Your Brief Bio:
Julez King is a writer and book reviewer with the Online Book Club. A lover of books even from an early age, she is a graduate of the University of Benin and runs a blog that chronicles the experiences of single ladies in Nigeria. She lives with her family in Ogun State and you can reach her via her blog which is www.julezkinging.blogspot.com.
Tweet-Style Story Summary:
Do you believe that every person has his/her own twin somewhere in the world or is it just a myth? Find out in this captivating romance fantasy that will equally prove to be educative.
Just like the cold harmattan breeze of July that was tugging strongly at her scarf, Aggie Yusuf had no inkling that change would be blowing in her direction thereby turning her world upside down. She was a kindergarten teacher at Presley Nursery and Primary School and was loved by all of the school children. Why wouldn't they? She was such a sweetheart. She had a kind soul, a cheerful nature and was always decked out in brightly coloured clothes along with a plucked flower tucked behind her ear to accompany her look. She was of the opinion that bright colours aided a child's brain development in their beginning years and since she was always around them, she might as well be dressed that way too. It didn't just end there. Aggie also had a sonorous voice and crooned like a nightingale. She knew an endless number of nursery rhymes and the children loved to sing along with her. The kindergarten classroom where she taught was was as bright and colourful like her. There were posters and mural designs splattered here and there on the walls but she had a special way of making all of these colours come together without making the room appear outlandish or crazy. Her classroom looked like one happy world you never wanted to step out from. Parents who came around while scouting for schools for their kindergarten aged children usually signed up with the school after meeting Aggie because they instinctively felt they could trust her. It probably had to with her love for bright colours or her warm nature but so long as it brought in good business for the school, the proprietress was okay with it. Unfortunately, it seemed that her success only lay with children and never with the men in her life. She always seemed to choose the wrong men and after a series of heartbreaks, she had decided to stay off men for a while and focus on her own self development. It was not as if she was bad looking. Infact she was quite beautiful with a caramel coloured complexion and a lovely mane of hair that was quite long even for an african lady. Although she had a flat nose, it blended well with her full dimpled cheeks, full lips and doe shaped eyes giving her this innocent cherubic look. Aggie stood at five feet eight inches with a lovely figure that even her friends envied and it seemed a sort of wonder to them that even at the age of thirty, she could not boast of having a serious relationship but she didn't seem bothered. It had been two years since her last relationship but she still didn't feel the need to start a new relationship even though she had many admirers . They just didn't seem to click with her. ''It will happen at the right time and all things will fall in place'' was the fitting reply she always gave to friends and family whenever they tried to pressure her but sometimes she even wondered herself if she wasn't too choosy.
Her thoughts shifted to her pupils as the school building came into view. An all white pillared twin two storey building structure that had big black imposing gates, the name of the school was bold and visible on the walls of the top floor underneath the windows which was displayed for the world to see. The school didn't have drawings painted on the walls of the fence which Aggie quite liked but on getting in, you would find a grassy field which served as a playground for the children as well as sidewalks lined with shrubs, Aggie who was a lover of nature had fallen in love with the school environment on the first day she had stepped in there. The building had a commanding presence on its own and was considered one of the elite schools in Lagos.
She got there just in time as the pupils filed out to the assembly ground. Today, the morning assembly would be conducted by the proprietress herself so she hurried on to stand in front of her own pupils who had formed a line. After the prayers had been said and the national anthem sung, it was time to sing and dance. Just as she expected, one of her spunky pupils named Spencer raised his favorite song which the school band took up and the rest of the children danced to. They sang,
''Today is Friday
Today is Friday
Is everybody happy?
Today is Friday.''
On the way to their classes while still dancing, a child of around three years of age ran across to her and held her legs screaming ''Mummy! Mummy!'' She smiled and picked him up in her arms as she was naturally prone to do when she heard a loud gasp. Looking to her right, she saw a tall man in his early forties staring at her with shock written all over his face.
''I can't believe it'', he said and she wondered what was going on. ''You look just like my wife'', he spluttered. ''my late wife'', he amended hastily.
''Really?'', she asked. Okay, this is creepy, she thought to herself. Aggie was sceptical about the whole situation although the way the way the child clung onto her was beginning to give credence what this goodlooking hunk of a man was saying. Standing at over six feet, the handsome fair-skinned man with well chiselled facial features made her uncomfortable with the way his eyes bored into hers as if he could see her soul.
''Try and act professional'', she reminded herself and then turned to face the child in her arms with a smile on her face.
''What's your name, darling?'', she asked.
''Cosmos Okoye'', the child replied.
''Cosmos Okoye'', she repeated. ''That's a beautiful name. How old are you, Cosmos?''
''I am three years old.''
''You are three years old'', she asked in awe. ''You are such a big boy. I'll take you to your class now where you can meet with other big boys and girls. You are going to make plenty of friends.''
Turning to face Cosmos' father, she asked. ''Have you cleared things off with the headmaster.''
''Yes, I have. I can show you my receipt.''
''There's no need. I'll discuss with him later. I guess it's just pure coincidence I look like your late wife. I'll take Cosmos to his class now. Do have a lovely day ahead'' and so saying, she turned away from him and walked towards her classroom.
She was already at the threshold of her class when she heard ''Wait''.
Turning around, she saw Cosmos' father walking towards her.''I have a picture of her here with me. It's always in my wallet.'' He opened his wallet, pulled out a picture from it and handed it over to her. She received it hesitantly and looked at the picture. She drew back in shock. She was more or less looking at herself in the photo. She had heard a myth about every person having his or her own twin in this life but never in her wildest dreams had she expected it to happen to her. The only difference between her and the woman in the picture was the scar on the centre of the woman's forehead and her round eyes. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she could easily see that the woman had a long mane of hair just like her. This was indeed a wonder.
''Her name was Leah. She died in a plane crash last year. Cosmos was told she had travelled when she died and that's the reason why he's clinging to you this way. He thinks she is back from her trip. ''
''How old was she?'', she asked while still staring at the picture.
''She would have been thirty four this year.''
Okay. That rules out the possibility of us being twins, she thought to herself.
''I don't even know what to say.'' Shaking her head, she handed the picture back to him even as myriad thoughts ran through her head.
''You don't have to say anything. I just wanted you to understand where I and my son are coming from'', he said in a voice quite overcome with emotion.
She shook her head in understanding and watched as he walked back towards the car park. She kept watching him even as drove out of the school premises in a red Mustang convertible and long after he was gone, she still stood there looking with Cosmos in her arms.
It had been six months since that fateful friday morning that had brought Rodney and Cosmos into her life and she couldn't imagine how she had lived life without them. Cosmos was such a sweet and intelligent child who was a source of joy to her both in the classroom and at home. He had naturally assumed her to be his mother and was always asking her when she would be coming back to live in their house even though she was at their place almost everyday and had her own key to the house. After school hours, Rodney's driver or Rodney himself always came to pick them up and although she never slept over, she made sure to stay till Cosmos had gone to bed before she would leave for her own home. Rodney was another matter entirely. Everyone around them knew that he adored her. He had kept at her back then after meeting her until she had finally accepted to be friends with him. He was eager to take their relationship to the next level but she kept holding back. This wasn't because she was in doubt of her own feelings for him but beause she felt like she was living in his late wife's shadow. Would he have loved her if she hadn't looked like his late wife? Was she just a suitable replacement for him and his family? These were the questions that often plagued her and sometimes dampened her spirits. ''I need to have this talk with Rodney. I can't continue like this'', she said to herself as she brought out the gingerbread cookies that were fully baked from the oven. Cosmos cycled into the kitchen just at that moment. He had helped her with the preparations and they had made various shapes such as stars, flowers, man, woman and others. The first one on Cosmos' list for consumption was the gingerbread man just so he wouldn't run away like in the stories and she had smiled at his refreshing naivete. After she had put the batter in the oven, he had hurried off to do his homework and was here now. He always seemed to have an innate sense of timing when it came to food.
''Mummy, are the cookies ready?''
''Can I have some?''
''We'll have to wait for them to cool off first. Okay?''
''Okay.'' He turned back towards the sitting room and then asked ''Can I put on the TV? I've finished my homework.''
''Not yet. I need to inspect your work first'' and so saying, she removed her apron and walked to his study area with him cycling beside her. He was always on his bicycle. He ate, watched TV and even took his bath in it. Rodney found it irritating and sometimes regretted getting the bicycle for him but she had assured him that it was just a phase that would soon pass. After checking his homework and making some corrections, he put on the TV. His favorite cartoon which is Jake and the Neverland Pirates was on. He was only allowed to watch the Disney Junior channel because they had non-violent cartoons which was also educative just like Doc Macstuffin. In this era, one needed to be careful with what a child was exposed to and she always shared this advice with the parents of her pupils about monitoring the kind of programmes their children watched. Cosmos was only allowed to watch TV for two hours a day so when it was seven pm, it was time for him to take his bath and eat.
''I don't want to bathe''
''Why am I not surprised? Come to the bathroom with me or else you won't be tasting those cookies again.'' He had already had some when he was watching television.
''Will I get a cookie if I bathe?''
''No, but you can take some to school tomorrow if you bathe now.''
He considered it for a moment and then shook his head in assent ''Okay'' before cycling down to the bathroom. They sat down to dinner afterwards which consisted of rice and turkey stew. Rodney had called in earlier that he would be coming home late. After dinner, they both brushed their teeth and then headed down to Cosmos bedroom. This was the part of the day that Cosmos cherished and always looked forward to. Aggie would get into bed with him and they would talk about his day in school. They would also make an analysis of the cartoon programmes they had watched and what lessons they had learnt from each one after which she would read him bedtime stories of the great Benin Empire and then sing to him. Her voice always lulled him to sleep no matter how much he tried to stay awake and this night was no exception, he yawned a few times and then finally fell fast asleep. Aggie felt tired herself. She needed to go clean up the kithen but Cosmos' bed was so soft and comfortable that she really didn't want to leave it just yet. She decided to take a quick nap before she would clean the kitchen up. By the time Rodney came back, she would be ready to leave. With that thought in mind, she faded off into a dreamless sleep.
Rodney found them that way when he came home two hours later and stood transfixed by the picture that was cut out in front of him. Aggie was fast asleep with her glorious hair spread out on the pillow. This was the first time he had seen her sleeping since they had met and she was beautiful even in sleep. She had her arms around his son who in turn cuddled her. He was suddenly jealous of his son. Lucky guy. He's getting all the action and I, his father has not been able to go that far. Shaking his head, he turned around and walked to his bedroom. He wished he could always come home to this picture and couldn't for the life of him understand why she refused to marry him. She knew he loved her and even Cosmos was happy with her being around because she was his mother in his mind. He would learn the truth when he got older but even then he was sure he would still love her as a mother. Financially, he was equally well off. He owned this six bedroom duplex they lived in right here in Osborne Road and also owned his own oil and gas firm which he had started from scratch and built up over the years. So what exactly could be the problem? ''We really need to talk''. He said to himself and then walked down to the kitchen to help himself to a meal. He was surprised to find the kitchen messy. It was quite unlike her. She must have been really tired, he thought. He found the gingerbread cookies still lying in the tray and ate one which he found quite delicious. He then took another and put the rest away in a jar. He patted his flat stomach and reminded himself that he would need to visit the gym more often so he could maintain his physique. He quickly cleaned up the kitchen and then dished his food. He sat on one of the stools and ate right there in the kitchen. He had just finished his meal when Aggie walked into the kitchen. She looked so beautiful even with her sleepy eyes and hair tousled from sleep. He suddenly desired her.
She looked around the kitchen.'' Wow! You've cleaned the kitchen up already. Sorry about the mess you had to clean up.'' She sat down on one of the kitchen stools.
''It's no problem. Besides, you must have been exhausted.''
''I was. I just didn't realise it.''
''The casualty of war. Dealing with a bunch of kids is not an easy feat. I salute your bravery.''
''Are you mocking me?''
''No, I'm not. I mean what I'm saying. I can't handle a bunch of kids so I respect those who can. Besides I got the opportunity to watch you sleep today. It's not something that comes around everyday.''
Aggie ducked her head feeling suddenly shy. She asked, ''will you still be able to take me home?''
''I won't. It's close to midnight already. You can sleep in one of the guest bedrooms.'' You can sleep with me, he thought to himself.
''No. I'll sleep with Cosmos. I'm sure he won't mind. Can I borrow a clean shirt of yours? I don't have any clothes to change into.''
''Sure. It's not a problem. I'll drop it on Cosmos bed. Are you using his bathroom or the one in the guest room.''
''Haba. Am I a visitor? I'll use Cosmos' bathroom.''
''So you know that you are not a visitor.''
''Of course I know that.''
''Then why won't you marry me. I need an answer from you today. You keep giving me different excuses and I won't take it anymore. Are you taking advantage of me because you are aware that I'm crazy about you?''
''No. How can you say that?'' She looked pained. ''It's not that.''
''I just don't want to live in your late wife's shadows knowing that you are only with me because I remind you of her.'' she admitted quietly with her head bowed and her hands folded on the table top.
Rodney was stunned. It had never crossed his mind that she would feel this way. His throat suddenly constricted with emotion and he reached out and placed his hands on top of hers rubbing it reassuringly.
''I'm sorry darling. It never crossed my mind for one second that you would feel that way. I just assumed you knew I loved you without even thinking....'', he broke off quite overcome with emotion.
''It's okay'', she said.
''No sweets, it's not. Leah doesn't even hold a candle compared to you. The only good thing that came out of my marriage with her was Cosmos.''
''Stop that. You shouldn't speak ill of the dead.'' She said this with a frown on her face.
''I don't do that. This is the reason why I never speak about her. She never gave me peace. Come with me. I want to show you something.'' He pulled her up with him and took her to his bedroom.
His bedroom was massive and there was a huge bed in the middle which she found inviting. His room was splendid but definitely masculine. Bathed in white which was her favorite colour, there was no further time to admire the room because he had opened the safe there, brought out some papers and thrust them into her hands.
''Look at them. I was going to divorce her before her accident.''
Aggie looked through the papers and was shocked to see that they were truly divorce papers. She looked back up at him.
''Why? What happened?''
''Everything just went wrong few months after our marriage. I realised she never loved me. She stopped pretending like she did during our one year of courtship and I got to see her for who she really was. We were always fighting even over petty things and as if that was not enough, she began cheating on me. When I found out, I knew I had no marriage anymore and prepared the divorce papers. Unfortunately because of the accident, I never got to find out the truth of why she married me in the first place.'' He shook his head, ''and that is something I'll never get to know.''
He sat there on the bed looking so miserable. She had never seen him like this before. She went over to him, sat down by his side and held him.
''There are some truths you can definitely do without'', she said.
He shook his head in agreement. ''Yes but there are also some truths that we need with us such as my love for you. Naturally, with the experience I had with Leah, I ought to have stayed away from you just like Usher's lyrics from his song, you remind me of a girl that I once knew'', she laughed at that and he went on ''but I couldn't. There was this aura about you that made me feel at peace with you. It's probably the same reason that makes children love you and just like them, I wanted to be around you all the time. You can imagine my joy when you finally agreed to be friends with me. The more I got to know you, the more I had more reason to make you my wife. You came into my life and brought me sunshine and happiness.''
''I wish I had spoken to you earlier on about my fears. We have wasted so much time apart. I want you to know that I love you very much. I was only scared that you didn't love me for me.''
''I'm sorry, darling. It was my fault. I should have made things more clearer.''
''Let's stop with the blame game. We have each other now.''
''So will I be getting any action tonight?'', he asked with a wicked look in his eyes.
''Is that all you can think of?''
''What else am I supposed to think of? I'm a man, you know'', he said with a wink.
She threw back her head and laughed. Rodney just couldn't help himself anymore. He captured her lips and kissed her and although he took her by surprise, she relaxed and enjoyed his kisses. Being in his arms was right where she was she was supposed to be. She was finally home. The path she had taken before she had found her true love had been worth it. There was nothing like being with someone who loved and valued you. This was the dream of many women and she considered herself the luckiest woman alive.