Story; Bukky Alakara Chapter 28&29

TWENTY-EIGHTBukky lay on the bed and wept. It hurt that her boyfriend’s parents felt that he was too good for her because he was in the university and

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TWENTY-EIGHT
Bukky lay on the bed and wept. It hurt that her boyfriend’s parents felt that he was too good for her because he was in the university and she wasn’t. She wished she had told them that she was no longer an illiterate. She now has her Junior waec certificate. Soon, she would be equal to every other person who graduated from the Senior Secondary school.
Did she make a mistake by giving Gbemiga a second chance? He was planning to marry her, but, his family were prepared to fight their union. What were they going to do? Maybe if they prayed and fasted, God might make a way for them, after all, the heart of Kings were in his hands.
She wished Chike was available. She needed a good friend to confide in. His door was always locked whenever she visited. Even his neighbours were not sure of his whereabouts. It scared her to think that he might have moved out. His phone lines were not even going through and his social media handles were static. No updates. She missed him.
If she confided in her aunt, she might advise her to give up on Gbemiga and move on. She didn’t want to lose faith. She was determined to be hopeful. She believed that God would turn their situation around for good.
xxxxxx
Kike and her niece moved to their new shop in Yaba market. It was sandwich between a provision store and a soft drink depot. The space was very tiny, but, convenient. They fried the akara, yam and plantain outside the shop under a canopy attached to the front of the shop, while seats and tables were arranged inside the shop so that people could sit and eat. They were patronized by different sets of people, aside from the traders in the market place, people going to work, students going to school, motor drivers and conductors queued at their shop to buy their wares.
Kike’s fiancé also had a shop in the same market. He repaired phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Whenever they were done for the day, she goes to her fiancé’s shop and stay there till he was ready to go home. That way, they were able to spend time with each other.
Bukky envied their relationship. She wished hers was trouble free. It had been three days since she spoke with her boyfriend via phone call. He was equally frustrated by his family’s unwavering stance. He was willing to pray and fast, hoping that God would turn and change their hearts towards his girlfriend.
She hasn’t heard from Chike. She remembered that he told her that he would be going for his Industrial training after the Easter period. Has he gone? She wondered if he had started working for his uncle in Owerri, or maybe he got a better offer in an oil company. Regardless of their disagreement, he should have honoured their friendship and not leave her out of his plans.
xxxxxx
A week before her twentieth birthday, Bukky’s aunt got married. She met her parents and siblings at the reception. They were all happy to see her. She was informed that her parents had been able to rent an apartment in Ikorodu and her younger brothers had moved in with them. The boys had also been enrolled into a Secondary school in the area. Her mother now sold fresh pepper and vegetables in the local market, while her father worked as a security guard in a Private school. Her elder sister was presently living with a friend on the island and was working in a Law firm as an Office Assistant. The pay was okay and she was able to enroll in a lecture centre in preparation for the G.C.E examinations. She was glad that every one of her siblings were getting the education they all deserved. No one would be able to bad mouth them and call them illiterates d any longer. She thanked God that each and every person in her family was doing well. God had indeed answered her prayers.
xxxxxx
Bukky returned home from the wedding party and met Gbemiga outside her apartment. She was surprised to see him, but, glad that he had returned home from school. He helped her with her bags filled with take-aways and souvenirs and they went into the apartment together.
“Should I dish some food for you? There is jollof and fried rice, yam porridge, semolina, pounded yam with vegetable soup and ogbonna soup.”
He shook his head and sat on the two settee.
She carried the polythene bags into the kitchen and came back to sit beside him. She noticed that he had a sad expression on his face.
“Is everything okay?”
He shook his head and stared at her, “My parents called a family meeting.”
She sighed heavily. She had a feeling that their relationship was the topic of discuss.
“They involved my aunties and uncles, even distant relatives.”
She dropped her jaw in amazement.
“My parents told them all that I am dating an illiterate, a common bean cake seller, a nobody.”
She closed her mouth. The words used to describe her made her feel angry and gloomy at the same time. She couldn’t understand his folks dislike for her. What did she ever do to warrant their hatred?
“One of my aunt has decided to sponsor my tertiary education till I graduate, on the condition that I break up with you.”
Her eyes widened in shock.
“Two of my uncles are ready to sponsor me whenever and wherever I want to do my Masters program.”
She swallowed hard and stared back at him. Where were they when her boyfriend was looking for money to pay his school fees? She had been the one supporting him financially.
“But, on one condition, I must break up with you.”
Suddenly, a chill crawled all over her, making her to shudder in anguish.
“I will graduate in less than two years, I am not even sure where or when I want to take my Masters program. It will be unfair for me to ask you to wait for me. I don’t know what the future holds for us. I am not sure if our relationship will survive this year, talk about next year.”
She blinked back the tears threatening to spill all over her face. She couldn’t believe that he was considering his relatives’ offer. She concluded that he didn’t try to defend their relationship during the meeting. His body language said it all.
“Bukky,” he reached out for her hands, but she pulled away immediately.
“I can’t believe that you are giving up on us so easily,” her voice shook. Her eyes brimmed with tears.
“No… no, I am not giving up on us,” he tried to convince her.
“I can’t believe that you are allowing them to bully you into… into breaking up with me,” she looked straight at him through blurred vision.
“No, they are not… I am not…”
“You can’t even stand on your words. You said things will be different for us this time around.”
“Yes, but…”
“Don’t you have a say in your own life? You are twenty-two for heaven’s sake. Are you going to allow your family to dictate the direction your life should go? I can’t believe this,” she placed a hand on her forehead.
“Look, it’s not like that,” the disappointment and hurt in her eyes made his chest to tighten in pain.
“Then how is it? Ehn? Explain,” she eyed him.
“Just imagine, my parents won’t need to bother about my education again. I am going to get sponsored.”
“I see. So, you are trading me for the educational sponsorship you are not even sure you are going to get?” a tear dropped from her eye.
“No… see… I can’t ask you to wait for me. I need to complete my education first. This is an opportunity I can’t just pass off. I will also be able to do my Masters. Just imagine, when I am done, I will get a wonderful job and give my family the life they deserve.”
“Where does that leave me?” she eyed him again.
“Em… if you are still single, we can get married then.”
“So, you want me to wait, for how long? While you date every Nkechi, Ibinabo and Hauwa?’
He sighed, exasperated.
“Do you even love me?” she directed her pale eyes at him,
“Bukky,” his pleading eyes observed her, “Of course I do.”
“Then why aren’t you fighting for that love? Why are you letting them to quench the flame of our love? Why are you letting them to split us, tear us apart? Why? Gbeniga why?” tears slipped down her dark oval face.
He remained quiet, lost for words. He had been thinking about the whole thing since the meeting ended. He thought he was taking the right decisions, but, it was clear she didn’t think so.
“Just go…”
“Bukky…”
“Go to them, go to your family. I believe they will end up choosing your wife too.”
“Bukky…”
“Go!” she screamed at him.
He got up slowly.
She covered her face with her hands and began to cry.
Gbemiga walked away, opened the door and stepped out. He closed the door behind him and leaned against it. What had he done? He closed his eyes momentarily, then opened it. He hoped she would be able to see reasons and forgive him in time. Maybe, just maybe, they might eventually end up together as man and wife. He was hopeful. He breathed out loudly, stepped away from the door and headed home.
TWENTY-NINE
On her way home from the Adult Education Centre, while waiting for a bus, a car honked and stop by her side. She raised an eyebrow. If it was one of those jobless men that felt they could just honk and flash leering smiles, hoping that they had caught a big fish, then the person should think again. She made it a policy not to accept rides from strangers, especially men. She had heard enough stories that touched. She doesn’t want to end up robbed, raped or worse, cooking in an herbalist black pot.
She bent her head a bit to see who the driver was. Chike’s smiling dark brown eye stared back at her. Her hand flew to her mouth in shock.
“Are you going home?” he grinned from ear to ear.
She nodded in affirmative, unable to utter a word.
“Hop in, I am going home too.”
She opened the side door and climbed in, still dazed that it was Chike, her friend.
“It is me. I am not a ghost,” he sensed her state of mind.
She blinked and just stared at him.
He smiled and stirred the green Toyota Corrolla back to the busy road.
“Where have you been?” she found her voice.
His smiling eyes remained on the road.
“You just disappeared. I couldn’t reach you, your neighbours didn’t even know where you were, I was worried. What happened?” she noticed how
fresh he looked, like a baby who had just been bathed, creamed and powered up. His brown skin had a certain glow, his shoulder muscles were broader, and the blue short-sleeve tee-shirt on him made him look boyishly cute.
“I have been in the U.K.”
“What?!” her eyes grew big.
“My uncle arranged my Industrial Training in his place of work over there.”
She blinked, trying to comprehend everything he was saying.
“The company my uncle worked for had a policy of including foreign students and graduates in their employment scheme. Be it Industrial Training,
Part-time or Full time jobs. It is a yearly thing.”
She nodded, still trying to grasp what he was telling her.
“Although they have a fixed number they approve yearly. My uncle was able to speak with one of his bosses and my name was added to the list.”
“I see. You were lucky.”
“Benefits of being the child of God,” he winked at her, “I got back some days ago. I went to Owerri first, to give my parents and siblings the things I bought for them, then I came back to Lagos. Your things are in my apartment.”
She just stared at him.
“I went on a shopping spree and got you nice things.”
‘’Th-thank you.”
“You are welcome my friend,” he stressed the last word.
She sighed with relief. Her friend was back.
“How is your aunt?”
“She got married a few weekends ago.”
“Waow!”
“She lives in Yaba now with her husband.”
“Nice,” he glanced at her.
“We both share a shop, a sort of partnership thing. I sell my akara and bread, with corn pap and she sells her fried yam and plantain.”
“Wow! So while I was MIA, you guys went gaga with your business.”
She grinned from ear to ear.
“Congratulations.”
“Thanks.”
Their gazes locked.
“I have also been given my Junior WAEC certificate.”
He nodded with smiles and looked back at the road.
“I have my own apartment now, similar to yours.”
He kept on smiling, “All your customers for area go vex o.”
She chuckled, “Some of them come all the way to Yaba market.”
“See hunger!”
She started to laugh.
“How is your boyfriend?”
Her smiles faded instantly. “We… we broke up.”
Silence engulfed the vehicle.
“What happened this time around?” he felt a bit angry.
“His family pulled a Jack Bauer stunt on us. They came out openly, disapproving the relationship, called a family meeting and killed the
relationship.”
He glanced at her, “So, you mean he just allowed them to do all that? Is he a weakling? Why didn’t he face them squarely and fight for what he loves or loved or… does he even, really, I mean, does he love you?”
She looked away and sighed heavily.
He shook his head, fighting the urge not to say ‘I told you so’.
“Gbemiga and I are finally and completely over.”
He raised an eyebrow in doubt.
“He chose the sponsorship of his education over me, over us, over everything we stood for.”
“He did what?” he shot her a stunned stare and glanced back at the road.
“His aunt and uncles promised to sponsor him if he broke up with me.”
He cursed under his breath.
“It’s good to know I am worth nothing to him,” her eyes glistered with unshed tears.
The sadness in her voice made his heart to ache.
She looked out of the window.
“Please accept my sympathy,” he caught a glimpse of her. He saw her wet eyes.
“Thanks,” she glanced at him.
He returned his attention to the road.
“So, you are graduating this year, how do you feel?” she wiped her wet face with the back of her hand.
“Relieved.”
She started to laugh.
“What? Wait till you go through the system, you will understand.”
She smiled, “I am looking forward to it.”
“What are you planning to study?”
“Business Administration.”
Eyes widened, “Hmmm…”
“What?”
“You like money.”
“Who doesn’t?” she started to laugh.
Their gazes met and locked.
“I am so glad that you are back. I have really missed you.”
He turned away, “Me too.”
The car halted in front of her house.
“Thank you for the ride. I will come and get my gifts later.”
“Okay. Anytime you are free.”
She climbed out of the car and shut the door. He waved at her and drove off. She waved back and watched, till the car faded out of her line of sight.

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