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Fiction: A Love Story by Pat Omanu

By ZODML on Fri, 14/02/2014 - 20:30

 

I was bored, and in that state I am unable to write. It was two weeks to Valentine’s Day and I had promised to send a love story to my sister’s magazine to be published as part of its Valentine’s Day special issue. As the deadline neared and her ‘how far?’ text messages kept coming, I decided to ask my new friend, Bonaventure, to do the story. I saw him walking towards his room and ran up to him. “Bonaventure I’ve been looking for you,” I said. He stopped and turned. “And now you’ve found me,” he said. “Indeed I have. Well it’s February and I am told love is in the air (or ought to be) and as you write fiction, I wonder if you've been taking deep breaths and have a love story in you that you can roll out for Folake’s magazine?” He looked at me for a moment and then laughed. “Love in the air? What I get is dust. Besides, my stories are drawn from experience and I am weak on love.”

Bonaventure was my only hope and I felt that if I pressed him he would write the story. “I don’t believe that. If you’re weak on love, where are you strong?” “Are you asking for my profile?” “Not really. I just know there must be a love story in you.” “I am a connoisseur of the arcane. A hermit. Serial role-player. Gypsy education. Looking at peo-” “Oh cut the crap! I know you’re complicated.” “Well then you know must know that whatever that’s in me is too deep and mixed-up for a magazine meant for teenagers,” he said, laughing. So there was something in him. “Let’s just have the surface. That will suffice.” “Here’s what we will do. I will tell you the story and you can put it together for Folake.” I didn’t think I would get more than that from him so I said, “Ok.” “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.” He said and smiled at me. “I know that nursery rhyme. Tell me the love story.” “That’s the story. And what a great love story it is. Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. A pail; not two. So they must have been holding it together, with Jack’s hand stroking Jill’s occasionally. He takes it from her so that he can put his hand round her waist and draw her close to him. Her body relaxes; she smiles and looks up at him. He brings his head down and kisses her. In all this he’s of course not paying attention to the path he’s on which is littered with stones. He trips over a half buried boulder, staggers forward, falls and hits his forehead on another half buried boulder. Jill rushes to him, helps him to get back up and they make their way down the hill.” Bonaventure paused and I just gaped. “Now don’t let me down. Put it together nicely. End it with a twist.” He said and walked away. A week passed and I still had no story, so I called Folake and told her not to expect anything from me and I moved on to trying to finish two outstanding essays I had. Some days later, on my way to hand in my essays, I heard someone call me and I turned to see Bonaventure standing next his friend Jude who was getting on his motorcycle. “How’s the story coming on?” he asked. “Very well. I’m almost done.” “Good, good, good. Don’t forget the twist,” he said and got on the back seat of the bike. “Jude and I are going to Eletu Hill to fetch water.” “Ok,” I said and wondered what I was supposed to do with that information. I was about to walk away but I saw that Bonaventure was looking intently at me and as I looked back at him I saw his hands deliberately caress Jude’s back. He leaned forward with his eyes still fixed on me and whispered in Jude’s ear. His lips seemed to brush Jude’s ear or perhaps he kissed it. Jude laughed and they sped off. I was upset. What on earth was going on on campus that I didn’t know? I called Lateef, who always knew all there was to know, and invited him to my room for some beer. As we sat down drinking I let him tell me all the gossip and then I bluntly asked if Bonaventure and Jude were gay. He tried not to choke with laughter. “You try getting any lady either of them sets his eyes on to look in your direction and you will know how gay they are.” I said nothing. “What makes you think they are gay?” he asked. “Well Bonaventure told me he was going with Jude to Eletu Hill to fetch water.” “And that makes them gay? Jude has a bike, everybody goes with him to Eletu Hill to fetch water.” That much was true and I should have just shut my mouth but instead I said Bonaventure had told me about Jack and Jill and I repeated the rhyme. “Why was he singing Jack and Jill to you?” “Oh, I had asked him to tell me a love story and –” “You begged him for a love story?” Lateef cut in and two things came to my attention. He had changed my “asked” to “begged” and he was moving away from me. I sighed and was going to ask him what the matter was but he walked swiftly to the door and left. Bonaventure came to my room on the morning of Valentine’s Day waving Folake’s magazine. “There’s no love story. What happened?” “Nothing. I lost it, that’s all.” “Ok, you lost it. That’s by the way. I’ve come to find out why I am having to tell everyone on campus that you are as straight as an iron rod.” “Me? People think I’m gay?” “Yes.” He started to laugh but I was unhappy. I told him about my afternoon with Lateef and what I thought I saw him do. “I wouldn’t go that far to help you with a twist.” He laughed. “Cheer up,” he continued and then he whispered in my ear, “It’s Valentine’s Day – love is in the air!”

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