(For Chioma Clandie Njoku, I hope you have a very merry Christmas!)
I was going to propose last night. I had a girlfriend and a ring- this ring. It cost me more than a month’s salary, and I make six figures but that’s not the point. It was well thought out, I was sure I wanted forever with her, and she with me. We’d met at a book festival, eight months earlier and had clicked from go. I’d only been able to join the five day festival on the third day as I had only been able to get the day, a Friday, off from my boss. I’m a brand manager at a multinational and my superior had only approved a day off because I’d ‘turned in my application for days-off later than he could reschedule my engagements, but that’s not the point…
I had plunked into the seat next to Jade in the middle of a movie adaptation of a best seller and had asked a few questions which she’d pleasantly answered. I’d been late because- traffic. Two book discussion sessions followed and then it was lunch break by which time she’d practically regaled me with tales of all that’d happened in my absence while I told her about by traffic logjam ordeal and a little about myself. She was an event planner and compere which was really cool. She’d done well in school, made excellent grades studying architecture before discovering and giving in to an entirely different passion but that’s not the point…
Our first date was almost a disaster. I was a little behind schedule as I had to meet an unexpected five o’clock pitch deadline before hurrying home to freshen up for dinner. Then I got stuck in a traffic logjam. Asides forgetting my phone at home in the hurry; she’d been denied access initially for being without male company at our rendezvous only to run into an old friend who then took her in and kept her company until his own friends arrived. So when I showed up at 7:50 for a 7 pm dinner, compliments and apologies did little to make things better. Second date went well, so did a third. I knew everything about her by now, and she about me. She’d met my friends and a few co-workers, and I’d met her sisters and only friend but that’s not the point…
Two months after our first date, there’d been an armed robbery attack in her neighbourhood overnight. Her next door neighbour had been robbed, and she would have too but the police miraculously came to the rescue. During this time, she’d repeatedly called my phone which I’d inadvertently left in the car after a long day’s work. When I found her numerous missed calls and called her back in the morning. She was quiet mad, albeit still in shock at her first attempted robbery experience. But I did apologise, and we made up. Now when you forgive someone, you should really let them off the hook. Not connect unconnected events to the other to draw ridiculous conclusions like Jade did last night. I mean she really had to bring up the hospital incidence, really? Okay maybe it is a little connected but what’s the point?
We’d both attended my sister-in-law’s dad’s burial over that weekend as I recall, and I think we must have caught food poisoning as we both stooled for the rest of the weekend. I managed to go to work and get a few things done and promised to close early enough to pick her up from her own work so we could go see a doctor together. My office was a ten minute drive from where she’d been meeting up with a client. Then my mother called and asked me to deliver some fabric to a friend. The package had been in my car for a while, she was only waiting for her friend to return to the country so I could deliver same since it was along my work route. No that she was back, the tailor who was going to make the dress and was scarcely available had suddenly made a thirty minutes opening for the woman that day hence the urgency of the delivery. I called Jade to let her know I was on my way and she said she’d be waiting for me. And then I arrived thirty minutes later to be told she’d been rushed to a hospital as she’d passed out in the lobby while awaiting me.
She even spoke about the time she’d asked me to church and I’d come in just as the sermon ended. I had been attending my childhood friend’s father’s retirement thanksgiving service at another church. This same man had been my guardian in boarding school. Things dragged and I couldn’t leave until much later, and then I got to church and Jade was unpleased. I mean I was in another church? Listening to another sermon, God’s same word? But I guess that’s not the point now.
And how about that time I misplaced our tickets to a movie premiere? Jade’s best novel had been adapted into a movie and I had surprised her by getting tickets for both of us to see the premiere. Now I know a lot goes into getting ready for a night out especially for a lady but hey, I lost both of our tickets? And this- it could happen to anyone?
Jade said a lot of things, none of which are the points now. The point being that she broke up with me for being late to dinner- again. I wasn’t though, this time. I was in the parking lot all evening freaking out about the thought of what her response could be to my proposal. But I guess that’s no longer the point. I mean I didn’t even get to explain. She spoke about being reliable, supportive, timely and timeous, dependable and all. The annoying thing is I am all of these, I mean I have had my job for almost eight years and have risen through the ranks with positive commendation all the way? I have kept the same wonderful circle of friends over the last twenty years. I am the first child in my family and a perfect role model to my siblings as my father never fails to point out, I was even punctuality prefect in high school! I could go on and on but what’s the point?
Right now I don’t even know what to think. Everything seemed perfect, I was going to propose with this ring. I was sure she was perfect for me, and I for her. Not that she doesn’t have her own flaws but I loved her all the same. The point is this- who breaks up with someone just because they’re late to dinner? I guess you never know with women.
I offered to write ten short stories for willing donees this Christmas as gifts, grateful for the ones who have received the gift in love, cheers to an exciting and wonderful celebration, Christ being the reason for the season😉