“So,” Serena said. “That’s my sad story. “
Steve’s eyes were now filled with lots of tears that were begging and looking for the opportunity to drop off from his eyes sockets. He kept his eyes fixed on Serena as he rested his chin on his two palms with his two elbows placed on the dining table that separated him and Serena. Serena kept her eyes away from him and fixed her eyes, instead, on the plate of rice and boiled egg in front of her.
Serena had painfully narrated her sad and ugly experience to Steve after several promptings from him. She had told the sad story of the tragic death of her dad about seven years ago and the death of her only brother two years after the death of her dad. She explained how these tragic events had led to her mother’s hypertensive ailment. She told Steve all about how she had to leave her native town, Benin, a principal city and the capital of Edo state in Nigeria to Lagos to embrace prostitution. A trade she has faithfully embraced for the past five years.
“That’s sad, “Steve said ruefully trying hard to stop the balls of tears that were already gathering in his eyes from coming down.
“It’s nothing again to me Steve, it belongs to my past now.”
“And how is your mother now?”
“She’s fine. I send money to her from the income I make from my cherished trade.”
“Does she know you’re into this?”
“No,” She said with a growl. “I’ll kill her very quickly if she knows about that.”
“You see, I’ve said it to you on many occasions that you’re not a night girl. “
“Oh Steve,“ She protested, her eyes gleaning.“ I thought we’ve moved over that. I’m a night girl and I love my cherished profession.”
“Common Serena,” Steve said raising his voice a little, “You’re not. You’re just a child of circumstances. There are decency and good morals lying beneath your personality.”
Serena angrily rose from her chair at the dining table and went straight to pick up her bag where she dropped it when she arrived. Steve understood her intention and rushed after her holding her and trying to apologize.
“I’ve told you who I am; you should just take me for who I am.”
“Okay, Okay. I’m sorry about that, Serena.”
“Hey,” she cuts him short, “Look, circumstances did not make me a harlot; I made myself one. I chose this trade and it has paid me well for the past five years now. Did you get that well.”
“Understood and,” Steve said and tried to lead her to the 3-seater couch in his sitting room. “I’ll learn to take you for who you‘re.”
“Better, “she said. “Then we can truly be friends.”
After she finally took her seat, Steve quickly went to the fridge to get a cold drink. He picked up two cups and placed them with the drink on a flat tray. He placed the tray on her laps and opened the two drinks serving the two cups and knelt down to offer Serena’s cup to her.
“Please, “he said grinning. “Accept this drink offer of reconciliation from me.”
“Thank you, “she collected the cup and smiled back at Steve.
Steve spent the next thirty minutes watching and admiring the beauty of Serena while she watched a documentary on television. He tried as much as possible to avoid the discussion that got Serena angry the last time. He was now sure this was a friendship and relationship he truly desired so he was ready to avoid any further misunderstanding that would get her infuriated.
The television program did so much to douse the tension and also to catch Serena’s attention for this long period and Steve allowed her to enjoy herself but he still helped himself to catch a glimpse of her every now and then. He looked away whenever he noticed Serena trying to look his way to prevent her from noticing he was watching her. After the interesting TV program, Serena said, “Thank you, Steve, I’ve enjoyed my stay here, I would like to take my leave now.”
“You’re welcome Serena; it’s my pleasure hosting you.”
“I hope to come over another time.”
“I’ll be glad to host you again.”
“Thank you, Steve.” Serena said.
Serena picked up her bag and moved swiftly towards the door as if she suddenly remembered an appointment she had to keep somewhere. As she puts her hand on the door handle, Steve quickly reached out to her hand and held it on the door handle.
“I’ve got a confession to make. “He said still holding her hand on the door handle and looking straight into her eyes.
“A confession, “Serena said, surprised. “What’s it all about?”
“I, I, “he stammered. “I’m clueless on how to say this. I can’t seem to find the inner confidence and strength to make this confession. Some forces within me are trying to keep this confession buried and I have to exterminate these forces instead or else it ‘ll be a very gory weekend and week ahead of me.”
Serena, now standing away from him after freeing her hand from the grip of his hands at the door handle, looked at him with keen interest and attention to hear from him what he had to say. He noticed the risen interest from her to listen to him. He could see very clearly for the first time the deep attraction of his heart to the heart of Serena.
“Steve, what do you have to confess? She asked expectantly.
“I I I,” Steve stammered again and closed his eyes very hard as if he was trying to summon an invisible power to push words out of his mouth. “I’m in love with you.”
“In love with who”, Serena said, surprised and taken aback.
“With you, Serena, I want you to be my wife.”
That last statement hit her like a thunderbolt and her handbag dropped out of her hand as if something more powerful than her pulled it from the grip of her hand.
“In love with a prostitute?” She said and quickly walked away from Steve and moved towards the 3-seater couch in the living room and rested her already shaking body on the couch. “Want to marry a prostitute?”
“Yes, Serena,” Steve quickly walked up to her and knelt in front of her. “I can’t explain this, but that was from my heart.”
“You want to marry a prostitute, Steve”
“Are you out of your mind?”
“No Serena, I’m not.”
“For goodness sake, I’m a spoilt lady, a hard and bad night girl of many years.”
“You’re not Serena,” he said now with a stronger voice. “There are decency and good morals lying behind your personality. It’s just that you can’t see it and I’ve been, by God knows the reason, been empowered to see this very clearly right from the first day I saw you with your friend and Bobby. I’ve been greatly dazed and wowed by your invisible beauty. I’m sure now that this is what I want.’
He watched her closed her eyes very swiftly after his last statement. Even this angry state did more to reveal the inner and external beauty he had seen about her. He watched her eyebrows took another pretty dimension and her soft and well-formed cheeks also looked exceedingly beautiful.
“Look, Steve,” She said after she finally opened her eyes, “I’m a prostitute, an immoral woman; I’m a bitter pill for sane men like you.”
“No, you’re not. You’re a good woman.” he said.
“I’m not a good woman Steve”, she yelled at him.
“You’re Serena, you’re.” he replied softly.
“Look, man, I’ve never been in love with any man.”
“But I’m in love with you.”
“I don’t think I‘ll ever be in love with any man.”
I’m sure you’ll learn to be in love with me,” he said, his confidence growing.
“No. No. It’s not going to be.”
“It can be Serena.”
“I’m not good for you Steve, I’ve been very bad.” she said.
“Even that’s further fuelling the engine of my love for you.”
Serena suddenly picked up her bag, pushed Steve away from herself and stood on her feet facing the door and said, “You’re falling in love with a prostitute. I’m bitter as wormwood; I’m not fit for you!”
‘I’m taking you, “ he said grabbing her left foot quickly. “For who you are. I love you even as a bad, immoral prostitute. It’s a decision from my heart.”
“Steve, I think I’ve had enough embarrassment for today. Can we postpone this discussion to another day? “She said sharply, her countenance showed she meant business.
“Okay, okay Serena. If that’s your wish.”
He let go of her foot. I think I’m winning the match, he thought. I‘ll be ready for the second leg of the match.
Some thirty minutes after seeing Serena off, Steve was still feeling the terrific vibrations of all that happened between him and Serena that day. He spent some time to reminisce over the discussion between them and the many strange reactions of Serena to his views and confessions about her. He dashed into the kitchen to prepare some toast bread to fill his stomach. He took his meal to the bedroom instead of the dining table. He sat on his bed and quickly devoured all the three pieces of toast bread and gulped two cups of cold water to wash it down his throat. I know I’m sane, he thought. I want her for everything she’s and that’s from my heart. He rested his back on the bed and adjusted the pillow to support his head and slept off.
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