For ten years, valentine’s morning meant breakfast in bed but today there was none. Having always celebrated Valentine’s day with Obinna the love of my life, waking up to his absence made me feel dispirited.
I had cheated on Obinna with a colleague and the fallout, despite my numerous apologies was the end of our relationship.
With my steady source of money gone, I had to do all I could to take care of myself, hence when the manager of the restaurant where I now work declared that the wages of anyone willing to work on valentine’s day would be doubled, I quickly accepted the offer. Given that today wasn’t a particularly joyful one for me, I was clumsy and the fact that everyone seemed to have what I had lost made me angry. But despite all my anger, I tried to focus on doing my job well, knowing fully well that with Obinna out of my life, I needed the money to make ends meet.
This particular valentine’s day had it all; tears of joy, proposals, rejections, slap – yes slap, by a young lady to her lover upon gifting her a bracelet when she expected an engagement ring.
The restaurant although a huge one assigned only four tables to me.
Table one was seated a family of eight whose yearly tradition was to have a family dinner in celebration of their mother’s birthday, they were so happy and the celebrant’s husband spared no expense in providing them with all they wanted. They ordered exotic dishes, assorted drinks and meats, and topped it with the most expensive wine on the menu.
On table two sat a young handsome man and a not so beautiful woman. When they arrived, he had introduced himself to the manager as Peter, and I overheard him saying that he intends to propose to his girlfriend of six months. Out of jealously that the young lady was about to get what my relationship of ten years couldn’t give me, I decided to ruin the engagement and have Peter all to myself. But when Peter ordered the third cheapest meal on the menu – party jollof rice and beef, with a glass of water, I began to rethink my decision. When I learnt they had arrived in a taxi, my countenance towards him changed and when I saw the ring – a cheap steel which could have easily been purchased by the roadside, my lust for him suddenly disappeared.
“How can a man be so handsome and yet so cheap”, I thought. Obinna was the full package, and after experiencing the best I couldn’t think of settling for anything less.
At the third table was a man, a woman, a six-year old girl, and a young boy that looked barely three years old. At first, I thought they were a family, but when the young boy addressed the woman as Aunty Ifeoma, I became perplexed as to how someone could comfortably have an extra-marital affair in the presence of a child. As I served the blueberry cake and vanilla ice-cream they had ordered for the children, the little boy asked “daddy, when will my new mummy come to live in our house”. Out of curiosity, I lingered and his response indicated that both of them had been lovers in the past, and having lost their spouses in the same month almost a year ago, the woman’s husband to a prolonged illness and the man’s wife to a fatal accident, decided to rekindle their love so that their children would experience the love of a complete family.
The fourth table was a rare sight of an elderly couple who were clearly in their 80’s but were so much in love with each other, they would stare intensely into each other’s eyes, giggle softly and feed each other like teenagers. I wondered how they managed to stay so much in love after more than fifty years of marriage. Upon realization that they drove the latest Mercedes Benz in the parking lot, I walked up to the couple wished them a happy valentine’s day, and told the woman that she was lucky to be married to such a caring and rich husband.
She turned a gave me the look one would give a child that says something stupid. At first, I was offended but when she told me the story of how she stood by her husband despite him beating her out of frustration when their business wasn’t faring well, my disposition changed.
For ten years Obinna had provided everything I needed but just because his family’s business was shut down following a lawsuit filed against them, out of fear that Obinna would no longer be able to meet my financial demands, and not knowing that Obinna has four hundred-million-naira worth of personal asset, I had cheated.
It suddenly dawned on me what my impatience has cost me. The thought of everything I could have had if I had stood by Obinna’s side made me emotional, I excused myself and hastily walked into the rest room. I was there for about fifteen minutes trying so hard to withhold my tears, when I heard a loud voice say
“Queen of my heart, come and take your place”
At first, I thought, who could be acting such drama again? But I soon heard the music.
Oh! the music, the same one that played in the studio where I had met Obinna, but this time more melodious. At that moment I knew it was he, for no one else could play 1950’s rap music on valentine’s eve. It was our song.
I quickly splashed water on my face and re-applied my make-up that was smeared by tears. As I stepped into the main room, I saw Obinna in a black tuxedo standing beside a table that contained flowers, a red velvet cake, a box of chocolate, and iPhone and a bunch of keys, which I thought at that moment to be car keys but which turned out to be the keys to the refrigerator which a waiter had mistakenly dropped on the table,
“You are my light; without you I’m lost”
“You are my heart, without you I’m dead”
“You are the choice; I will never regret”
“Life without you, is not life at all” …
As he voiced out the last words of his poem, I stood right in front of him, he smiled at me, took my hands and he popped the question.
“Will you forgive me and accept me back into your life?”
Later I will find out that he was only back to take his revenge on me but now, although disappointed, I said YES, for I thought “if an apology could be this glamourous, how would a proposal be”.
Augusta Ndeche is an Accountant by profession, but also has a passion for creative writing and Fashion designing. She hails from Anambra State and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org