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Keeping The Hummingbird

April 22, 2021

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She was his hummingbird, the source
of the constant music in his heart
From the first moment, he laid his eyes
on her
His heart fluttered and erupted into a
music so great, it birthed the kind of
love that changed his life; the feverish
love
Feverish love is a no-no
That kind of love that gets you
tied up in knots and sweaty like
Christmas goat
The kind of love that gets you
pacing up and down when the
one you love has not called or did
not show up as at when he or she
promised to
That love that makes everything
else taste like ash and debris
A love that takes the colour out
of everything and turns your
brain to mush
The kind of love that takes your
appetite away and causes your
breathing to quicken and slow
sporadically
A love that is like coronavirus
You’d think you have gotten it under
control and then it will come in
another wave
Like the tide of the sea
Wave after wave of anxiety, edginess,
panic, and fear
A love that is as unstable as water
That was what his first love was like
Feverish, gripping, scintillating,
mesmerizing, galling, suffocating,
choking…
His mother saw it, but he didn’t
That day when he woke up at 4 A.M
and sneaked out of the compound
carrying a gas cylinder he had hidden
in a plastic waste bin
His girlfriend’s younger sisters had
saved up some money to buy
themselves new shoes
His girlfriend was out of school
at the time and therefore did not have
any means of collecting money from
their parents for daily upkeep
She was waiting for WAEC results
and was often at home all alone
She was stirred to jealousy by the
sight of those new shoes bought
by her younger sisters
He saw it in her eyes
He felt he ought to be buying her
cool stuff like that
So he decided to sell one of their
landlord’s cylinders at the gas
station not too far away from
their house
His friends had told him they had
a contact there who bought gas
cylinders for cheap
As soon as he left the compound
the security guys caught him just
as he was about to cross the express
He threw the cylinder into a gully
and ran like a scared rabbit
He ran so fast that they had to let
him go
He went all the way to the next bus
stop and waited until daylight
before returning home
When he got
home his mother said “When you
find yourself stealing to satisfy a
girlfriend, you have to begin to
question your sanity.
Are you sure you are okay?”
He didn’t say anything
His mother couldn’t give him the
money because they were poor too
He was under so much pressure
to impress her
That afternoon he left home for a
long walk until he found a hospital
where he could donate a pint of
blood for 500 Naira
The shoe was 450 naira at the time
He found his way to her house and
gave one of her sisters the money
He said “Please buy another one
of those shoes and
give it to her tomorrow.”
She was his only friend, his lover,
and soul mate
They were both waiting for admission
into the University at the time and
they both had so much time on their
hands
He spent every weekday with her
She had volunteered to teach in a
school closeby but the
school didn’t pay or designate pupils
to her so she used the excuse to
leave her parents house to be with him
His mother would have gone to the
shop from 8 A.M to return with his
siblings at 9 P.M every day
He had the whole house to himself
and it was all they needed
He was twenty
She was eighteen
They would kiss and smooch and
play the…
“It will enter”
“Don’t let it enter”
“Just to rub it”
“Just the tip” game
Eventually, he asked someone what
to do
He was told vaseline will do the trick
He scored after three weeks of
“stop it or I won’t come here again”
She was afraid he was going to dump
her after the flower was plucked but
he couldn’t
He was in love
The kind of love that didn’t care
whether the whole world burn down
or not WAEC result was released
He passed
She failed
He told her not to worry
He swore would not go to school
unless she got her admission too
Her parents insisted she had to work
to raise the money for the GCE form
He told her not to work
He said he would work something out
He got his letter of admission
He ran to relatives and family friends
He raised the money for his school fees
He
bought her the GCE form and rented
accommodation at the special center
where she was supposed to write it
He e bought two forms
He was going to sit right beside her
and write her papers for her
He spent all his money on getting her
that result
She passed and gained
admission to study Estate management
in a polytechnic
He wrote JAMB and failed
He was out of touch and had to study
Her parents were able to raise the
money to pay for her fees and
accommodation
She left for school on a Thursday
Late in the evening
They had spent the day together
while her father went in search of a
pick-up truck that would convey her
and her loads to school
He promised he would come and
see her as soon as possible
He wrote her everyday while preparing
to write Jamb again
The first time he was offered admission
on a platter of gold but
JAMB got trickier and trickier
He didn’t make the cut off for LAW
again at his preferred school
So he got a job at the postgraduate
school’s records office while lying to
everybody that he was a student
He sent her money every month
Sometimes he would travel to her
school to spend the weekend
with her
She finished her OND
He was still writing JAMB
She did her direct entry examination
into a federal University
She got admitted
He was still writing JAMB
She got to 300 level
He realized he had to settle for
another course other than law
He settled for
for communications and language arts
He finally gained admission at the
age of 26
He had spent 6 years serving love
He was in 200 level when she
graduated
She went off to serve in the East
It was the first time he couldn’t jump
on a bus and go looking for her
He couldn’t afford
to waste any more time
He had stopped working and
couldn’t afford to raise the cash
needed for such a venture
He had to let her be and hope she
was fine
One year is a long time
He wrote and called and chatted
as much as he could
She replied as much as she could too
Towards the
end of her service year
She sent him a message that she
and some of her friends would be
going to Abuja from her camp
He was preparing for his examinations
and felt “whatever”
She left a message saying “We are
taking off now!”
Everything changed from that day
He couldn’t explain
it but he knew it
She met a guy in Abuja
The guy was working with the civil
defense corps
The guy took an interest in her
She had stayed with him despite the
fact that most of her friends felt it
was unreasonable
She was way ahead of him in everything
but age
She felt should be
looking upwards
Not downwards
She is a girl, a first child with siblings
at home waiting for her to make it
She cannot sit on her hands in the
name of love
She had to be pragmatic
Her parents were neck-deep in debt
Everyone was expecting her to marry
rich or get a good job that
could help the family
Sentiment couldn’t even breathe in
the cesspool of life she was dumped in
She needed to make tough decisions
and one of such decisions was to get
the first available way out of poverty
The guy offered such a door
He took her and her friends out and
impressed
all of them
He was a top guy who also offered
her a job with a bank in Abuja
The guy didn’t have to say so much
He was the key to her dream of not
returning to the shack her parents
live in and he came at the right time
The guy really went out to thrill her
He took her out daily
throughout the week she spent in Abuja
She saw her man’s messages
They came in daily
He wrote about his exams and his
preparations for the next one
She felt he would eventually meet
another lady
This was her own time
She didn’t bother replying to him
She just blocked him on every
platform
She completed her NYSC and
returned to Abuja
She and her new guy were on a
serious track to getting married
She refused to settle for less
He got her a job a promised
Eight months after they started
preparations, she took him home
for their introduction
It was a quiet
ceremony
Her immediate family came
They invited just a few friends
and relatives
He heard about the introduction
from a friend
They were drinking local gin while
he was lamenting about his babe
The friend told him his babe was
in town
He rushed to her house
It was true
It was so
true!
He got there just as they were posing
for pictures in the compound
He opened the gate and stepped in
She saw him and froze
He looked at her, nodded his head
twice, and without a word stepped
out of their compound
He began to walk and cry
He walked for several hours
By the time he came to himself it
was nightfall
Around 10pm
He was at Alakia area, close to the
brewery
He didn’t know when he got there
or how
His legs were throbbing
He had walked over thirty kilometers
He saw a church, they were having a vigil
He walked in and sat down at the
back
The pain in his heart was searing
It was either he cried or die
It was unbearable
The vigil started
He just sat there and cried through
the noise
Silently weeping and mourning
Sometime around 2AM, he walked to
the altar and gave his life to Christ
There was no altar call
he just felt a strong nudging
After the service, he met with the
pastor for counseling
They prayed together
The pastor told him not to give up
Christ is the best beginning of all
for every man
He believed the pastor
The next morning, the pastor drove
him back to school
He healed
It took months but the school activities
and fellowship activities helped him
He was able to gloss through without
putting his feeling into much
He graduated and got posted to Lagos
He served with a telecommunications firm
He was retained after service
He got married in 2017
He said they met only once after
the whole episode
This was in 2019
She came to see him about getting a job
He asked her what had happened to her
She said her husband had been shot
and killed by kidnappers on an official
assignment and she lost the job he got
her after that
She really needed some help
He said he gave her some money and
collected her CV in order to help her
get a job
He said his wife saw her CV in his car
told him to keep away from her
He had told his wife so much about
her in the course of their dating
His wife simply couldn’t see
anything but danger
He said he saw her message on
WhatsApp the next day thanking
him for the previous day and reminding
him to help her out however he could
He said he sent her some more money
and told her he couldn’t help her any
longer because of his marriage
He blocked her
afterwards and continued to pray for her
He said the last he heard she moved
back to Abuja to pick up the pieces of
her life
He said he still missed her and somehow
still loved her too but not in an actionable
way
It was one of those feelings, like the
embers of a dead fire!

PS: He wrote to me asking me why his
wife reacted so negatively to the idea
of him helping his ex-girlfriend
He said he felt responsible for her in a
way and felt his wife was being very
unreasonable
I asked him if his wife was usually that
unaccommodating
He said no
I told him to follow the instruction of
his wife
Ladies have this seventh sense about
their husband’s vulnerable spots
Even when the man cannot see it
his wife could usually see it from afar
Unless the woman had a history of
inordinate and unreasonable jealousy
She is often right when it comes to
the issues of the heart
She knew he was vulnerable to his
ex and constant contact between
the two of them could cause dead
embers to spark to life

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