My Encounter With Kate - Episode 25

Final night; Double Tragedy

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It was the last parade, Ayoade the owner of the book that I lended which always kept me busy had requested for it, I knew I couldn't complete it within the time at my disposal, but I planed on covering as much.

The environment was rowdy, the authorities were less respected, people were acting out of order, it was a lawless situation.

I had gone to my usual hiding spot instead of the parade ground, In few minutes Maureen arrived, I sat in a wooden plank, i laid on a moulded concrete, I flipped through, reading as fast as I could, few others that escaped the parade came and hanged around.

The usual cultural group were absent, they had concluded their mission and they was no reason for them converging, It was only the man o' war rehearsing for the welcoming of the state governor representative visitation for the next day.

I found it difficult to concentrate, a discussion had started, it was centered on the criteria for posting to the place of primary assignment, they were different opinions, some identified course of study, some class of grade, tribe and so on. 

There was fear in their voices, most of them didn't wish for the waterside, they wanted Lokoja the capital or Kabba where the Camp was located. 

Maureen stared at me in a way I could not discern, I was trying hard to focus, Maureen had a way of bringing me into the discussion, but I avoided her tricks, she often put me  on the spot.

The sun was so intense we all moved to a  shade,  when I was uncomfortable with the noise and the heat became unbearable, I decided to stop reading. I wasn't interested in the conversation, I just cupped my chin in my palm listening to them.

There was an instant pandemonium, we quickly dispersed to various hideouts, I connived with the  members of the man o' war to claim I was a member of their group, a a high ranking soldier ordered many back to the parade ground, when he reached the man o' war area, I avoided eye contact, I just kept calm after observing for a while he marched away slowly

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. There was a sigh of relief.

It took about five minutes to monitor that he was finally gone, when we converged on the same spot we were three less, we laughed over it.

 Maureen came out from her hideout and we  laughed again. The evening parade was going to be over soon, I checked my WhatsApp and messaged Kate and to my surprised she replied immediately.


Me: "Hello Kate, Its me Osaz"

Kate: "OK, How are you?"

Me: "Fine and you?

Kate: "fine"

Me: " Please can we meet?"

Kate: "Of course"

Me: "where exactly are you?

Kate: "outside, at the security post"

Me: "I am at the Man O' War area, please come over here"

Kate: "Why?"

Me: "Here is cool, its very nice"

Kate: "Me I can't come o, if you wanna see me come here"

Me: "Are you alone"

Kate: "No, I am with my friends"

Me: " You know I don't like to be among groups, here is better, I am alone"

Kate: "why? Are you shy?Sorry I can't come o"


I explained to Maureen about the situation and Maureen suggested that I should go and meet Kate where she was.

Read " Tales of Nene " by the same author ( Osazuwa Omorodion )

. When I got there, she wasn't there anymore, I later sighted her in the midst of the crowd. But I was reluctant to meet her, she was engrossed in a conversation with Uddy and an unfamiliar face.

The corp members were deliberately rebellious, there were minor brawls between the authorities and the subjects, someone had feigned fainting, it caused chaos, the overall commandant had to put things in order, he ordered everyone alive to sit on the bare floor, they were utterly murmurs, from where, I sat I crawled so low so as not to be noticed to where Kate was, she was still talking when I disrupted with a greeting, she unconvincingly replied,   I explained to her why I wasn't present for the date, I guessed she believed after I pleaded for her to  believe, she requested I need not to bother myself stating that she was just surprised as to why I didn't show up. I saw disappointment in Kate face

Me: "It took a while to find you"

Kate: "Oh"

Me: "Yeah, concerning the date, I was absence due to  my lateness for mass, I waited for you but I had to go and rest, when I came back you were nowhere to be found, I tried calling your number but it was switched off, all these are not fabricated lies, trust me, it's not , Uddy can attest to this"

Kate: "Its alright, no need to stress the matter"

Me: " thanks for your understanding"

Kate: " welcome ".......

Kate was speaking her local dialect with the unfamiliar girl, I had an inkling that their  discussion had shifted to  me. The camp commandant spoke with rage, he was boasting of his authority and he promised to discipline us no matter how soon we were leaving. 

He  ordered us to stand, I dusted my hands and communicated to Kate that I still wanted to have the date with her, she rejected my offer, I felt sad, I begged further but she was adamant, the unfamiliar girl kept staring at me like an  Infidel. 

After so much plea she finally accepted my invitation

I had accompanied Kate halfway to her hostel when she ask me to leave, I insisted but she refused, I respected her decision and reminded her of the date before  I departed.

It was already past seven and darkness lurked,I returned Ayoade's book while expressing gratitude, we shook hands, I went to meet Maureen and asked if we could go to church for thanksgiving, she didn't want to go, she asked me to get her something that she was famished, I didn't want to but she was persistent, I had to get her a plate of take away food, we chatted for a while and I told her about how  i explained the cause of my absence to Kate, she commended my courage and I appreciated her for the advice.

Maureen stopped half way the path that led the Pentecostal  church, I promised to call her after the date with Kate and I gave her a tight hug before letting her go.

The church was less crowdy, I scanned around before moving, there was a section where I registered my name amongst those that were going to utilize the church custodian service for  our luggage's the next day.

The thanksgiving services started with praise then worship, after then there was a quiz session, I didn't participate much I was stressed out, the crux of the service was when we were asked  about the longest name in the bible, I was so confident that I know the answer ; Nebuchadnezzar, to my uttermost shock I was wrong when the answer was revealed, it was "Maher-shalal-hash-baz" it was a new knowledge. The vibration from my phone made me to suddenly jerk, I was anxious, I was certain it was Kate calling but I was wrong, it was my aunt calling, it was unexpected, i composed myself as if she was physically present..

Me: "Good evening ma"

Aunt: " How are you?"

Me: " I am fine"

Aunt: "What are your plans for tomorrow?"

Me: " it depends on the success of my relocation, if it successful, I will travel back immediately to Lagos, if otherwise I will go to my PPA "

Aunt: "Nice, but even if the relocation is successful it will be impossible to travel back to Lagos because by the time the posting letter has been dispatched, it will be  be too late to travel back to Lagos"

Me: " Alright ma, even if it is unsuccessful, i will just go and lodge in the Corpers lodge and travel next tomorrow"

Aunt: "I am surprised that, I have a home close by and you insist on going to the Corpers lodge"

Me: **Feeling guilty** "Oh I am sorry ma, if it is unsuccessful, I will come over to your house "
    
Aunt: "Alright, just call me so as to give you direction"


****************

My Aunt lives nearby, she was in Lagos few years back, her husband who was a senior military officer was transferred to Kogi state which made the whole family to relocate from Lagos.

She had come visiting a week back, she brought along with her some items, i was glad, she gave me good piece of advice and also persuaded me to stay in Kogi promising to influence my posting to my choice. I explained the reason why I wanted Lagos to her, she understood.  

I didn't wait till the service was over, I wanted to go out with Kate and have a good rest afterwards. I was almost  alone except for the few figures I spotted  on their all white attires, I was scared, the atmosphere had begin to change, I felt a stormy breeze, It lifted particles, it was  vociferous, I hasten up towards the hostel arena.

The storm didn't last, but the climate was moist and cold, when I got near the hostel a girl  walked in my front, there was an inscription on her shirt ; "God's presence". I engaged her in a conversation, it was about if she had experience Gods presence and she affirmed and narrated the experience, I encourage her to always cultivate the habit of hosting God  magnificent presence.

I and the girl both ran for cover when it began to drizzle, she entered her hostel while I waited nearby till it reduced after which I dashed to the hostel.

I quickly went for my bucket, I was poised to look clean for the date, it was very difficult to stay in the cold, the cloud was 
lightened, I was freezing out in the cold, I scooped the water with the bailer, ,and threw the rest on the ground.

The rain was gathering in the cloud, I called Kate but she didn't pick, I was anxious, after the second called she picked........

Me: "Hello Kate, its me Osaz, I am on my way to your hostel, Hope you are prepared"

Kate: "Emmn, its about to rain, let's wait a little longer till the drizzling g stops "

Me:"Alright then, be expecting my call soon"

Kunle and Biodun just stared at me and smiled, I ignored them, my eyes were heavy, Biodun uttered that I should give up on her and forget everything about Kate that after tomorrow everything will be history and that the relationship was baseless and that we may never meet again for life. I remained silent, I was impatient, the rain had  intensified , it pitter-pattered the roof top, I went for my jacket, it was already fourty five minutes since I called Kate, the rain had reduced its intensity and I called Kate...


Me: "Can we go now?"

Kate: "Haa.. Please Osaz I am tired everywhere is cold and wet"

Me: " oh please this is the last night here in camp just sacrifice for me"

Kate: " I want to but I am exhausted, I am sorry if I disappointed you, good nite" * hangs up*

Me: * hearts beats*

There was an eerie silence, I couldn't believe that this was going to be the outcome, I just surrendered and admitted the fact I gave my best, I made up my mind that it was the last I will have to do with Kate, afterall the relationship was a smooth one.

The night ended with a double tragedy; a drunk vomited in the room while a roomate phone was stolen, it caused chaos, the soldiers on duty decided to punish us after series of warning, we were made to sit on the wet ground for about an hour. By the time we were released it was past one, it was already was the final day in camp

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