On touching her arm, I wore a smile and downplayed my words: “Lola, I am just joking, so don’t feel bad. Our past is a bygone. Besides, I have met many ladies after you. So, my singleness is just a choice.”
I rubbed her arm tenderly while she nodded in response. She was looking face-down and I could see her blinking while she was trying to control her emotion.
But instantly, I became self-conscious. Lola was married and our interaction had to be formal. Aside from the fact that problem could strike from being the cause of her tears, it was not ideal leaving my hand on her body. Her husband might demand an explanation if he eventually entered the shop at that moment. So, I immediately withdrew my hand from her body and continued to console her in words.
Soon after gaining complete control of her emotion, she called me and paused thereafter. “I’m not crying because of what you said,” she managed to say. “I’m only crying because of my decision.”
In that context, I discerned that she was having marital problems, but I felt she did not have to confide in me. As a result, I only tried encouraging her rather than taking interest in her challenges.
“You just have to be firm,” I said to her. “We all have itches that we scratch, but we just need a positive attitude.”
She shook her head and hissed quietly. “Jade, you won’t understand me.”
“We are not toddlers anymore. I just have to confess to you because I don’t have any confidant at all: I’m not truly happy. I have been trying to cope with this, but meeting you again even rekindles my sadness the more.”
Her words called for my apathy and I was moved. How difficult it could be for a woman who has no confidant when she is passing through a difficult situation!
At that moment, I needed to allow her pour out her mind to me. However, she tried controlling her emotion again and again and she could not open up to me as she wished. Maybe she was uncomfortable to share her experience with me; but I tried consoling her.
“Lola, be strong and try to be happy. It is a necessity if you want to enjoy life.”
Because she did not want to wash her dirty linen in the public, she asked her salesgirl to sit outside before continuing our conversation. Quite unfortunately, a woman entered the shop and we had to postpone the conversation. “Where are you lodged?” she asked.
“Number 15…” I responded.
Thereafter, she accompanied me to the doorway. “Jade, your look has barely changed,” she said.
“Ha ha… Why did you say that?” I asked.
“I don’t think you will ever look old.”
“Well, it is hereditary. In our family as a whole, we all look young regardless of our age.”
“I can see that,” she said. “By the way, I have lost your contact; let me have it.”
As I walked out of the shop, she bade me goodbye and promised to keep in touch with me. So I walked to the cement store and beheld Lola still looking at me from the doorway of her shop. She looked depressed and it was obvious that she was dealing with a critical marital problem. Anyway, I had to focus on my purpose for the journey because I would be returning home the following day.
Soon after leaving the vicinity, I felt it was wrong on my part to be the confidant of a married woman. To a greater extent, she was even my past love. So, only time would tell what I needed to do.