There are three sides to every story.
How far. Na wa 4 u. So u can’t show up 2 support me. It is well.
I read the sms that I had just sent to the supposed love of my life and I felt disappointed with myself as reading the sms made me see that it didn’t have as much sting as I would have wanted it to.
I thought about sending him a harsher sms but I just barely restrained myself from doing so. His excuse that, ‘something came up,’ didn’t sit well with me at all.
What could have come up? How could he have missed my graduation after being the one that had encouraged me to attend the crash course on photography in the first place?
As the new friends I made during the course showed off their boyfriends and my other classmates tagged along with their spouses, all I had for company was my brother and my boyfriend’s brother, both of whom I had personally invited, along with that stupid boyfriend of mine.
As my friends chattered away, I tried to stay happy, keeping my angry enzymes in check (that was quite easy given my training as an industrial chemist).
‘Let’s clap for him so that he will leave the stage,’ Mosun said, referring to the class President who had refused to let go of the microphone and was beginning to make a bore of the ceremony.
‘Guy, na vote of thanks this one suppose be na,’ Taiwo added, sending everyone reeling with laughter.
I could see the glint in Sarah’s eyes as she laughed the longest, why wouldn’t she laugh the longest? I thought to myself, after-all Taiwo her boyfriend, was here to support her while my own was no where to be found.
‘Are we set to go?’ My brother asked me as they rounded off the talking part of the ceremony.
‘How can we sit in for the boring part and then decide to leave when it’s time for refreshments?’ I asked with a resolve that showed that I had no plans to leave just yet. ‘Besides I’m yet to be presented with my course certificate.’
As he made to respond to me, his phone rang again for the umpteenth time and as usual, I could see him talking in hushed tones. I was very sure that it was that girlfriend of his calling him every three minutes.
He was not alone in the customer care business as my other invite -my boyfriend’s brother- was also heavily distracted with phone calls. The funny part was that my brother and him seemed to alternate the times for being on the phone as they never seemed to be on the phone at the same time.
What if it was the same girl calling both of them? I thought to myself, smiling mischievously. I tossed the thought away, knowing it wasn’t possible.
‘Let’s start to leave, you can come and pick your certificate some other time. I wouldn’t want us to be caught up in traffic,’ he said, joining my brother’s chorus that we start to leave.
I glanced at my watch and was surprised to see that it was three ‘o’ clock, and the program still seemed to be in full gear, for a program that was supposed to close by one ‘o’ clock. ‘Can we wait a little more so that I pick my certificate?’ I appealed to him, knowing how much he disliked driving in traffic.
‘Let me talk to an official and see if they can release the certificate. They can’t be delaying us because of that now,’ he replied, walking away to help me solicit for my certificate.
If only the one I call my boyfriend was here now, I would not have to be appealing. I would make sure he waited till the end of the event, but with his brother and mine, I had no such influence. I just had to plead.
Na wa o, I mutter to myself. So if on the eve of valentine I cannot have the attention of my boyfriend, is it on valentine’s day proper that I will now have his attention? I asked myself.
You will have his full attention tomorrow, that’s why he has gone to have an early valentine with his other girlfriends. The familiar mischievous voice whispered to me.
A frown crept on my face as these thoughts crossed my mind and even though I tried to believe that he was not having a date with another girl at the moment, the truth was that, he was not with me either.
And that fact was too painful to accept.
I looked at the blank screen of my phone and cursed under my breathe. What a time to have a flat battery. I really felt like calling him right now and letting him know that he wasn’t going to get away with this so very easily especially since he knew that quality time was one of my love languages.
‘Sister,’ my brother’s voice interrupted my thoughts.
‘What?’ I retorted, getting a bit irritated with their insistence that we begin to leave and come back some other day to pick up the certificate.
‘I think you’re being called to pick up your certificate,’ he said, his eyes wearing an angry stare.
‘Oh!’ I exclaimed, springing up from my chair. Finally.
The traffic was heavy as we returned home (just as we expected) and it was made even worse by the route ouralmighty driver decided to take.
Both guys shared jokes in the front seat area as we turned into the very busy Oba Akran road.
‘Please I’d like to use the ATM,’ my boyfriend’s brother said as the car ground to a halt in front of Access bank. He shut the door behind him as he hurried of to an ATM box, leaving the engine running and the air conditioning on.
My brother had a mischievous smile on his face as he scanned through the pictures on my camera.
As I wondered to myself why he was smiling, the back door of the car opened and before I had the opportunity to be shocked, the familiar frame of my boyfriend slipped into the car, snuggling right beside me on the back seat.
Oh! How I’d missed his sweet smell.
Now I could understand why his brother had taken this route, I immediately wore my angry face.
‘I’m very sorry boo,’ he started with his apology.
I stayed silent, looking away as I felt his hands clasp mine.
‘Take,’ he said offering me his phone, with the earphones still plugged into the phone’s earphones port and in his ears.
‘What for?’ I asked, reluctant to take the phone.
‘Read,’ he said, pushing the device into my hands and taking off one piece of the earphone and carefully placing it in my ears.
From the first sound of the music, I could tell the song that was playing. It was our song, Lionel Richie’s ‘Call It Love’.
I wanted to show that I was still angry but he had this look in his eyes that combined so well with the music that it made me feel sweet all over.
I look into the screen of the phone to see what he so desperately wanted me to read and my eyes caught the words, MY PEARL at the top of the page, and then I realized that he had written me a poem.
The first four lines of the poem got my heart racing so fast, it felt like I had just finished a hundred meter dash. I couldn’t help but read the lines again;
That our song would be playing
At the very same place
That I first set my eyes on your face
I raised my head up and looked out of the car with tear filled eyes and it dawned on me that we were at the very same place where we had met each other years ago for the very first time.
As my eyes scanned the words of the poem, I could feel my body shivering as tremors that I was so very unfamiliar with, filled me up.
As my chest heaved and as I bit my lip in utter disbelief at how sweet the moment felt, his voice sliced into my moment of bliss, not as an interruption but more like an intercourse.
‘As our hearts beat to the same rhythm this moment, and our minds listen to the same music at the very same place where we first met, I believe there’s no better time to make these two of us, same,’ he said, as he went down on one knee in the pretty much restrained area of the back seat, took out a black case from the inner pocket in his jacket, and produced a diamond encrusted, emerald capped ring, that left me breathless.
I fought back the tears that had by this time blinded my sight as I felt his hand slip the ring into my third finger. God knows I love this guy.
‘See the certificate you wanted to miss because you were waiting for photography abi?’ My future brother in-law chipped in. I had not noticed his return. You’re lucky that he’s a very patient person, If na me, I for don dash the ring to another girl since.‘
‘Abi na,‘ my brother added as they both laughed at me. ‘Sister let’s go, Sister let’s go, no way, you were waiting for jollof rice,’ he joked as everyone burst out laughing.
I shot a quick glance at my boyfriend who immediately swallowed what was left of his laughter and tried to put up a straight face but I could see through his charade that he was an extremely excited man that I had accepted his proposal.
‘I’m not laughing,’ he said with a mischievous grin playing on his face.
‘Yes,’ I replied, not to what he had just said, but remembering that I was yet to reply his words, ‘Marry Me’. My eyes fell on the glittering object on my ring finger as I thought of the privileges that came with wearing the ring. The only thing that crossed my mind at the moment was, unhindered access to that phone of his that he cradles like a baby. I smiled to myself at the unbelievability of my thoughts and as I snuggled closer to my fiancé, I couldn’t wait to share the good news with my girls.
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