Blue and Red Flame I

Blue and Red Flame I



WRITTEN BY: Dame Valuta

She couldn’t clearly remember what had happened between them. It had been three years ago afterall. All she remember was the pain of their break-up… The endless tears that lasted for months… Her near suicidal thoughts and eventually, the numbness and inability to trust to form a bond. Theirs had been true love. It had been real. It had been a love many people read about in romance novels and wished they’d tasted. Theirs had been love – in all ramifications. And they had somehow lost it.

She smiled at the thought. It was easier looking back now. Though she still felt that ache deep down, it didn’t hurt anymore. Now, it was just an emptiness she felt inside. An emptiness that she could fill with plenty other emotions or activities. Sophie put the paper down and got up. Two years ago, she would have probably torn out the page with news of him on it. She would have probably gone home to cry about their lost love and cuss him out or wish him evil for the umpteenth time. Probably wished she’d kept his pregnancy and develop a love, hate relationship with his baby. Now, all she did was smile wistfully and moved on along with her life. It had taken her a long time to get here. It had not been an easy ride but she had finally arrived at destination calm. And she was good with it.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

He was convinced, beyond all reasonable doubt, that he was going mad. He couldn’t explain how or why but his conviction was strong. And all this started barely a week ago after that blasted article on him came out. He was happy at his success… Grateful to God and Celina for his success and even attributed a small portion of thanks to the lucky necklace Temidayo had given him as their parting gift. Unconsciously, he reached for his neck and caressed the necklace like a trusted talisman. Yes. His success had started after he’d broken it off with Temidayo and she had relocated to the UK to be with her longtime boyfriend. He shook his head as if to clear it of all thoughts. Her couldn’t clearly remember what Temidayo looked like right now. As a matter of fact, he couldn’t clearly remember the faces of the countless girls he’d bedded in the past three years save for Celina…. and Sophie.

He’d met Celina earlier in the year. Theirs had been lust at first sight. For him, it was basically still lust but like a curse, Celina was in love with him, hook, line, sinker. He’d decided to stick with her because she was the one person he made love to without seeing Sophie’s face. Celina was that relationship tipex that helped to wipe out Sophie’s memory. But like real tipex, Sophie had been blotted out and hidden under white sticky memory erasing goo… Yet anytime something happened, the white patch showed up glaringly and threatened to peel open the past. And last week after the article had come out, he’d began to see Sophie’s face everywhere. Last night, he’d made love to Celina and she had cried – with joy – at the intensity of it all. When all he’d been doing was exorcising the demons of Sophie that had resurrected with fury. Ben shook his head again, determined to clear it forcefully. He couldn’t start his day like this. It was not going to end well and he needed his wits around him to be able to forge on. With any luck, he might escape getting a migraine and actually enjoy today.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

It was an expected invite to Ibeshe Island. Mabel had been able to snag them both an invite to this exclusive event. The bride and groom to be were Mabel’s friend. According to her, the groom-to-be was a ‘Money Miss Road’ businessman who had been trapped and secured by a renowned yet reformed local ogbongidi turned ‘clean chick’. The groom-to-be was happy to be engaged to a beautiful and enlightened woman. The bride-to-be had eyes on the money and its future ability to maintain her ‘color’. Both were getting what they wanted in a packaged filled with razzmatazz and lies and both were deliriously happy. It had been the bride-to-be’s idea to ferry their close friends to Ibeshe Island on three pimped out, chartered ferries for a two-day combined bachelor/bachelorette retreat. They’d  secured the accommodation, contracted caterers and ensured that there was enough finger foods and alcohol to last their guest for a week. The groom-to-be had spent a good chunk of money to entertainment his guests and hoped his name would be all over the blogsphere within the week.

Mabel was looking forward to the trip. This was her opportunity to snag a guy.

Sophie was indifferent to the trip. She couldn’t be bothered any which way because the groom-to-be was an arrogant jerk and a fat slob while the bride-to-be was a bitter, finely packaged crow with suspect child-bearing abilities.

Somewhere on the other side of town, Ben was looking forward to the trip in a bid to escape his demons… And probably Sophie’s memory.

That trip was an unexpected ‘change-agent’ for many who were lucky to nag invites.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Ibeshe seemed serene. It could be termed “The little village by the sea” and one wouldn’t be too far from apt. The lodges were tiny little hut-like beach houses which had been cordoned off with makeshift fences and able bodied security operatives who looked like toy-soldier mannequins. The villagers could only sniff the ambience and taste the excitement in their mind’s eye. They could not go near the venue or lodges. The guests were already getting down to the programme of the day… Booze, barbecue and loads of bad behavior by the beach. The D.J was slick, the music was slicker and the people were the slickest of them all. Sophie watched, amused, as countless bodies milled around the various barbecue stands, talking loudly and acting like their country wasn’t on the precipice of an election meltdown. She was glad she was having fun. It couldn’t be helped. Since their arrival, Mabel had been a gas. She’d cracked jokes, made fun of other guests, their spouses, their hair, their accents and even the way they breathe. Sophie’s ribs had hurt from laughing too much. And now, just two hours after arrival, a few guests who couldn’t handle their alcohol had taken over the comedy train. Like Sophie, several people were seated on lounge chairs, sipping their liquor, enjoying the music and crowd watching. The laughter all around was not force. It was pure amusement and a sign of genuine fun. The groom and bride-to-be had hit limelight and relevance jackpot because the Ibeshe retreat was already a blast from berth.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

It had not been a planned encounter. Neither had it been one that either of them could forsee. One moment, Ben was chatting up a pretty babe and was getting her a drink. One moment, Sophie had run after Mabel who was headed to the makeshift bar to total herself. That moment their paths crossed and time stood still.

She hadn’t seen it coming.

Neither had he.

In that moment, three years seemed to fizzle away and all bandaged and seemingly healed wounds came undone.

The familiar pain, anger and hurt resurfaced.

The familiar pain, regret and self-loathing appeared.

Sophie stood still, staring at the man she’d once given her world to. Ben had put on weight. He wasn’t as handsome as she’d remembered. He’d obviously been going to the gym in a last ditch attempt at turning fat to muscle. His head seemed bigger and now that he had joined the bald head and beard gang, the head looked mightily grotesque. She was glad his physical appearance did nothing for her.

Ben stared at Sophie, speechless. She was the last person he’d expected see at Ibeshe Island. Three years had been kind to her. She’d lost weight, seemed toned and was even more beautiful than he remembered. And he wanted her… Same way he’d always wanted her. Here she was, within his reach and suddenly his heart began to race in fear. He held his breath and waited for her to do the cliche ‘hiss, dirty looks and turn away’ routine.

He held his breath and waited for it.

He waited…

And waited…

He was beginning to feel faint from holding his breath for too long.

Then he exhales just as she aimed a cold, almost pitying smile at him.

“Hi Ben… Wow. It’s been ages. I didn’t expect to find you here.” She said calmly.

He tried to mentally examine her tone for malice and hate. Neither turned up. She sounded emotionless and civil. It scared him more than ever.

“Hi Sophie. You look… Good. Very good.” He said with a smile.

“I hope you are well? I’ve been reading about your rising profile in the papers. It’s impressive. You should be proud.” She smiled.

Again, he examined the smile. It was polite, civil. Nothing more. His scare was not a scare anymore. He was petrified. This was the love of his life… The woman he’d pushed away with infidelity. This was the one person he couldn’t get over and here she was talking to him easily… No emotions. No feelings. She was just polite and civil, like she would be to the next man. They’d been apart for three whole years. No contact or communication. Blocked off each other’s lives for good… yet, deep down, he felt he still had her because his feelings for her were still so strong. Here he was, faced with her presence and it dawned on him that she was over him. It was over. Sophie was truly gone. Gone forever. The flame of their love had turned blue and eventually died for her while his burned red hot still.

His silence and staring unnerved her. She wanted to be away from his presence… She wanted to go back to the lounge chair by the beach and crowd watch. She wanted to rewind time to a few moments back and do things differently. She didn’t want Ben in her Ibeshe memory.

“Well, nice to know you’re doing well and progressing Ben. Errrm… Goodluck on your future endeavors and have a great time here.” She smiled again and turned to walk away. She didn’t hurry or sprint. She just walked and with every step she took, she smiled wistfully and relished the calm that settled over her.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Ben tried to be calm but the more he tried, the more he panicked. Sophie was gone from him. Maybe she’d found someone else to love like she loved him. The thought was doing his head in. He watched her go, immobile and speechless. Then something snapped. He didn’t know what it was. He didn’t want to know. It just snapped and propelled him forward. He had no idea what he would say when he caught up with her. He had no plan. All he knew was that he wanted to talk to Sophie. He wanted to hold and hug her. Heck, he wanted to fuck the feelings back into her. He wanted to rekindle the flame and turn it into a burning furnace. He wanted so many many things he couldn’t put into words so he ran.

Ben ran after Sophie… A scared, scarred man… Running after the only woman who’d ever mattered to him. When he caught up with her, he yanked her to his body roughly, almost knocking the breath out of her… Then hugged her tight.

“I miss you Sophie. I miss you so much. I swear, if I leave Ibeshe without making things right, I will go mad.” He muttered into her hair.”

Sophie stood still, frozen, shocked and speechless all at once.


Happenings Media