Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One Last Time...Valentine edition

The lights came on again for the umpteenth time, spilling out from the room into the thick darkness outside. It had begun to rain. Rivulets of rain-water trickled on the surface of the frosted glass as the rain's rhythmic drumming on the rooftop of the bungalow and occasional roar of thunder made Anjola shiver in fear. 

Anjola, seven, with brown eyes, had her hair in a ponytail as she twirled it round her finger on her way to the living room. It rained heavily outside the house as the faint sound of generators echoed in the distance.
She made her way to the living room where her dad was sitting and sat beside him.

"What's wrong honey?...the rain?", he said as he drew her closer with a warm embrace.

A smile beamed across her face as she wrapped her arms round him.
"Yes", came the soft reply, arms locked round her father.

The two had grown a bond over the years and it seemed every adversity that came only brought them even closer. However, his consolation was his daughter -Anjola, sharp, beautiful girl with a questioning mind.
Anjola would ask questions from ‘why chickens never drank enough water’ to ‘what killed Solomon Grundy’. This night she had questions as usual as she gently unlocked herself from the warmth of the embrace.

“Dad…will mum ever come back soon, what’s taking her so long?” eyes beamed with childlike expectance. Just like that of a thirsty man, waiting for the last drop in the glass of milk to land on his tongue like it would make a difference.

“Anjie, would you like to know how I met your mum?” Tade asked.
“Yes, daddy, I’d love to”, her voice had lightened up now, as she clapped both hands in excitement and snuggled back into his arms.
Tade slouched into the sofa, held her closely to his bosom and began the tale as the night slowly crept away. 

He began…

“It was on a Saturday afternoon…
I was driving past on that rainy day and offered her a lift. Relunctantly, she entered after which I learnt in the discussion that followed that she was on her way to her friend’s place…”
I dropped her off and we exchanged numbers but never called each other. Weeks passed by and everything went on normally. 

Thing is, I was a bit shy when I was…”

“A bit…hmm…daddy is a shy boy, iya iya yo”, she chorused playfully.

Tade looked into Anjola’s eyes with so much admiration, the same he had for her mum. Her brown eyes, innocent smile, that peculiar squeaky sound she made when she laughed excitedly and most of all her boldness in confronting whatever she felt was wrong.

“Your mum…bold woman I tell you.”  This was the same boldness that attracted me to her and led to the proposal that night. “I had something to tell her and she knew it. I wanted to propose.”
“Propose? What’s that daddy?”, Anjola sat up now.

“Well, it’s…you know when adults are in love and…okay…thing is I wanted her to be mine forever”, Tade concluded.

“WOW! All for you”, she exclaimed with the most wonderful smile he had ever seen. So go on daddy I’m listening.

Tade’s mind drifted to that very night…It was heavenly.

“Rolake, I really want to thank you for these past months”, I had said that night. “You’ve been a nice girl to me…and there’s something I want to tell you…”

“Go on Tade”, she had replied smiling softly.

“I’ve thought deeply about it and I…um…there’s…okay thing is…I really want us to be together…forever”, 

I had breathed out with relief.

The ‘Yes’ had been resounding. 

I leaned forward towards her and whispered into her ears.

“Daddy what did you say, tell me, tell me,!”, Anjola squeaked in excitement.

“It’s our little secret, darling, I’ll tell you towards the end of my story, I promise”, Tade reassured her.

I remember how the tears flowed freely down her face as I wrapped her in a warm big hug that wonderful evening. The evening that had refused to leave my memory; the evening I held Rolake temi nikan, Rolake ololufe mi, the evening our marriage was consummated in the presence of the black night sky.
I will never forget that night as she stayed in my arms as time passed by. Those minutes were eternal to me. It was more than feelings. I felt her heart beating against mine as warm tears trickled on my shoulder from her eyes. I know she felt the same way I felt. I felt it strongly. I knew we would make great friends, have great children, attend events together, and be the talk of the town, envy of other couples.
I knew we would last forever. But now I crave for that evening one last time. One last time in my arms. Just one last time and I’d be fine.

Marriage they say is two forgivers living together. I was ready to forgive and I did. At least not until she decided to leave the house for somewhere I do not know. 

“Daddy what are you thinking of?” Anjola’s voice jolted me away from my reverie.
I was hurt inside. I wanted my love back.

The rain had stopped now.

“Anjola, it’s time to go to bed”, Tade stood up, yawned and stretched.

“Daddy, do you know what?...I love you!”, Anjola said as she pecked him on the cheek. “I wish mummy could hear this great story”, she continued.

“I wish too”.

The doorbell rang.

“Who could that be?”, Tade questioned as he walked towards the door.

As he turned the handle and opened the door, the smell of that familiar cologne hit his nostrils. It was ‘Elizabeth Arden’, just as Rolake would have worn it.

 As he swung the door open, Anjola’s scream announced the reality of the most beautiful wish he had ever wished.

“MUMMY!”,  Anjola raced and jumped as Rolake staggered backwards with the weight of her running force. “Mummy, mummy…daddy said you had brown eyes like me…and that your laugh was beautiful”
Tade watched all the drama unfold before his very eyes. Anjola hurriedly carried the luggage inside the house, leaving Tade and Rolake.

Both stood at arm’s length as tears trickled down Tade’s face. He spoke first.

“I wished that I would see and hold you one last time”, he said with a shaky voice.

“Remember what you whispered in my ears that night?”, Rolake asked.

“That come what may, you should still give love a chance one last time”, Tade’s face lit up.

“Omotade…ayanfe okan mi, olowo ori mi, *sniff* this is that one last time!”, Rolake broke into tears.

Tade motioned slowly towards her, held both hands and placed a soft kiss on her lips. Arms round her; they held each other tight and felt the warmness of a love that had just been rekindled.

Tade pulled her back and looked into her eyes. 

She blinked. 

He had never seen her this beautiful. 

Holding her closely again, he said, “This one last time will be forever”.


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