When you stand beside the sea, what do you think of? Do you notice the waves building as though it were trying to touch the sky? Do you see beyond the blueness of the water or you just stand there waiting for time to go by? Have you ever imagined what life beneath the sea was like?
22nd November, 2009….
It was a great morning, the sun was out and she was still wrapped in her blanket. Skinny, tall and her skin was fair as the golden sun. Ebele stretched lazily once, twice and by the third time, she knew she had to get out of bed or lay there forever. Too lazy to gather herself together, she pushed the blanket away with her right foot, revealing her smooth brown skin to the sun which did justice to her lovely skin. She tossed to the right side of the bed to see what the shabby old brown broken clock had to reveal.
It was just 8:30am. She threw her head back and cursed. She wanted to stay in bed all day. Last night was a great night; Essien had spent the night with her instead of rushing back to Lagos. Speaking of Essien, if Ebele’s weakness had legs and eyes, yes, it would be Essien. She worshipped him like a god. Always in a hurry to tell anyone about her love for his brown eyes, his lips as they curved when he smiled, his voice and what it does to her. To her, Essien was a god, not to mention his bedroom skills. She wanted all of him and would never imagine sharing him with anyone else, not even his family.
“If you love me….”
The night had started with both of them daring one another to risk all or nothing. Ebele would dare him to prove how much he loved her by screaming his lungs out for her neighbors to hear. He did and when it was his turn he would dare her to call his name and declare she belonged to him alone. They took turns till they were scorched. Submerged in laughter and happiness he brought out a small red velvet box, in it was a gift to appreciate her for all the times she had stood by him. She loved him madly and she wasn’t expecting any gift. She tried not to assume till Essien opened the box. You know a lot of things can come in boxes like this even key holders. lol
As he opened the small red velvet box, her heart sank. He took her hand, said no words as he adorned her with the content of the box. She tried to say thank you but the words won’t come out.
“Do you love it?”
Her teary eyes went back to his brown eyes and all she could do was kiss him.
“I love it but I love you more,” Ebele answered.
She must have cried all night because Essien couldn’t leave her side. He had told her that he had to cancel his flight to spend the night with her as she had refused to fly to Lagos for the weekend. Abuja wasn’t his kind of spot to chill, he wanted to sit by the sea, he had complained about that severally. Ebele will always find a way to beg him to come spend the weekend.
Finally, she gathered her fragile frame out of bed. Wrapped in her silky purple lacey night gown that clung to her full breast and her round hips like a scared toddler. Her narrow waist swinging from side to side as she walked to the balcony to join Essien. He was a morning person, few times she had spent in Lagos with him, she had had to be up too early to say goodbye to him when he was leaving for work. He was a C.E.O of a small company in Lagos yet you’ll never catch him throwing it around.
“Good morning, love bird.”
He smiled to her good morning as he turned to embrace her. The sun was warm and teasing. Ebele was so sure she could hear it whispering to her to go for a swim. He kissed her forehead and whispered sweet nothings into her ear. She was sure this was the best day of her life. To be with the man who she adored and respected like a god. To be his one and only was all any girl could ask for. Essien was to fly back to Lagos later that day. After their bath and breakfast, they spent their morning gisting and having play fights. He loved her truly and deeply, that no one could deny.
The drive to the airport was really long. Ebele would take his hand in hers and squeeze it. He would laugh and do the same to hers. The cab driver kept a straight face though they could see him smile from the corner of their eyes. She was going to miss him and she wanted to touch him as much as she could before he got on the plane. Checking-in was quite fast, she had hoped they would meet the usual long queue of people rushing back to Lagos but today it seemed only a few persons were heading Essien’s way.
Luggage checked in, boarding pass in his left hand and his right hand wrapped around her waist. He was due to board in 10 minutes. She tried not to cry and he promised to come spend the next weekend with her but her eyes failed her. Trying to be smart, she shut her eyes quickly before the tears would embarrass her.
“Love bird!”
That was all she could whisper into his ear. She wanted to ask him to stay, stay forever maybe but he had to go back to Lagos, back to work and this truth was as painful as trying to deny yourself the things you longed for deeply.
With all that’s left in her, she wished him a safe flight, kissed him and walked back to the cab. Soon he would board and in the next hour she should be expecting his call. She stared at the huge rock on her finger. To her this was a reminder of his promise.
She got home feeling so lonely. The four corners of her apartment suddenly felt like they were trying to drag her soul out of her body. She finally caved in and cried. She was missing him terribly. It was already 5pm and she had to put herself in order for work tomorrow. She paced around the house doing nothing exactly. She would drag her feet then look at her old clock by her bedside and wonder when he would call.
“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth will care to know my name.”
Her ringtone was loud enough. She had picked Casting Crown’s song as her ringtone because she thought the lyrics spoke to her conscience. She ran straight to her phone like Usian Bolt.
“Hello, Love bird,” she said panting like a lazy pregnant woman forced to exercise.
“What were you doing?” He asked.
She could hear the worry in his voice. She straightened her spine and answered. Trying to sound all collected.
“I was pacing around, couldn’t stop myself from feeling sad. How did your flight go?” Ebele asked.
“Was great, just got home to some good news.” He sounded really excited.
“Etim, will be home by month end. I want him to be around when I visit your people by month end.” He said. Etim was to fly in from Canada.
Etim, as the first son would gladly escort his younger brother to anywhere. They were just four kids. Two boys and two girls. Etim, Eka, Essien and Effiong. Essien had such great respect for his elder brother. He was 5years older than Essien. At 35, you would mistake Etim for 28. The first time we met at Essien’s 30th birthday bash early that year in February, Etim was really nice to me. He was so simple and down to earth. We all laughed like we had known each other for years. So, I was happy too that someone from his family who I had met and found favour with was going to be around but I didn’t get the urgency of having the introduction so soon.
kept talking for another 10minutes while I was dying with mixed feelings. By the end of the call, Essien had convinced Ebele it was not a bad idea. He just wanted to do everything fast fast…
They stayed in touch through calls and social media. When they’re not on whatsapp they are on facebook or instagram. Sharing moments that made their day special. It was already Thursday evening and Ebele was looking forward to spending another weekend with her love bird. Friday was just by the corner, if he didn’t fly in on Friday he would on Saturday. She was dying to be with Essien.
Earlier that Thursday evening, Essien had called to let her know Etim had landed safely in Lagos and they were hooking up later that night. To chat and catch up before he leaves for work Friday morning and that he was flying to Abuja after work. She had gone to bed early, tired from all the stress from work and the fact that her man wasn’t coming over that night. She must have slept off because the sound of her ringtone came to her in another world. She could hear her phone ringing but she wasn’t sure if she was already awake or still asleep.
She tossed towards the right side of her bed, stretched her right hand half asleep to grab the noisemaker. Her TecnoF5 was slim and sleek.
“Hello!” she said with no emotions as she didn’t have the number on her phone and she wondered who could be calling her at midnight.
“Hello!!” Her second hello was really harsh and she was thinking of dropping the call when the person at the other side decided to speak.
“Ebele, how are you?” It was Etim’s voice. At least I know his voice, it sounded the same like when he sat beside me at Essien’s birthday, she said to herself.
“Bros, good evening, welcome back. How was your trip?” She asked a little excited. She thought they had finished discussing and he just wanted to say hi to surprise her. He was awfully quiet, she asked if he could hear her and she greeted again just to confirm. He took in a long drag of breath and spoke.
“Essien is gone.”
This better be some joke she said to herself.
“Gone how?”
“He drowned,” was all Etim could say. The phone stayed in her palm close to her right ear but her soul died after the word “drowned” was spoken. Etim said they had gone to Kuramo beach by the seaside to talk, Essien had come with some of his friends from work to meet his big brother. It was going well till he and his friends decided to take a quick dive after they had finished talking about visiting Ebele’s people.
She was asked to fly to Lagos Friday morning before they would bury Essien’s body by the sea. They say it was forbidden to take the body away from there. That if they did, every other member of his family would die the same way. The tears won’t stop on the flight to Lagos and at the beach. Ebele wanted this to be a dream. A nightmare she was desperate to wake from. As she stood there, she looked at the blue waters, the beauty of the wave and how it washed to the shores towards her feet. She was filled with pains and words she couldn’t utter.
Her eyes went to the huge rock on her finger again, so she was only engaged for a week. She never got to experience what forever was like. She had painted a future with Essien only for it to end in such a tragic way. They say he wasn’t drunk that he and his friends were not really swimming that the wave just came and swept him off his feet. How he struggled for life till they lost sight of him. Where were the lifeguards? Foolish me, at 10pm who would suspect this would happen? They had gone for help immediately, a few people who could swim immediately followed the path where he was last seen but by the time they got to him, he had given up. He was not a great swimmer; we had laughed over it in the past but never knew he would be needing that skill to save his life someday.
All I have left is his ring, I still have it on. It reminds me of him. It hurts to never hear his voice again.
Otunyo Maryann Ifeoma….

You can follow her on twitter via @Confessor82
Cullled from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *