One of my ardent readers and a very close friend of my brother’s mentioned he thoroughly enjoyed the short story I did titled “could this be…..”, and he wouldn’t mind reading another. So this is me obliging him. After you guys read this, I want to know how many people can tell if its fact, fiction or a little bit of both and if its the last option, how much of it is true and how much is pure fabrication.
Nneka could remember the day she met Nengi like it was just yesterday. They met while on a medical mission in Rwanda. Nneka was there as a public health official with WHO as part of the team whose job it was to provide relief materials to the latest victims of an unnamed epidemic while Nengi was there as a pediatric consultant with UNICEF. During the brief meeting between all groups involved in this effort, Nneka idly noticed a young impressive man who wasn’t necessarily the most good looking man in the room but he had this personal charisma that was endearing even from a distance and what further caught her attention was when he introduced himself as Nengi, opposed to his colleagues who announced themselves as Dr. so and so, as if they were overcompensating for something.
She also remembered the first time she almost swore she felt something other than admiration for him. One cool evening, some of the people involved with the relief effort were sitting around telling stories, when a little girl of about four walked past them towards a broken chair with jagged edge. Nengi quickly stood up with a speed one could swear was alien to his nature, walked past the little girl and moved the chair to a place quite unreachable by the child and when all eyes turned to him questioningly, he simply shrugged and said “It wouldn’t be nice if she injured herself”. Nneka fell in love that evening and for the rest of the evening, she tracked his every movement with her peripheral vision.
As the days flew by, they managed to drift towards each other even in the face of the very arduous task before them. In the course of conversing, they got to know more about each other and Nneka was so impressed with his level of knowledge outside all things medical breaking the stereotype of people in his profession. Their shared love for music, movies and children saw them wanting to spend more time getting to know each other which inevitably culminated in them exchanging phone numbers and a heartfelt promise to keep in touch when they get back to Nigeria.
Back home, a day hardly went by without them speaking to each other to the point that they kept track of each others schedule via several social media. One could say the green light from both ends were blazing at maximum capacity. Then came the sledgehammer!
They were chatting as usual and the conversation naturally came to the “what do you plan to do later in the day” part and Nengi’s reply was “I have to go visit my girlfriend, she’s not feeling too well”. Nneka felt her heart break into a thousand pieces in fact, crushed into minced meat would be a better description. She couldn’t help asking why he didn’t mention a girlfriend earlier, why he matched her wit for wit and charm for charm, why he made moves like one who was still in pursuit. To all these questions, Nengi couldn’t really give a plausible and coherent answer except to repeatedly say he couldn’t help himself.
Suffice it to say that Nneka was broken and hurt. With this, came the strong resolve to stay away from Nengi for good. Even when he tried making contact, she was only polite enough to say a perfunctory hello, make appropriate sound to his questions and carry on talking for what seems a reasonable length of time to avoid any awkwardness, so with time it was only expected that the conversation would dwindle until it came to a stop.
Months passed without them speaking to each other. Nneka moved to another town to take up a new position with the WHO and to also pick some of the pieces of her broken heart but not a day went by without her thinking of the love that could have been and each time she thinks of Nengi, she’s always reminded of the lyrics from Tamia’s song “Almost”. Then one day, out of the blues, Nengi called, Nneka’s heart soared because in the back of her mind she felt he was calling to tell her things didn’t work out with his girlfriend and that he wanted to make her his official girl. It didn’t even occur to her that he was going to say something else until she heard the words “Hi Sweetheart, I’m getting married”.