A different Love with Miss Benita


Our eyes met and held and few minutes later, I realized I just fucked up; the guys that shared table with me were all laughing. They never uttered a word but it’s clear they thought I was looking lustfully at a woman, I tried to comport myself and be gentleman but the truth is that I couldn’t completely let my eyes off her. I continued to steal more look at her, she was aware of my eyes and also guilty of the same thing. At this point it became unbearable for my guys and I could vividly remember one of them. Alex telling me, “Bia Luke, anyi na ahapuzi gi ebe a o”, meaning Hey Luke, we are leaving only you here. I told them to go, feeling quite ashamed; they made mockery of me and finally zoomed off. One of them came back to remind me, “ehen, nwanne, no be only to dey look woman, tomorrow na Val’s day, I hope you go catch this babe come, na by dusk to dawn things, 9pm till further notice, Victenia suites, no come dey drag person babe make I no open your head o”. I ignored and was fixedly pressing my phone and trying to finish up my yoghurt, we had just finished lecture on a very hot afternoon, and decided to get cooled with chilled drinks and snacks. To be frank, I was distracted and couldn’t finish my own with others.

At this point, it struck my mind that I do not have any girl for tomorrow’s valentine day. It is my fourth year in the university and the first time I’d be celebrating the Love day without a girlfriend. Now, I know it would be a very boring one. I thought I must approach this girl and try my luck but I had my fears though. First, I thought that this girl is too beautiful and innocent for my type of guy. Again, looking from afar, she would never be an easy catch. She’d be the kind of girl that gives trouble for a century. Imagine! Something said to me, guy respect yourself and another thought said there is no harm in trying; I made up to approach her. But when I reached her table and asked to join her, she nodded (reluctantly) in acceptance. Taking a close look at her, Ah! This girl is so pretty, tall and stunning. I found it a bit hard to tune into an interesting conversation but God came to my rescue when I tried to form fake familiarity, the normal guys’ way, “ehmm… your face looks very familiar, I think I have met you, somewhere sometime ago…” she interrupted with a smile and asked if I am a member of her group, legion of Mary.

The thing just struck my head. For my mind I know say devil don bring me wahala where I dey worship idol. Legion of Mary is a pious society in the Catholic Church; I was born a catholic and very conversant with the societies within, even though I wasn’t a member of any. I told her I’m not and she said she is waiting for her fellow members. I thought to myself this girl is too charming to be a churchgoer. We started conversation and she asked if I would come around tomorrow, I told her tomorrow is valentine and I’d like to hang out with her, Ok, she said, if you will come around, we go out together with my friends from legion of Mary. I wasn’t comfortable with this; I couldn’t imagine myself being in the midst of churchgoers on Val’s day.  What? Are we going to pray all day? I told her I’m not coming and begged to have her number but she refused pointing I should first grant her own request. I later accepted to go with them. Promise me, she said smiling. Yes I will (also smiling). I hope you will now give me your number? Off course she said, smiling again while I handed her my phone, she quickly typed her number and said she’d be leaving to join her group members. Gazing at her, I said: my name is Carlos, it’s nice to meet you, I’m Benita, and it is nice to meet you too, demanding I flash her immediately.

In the night of same day, I found out she is in whatsapp, we chatted and through that I discovered she is in 300level, department of theatre and film studies. When I discovered she is into acting, serious doubt came over   and I started to think maybe she has just acted film with me but before we ended chats on whatsapp, she dropped me her BB pin and also reminded me of tomorrow’s appointment. I later told my friends in the hostel what’s up but all they did was to laugh out loud making jest of me joining a church group because of woman.

14th February, 2008, around quarter past eight in the morning, my phone rang and lo it was Benita that was a very pretty voice on phone: hello, how was your night? Hope you will still make it? Please, the time is 3pm. This actually increased my urge to meet her, I couldn’t say no to her nor afford to miss this golden opportunity, and I thought even if it means prayer Virgil, I will go it for her. I’m not going to let my guys know; else, they will give me one funny name like woman wrapper etc.

3pm dot, I was already at Mary Slessor, benita’s hostel and could see a lot of young men and women, walking in pairs, dressed in reds, some with flowers and packages, so I called her to come and pick me, please come towards freedom square, you will see us behind a white bus, she said. On getting there, there were a number of cute girls and some boys with loads of different packages, I couldn’t understand fully what’s going on until she came and explained: please, you see, we are going out to orphanage homes and also to prison, this is how we usually celebrate the Val’s day, showing little love to those that are not privileged like us, I’m sorry, hope you won’t mind joining us? I only nodded to show I cared to join. So we all entered the bus, she made way for me to sit beside her, so we chatted along the way and finally got to an orphanage home first, to be short, we eventually succeeded in visiting two orphanage homes and a prison with  gift items which we bought along the way with the money we contributed in the bus. What really touched me was the prison experience, while in the prison, I saw a guy whom we had in the past clashed with during a show down in the campus. We were members of different confraternities and he recognized me too, though, little did we show that we had known each other before. I was disturbed and while we were coming back the trip, several thoughts came to my mind on what could possibly land this guy to the prison. I thought maybe it’s the cult things and started having a rethink of my life immediately, few weeks later I made up to face the challenges and renounce my membership. This wasn’t an easy task as thought but with God everything is possible. Dramatically, I got serious with Benita and we dated for years after school and finally got married on 29th, December, 2013. We have also succeeded in setting up a foundation known as Benita Carlos foundation. This foundation raises fund to help show love to the less privileged. It is our hope that this shall grow to an international NGO like Bill and Melinda Gate foundation. Today, I thank God for everything, I thank God for Benita, she is the best thing that ever happened to me, she is lovely, she is beautiful, she is wow!.

Submitted by Ejike Carlos

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