I was a palace maid. I didn’t know how I ended up becoming a slave in Alontan village, but I was sure I was a captive.
All the other maids envied me because of my beauty. The three princesses hated me. But with all my beauty, no man ever wooed me. I thought I was not lovable. I had no reason to be happy; I wetted my bed with tears each night.
One sunny day, as I was on my way back from the stream all alone, Yaya suddenly jumped into my path from the bush. I became frightened. I took a step backwards, and in doing so, a heavy splash of water from my pot hit him on the head.
"Oh, sorry!" I said, realizing it was him.
He tittered, "I deserve it, my pretty."
Yaya was one of the king's guards. A handsome, brawny and dark man. He asked to help me with the pot of water.
"Don't bother. What would you say if you're caught by one of your friends?" I asked.
"That would be no problem. What I am leery of is one of your admirers seeing me," he said. "Men would not snitch, only girls do that."
I chortled, "Where are you going to, Yaya?"
"I came here to talk to you," he said, and paused in his tracks.
I paused too, readjusting the waterpot on my head, "Talk with me?"
"I love you!" he said.
It came as a shock.
"You... You love... Love me?" I stuttered.
"Yes! I'm sure no man can love you like I do."
I smiled shyly, "Thank you, Yaya."
"Let us meet very early tomorrow at the market square; I need to show you how much I love you," he said.
"Okay!" I responded.
He held my hands, looking straight into my eyes. I could see nothing but love.
"Should I be expecting you at dawn tomorrow?" He asked.
I nodded affirmatively and watched as he hurried away, towards the stream.
I was so happy! I am loved! Yaya loves me!
That day, I was sure the other maids in the palace noticed my change of mood. They all kept stealing glances at me.
“Yaya loves me! So I am loveable?” I crooned all day, doing my work with so much vigour.
I slept early that night, having no reason to cry again. I woke up very early the next day. I took a thorough bath, not wanting to irritate my Yaya who is always neat with odour.
I got to the market square and waited for my Yaya.
I was surprised at how he arrived: He appeared like someone who was fleeing. He got to me, dropped the bags he was carrying and gave me a very warm embrace, with his lips almost meeting mine. I felt my sense thaw like ice. I embraced him too.
"We need to escape before it is light," he said.
I became befuddled, "Escape!? Why!? To where!?"
He looked sober as always.
"Ewatomi," he called.
I looked behind, thinking he saw someone.
"I called you," he said.
"Me?" I asked
"Who is Ewatomi? Have you quickly forgotten my name?"
He shook his head in objection, "No, weren't you named Asake?"
"You remember? So why are you calling me Ewatomi?" I asked.
"Because that is what our parent named you," he said.
I was more confused, "You and whose parents?"
"Ewa, I am Jide – your blood brother. We were captured from Jagun, our fatherland."
It was a big surprise for me, really hard to believe.
"My sweet Yaya is actually my brother?" I thought.
"Look at this," he said.
He pulled up his white top a bit, showing me a mark below his navel. It’s the same I have on the same spot. That’s when I actually believed him.
"Let us go! I'll tell you more when we are out of Alontan," he said.
I followed as he led the way, helping him with one of his bags. I thought I had found love; but instead, it was freedom and family.
Back with my parents and Yaya in Jagun, I realized that it was not love that I needed…
I needed freedom, and that beautiful thing called family.
Love followed graciously after...
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Nice one there! Very short and exciting.