It was the sweet deep bass voice which jolts her out of her reverie.
“Are you the one looking for me?”
“Can I be of help?”
“What can I do to help?”
“I came to collect a library book from you sir.”
“Am I now a library?” he said jokingly.
Banke did not catch the joke, so she started apologising. Banji stopped her. He explained it was a joke, collected the title of the book and told her it was in his car. He asked her to follow him to the car park in order to pick it up. Banke expected an average car but when she was taken to a metallic beige – coloured Mercedes sports car she was taken aback. Banji looked for the book in his portfolio. He gave it to her.The post graduate hall was a long distance to the female hall and since it started raining when she got the book, he suggested dropping her at the library so that she can use the remaining thirty minutes to write the reference. On their way, Banke started crying silently but Banji was sensitive enough to ask for her problem. She explained about the assignment and the time for submission. Banji drove straight to the lecturer’s office. Although Banke did not know it was to the lecturer’s office that they were going to, she was also more than surprised when Banji went to the lecturer’s office and they greeted each other warmly. She found that they were intimate friends from youth. They were also family friends. So the lecturer took the assignment later. She couldn’t then turn down Banji’s invitation for a night out.
At the restaurant she was taken to, their relationship became cemented. They fell in love concretely. At the end of three months intense and active courtship, they knew that they are destined for each other. The whole campus was using their courtship as a standard. One was never seen without the other. They did everything together minus living as husband and wife.That was only for a short time though because by the end of Banji’s course, they put into action the process of getting married.The marriage came up almost immediately after Banke’s graduation, which was a year after the day Banke went searching for the library book and found a husband.She looked at the date again 13th April 1993.
Tomorrow, she thought, they could have been celebrating their 4th marriage anniversary. She couldn’t understand it. She tried to fathom where she went wrong. She couldn’t place her hand OP anything she thought she did wrong. She looked round the room and saw Banji’s picture on the dressing table. In his starched uniform, the one he detested putting on. He was so averse to it that she had to ask one day why he was a soldier when he detested uniforms. She further asked of what use it would be if after becoming a Brigadier General he now wants to be without a uniform. She still remembered his answer though almost two years ago. He told her it was his destiny and something he did not work or pray for. She heard that he was not the overtly active or one who cherishes actions and killings. He found himself in the army as a result of factors beyond his control. It was then also that he told her he wanted to retire the moment he reaches the minimum number of years expected of him to serve.Then, she wanted to know more about the sojourns of her husband in the army but he diplomatically steered her away from the discussion. Banke stood up and walked to the dressing table. She took the picture in her hand and looked at it with a lot of interest, re-living all the moments he had seen her husband in uniform. She looked closely at the portrait trying to know whether a professional photographer makes it or made by her husband. In the process of looking over the picture she turned the back of the photograph. She found the date 17th day of April 1993. Banke looked at the calendar. Four more days to go. She was baffled. As she tried to place the portrait on the dressing table she found that there was a cello-tape sticking out of the wood base of the picture. She turned it over and saw a cryptic note in her husband’s handwriting.
Expect twins on 17th. Confirm.Trail, trace and confirm on 10th.
She looked at the note and she was doubly baffled. She could have sat though trying to crack the mystery but the housemaid came informing her that she is expected to have a Board meeting at 10.00 a.m. in her husbands’ company which is now hers. She looked at the clock 8.30 a.m. She went quickly to take her bath and got prepared for the Board meeting at the Company’s headquarters. She was only able to go through the meeting. On her mind was the note left by her husband. She keptreading it again and again at any available time. It was baffling to her. She kept looking at the date 17th.and 10th.Then it struck her.The day they had the misunderstanding was on 10th. Her mind told her it couldn’t be the same 10th that the note was referring to. She managed to finish the meeting and was preparing to go back home when the Company Secretary gave her a letter.The Company Secretary told her that going through her husband’s confidential files she found a letter saying she should be given the letter in case of his death. Banke took the letter with shaking hands and left for home. She was not able to open it at the office. She couldn’t be sure of what her reactions will be. When she reached home, Banke opened the letter.