“Oh, that’s why those words were written on the photo frame” I stated quietly.
Smiling, he responded, “Yes, I like to remind myself daily of the decision Oyèwùnmi and I made”
Just as we were all digesting Mr. Ọbáfẹmi’s revelation, Miss Onyinye asked almost inaudibly
“Have you ever questioned whether it was worth it”.
Mr. Ọbáfẹmi immediately answered
“Yes, sometimes, particularly in those moments when my wife drives me mad, but it’s always short lived. We both made an informed decision, and we have decided to do all we can to remain happy and that includes taking the medical help”
Miss Onyinye sighed.
“You know, I admire you. The choice you and your wife made took a lot of courage. It is that kind of courage that I need right now”
“What do you mean” I quickly asked, very much interested in her tale.
“Dámiláre and I love each other. He’s Yoruba and I’m Ibo, but our tribe was never an issue, at least until our families got involved."
“We were both raised in this town, but I didn’t meet him until I got into the University. He was already in his third year at the time and he was part of the executive team that organized the welcome party for first year students. I was never the party girl but I attended because all my room mates were going. I sat all through hoping one of my friends would get tired of dancing soon, so we can go to sleep. As I sat brooding, Dámiláre approached me and asked if he could sit and brood with me. I laughed and nodded and that was it. We talked all night long, he walked me to my hostel and we were friends ever since”
She looked up at us, as if to be sure we were listening and then she continued
“By the time he told me he loves me, I was already half in love with him, So, I didn’t even hesitate as I said Yes”
“A month ago, he asked me to marry him and again I said Yes, naively thinking nothing could go wrong. So, I went home and told my parent the good news. I have never seen my Father so angry, he said he would never agree to my marriage to a Yoruba man. I was shocked”
“Did you think your Ibo father would not object?” Mr. Obafemi asked, taking the words right out my mouth.
“I honestly never gave it any thought” Miss Onyinye said
“You see, I grew up among Yoruba people. They are our neighbours, some are even Papa’s friends, and Papa always taught us to treat everyone as humans first. So, Dámiláre was just like all of them, it didn’t matter whether he was Yoruba or Hausa, he is human, a good one and that’s all I saw. So, Yes, Papa’s reaction came as a shock to me, and my mother didn’t help too, she kept looking at me like I had betrayed her”
“What about his family? Did they accept you?” I inquired
“Yes, they did. But I think it’s because they’ve always known about Dámiláre and I, so, they have been prepared for this. My parents were not though, for I’ve never taken him home. I didn’t think it was even going to be a problem. I didn't know my Father's friendliness to other tribes will not extend to giving his only daughter out in marriage to them”
“So you see why I need your courage” She asked looking straight at Mr. Obafemi.
“Dámiláre and I are fighting to keep our love but my family is not making it easy. And I’ve been asking if this love is worth going against my family for”
No one spoke nor bothered to give an answer to the question. Like me, I think everyone knew that the answer is one only her can give.
“I think I know what to do”
Miss Onyinye suddenly said, breaking the silence that seemed to have gone on for a lifetime.
“I will arrange a meeting for them. Maybe if they meet Dámiláre, they will see what I saw in him”
Mr Obafemi said it was worth a try and everyone nodded in agreement.
I sighed quietly, crossed my fingers, and prayed that their love stands against this opposition.