WHY I DO NO VALS

Twice have I found love; on both occasions, I lost it cruelly. Since then, I had needed a reason to smile at the world, a reason to pour out and indulge. I never did until a year ago; but my heart has since been closed against love.

Three years ago, I had a dog, named Kent. It was a local hound but served to keep my company. We shared love, as two desolate creatures should. Our love was short lived, thanks to another intruder who stolen its heart.

Prentice, was a neighbourhood dog too; but with a mixed pedigree and a higher IQ. In a recast of my personal story, Kent fell in love with Prentice. The same way Ifeoma had fallen for one of our college lecturers, a divorcee with a lot of money, his own house and roving hands. He was nearly twice my age; there is nothing a twenty-year-old can do against such opposition. Either ways i was left lonely in no time.

Trouble set in on a fateful day they went scavenging but Kent got hit by a reckless hit-and-run driver. It died two days later at a veterinary home. I wept, more for my serial of losses in two years than for the soulless dog.

Prentice kept faith with me during my morning days. Was always at my door at their usual playtime, hoping Kent would pop out and tell her it was all a joke. The same way I had waited on Ifeoma, roaming the botanical garden every weekend to see if some benevolent spirit would conjure her out of the blues. Shame! Those fellas had gone on sabbaticals!

I hated Prentice from that day on. I did all that was humane to get Prentice from my back but it kept coming with that look of ‘where is my beau?’ until a day, out of savage anger, I smacked it with a club in the presence of their housemaid. Prentice howled in pains and limped off the streets.

Later on, Prentice declared war on me. I was more than ready. We never met on the streets without Prentice barking furiously and making advance to attack and I, getting ready to smack again.

That was before six months ago.

I had met sheri at a grocery store on a street down the road. I had paid my bill, but I didn’t pay the balance, attention, to the lady. The more reason, because I did not have the currency, time, to pay it on me than to steal unconsciously. But, my conscience would not let me be and my adrenaline didn’t help matters—at 212’F boiling point upon every thought of her! I undertook to pay my debt both the principal and its interests after two weeks of harassment from within.

Sheri played hard to get like a game of Sudoku; I bore it all like a Christ being led to Golgotha.

‘All I want is an undivided period of discussion somewhere out of this shop.’ I murmured on a day of frustration

‘But all I want is an unencumbered day without seeing your face.’ She retorted, matter of fact.

‘I can go for days to satisfy you, if only you’ll allow me this privilege for a day too.’

‘And will that be all?’ She asked suddenly

‘Yes, just a fraction of your time to pour on your my devotion and attention’ I agreed

I got a deal that shut me indoor for two weeks. Sheri had proposed a 14-day of intentional absence or no deal. I bet those days were the most agonising. The more I planned my itinerary to avoid a collision with her, the more her thoughts ravage through me.

After days of hibernation like a bear in the winter, our appointed day finally came.

I set out without the slightest omen of the potent evil the day held.

There was I dressed to impress my date, in my tuxedo, Rolex and Italian shoes—you couldn’t have got a better man on that day. It was one of those days called valentine.

Locating her house gave the least challenge, cruising in my rented Navigator Jeep. I had to step up my game since the experience of Ifeoma. Money and appearances matter in this game.

I stepped into the gate to find an expansive structure: the first surprise. I had taken it for granted that the girl was just a shop attendant.  Didn’t she tell me ‘come to our house and pick me?’ I doubted within myself. Such is life was the thought in my head.

But, before I could say Jack Bauer, Prentice appeared at my front: ‘Surprise number two’ I muttered.

It made advance to bark but without a second thought, I gave it a spanking kick in the mouth with my new Italian ankle shoes. It writhed away barking in great pain. I was proud of my investment and myself.

As I was about to knock on the door, I heard a crack from my back; a sudden snap of something and some evil-intent accompanying rush of something vibrating with speed. I attempted to look back, lo, a pack of six ravenous hounds were approaching with some violent intent.

In a fraction of seconds, my buttock was hooked in the jaws of one of them. I yelled and hopped for the sidewalk to avoid them; dashing across the corridor to the lawn and taking the route Prentice had taken. The barking had intensified now. I knew I was done for when Prentice surfaced again at my front looking savagery and fierce.

I surrendered like the saviour at Calvary and the hounds crucified me in good faith. My tuxedo was torn, and I got my heels were bitten, too. Now, I was crying and squirming in pains when Sheri came to my rescue. She called out for help, telling the maid to come with water and the first aid kit.

‘This is the man that smashed Prentice’s leg the other day.’ A voice thundered from behind

I looked up and saw the housemaid that took Prentice for a walk, the day I smacked it. Sheri sprang up from beside me like a victim of an insect sting.

‘What, are you so callous, even to animals; and you want to take care of me?’ she queried

I just looked on and pleaded for forgiveness.


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