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They say time flies when you’re having fun and so it was for Efe and Kevwe. Very soon their second semester exams were round the corner and for Kevwe, it was his finals. The degree exams that were always much talked about by everybody. In Uniben, it could determine whether you graduated or got to spend an extra year. Efe did all she could to make sure that everything went smoothly for him.
Their relationship had become tighter over the months and Kevwe had even mentioned several times that he wanted to marry her. Each time she’d brushed it off, not wanting to take him too literarily. She knew that if he were serious, she wouldn’t hesitate in saying yes. She had fallen in love with him during these past happy months. In a few short weeks, it would be one year since they met one another.
She bought two beautiful cards for him and some gifts to wish him success. She did something she rarely did which was to take it to his hostel. A week later, the degree exams started. It would be over in a couple of weeks and for the first part, she never once saw him. That gave her a taste of how it would be when they finally graduated.
A month after the final year students finished their exams; Kevwe came to visit Efe with a vase of flowers and a shopping bag containing a bottle of perfume and two beautiful cards. Exams for the rest of the school were about to start but he had to leave Benin for Lagos in about a week. Their set was going for permanent orientation camp with an early batch so that meant he had to sort out a few things about his business before going to serve his fatherland in August.
It was about six o’clock in the evening. Efe was sitting on her bed reading magazines when there was a knock on the door. She was alone in the room so she went and opened the door. A smile broke over her face when she saw Kevwe and didn’t hesitate about stepping into his arms for a long bear hug.
“Come on in. How were your exams?” She asked.
“Just fine,” Kevwe replied feasting his sore eyes on her. Their different schedules in the past few weeks had meant they spent a lot of time apart. And it had taken its toll. “I’ve missed you,” he added honestly.
“How are you preparing for the exams?” He asked quietly after they were both seated. “You’re not too stressed?”
“Not really. It’s all going well.” she replied in the same low tone.
A sad silence fell after this brief exchange. Kevwe offered Efe the shopping bag.
“This is for you.” He stood and looked her in the eyes but she avoided his as she collected it.
Opening it she exclaimed in delight. Her eyes shone as she unloaded the gifts like a little kid. Placing all of them on the desk, she stood up and hugged him. Standing the vase at a strategic place, she sat down to read the cards. The first contained some beautiful words wishing her success and she stood up to give him a peck. Kevwe turned his head and their lips met in a sweet kiss. Efe’s eyes sprang to meet his and then closed as if in slow motion. After a little while, she broke it off and opened the other card. The wordings were even more beautiful and she read it out loud.
“I’ve lost count of the hours
I’ve lost track of the days
I’ve lost tally of the months
I’ve lost even my mind
Thinking about going away
Still I know, I could never lose
The memories we made together
The laughter we shared together
So, though I still have to go
I know I’ll always love you”
She raised her face and there were tears in her eyes. When she saw the expression on Kevwe’s face, they became a stream down her face.
“Efe, why are you crying?” Kevwe asked surprised.
Efe walked to the opposite end of the room and turned her back on him. Kevwe was moved. He’s known she’ll be touched by the cards but not to the extent of crying. He went and stood behind her.
“Efe please stop crying. Hey ... Hey...” He placed his hands on her shoulders as he pleaded in a soft tone.
Kevwe led her back to the bed and sat down with her close beside him. Taking away the sodden one he collected a fresh hanky from where he knew she kept it underneath her pillow. He murmured soft endearments into her ears.
“Efe” He finally called softly.
“Yes?” She answered in a low tone.
“Listen very carefully, I am not going to leave you, okay? I might be leaving this school but you should know better than to believe that means I’ll be deserting you. I thought we’ve gone beyond that. I love you dearly and I would like to marry you later. Haven’t I told you so many times before? He asked solemnly.
“You’ve said so,” she replied, head bent. “But...”
“But you never took me serious,” he completed for her. “Well, you better take me very seriously indeed. I’ve told my parents especially my mum all about you. Ofure has known about you right from the beginning. If it all goes like I’m planning, we’ll get married right after you graduate. Ofure should be back by then too…”
“But you’re still going away now,” Efe said in a halting voice. “You’ll leave me...”
“It’s just a short separation. I know my dad has enough clout to ensure that I get redeployed back here to Benin for the rest of my service. As for camp, you can be sure of receiving my letters almost every day till I come back,” Kevwe assured. The sincerity was apparent in his voice.
“You forget that we’ll have left school by then for the holidays,” Efe reminded.
“Oh yes! Not to worry. I already have your Warri address. I’ll surely write and then when you come back, we’ll talk about seeing my folks. Is that okay by you?
“Yes, it’s fine,” Efe replied still in a somber voice.
“Promise me you won’t forget me once I’m out of sight,”
“I promise,” she declared. she called, looking straight into his eyes “Kevwe, I’ve never said this before but I think it’s high time I told you. I love you. Kevwe, I’m in love with you. There’s no way I could ever love another person but you. You are my love and I want you to be my first love, my last love, and my only love. I can’t leave you and I won’t ever forget you.”