I told Ronke everything that day starting from the beginning, how Abel and I met, the lingering attraction, the expensive gift and finally our reunion, if it could be called that.
She did not scold me when I finished, instead she clapped me on the back and gave me the thumbs up sign.
‘I would’ve killed you if you came back home today and told me some bullshit of being faithful to Austin’s memory and saying no to that fine white man.’ she said, giggling.
I sighed. She was right, but I didn’t feel right. I had thought that being with another man would fill the emptiness inside of me and would wipe away the sordid experience.
It was not so. I felt empty. As empty as before, but I didn’t tell Ronke so. I smiled at her enthusiasm and thanked God for such a friend.
Work resumed the next day and I was glad to go back to my classroom and feel the uncomplicated presence of my kids. Being with them temporarily erased from my memory all my woes. I could focus fully on them and pretend I had no worries.
By the end of work that day, I was feeling refreshed already. There was something utterly familiar, comforting and refreshing about screaming at kids all day, spanking them when necessary, listening to their funny and not-so-funny jokes. If only life could be as easy as these kids took it, I would be grateful, I thought.
Just as the last parent picked up his child and I marked the last of the classwork I had given them, I felt the sudden urge to look up.
When I did, I jumped, startled.
My ex fiancé, a man I had not seen in a year plus was standing in the doorway.
I took a deep breath, my heart pounding, my mouth dried.
I could not move, our eyes locked on each other.
He stepped in and began advancing towards me.
‘No. No. No.’ I was shaking my head vigorously, still seated.
‘Kay Kay, please.’
‘No. Stay…right there.’ my lips could move again and so could my feet. I stood, backing against the wall.
‘I just…I need to talk with you, please.’
‘Get out. Get out of my life forever.’ it was a whisper but the words took my breath.
‘Please,’ he was close to me now, hovering.
He looked handsome but thinner. His usually broad chest, looked a tad narrower. He had grown a beard too, something I didn’t like while we were together, but right now I thought it looked good on him. The gangster look suited him. I wasn’t surprised. In my life, he was like a gangster, someone who took away, by force, everything that made me happy.
‘Please…what?’ there was a tremor in my voice. how could he affect me so?
‘I…don’t…I just want to talk to you. Please, let me.’ he planted himself in front of me, blocking my means of escape. I let out a deep breath.
‘We can’t talk here. This is…I work here.’
‘Where then? Because I’m not leaving until you agree to talk to me.’
If there was one thing I knew about Austin, it was that he could be stubborn. When he made up his mind about something, he did it.
‘Fine. Let me get my things.’ I said.
What had I gotten myself into? I wondered as I shuffled my books and arranged them.