They say I’m proud and a big snob… who cares? I am not bothered so I don’t expect anyone to be bothered on my behalf.
I know that most people are only jealous of my qualification, financial status and my spotless beautiful self.
I turned twenty-seven last month and I have been promoted twice in the last five years of work. I am well educated and properly qualified for the two promotions as I came in with my masters degree from a prestigious University in Spain and have done so many professional courses alongside.
Whatever! I am less concerned at what my colleagues, juniors, seniors and even neighbours say about me. I’m just protecting my prestige and dignity.
Ooops! Its time.
I’m meeting Vincent tonight at the hang-out place of my dreams- Chinese restaurant!
I’m so excited. I’m even almost shy because its happening today. Damn! My life is going to change after tonight.
When I was telling him the other day that I would like to be proposed to in my dream hang-out place, I thought he was not listening. I kept on talking anyway-I wanted that place because I usually get pissed at the way Nigerians react when a man asks a woman to marry him in the public. But in the gathering of a majority of foreigners,it would be applauded better. I also told him I would like him to be dressed in white suit. Its just my idea of a divine proposal. I want everything to be almost perfect.
A car honked outside my beautiful house. That very familiar sound. Vincent my future husband.
I went out to meet him all dressed up and looking fine (as always!). He came out to open the door for me, which he rarely did and then I saw him looking tall and handsome in his pure white suit. He even wore a white shoe to match-well I don’t mind that. He was all-white and divinely looking, way better than how I imagined.
He hugged me and held the door open for me as I went in.He joined me almost immediately on his side of the car.
He smiled at me as he started the car. He asked how my day was and I said it was fine, no need for unnecessary stories that might spoil the night. He asked what I had eaten and when last I ate.
“I ate last at work during lunch break. Don’t worry about food dear, excitement is filling me already”
We journeyed in silence for a while then I thought it wise to remind him of my preference in precious stones.
I smiled widely. “You know I like diamonds a lot,especially large ones”.
He looked at me puzzled. “Why would you bring that up now?”, he asked.
What?! Hope it was not a gold or silver ring he got for me?
“I’m just saying”, I said, trying hard for my smile to look genuine enough.
We were both quiet for the rest of the drive.We got there and he gentlemanly came to open the door for me and we walked in hand in hand. I was a bit disappointed that he hadn’t made a special reservation for this special occasion,but all the same I liked the attention we got as we entered.
While waiting for our orders I began sipping the wine brought for us. I was not going to drink too much so I could really savour the moments and be able to remember them well.
Vincent looked at me – I could not read the expression his face carried and I was going to say something when he spoke.
“You did not even bother to ask how my day went,or how the burial went?”
With mouth agape and brain immediately searching about any burial information, I put the glass of wine on the table, buying time.
Gladly, our order came in then, but with all the bought time I still could not recall him telling me about any burial and I sure have a sharp memory.
The waiter muttered something and Vincent replied, smiling sincerely.
Oh dear! Does it by chance have anything to do with my ring? Mehn! I have to eat carefully so I don’t damage the ring if its in the food.
The waiter left, leaving me staring at the food as if looking for the ring.
“Don’t you want it?”, Vincent asked.
“Oh I do!”, I said rather too loud.
I took the chopsticks in my right hand and said, “I am so sorry my love. How was your day at work?”
He chuckled. “Work? I did not go to work darling. I told you.”
Did he really? Well I couldn’t remember. It had to be because of the burial he did not go. But who died?
“Yeah, my bad. So how was the burial?”
“It was like their typical burial, the body was already cremated and put in an urn.”
I lost my appetite then. It’s not like I was enjoying the food anyway, plus it did not seem like there was a ring in there.
“Cremated? Why?”, I asked.
“Sweetheart don’t you watch Bollywood? They cremate their dead in India.”
I was confused. “India?”
He smiled and said, “So you’ve forgotten I said my boss lost his wife? My boss- the Indian boss. The one you like.”
I was lost.
“I was telling you the other day but you were blabbing about how long its been that we both went out.”
What?! Indian? Burial? WHITE!!!
White was their mourning colour, wasn’t it?
“Sweetheart, you know I love you.”, Vincent was saying.
Oh! Sweet relief!!
Finally the proposal. Enough with the dead.
He continued, “But you really have to change your attitude towards this relationship if u ever want us to work.”
What was he talking about? Work where? Were we not here on the “working” issue? He proposing to me here in Chinese res…
I was cut short in my thoughts when I saw him tilt a bit to remove something from his trousers’ pocket.
The ring. That must be the ring. It had to be.
He brought his hand out of his pocket and-
Oh my gosh!!!
He handed the case over to me. It was a beautiful black case with ‘FOR HER’ written in glowing gold letters.
My heart was racing. I took it, waiting for him to say the magic word, but he did not.
Why was he not asking me the ultimate question? Yes he was a naturally shy fellow, but in this case? Come on!
Okay. Maybe I should help him. I know he badly wants to marry me, plus his mum was already pestering him to get married and give her grandchildren.
His smile was infectious and so was mine- especially so was mine.
So I squealed and shouted, “Yes!” as I opened the case.
“Yes what?” Vincent asked looking around to see if I had not called too much attention to our table.
Wha-! Earrings. Earrings?
My face grew hot and I’m sure it was red already. It was not even big. It was two tiny gold dots in the case.
I looked up from the case and saw that some people were looking at me. I could not help but smile, a very red-hot smile as I faced the comedian before me.
“What is this?” I tried speaking without shouting.
“Earrings my love.”
“You used to complain that you always have to put off your other big ones whenever you are in the house and you wished you had a small one.”
Obviously Vincent was a comedian- a very dry one at that. He brought me here of all places, wore a white suit and spent all that money just to give me this thing?
“Where is the ring?” I asked him. There was no point mincing words here.
He frowned now. “What ring?”
“Don’t you play dumb with me young man,” my voice was entering a higher note but I did not care. “Why are you wearing a white suit tonight?”
He looked about again and motioned for me to lower my voice. “I told you I went for an Indian burial today. White is their colour for mourning, unlike our black.”
“So why did you bring me here? In a white suit for that matter, why?”
“Since its been a while we went out together and I know how much you love this place…”
I did not let him finish his jargon tale, “It’s not the place I love to come to after we have not gone out in a while. Its a place I want to be proposed to. In a white suit!”
Now I was yelling and I really, really did not give a damn.
“I thought you were just describing how much you loved this place. I didn’t know you were serious about it.”
Aaaarghhh!!!!! I wanted to get out of my skin and jump into the cool bottle of wine before me and not come out till I saw a ring- a large diamond ring.
“You decided to bring me here and embarrass me, huh? Do you think I don’t have the money to come here on my own? I just wanted it to be my proposal place.”
Tears were welling up but no, I was not going to cry. No not here. No.
He signed for the waiter to come and settled the bill. The waiter left, sensing the tense atmosphere.
Vincent sighed heavily. “My dear, you are the most ego-filled, unbearable,dictating woman I have ever met.”
Bang! That was in my head. Another one. Bang!
He did not even wait for me to recover. “I have been putting up with you and your bossing attitude, telling myself I needed to be patient more and more. You are so full of yourself dear. Its always about you, what you like, what you don’t.”
He stood up.”Just so you know, I ordered for that earring from Dubai, so you think twice before throwing it away. I’ll be waiting for you in the car.”
I just stared into the air. Was I that bad? Is it a crime to desire some things, like your proposal place and so on.
I wanted to come here and get hooked for life, instead I’m uncertain about my relationship status now.
I couldn’t hold back the tears as it streamed down freely.
Clutching my purse and the black case of earring, I stood up and walked to the door, head bowed.
BY: DAMILOLA AWOTIDE (Olori)
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