming in on a C-141. Come on. Let's keep going."
"Are you sure this is the right place?"
"I'm sure." His grandpa chuckled before throwing an affectionate arm around Divine's shoulders. "This is the Base terminal, where all the transports come in."
"But there aren't very many people around here. Maybe we got the wrong time."
"Maybe your dad's the only one flying in. After all, he's a war hero, and that makes him a VIP," he added with great pride.
While they watched the sky, Sonia half listened to Divine's excited chatter followed by his grandparents' patient responses. They were wonderful people. The two of them had been making the five-hour drive from their home in Maitama to Abaji every other weekend since Kenneth had left. When they weren't in town, they phoned Divine several times a week to stay in close touch. They'd always doted on their grandson, but when Kenneth was missing in action and presumed killed, Divine had become their source of comfort.
Sonia had never known her own parents, who'd died in a car-bus collision soon after she was born. The grandparents on her mother's side had stepped in to raise her. Not long after she'd marrued Kenneth, they'd died within a year of each other. Yet she considered herself a fortunate woman to be loved by Kenneth's parents.
She owed George and Janet Brown everything for making her feel an integral part of their family, for loving Divine like their own. Without their support during that black period when Kenneth was first reported missing after an enemy attack near the Saudi border town of Khafji, she had no idea how she and Divine would have survived the ordeal.
Because they'd been so close to her over the years it never occurred to her that they might be upset when James unexpectedly came into her life. Throughout the first six months of their tenuous relationship, Sonia had kept it very low-key. He was either working at his business or off winning bicycle races. When he was in town, she urged him to date other women, since she had no plans to remarry and didn't want to lead him on.
Sonia explained all this to Janet and George when they began asking questions about James. To her surprise, they admitted they were hurt that she would even consider dating. Not until then did Sonia realize that Kenneth's parents still held out hope he was alive. Their reaction made her feel guilty, because she was more physically and emotionally attracted to James than she was willing to acknowledge. But like her in-laws, she'd never been completely able to accept Kenneth's death. The conflict between these emotions tortured her.
She had decided to put James off, but she'd under-estimated his determination to have a relationship with her. He demanded to know why she was avoiding him. When she finally told him the truth, he pointed out that even if Kenneth had been taken prisoner, all of them had been released for years earlier.
His argument made sense, and she realized that she couldn't go on living in limbo. It wasn't fair to her or Divine. It definitely wasn't fair to James, who'd confessed he'd fallen in love with her and was willing to wait as long as it took to get a commitment from her.
Since Sonia couldn't deny the strong feelings between them, they dated each other exclusively when he was in town, despite the senior Brown's reservations.
But in doing this, she not only incurred her inlaws' displeasure, she brought out an ugly side of Divine she hadn't known existed. All because they could sense the growing bond between her and Ja---
"There's a plane, Grandpa!"
"Right there." Divine pointed toward the southern sky.
George shook his head. "Wrong direction."
"You don't think it's Dad's?" The disappointment in his voice spoke volumes.
"I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see."
Sonia stared at the four-engine transport, which had started its descent. The ground crew was scramming in preparation for its arrival.
For a moment it felt like deja vu. Only, the last time she'd seen that type of aircraft, her eyes had been swollen shut from crying, and the plane had been headed into the blue, carrying away the husband she adored.
Suddenly she was twenty-four years old. The excruciating pain of that moment expoded inside her all over again.
She gasped for breath as pure revelation flowed through her.
Kenneth was on that plane.
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 9:30pm On Nov 26, 2012|
IZUKWU: Lola, i have just one word, wow!,you too much!
|Re: Divided Emotions by IZUKWU(m): 9:53pm On Nov 26, 2012|
Omolola1:you are welcome, one more before i sleep?
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 9:58pm On Nov 26, 2012|
IZUKWU: you are welcome, one more before i sleep?
Hahahahaha. .just updated, next update would be tomorrow!
Don't be an Oliver
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 10:14am On Nov 27, 2012|
Its wheels came down. In another minute it touched ground and taxied along the runway before making a U-turn towards them.
"Do you think it's Dad?"
"George?" Janet cried, her excitement almost tangible.
"It's your father's plane." Sonia's voice shook with conviction. "Come on, Divine." Galvanized into action, she grabbed her son's hand, and they began running against the wind. George and Janet weren't far behind.
As the plane pulled to a stop and the engines were cut, the ground crew stood ready to help lower the steps to the ground. A couple of dark-haired airmen started down. Adrenaline had Sonia almost jumping out of her skin.
She knew what Divine was asking and shook her head. Her gaze fastened compulsively on the door opening.
A painfully thin man with brown hair and gaunt cheeks, possibly mid-to late twenties, appeared at the threshold carrying a duffel bag. He was wearing the pine green full-dress army uniform and garison cap.
Sonia watched him watching them before he took his first step down the stairs. The look of disappointment on his face haunted her.
"There he is!" Both grandparents shouted at the same time.
Sonia's breath caught as a lean pale man emerged slowly from the interior, half a head taller than the soldier preceding him down the steps. He wore the same green uniform, but was carrying his cap along with a duffel bag in his right hand. His black hair was cut in a buzz.
She'd already made her first mistake. She was looking for her dashing, twenty-five-year-old husband, who'd worn his hair a little long. Who'd always been tanned and fit. The man who'd been her entire world from the first second she'd laid eyes on him.
The soldier she was staring at now bore a superficial resemblance to that husband. But this man was obviously older - thirty-two and thinner. It was like looking at a drawing of someone as the artist might have imagined that person appearing over the passage of time and altered by circumstance.
Seven years had gone by. Seven! The realization clutched at her heart.
"Son! Over here!"
"Oh, George -" Janet broke down "-he's lost so much weight!"
"None of that, honey. Give him a couple months of Sonia's home-cooked meals and he'll put it all back on. Except for that, he looks great." George muttered gruffly.
Divine broke free of Sonia's hand and sprinted toward his father. In the next instant, they were embracing. Divine's initial tears eventually were replaced with by joyous barks of laughter as they began inspecting each other. Already that strong father-son bond established during the first six years of Divine's life was back in full effect.
How strange to see the two of them together, yet how...right they looked. Divine had inherited his father's build and complexion. Even certain mannerisms were the same.
Still, Sonia checked her steps. Like a faulty imprint on a coin, Kenneth's image appeared blurry, while Divine's stood out in stark relief, dear and familiar.
Just then Kenneth raised his head, and a pair of black lashed flame-brown eyes no length of time could ever change sought hers over Divine's shoulder. The secret smile he'd always reserved for her alone shone from his face.
His remembered smile conjured up a myraid emotions from their frozen prison, and now they merely overwhelmed her.
"Kenny..." She cried, reaching blindly for him.
He met her halfway, clutching her to him so hard she could feel his ribs through his uniform - graphic evidence of the inhuman treatment he'd received in captivity.
His body quaked. "If you hadn't been here waiting for me, I would have died before my feet touched the tarmac."
That solemn pronouncement of truth shook her to the core. If she and James had extended their trip one more day. . .
"Sonnie..." His deep voice broke. On a low moan, his mouth closed over hers.
How many times had she known her husband's possessive kiss? How many times had she been swept away by his passion, brought to tears by his tenderness? Who could count all the ways his mouth had brought her infinite pleasure, the times he'd made her feel immortal, no matter the hour, mood or situation?
Yet this kiss was different from the others.
His soul was searching for hers, seeking to ascertain that it still belonged to him, that there were no secrets, no shadows.
Not completely satisfied, he deepened their kiss. When Kenneth when in pursuit, his instincts never failed him.
Her body, that tangible conduit to the soul, started to tremble.
His body went perfectly still before he relinquishhed her mouth. In his eyes she glimpsed unspeakable pain, and had to look away.
'He knows,' her heart groaned.
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 8:29pm On Nov 27, 2012|
"KENNY. . .WHAT HAPPENED to your hand?"
The undisguised horror in Sonia's voice, coupled with a muffled cry from George, filled Sonia with unnamed dread.
She eased herself far enough away from Kenneth's chest to see his hands. He glanced down. Out of the others' hearing, he said, "It appears we've both mislaid our wedding rings."
Staggering guilt and pain knifed through her body before she saw what the others had seen - there was a bandage where his left hand had been. In the next instant, graphic pictures of combat scenarios flashed through her mind.
She started to weave.
Don't scream out loud, Sonia.
Through narrowed eyes, Kenneth registered her horrified reaction before she felt him shut her out and turn to Divine.
"As I told my boy. . ." He touched the dark hair with his right hand ". . . I've gotten along just fine without my other hand, but I'll check out the latest hardware to see about making some improvements."
The mocking tone, perfectly gauged to alleviate their son's fears, devastated her. In desperation Sonia put an arm around Divine's shoulders, as much out of a need for his physical support as the desire to reassure her son. He was fighting a losing battle to hold back the tears; obviously, fresh shock over his father's loss had begun to settle in.
Her in-laws fared no better. George was ashenfaced and Janet had broken down sobbing. All Sonia and Divine could do was stand by helplessly and watch the reunion between Kenneth and his parents, two of the most devoted generous people in the world. People who'd steadfastly refused to believe their only son was dead.
Her heart underwent another convulsion. She couldn't get over the cruel irony that after seven years of unutterable suffering to both body and soul Kenneth had to be the one comforting all of them.
In that regard, he hadn't changed. Her husband had always been a take-charge kind of man, watching out for everyone else, never worrying about his own needs.
Early in their relationship, she'd come to cherish that unselfishness in him; she'd considered herself blessed to be his wife.
She still did, didn't she?
He hadn't died. He was alive. His flesh and blood body was here, just two feet away. His spirit animated his body.
Then why did it seem as if they were standing on opposite sides of a transparent glass wall, able to see each other but unable to break through and make contact?
"There's someone I want you to meet."
Kenneth had gently disengaged himself from his mother's clinging arms to beckon the thin soldier Sonia had seen leaving the plane first. He'd been standing a good distance away. She hadn't even realized he was still waiting at the airfield.
"M.T.? Come here and let me introduce you."
M.T? Sonia vaguely remembered the name from Kenneth's early days in the army reserve, the seemingly safe route he'd chosen to help pay for his undergraduate schooling.
The other man shook his head. "I don't want to intrude, Sergeant."
Sonia saw Kenneth's jaw harden. "You're not intruding, and the days of calling me Sergeant are over. We're civilians now," he asserted in an authoritative voice. "Everybody, say hello to M.T, Danjuma. He was named Mohammed-Tawa for his grandfather, but nobody knows that except me." Kenneth grinned.
"He lost an eye when our truck hit a land mine, but that didn't stop M.T. We managed to walk a good fifty miles and give an Iraqi patrol fits before they picked us up and moved us to an underground bunker. The rest is. . .history."
M.T gave a solemn nod to everyone. "The sarge lost his hand in the same explosion. Since the Iraqis don't give medical care to prisoners, we were lucky the blast burned us, because it cauterized our wounds so there wasn't any infection. The doctors in Ghana cleaned us up with a little surgery before sending us home."
Kenneth nodded. "Our superiors at the base told us there'd been word that a few isolated soldiers had been taken prisoner for negotiation purposes in case Saddam Hussein wanted to start another war later on down the road. Our incarceration just lasted a little longer than we'd expected," Kenneth joked. "You could say we've adopted each other. Since his wife and aunt don't know he's back yet, I've invited him to stay with us." As he spoke, Kenneth's eyes focused on Sonia. The message was clear and unmistakable.
". . .whatever's wrong between us, for the love of God, don't let me down in this. . ."
She started shaking and couldn't stop. The fact that M.T's wife - let alone other members of his family - hadn't shown up could mean anything. But Sonia couldn't help fearing the worst, she sensed the same was true for Kenneth.
Galvanized into action, she threw her arms around M.T and hugged his stiff form. "Welcome home soldier. Thank heaven you and Kenneth had each other." She kissed his wooden lips in salute.
"Thank heaven is right," he whispered. His body suddenly relaxed and he hugged her back. "As far as I'm concerned, your husband walks on water. He thinks you do, too, but I guess you already know that."
"I do." She couldn't dislodge the boulder in her throat. "Apparently he feels that way about you, too."
Following her lead, Kenneth's parents took turns hugging the soldier, showering him with genuine affection because he and Kenneth had helped each other stay alive. That made him family, and it was good enough for them.
|Re: Divided Emotions by cutestones(f): 8:35am On Nov 28, 2012|
This piece is lovely lola, it has me following you to keep up with the story-line!
|Re: Divided Emotions by Ice4jez(m): 11:59am On Nov 28, 2012|
if u read this lovely story n enjoyed it but refuse to like den u re committing a crime punishable under the law.lola u re free to ask me anytin up to half of nigeria lol.may ink neva finish in ur pen
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 12:38pm On Nov 28, 2012|
cutestones: This piece is lovely lola, it has me following you to keep up with the story-line!
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 12:40pm On Nov 28, 2012|
Ice4jez: if u read this lovely story n enjoyed it but refuse to like den u re committing a crime punishable under the law.lola u re free to ask me anytin up to half of nigeria lol.may ink neva finish in ur pen
Amen to that!
Seriously, I can ask anything?
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 12:41pm On Nov 28, 2012|
M.T shook hands with Divine and put his garrison cap on him, easing any awkwardness there might have been. "You and your dad are spitting images of each other, you know that?"
"Yeah." Divine's smile wreathed his whole face as he stared at his father with open worship. He'd attached himself to Kenneth's side once more; Sonia guessed he'd stay there for the duration.
"Why aren't you guys wearing your Purple Hearts?" George wanted to know.
A trace of a smile curved M.T's lips. "We're no heroes. We should've looked where we were going."
"You can say that again," Kenneth added with a rueful grin.
George shook his graying head, which had been as dark as Kenneth's and Divine's, his eyes suspisciously bright. "That's a matter of opinion, M.T."
"Do you have a Purple Heart, Dad?" Divine asked.
"We both do. Its given to all soldiers wounded in the line of duty. When we get home, you can go through our stuff all you like. How about that?"
"Awesome. I'm going to take everything to school and show my friends."
"By the way, where is home?"
Again his gaze shot straight to Sonia, his eyes asking more of her than his words. No doubt he'd tried to reach her at their old apartment in the Sugar House area and found it no longer existed. . .
Telling Kenneth about the changes in their lives was like teaching a child about the world. But it was an infinitely more difficult task because Kenneth wasn't a child eager to explore his new world for the first time. He was a thirty-two-year-old man whose memories were been tainted, one by one.
She couldn't bear to add to his pain, but she knew it was inevitable. None of them had been given a choice, another brutal side effect of war.
"With money from a couple of excellent investments you made as a stockbroker, plus your monthly government stipend, I was able to get into a house by Lungeru road," she explained. "Its in a neighborhood with a lot of boys Divine's age."
Kenneth blinked, his keen mind assessing every piece of information. "We'll have to rustle up a game."
"How about this afternoon? I'll call the team as soon as they get home from school!"
"Divine!" Sonia and Janet cried at the same time. His naivity at such a fragile precarious moment in their lives stunned them both, but Kenneth paid no attention.
"You took the words right out of my mouth. There's nothing I want more than to meet your football buddies."
Suddenly Divine gave his father a fierce hug. "I love you, Dad. I'm so glad you're back. Don't ever go away again."
Kenneth put a consoling arm around his son, allowing him to shed tears of sheer happiness.
No matter how much Sonia had heard or read about a boy needing his father, no matter how well she thought she'd understood the importance of a male role model, it didn't hit home until now.
No wonder James hadn't been able to get any place with Divine.
|Re: Divided Emotions by Ice4jez(m): 1:25pm On Nov 28, 2012|
huh nice one there n yes lola i think with the way u re going i think nigeria will be too small.DONT KEEP US WAITING
|Re: Divided Emotions by Omolola1(f): 3:51pm On Nov 28, 2012|
While she stood marveling at the indestructible bond between father and son, she caught sight of the private look Kenneth flashed M.T. In that brief glance, she read need. Obviously they'd grown so close in prison they were in the habit of turning to each other for emotional support.
Like the harbinger of bad news, Kenneth's silent exchange with M.T seemed to warn her there was more grief on the way. To think there was a time Kenneth shared everything with her.
Kenneth answered his son. "We're not going anywhere, Divine. Are we, M.T?"
M.T picked up his hat, which had been blown to the ground by the wind. "Hey, Divine?"
The boy lifted his head.
"You know the song, 'Oh, Give Me a Home'?"
"Yeah?" He wiped his eyes with the back of his arm.
"Well, your dad and I kind of rewrote it. His part goes like this - 'Oh, give me a home, where my Divine can roam / where the Jazz and the Trappers do play/where the wife I adore, feeds me barbecue galore/ and the sky isn't cloudy all day."
At that point Kenneth had joined in, his voice as offkey as M.T.'s "Home, home to the west where the parents I love still reside, among mountains so high, that's the place where I'll die/my beloved close by my side."
While the words drove another shaft through Sonia's heart, George cleared his throat and clapped. "Change the name of our city baseball team from the Trappers to the Buzz, and you've got it."
"The team got sold, so they gave it a new name, Dad. You know - 'cause we're the Beehive State! 'Cause the pioneers brought bees here." All of this was said in one breath.
Both men smiled.
Janet made a nervous gesture with her hands. "I think its time we left for Abaji. What would you like to do first, Son? Are you hungry? Shall we stop for breakfast on the way?"
Sonia nursed another hurt when she detected the invisible line of signals running between Kenneth and M.T.
"I think we'd like to go straight home. Did you all drive up in one car?"
"No." Sonia shook her head. "Divine and I met your mom and dad here."
Kenneth eyed his parents. "If you'll let M.T ride with you, I'll drive my family home."
"But you haven't driven for so long! And you don't have. . ."
"Good plan," George interrupted his wife, who hadn't recovered from seeing her son minus a hand. In this circumstance, however, she'd voiced one of Sonia's concerns, yet had been overruled.
She and Janet shared a legitimate fear. George probably felt it, too. Kenneth didn't really need both hands to drive an automatic. But he hadn't been behind the wheel of a car for seven years, and the freeway was more crowded than ever. After such a long confinement, she wondered if his nerves could take the stress.
In the past, Kenneth had always done the driving when they'd gone anywhere together. For the last seven years, Sonia had been getting herself around without his help, but. . .he was back home now.
Before he'd left, Sonia had never given a thought to such things as who would drive. That had never been important one way or the other, not when their marriage had been based on a solid partnership.
It wasn't important now. Yet all she seemed capable of comprehending were the changes, the differences. . .
"Come on, M.T." George fought valiantly to maintain a semblance of calm. "As soon as we're on our way, I want to hear your version of that song."
"It's lousy, sir."
"Let us decide that." George grabbed M.T's duffel bag, and the three of them began walking toward the parking lot.
Divine, strong and tall for his age, paced his stride to match Kenneth's, determined to carry his dad's bag to the car without help. Judging by the struggle, it had to be heavy.
Their son was trying hard to prove he'd become a man in Kenneth's absence. It was a wise father who knew better than to interfere. Sonia could only stare at Kenneth in wonder for knowing exactly how to handle Divine's feelings.
Needing to do something before the feelings inside her exploded, she hurried ahead of them to unlock the doors of her Nissan with the automatic device, then open the trunk with her key.
"Sonia?" Kenneth prompted. He was standing right behind her once Divine had tossed the bag inside.
Her head jerked around. Their eyes met. In those brown depths she saw anger, bewilderment, disillusionment. She saw pain. Oh, yes. Excruciating pain.
They stared at each other almost as if they were adversaries locked in a strange room, reluctant to begin engagement because they didn't know the rules. Every question of his, every comment of hers, seemed to turn into a weapon capable of inflicting more pain, more confusion.
. . .I'm not your adversary, Kenneth. I love you. I've always loved you. . .
"Do you want to give me the keys?"
He put out his left arm to reach for them, but at the last second, put out his right.
Was it an unconscious gesture on his part, or was this his idea of forcing her to face what had happened to him and deal with it?
Either way, she couldn't stand the sight of his bad arm. Not because of its physical reality. She was grateful the explosion hadn't taken the whole limb.
The loss of his hand could never rob Kenneth of his appeal. If he'd come home with no arms or legs, he would still be that handsome man, exuding a powerful masculinity undiminished by the cut of his hair, his weight loss, his pallor or the severing of one of his extremities.
If anything, the years had brought him new stature, a new wisdom and maturity, all of which she was discovering made him attractive in ways she'd never been obliged to consider.
No. She hated his bad arm because of the horror it must represent to Kenneth.
How could he ever rid his mind of the blackness of those years when he had to live with such a reminder for the rest of his life?
He'd been in combat and been taken as a prisoner of war. He would suffer post-traumatic stress disorder until the day he died. So would M.T., she mused heavily. It was every soldier's nightmare, every wife's.
Now it was hers.
Sonia needed someone to talk to. Ironically her first instinct was to turn to James, which was out of the question. Yet, he'd been her rock for so long. . .
. . .darling James. The pain he had to be in. . .
But all their pain combined would never match Kenneth's. Only someone like Linda Bright, head of the family support group for the Ninety-sixth Regional Support Command at Maitama, would be able to help Sonia understand what her husband was going through. Linda had been there for Sonia when the news had come that Kenneth was missing in action.
Sonia needed her right now.
|Re: Divided Emotions by sheblayze(f): 8:51pm On Nov 28, 2012|
This is exclusive stuff..!
|Re: Divided Emotions by DAvIt0(m): 9:26pm On Nov 28, 2012|
Really cool and great mehn #following
|Sections: politics (1) business autos (1) jobs (1) career education (1) romance computers phones travel sports fashion health |
religion celebs tv-movies music-radio literature webmasters programming techmarket
Nairaland - Copyright © 2005 - 2018 Oluwaseun Osewa. All rights reserved. See How To Advertise. 419