We were the perfect soulmates - WIP

Efe returned to the office quivering all over. It was just after five and though it was too early for her to leave, she knew she couldn’t do any more sensible work that day. Her shift for tonight was to have run till ten but she took permission from the manager, packed up her bag and left the office immediately. Thank God for all the times she’d worked late, he usually frowned seriously on staff leaving before time.

At home, she sat on one of the dining-room chairs staring with unseeing eyes at the plate of rice she’d just heated up in the microwave. Her mind was far away and when the phone rang, she was brought back with a jolt. She was disoriented at first and didn’t know whether it had been the doorbell or the phone. When it rang again, she picked up the handset, her hand shaking uncontrollably.

“Who is it?” she asked, her voice hoarse.

“It’s me, we have to talk,” his was the same deep baritone.

Efe closed her eyes and took a deep breath; it wasn’t as if she had not been expecting it. She had actually been hoping he would call. She exhaled as her lids blinked several times to stop the threatening tears.

“Where are you?” Kevwe continued. “Are you still at work?”

“I’m at home now.” Efe knew she could choose to act unaffected but decided to be more open and vulnerable. “I couldn’t remain in the office after our earlier meeting.”

Kevwe apologized immediately. “I’m sorry I spoilt your day,”he said, “I knew we would be meeting today but I didn’t stop to think how it would affect you.”

“It hasn’t been easy. I thought I was only going to see your brother.” Efe recalled the past hours, “It didn’t help too how you tried to jump down my throat in the car park. I was only telling you the truth.”

“I am very sorry, believe me, and I want to hear more of your version of the events of seven years ago.”

Efe didn’t argue but gave him her address. He said to expect him within the hour and dropped the phone. She saved his number to her contact list and then changed out of her work clothes into a long colorful sundress with small cap sleeves. Finally she washed her face, put on some fresh make-up and tidied up the apartment. That kept her hands busy as thoughts swirled in her mind.

The doorbell rang soon after and she went to open it. As Kevwe walked over the threshold and into the living-room, she was struck again how much it seemed like time had not passed and yet so many things were very different. She felt his eyes on her, and turned away.

“You look beautiful Efe. I didn’t say that back at the hospital, an oversight.” He said from behind her, “The years have been kind to you.”

She merely smiled and gestured towards the armchair, as she rested gingerly against the back of her teal settee. He ignored the armchair and joined her on the settee. He continued studying her but she looked away. She wasn’t being coy but sitting beside him, being alone with him in the small confines of the air-conditioned flat, was a situation she had never imagined when she’d woken up that morning. As if reading her mind about getting used to each other again, he too leaned back against his chair in silence.

“Can I get you something?” She broke the quiet with the neutral question and shifted forward as if ready to stand.

The question struck him with a strong sense of déjà vu. Kevwe shook his head. How many times had she asked him that while they were back in university? Especially on those days he would come to visit her in the hostel in the early days.

Efe told herself not to notice how fantastic he looked but it was too late. He was still dressed in the lightweight suit and jeans he’s been wearing earlier and they fit him to a tee. Rather than detract from his looks, the scars on his handsome face made him more dashing especially when added to the moustache that dusted his upper lip. Those same good looks had made her the envy of a lot of girls in UNIBEN. But he didn’t belong to her anymore, had not for the past seven years. She should fight this attraction to him, after all he’d cast her away.

In a sudden move, he was kneeling before her. Kevwe gripped her wrist and stared into her eyes. “I really loved you back in Benin; at least you can’t deny that. I was heartbroken the way things turned out. I missed you every day we were apart. I thought I’d overcome it all, but then I saw you again. One glimpse of you and you had me on my knees again. Blame that for the incident in the car park…”

She withdrew her fingers from his grip. “So what do you suggest, I just jump back into your arms again, no questions asked, not minding how we’d broken up?”

“I’m willing to woo you all over again,” he told her in a deep whisper. “We were the perfect soul mates, Efe. University sweethearts, the best couple…we had it all. You were the first and only woman I ever loved or saw as the mother of my children. I just know that it will come naturally if you just let it…”

“Kevwe, you don’t know how much you hurt me,” she said it before her mind finished processing her thoughts. Damn, she’d warned herself not to expose that to him. In the few hours since seeing him again, she’d sworn not to say anything to get his pity. That was not what she wanted.

“We’ll get over this,” he told her firmly. “Many years may have passed, but they don’t change how I feel about you.”

He covered her hand with his again and this time he inter-twined their fingers right there on her thighs. There was no pity in his gaze or in the feel of his hand on hers. But Efe would not be so easily swayed.

“What are you saying?” she asked. “That we should just overlook what happened like it never did?”