I am a writer, a customer care rep, a business administrator, a lover of life and a successful single lady who sees every child as hers.
Six months had passed since I landed in the hospital with bad legs. We are in the second month of the following year and I am still learning how to walk. Life has not been easy, but with a friend like Ini, one can scale through.
Ufoma we have had a lot of walks for today. We need to have lunch now.
Ini and food. You still haven’t changed. Lot of walks indeed! Someone hearing you now would wonder if there is a football field in my bedroom.
Ufoma, even with your bad legs you still have enough energy. You no dey tire?
You phone dey ring, answer your call. Maybe na Mr ideal dey call you.
Mr ideal? She repeated as she picked her call.
Ufoma what will you be having for lunch? Dad popped his head in.
Dad! Jesus Christ! Why did you just come in like that? Couldn’t you have knocked?
The door was open. He smiled.
So? I asked him. Two ladies are in a room and you just came in without any warning?
Ufoma please enough, don’t bully your father. Ini intervened. Yes dad we will have lunch now and fried plantain and beans will do.
Okay then! It’s fried plantain and beans. Is that okay Ufoma?
Haa I thought you weren’t going to ask me.
Trouble maker! What will you do if he didn’t ask you? Patapata you no go chop, no be am?
Ini don’t even go there, I know my daughter, she will make sure you don’t eat too. Father laughed.
That’s why you are my dad. I smiled. He knows what he produced. Beans and fried plantain with fish will be just fine.
Okay African queen, your favorite chef to the rescue.
Don’t burn the house down o Mr Efe. Ini screamed after dad.
What? My dad is the best cook in the world!
I won’t argue with you Ufoma because I know I will lose.
Thank God say you know. Who called you that time?
Oh its my husband. Ini replied.
Okay Mr ideal.
Who be this Mr ideal you dey talk since sef?
Haba Ini, you no know Mr ideal?
No o! Who is he?
Na your husband na. You don forget he said he is the ideal husband for you?
Ufoma! You no dey forget something. Ini laughed.
Why should I forget? That’s his new name now o.
No be my husband you go give name. Abeg which time you go marry make I yab your own too.
My dear, I no know o! I don dey turn twenty seven with no serious relationship.
What about Stanley? How far with him?
My sister! I don’t know o. It’s like he is too timid for me.
Timid? No. The word is gentle manly.
Abeg! Who gentle manly help. He isn’t saying anything. Abi na his sister Edirin wan toast me for am?
But you know he is interested in you. Ini said sofly.
How I wan take know? Am I a mind reader? I challenged Ini.
Me, I like the guy for you. You just need to encourage him. You are too strong for a man to just ask out. You need to give him that boost to make a move.
Like seriously? Then he isn’t man enough for me. Let me ask you a question Ini. Why is the woman always to blame here? Everything it’s the woman’s fault. She is too strong, to hard, not vulnerable and not naïve. She feels she is too smart, madam know it all. What is stopping Stanley from telling me he loves me.
Common understand the guy. He is far away and he didn’t plan to stay this long. You both haven’t even gone out together before. He is just keeping the communication line open and sending signals to you, preparing your mind till when he returns.
Hmmm marketer! Na you dey market Stanley mission like this? Wetin Edirin don give you chop?
Ufoma, I need to tell you something. Ini said getting more serious.
What is it? I asked.
Edirin mentioned something to me and I shouldn’t be telling you but we don pass that level.
What did she say? I asked becoming curious.
She said, Stanley said its like you have a man distracting you. He said he can feel it, that your heart is not complete with him anymore. So she asked me if I knew of any man in your life and I mentioned Dr David Adekose.
Eh! You did what? Ini I will kill you!
I just dey joke. I didn’t mention him. I only wanted to see your reaction and from what I have seen, I can see you want Stanley too.
Why do you say so? I asked.
Well for starters, you are afraid to lose him. If I had told him of David Adekose, you won’t be happy so that means you don’t want to lose him.
Ini to be honest, David is really getting under my skin.
Ufoma, you are just lonely at the moment and David knows that. He is just taking advantage of the situation. If Stanley were around physically, you won’t be having mix feelings.
You think so?
I know so.
But David fine die!
And Stanley fine die too. They are both great men, doing very well financially. Na someone like me wey come from poor family suppose to marry one of them.
No be you go rush marry Etoro.
Why do you always call him Etoro? Its itoro.
Na you sabi. Whatever! Etoro o, itoro o, I don’t know what you saw in that man. I felt you were just practicing tribalism. If not, you would have seen a good man from another tribe who will love you and take good care of you and your children.
Ufoma, I wanted to have five kids. You know it has always been my wish. So I needed to marry on time.
Now that you have four children, how may awards have you won? Na to born be the thing? Na to train them to be useful to themselves and you. Look at that woman in your area that has ten boys no girl. At her age, she is still carrying sand in a pan for bricklayers at site. If she doesn’t, she no go see food chop. That’s a woman that married early and has ten boys! Most of them are grown ups now. Now see my aunty Ejiro for example that has one child, a girl. She even married late, according to public opinion. But did she not marry well? You think that her child or her will suffer? That girl will school abroad and settle down there. Aunty Ejiro will even be going there to take care of her grandchildren when Chika born. So my dear, no be to marry early and born full house. Na to marry right and enjoy now and tomorrow.
Hmmmm you have spoken well Ufoma. You no lie. But what can I do? I don enter am, I don enter am. With God and friends like you; I and my children no go suffer.
Amen dear! It’s alright dear. All will be well. So what was he calling you for?
Mr ideal na.
Ufoma abeg no use laugh kill me.o. I will tell Itoro say you dey call am Mr ideal.
Wetin concern me. I laughed.
Well he said I should start coming home because the children’s nanny had mentioned she would be going to see her sister who just gave birth early hours of today.
Oh really? So why is he hurrying you? Can’t he take care of the children?
Itoro? Take care of the children? Someone that can’t even wash his cloths.
He doesn’t wash his cloths? I asked surprised.
So who washes it for him?
For real? You wash his cloths every time?
Since we got married I have been the one alone washing his cloths and all our cloths.
Jesus Christ! Etoro don turn you to house help! What’s wrong with his hands? Is he handicapped? So all those muscles he has is for what? To impregnate you? I asked her.
Hmmm Ufoma, how many I wan talk? Marriage is a wrapped gift, anything you see inside after the wedding, you have to take it like that.
My dear sorry to say this o, yours wasn’t even wrapped but you took it like that. You saw all these and he even told you, but you still entered because you wan born five children. I hope you are not considering giving birth to the fifth?
I am o. She smiled.
Okay. Just be ready to receive your sack letter. Kelvin called the other day complaining of how female staffs were just getting pregnant anyhow and taking long maternity leave. The next thing he will start doing is to sack them.
Its not my portion!
Okay na. Go get another belle, you go know whose portion it is then.
Ufoma! Ini! Food is ready! Father screamed from downstairs.
He had fulfilled his promise of buying us a duplex. Father is truly a man to the core! I love him so much.
My lovely room
Three months after my accident, father came to pick me from grandma's place and said he had a surprise for me. Grandma who was already hale and hearty was preparing grandpa’s food in the kitchen downstairs when she heard my father’s voice.
Ufoma is really improving, and Dr David Adekose comes here everyday to see how far she is going with her therapy.
Grandpa who was now always around was happy to see father, that he hugged him. Grandpa Ogaga was showing too much affection these days that I thought he had died and resurrected.
How is your therapy? Father asked as he sat by me on the couch in the parlor.
Going on fine. The female therapist that David recommended is pretty good and patient. I like her. I concluded.
That’s good to heat dear. But I will like to take you out for a walk today. Can you make it?
Of course dad. With you by my side, all is possible. I smiled.
Where are you people going now? Grandma asked. Food will soon ready.
We will be back sooner than you expect. Father smiled.
He had become closer to his parents recently. Me staying at grandma's place and with all we went through, just brought everyone closer. We began to see what we really have, before its gone.
Father drove me down to a nice estate, two towns from where our former house was located. When we got to the estate gate, the security men at the gate greeted dad with so much respect and admiration. In fact I had to ask dad if he just won an election. He just smiled and told me I should wait to see our Aso rock.
When we drove down to the third lane from the estate gate, he stopped at the third building on the right. It was a sight to behold. A mighty duplex stood erect with a lovely garden in front. The building was painted white with long glass widows almost everywhere on it.
Whose house is this? I had asked father.
Its yours my African queen. He smiled so proudly at me.
Dad. I gasped for air. I was speechless.
So that was how we came to live in carpentry view estate in Ajah. It is a six bedroom duplex in suits, furnished from up to down with two sitting rooms, two kitchens, and a big parking space. My bedroom was right next to dad's upstairs. I loved it!
With my clutches, I and Ini came down to have lunch. Father said it was good I used the stairs frequently as a way of exercise. Dad had set the table so well, that you would think an Italian man had prepared the food.
Ini enjoyed the meal with us and took her leave. I retired to the parlor still downstairs to watch a movie when the door bell rang.
Don’t worry Ufoma, I will see who it is. Dad said from the kitchen where he was washing the dishes we just ate with.
Ufoma guess who it is? Dad called out by the door.
Who o! I asked reluctantly from the chair I sat watching a very boring show.
Father appeared some seconds later with the exact person I needed to see at that moment.
David! I leaped for joy. See how you abandoned me. I accused him almost immediately.
Can I ever do something like that? He asked as he smiled charmingly.
So where have you been then? Since the therapist you recommended traveled back to her country, you haven’t showed face. Ini has become my therapist and I must say, she is the laziest therapist in town.
Ufoma you haven’t changed. He laughed. Still bullying Ini? What has that girl ever done to you. He asked handing me a pink rose.
Oh so sweet! Thank you boo. I kissed the plant as I smiled directly into his eyes.
I have come to take you for a walk.
A walk? Who takes a crippled girl for a walk?
Ufoma please stop. You aren’t crippled and you know that.
I was just teasing dear. So where are we going?
Just around the estate. You might want to take a jacket.
Oh yes. Dad! I called out.
Yes babes. Father answered.
Please I need my jacket! David wants to take me for a walk in the estate.
Okay dear will get it. He replied.
David I don’t know what you have done to my father. He just naturally likes you.
That’s because he is a good man and he knows a good man when he sees one.
For real? Abeg don’t make me laugh. My dad is a bad boy! He is just a good father. Go ask the ladies he has dated.
Ufoma you are so cruel. Even to your dad? He laughed.
What’s funny? Dad asked us as he walked in on us.
Nothing o! David just likes laughing at me. I teased.
Mr Efe do you believe her? David asked.
What can I say? Let me leave you two love birds alone. Dad smiled and walked out.
Love birds? Dad am I missing out something here? David abeg who be the love birds?
Let’s go jor. You too talk.
David held my hands to get me to my feet. He had held my hands so many times at the hospital, grandma’s place and now here. It always felt perfect, warm, secure and loving.
Please get me my sandals from the corridor. I pleaded with him.
He got me my sandals, and wore it on for me. I was a little embarrassed since my foot was on the big side for a lady, but he didn’t seem to care or probably notice.
We came out of the building, and walked down the street. I didn’t come out with my crutches since he was by my side. It felt so good. We were silent for a while before I broke the silence.
Why haven’t you come to see me all this while? I asked him keenly.
What can I say Ufoma. It’s barely a year we met and a lot has happened between us. Have you noticed?
Noticed what? I asked.
Haven’t you noticed how our heart beats so fast anytime we are close to each other?
The moment he said those words, my heart didn’t just beat fast, but it almost ran out of its position. Those words were so heavy to weigh since they were honest. Why is truth so heavy? It gives you that pound in your heart and you feel so burdened.
Ufoma did I say something wrong? He asked concerned.
No. Well I don’t know. You disappear and then reappeared with this perfect speech. Damn I know you are so handsome but I am not stupid.
Ufoma. Will you marry me? He asked getting down on his knees while holding my hands to support me.
What did you say? I asked him.
Ufoma Ogaga, daughter of Efe Ogaga, will you do me this great honor by marrying me? He asked so sweetly, humbly and innocently.
I thought I had known what it is to near death. I had thought I had Died many times, but I was sure this was the last. What did he just say? David Adekose was asking me Ufoma to marry him? When did this happen? When did we fall in love, or when did he fall in love? How did we get this far? I never saw this coming and he didn’t even give me any hint! What exactly is happening here? I asked myself. Was dad aware of this? Because he had called us love bird’s.
Here was the man I just told Ini had gotten under my skin, on his knees begging me to marry him. This same handsome doctor I had fallen for so easily moths back. The very doctor that had saved my life but how did we come this far? We had never expressed love to each other before, and it has just been romantic looks, and few warm touches, and sweet smiles. Was it all was needed to get a man to propose? I asked myself.
Ufoma. He reminded me of his presence. My knees are hurting. What’s it going to be? Please say yes. He smiled so sweetly and charmed me.
God! He was beautiful.
© 2020 Jade George Anibor