The beach wasn’t exactly her favourite spot. She didn’t like it, the sand, the water and the crowd. Recently, she found her self wanting to swim, to dive right into the bottom. The peace of the waves called to her and Lola felt that the turbulence in her heart would find peace beneath those waters. She walked mindlessly across the stores till her eyes caught something. Empty shells hanging carelessly like they wanted her to pick them up. She smiled weakly when she thought she saw love in its eyes, haunted love beneath empty shells, how ironic!
She reached out to feel them, “excuse me madam, do you like those? the beach attendant asked as soon as her hands touched it.
Meanwhile, she just stared, not knowing what to say, not knowing what she wanted. But she knew there was a connection. She saw her self in those pretty but empty shells, and right there she understood why.
“Madam”, the attendant called again, trying to gain her attention but her mind couldn’t be captured because she was lost in her own thoughts. That instant, the chatter from the beach users and attendants faded away and she saw him clearly in her mind’s eye.
He stood there naked, perfect even in nudity. She liked him that way, whether it was the vulnerability or innocence, she didn’t know which. They were having an intense conversation that unsettled them and when he turned to face her, she felt it was genuine sincerity she saw in his eyes and there was a way he looked at her that melted her soul.
We didn’t lose Lola, we didn’t lose, he said holding her cheeks fondly. “We loved, completely”.
Shit! He swore. Dear Partner.
Look babe, he continued, “No woman can love me even a quarter of how you have loved me”, they can’t put up with this madness like you have. The way he said that made her laugh, forgetting how crazy the past minutes had been.
Lola just sat there watching him, letting those words sink. Thinking he finally understood, thinking this was the time when they would take each others hands and face the world together.
“I love you”, she whispered. It was all that needed to be said. Later that evening, she believed they still had a fighting chance. He told her they will see each other the next day and do the things they loved. He lied, or maybe that’s what she thought because he never called and there was no tomorrow.
She didn’t understand it and the frustration drove her insane so she confronted him, all he said was “Lola, don’t spoil yesterday for us.”
Really? Yesterday? That’s all it was? Lola asked. The reality hit her, Ishaku could never change and he would never understand. Time after time, he chose the distractions, work, friends and himself over her.
This life she wanted wasn’t for him. It hurt her more because she couldn’t see it. She loved him and would move the earth to show it. The pain gripped her chest so tightly she thought she would die.
And then there was Ade, the man who loved her. The man she couldn’t share this part of her life with. Everytime she looked at him, she just wanted to save him from herself. She picked a fight with him, told him to find someone else. Lola knew there was no point seeing him and it wasn’t possible to feel for him like she did for Ishaku.
Even though she lost sight of the life she wanted, she couldn’t come to terms with the fact that she chose a man who would never be there. Ishaku told her, they didn’t lose but she did. She lost her heart to him, a man she could never have. She lost love she could never ask for.
Like souvenir, it was his to keep forever.
In that moment of craze and uncertainity, her mind rambled all the possibilities. Maybe she didn’t lose, she thought, maybe he was right. She gave and she would have given more. She loved, could have loved more. But she knew she would never share this with anyone, never feel this again.
Ishaku took it all and left her empty, lost to any other feeling. Just like that empty shell she found at the beach store.
Madam, madam o! The attendant shouted jolting her back to reality, she quickly cleaned her tears.”I will take it”, she said sniffing.
Eh! The attendant exclaimed.
“The empty shell, she said looking at her, I will buy it.”
Oh! Okay, the price is expensive o, she continued.
I don’t care, Lola said calmly. She took a few currency notes and handed it over while the attendant hurriedly went to package the shells.
Empty shells? A voice asked behind her. She recognized that voice. It was Ade and he was standing right behind her. And she never understood how he found her always.
She turned to face him. Looking at his sweet face, she knew there was nothing left to say, nothing to do, just this silence between them. Lola was fond of him but she knew she couldn’t be that girl for him. That girl was gone and her captor would never be found.
At this point, she didn’t believe in second chances because she couldn’t guarantee love, except maybe Duty.