Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Very Short Story: Samson and Delilah Remixed

Image: www.pauline.org
Zorah looks at her son disappointedly. She isn’t exactly thrilled with the news he has just announced.

“So you are serious? Zorah asks with mild irritation.

“Yes, I am. I wasn’t joking the last few times we spoke either,” replies Samson matter-of-factly.

“Do you have to marry Delilah? She’s an Osu. Can’t you find another girl among our own people?” She inquires sadly.

“She’s the one I love, and I want to marry her,” says Samson stubbornly. “There is no one who loves and compliments me like Delilah does.”

Zorah sighs as she was wont to whenever she couldn’t convince her son to see her point of view.

“There’s no way your father would have given his blessings if he were still with us. Marrying an Osu was the last thing he’d envisioned for you.”

“But why does it matter if I marry an Osu? Love can be found anywhere regardless of caste, gender, religious inclination or class. Aren’t Igbos unabashedly getting married to African-Americans, who, technically, are Osus? Yet the so-called Guardians of tradition turn a blind eye. I refuse to believe the fallacy that people from a particular tribe or social stratum are endowed with special capabilities to love better. Look at how content Kelechi and Adaeze are? You even admitted it yourself.”

“I guess my words have come back to haunt me,” Zorah answers with a weak smile. Then she walks towards Samson and holds him in a warm embrace. “The dream of any parent is for their child to be happy. And if Delilah is going to bring you happiness, then so be it.”

“Thanks Mom. I felt your resistance melt after you spent the weekend with us, and knew you’d come round,” Samson replies, squeezing her briefly before disengaging from her embrace.

“I’d have to break the news to your uncles and grandparents,” Zorah admits wryly. “By the way, will you be cutting those dreadlocks for the wedding?”

Zorah has never been fond of her son’s locks, not since he started growing them in university. At first she complained bitterly and threatened to cut them, saying he looked like a homeless man. Then she begrudgingly accepted them, telling herself it was a phase. Now, she was indifferently accepting of his hair.

“Nope, if I do I'll lose my mojo - you know how it is,” jokes Samson. 

Samson grabs his keys from the table and kisses his mom goodbye. “I know you can convince them. That’s what you’re good at.”

Watching her son walk into the sunlight, Zorah mutters regrettably to herself, “Yes, but I haven’t been able to influence your choice in marriage, or anything else since your dad died.”

***

A year earlier.

“You what?!” Delilah cries incredulously.

Samson, in a bid to calm her, takes a step in her direction and attempts touching her hands.

She flinches.

“Don’t touch me!” yells Delilah, voice trembling.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have touched the alcohol,” Samson replies, desperately seeking a sign of concurrence from her. “But you’ve got to believe I’m over her.”

“That’s right, blame it on the alcohol – as if you didn’t know prior to your getting drunk that it was your weakness. You promised you were going to be on your best behavior at Dan’s bachelor party, after I’d discouraged your going, Delilah adds, now wearing a sarcastic smile on her face. “I suppose you’ve given the phrase ‘on my best behavior’ a whole new meaning.”

Samson stands quietly, unsure of what to say to calm her nerves.

“Look, I’m going out,” Delilah pronounces, storming out of the house.

***

“Isn’t that Chigozie?” Shola motions with her head in his direction.

Delilah turns around to look, and then waves to get his attention.

“Hey ladies, long time, no see,” Chigozie says, greeting them each with a peck on the cheek. “How are things going with you two?”

The trio chats, catching up on the past and talking about future plans, until Shola, on spotting someone across the room, excuses herself, and was never to be seen again for the rest of the evening.

“You’re doing pretty well for yourself, Delilah,” compliments Chigozie. “You’ve always had a drive.”

“Thank you. You’re not doing shabbily for yourself either. Your club is ritzy,” Delilah replies, slurring her words.

“Thank you. Did you drive here?” Chigozie asks, concerned.

Delilah nods her head, I need to head back home.

“Ok, but you know you won’t be driving back home. Where’s Shola?” Chigozie glances around the club for Shola. “Seems she’s left you to your devices.”

“Yep, it’s just me and you, buddy,” Delilah answers flirtatiously.

Chigozie rises, pulling Delilah up, “I'll drive you home.”

They find her car after much ado. “Where do live?” He asks Delilah as he pulls out her car.

“Maryland. Same place as you,” Delilah replies naughtily. 

Chigozie chuckles, “Oh, come on, be serious.”

“I’m serious,” Delilah replies matter-of-factly.

They arrive in Maryland. 

Chigozie nudges Delilah who’s now fast asleep. “Wake up. Which street is it?”

After three attempts at extracting a sensible reply from her, Chigozie gives up and drives them to his home. 

The next morning, Delilah awakes with a head-splitting headache and a leaden tongue. At first, the unfamiliarity of the bedroom stuns her, shortly before the event of last night crept up on her like a repressed memory.

Ugh,” she lets out, disgusted at her antics. She finds her shoes, slips them on and steps out of the room, where she finds Chigozie drinking a cup of tea.

Good morning, he chimes exuberantly, as if it was the norm to host drunken ex-girlfriends in his home.

“Hey,” was all Delilah could manage, before thanking him. “I shouldn’t have done what I did - getting drunk and all.

“It’s alright. That’s what friends are for, right? Listen, there’s cereal and orange juice in the kitchen, if you want to eat before leaving.”

“Nah, Im good, but thanks. I should be heading out.”

 ***

“Where have you been?” Samson inquires worrisomely.

“At Chigozie’s,” Delilah responds nonchalantly, without deigning to look at him.

“Which Chigozie?” asks Samson darkly.

Delilah stops at the kitchen door, turning around to face him. “Which other Chigozie do you know?” she replies irreverently, daring him to pursue his next line of question.

Samson, realizing her tactic, decides not to ask any further questions. Reposing on the couch, Boys II Men’s Bended Knees begins playing in his head.

***

A year later.

“There was a time I thought I was going to lose you,” Samson says, locking hands with Delilah over dinner.

“Yes, I know. I thought of leaving you. You really hurt me,” Delilah confesses with a tinge of sadness. “But I’m glad we got over it.”

“Yes, I am. And I hope we can work through our future differences with even more patience, because I want you to be mine forever.”

Delilah looks at him with a look of anticipation and uncertainty.

“What are you saying?” she says calmly.

“I’m saying I want you to be my wife,” Samson replies, kneeling at the same time with ring in his hand.

“Will you marry me, Delilah?”

She doesn’t reply, but kneels and kisses him passionately.

“I guess that’s a yes,” Samson remarks breathlessly.