This is two part story, Read Part the concluding part here
There had been a raging storm earlier … on the night I met Adéòtí. Perhaps that should have been the telling sign of doom. But what’s a young maiden to do? He was a familiar face in the midst of the storm. That familiarity created a pseudo sense of safety… but it also blinded me to the ‘gaps’ in his tales.
It’s been 2 years since the day I turned my back to Akínyẹlé. Almost 2 years since I left my childhood home and moved to the township. The ‘pitiful’ stares and whispers of the villagers were a bit much to bear… but the unsolicited advice and the mocking laughter of the men I had rejected was the last straw…so I left. Only so I could heal.
The township welcomed me…new faces everywhere…. smiling and unsmiling… yet the loneliness of a new comer stuck with me like skin.
So meeting Adéòtí, on a stormy day was good… in fact it seemed like fate, or so I thought.
And when I told Abísóyè that I met our childhood neighbour in the township… that he was no longer the boy we knew… he is now a man… tall and good looking. I told her Adéòtí had been in the town for 4 years already when we met… so he knew the town well… and he showed me. Abísóyè said to live and laugh… and to let go. She was happy and relieved that an old face was with me among the sea of new faces.
Then a ‘friendship’ began… or at least what looked like one…. then a gentle promise of more.
Then a whirlwind romance… chemistry so intense…connection seeming so deep…boundaries and territories laid unhindered.
It was too fast, I knew… there was always a nagging feeling of the wrongness of it all…. But Adéòtí was nice… he treated me well, and so for months, I ignored the feelings. I told myself it was all in my mind… He convinced me that I ‘overthink’… and just for a little while, I believed him.
You see, Adéòtí is a good man…kind even, but he was a little too much and too fast… and I couldn’t breathe… I was overwhelmed by his constant presence… his never ending visits. He was like oil and I was water.
And Adéòtí had big dreams, none of which involved me, nor accommodated mine. I supposed he felt he will fit me into his dreams somehow…
But I had dreams too, one that have been mine for years… and to simply forget them… even for Adéòtí was a pill so hard to swallow.
Two months into our romance, Mama came visiting. And as we sat on the mat under the stars, she told me of the maidens who had just gotten married… Abísólá, Màmà Alágbo’s youngest daughter had just been given away in marriage… and she married Adéagbo, our Village Crown Prince. Adéwúrà who had married one of my former suitors, Adìsá had just welcomed a son last week.
I was happy to hear such good news of home and I told her so. Mama looked at me keenly and asked if I had any news. She wanted to know if I have found a man and when the man would come to ask for my hand.
I told her of Adéòtí… I told her of his sharp mind…. of our shared love for the culture… of our love for books. I told her of his respect for women… and of his promise of marriage.
Her eyes lit up… I could see how happy she felt that I’ve found a man who would marry me. Without uttering a word, I knew she was relieved that her daughter would finally be given away in marriage… that the Women Association would no longer ask if all was well with her daughter.
I remember how disappointed she was at Akínyẹlé, and finally, it looked like her joy was full.
So, I didn’t tell her that when Adéòtí speaks of his dream, it never included mine. I didn’t tell her of his lack of answer whenever I asked for his plans… and that although he says he will marry me… he also says the promise is conditioned on a dream I didn’t even understand. I couldn’t tell her he still lives in his childhood home… and he says he has no plans of moving out. I also didn’t tell her of his refusal to answer questions about his past… or of his failure to tell me about his family.
She was happy… and I was happy for her.