A Lover's Cascade (My Name Is Kate)

 


By Grace Oji

My name is Kate, and not so much time has passed since I gave strength to the possibility of a union I can't with utmost truthfulness say I did support.

It was a good Saturday morning one would say, watching the equable golden weather that seemed to soothe my bleeding heart. I shut the thick black gate of my house and started, towards the south side of the street, to my right, the quiet wind serenading my silken drape dress to its airy tunes like a lover's song to His beloved. 

It was like the day we met at a neighborhood park when the twilight's cool breeze bared my neck, sliding my chiffon scarf off as it hung loosely, a little fraction of its length rested on my shoulders. 

Before my legs could race to its rescue it was gripped by a young slender man whose face never missed a grin beyond ten minutes. He walked me home not too far from the park while we talked away the evening finding each other's company a pleasure worth reliving.

I came upon the obelisk cathedral where the people were gathered, arrayed mostly in outstanding shades of colours and glittery jewellery giving shine amidst the moody maroon of the church walls.

He came in with the groomsmen all dressed in black tuxedos, exuding grace and composure, that had become a familiar treat to my sense of sight, brimming with quiet ecstasy upon her arrival.

I once had served him a bowl of his most treasured fruits on his birthday at our best spot, the neighborhood park off the street where I lived, towards the northside, and he said to me, "You stepped towards me like a bride, holding forth her bouquet of roses to meet her bridegroom."

The look on his face before many witnesses heralded the presence of something most beloved to him, his eyes said it all. At that solemn hour, such a countenance was not mine to bask in nor to behold for my sake. 

It was solely hers, all lit in pure white beaded lace, her veil drawn over a slightly bowed head. She was petite and round. And I could merely in dimwittedness assume it was her looks that hooked the fish to the line.

And when the violins were strung to the hymn's tune for all to sing, my lips fell shut like a bench fastened to the wall unable to move. I was fixed on the man whom I had deeply desired about to be joined in holy wedlock to another woman.

In the good old days, he never took repose from speaking of his love for me. He said one day I'll be the bride by his side. This was a consistent song he crooned to me both night and day.

Right there in their midst, they could only see the mask of a lady, gentle like the flowing clear

springs of water while a tempest roared with the force of a volcano's molten blast inside. Whatever sound dominated the wedding gathering was overcome by my wandering thoughts. Only one voice reversed my attention to reality.

"Yes, I do." Said he to her, holding both her hands in his, looking into her eyes. Quite opposite to the day I wrested my hands from his soft grip and yelled quite loud, "No, I don't."

At the time he had been relieved of his work and found another at a middle-class hotel's reception. I was one second to being livid when he took my hand and asked if I did not approve of his service in such an office. His every attempt at getting me to yield my will to agree with him only met a distasteful rejection. I wished him to seek positions I thought were of higher dignity.

"I promise to love you at all times. When it's good and when it's bad. When you're weak and when you're strong. I'll be there for you even when there's no one else. I love you, Peter." Said the bride. Her voice stung like a scorpion, awakening a jealous maleficent queen in me. I only needed to crush her bones till it was nothing more than ashen dust. Because my eyes were made the more to see how she was the beautiful things I wasn't. 

She gave him strength, courage, warmth, and firm support. While I ripped him apart with predator claws in words and deeds. I heeded the counsel of friends never to take a man who had not sufficient money to give me the life I believed I deserved.

Aforetime I thought I was being a force for good, pushing him to achieve peaking heights with unceasing mockery of every bit of his efforts to succeed, I deemed them of equal size to a mustard seed forgetting even the seed grows to become a fruitful tree.

At what was his breaking point he travelled out of town and never reached out to me for three months. A friend who saw him once on a busy highway reported back to me. So, I thought we'd meet up and reignite the flames of our love so I packed up lunch and went to meet him.

And I knocked and he let me in. Then I reclined on the brand new sofa, the walls were brilliantly white, everything had a new resplendent look two times more beautiful than I had last seen. I was impressed. I retraced my attention to the first and only reason for my presence and found him indifferent to my astonishment, at the head chair of the dining table, his mind buried deep in a pile of papers before him. 

My every attempt to steal a good conversation was abridged by his one-word rejoinders and silence whenever he declined to answer. It was an hour down and he delayed not to usher me out when his patience was drained dry. He had not the heart to receive the food I had carefully prepared for him which had retained some warmth so far. 

He called it quits and asked me to move on. I withstood his decision with every argument I could conceive till he would have no more and slammed the door in my face with a simple 'goodbye.'

"I now pronounce you man and wife." Said the minister, these words reechoed to me again and again. She got the joining I got the exit.

A certain sharpness tore through my heart, tears were almost betraying my face. I lowered my gaze on to the wedding program, pretending to read when a group of words had my eyes looking the more. Of his wife, Peter had written saying.

"I thought I had the best till I found you. Where were you all these years? I treaded a weary and futile way once but never again. God kept you for me. He gave you eagle wings and eyes to find me and help me soar again. I love you. I had a past, but you're my future."

A rebellious tear broke its way out onto the page. I silently wished it was a nightmare I would wake from. I watched them walk back down the aisle, a married couple, while I walked out a distressed bride unveiled by the torment of regret. Unveiled to see my flaws, clear as crystal.

I went that day to ease out at our sit-out park spot. Then, I took a chance to lie on the grass noting the eyes that stole glances at me, who had known me and Peter and that he was wedding another. I simply ignored it and looked up to the sky. A teenage girl came up to me asking if I was ill, such a bold young lass I thought.

"So what are you thinking of?" She asked again and I told her I was thinking of home. I stood upright and bade her farewell as night was almost upon us. She insisted on walking me home because she lived close by too and I agreed. "So what are you thinking of?" She inquired a second time of me. And finally, I was obliged to reply, I said to her,

"I'm thinking of love and what it means. Is it a feeling or an action? What will love do in good times and bad times? What will love do in plenty and want? How do we find love?"

To which she replied, "Love is an act of seeking and giving the best for another's benefit. Love will not forsake you in bad times. But, will be a helping hand to pull you back up to your feet. Not everyone will love you but you must choose to love always. That's what my mother taught me."

"She has taught you well." That was my answer. I had learned a lot in a day while I needed so much to heal.



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