Clinched onto the most adorable and memorable acts of soul simmering words that her heart has ever known and heard from any guy ever since her heart yearned for companionship, Lily watched on with an unbearably heavy heart into the fields where she and Peter had always picked the lovely moonlight walk every evening after supper, as her eyes caught a glimpse of the distant mountain through the glass window, bearing witness to the lovely scene that had characterized the late afternoon’s activity, as it unfolded the dreams nature has scheduled for that moment of the day.
She watched keenly at the scene that was unfolding before her, feeling the cold evening wind blow with so much serenity, calm enough to nurture a wounded heart, as it blew over the fields.
Her heart went the extra mile into the deepest world of pain, as she recalled those unbelievable moments at night when Peter would stand over there on the lawn, which was opposite her bedroom, in the full radiance of the moon and the daring cold weather, just to see those lovely and candid face of hers for the last time, before retiring to bed.
With gentle steps, Lily stepped out of her room, looking gloomy from of the intense pain that has never set her free ever since Peter closed those passionate eyes of his, right there in her arms, never to be seen again until eternity.
The very thought of that frightful day, made her world want to shatter beneath her feet. She cared less about her destined contribution to the enhancement of the human race.
To the best of her knowledge, she has accomplished the very purpose of her life, by loving and making Peter happy whole heartedly beyond her intended heart’s desire, and had nothing else left worth living for.
She wished there was a magical word she could have spoken to keep Peter very close to herself, but the laughter that gladdened his heart as he heard the long awaited answer to his marriage proposal, chocked him before he could come to real terms.
It was on one of those lovely evenings in the moonlight after supper, when Peter knelt before Lily in the fields, holding out to her a cute diamond ring that sparkled so clearly even in the moonlight, and asked her to marry him.
With expected eyes, filled with so much zeal, Peter busted out into laughter, expressing utmost joy at Lily’s acceptance, but just when he was about to come to terms and take full control of himself after placing the ring on Lily’s finger, with a heartfelt embrace in the waiting, he got chocked, gasping for air.
He paused midway, placing his right hand on his chest as he fought so hard in his human capacity and will for breathe.
He went unto his knees, reaching out his left arm to Lily for help.
Lily, being caught unaware of what was happening, quickly held his arm and rapped her arm around him, but she couldn’t suspend Peter’s weight in mid air because he had lost total control of himself.
Helplessly, Lily watched on as those passion-filled eyes closed before her.
Unable to believe what was happening to Peter, she rushed towards Peter’s house which was just opposite the fields where they were, shouting and crying Peter’s younger brother, Frank’s name..
Frank, who was in the study by then, rushed out and met Lily half way upon hearing her cry.
He saw Peter lying lifeless on the grass after dashing to the direction where Lily’s finger pointed to without uttering any other word apart from the name Peter as she sobbed with fear.
Kneeling down before him, Frank held Peter’s shoulders and shook him a number of times, calling out his name for at least a responds or movement, but non came up.
From where she stood, blinded by the tears that have filled her eyes, Lily could see the frustration which has engulfed Frank’s heart as he knelt down passionately by Peter and tried so hard to revive him.
Suddenly, Frank gathered an unimaginable strength, and lifted his brother in his arms and headed for the house, realizing the possibility of loosing his brother.
Peter’s parents, who were by now on the porch, couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw Frank carrying his elder brother towards the house.
As hard as they tried to resuscitate Peter, he wasn’t able to make it back to the love he had lots of dreams about.
Frank turned around in pain after realizing that it was obvious Peter hadn’t survived it, but seeing Lily shivering to the core with tears and sweat all over her face, he was moved with more pain.
He moved closer to her side and held her gently to prevent any double happening for the evening.
Although he was so hurt than he has ever been, he thought it necessary to preserve what left and worth preserving, that was Lily.
He has always admired and praised their wonderful relationship, a perfect gem of a couple, and knew there would have been wonderful days ahead for them.
With the love he had seen Peter and Lily share together each and every passing day, the very thought of she being responsible for what had happened never crossed his mind.
As Frank led Lily to the sofa, he heard Lily mumble something that was not audible.
“He got chocked out of the joy of my final acceptance to his marriage proposal”, Lily spoke out more audible this time to Frank’s amazement, as she showed him the ring on her finger.
Frank’s heart sunk as a warm tear dropped from his eyes unto Lily’s left arm.
She lifted up her already tear-stacked eyes and looked into Frank’s face, which had become heavily burdened with sorrow.
“He died knowing you wanted to share the rest of your life with him?” Frank asked, as he broke out into a moderately low cry.
Five days on after Peter’s burial, here she was, lost in a very big world of its own, waking up without a sense of purpose of living even a single day, keeping away from solid food for these past few days, becoming weak like never before.
All that she did was to lock herself inside her room, which had become more or less like a dungeon.
With her skin looking pale as she walked towards the fields in her ash sleeveless shirt and black long skirt, one could take her for a living dead.
With the cold wind that blew against her face, drawing the sides of her long black hair behind her, just like the unveiling of a bridal veil, she took those gorgeous, but persistent steps towards the family’s natural pond, a few meters away from the main building.
While at the pond, she collected a few pebbles and threw them into the water, one after the other, generating bubbling sounds that pleased her soul.
Although days have gone by without Peter’s presence, Lily continuously paused from time to time, and took a conscious look over the highlands to her right, recalling the daily homecoming she always gave Peter each day he returned back home from the family’s ranch before evening fell, riding on the back of his one time horse, “Dare”.
The cute diamond ring that Peter placed on her finger was still intact like never before.
It meant so much to her.
She took a noble look at the ring, kissed it, and held it very close to her breast.
As she Watched over the path that has become empty without the footsteps of Peter’s homecoming on his horse and their moonlight walk after supper each day, all she could see were the shades of trees and plants, which seem to have taken over the golden rays that had always occupied the path.
Deep within her heart, she felt and knew those shades were not shades of nature’s activities as it gradually grew dark, but they are the shades that surround the rather short, but long lingering love that she has come to adore and admire.
They could never be anything else, but the “shades of passion” which she will for forever love and cherish.
EMMANUEL EDEM DAGADU
POST OFFICE BOX ML392
TELEPHONE: 024 4824681, 021 330051