LOVE SO STRONG!!! (SHORT STORY)
This story is fictional. It is a story of young love that is facing challenges but is filled with hope.
LOVE SO STRONG!!!
Okechukwu adjusted himself on the front steps of his family house where he had been sitting for the past four hours. He was determined to wait all day, if that is what it took to see Lotanna, his love. It had been three days without contact because her phone was switched off and he couldn’t muster the courage to go knocking on her front door. Not after the warnings he got from her dad the last time he tried. He had made it to school the first two days but knew it would be useless going that day. He was just too distracted by his anxiety.
[bctt tweet=”Love So Strong! is a story of young love that is facing challenges but is filled with hope.” username=”edithohaja1″]
“They can’t keep her cooped up in that house for much longer,” he muttered to himself. “It’s been three days for goodness sake!”
Lotanna was an only daughter, in fact, an only child. To say that her parents were protective was an understatement. But they couldn’t really be blamed. On top of being a lone child, she was a sickler and they kept her activities at the minimum to prevent constant crises. But that didn’t seem to deter the crises. She was down every other month in spite of being in the care of one of the best doctors in town. Perhaps, if her family weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses and permitted the blood transfusions the doctor recommended, she would be in better health, he thought.
But then again, he wasn’t sure it was right to question people’s faith since he didn’t understand the basis of it. His only concern was for Lotanna. If only she hadn’t been born with SS genotype. If only God had heard all his prayers on her behalf. But he wasn’t giving up. Lotanna would live and they would be married in a few years. He wasn’t going to let God rest on account of that.
[bctt tweet=”How I pray for you each day! What won’t I give to see you live? #love #shortstory” username=”edithohaja1″]
Okechukwu recalled when they first met at the university where they were both studying Botany. Although they had both spent one semester as fresh students in the same department, they hadn’t had much contact. Then in the second semester, they were paired to work on the same seminar topic in an elective course. During their first meeting for this, Okechukwu was impressed with Lotanna’s grasp of the topic after a brief look at the material he had gathered. He told her, “You’re my kind of woman,” and their relationship took off. They had such happy times in school.
The owner of the duplex opposite Okechukwu’s family bungalow had died and for a year after the last tenant left, the house remained empty due to ownership tussles between his sons. But right after Okechukwu and Lotanna began their relationship, the disputing brothers settled the matter by deciding to sell the property. Lotanna’s father, who was their kinsman, bought the house and moved his family in after minor repairs.
When Okechukwu and Lotanna discovered they had become neighbours, they didn’t see it as coincidence but fate. In their view, this was a sign that God wanted them to be together. So Okechukwu, who had been staying in a hostel on campus, decided to move back home. And although Lotanna’s dad forbade him from visiting her at their house, knowing that they were within yards of each other gave them plenty of comfort. In the alternative, they conversed on the phone to their hearts’ content when they could.
There was movement on the blinds of an upstairs window in Lotanna’s house. Okechukwu could have sworn someone had waved to him but it had been so fleeting he wondered if he had imagined it. He cupped his hands on his forehead to get a better view wondering if that had been Lotanna and wishing there would be a repeat of what he thought he had seen. But the blinds were still, the windows closed like before.
What bothered him most was not knowing. Sometimes, her parents made her cut classes for a whole week if they noticed she was getting weak or she was under stress. And they would usually keep her incommunicado to prevent “unnecessary excitement.” So there he was, worried out of his mind but not knowing whether her “jail time” as they jokingly called it was for curative or preventive purposes.
Then he was startled by the ringing of his phone. His was one of those Chinese-made phones that had the most jarring ringtones but he left it on to prevent missing Lotanna’s call. She was the one and in his excitement, he put her on hold and as he was fumbling with the keys to make the call active, he accidentally cut it altogether.
He dialled back immediately but apparently, she had beat him to it ’cause the phone said, “Call not allowed.” He told himself to calm down and about a minute later, they were connected on her third try. Before then, he saw that someone was definitely at that upstairs window waving at him. The window had been opened and the blinds drawn. It was Lotanna. His heart couldn’t contain his joy. But she withdrew into the room again.
[bctt tweet=”It was Lotanna. His heart couldn’t contain his joy. #love #shortstory” username=”edithohaja1″]
“Okey, how are you?”
That was typical of Lotanna, always concerned about others when she was the one in real pain. Okechukwu had learned not to waste precious time admonishing her on it. He didn’t know how long they could talk, so he decided to get on with it.
“I’m fine. How about you?”
Okechukwu had taken Lotanna to his pastor shortly after they met. That was ten months back and although he was just 19 and she 17, he had introduced her to the man of God as his missing rib. The pastor had laughed but after Okechukwu explained Lotanna’s condition, he led her to Christ and prayed for her healing. He also told her to declare that she was healed no matter how she felt. Okechukwu supported all that but made her promise that she would always tell him exactly how things were with her, no holds barred.
“I’m getting better. The pain was unbelievable in the last two days but today, it has subsided. I should be in school next week, by God’s grace.” She was referring to the pain in her bones that accompanied each crisis. So she had been seriously sick then.
“Don’t be in a hurry. I’ve got you covered in the two outstanding assignments for the HOD’s course. Campaigns are on right now for Students’ Union elections due next week.”
Okechukwu caught himself. What was he doing, discouraging her from coming to school? How was he going to see her if she didn’t get out of the house? And school was their love zone. So he backtracked.
“But I think you should get out as soon as you can. The fresh air alone can be so invigorating.”
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Lotanna registered her concern for him once more.
“I wasn’t before, but now that I know how you are, I can release my breath.”
They chatted for a few more minutes, Lotanna breaking him up with her impression of her dad telling him off. She was so smart, smarter than himself, he admitted, even though he was an A student. More than that, she had a wonderful sense of humour.
She was thin, no thanks to her constant illness, and her lips were pale pink and often chapped but she had a beautiful, oval face, light brown skin and a bespectacled look that said, “This one’s brain is working over time.” Her eyes were perpetually jaundiced (making her thick bifocals a blessing in disguise) and her midriff slightly distended. Both were symptoms of her condition. But her voice was angelic and captured by its magic, Okechukwu wanted to be beside her always.
On his part, Okechukwu was of an average height (5 ft. 7 in.) like Lotanna. His looks were nondescript but he was a very bright student. As far as everyone was concerned, though, his great selling point was his footballing skills (which as one would expect gave him a lithe body). He was widely known on campus and beyond as an incredible striker, giving him the nickname, “Sharp Shooter” which some shortened to “Shooter.” He repeatedly turned down offers to go for trials with clubs, not wanting to juggle his studies with a footballing career. Girls were constantly trying to brand him theirs, but he wanted none other than Lotanna.
She asked for an update on the American presidential election campaigns because they hoped to live in the US affter they got married. The fact that he was AS didn’t bother them. They knew the risks but felt they would cross that bridge when they got to it. It wasn’t like they must have kids, he had told her. Adoption was always an option.
They felt she would have the sort of care that would really prolong her life in a country like the US and although she wanted Hillary Clinton to win and he supported Donald Trump, it had never caused any arguments between them. He told her that the polls favoured Hillary but he wasn’t giving up on Trump. They prayed before she ended the call that she would not suffer a relapse and generally thanked God.
Okechukwu was already planning in his head a lineup of activities to cheer Lotanna up the next week by the time their chat ended. He would buy another Russell Blake spy thriller which they could read together under their favourite umbrella tree at the Sam Mbakwe park on campus. She had been ecstatic about the last one they read. He would take her to see a movie at the new Tiger Theatre in town. It would be an afternoon date, that couldn’t be helped. And of course, they would be at one or two of the late afternoon poetry reading sessions at the postgraduate students’ club called Muse Mountain.
They would also go to Bob’s Gardens where old Bob loved to give them a tour and lecture them on different species of plants and flowers. They would help him water the plants (something her parents would be horrified if they heard about it, he thought with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes). The last time they were there, Lotanna had donned a pair of gloves and weeded two beds of tomatoes. He could still remember her exclamation of triumph when she finished. He would buy her one or two potted plants from Bob’s nursery and they would go for Mallam Sadiq’s tuwon shinkafa at the intersection of Cross Road and Opara Avenue.
[bctt tweet=”It was going to be an exciting week and he couldn’t wait for it to arrive. #love #shortstory” username=”edithohaja1″]
It was going to be an exciting week and he couldn’t wait for it to arrive. He joyfully retraced his steps from the kerb he had wandered onto as they conversed and went into his house whistling. He was the happiest guy on earth, he thought. He loved this brilliant and super lovely girl and she loved him back!
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2017
Quick question for you:
Is it right to love like this or is this couple naive? Are they out of their minds? What do you think?
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