HE SAID NO
Written by Sodamade Olamide Tolulope
The shopping mall was hustling and bustling with people from all walks of the city, trooping in and out of the hall, some buying and some selling goods and rendering various services. Amifel was coming out of the ice-cream inn and she was still relishing the taste of her fruit-filled strawberry ice cream when she heard her name from a distance. She looked back on impulse because the voice seemed to be coming from that direction, when she didn’t see any familiar face, she briefly turned sideways to be sure. Just as she moved towards the stairs that led to the ground floor, she felt someone tug at her Ankara print peplum t©p,
“Hey, Grace!” she said in a voice slightly above a whisper as she tried to re-lease herself from her light grip,
“Amifel, are you now snubbing me? I have been calling your name since you stepped out of that ice-cream shop,” Mrs. Grace said. She held two large shopping bags, that contained some clothes and groceries. They seemed to be heavy too because she put them down while she was talking to Amifel.
“I am sorry Grace, I heard someone call my name but I didn’t see anyone,”
“So, I am now invisible, even as I was waving and waving,” Grace said, demonstrating with her hands, Amifel was clearly tired, she knew that no excuse will suffice so she resorted to fate,
“I am sorry,” Amifel said with a sigh,
“Anyways it’s fine, I forgive you, “Mrs. Grace chuckled, “So, how are you?”
“I am fine, how are you too?” Amifel asked, trying to f0rç£ a smile,
“I am fine too, and my husband and my adorable baby are fine as well, even if you won’t bother to ask,”
Amifel’s face evolved into a frown, “I am glad to hear that, Grace.” She was alre-ady getting irritated, “I am sorry I have to go now, I have an appointment,” she said, even though the only appointment she had was the one with her be-d, it was way past 5pm and she was clearly done for the day.
“We know you, always organizing appointments, anyways how is brother and when are we coming to eat rice?” she asked,
“Brother? “Amifel chuckled, “What kind of question is that like you don’t know that I am the only child,”
“St©p pretending like you don’t know what I mean,” Mrs. Grace win-ked, “How is he, your fiancé,” she stressed,
“Oh, oh… I don’t have one yet but I am hopeful that…”
“Hopeful that what! Hopeful that what, Amifel!” Mrs. Grace said, her voice [email protected]£ alarmingly loud, and people who began to look at them, “You are getting older everyday oh and time waits for nob©dy, look at me now, I am happily married to a doting husband and I am living my life to the fullest,” she [email protected],
“That’s good to hear, I am happy for you,” Amifel said, feeling awkward,
“Thank you for being happy for me but are you happy with yourself?”
“No, tell me, don’t you feel bad or unfortunate?”
“Grace, I won’t have you stand here and insult me, have a good day!” Amifel said as she walked away from her, out of anger, her ice-cream pack fell off and she didn’t wait to pick it,
“Are you angry? I am only trying to help!” Mrs. Grace yelled, “Your ice cream has poured oh!”
Amifel ignored her as she made for the stairs.
As Mrs. Grace Akinwale remembered all that transpired between them that day, she felt so foolish, “why on earth did I pu-ll such a stunt?” she asked herself as she clutched her brown bag ti-ghtly to her che-st while waiting for a cab. She forgot to order for a taxi before she got out to escape Amifel’s killing stare and decided to get a random cab instead.
“I can’t believe that Grace knows Amifel, she most probably knows about everything, ah! This is a big disgrace!” she thought to herself as she tucked a f!nger in her mouth. She could remember vividly how Akinwale beat her black and blue that night after the mall incident, because she forgot to buy his burgundy shoe polish.
[email protected] from their mothers being close friends, they attended the same secondary school and were two clas-ses [email protected], Grace had always seen Amifel has competition and had been looking for a way to diss her, in spite of their friendsh!p, she never saw nor regarded her as older and Amifel did not seem to care. She was also very happy when Amifel was not able to secure a tertiary admission the same year she graduated, she silently hoped that she wouldn’t gain admission the next year too so that they could be on the same plane.
Fortunately, Amifel gained admission the second year after she graduated and there had been no opportunity for her to be ahead since then. The golden opportunity [email protected]£ knocking when she got married to Akinwale and even gave birth to her first son, Tobi before Amifel who was still on the lookout for a suitor.
She wanted her to feel the pain of being in the background just as she had been. Her excuse was petite but that was just her sincere truth. Even when her marriage started turning so-re, she tried to put up a charade so that no one would see her dirty linens.
“You can lie to everyone but not to yourself” she muttered as she silently alighted from the cab and strolled down to her mom’s shop, her navy-blue car wasn’t outside,
“I just hope she’s around,”
Amifel and Grace were planning to attend a Christian singles conference tagged First love organized by Christ-life missions, Grace was invited by Mike who was one of the organizers of the conference. The invited guest spoke on how singles were to [email protected] their relationsh!ps with God and make it their t©pmost priority, he further emphasized that they should allow God to be their satisfaction as no other man can successfully manage that position. He also encouraged them to be strong in the lord and get themselves busy with God and with their individual lives and as-sured them that God-s£nt [email protected] would meet them halfway.
The program rounded off quite early and they agreed to cool off at a nearby park after Grace told Amifel that she had a surprise for her.
“Come oh, you have not told me where you kept Blessing, it’s almost a month now since I last saw that girl, when you first told me, I thought it was a lie until called her to make orders for birthday cakes earlier this week and she didn’t pick up, I even s£nt her a text, no response, that is so unlike her. Blessing that doesn’t joke with money? What’s happening?” Amifel said as she took her seat on one of the faded- ash plastic chairs in front of a white table, Grace settled in swiftly opposite her.
“Amifel, if I tell you I know where she is, I would be lying, I no longer un-derstand her, ”
“What do you mean, are you no longer her roommate?”
“For now, yes, I thought a roommate is someone you share a room with, its been a decade since she last sle-pt in that house. She just breezes in and breezes out, she comes to pick some of her things every now and then, the rest of her things left in the room are invaluable,”
“This is a very strange behavior, are you sure she is fine?”
“I don’t know, I can’t say for sure but what I do know is that she is up to something,”
“I agree with you, Blessing loves adventures, I just pray she doesn’t get into another trouble,” Amifel said, as a lady who wore a Pepsi designed t-shi-t, walked over to them to ask them if they would love to have anything. They both ordered snacks and soft drinks as they continued their discussion.
Blessing not only attracted drama, but she also seemed to manage it well enough. Some months back, she was found herself in an unfortunate saga with a married man whose wife almost tore her into shreds at the full glare of a curious crowd. But for the timely intervention of the police, the story would have taken a different turn.
The woman filed an as-sault case against her at the police station with some message threats as evidence which Blessing denied blatantly. Amifel and Grace had to go to bail her out after they discovered that the woman made it up to get Blessing detained. Even though Blessing refused to say the truth, they knew that Blessing had a thing to do with the woman’s husband, the woman only spiced it up for her.
Another time, it was a pregnancy issue, Blessing lied to the guy she was [email protected]!ngthat she was pregnant and the guy surprisingly [email protected]£ more serious with her. He started s£nding her money on a regular and even [email protected]£ more dedicated to their relationsh!p. Even though Blessing was excited at the turnout, the truth remained that it was a charade which she only put up to get some money from him. After he had bought her story and was even looking for a way to take her to see his mother, she started looking for a way to wiggle out of the false pregnancy mess she had put herself.
“Tell this guy the truth, you are pla-ying with trouble,” Grace advised her then, but not Blessing, she was a resolute person who only did what she wanted, the way she thinks she should do it.
All hell broke loose when Blessing told him that she had a miscarriage, the guy vowed to rain thun-der and brimstone. To cut the long story short, the relationsh!plater ended in premium tears.
“You said you had a surprise for me,” Amifel said as she bit on her h0t sausage roll, “I am all ears, ”
“All ears ko, all nose ni, you like gists too much, “Grace tea-sed, “I was just joking,” she said as Amifel hissed lightly.
“You didn’t even ask of your friend,” Grace continued,
“Mrs. Akinwale, ”
“Oh, you mean Grace, I wanted to ask, I forgot. How is she?” Amifel asked, non-challantly,
“Good to know, has she settled with her husband?”
“Not yet but we are hopeful that she would very soon,”
“She looks like someone that is thinking of filing a divorce, ”
“Maybe that was how she looked the last time you saw her, have you seen her recently?” Grace asked.
“plea-se be serious for once,” Amifel chuckled.
“I plan to visit her during the week, would you like to tag along?”
“Thanks, babe, I’ll pas-s,”
“You wouldn’t let this go, would you?” Grace said as she took a sip from her bottle of Fanta.
“What? I and Grace are cool, I just have a busy schedule this week,”
“I don’t believe you, prove me wrong,” Grace said, with her hands on her chin and her elbows on the table,
“Follow me to her place,”
“You are just impossible, “Amifel shrugged, “Fine, I’ll go,” she suc¢v-mbe-d.
“I thought you said you were busy,” Grace said with her mouth curved slightly, Amifel ignored her as she focused on her almost finished snack. Grace seemed to know how to get her way every time.
To be continued…
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He said no Episode 21 & 22