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Never Say Goodbye If You Can’t Let Go - Literature - Nairaland

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Never Say Goodbye If You Can’t Let Go by Defavouredkings(m): 11:52am On Nov 28, 2019

Uka and Michael were best friends.

Growing up together was filled with fun and adventure; it was not surprising Michael featured in most, if not all of her tales: They had known each other since she was three. He was a really great friend and Uka knew she loved him because she felt responsible for him and always had the belief that she has a vital part to play in his happiness.

Something about him drew her to him in a somewhat inexplicable way. Uka found almost everything about him endearing. Once, unknown to him, she caught him going through her lingerie drawer. He took a few out, examined them and smiled as he held one to his cheek and caressed it. Uka was amazed but kept quiet.

She gently went back down the stairs and came back up, this time making a lot of noise to alert Michael to her presence. Her room was located adjacent to the stairs at the rear entry of their home.Michael being inside her room was not an unusual occurrence.

“Hi Michael, mum told me you were here.” she greeted cheerfully. Looking casually towards her drawer to see if everything was back in place. She was only 16, but surprised at herself for not being grossed out seeing him handle her underwear. This was a clear sign to her that she had a genuine soft spot for him.

They practically spent their entire lives growing up together and this they had come to consider the norm. No sooner than they had completed their secondary schooling, life took a different turn. Uka learnt that she would be travelling overseas to continue her studies. This meant leaving everyone behind, including Michael.

Anyone who knew them believed they had a romantic relationship, but this was not so. The bond they shared baffled even both of them. Neither one could explain or understand it.

The day her parents told her they were sending her to a university in New York was received with mixed emotions: she was getting the best news ever, but also knew she was about to lose a part of herself that meant so much to her.

Telling her friends the big news was not that much of a big deal. It was Michael she dreaded giving the news. The inevitable moment finally came that evening when she saw him whilst standing outside the gates of her home. Michael was buying some bread from mama Comfort’s stall a few yards down the road, so she waved him over.

Michael was a gentle giant. He stood at 6’5, with an average body build and slightly muscular frame. There was a deliberate slowness to his steps; everyone complained that he walked too fast. His solution was to slow down some. This was typical Michael style… anything to make everyone happy.

As he walked up towards the gates, she was filled with apprehension and sadness.

“Hi Michael, where have you been all day” she asked.

“I asked all the guys and no one knew where you were” she continued.

“Why? Missing me so much” He joked, looking quizzically at her, cupping her face with his hands and pretended to kiss her.

“Dream on…I have something to tell you…” she started to say when she heard her mother’s voice cut in.

“Uka! I want that gate closed! It’s either you come in or stay out. Either way I don’t want that gate left open.” her mother said loudly.

The rate of house robberies on the estate had drastically increased and robbers were beginning to get bolder by the day. It was not uncommon to be robbed in broad daylight. Gone were the days they waited for the darkness of the night to shroud their criminal activities. Uka was standing between the half opened gate so she stepped out and the gateman locked the gate behind her.

“What is so important you have been looking for me all day?”

“You know I’ll always stop by your house, abi”

“My parents are sending me to the US this long vacation.” She blurted out, not wanting to beat about the bush.

“I’ll be going to Uni over there and won’t be back for another two or three years at least.” She finished, looking sad and apologetic.

“Stop it. Are you trying to mess with me? Are you serious? What do you mean the US…” He looked puzzled and not sure he should take her seriously or not.

FULL STORY: https://defavouredkings.com.ng/never-say-goodbye-if-you-cant-let-go/

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Re: Never Say Goodbye If You Can’t Let Go by Defavouredkings(m): 11:55am On Nov 28, 2019

As Uka enters the house she manages to avoid her family. It was dinner time but she had no appetite. She knew she would be asked questions and didn’t want to answer any. Her eyes would give her away, so she hastily made her way to the sanctuary of room and immediately locked the door behind her.

Yes she felt pain on account that she would be leaving Michael, but it grieved her even more that she would be one more person whom he cared about that turned around to hurt him and make him cry. The very thought made her feel a stabbing pain in her chest and hot stinging tears drowned her eyes…

Michael and his family had moved to the estate shortly after her own family had moved from Apapa. The estate was a relatively new development at the time, but from the eyes of a child, everything seemed quite big. There weren’t too many houses initially, and everyone seemed to know each other. All the children went to the same primary school. It was here that they met.

He used to be shy and would keep pretty much to himself. Though he was much taller than most of the kids in the school, he was a softie. All the other kids took advantage of this and poked fun at him. It was during one of these incidents that she stood up for him and from then became good friends. She still remembers that day…

“Stop! You are hurting me” the boy screamed.

“Igunuko! Odoyo! Big fool! Mummy’s boy!” the group of kids continued to yell at him and poke at his ribs.  They sang some horrible rhymes, all intended to make him miserable and hopefully cry.

“Hey! Hey! Leave him alone” Uka yelled, as she walked into the mob taunting and jeering at the tall boy.

“Why don’t you fight back?” She yelled at him. He continued looking down at the ground and clutching his schoolbag like his dear life depended on it.

“The next person that dares to touch him will face me” Uka warned the mob of 5 kids. Uka had a reputation for being a tomboy and someone you didn’t want to get into a fight with. On that note the mob started dispersing.

“Woman wrapa! Woman wrapa! You no fit fight for yasef, na woman dey fight for you”, “You escape today, we go catch you again tomorrow” One of the girls said.

“Where do you live?” Uka asked him. “Do you live close by?”

”We just moved into the other side of the estate.” He responded, still looking down.

“What’s your name?” Uka asked.

“Michael” He whispered.

“Mine is Uka”

“How are you getting home? Is someone coming to get you?” Uka further asked.

“I’m taking the school bus” Michael replied.

From that moment onwards they rode the school bus together, and she would always sit beside him. No one ever got the opportunity to get him alone. Their friendship bothered a lot of the other kids, especially the girls, who would tease her about her best friend being a boy.

“Uka, untogi! Ha ha! None of us will be your friend! Your best friend is a boy!” Some would gather and jeer at her. They hoped to wear her down and give up being friends with Michael.

“But you got it all wrong! He’s not my best friend, he’s my boyfriend!” She would say and snuggle up to Michael, if they were sitting down or hug him if they were standing up. Her response not only shocked, but infuriated them more.

Michael would smile bashfully at moments like this. His eyes would widen with surprise, but with each passing moment, he developed more respect and a deeper closeness to Uka. Uka’s resilience led these kids to think up more hurtful ways to inflict some sort of pain on both of them.

They made up all sorts of ugly, hurtful rhymes and became masters at reciting them. Although his friendship with Uka was making him stronger, their taunting would occasionally make him hide and cry. Uka was quite proud to be his girl and was ready to tell anyone so.

“How many times do I have to tell you not to cry for those children? You make them feel special when you cry and they feel like they can do anything to you” she would often tell him. Yes,she was proud to be his girl.  He was tall  and very handsome too.

The mocking, taunting and jeering stopped one fine day. Uka being the one to always stand up for him was doing so once again, when someone threw a raw egg on her. Her uniformed was smeared in egg.

“Why did you do that! Why did you!” Michael yelled.

“What can…” before the boy could complete his sentence Michael had punched him several times in the face. The boy fell backwards onto the ground and Michael punched him some more. He got up and when straight for the next person. Michael yanked this one by the collar and pushed him hard that he fell down bruising himself.  No one had ever seen him this way; He was enraged and ready to fight anyone.

Uka like others stood there shocked at what they were witnessing. The mouse had indeed become a giant. Till they left primary school no one ever troubled either one of them again. This gave him the much needed confidence in himself, until the day they received the report of their exams for their final year in primary five.

“Daddy! I did it! I did it! So can I have what you promised?” Uka shouted excitedly. He had promised her a chopper bicycle if she got anything between 1st to 3rd position in her promotion exam to primary six

“Yes you can my dear”

“So when can we go get it? She asked excitedly.

FULL STORY: https://defavouredkings.com.ng/never-say-goodbye-if-you-cant-let-go-2/

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Re: Never Say Goodbye If You Can’t Let Go by Defavouredkings(m): 10:54am On Dec 01, 2019

It was this incident that knocked the wind out of Michael’s sail. He wasn’t the same again for a long time. He withdrew to himself. Outside of his family, he would only communicate with Uka. He stopped participating in class activities and his school work suffered. Both his class teacher and headmistress knew something was wrong. They eventually invited his dad to school.

“Good afternoon sir” Mrs. Ajayi, the headmistress and Ms. Falomo, Michael’s teacher greeted him. Mr. Adeyemi shook both their hands with a nervous smile. This was the first time he had been invited to the school without it being a general invitation to all parents.

“Thank you for taking the time to come see us. I know you’ll be wondering why we requested this meeting. Going straight to the point, for some time now, we have been observing Michael and it seems like something is going on with him and…”

“Has he gotten himself into trouble?” Mr. Adeyemi cut in, somewhat alarmed.

“Not exactly I would say. Mrs. Ajayi continued. “His mid-term grades have slipped drastically and quite unlike him, now he hardly ever participates in class activities and his homework lacks the usual depth and thoroughness I have come to expect of him.”

“Is everything okay at home? Is there anything going on with him that we should know of?” Ms. Falomo asked with concern.

Mr Adeyemi looked downcast and avoided looking directly at either of them.

“His mum left…I’m alone with the kids…Michael has been withdrawn ever since”

“Now I understand…this explains everything. I am so sorry to hear this, Mr. Adeyemi” Ms. Falomo said with empathy and sympathy.

“Thank you” he whispered trying to smile but all he could muster was a grimace.

“Well…since we now know what we are dealing with here, I believe Ms. Falomo and myself will keep an extra eye on Michael and try to help him through this tough period he’s experiencing”

Mr. Adeyemi was still trying to manage a smile. “Thank you very much, Ma, I truly appreciate your help. Please don’t hesitate to call if there is anything I can do to help. I know I can’t do this by myself”

“Don’t worry sir, we will all work together to help Michael out. Thank you for responding to our call. We know you have your hands full.”

It took a while, but with the intervention of Mrs. Ajayi and Ms. Falomo, Michael began to blossom once again and his grades picked up.

Looking outside of her bedroom window, Uka took in the view of the compound filled with old abandoned tractors and Caterpillars. This view reinforced Michael’s plight with her intended move to America. The look on his face as he hurried to get away from her was all too familiar. It was the same look he had curled up in that corner the day his mother left home.

There was no deliberate slowness to his steps this time. He was almost running; his feet couldn’t have gotten him home any sooner, muttering a prayer as fast as he could, hoping for an instant response. Uka’s words played on a loop. “My parents are sending me to the US this long vacation”, he could see her lips move but her voice sounded distant and faint as he got closer home. Her words ignited painful memories. All he could see was himself cowered in a corner rocking back and forth. This was not fair! Why should this keep happening? What have I done to deserve this? Why is God punishing me this way?

As he got to the front door, looking at the window to his dad’s bedroom, he could see the lights were still off, he exhaled with relief. His prayer had been answered. Walking past the living room, he could see Sammy at the dining table busy with his homework. Thankfully too, aunty Adesua was nowhere in sight. She was only 4 years older but had become like a big sister and a member of their family. She must have gone on some errand or the other and he wouldn’t have to respond to her questioning.

Safe behind his closed door, he crawled into bed and plugged in his earphones. Most people like music, but Michael…he loved music with a passion and had an eclectic taste. The husky voice of Janis Joplin came alive and resonated deep within his lobes singing ‘Maybe’. This was one song that soothed him and helped him escape from the harsh realities of this world.

This time Janis did not work; he switched to The Eagles, Hotel California, but still he could not drown out the thoughts he was trying so hard to avoid. This failed too, so he turned to Baba himself, Fela. By the time the instrumental for ‘Everything Scatter’ kicked in he had found nirvana.

His heart rate had slowed down some and the ache in his heart began to dull a bit. His childhood and its reality had initially made him cynical. His mind became the devil’s playground. Uka used to tease him about being a rebel without a clue which led to much of the trouble he had gotten himself into at school. All the punishment dished out seemed not to faze him. This was highly frustrating, initially for Ms. Falomo, which escalated to numerous visits to Mrs. Ajayi’s office and which finally led to inviting his dad to school.

Many months had gone by before he could actually verbalize what he was feeling or talk about his mum. The meeting with his dad had proved to be the help he needed. The teachers who had previously started labeling him, now got to understand his change. They all became endearing and much more tolerant. This coupled with the new daily talk sessions with Mrs. Ajayi and Ms. Falomo finally helped him exhale.

At the home front, Uka’s mum and dad were heaven sent. Their families were acquainted with each other but became much closer. How would they have fared if Mrs. Akigbe hadn’t made herself their second mum and her home became their second home. This helped dad who buried himself in his work.

Sammy had benefitted the most from Mrs. Akigbe’s presence. It took him a while, but eventually he clung to her for dear life whenever the opportunity presented itself; which became frequent. Adesua was a big help, but no mother figure. All these people helped cope with a somewhat bleak period of existence.

Primary turned into secondary school and with each passing of time, held on to hope of her returning. As time passed by, hoping became more of a chore. A chore he no longer wanted to engage in. He looked at the time and he figured his dad would be home soon. He would tell him about Uka, and ask if he too could go study abroad.

FULL STORY: https://defavouredkings.com.ng/never-say-goodbye-if-you-cant-let-go-3/

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Re: Never Say Goodbye If You Can’t Let Go by Defavouredkings(m): 5:40pm On Dec 03, 2019

There was a pregnant pause. Mrs. Akigbe had tears running down her cheeks. “Ordinarily I would say no outrightly, but these kids deserve much better than this. For this reason only, will I promise to look out for them.”

For the first time since being there, the corners of her mouth lifted into a smile.

“Thank you…I know it might seem otherwise, but I do care for my kids and they mean the world to me”

“Why then…” Mrs. Akigbe’s voice trailed off, shrugging her shoulders. She decided against saying anything. What use, if any, would this achieve?  If nothing, her presence here today does confirm that she does care about her kids in her own way.

“I better start going before the kids get back from school” she said glancing at her watch. “Here’s my number if you ever need to contact me. And please don’t worry about the time; I will always answer. You are the only one I have given this number”

“Okay, Joke…I’ll keep in touch. Do you still have my cell number?”

She nodded affirmatively, smiling. “Bye”.

Birthdays were one period in every child’s life that they looked forward to celebrating. It was one moment they always turned to their mothers to make special for them. Michael and Sammy were no exception. Though their mother was nowhere in sight, Uka’s mum made sure it was always a memorable occasion for both of them. These were periods Michael would hope she would miraculously turn up, surprising them with her presence. She never did. It was the one thing that would usually sour Michael’s day, but luckily Uka and her mum made sure it was short lived.

Unknown to the kids or their dad, every birthday they celebrated was paid for by their mum. She always planned it ahead of time with Mrs. Akigbe’s help. After several birthdays, their dad stopped protesting about Mrs. Akigbe paying for or organizing their special day.

Sammy was about to turn four a few months after their mum left. It was during this period, that their dad went in search of her. He did eventually find her.

“S-t-o-o-o-p!” Joke giggled as Jide embraced her from behind. They were canoodling in a secluded section in the corner of the dimly lit swanky restaurant on the Island, were Samuel’s search eventually led him. For the first since he set eyes of her, this was the happiest he had seen her. She looked and sounded content, confident and fulfilled.

Neither of them noticed that they were being observed. They continued talking and laughing like high school sweethearts without a care in the world. Why couldn’t we have had this? Why couldn’t she find such happiness with me? Why? Why disturb the happiness she found? Everyone deserves to be with the one they love. In this case she was with the one she loved. It was obviously pointless wanting her back in their lives. Joke had found her one true love and I won’t stand in her way. After this discovery, he stopped hoping they would ever get back together.

Several months after Sammy’s birthday, Mrs. Akigbe called to let her know how her kids were doing.

“Hello? Joke? Is that you on the line?” joke was sniffling and trying to stifle a cry.

“Joke! What’s wrong? What happened? Are you okay?”

Joke could no longer hold back her tears. She didn’t realize when she started wailing.

“Mabel! What have I done? What have done?” she cried.

“What did you do! What have you done? Where are you? Mabel asked, alarmed.

“How could I have been so stupid to throw away all I had for nothing?”

“What do you mean, Joke? Where is Jide?”

“Mabel, I’m so ashamed of myself, I can’t believe the mess I got myself into” She said hysterically.

“Joke, please calm down and tell me what happened.”

“Well…” She sniffled, “I’m no longer with Jide…”

“Why? What happened?”

“The first three months were blissful. It was like a fairytale come true, only short lived. The Jide I knew and fell in love with is a mirage compared to this person I gave up my life for. I started noticing little things, which later made sense. He was addicted to drugs and drank too much. He had no steady source of income and started demanding large amounts of money from me. Initially I gave, but when I started asking questions; he got violent with me. No matter the situation, Samuel never raised his hands to me. I guess I deserve the beatings he has so far given me. If only I stayed where God placed me and was loved. Look at what I’ve done to myself! My kids and Samuel.”

“Where is Jide now?”

“We have gone our separate ways”

“So that means you can now come home to your family.”

“How can I after all I’ve put them through? It’s not fair on them. I can’t bring myself to look any of them in the face. They must be disgusted with me, because I am”

“Joke, I can understand you being harsh with yourself, but we are all prone to making mistakes. You made yours, but now it’s time to set things right with your family.”

“Right now I don’t think I could do that. I need time to reflect over what I allowed to happen and to also find a way to forgive myself. I don’t think I could ever stand before Michael and Sammy if I don’t first forgive myself.”

“I understand, Joke. Take your time, but don’t leave it too long. Your boys need you.”

Michael was waiting up and Sammy had not gone to bed too. At the sound of any car close by he would rush to the window and each time shrug his shoulders, pacing back and forth.

“What the hell is wrong with you? You’ve been pacing the room for close to an hour. Are you in some sort of trouble? Sammy asked unable to contain himself much longer.

“I don’t want to talk about it, just yet.”  Michael replied with apprehension.

“Is this about Uka’s travelling?” Sammy blurted out, looking slightly amused.

Michael was surprised. So he knew. Taking a deep breath he sat down. “How did you find out?”

“Uka was looking for you earlier. That was when she told me, but didn’t want me to say anything to you. She wanted to be the one to tell you”

“I want to ask dad if I too can study abroad…”

“What! You want to leave me behind!” He blurted with hurt in his voice; looking shocked and confused. He didn’t wait for a reply. He stormed off to his room, slamming the door. Between flinching from Sammy’s door slam and the apprehension of broaching the subject with his dad, he didn’t hear him come in.

“Good evening dad” he said, getting up to take his briefcase.

“Good evening son, why up so late?”

“I was waiting up for you, dad…I…”

“How much will this meeting cost me?” he interrupted jokingly as he sat down.

Michael smiled nervously, shifting from one foot to the other. His throat felt dry.

“Well?” Their dad said, as Sammy reappeared.

“Have you told him then?” Sammy said, jeeringly. Michael glared at him and if looks could kill Sammy would have dropped dead.

“What is it? Tell me what?” His dad asked, looking puzzled.

“Go on, then! Tell him how you want to leave home and me behind to-to-be-b…” Sammy said, but started to stammer and the more agitated he got the worse his stammer became.

“What is Sammy talking about Michael? What does he mean you are leaving home? Samuel, go and sit down this minute and calm down”

“Uka is going to a university in New York, and I would like to go there too like her.”

“New York? What the hell for? That isn’t in this family’s budget, young man! Besides what makes you think I would ever let you go to New York for that matter! Had you said England, maybe we could have worked something out; since you are a citizen. So this is why you got Sammy all hot and bothered. My goodness! You kids want to drive me crazy.”

Sammy from the corner where he sat was looking much more relaxed. A smile was creeping up his face, and he was trying hard to conceal it. Smug satisfaction written all over him. Michael couldn’t believe his ears. His legs wobbled beneath him, so he moved closer to the dining table to steady himself.

“But dad, why can’t I go? Uka says school term doesn’t start until late August. So we still have time to seek admission.” He said, trying to sound mature about it.

“This is not a subject for discussion son! University overseas is not part of our plan; you know this. Anthony did tell me about his decision for Uka to study abroad. Now, you do realize that this was his decision, don’t you? Besides, Uka will still come home on vacations and you and Sammy can also go over on holidays. This I have no problem with.”

Michael’s eyes stung with hot tears. He cleared his throat trying to choke back tears.

“Dad…” Michael said in a shaky voice. “Have I ever asked for you anything? Have I given you any trouble since mum left? Dad I need this…don’t you understand?

“Michael! Go to your room!”

As Michael storms off, Sammy made a bee line to follow him. The look on Michael’s face tugged at his heart strings. He had never seen him this sad before. He looked like his world was over, but he couldn’t help the feeling of joy he felt that Michael would not be going anywhere. This was a good thing all round.


Sammy stopped dead in his tracks and turned to face his dad.

“Where’s Adesua?” He asked as he got up.

“Maybe next compound, dad.” he said, continuing towards the rooms.

“Is there a reason why you are in a hurry?”

“No, dad, would you like me to go get her?”

“No, but you can call her. Tell her to please come home now so that the gates can be locked.” He said, stifling a yawn. “I’m sure she has her phone. I must go get some sleep; I have a long day tomorrow.”

“Okay, sir, goodnight dad.”

“Goodnight son.”

Once in his room Mr. Adeyemi slumped on the bed. He felt like a deflated tire. If only Michael knew how suddenly his heart rate had increased. It felt like he would have a heart attack. God forbid! The mere mention and notion of going abroad, made an already bad day even worse. Their separation would only mean that all his struggles to keep them together by divine grace and help of Anthony and Mabel; would actually fall apart. God forbid. I say God forbid.  That silly boy will not destroy all this hard work because of puppy love and impulsiveness! Maybe Mabel can find a way to talk some sense into him.

FULL STORY: https://defavouredkings.com.ng/never-say-goodbye-if-you-cant-let-go-4/

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