This is two part story, read the concluding part here
It was a few days to the annual Lovers’ Dance…. Akinyele had promised we would go to the Village Square that evening, but he did not show up…. and he was not home.
Alabi said he saw him at dawn, that he left with a small sac… he didn’t say where he was headed, and Alabi had not asked, for he could not break his 7 days ritual of silence.
The Lovers’ dance came and passed, yet Akinyele had not returned. My friend, Abisoye feared he might be unwell, or the gods forbid, dead. She advised that I visit his Father.
So I went to Baba Agba’s compound the next morning. He welcomed me with a smile… “my Princess” he called out. We sat and talked for hours, yet he said nothing about Akinyele.
So I asked if he was too lonely without his Son and if he had received words from him. He said he got no words, but all must be well, for if it were not so, his sister would have sent words.
That moment taught me it was possible to feel different emotions, all at once.
I was relieved that Akinyele was and is in fact alive and well… but I also felt a deep sense of betrayal that my lover of 3 years had left without a word.
I bade farewell to Baba Agba and left for my home. As I walked along the bush part leading to my Father’s compound, I’m reminded of the day, 3years ago, when Akinyele wooed me.
We had both been volunteering at the Palace… helping to plan the coronation ceremony for the new King. We worked side by side…for weeks… only a few words were spoken… yet he watched me…I felt it… a woman always knows
He finally asked me to be his, on the Coronation day.
I asked not for the world, but for a promise of his commitment. Akinyele said I had it already…and that it would always be mine…. well, now it seem like that promise no longer holds true.
At home, Abisoye sat waiting…. I told her of my findings. She asked if I saw this coming, I told her of the fight we had, two days before he left… we were both frustrated by the turns and twists of life… his frustration more than mine. He had on his young shoulders, the unrealistic burden our society places on maleness and manhood. He wanted to provide… he could not… I assured him we would manage… He felt he has failed… so he became mad at the world and everything that reminds him of his ’failure’
I told Abisoye that I understood him, but shutting the world out… wallowing in isolation has never lighten any burden…. and that was a skill Akinyele had perfected…. in fact he often added me to the list of those to shut out.
I told her that my mind knew that if there was no change, we were at the beginning of the end…. but my heart would not accept. I thought we could fix it…that I could fix him. I couldn’t let go.
For me, 3 years was a lot to throw away….seemed like it wasn’t a lot for Akinyele.
In the ‘long’ days following Akinyele’s absence, the hardest part of every day were the questions of the Villagers who had watched us for years. They all asked of him and if he was well…. they wanted to know when we will be married…
And like the dutiful ‘maiden’ ashamed to tell them we had failed, I smiled and said he was well…. that they would all be invited once our families decide.