She hated tears. They were for the weak. For those women who loved and gave their hearts to men. She was not one of them. She was Umi and she simply did not do love.

But love had done her in somehow. Found that hard outer shell, cracked it open and slipped in quietly through the fissure until it located her soft core and dumped its mushy mess into her.

This love came in form of a man whom she had met in church almost two years ago, who offered a ride to her as he saw her standing by the roadside waiting for a taxi.

β€œFrancis is the name,” he had said to her as if she had asked. To this, she had rolled her eyes in that discreet manner she often did and no one saw.

β€œWhat’s yours?” he asked as she had predicted he would.

β€œUmi,” she replied and waited for the obvious question that would follow.

β€œUmi? Where are you from? Are you Hausa?”

Two options dangled before her. To indulge him or not to indulge him?

She picked the former. It was a beautiful day, after all. The pastor hadn’t preached for long, the choir sang her favorite song and Francis’ perfume was in all ways manly and sensual. And damn! That smile! No man should have that sort of perfect dentition. It was unfair to other men.

But Francis had that and more as she found out a few months later in the darkness of his bedroom. She had strung him along for almost five months before she agreed to a kiss that led to many other things. By then, her feelings for him had gone out of her control. What was there not to adore about Francis? His boyfriend material was of top quality and could stand the test of time. He was into her for the long haul and did everything a lover in a romance novel would do for the woman he loved, demanding same from her.

And maybe that was where the problem arose. He had gone in deeper than she had. Love, to Umi meant many other things asides what it actually meant. To her, love was ambition, independence, pursuing her dreams, and yet having a man on whose chest she could place her head whenever she felt like. Not a man who demanded all of her. She loved to come and go like blinking Christmas lights. Francis had told her that he understood her eccentricities and had given her space whenever she needed. But he had snapped one evening, lost his mind and shocked her with a marriage proposal – and a public one at that.

Read the rest of the first episode of The Darker Berry on Sally’s Blog by clicking this LINK

Episode 2 comes up here next Sunday.

And guys, I don’t wanna brag but this is one of the best stuff you’d ever read from Nigerian Authors.