The Last Smile – Episode 18
By Adeola Nissi
Lucy woke up with a start and looked out of the window. It was already getting bright outside so she lifted herself from the bed. She had never missed any Sunday service and she didn’t plan on starting now. She left for the bathroom to take her bath. She should be able to get one church around the corner.
The previous day had been fun, so much fun. Raymond hadn’t exaggerated his sister’s lively and accommodating spirit. Vicky just finished her masters in the United States and she was back to stay. Lucy wondered why people come back to this frustrating country after schooling abroad when there was obviously nothing in store for them here in Nigeria. She had later shrugged it off, knowing that those who studied abroad had more chances at getting a good job, compared with those who attended our local institutions. She found that ironic because it ought to be the other way. Everything in Nigeria is abnormal. Before Vicky arrived, Ray had taken her shopping for some nice clothes. She had argued and complained about being a burden but Ray would have none of it. He had made sure she got all the clothes that caught her fancy even though she tried minimizing it. After they had purchased everything he had left her at the counter and returned with a very lovely gown. She had wondered how she missed that gown. It was so beautiful. Even without testing it, she knew it would be perfect.
As she dressed up, she heard a knock on the door. “Please, come in”.
Vicky entered the room with a smile. “Good morning Vic” Lucy greeted. She had imagined that they would be within the same age bracket. “Did you sleep well in Nigeria?”
Vicky laughed. “Obviously” she said in her foreign assent. “I don’t need to be told that you woke up well. Are you going somewhere?”
“Today is Sunday, I am going to church” Luciana replied, a bit surprised that the question was even asked.
“Oh… You are the church type” she said with a smirk. “Well, I stopped going to church years back”.
“I see…” Lucy murmured solemly. The glint she saw in Vic’s eyes showed that she would have little or no luck if she tried convincing her. “Why?” she asked
“Give me one” Lucy challenged.
“I am a lesbian”
Lucy froze on the spot with her back Vicky. She knew that the best way to deal with people like that is not by accusing them or by making them feel like the world’s biggest sinner. She wondered if Ray knew this then knew that he would know. She had noticed the way he watched the two of them discuss, like he was trying to prevent something. She swallowed.
“Is that why you refused to go to church?”
Vicky was stunned. “You are not surprised?”
Lucy turned with a smile. “Surprised about what? That you said you are a lesbian? I was surprised. Who told you?”
“Nobody had to; I knew. Everyone made me feel miserable, like I was the most evil thing that ever walked the planet”.
Lucy smiled. She had finished her dressing. She did not have a bible, so she just carried the small bag that Ray bought for her. She moved to Vicky and hugged her. “You’ll be fine. Take your time.” She moved back and smiled at her before she started towards the door. Vicky was stonned. No Christian had ever done that to her. “I would get Ray to follow me to church” Lucy said at the door.
Vicky smiled widely. “Goodluck with that”
Lucy frowned but bid farewell and headed towards Raymond’s room.
Fred lay on the couch of his house feeling tired. He had spent too much at that bar and was feeling very miserable and tired. His account was now a skeleton of its former state. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it. He was just learning to smoke; he needed to clear his head and the smoke was doing that for him. He heard a knock on the door and became startled. He jumped up and stood like a stick.
Chris stood at the door, expecting the door to be opened from inside but he remembered the last encounter he had and knew that it would not be opened anytime soon if he did not talk.
“Fred” he called. “Open up, it is Chris”
Fred breathed a free air and opened the door. He was both relieved and scared of Chris’ visit. He did not know if this would be a good or bad visit, considering the way he treated him weeks back.
“Chris… I am so happy that you are here. I am sorry for what happened the last time. I know…” he stopped and looked at Chris for the first time. He was glaring at him.
Chris needed no other confirmation; the shaky state he was and the previous encounter told him that he had actually commited the crime. He shook his head, making Fred feel cold dread.
Chris put his hand inside his pocket and took out a picture. “Do you know her”
Fred almost entered the ground as he shrieked.
Luciana stood bemused at the entrance of Raymond’s room. She still could not comprehend what she had heard in the room. Vicky? How could Vicky be a lesbian? She shook her and swallowed.
She knocked the door gently but heard a sleepy response. She opened the door gently and entered. Immediately she entered, she blamed herself. Raymond was looking so manly and georgeous as he slept, shirtless on the bed. Her fingers desired to touch him and she felt anger in her spine. How can a man make her swoon? She wondered.
Ray noticed the way Lucy looked at him but he hid it, pretending to be sleeping. He swallowed as he took in her appearance. When he took out that gown, he never imagined that she would look so stunning. She had almost no make – up done but she looked more beautiful that all the women he had seen in his life.
Lucy shook herself and tried to pull herself together. “Good morning sir” she said loudly, trying to wake Raymond.
Raymond smiled softly as he opened his eyes. “You are a wonderful sight to wake up to sugar; you look breathtaking”. Ray traced her body with his appreciative eyes.
Luciana breathed carefully as she tried to take out the image of her shirtless chest from her mind. “Why don’t you get in the bathroom, get dressed and let’s go to church”
“Church?” he asked, bemused.
“Yes, church. You told me you are a Christian, right? Today is Sunday.”
“I don’t attend churches” he said and lay on the bed.
Lucy opened her mouth. “Why not?”
“No reason” he murmured.
“Well, I don’t know anywhere in this place. I might as well get lost, you know. Or maybe, I would just go home from there, and if the murderer sees me? well…”
“keep Quiet” he yelled softly. “Go and wait for me” he said softly and Lucy chuckled as she left the room.
Teju returned from church with a happy mood. She had loved the service immensely, right from the very beginning. She felt that the reason why she was so happy was the fact that she knew where her best friend was. She heard a knock and, knowing the person at the door, she went to open the door.
“Welcome darling” she said, stressing the darling. She tried to hug him but he was cold towards her. Tunde moved inside without responding to her greeting. She frowned. “Honey? Baby, what is wrong?” she asked moving close to him as she sat on the chair beside him.
“Teju” he called and she knew that everything was wrong. He hardly called her by her name.
“Teju, I believe we are mature enough to be able to talk to eachother like adults”. He started.
“Tunde, we have been talking like adults ever since we met. What is the problem?” she was confused.
He shook slightly. “Teju, I don’t think we can continue with this relationship. I have seen another girl that I am in love with. We should maturely go out separate ways”.
Teju opened her mouth.
…To be continued
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