Gone With the Wind 1

“Will you be attending the Abayomi Street Carnival since ours won’t be held this December?” Okiemute asked me as we ventured to a distant neighbor’s house to fetch water. Our pumping machine was malfunctioning, so we had to walk a considerable distance to fulfill our parents’ water needs.

At the time, I was sixteen years old, residing in a two-bedroom apartment with my parents and two siblings. My father served as a police officer, while my mother worked as a primary school teacher. She had been transferred from the community where my brothers and I grew up to the one where we met Okiemute.

Okiemute and I quickly became friends after moving into the same compound. We instantly connected the day I saw her washing plates outside, and since then, I became the sibling she never had, and she became the sister I never had. Okie, as i foundly call her shared the same age and birth month, but we liked to playfully claim we were twins from different mothers, creating amusing confusion for those who encountered us.

I harbored a dislike for Okie’s father due to his lifestyle. He mistreated Okie’s mother and was a habitual drinker. Many times, while on errands or fetching water, we would come across him sprawled on the floor, mouth agape, with flies hovering around him. We chose to ignore his presence and continue with our tasks, but I observed that his sight always affected Oke’s mood. I made it a point to uplift her spirits whenever I sensed her mood was down.

In our neighborhood, Christmas was eagerly anticipated, thanks to the annual street jam or carnival. It was a time for fun, indulging in fried treats and soft drinks, mingling with other children, and enjoying the festivities without our parents worrying about our whereabouts.

Unfortunately, our street carnival was canceled that year due to the recent loss of our street chairman. To honor his memory, the event was called off. “I am still contemplating it; I am not sure my mom will permit it,” I said, feeling disappointed.

“We can talk to our mothers collectively or separately. We’ve been respectful, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t allow us,” Okie replied convincingly. We decided to approach our mothers, and fortunately, they granted us permission to attend the carnival.

On the day of the event, Oke came to my house for us to get ready. We dressed in matching black shorts, body-hugging blue tops, adorned with blue hair and wristbands. A light application of our mothers’ powder and baby Vaseline on our lips completed our look. We slipped out of the house before anyone could notice the subtle makeup.

Upon arriving at the venue and joining other kids from our street, the atmosphere became livelier. As we danced to the DJ’s tunes, I noticed a tall, fair-haired guy standing near the DJ, nodding his head to the rhythm of the music. There was something about him that captivated my heart, and I found it hard to concentrate on anything else. Determined to grab his attention, I suggested to Okie,

“Okie, let’s move forward towards the DJ section.”

“Why? This place isn’t too crowded. Let’s stay here, Ella,” she replied, trying to persuade me.

Glancing at the guy again, I concluded that he wouldn’t notice me from a distance. The sight of other girls approaching him for casual conversations and laughter further fueled my determination. “Okie, please, I am sweating,” I pleaded, hoping she would understand my urgency.

Gone With the Wind 2

“Okie couldn’t fathom why we had to edge closer to the blaring speakers in the name of seeking space or ventilation, but she obliged nonetheless. We positioned ourselves near where he stood, yet he remained oblivious, not turning his face in our direction despite my persistent gaze. Determined, I hatched a plan – feigning a fall in his vicinity, hoping he’d take notice and offer assistance.

As I dragged my feet towards his location, I neglected to observe the DJ’s connecting wires. Consequently, my descent coincided with the music’s abrupt halt, drawing everyone’s attention with tongues ready to unleash venom.

“Wetin children dey find for there?” a sweaty, lanky man scoffed. Voices erupted around me, leaving Okie too stunned to assist since there was no apparent reason for my tumble. The guy I expected to aid me was engrossed in fixing the wires.

Unfortunately, the DJ promptly chased me away before the guy could return to his spot. I shamelessly exited with my face lowered, aware that meeting the eyes of onlookers could send me to the grave.

“Should we go home?” Okie queried.

“Nooo, I am fine,” I replied, scanning the DJ stand to check if he had returned. After some adjustments to the wires, the groove resumed, and he stood close to the DJ without seeking me out. That realization pierced my heart.

Whenever we attend street carnivals or jams, we stay no more than two hours, but fueled by determination to converse with the guy, I persisted in pleading with Okie to stay a bit longer.

“Our mothers will be angry, Ella. Please, let’s go home. It’s getting late,” she urged.

“A few minutes, Okie baby, just a few minutes,” I pleaded.

Despite her irritation, Okie stayed for my sake. I waited for this guy to notice me or step out from the section but he never did.

As evening progressed, most children had retreated to their homes, leaving us amidst adults. Okie was visibly agitated but unwilling to abandon me. After numerous failed attempts, I reluctantly decided to head home. Just as I was about to request Okie’s departure, I spotted him approaching our direction. I stood motionless, fixating my gaze on him.

Okie followed my line of sight, seeing who had captured my attention; however, I disregarded her reaction. Determined to attract his notice, I pulled Okie towards him as he stood with two elegant ladies and a guy.

“Hello,” I greeted in the most awkward manner upon reaching the group. Internally, I prayed that none of the girls was his girlfriend.

No one responded, so I tapped him.

“Hi,” I said, feeling neglected. at this point, Okie had distanced herself to avoid being part of the embarrassment.

“Hello,” he replied. His expression suggested he was trying to recall where he knew me from.

“Can I talk to you for a few minutes?” I pleaded. He excused himself from his friends and walked behind me. It was only then, as he left his friends a fair distance away, that I realized I hadn’t figured out what to say. Confidently professing my interest was out of the question, so I concocted a lie.

“Are you John? Your face looks familiar,” I fabricated.

“Holy shit, you scared me. I was wondering what I must have done for you to pick me out,” he responded.

“I am sorry,” I replied, accompanied by a smile.

“I am not John, beautiful,” he said with a smile. The term ‘beautiful’ melted my heart.

“Oh! I thought you were John. You look so much like him. He was my friend in my former area,” I fibbed.

“I can be the John if you want me to,” he suggested, offering his hand for a handshake.

“No problem,” I replied sheepishly. “Do you have a cell phone number I can reach you with?” he asked.

“No, but I can always talk to you with my mum’s phone,” I replied happily.

“Wouldn’t she be mad that you’re talking to a boy?” he inquired.

“Noooo, I am a big girl; I am about rounding up with secondary school,” I childishly claimed. The statement elicited a suppressed smile from him, betraying his attempt to keep a straight face.

He retrieved a pen from his pocket and jotted his number on a part of a cigarette pack he found on the ground. I promptly collected the number, darting towards Okie, who seethed in anger. We faced repercussions for returning late and were barred from attending any functions until further notice. I apologized to Okie for entangling her in such a mess, vowing never to attempt it again.

Gone With the Wind 3

Two weeks after the incident, as our mothers tasked us with fetching water from a nearby street, I seized the opportunity to take my mum’s phone, armed with the paper where he’d scribed his number.

Arriving at the water source, I persuaded Okie to handle the water-fetching duties while I excused myself to use the toilet. In haste, I dialed his number, and to my relief, he answered promptly.
“Hello,” he greeted in his attempt at a polished British accent.
“Hi, it’s me, Ella. The girl you encountered that night and gave your number,” I hurriedly responded.

“Ohhhhh! Beautiful, I’ve been anticipating your call. Glad you reached out. How are you?” he inquired, and I couldn’t help but blush at the familiar compliment.

“You remember me?” I asked, smiling.

“Yes, I do, and I miss you too,” he replied, and my cheeks ached from smiling. We conversed for a few minutes before I hung up and rejoined Okie.

“Why did it take you so long?” Okie asked.

“I needed to find a good spot. Let’s go,” I replied.

Upon arriving home, I noticed my family searching for something. Intuition hinted it might be the phone, but I kept silent, dropping the water and discreetly placing the phone on my mum’s bed after erasing his number.

Talking to Femi became a routine. I memorized his number and always found ways to call him. Although he never explicitly declared his love or desire for a relationship, I sensed his affection. No one would invest such attention in someone they didn’t care about, or so I thought.

He often suggested meeting, but I declined, citing punishment as an excuse without revealing the real reason. One night, in hushed tones at our gate, I confessed to him.

“My mum won’t let me visit anyone she’s not aware of. I don’t know what to tell her,” I said.

“How can we get to know each other better if we don’t meet often? I want to see you, beautiful,” he insisted.

Innocently, I asked, “What do you want me to do?”

“Can you come to a place tomorrow after leaving home for school?” he proposed.

Terrified, I exclaimed, “What if my mum finds out? I’ll be in trouble!”

“She won’t find out; you’ll be back home by your closing time,” he reassured.

Fearful of my mum discovering my absence from school or explaining to Okie, whom I accompanied to and from school, I hesitated.

“It’ll be fun, and if I could come to your house, I would. Please do this for us,” he persuaded.

After much deliberation, I promised to see him, urging him to send me the address for a clandestine meeting. The next day, I told Okie not to wait for me, citing confidential errands for my mum. She believed my lie and went to school without me.

I dressed up and went to the address he provided, a guest house my uncle frequented. Praying the receptionist I knew wouldn’t be on duty, I was relieved to find her absent. Spotting Femi at the reception, I ran into his arms, and he covered me in a tight embrace.

“I’m glad you made it,” he whispered into my ears, sending chills down my spine. Overwhelmed, I closed my eyes and relished the moment.

We entered the room, equipped with a bed, side table, wooden chair, small fridge, and a noisy AC. Sitting on the chair with my school bag clutched to my lap, Femi immediately undressed upon closing the door, claiming he was hot and needed the AC.

Uncomfortable with him in only boxers, I managed a smile.

“I like your boxers,” I said, trying to play it cool.

Smirking, he suggested, “Why don’t you come to the bed and say it? Aren’t you hot?”

I dropped my bag on the floor, jumped on the bed fully clothed, and admired the room. He joined me, removing the heavy duvet that served as a shield.

“Don’t stay far from me, beautiful; I’ve missed you,” he murmured, and I blushed, shifting closer.
He undressed me, and before I knew it, we shared an intimate moment.

Gentle and considerate, he handled every part of my body with care, making it simultaneously painful and enjoyable. Afterward, he cleaned me up, gave me a drink, claiming it was good post-intimacy, and ordered food for us. We shared another intimate moment, and Femi insisted it would only get sweeter and easier with time.

By 2 pm, he woke me, urging me to dress up and head home before my parents noticed. Luckily, I arrived home before Okie and fabricated a story about being too tired to look for her in school. Though she eyed me skeptically, she decided not to press further.

Gone With the Wind4

After our last visit, I found myself increasingly drawn to him. I yearned to see him so much that I would skip classes, and I even pleaded with strangers to borrow their phones just to call him. My thoughts were consumed by dreams of our future home, his success, and the beautiful life he would provide. In return, I vowed to be a good wife and a loving mother to our children.

Femi became more than a companion; he became my best friend. He insisted on keeping our relationship a secret, even though he never officially asked me to be his girlfriend. I became so attached to Femi that a week without seeing him made me feel sick. When he had official assignments away from our location, I would cry and anxiously count down the days until his return.

Despite Femi’s reluctance to give gifts or money, fearing suspicion, I was content as long as he was mine. Our undefined relationship felt like a miracle, and we progressed significantly without anyone, not even Okie, being aware.

As I gained admission to the university, the prospect of having more time, allowances, and exposure thrilled me. To maintain my privacy, I convinced my parents to rent an off-campus apartment, which was more expensive but worth the sacrifice.

“I want to be more focused, and sharing or living on campus is not a good idea, Mom,” I explained during the conversation.

Fortunately and unfortunately, Okie couldn’t secure admission immediately after our SSCE exams due to financial constraints, meaning I had no need to hide or sneak out. Dad gifted me an Android phone, and Femi was the first person I called before heading to school. We spoke, and he promised to visit me during the weekends.

As promised, Femi came over the weekend, and we enjoyed our time together, sharing the bills as he wasn’t financially buoyant. His presence mattered more than the expenses, I was not bothered because my parents ensured I had more than enough food and pocket money, eliminating any need to rely on others.

When Femi arrived during the weekend, I initially assumed he would be leaving after the weekend, but to my surprise, he decided to stay over. As much as I cherished our time together, my commitment to academic excellence pushed me to strive for a first-class degree. The university had set certain grade expectations from the first year, and I knew I needed to concentrate on my studies.

While I loved having Femi around, his presence posed a challenge to my academic focus. I wanted to ensure that I maintained the required grades and put in the necessary effort to be a first-class student. Balancing the demands of a relationship and academic pursuits became a delicate task, and I found myself torn between my commitment to Femi and my aspirations for academic success.

One month later, upon returning from class, I discovered a lady sitting in the parlor and Femi was nowhere to be found. Confused, I questioned her identity.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Oh, you must be Ella,” she replied.

“I’ve heard so much about you. Nice to finally meet you. Femi went to get drinks for us.” she continued.

Smiling, I excused myself to shower and prepare a meal. However, upon returning, both the lady and Femi had disappeared from the parlor. Perplexed, I went to the kitchen to cook rice, contemplating the unexpected encounter.

Gone With the Wind 5

As I was rinsing the rice, Femi entered.

“How are you, gorgeous?” he asked.

“I’m fine. Where is she?” I questioned.

“She’s gone. An unexpected call from home came in, so she had to leave,” he explained.

“Why didn’t she wait to eat? I already added her portion to the rice,” I said, feeling disappointed.

“Next time, beautiful,” he assured me while brushing off some dirt from my hair.

“Who is she? I didn’t ask her when I walked in. I was surprised to see someone, and babe, you didn’t mention somebody was coming.”

“Because it’s your house, abi? Should I inform you of all my moves? Don’t you know I’m a man?” he replied. I didn’t want to create a problem, so I explained what I meant and told him it was an innocent question.

“She’s my cousin who wanted to make sure I’m safe,” he said.

I believed him, and we returned to our usual routine, eating and having fun together, just as we always did. Two months later, Femi was still residing with me, and I was the one covering all the expenses. Whenever I asked him about his job, it either led to an argument or he mentioned taking an extended leave.

I wanted to express my concerns when my food supplies, meant to last two semesters, vanished in two months, but I refrained. One noon while he was engrossed in a phone conversation, I mentioned the need for more groceries. He suggested I inform my parents.

“They’ll be surprised that I finished all the groceries alone in a short time. What if they decide to check on me after complaining about a food shortage? I don’t want to call them for anything,” I said.

“Hmmm, that’s true. Will you sell your phone so we can get money for groceries?”

“Hah, sell my phone? Nooo,” I responded in disbelief.

“How do you expect us to manage? You know I’m off work for now; I don’t have money. Every time I ask you to do something, you give excuses until I press you. Do you even love me?” he asked, growing frustrated.

“I do, it’s just that… I don’t know what to tell my parents about not having a phone,” I replied.

“Say it was stolen, that’s all,” he suggested without showing any emotion.

The idea wasn’t ideal, but I was ready to do anything to prove my love to him. I agreed to sell my phone after jotting down my parents’ and Okie’s mother’s numbers. He took the phone, saying he would sell it the next day while I was likely attending lectures, and he’d purchase groceries for us afterward.

That night, he prepared dinner for us, took me to the bathroom, and we shared hearty laughs and playful moments. The intimacy felt different. He became so affectionate that thoughts of not having a phone faded from my mind.

Returning from lectures, I noticed he wasn’t home, a deviation from his usual routine.

“Perhaps he couldn’t sell the phone on time, or market conditions caused delays,” I thought. Hours passed, and he remained absent. I had no phone to call him, and my neighbor hadn’t seen him. Various thoughts flooded my mind, and I didn’t know his usual hangout spots.

Unable to stay calm, I borrowed my neighbor’s phone to call him. The number was off, and that’s when tears started to flow. My neighbor tried to console me, but no words provided assurance that all was well. I couldn’t bring myself to enter my apartment just yet, so I sat with my neighbor in front of his place, silently shedding tears and praying to God for Femi’s safety.

Gone With the Wind 6

My neighbor stayed with me into the late hours of the night, dismissing the bothersome mosquito bites. When he could no longer endure staying outside, he uttered, “I need to sleep, Ella. Go and rest. Tomorrow, we’ll report to the police.”

“Okay, no problem. I appreciate your help,” I reluctantly replied, dragging my weary body back to my apartment.

The quietude of the night within the solitary room heightened my fear and anguish. I gently lay on the ground, crying myself to sleep, clinging to the hope of seeing Femi the next day.

The next morning, it was my neighbor’s persistent knocks and concerned voice that roused me from my troubled slumber. “Ella, are you okay?” he inquired. I managed to respond, lethargically opening the door for him.

“He hasn’t returned?” he queried. I nodded in affirmation, too weak to articulate my emotions.

“You need to bathe and eat. Do you have any food?” he asked, noticing my disheveled state. It dawned on me that I hadn’t eaten or changed since the ordeal began.

“I don’t have any foodstuff. We finished the last indomie two nights ago, and he was supposed to get groceries yesterday,” I confessed.

“Okay, try to shower. I brought some food; I’ll be right back,” he assured before leaving.

An hour later, he returned with food. Although I had no appetite, I forced myself to eat, recognizing the need to regain my strength. I felt physically and emotionally drained.

“What do you want to do?” he inquired as I ate.

“I want to call his number,” I replied.

“Do you have call credit?” he asked.

“No,” I responded, hesitant to disclose that I had given Femi my phone to sell for groceries. He offered his phone for me to make the call, but it was still unreachable. Frustrated, we decided to report the case to the police.

At the police station, we were instructed to provide statements. During interrogation, the officer insensitively questioned the nature of my relationship with Femi. The mention of a male friend living with me raised eyebrows.

“He came to visit. He was supposed to buy groceries after selling my phone, but he’s missing, and his number isn’t going through,” I explained.

“Your boyfriend?” the officer smirked.

“He’s a friend,” I responded curtly.

Unmoved, the officer demanded a payment of twenty-five thousand before initiating a search. The weight of the demand left me feeling helpless. We returned home, and my neighbor suggested checking if Femi’s belongings were still in my room.

Entering the room, I scrutinized the space where his items once resided. To my dismay, his bag was nowhere to be found. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks, and I tearfully informed my neighbor. His response was a somber acknowledgment that Femi might have orchestrated a cunning escape.

Devastated, I couldn’t articulate my feelings. My neighbor provided some items for me to eat while he ventured out for his daily tasks. I found myself unable to attend lectures or even muster the strength to stand from my seated position.

Gone With the Wind 7

I fell ill and couldn’t attend lectures. My neighbor suggested I call my parents, even though I hesitated. It felt awkward to confront the reality of not having a phone and accepting that Femi could do such a thing. Reluctantly, I decided to call my parent but sticked to the initial plan: “My phone was stolen.”

I discovered that my dad and Okie were already on their way to my location after attempting to reach me for 73 hours without success. Overwhelmed by their show of love, I despised myself for not thinking about them before isolating myself because of Femi. Trusting a stranger over the people who gave birth to me was disheartening, and all I could do was cry.

They arrived later in the evening, and I could sense the relief in their faces when they saw me. Despite my dad’s usual tough demeanor, the way he hugged me revealed his underlying fear. I was taken to the hospital, underwent necessary tests, and was diagnosed with malaria, requiring rest. After receiving medication, I went home, where Okie prepared food, cleaned the house, and I began to feel rejuvenated.

“I’ll be leaving tomorrow for work. I didn’t seek permission from the office. I needed to come over when we couldn’t reach you. I’m glad you’re okay,” he said.

“Thank you, sir,” I replied.

“Are you leaving too?” I turned to Okie and asked.

“No, I’m not going to that house again. Mom said I should stay with you. My dad case has worsened,” she said.

Excitement overwhelmed me, and I forgot about my illness as I jumped up to hug Okie. Dad left the following day after providing me with money, and Okie and I started living together.

I became timid, more reserved, and followed a routine life from home to school and back. I hardly interacted in class and was perceived as aloof, even though I was never intentionally distant. I simply didn’t know how to relate to people anymore, except for Okie.

Later in the year, I got a new phone, and often I tried calling his number, but it was still unreachable. Okie consistently reminded me that he was the one who hurt me, encouraging me to let go, but my heart was not ready to embrace the idea.

Despite Okie’s support in helping me heal, there were days when I begged God to take away the pain and make me strong. Some days I remained silent, crying; others I attempted to act as if I had moved on, only to be reminded of him and cry myself to sleep.

God With the Wind 8

I maintained my isolated lifestyle, despite Okie’s persistent attempts to persuade me otherwise. In my second year, Okie secured admission for part-time studies in business administration to cover her school expenses while working. Meanwhile, my parents handled rent and our meals.

During my third year at school, Okie made me promise to attend her office Christmas dinner. Reluctantly, I agreed, though the thought of Christmas reminded me of meeting Femi. Despite my reservations, I donned a white gown paired with red heels to complement my red handbag. Light accessories adorned my body as I spritzed on my favorite flowery perfume.

Upon arriving at the venue, it was evident that it was a grand affair, with dignitaries in attendance. The ambiance exuded luxury, with fragrances lingering in the air and the elegant attire of the guests.

As we settled at our table, a waiter promptly served us Chapman drinks while the DJ played lively music, and the chandelier lights flickered, casting a dim blue and white glow. Lost in the rhythm of the music, I sipped my drink when an impeccably dressed man approached our table. His presence was commanding, his suit impeccably tailored, accentuating his broad shoulders and long limbs.

Despite his imposing presence, I busied myself with my phone, avoiding direct eye contact. Okie momentarily left to mingle with colleagues, leaving me alone with the intriguing stranger and other table companions.

Waiters continued to bring an array of delicacies to our table, but I hesitated to partake, feeling out of place without Okie by my side. The man noticed my discomfort and kindly offered me a pack of mango juice. Gratefully, I accepted and sipped as he quietly enjoyed his meal.

Concerned by my prolonged wait for Okie, I attempted to alleviate my hunger with the juice, unaware that the man was observing me closely. Sensing my reluctance to eat, he discreetly summoned a passing waiter to take my order.

With a grateful smile, I requested fried rice, jollof rice, and salad. The man’s gaze softened, and he responded warmly as I thanked him. His soothing voice and peaceful demeanor eased my unease, leaving me strangely drawn to his presence.

Gone With the Wind 9

“What’s your name?” he inquired as I waited for my food.

“Ella,” I responded.

“The female version of Emmanuel, right?” he asked.

“No idea,” I replied.

“That’s fine. Do you live around here?” he queried.

“I’m studying and living nearby,” I replied.

“Oh, nice. Can I be your friend?” he asked, looking directly into my eyes. I felt too shy to maintain eye contact, so I shifted my gaze and smiled.

“No problem,” I replied.

“Can I have your number?” he asked.

“No problem,” I said, and I began giving him my details before Okie walked in with some paper bags and gifts. The party was enjoyable; I even danced at some point, and the man managed to steal some dances with me, surprisingly.

Okie was excited about me dancing with him, and I felt happy within, not wanting the party to end. However, we had to leave because it was getting late. Unfortunately, the man wasn’t in his seat when we were leaving, so I couldn’t inform him about my departure.

“Are you leaving already?” a voice echoed over my head as we walked towards the gate, and when I turned, it was him. My heart leaped for joy; I smiled and said, “Yes, it’s getting late.”

“I can drop you off if you don’t mind,” he offered.

“No, don’t worry,” I reluctantly said.

“I insist; since you stay around, I can do that for you,” he persisted.

Okie nudged me, signaling that I should accept, so I agreed and followed him to his car. I intended to sit with Okie at the back, but he said, “Come to the front; am I your driver?” I burst into laughter, and we drove off.

He kept us company while driving, cracking jokes, and sharing stories about his mischievous youth. At some point, we even danced to the music playing on his radio. Everything about him exuded peace and positivity.

As we arrived home, sadness engulfed me; I didn’t want him to leave. I wished he could stay longer or even forever so I could continuously feel that joy. Sadly, he had to go.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Unaware that my emotions were written on my face, I replied, “I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” he asked, showing concern. By then, Okie had left after saying thank you.

I nodded, fearing that if I spoke, tears would follow suit, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of a stranger. However, my composure didn’t last long because as soon as he held my hand and said,

“I’ll listen, no matter how stupid it sounds,” I burst into tears, releasing my emotions freely.

He stayed calm, rubbing my back and reassuring me, “It’s going to be alright.”

After composing myself, I thanked him and said, “I’m fine,” preparing to leave, but he held my hands and said,

“No matter what it is, I’m here and will always be here to listen and help out.” I looked at him and quickly ran out of the car before my emotions could betray me.

Once inside, I explained everything to Okie, who assured me that everything would be alright.

Gone With the Wind 10

The next day, I waited for his call, but it never came. Two days passed without a word from him. On the third day, as I walked back from lectures, my phone rang. Without even checking the caller ID, I knew it was him.

“Hello, Ella,” he greeted, Jackson’s deep voice filled the air as I answered.

“Hi,” I replied, trying to sound casual.

“This is Jackson Edward, from the party,” he reminded me.

“I know,” I said, feeling a flutter of excitement.

We exchanged pleasantries, and before I knew it, we were deep in conversation. From my school to my doorstep, we talked as if we’d known each other for years. His humor and charm drew me in, and I found myself laughing more than I had in a long time.

After that call, Jackson and I grew closer. We spoke every day, sharing our lives and experiences. Gradually, thoughts of Femi faded into the background, replaced by the anticipation of Jackson’s calls. My academic performance soared, and I rediscovered joy in my friendships and activities.

Despite not meeting in person since the party, Jackson showered me with gifts and affectionate messages. He became my pillar of support, offering his shoulder without expecting anything in return. With him by my side, I felt myself blossoming, embracing life with renewed vigor.

One day, while shopping with my friend Okie, I encountered a familiar face. I couldn’t place where I knew her from, but she approached me with a smile.

“Hello, I’m Joy,” she said. “I am your cousin, Femi’s ex-girlfriend. the one that came visiting that day, but we could not talk.”

Confusion clouded my mind as she mentioned my cousin as Femi. Femi’s name pierced my heart, reopening wounds I thought had healed.

“How did you know about the wedding?” I asked, trying to mask my pain.

“On Facebook,” she replied, showing me pictures of Femi and his wife.

As I scrolled through the images, jealousy and heartache consumed me. Femi looked happier than I’d ever seen him, his smile radiant as he held his wife’s hand. Unable to bear the sight any longer, I made an excuse and left the market without buying anything.

Back home, I was haunted by the realization that I knew so little about Femi. Despite trusting him with my heart, I knew nothing of his life outside our encounters. The thought left me feeling betrayed and foolish, and browsing his Facebook page only intensified the pain.

Gone With the Wind 11

I cried myself to sleep with Okie by my side, ready to help with anything I needed. Despite trying to act as if everything was well whenever Jackson called, somehow, he sensed that I wasn’t fine. The next day, he flew down to the state where I was residing. We weren’t based in the same state but has a family house in the state where I was living at the time.

I didn’t know he was around until Okie came to call me from the room to come out and eat breakfast. When I saw Jackson sitting on our white rubber chair in his hoodie, I ran to hug him with a loud shout. Never would I have imagined he would fly down to my state because he felt I was not fine, but he did it, and I was grateful.

He stayed with us, talking, joking, and in the evening, he asked us to go to his family house before going for dinner. I told him I was not properly dressed and didn’t have such attire, but he reassured me, saying,

“I am not dressed too. This is not our date I told you about, and moreover, you are beautiful no matter what you put on.”

He always had a way of making me feel good, no matter what I wore. He complimented my looks and reminded me of how beautiful I was, which boosted my self-esteem.

We went to his family house, and I began to feel some type of inferiority complex creeping in. Sensing it, Jackson came to where I was standing, took my hand, and reassured me. His touch melted my heart, and as we walked towards the door, I prepared my mind to introduce myself to his people without flopping.

At his family’s house, I was impressed by their hospitality and the luxurious surroundings. They made me feel at home, and the elderly lady engaged us in conversation while we enjoyed fresh juice and snacks. After a pleasant time with his family, Jackson got me some fancy clothes and officially asked me for a date, which I accepted. He knew my perfect size and got me colors that complemented my look. The date was set for 8 pm.

When the time came, Jackson arrived early and sent me an SMS that he was at my gate. As I walked majestically towards his car, he opened the door for me, and the way he looked at me melted my soul. His dark blue suit gave him a royal touch, and the fragrance in the car was romantic and seductive. We drove to the place where he had made reservations, and throughout the journey, his actions spoke volumes.

At the restaurant, he held my hand as we walked, I felt safe and important. The atmosphere was romantic, with our pictures on the table with some love emojis. After enjoying African cuisine, he took me to the rooftop for karaoke, where he sang his heart out to me. It was one of the best moments of my life, and he made me feel like the only person in the world.

As we returned to our table, he asked me “Can you date a family man?”

Gone With the Wind 12

My heart nearly dropped when he revealed his past. “No,” I said abruptly, feeling the heat rise to my cheeks.

“Stop thinking too far. I am no longer married, though I am going through a divorce case and trying to gain custody of my child,” he explained.

His revelation stirred a feeling of jealousy within me. I was envious of his previous marriage and the fact that he had a child. My demeanor changed, but I stayed, listening to him talk about his ex-wife, though I couldn’t focus on the details.

Despite the shift in atmosphere, we managed to spend a little more time together before calling it a day. As we drove back to my apartment in silence, my mind raced with a million thoughts. I felt torn between happiness at officially becoming his girlfriend and sadness at his past.

“I had fun,” he said out of the blue.

“Me too,” I replied, avoiding his gaze.

“Think about us, Ella. I really do love you,” he said.

I nodded in response before stepping out of the car, holding back tears. Life seemed filled with ups and downs, and meeting someone who loved me the way I wanted, yet had baggage, left me conflicted.

Upon returning home, Okie rushed to hear the news, but seeing my downcast expression, she grew concerned. “What happened?” she asked.

“He is going through a divorce and has a child,” I replied.

“Hmm, that’s complicated. I was hoping he was single,” she remarked.

“He’s technically single,” I defended.

“He’s not. Remember, God hates divorce, and he has a child. Ella, I will not support this,” she stated firmly.

I couldn’t hold back the tears upon hearing her words. If Okie couldn’t accept him, how could my parents?

After our date, I tried ignoring Jackson’s calls, despite his integral part in my daily life. I blocked his number and deleted it, hoping to move on. However, an unknown number called me that evening, and to my surprise, it was Jackson.

“Why did you have to block me? You should have told me your decision before blocking me,” he said, his voice filled with sadness.

“I’m sorry,” I replied, tears welling up.

“I can lose you as a lover, but don’t let me lose you as a friend. You make me happy,” he pleaded.

“I’m sorry, please,” I replied, torn by indecision.

“Can we see each other?” he asked.

“Okay, no problem,” I agreed, feeling a mix of apprehension and excitement.

Later, when I met him, we went to a supermarket to get groceries and food. Back at his place, we cooked together, laughing and arguing over recipes. After watching movies and sharing intimate moments, I decided to give us a chance and officially accepted his request to be his girlfriend.

He begged me to spend more time with him and meet my parents, but I declined, wanting to ensure we knew each other better before taking that step.

“The first day I saw you, I knew I wanted you, Ella. I am not a child. I know what I want, and I want you,” he said, his excitement evident.

“Give me time, please,” I pleaded.

“Take your time, honey,” he said, planting a peck on my forehead.

As I hadn’t planned to stay over, we had to stop at a boutique close to his house to get some clothes. While he was busy picking out some clothes for me, I spotted a fancy hand bead and decided to secretly get it for him without his knowledge or paying for it.

I gave him the hand bead when we got home, and his reaction filled me with joy.

“I don’t usually wear stuff like this, but I’ll make an exception for this one because you bought it for me,” he said, admiring the hand bead.

“You’re always buying stuff for me, i wanted to get something for you too” I said while smiling.

“You’re my baby, and I want to spoil you. I’m not complaining. I just want to see you happy, beautiful, and healthy for me. I love you, Ella, so very much. You make me happy,” he said as he used his fingers to caress my face.

I trusted every word he spoke. From the first day I met him, he has been consistent, ensuring my happiness and well-being. He was my peace and a blessing from God.

Gone With the Wind 13

After spending two unplanned days with him, I returned home feeling rejuvenated. Those two days with him were therapeutic, from enjoying home-cooked meals to going out for a spa, ice cream, and a movie date. It felt like living out the beautiful stories and movies I used to watch.

While he worked, he sent pictures of his day and kept me updated on his next course of action or meeting. He kept me informed so I wouldn’t feel his absence.

He wanted us to visit his aunt again, but I declined, saying,

“I need to go home. Okie must be feeling lonely, and besides, I didn’t plan to sleep over, and now it’s already been two days,”

Upon returning home, I tried to placate the already fuming Okie with lots of goodies and wares. “I’ve forgiven you a bit. How was it?” she asked.

“Fine. I had to accept his proposal. Okie, I love this man,” I said.

“You love him because he’s nice and all lovey-dovey because you both haven’t had sex,” she said. I wanted to tell her what we did but decided not to.

“Okie, let me give him a try,” I said.

“You’ll never give him his first child. Another woman already did. He’ll never stop seeing the woman because of his child. And do you know what will happen whenever they meet because of the child? What if he leaves you too, as he left his ex-wife?” she said.

I came home feeling happy, but those conversations with Okie spoiled it all. All the butterflies I had when I was with him vanished as Okie began to point out things that seemed true. I hated that when I was with him, I felt good, but at home, I felt bad concerning our relationship.

I decided to test how strong his love was for me. I tried to prove to Okie that he loved me by ignoring him and not making an effort in the relationship. He was the one doing the calling, sending pictures with the handbead showing. “I have a piece of you here,” he would caption.

He sent motivating videos and pictures just to make my day go well. There were days he got angry due to my non-responsive actions, but he tried to convey his feelings in a respectful and calm manner. He began to complain about how distant I was and how I wasn’t reciprocating his love.

“I create time for us whenever you want, and you keep giving me excuses whenever I ask us to meet. This is getting to me, Honey,” he said one evening after work.

“I made reservations for a weekend getaway, and you’re saying you cannot make it. Honey, I miss the old you. What is wrong? I told you we can always have a conversation instead of drifting away,” he continued.

“It’s my exam. I will make it up to you, please,” I said, using my exam as an excuse.

“What do you need so I can send you some money?” he asked.

“I am fine. I still have the money you gave me a few days ago,” I responded, feeling bad.

“I will send you some money. But before then, do you want anything I can order for you, Honey?” he asked.

“No, don’t worry. I am fine,” I said.

Besides being a great support system, friend, giver, lover, and companion, there was no time he didn’t call me the pet name he gave me, “My baby” or “Honey,” even on the days I sensed he was angry or busy. He would always say the name “My baby” or “Honey.” All of this I reported to Okie, who said I should keep watching him.

For six months, he kept trying, making efforts, and showing consistency, so I decided to put an end to the shenanigans Okie and I planned. But the unexpected happened. I noticed Jackson didn’t always come online like he used to, or even respond to my calls or messages on time as he used to.

After monitoring his behavior for a few days, I decided to tell Okie what I noticed, and she assured me he would come around or I could go and visit him. Then she said she would like to tell me something.

“What is that?” I inquired.

“I said yes to someone I met recently,” she said.

As much as it was a shocker because she never told me about anyone asking her out, even when I jokingly asked her, she would say she was single and not ready for a relationship. However, I was happy for her and asked who the person was. She said,

“You will meet him soon.”

I tried letting her tell me things about him, but she said when I meet him.

Gone With the Wind 14

When I called Jackson, he would either answer and say, “Honey, I’ll call you back,” or not pick up at all. This went on for days until his number became unreachable. Many thoughts raced through my mind. I couldn’t tell if he was okay or deliberately avoiding me. I wanted to go to his house, but I didn’t remember where it was, nor did I recall his family’s address.

Meanwhile, I observed Okie blossoming and appearing happy because of her boyfriend’s support. It seemed like their relationship was becoming serious, but I was filled with anguish. Okie started wearing expensive clothes, and I noticed she avoided talking about her boyfriend or introducing me to him. Despite her efforts to keep me positive, there were days when all I longed for was Jackson’s call and the peace he brought.

One evening, while preparing dinner, Okie said she had something to tell me. Curious, I asked, “What is it?”

“It’s about my boyfriend,” she replied.

“The boyfriend I haven’t met. Is everything okay?” I inquired, feeling concerned.

“He’s fine. He asked for my hand in marriage,” she said, lacking excitement.

“Wow! That’s good news. Why do you look unhappy then?” I asked.

“The thing is, he’s older than me and has three children,” she disclosed.

“What!” I exclaimed, surprised by the revelation.

“Three children, and you dated him? Okie, I thought…” I trailed off, but she interrupted.

“I know. That’s why I never wanted you to meet him. I feel terrible about it, but my mom accepted him. He’s been a great support, even buying my mom a shop and covering our bills. He wants me to stop working, which I will after our wedding,” she explained.

It was overwhelming to process everything at once. I couldn’t find the right words, so I simply nodded and left the house with my phone. Tears streamed down my face as I walked the streets, feeling lost and hurt. When I returned home, Okie’s demeanor suggested she might have been crying too.

“I’m sorry,” she said as I approached her.

I didn’t respond, just nodded and moved past her to sleep. While scrolling through social media to unwind, I checked my Facebook spam messages and found a message from Jackson sent weeks ago. My heart raced as I read his heartfelt apology and declaration of love.

“Ella, my honey, my baby girl. I am sorry I had to ghost you. It took a lot for me to do this, but I needed to stay sane. I know my age, marital status, and child are blockers for our relationship, but I want you to know something: I loved you the first day I saw you, and I will always love you. I pray you meet someone who will love you the way I do, and you will love the person in return. I had to create this account just to send this message, after which I will deactivate it. I do not want anything that will remind me or you. I have thrown away the handbead. I wish you all the best, my baby girl.”

I couldn’t contain my emotions and screamed. Okie rushed to help me as I fell to the ground, allowing the pain to consume me as I cried myself to sleep.

Months later, Okie married Mr. Gideon, and I reluctantly attended the wedding. It was a bittersweet moment as I struggled to reconcile my feelings. While I wanted to understand Okie’s advice against dating Jackson, a part of me bitterly blamed her for our separation.

I still can’t forgive myself for losing someone who gave me immeasurable joy. I regret hurting him and wish I could apologize and start over. Finding someone like him again won’t be easy. Every day, I miss him and hope to find someone who can love me and bring me the peace he did. It’s hard to believe that he’s gone with the winds, leaving behind memories I can’t bear to forget.

I hope you don’t invest your heart where you should use your head, and I hope you don’t rely on your head where you should follow your heart. A good partner will walk away if they’re no longer happy, regardless of their love for you.


36 thoughts on “Gone With the Wind 1”
    1. Thank you for loving our story, as our first commenter on this new story you have won data bundle. kindly provide your number here, leaving out the 3last digit then send me the complete number on my WhatsApp or Facebook. Thank you!

  1. Stupid love , she doesn’t want to have sense, he will still come with fake stories to brainwash her (ewu).

  2. I love this new twist 🥰, but why Is it difficult to forget one’s first love??? One moment you over happy then someone or something reminds you of them and your mood goes sour?😩😩 this love matter isn’t for the weak..

  3. One lesson I have learnt, not every advice is worth following even if they are from your loved ones and they mean well.

  4. She lost him while her friend went ahead to marry a man with 3kids. Some friends will advise you not to take shit while they’re busy eating the shit.

  5. I learnt a lot from this novel:
    -Be yourself; do what pleases you as long as you are on the right track.
    – Try to grap every good opportunities that comes your way, it may not come by.
    – Don’t bother or think of what people say about you ; worry on what God says about you.
    – Don’t live your life to please people and forget about yourself.

  6. I learnt a lot from this novel:
    -Be yourself; do what pleases you as long as you are on the right track.
    – Try to grap every good opportunities that comes your way, it may not come by.
    – Don’t bother or think of what people say about you ; worry on what God says about you.
    – Don’t live your life to please people and forget about yourself.

  7. Hmmm gone with the wind 🤦🏻‍♀️ I wish the hands of time can be turned…. This is something she’ll have to regret all her life. Not all advice is worth taking.

    Wow, what a fascinating tale! It really sheds light…I found this story incredibly enlightening. This story really made me think. It’s a great example of how to do the right thing, so long as you’re on the right path.

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