Home Writers Creative Essays A Proposal On Valentine’s Day By Ayilegbe Stephen

A Proposal On Valentine’s Day By Ayilegbe Stephen

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Cynthia and I were in Kano. It’s the city where we knew ourselves while growing up from childhood. I was a bit older than her 4 years. we played together how the other kids played together with one another. Her house was a stone’s throw from mine. we attended different primary schools but we attended the same church. she had an elder brother and we were both close to each other also. Memories of us going out every evening to the popular “Yawo” spot in our street, where we played streetball and other games with the other kids still linger in my head. There was a memorable event I won’t forget in a hurry when we were chased by stray dogs of the streets, we ran our ‘life’ out that day, our feet and adrenaline came to our rescue. Cynthia’s brother does visit me often but I find it hard to visit him back because of the dog their neighbor had. Cynthia hardly play with the rest of us because she was the only daughter of her parent. she would often say how she wanted her mom to give her a little sister that she feels lonely amongst the boys, we would all laugh about it each time she says this but deep down I also wanted that for Cynthia. The only occasion Cynthia do visit us was during the weekends when our parents do go out for meetings in the church, so Cynthia would come with her big favorite teddy bear that brings a sharp memory to me till day. she would always have it at her back wrapped around with her scarf walking to and fro like a nursing mother. The only time I have the opportunity to play with her would be when we were all doing the “police and thief” game, which was always an interesting moment. Cynthia had a lighter tone of skin when she was younger with fat cheeks that were always prominent while smiling which brings out the beauty in her. There was a day I decided to prank Cynthia and each time I remembered the prank I always smack myself in the head with a foolish laugh remembering how I made a move that was funny to me and my friends and Cynthia’s brother but wasn’t funny to Cynthia’s Mom and my Dad. Cynthia also found it funny but she made the mistake of telling her mom. she decided of telling her mom before I confessed to her that it was a prank.

That evening around 6 pm on a Friday, I decided to pull this prank that I have been planning for some days now. I gave Cynthia a phone call but with a random person’s number to see how she would react, I called her ;

Me: “Hello, is this Cynthia living in Naibawa street?”

Cynthia: “yes, this is Cynthia”.

Me: ” I am a dan iska person, I am coming to your house tonight”

Cynthia: “blood of Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I am sorry”

Me: “I am coming!!!!!!”

Cynthia: “please don’t kill us”

Me: ” I will bomb your house tonight.”

Then I hung up and started laughing together with my brothers and other friends around. I then decided to call Cynthia back to tell her how she’s been pranked. I put the call through and told her I was the one that called and that I was joking. Thinking about her Cynthia would react in my mind; I was like she wouldn’t find this funny but I decided to see what the outcome would be. Hearing her laughing after gave me slight relief, she laughed hard. I was happy about her initial reaction till she then said why did I do that, that she was so scared that she told her mom and they were already preparing to vacate for the night to a friends place for safety. suddenly I knew from there what I had gotten myself into after Cynthia’s Mom was informed that it was me that gave the prank call. I thought it was all over till later that evening I heard a knock on the door, lo and behold it was Cynthia’s mom with Cynthia’s brother. I was happy when I saw her brother knowing they came for a regular visit. my parents as usual started their normal conversation with Cynthia’s mom while I was in the room with Jerry, Cynthia’s Elder brother. Everything took a drastic turn when I heard my name mentioned by Cynthia’s mom, speaking in the Yoruba language than to my dad, it was hard to decipher what she was saying because I couldn’t learn Yoruba then in the north rather it was the common lingua there I knew which was the Hausa Language. A thought then came to me that it could be the prank call I pulled earlier on Cynthia another opposing thought also came that it may not be. While I was still swimming in my thoughts, I heard a shout of my name Stephen!!!. It was my dad calling me out to come to the sitting room, he then said; is it true? I knew I was in trouble after that short question, I was trembling already and answered “Daddy it was a prank, mummy please beg daddy for me!”. My Dad rushed out for his brown belt which was his favorite belt of correction he used when correcting our wrongs. I started crying and begging Cynthia’s mom that it was a prank till I felt a stroke on my back, it was my Dad, he had already started the lashing on me, he kept on lashing and lashing me while I kept weeping and still saying “I was joking ma, I won’t do that again” my dad kept asking me “would you do that again?” with a stroke to each time he asked the question. Finally, Cynthia’s mom begged him that it was ok, he then stopped the flogging. My mom was sitting at the corner transfused in the decision while all the drama was going on. On a normal day, my mom does the begging for us but today was a different day. After Cynthia’s mom left, my mom then told me my wrong that don’t I know she’s (Cynthia mom) a high B.P patient? looking confused and asked in stuttering voice from the pain of the strokes “what does high B.P patient means?” she said; it means high blood pressure, that Cynthia’s mom could faint on any slight thing that causes her to fret, that was when I realized the depth of what I’ve done. if Cynthia hadn’t told her mum and just waited a few minutes for my confession call, all this wouldn’t have happened, but as nature would have it, it all happened as this would be one of the many experiences I will tell my kids.

It was my twelfth birthday, the sky gleaming, birds chirping, the noise of bangers as it was called, my birthday was on the last day of the year 31st December. I was just a year less to become a member of the teenage part of the church. I was happy telling my friends how I would leave Children’s church for them till they join me in teenager’s class. Cynthia is not also exempted as she was just 8 years old than when I clocked 12 years old. Her birthday was a month before mine. I remembered how the street buzzed up for her birthday, she has a lot of friends that were girls, they organized a party in her house. I also went to her birthday party, but the main reason for going was to get as much Soft-drinks as possible, remembering how the old Capri Sonne drink looked like brought back sweet childhood memories. I hustled for more than five Capri Sonne drinks that day because it used to be my favorite drink. I was a big part of the crowd that chanted the popular “Hip-hip-hip-hurray!!!” for her as that was all I could do like a little support to her that day. I had baggy trousers then that I do were often, I wore them to her party and felt proud a little bit as it was also part of the wear reigning then. I also hustled for balloons going around and asking kids for their balloons especially the ladies as they found playing with balloons less fun but we the guys loved it as it was a hot cake. On my birthday, as usual, only a few friends left at home then do turn up for me as most of the other kids do follow their parents when traveling to other states for new year’s Eve. Cynthia pulled a surprise on me that fateful day December 31st, 1990, she brought a package for me that day. That was the first time a girl would ever tell me “Fine Boy” since I was born till that day, Cynthia called me “Fine Boy” I blushed of course as per the first time it is happening to me. she presented a package to me after the hurray process; “Take this package, Stephen the fine boy, happy birthday to you, hope you would accept my little token” she said with her teeth shining and cheeks more prominent, and of course her ever-smiling face. I was so happy and didn’t know how to respond well because I was already carried in thoughts from the “fine Boy”, I nodded in the affirmation that I would receive her ‘little token’ and immediately, ‘Thank you burst from my mouth as I warmly collected the package from her soft hands. I opened the package and saw what I wasn’t expecting, in there was a pack of Caprisonne drink with a carton of the then cabin biscuit. Joy overwhelmed me and I couldn’t contain it any longer, I burst into screaming and danced even more to the music playing at that moment. I expected biros and notebooks as that was a common gift among kids those days but Cynthia pulled a string and went an extra mile for me. The joy in me didn’t allow me to reason how Cynthia went for a Caprisonne drink as a token for me. In the evening after the celebration, we were all exhausted and all sat down on the Sofa chair, my parents were not around on that fateful day luckily. They went for some mission work. The house was then free for my friends. I walked up to Cynthia where she was and sat beside her. We discussed and had jokes, we both laughed and all till I asked her “Why did you get me a carton of Capri Sonne drink? do you know that’s my favorite drink?” she smiled and said did I remember anything about last month? I said yes I only remembered your birthday. she then said she saw how I was gathering Capri Sonne drinks and how I was going around asking for balloons from her friends. I was caught in amusement that the celebrant had an eye that busy day for a whole me and saw my hustling activities. She then told me how she struggled to save some money to get me this Capri Sonne drink and cabin biscuit. I told her in a soft curious tone “you went through all this for me?” she nodded in affirmation. I then thanked her and told her to expect a “huge surprise” from me soon and that it would be a shocker, she then laughed loudly and said, “you still want to pull a prank on me like the last time?” I told her jokingly no!! that’s not what I meant, I mean the surprise would be a bomber, it would be a shaking surprise I retorted. She then said ok fine boy I would be expecting your “Huge surprise” stressing the word HUGE. we all laughed over it and listened to the music playing till everyone was tired and retired from their various houses, I had the best sleep that night reminiscing over the gift Cynthia gave me, our love story is just getting started.

I Left Cynthia and every one of my friends in 1992 for Lagos State to further my education through Cynthia and I were separated physically but still had an emotional bond. I do give her calls and emails weekly asking about her well-being and her responses were encouraging. I do visit Kano during the Terms break till when my parents finally relocated to Lagos. The day we were to leave finally, Cynthia wept and I consoled her not to weep in a sobering tone and I then assured her that we would always have the chance to meet once again in the future. Social media coming new then made my communication easier with Cynthia compared to the usual calls and emails. Our relationship was still as solid as ever. I graduated and finished University and was fortunately posted to serve in Zaria a close neighbor to Kano state, I once again reunited with my Dear Cynthia. I finished my service and got a job in Shells’ company in Lagos. I assisted in Cynthia’s final year school fees and other expenses, I promised her no barrier will ever separate her from me.

Cynthia graduated and I turned up for her convocation at Bayero University, Kano. I once again reconnected with Cynthia’s Brother my childhood friend and Cynthia’s mom also. It was a joyful day for her only daughter, Cynthia’s wish of having a sister couldn’t happen. Cynthia was luckily posted to serve in Ogun state, she would regularly visit me during the weekends and we both do go to the then favorite ‘Mr. Biggs’ spot to get her favorite sumptuous meal.

A few months left for Cynthia to finish serving, I then started making plans for her and what life would be for her after Service. I helped her job search and it successfully pulled through.

It was the month of love, February, Valentine’s day was already near. I asked a colleague of mine at work for advice on how to move forward with Cynthia as he was a successful married man with experience. he gave me some tips on life and then finally said I should take the opportunity to do the unthinkable on Valentine’s day.

After the discussion I went home and did my plannings, Cynthia was still in camp. I told her we will go out during Valentine’s day and she agreed. The next day I told my colleague the decision I’d made and he saw it as one that would be a huge success and he wished me luck. It was Valentine’s day already, I took her to one of the best Relaxation centers in the city of Lagos where the unthinkable were to happen. I want to surprise you I said to Cynthia Please can you close your eyes? she did and I then asked her to open her beautiful eyes, lo and behold she saw me in a kneeling position with a beautiful diamond ring to give her with my face in delight and mind to receive a huge ‘yes’. I was in a proposal position, “would you marry me”? I haven’t finished asking, my planned crew of instrumentalists started their demonstration.

Her scream was so loud that it caught everyone’s attention, all eyes now on me and I was even now more anxious to get the Yes. She screamed ‘Yes’!!!. She then started weeping with the music flow, I got up as a normal gentleman would do and wiped her tears, and comforted her in the safest hands. I then asked her “Do you remember anything about my birthday in 1990″? She said yes, I asked what did you recall? ” How I gave you Capri Sonne and Cabin biscuits” I burst into laughter and said is that all you can recall? Not letting her talk further, I told you that day ” Be expecting a huge surprise from me.” She then shouted yes yes I can remember.

20 years after I fulfilled my promise. We are both married now and blessed with two beautiful daughters. She didn’t expect a proposal on Valentine’s Day but she got one as a “huge surprise” from me.

About the Writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ayilegbe Stephen is a medical student at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sagamu. He can be reached via ayilegbestevo@gmail.com

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