The three of us sat over lunch at the KFC restaurant at the Ikeja Shopping Mall in Lagos over plates of fried potato chips. The first was a guest of mine from the United Kingdom, the other was a best selling author who had taken time out of his busy schedule to be with us. And there was I, the convener of this rather informal meeting.
We first ate our chips in silence.
My Uk guest was attacking her chips with her fork in what I personally considered amusing.
The best selling author was munching his chips with almost careless relish.
And I sat and chewed observantly.
At some point, the best selling author dropped his fork, raised his head, and as if struck by inspiration at the spur of the moment, asked, “Has any of you experienced ‘love at first sight’ before?”
He stared at my UK guest first. She nodded a no with some food still in her mouth. Then his face turned to me as if asking, “and you?”
Initially, I thought to let it pass by saying no, but some curiosity got the better of me, and I just said , ” Yes”.
His eyes were then transfixed on me, and he pushed, this time with an inquiring smile, ” Tell us about it”
Stun, a bit of hesitation, a mumbling of some ‘ahs’ and ‘ehms’, and then a final shrug preceded before I said, “Okay. If you must know, I would tell you. But it is an emotional one for me. So here goes.” So I began.
“I first met her at a certain church service. She was breath taking. She wore a decent apparel so it was obviously not her dressing that caught my eyes; it was her charm. Her eyes were soft, her smile bright, her gait smooth, and there was this sense of calm, an indescribable light glow, that permeated from her.
“I was love stricken”.
My UK guest and best selling author laughed aloud at my description. The best-selling author even choked at some point and needed to take a drink to relief himself.
The Uk guest, still with bright smiles, inquired, “So how did it go?”
“I went home but couldn’t sleep”, I continued. “A medical student, who stayed with me noticed my restlessness, asked, ‘so what’s up with you? You look dazzled’
” ‘Did you see that girl?I asked him.
” ‘Which girl?’
” ‘ I mean the girl in church. She sat at the left corner sitting close to Benson, the elder?’
” ‘O you mean Chinwe?’ My medical friend laughed.
” ‘What’s funny?’ I prodded, my mesmerism shifting into mild irritation.
” ‘You like her?’ My medical friend student continued. ‘ She is actually a medical colleague in my class’
” ‘ Give me her number’
“So I made moves to meet my dazzler. Eventually when I did, she was more beautiful than I thought. A natural stunner, to say the least.
“To cut the long story, I dated her for two and half years. I literally struggled through that relationship. She had some attitudes. And she secretly cheated on me several times.It was heart breaking. Once, my angel came over to my house knelt down and wept saying, ‘ I just want to apologize for hurting us. I have made mistakes ; mistakes I cannot live with. I don’t think mistakes. I have to let you go’
“We both wept. And she eventually left”
“A touching story”, my UK friend said almost emotionally
The best selling author reflected a moment and then said, ” Seeming is not being.”