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Chapter 13

I locked myself in the room for days.
I couldn't deal.
Banji kept calling my line and sending text messages.
I neither picked the calls nor read the messages.
I avoided everyone as much as possible. Most people thought I was sad because Tinu got married before me.
Well, I didn't owe no one any explanation.

It was a weekend, I went to church, sang in the choir as Banji taught me.
Every sound of music, every tall and dark man reminded me of him.

I was leaving the Church premises when I saw a man standing by a car.
Looked so much like Banji's new car.
I turned to respond.
It was Banji, I wasn't wrong.
I wanted to walk away.
"Rachael, Please for once, talk to me"
I was about walking away when Tola saw us from afar.
"Egbon! What are you doing in IB?"
"I came to see your sis of course"
They exchanged greetings. Tola adored him.
I couldn't talk.

I know Banji was trying to do some damage control.
"I'd see you both at home. I need to run. Church is over, boys have to hang out"
"Tola, make sure I meet you at home" I ordered.
"Sister, follow your husband. Me too need to hustle so I can marry a fine babe. Hahahaha"
I wasn't in that kind of mood.

As soon as he left, I was left alone with BJ.
"You know I can't stand here all day"
"Rachael, can we go somewhere...?"
"Ok. Can you at least sit in my car?
I got in. I was actually tired after the service.
"Banji, I don't need an apology. I just want to know where I wronged you. Tell me why you did..."

"You didn't do nothing"
He couldn't look at me.
"Mum, Mum says I can't marry someone from a broken home"

I don't think I had been so devastated in my life.
"So, I'm not good because my parents are separated. Really?"
"I'm sorry"
I laughed so I could hold back tears.
"One more thing BJ, why didn't you tell me all the while?"
"I didn't know how to put it to you--I wanted a convenient time"

The worst thing about my breakup was I couldn't even hate him.
BJ used to say, hating someone is like carrying a burden whereas the person who offended you is allowed to walk free.
I used to tell people, its not the length of a relationship that makes you broken.
Its the quality of life chunked out from you.
My life was like a shadow. I became lean very fast.

About a week later, mum called me.
"Rachael, what is wrong with you--and don't tell me ‘nothing’!"
For the first time in a long time, I burst into tears.
"Mummy, Banji is getting married"
"Jesus Christ!"
"He can't marry me because my parents are separated…
Mummy, is it my fault?"

Mum was a typical African woman. But that day, she allowed me to cry.
She didn't say a word. She just let me cry.
Tola was at the door all the while. I didn't know.
"Sister, where was God again today?"
"Tola!" Mum screamed.

"The two most important men in my life hurt my sister.
Mummy, why didn't God tell them to stop?
I don't feel like going to church again.
I don't think I will go again till I know why God makes the people who serve Him well suffer.

Tola shut the door and walked away...

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Chapter 12

As expected, Chima came to talk with me.
I guess I had to let her go.
Both of them knew I was the only one to convince our parents.
God was on our side.
Our parents gave their consent after a few hurdles.
So we began the wedding plans. Marriage was fixed for two months later.

Tinu's wedding was spectacular. Mum was the happiest woman on earth.
I always wished I got married before her but then, I was very happy for my girl.
Banji was there to give so much support -morally and financially.
All was beautiful. Well-except for Tola who bought so much alcohol for his friends!
That boy never listens.
"Sister, you can't impose this your SU thing on me jor.Its Tinu's wedding and my friends have to be spoilt!"

And of course Banji would say "Leave him, God has him covered."

Banji's sister, Ireti called me few days after the wedding.
"Racheal, I need to speak with you when you are free"
"Is Banji okay?"
"Yeah- Yeah.But, I must talk to you...

That day, I wasn't at peace.
That was very unlike Ireti.
I had spoken with Banji earlier in the day.He didn't seem to be in any sort of trouble.

The following day, I decided to call her.
"Rachael, how are you?"
"Iya oko Mi , I'm as fine as ever.Thanks for attending Tinu's wedding. I'm so grateful"
Then she paused.
"Racheal, you are a good person and I love you so much.But there is a truth I must tell you because you are a woman like me"
Now, my heart was beating fast. What could this be?
"Rachael, Banji is getting married"

"What? Which Banji?"
"I know you don't know.That is why I'm telling you.
The introduction was done three weeks ago and he is tieing the knots in four months from now"
“Apparently, this was some joke of the century” .I thought.
Ireti would not lie to me.
Banji was at Tinu's wedding two weeks ago. We spoke everyday.
Where was this coming from?
"Thank you sister Ireti.I don't know what to say. But, thank you".
"Just be cool girl.I-I really wished I could tell you this earlier but- but I didn't know how to do it."
"Ok ma."

I walked to the balcony feeling like a living dead.
I dialed Banji's number.
"Beejay,how are you?"
"Sweet heart, how far?"
"Banji, is it true you are getting married?"

Banji was quiet.
"Did Ireti call you?"
"Answer my question BJ"
Then he was quiet again.
"I will be coming to Ibadan this weekend. Let's talk in person"
"BJ, just say Yes or No. Don't torment me"

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