I was of the opinion that Chukky and I had the perfect relationship. As perfect as it gets, really.
That was until Chukky travelled to Jand in ’09 for his Masters. I never liked the idea of him going without me since I already planned to do mine too. I wanted us to go together. But he was in a hurry. My parents were not financially ready as I had two siblings doing Masters abroad. Tola, my older sister by just a year, was in the US doing her MA in History whilst Bisodun, the oldest of all three of us was doing his Masters in Jand too. He was in LSE, London which means things were super expensive so as the last child, I knew I was to be the sacrificial lamb. My parents had explained this to me. I understood. I considered myself lucky to have parents who could not only afford it but also love me enough to want to spend so much on my education so I certainly was not going to push it.
Chukky, however was adamant. He refused to defer his admission to Lancaster till 2010 like I did. I felt hurt. But only because I was going to miss him. We had always planned our lives together. We even served in Abuja together. It was going to be the first time in 6 years that I would spend without him. I dreaded it. But I was already practising being a Proverbs 31 wife who builds her husband so I knew I had to be his helper and support his plans. To me, Chukky was not a boyfriend, he was not a fiance. I saw him as he would be in 2011-my husband. Yes, we were engaged to be married and were planning towards next year.
The proposal is etched in my memory. I can never forget. Of course, I took it as given that he would propose to me. Come on, we had been together for 6 years! But I had imagined him taking me to a cinema and ‘WILL YOU MARRY ME, IRETI?’ appearing on the screen while everyone cheered on as I screamed ‘Yes!’Or even something along the lines of how Majid proposed to his girlfriend in Silent Scandal. Watch it here from 3:50
Or we being in a restaurant and he having organised with the staff to bring me a meal with my ring somewhere in the food. I was expecting something romantic and cheesy like that.
Nothing could have prepared me for how Chukky went about it. He proposed to me after NYSC ended in the presence of my parents and Bisodun, my big brother. He came to my house to see my dad to ask him for my hand in marriage! He directed the whole conversation at my father and eventually ended it with,
‘Please sir, can I have Ireti’s hand in marriage?’
I was shell shocked. Even my dad was shocked but he managed to mutter a half bewildered half amused ‘yes’. It was then Chukky walked up to where I was seated in the living room, went down on one knee and asked,
‘Ireti, will you marry me?’
At this point, I had a flash back of how I had planned to jump on him, hug him, cry, say ‘YES!’, and kiss him whenever he proposed. By the time I looked to my right and saw my mom smiling, looked to my left and saw my dad looking like he was stifling his laughter and then looked across the room and saw Bisodun scowling, the only thing I could do was say a very unromantic ‘yes’. I could not even hug him. My parents eventually left us although Bisodun, my ever protective brother hung around pretending to be watching a football match. It took about five minutes for it to dawn on me that I was engaged. I was engaged! I was absolutely overjoyed.
The first thing I did was to pick up my Blackberry and changed my BB status to ‘Chukky has proposed! *dancing smiley*’. I then reached for Bisodun’s laptop and went straight to Facebook to change my relationship status from ‘In a relationship’ to ‘Engaged’. I got almost 20 comments in 10 minutes not mentioning the ‘likes’ and the BB messages. I was at peace. I was content. I was engaged.
This was part of the reasons why I did not want to separate from Chukky. I was thinking like we were married already and I believed we should always plan things as a couple. I was trying to balance this with being a submissive wife so when Chukky insisted that he would like to go in 2009 for his Masters, all I could do was pray and support his dreams. I trusted him so infidelity was not even an issue to me. It was more about the fact that I was not sure how I would manage without him for so long. I was going to miss him like crazy.
When Chukky got to Lancaster, communication slowly began to reduce after about 3 months. He complained that his assignments were so overwhelming and that he had to concentrate. I used to go to his Facebook page at least 10 times a day to see who his friends were and if he was getting tagged in any pictures. There was not much to see. I was worried that he was not integrating well enough. The only place he ever told me he was when he is not home is his RCCG Parish in Lancaster. That was his second home. He had joined the Technical Department and they were usually very busy in Church. Over the months, when Chukky drastically reduced his calls, texts and even BBMs, I just assumed he was busy in God’s house and with school work. I was not happy. But I was being understanding. I met him a born again Christian so why should I now complain? Chukky eventually left Facebook. People would ask me how Chukky was doing and if I was hearing from him. I always lied. I said ‘yes’ all the time. I kept praying for him and us. I knew it was just a phase. It had come to pass.
As soon as September came, my joy knew no bounds, it was time to finally be reunited with Chukky after a whole year of being apart. I got my ticket way earlier than school resumed so I could have at least 3 weeks of just hanging out with him before school started. As soon as the plane landed at Heathrow, I quickly sorted my hair and make up out whilst seated. I was very excited. Somewhere in my heart, I was scared too. I went through security. Got my suitcases and started scanning the faces for Chukky’s who was to meet me there. I scanned and scanned. None was his.
After about two hours’ wait, he finally appeared. All my disappointment flew away. I ran to meet him and jumped on him. I was too happy to notice his coolness and nonchalant attitude. He told me there were delays on the Underground and that was why he was late. I really did not care. I was too glad to see him. He was looking slightly chubbier and had a small goatee which looked so good on him. My pulse was racing. I was with Chukky again.
The next three weeks went so slowly. I thought we would see everyday but Chukky always told me things like ‘Oh, I’m working’, ‘I’m busy’. He helped me move from London to Lancaster when my accommodation opened in Bailrigg. He left that same day. He had become so serious, so mechanical with me. Nothing I said was funny. He looked eager to always leave my presence. I knew there was a problem but nothing could have prepared me for its magnitude.
This last Sunday, after Church, he came to my house to see me. I knew he was coming and I had spent the Saturday cooking Banga soup like his mom had taught me. He walked in and I hugged him. The hug was not lingering like it used to be. It was almost mechanical. He sat down.
‘What would you like to drink?’, I asked, smiling, trying to keep the atmosphere less icy.
‘Ireti, I’m good, thanks. I just ate before coming here’, he responded.
I was shattered. But I decided to keep smiling.
‘Sit down, I’d like to talk to you’.
I sat down.
I remember his exact words. Just like his proposal, they are forever etched in my memory.
‘Ireti, I don’t know how else to say this. I’ve pondered and pondered. I spoke to my Pastor. I have prayed and fasted. I have decided that I just have to say it like it is’.
By now, tiny beads of sweat were already on my forehead and my palms were so wet.
‘Go on’, I said, dreading what was to come next. He left his seat, and knelt down before me, just like his proposal and said,
‘Ireti, it’s over between us. I’m so sorry’. This time, he was crying.
I was detached from it all. I felt like my spirit had left my body and was now observing the conversation. I was still smiling. His head was buried on my laps. I felts his tears as they seeped through my dress, drenching it. I was still smiling.
No tear came out. I felt like I was dead. I felt like the world had come to an end. At some point, I thought Chukky would look at me and burst into laughter, asking me how I could have fallen for such a bad trick. I was still smiling.
I looked at Chukky and opened my mouth as if to speak. Nothing came out. It was then I understood how people go mental because of a bad relationship. I kept looking at him and moving my lips. However, no words were spoken. I just stared at his face. Chukwuemeka Onyedikagi Andrew Chibueze, Chukky, my Chukky with whom I had fallen in love at 17. My Chukky. My best friend. The one who drew me to God. My fiance. My confidante. My husband to be. I passed out.
It has been three days now since my world was shattered. My parents are trying to get me to stop school and defer my admission because they don’t believe that I would concentrate. Bolade and Nkem who are both doing their Masters in Loughborough are planning to leave school and stay with me for a week. I have changed my relationship status on Facebook from ‘Engaged’ to ‘Single’. Bolade advised that I just take it out completely so as not to draw unnecessary attention to the whole situation. Right now, I don’t care. Whoever feels like talking should talk.
I found out the real reason Chukky left me. He fell in love with a girl in her second year, now third, during his Masters. She was on fire for God. She was very active in Church and I think Chukky believes this is the girl he needs to propel him to his divine destiny, his destiny helper. She has long hair, all natural, I have to fix mine. She speaks in tongues, I don’t. She sings like an angel in Church, I cannot sing to save my life. She is just 19, I am going to be 24 soon. She is from his town, Nkwerre in Imo state, I am an Ijebu Igbo girl. She is so close to his Pastor, I am just a churchgoer. I could go on and on…
The rain seems to be getting heavier, just like my tears. I’m down to my last Ginger nut. I don’t hate Chukky. I don’t hate the girl who stole his heart either. But I’m afraid, I don’t wish them well in their relationship. It was founded on deception and therefore may it crumble into irreparable pieces!
I’ll try my best to concentrate in class and pray I never stumble on the girl on campus. I know her face so well. I have been on her Facebook page all day yesterday and today. Her status says ‘In a relationship’ and I saw loads of pictures of them both as far back as January this year. This life sha!
I’m holding on to God in prayers. Pray for me.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
In other news, Festival of Life was amazing!!! I pray the Lord of lords will dominate us so that we can dominate our circumstances and situations. Plus, I’m so ANGRY Katie didn’t leave X Factor yesterday and please what’s all the hype about Cher’s performance on Saturday? Hiss. It only sounded good because people are used to hearing rubbish from her. *mean me* hehehe.
That’s all folks (for now)