Once Upon A Secret: A Short Fiction Story By Theo – Ziny Joel

Watching how she Jiggles her hands and paddle her legs to the invisible bicycle in the air draws a special well Immaculate smile on his face. Her smile was heart captivating. More time he spent observing her than he did on watching his favourite “Meet the Johnsons show” She was his favourite character. He would watch her play as he scribble down his thoughts to deflower a virgin sheet. She was his inspiration.

 

When she sleeps, he would watch over her till dawn like how an angel watches over its own. He would listen to her breathing for they play melodious notes the piano can’t offer. He would run his fingers through her bushy hair like how he had always done in the past.

 

 

***

The look of the sky was like a work done by a skilled artist. A well painted eye catching canvas. The crescent moon full in its color, and the stars gleamed to oil the earth with its ray. A reflex of the sky patterned the earth leaving it with nothing less than an aesthetical exterior.

The harmless wind resonated harmless sound as they traveled the cardinal points of the earth carrying a bouquet smell to bliss the evening for the lovers.

“You see the stars,

 As beautiful they seem they are,

 They are not as beautiful as your scars” Tade pointing to the sky as he said to Jane who laid on his shoulder

They both laid on the field with both their stares aimed at the sky. The stars ray sat on their faces. Admiration on both their faces made the stars proud, with this, they gleamed more with pride.

“Tade…” Jane pronounced his name not wanting to ask a question. For his words strikes her heart.

“The beauty of the night will pass away,

 But your beauty in my sight

 lives forever” Tade eulogized

Jane smiled brighter than the gleam of the stars. She laid her head to rest on his chest. A chest not so broad to scare people away but still, she felt protected by it. She listened to his heart beat and all she heard were sounds sweeter than the sounds of David’s harp. His cologne embalmed her. She had always loved the smell of his appearance. She could almost taste it. It was more than just the cologne, she believed she smelt love. He was love.

Tade stroked her hair that was beneath his chin as he stamps it with several kisses. He puts his arm round about her. He knew deep down within his heart that he embraced love. He had never felt the way he felt like this before, despite he had been in several relationships before now. All life long, he knew he had atlast met love and at all cost not letting go.

” I wonder most times if you are human

 Even if, of what woman?

 Of what woman where you made?

 From dust where you made?” Tade said looking at the sky

For some seconds, silence saturated. Jane was overwhelmed at his appraisals. She oozed sincerity and pure words from the heart coming from him. Flattering words aren’t far from her ears. For men of different scope lashes her daily with them, but she took them as just mere words. Like lyrical sweet words formed for a baby to appease him to eat. But she knew Tade’s words were words that has never been heard by any. Words clothed with purple apparels, full of royalty. Words that outshines the stars and dims the sun.

She broke the silence “Tade? Why do you love me so?” This time, the tone of her voice sounded silent than the whispers of the night.

Tade sustained his kiss on her hair before responding.

“I can’t answer that” He said

“Why?”

“I have no answer”

“Why?” She reiterated

Tade paused for a bit. He moved his body to sit up, helping Jane situp as well.

He fixated his gaze directly at her face as he asked” Who created God?”

She wore a misplaced facial expression. She wondered what warranted such a question that has an unknown answer.

“I don’t know. No one knows. Probably that’s why he is called God”

Tade responded with a soft smile. She studied his expression slowly. The bright shadow of the stars played on his skin, messing up his skin complexion, making it look like an oily tray. She wondered what he was up to. She has had enough surprises with his words for the night. She wondered what he had in his locker this time.

She looked at him straight. She has never had the courage to look at him eyeball to eyeball ever since their months of dating, not maybe his face was scary or he wasn’t so good looking, In fact he was that “Oh God give me the perfect man” answered prayer. His beards stood firmly on his chin like a statue. They always look tidy and well kempt. His eyebrows formed like a capsized canoe over his eyes, well groomed and neat like a groom. His afro hair played a very significant role in his looks. She has always admired guys with an afro before he came her way. Everything about him was just what she longed for. The way he walks beams her. He moves like a wind vane, like he was being controlled by the wind. He moves like one who counts his every steps and like a tree likely to collapse. His lanky stature could almost make one think that he lacks food. But his luxurious simple dressing and Rolex wristwatch settles such terms. She couldn’t just stand his stare, for it laser through her heart.

Tade for some moment refused to take his eyes off her. He admired her again, like he had always done. He knew within him that he doesn’t deserve her. She was way too perfect for a guy like him. Her innocence knew no guilt. What was special about her beauty wasn’t just about her light skin appearance but her presence. Her presence grips him most times. He knew he had met an angel in person and wasn’t willing to let go like Jacob in the Holy Book. He wondered why she smiles all the time. A smile so soft like that of a child that can fluid any hardened heart.

“When we know who God creator is, then I probably will know why I love you this much” Tade said

After an heavy sigh, Jane said ” I probably won’t get an answer to my question then.”

Tade pulled her closer as he bridged his arms around her. Underneath his voice he said “Don’t ever leave me”

***

Dim colourful lights chasing themselves in scatters, greasing the mahogany long furniture that held various bottles. The atmosphere held soft music being produced by the juke box that was controlled by it’s owner. The redolent of drinks waft the air, as the smoke from cigarettes and tobacco coiled the air in their known fashion. Poff sounds at intervals from launching of new bottles of wine softly quakes the cantina and quiet loud cheers would follow.

 

The crowd was young but had few of old.

 

The catina had a free space at it’s center for lovers willing to dance to the Jukebox that played songs from the past that only father Abraham would know.

 

Few ladies sat on the long stools that were arranged close to the mahogany long furniture. A broad corner where the beers were sold. Most sat there throwing their beauty and body shape to men willing to catch them and take them home for the night.

 

” Drink more lover boy jare” Ben said to Tade who was struggling to find his stand as a man. His head dangling on his neck like a punching bag dangling from the punch of May weather.

 

“Stooooop it o” Tade words were slurry as he warned Ben.

 

Ben couldn’t help but laugh at him. Ignoring Tade’s harmless caution, he filled up his cup with beer.

 

“I saaaiiiid you should stop it ooooo” Tade warned again but still picked up the filled cup and gupled it all in then stamped the cup on the table as it made a blistering sound that called attention of others.

 

“I am the champion!!!” Tade yelled raising up two empty bottles

 

“Yes you are!” Ben yelled along as they both laughed at each other like lunatics.

 

Tade staggered as he stood. He went back and forth as he fell back on his chair. This gesture made Ben laugh out loud.

 

“Where are you going?” Ben asked

 

“Home” Tade replied

 

“You better sit down. Can’t you see that babe?” Ben said pointing to a girl that was sitting on one of the long stools arranged at the front of the long mahogany furniture.

 

Tade turned his head in a sharp as he tried to identify this lady Ben was talking about. He tried but his vision wasn’t comprehending. All he could see was everyone in two.

 

Ben accepting he had seen her continued” She has been staring at you since”

 

Tade still struggling with his sight and balance stood. This time his stand was firm.

 

“Where are you going?” Ben questioned

 

“You said she has been staring at me so it means she likes me so I am going to meet her” Tade replied as he moved like a waving flag.

 

“Bad boy!” Ben hailed him.

 

Tade kept on colliding with various seats with “sorry” “sorry” “sorry”,spilling out of his mouth. He eventually got to where the lady sat. He pulled an empty stool close to her.

 

“Hello” He said

 

“Hi” she replied with a blush

 

“My friend over there said you’ve been staring at me”

 

She smiled and took a sip from her drink that has refused to finish. A drink that had kept her company. A drink that was just a pass ticket for her to still remain in the catina.

 

“Yes” she softly said accompanied by a blush and a wink

 

“Really? Why?” Tade asked with his voice still slurry and vision blurry

 

“I find you attractive and handsome” she winked and licked her lips

 

Tade smiled and returned her wink” I also find you very attractive”

 

“Awwwwn, that’s so sweet of you baby” she replied in all blush

 

“Please can you pass me your beer cup?” Tade requested

 

“Okay?” She passed it to him as she watched him stand to his feet but this time not staggering. She watched him until he slowly poured the beer on her head as it slowly drained down her face like a waterfall. This act pulled gazes to them. She sat stiffed on the stool like it was an intended act.

 

Tade with his hands brushed through his jacket. It was obvious he was searching for something which he eventually found. He lifted up a small crystal square box. He tried making it glaring for all to see but many couldn’t really see what he held not because of the distance at which he stood from them but they had all drank themselves to stupor.

 

“You see everyone” Tade said as he still lifted up the small box

 

He continued “This woman here wants to damage my life” He pointed to the lady. She remained still on a posture like she was paid to do so. His voice still sounded all slurry but could still be heard.

 

“I am proposing to my Jane few days to come and here is the ring” He lifted the small box that had held the ring more higher like the crowd sat at the top of the ceiling.

Whispers circulated with discordance claps but stopped abruptly.

 

“And this woman here wants to come in between my Jane and I”

 

The lady without saying a word picked up her bag and PDQ out of the catina in a bolt.

 

“Run along woman and never cross my path again” Tade words chased after her as she walked off

 

Everyone that watched immediately returned to their normal cheers ,laughs and popping of drinks.

 

“Give me a beer to clear this my blurry vision” Tade ordered

 

***

“Where are you taking me to?” Jane asked with her hands sweeping the air like one who was blind but literally she was, but blind-folded.

 

She got no reply. She heard voices whispering. She tried eaves dropping but could roughly pick a thing or two that was said. The Van engine she was hunched in spawned a racketing sound, a more reason why she couldn’t pick a word said. She wondered why she hasn’t vociferated for help at the peak of her voice since her mouth wasn’t tied. She thought wisely that it wasn’t the best thing to do and moreover her loudest scream is likened to a whisper, so she remained calmed “at least a day will come for me to die. Probably the time is now” she concluded

 

The Van tire screeched as the Van halted. The slam of the door from the unknown men was so hard that it convulsed the van. Jane couldn’t see what was on going but she augured in her head what was going on. As her next prediction was right. The back door of the van was flung opened and she was gently pulled out.

 

A hand rested on her back as it directly pushed her. She heard the hiss of several door openings before she felt that the cloth that blinded her was being untied to make her see.

 

After being untied, she thought she was indeed blind because the room was as dark as Pharaoh’s dream to his wise men. Her eyes itched like how actors portrayed blindness on the screen. In confusion she was about accepting to the fact that probably she was indeed blind before the light came on as it chased away the dark like how Joseph brought light to pharaoh’s dream.

 

There were shouts and screams everywhere as soon as the lights came on. Jane was still trying to bring herself back to existence. Her eyes captured blurry images. The atmosphere looked all fogged. A wet towel wiped her face then her vision became clear.

 

The room was happy and lit with happy faces. Ballons of different colours and other fancy beautiful packs contributed greatly to the atmosphere.

 

Jane felt misplaced on what was happening. She could recognize almost everyone that filled the room. It wasn’t her birthday nor was she celebrating any achievements and yet she was the cynosure of what was being celebrated. She was totally lost.

 

She remained where she was without moving a step. She tried as much as possible to wear a faint smile. She noticed everyone was pointing towards her back wearing smiles. She wondered what was going on behind her and she was willing to know what it was so she turned back.

 

She saw Tade and he looked all different, like she had never seen him before. His afro hair no longer dwelled on his head. His beards looked moderate and well carved. His dark skin shined and sparkled than the bulbs that lit the room. She was proud of who fell in love with her and who she fell in love with. He was the most beautiful citizen in her world.

 

Tade walked close to her and immediately went down on a knee as the other leg stood half way. He stretched forth a ring box

 

“Jane will you marry me?”

 

Shouts and screams from friends replaced the air with chorus answers of “Yes” accompanied with claps and drums from table.

 

Jane remained speechless as the shouts and screams gradually fades. Everyone kept quiet waiting for the most important yes to be said by Jane. She stood on same spot with her two hands against her face. She battled with tears.

 

“Will you marry me Jane?” Tade reiterated while still on his knee

 

“I am sorry” She said and raced out of the room

 

The room that was lit with smiles and happy faces gradually grew dim despite the bulbs were on. Everyone gazed at each other as they directed their stare back to Tade who still knelt on same position with the ring outstretched.

 

Meteorically, he also ran out of the room in chase of Jane.

 

From streets to streets he kept running in search of her. He dashed to her home but he was told she wasn’t back home since she left hours ago. Tears resumed their duty on his face as they raced like children running after themselves.

 

Tardily, he walked to the field. There he saw Jane sitting and staring at the stars. He walked to her and knelt before her.

 

“Is it because of my new looks? I promise to always keep my afro from henceforth” he said as he crossed his arms over his chest in demonstration to show his sincerity

 

“No. It is not about your looks Tade” She said without looking him but kept herself busy with the stars

 

“Yes I know!” He exclaimed

 

“You know what?” She said as she looked at him

 

“And I told Ben this style he proposed for me to use in proposing to you wasn’t a nice one. I promise I will come up with something better. I swear I promise” he said as he crossed his arms over his chest again

 

She sighed.

 

“I promise” he reiterated as tears played on his face.

 

“Tade?” She called out

 

“Yes yes yes” He responded like he was being controlled by some sort of charm.

 

“You have no fault in all these. Not your looks, neither the way you proposed”

 

“Then why? I thought you love me”

 

“Tade I do. I really do.” She said as she wiped off his tears with her thumbs.

 

“Then why?” He asked looking puzzled

 

She stood and walked some steps from him as she still had her gaze on the stars. He stood also as he watched her pull off her wig from her head. He saw she was bald.

 

She turned to him and walked towards him “This is it”

 

He looked closely “So? I don’t know why you don’t have a single hair on your head but it means nothing to me Jane. I don’t care. I will marry you! You are beautiful! I love you this way. I promise to scrape every single hair on this my head tomorrow so we can be equal!”

 

She smiled a blissful smile as tears unhurriedly strolled down her cheeks.

 

“You still don’t get” she said and smiled

 

“I get. You don’t have any hair on your head and you feel I will feel bad about it . See I don’t care ! I will marry you!”

 

“Tade I am battling with Cancer! And I have just a year to live” she said as she broke down in tears.

 

Tade became cold. He felt like his feet were placed on ice. The typical beautiful sky lost its looks. The stars that shines to beautify the earth became scars on the earth. The glowing grasses lost it’s congenial smell and colours. The moon that shone upon his life bled till death, leaving his life dark. He knew his world was over.

 

He walked to Jane and picked her up from the ground where her tears had watered the grasses to death.

 

“You see the stars,

 As beautiful they seem they are,

 They are not as beautiful as your scars” he said

 

She looked at him as he went down on his knees

 

“Jane will you marry me?”

 

***

 

She became his occupation. He would feed, bath and cloth her. He was fully involved in every process of her development. He became more than just a father to her, but also a mother.

 

When she sleeps, he would watch over her till dawn like how an angel watches over its own. He would listen to her breathing for they play melodious notes the piano can’t offer. He would run his fingers through her bushy hair like how he had always done in the past with Jane his late wife.

 

“Darrrdiii” Jane pronounced

 

Tade in tears lowered himself to her as he lifted her up.

 

“What did you just say?” Tade asked despite he knew she won’t understand what he was saying

 

To his surprise she replied again”Darrrdi”

 

It’s been a year and some months since Jane passed away after few days she delivered baby Jane. He missed her voice. Hearing baby Jane call him daddy shot his heart for he heard the voice of the love of his life once again, Jane.

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