The next Saturday as Kunbi sits in the bus taking her to Ibadan, she is oblivious to discussions and the on-goings around her. Her mind is faraway. The week had been a very difficult one. She had barely been able to concentrate at work and even a few of her colleagues had noticed and asked if she was fine. Sola had stayed away the whole week. She went for lunch alone and after the second day, she stopped going. What use was the lunch anyway as she ended up wasting her food each time? She cried herself to sleep most nights. She was torn, confused and depressed.
She had Ola’s engagement ring as his commitment to her but Sola was yet to state his intentions. He showed her he loved her, but love wasn’t enough. She needed a commitment from him. He had told her that he was scared of being committed. And then in another breath, he said he had hoped for a future with her? What future was there with him if he was never going to be committed? She sighs as she alights from the bus at the final destination. She decides to go to her mum’s first. She does not think she can face Ola yet.
“Are you okay, Kunbi?” Wunmi asks her daughter as she opens the door to her room. Kunbi had arrived about 30 minutes earlier, greeted her mum and gone straight to her bedroom. Her mum had waited for her in the living room hoping to speak with her. Wale had called during the week to inform her about the outcome of their discussion and she had been surprised to hear that her daughter was in love with another man. Her cousin’s friend. She had decided then to discuss about the other young man her daughter was in love with.
“Yes mum”. Kunbi answers as she turns to look at her mum standing at the door.
Wunmi walks into the room and sits on the bed beside her daughter. She takes her hand in hers. “Are you in love with Sola?”
“I don’t know mum”. Kunbi says bursting into tears.
Her mum hugs her as she sobs quietly. “I think you are, Kunbi”.
“Did Wales tell you he has a phobia for commitment?”
“He mentioned that you told him. He said they had not seen each other since school until recently when they bumped into each other again. So he was not aware of his commitment issues”.
“Mummy, Sola told me himself. He said he had lost a lot of good ladies because he was scared of commitment”.
Wunmi looks at her daughter as she lets out a long sigh of despair.
“I want to be married and Sola is not ready”. Kunbi says wiping her tears and blowing her nose with a tissue pulled from a box of tissues by her bed.
“How do you know he is not ready?”
“I know mum. It is obvious he loves me, but what happens if he decides never to get married? Am I going to remain his girlfriend for life? Kunbi looks at her mum expecting an answer. “What kind of relationship exists between us? Am I his lunch partner or his confidant? Or am I just a girlfriend or someone he wants to spend the rest of his life with? Mum, I don’t even know. I don’t know what I am to him.” She says in frustration.
Wunmi cannot answer her daughter’s questions. She feels her hurt and pain and she wishes she could relieve her of them.
“I can’t keep on waiting forever? Ola is ready to marry me. I would rather go with him than wait based on assumptions”.
Wunmi exhales. “I wish I had an idea of what the future holds. Whatever decision you take, I will stand by you”.
“Thanks mum”. Kunbi says as she hugs her mum.
Tears begin to stream down her cheeks again.
“You have cried enough”. Wunmi says wiping her daughter’s face as she stands up. “It is time to take decisions and you need a clear head to do it”.
Two hours later, Kunbi freshens up and takes a taxi to Ola’s apartment. He had called her earlier to find out if she had arrived Ibadan. She confirmed in the affirmative and told him she needed to make sure her mum was home and ready for them. As she approaches his apartment, she puts behind every thought of Sola and decides to face the task ahead.
Ola is seated in the living room already dressed. He gives her a kiss as she walks in and thoughts of Sola go further away from her heart. He smiles as he lifts her left hand and sees the engagement ring. “You are beautiful and I promise to make you happy”.
She blushes. “My mum is ready to see us”.
“Okay. Let’s go”. Ola says as he puts his hand on the small of her back.
Ola and Kunbi walk out of her mum’s house later in the evening. Her mum had prepared iyan (pounded yam) and efo elegusi (vegetable stew with melon) before they arrived. She insisted they both ate before discussing their mission. According to her, decisions and thoughts were better processed and assimilated on a full stomach.
Ola informed her about his intention to get married to her daughter and asked when he could come with his parents for a formal introduction. Wunmi raised her objections about her daughter getting married in three months’ time. There was no need for the rush; she stated. She agreed to inform other members of the family and have representatives meet with his parents three weeks from then. A date will be fixed for the wedding after the meeting, she said.
Kunbi goes about her job with renewed zest. Her colleagues notice the engagement ring on her finger and compliment it. She receives a lot of congratulations and hugs. She resumes going for lunch alone and manages to put behind her thoughts of Sola. Sola avoids visiting her apartment as the pain of her engagement is too much for him to bear. He decides to stay away and lick his wounds alone.
Wale congratulates Kunbi reluctantly with a sad smile on his face. He touches her cheeks lightly. “Regardless of everything, you are still my favourite cousin and I love you very much”. She smiles her thanks and hugs him tightly. She knows if she falls down, he would be there to pick her up and pat her on the back. In the night season alone on her bed, within the deep recesses of her heart, she remembers Sola and sometimes cries herself to sleep. She knows she will never be able to totally forget him.
Three weeks later, Ola’s parents meet with Kunbi’s mum, Wale and her father’s brother. They discuss about their children and agree to begin the marriage rites. A larger introduction of the two families take place a month later and the date for the wedding is fixed for four months away.
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