JASON Curtis hadn’t paid Abby a visit since the latter was locked behind bars.
But Jason wasn’t any random dude at all. The fine, dashing young man was to Abby what Jerry was to Emma.
Yet this charming Adonis was somewhat more. For Jason was the joker card Abby had fetched for herself in her own game. A desperate game of Hearts.
Yes, Abby had been a lover of gaming since when she was little.
Being the only child of busy elite parents, little Abby Camille had always been provided with lots of video games growing up. To, at least, make up for Professor and Dr Camille’s unavailability.
But Abby’s preference for games grew into other territories, as the child gradually matured into a young adult.
In Abby’s teenage years, the fast young girl came to imbibe the notion that life itself is a game.
And no one could win against the teenager in any argument claiming otherwise. Not even Professor Camille could convince his ambitious youngster that life isn’t a game.
But Abby always had her points ready. She had all the cards to prove her points. That life would forever be a game. And even the arguments between Abby and her debaters were themselves a game of life.
Yet Abby barely got herself into the daring games of life out there.
As an adult, the young woman had only got herself into one game already. Nay, two daring ones. And she’d succeeded in one and failed in the other.
The first in Abby’s daring games was playing a big card against Emma.
Abby had recently ventured with Emma into a life game of Hearts. A game Emma herself wasn’t aware that she was participating in.
In that game Abby threw the cards with the highest figures, in a bid to cart away everything left of Emma’s seat of fulfillment. In a bid to be crowned queen in this everlasting game of Hearts.
It happened one quiet evening. Abby decided to pay Emma a condolence-visit at her scanty stores, and mourn—or mock, her failing trade.
So as soon as Abby got to Emma’s stores that evening, she saddled the entire mood and atmosphere with enough sympathy and condescension. And so much it made Emma appear just as pitiful in Abby’s eyes as she wanted her to be.
But just in the middle of the entire drama, Emma’s phone rang. And it was her heartbeat calling. It was Jerry.
Immediately, Emma beamed bright with a ray of sunshine. And her radiant glow sliced through the gathering gloom, and lit up the entire room.
Emma stepped away from Abby to pick up the call from her special someone. She stepped out of the stores altogether to have a light talk with Jerry.
Abby could only stare forlornly at her friend’s backside through the open doorway. She sadly watched Emma rattle with giggles every now and then, and through the long phone call.
Abby couldn’t take the sight at this rate. She was crushed down to her deepest soul.
‘Ah Emma is truly happy!’ she grumbled and mumbled. ‘No she is happier than I am!’ she added in a rueful small voice.
Abby couldn’t believe the wonder. She wondered and pondered.
How can Emma be so happy when her business isn’t working? How can she be happy when everything is so ordinary?
Or, is having a man in your life really that special? Is it so important that it’d make a big difference? How can she be so happy?!
Abby was sore inside her. It felt like Emma had just quietly tiptoed out of the pool of mess she’d brought to her, and had left Abby to deal with her own mess. Everything looked like a foul cheat to the condolence visitor.
Abby took her eyes off the happy girl immediately, and her eyes fell on Emma’s account journal lying closed at the nearer edge of her desk.
Right now she was so curious to take a look at Emma’s account details. And at this rate she cared little about ethics.
Abby looked towards Emma’s side and she marked that her friend was still facing the other way. So she leaned forward, reached a hand for the journal and pulled it to herself.
But that long, nosy hand only pulled at a bookmark strip placed in-between the pages of the journal. And the card came off alone as she pulled it.
Abby stared at the bookmark piece in her hand. It was handmade; with its background painted with colourful pastels, and its words scribbled with a felt pen.
Abby held the piece to her eyes, and she mused at the lines that glowed off Emma’s bookmark.
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor the fruit be on the vines;
Though the labour of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
The words felt so deep and so profound and Abby marvelled at them. She flipped the card and found the that the lines were taken from the Bible.
She found the text: Habakkuk 3: 17 – 19.
Still, under the inscribed text, Abby found something more. They were some personal and passionate words. And they ran so deep and forceful:
This is Emma’s Heart, Lord Jesus… My Help, My Hope and My Happiness.
Abby was amazed at everything. She couldn’t fathom how Jesus Christ could be the very reason for Emma’s radiant hope in spite of everything.
She thought. Can Jesus really make someone happy when things call for sadness? Is that even possible?!
Abby took a long gaze at Emma again. She suddenly snapped out of her thoughts. And she excused Emma’s declaration as some attempt at motivation using religion.
Abby doubted her excuse now. But she felt more at ease thinking it could only be some religious motivation. It made her feel a little superior to Emma, at least. And so she kept to her notion.
As Emma dropped her long call and turned to her now, Abby gently placed the bookmark on the desk and told Emma the handmade design caught her fancy.
Yet Abby told herself she’d got her answer. She told herself Emma’s life was so bright and beautiful because she’d got a man in her life.
And for the first time, Abby began to pay more attention to eligible men. She decided she was going to get for herself a rock star kind of handsome dude.
For Abby concluded that it was the better game to play, if she was going to make Emma realise that what she’d got was nothing to be so excited about.
That indeed was Abby’s first game. And that game ended when she met with the rich, dashing prince of wits, class and glamour.
It ended when she met Jason Curtis.
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© 2021 by Kayode & Tola Olla