To enjoy this episode, catch up on the previous one here.
“Uche! You came? Wow!, I am surprised, how did you plan this? Thank you so much. This means a lot to me…”
I kept talking without even waiting to catch my breath while he gave me the widest grin I have ever seen. The last time we saw each other was two years ago when I travelled for a conference and he came visiting since it was not too far from where he was schooling.
I was gobsmacked to say the least, I did not notice that everyone near me was staring at us. Eventually, I came back to reality;
“Everyone, meet Uchenna, he is my boyfriend. We have been dating since secondary school;
Uchenna, meet my father, mother, Valerie and her mother” I excitedly introduced everyone.
“Good afternoon sir and ma” He said very happily oblivious of my parents’ puzzled looks.
Valerie went over to give him a handshake and told him she was finally happy to put a face to the name.
Eventually, my father summoned courage to speak to him.
“Hello, my child, we are both surprised and happy to see you. We planned to have lunch at any good restaurant near the campus, do you care to join us?”
“That would be great sir” he said while holding my hands. I was smiling sheepishly since I saw him.
We all went for lunch at a place Valerie suggested. Their food was great and they had a variety of extras. Uchenna was quite free and he was able to engage everyone properly.
As we were about finishing. Uchenna brought out a small box from his pocket and put it on the table. Everyone was talking and did not really notice.
He cleared his throat loudly and we all looked at him.
“Chief Ojo and Mrs Ojo, I am very delighted to see you. I have been longing for this opportunity and I came prepared. I just want to officially ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage and would want your blessings. I have known her since we were in secondary school and she shows me love like I have never seen. Her stubborn nature but gentle persistence is the most intriguing. I promise to be a loyal and faithful husband to her and to take care of her. So, I am asking, am I permitted, sir and ma?”
My mother was too dumbfounded to speak but my father looked at him intently for the longest one minute of my life and told him “yes”. I released my breath and looked at my mother, she wanted to raise an objection but I saw my father pinch her; She nodded in agreement”
Uchenna got on one knee and turned to me,
“My girl, thank you so much for loving me stubbornly and sticking with me for so many years despite knowing that this might meet great opposition. I love you and would want to spend the rest of my life with you, do you agree to marry me”
I was in tears already. I looked at everyone and they had their eyes on me.
“Yes, I would marry you and I promise to stick with you come what may” I said as I held out my hands to him to put the ring on.
My parents were in awe of the whole drama. What they knew was when young people agree to marry each other, they tell their parents and marriage rites can begin. This was a new process to them but they tried to go along.
Uchenna and I hugged and Valerie and her mum came to hug me.
“Congratulations babe. Now, I can tell you what I kept going to the call centre to do” she said
“What? You had a hand in this?” I exclaimed
She nodded with a huge smile
“Now I understand why you were talking about my ring size. What!? Am I really safe with you?” I asked playfully
“I doubt it” she said with a wicked grin on her face.
Uchenna was smiling like someone who just won a massive lottery.
“Now that this is off the table, can we order more wine to toast to this great occasion”
“Yes please!” my father said enthusiastically.
My mother was quiet all through but I barely noticed her. The huge diamonds on my finger and Uchenna’s face were my new distraction.
The parents spent two more days and left. Uchenna stayed for a whole week. We went to all the tourist centres we could go to within that short period. Sometimes we went with Valerie and at other times, she insisted on allowing us to have our space. At the end of the week, I was so emotional and unwilling to let him go.
“My love, do not worry, we would see each other very often now. Once we both get jobs, we can afford to make more calls and travel” Uchenna said to me when he saw that I was quite moody.
“I know but I am just sad that you are going”
“Be happy my dear, in a few months’ time, we should see again”
“Few months!” I false exclaimed and pouted my lips
He laughed loudly.
After some heart to heart talk about our plans, he was ready to go. Valerie and I saw him off to the Airport and I shed tears as he ascended the stairs to the Departure Lounge.
Valerie gave me a wide hug and dragged me home.
We were both tired, we had snacks and went to bed.
For the first time since we gained admission to the school, we slept for 12 hours straight. I doubt if either of us went to take a leak throughout the night.
I opened the curtains to our living room area and the sunlight flooded in. It was the time of the year when everyone was out because the weather was favourable.
After breakfast (more like brunch) we had conversations about our next plan and agreed that we could apply for jobs here before our visa expires so we could renew it.
Uchenna studied a five year course and also graduated within a month of my graduation but I could not travel to visit. He however took pictures and sent them along with a letter.
The brightness of the morning sun reminds me of your smile.
The coolness of the evening breeze reminds me of your voice
I feel on top of the world every time I remember that you are mine and I cannot wait to start the journey to forever with me. My graduation was fun and I missed you greatly.
I would be visiting you anytime from now so always be prepared. Love you!”
If you think the agreement of the parents looked too good to be true, stick around for the next episode.