Read the preceding part here
“Love is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?” Mr. Àbáyọ̀mí said as he chuckled sadly.
“I’ve loved hard too. I loved Amina against all reason, and all discouragement, just like you, Mr. Ọbáfẹmi, but yours paid off, ours didn’t”.
Everyone listened with rapt attention. This was the longest I have heard Mr. Àbáyọ̀mí speak since I’ve started working with him. He listens but he seldom speaks, and now that he is contributing to our discussion, no one spoke, perhaps afraid that interrupting him will cut short the story.
“Both of our parents did not approve of our relationship. Amina’s father, Alhaji Akéúgbadé was unyielding. Why would his first daughter marry a Christian while he was still living? He remained unyielding even after I assured him that Amina would continue practicing her religion. My Father said he would never support my decision, and said no more. My mother would cry and ask herself where she had gone wrong. But I was in love, and all the opposition felt to me like mere tantrums of Parents who were stuck in their old ways.”
“You know my mother came to visit me one day?” He asked, directing his question to no one in particular.
“She wanted to understand why I was adamant about Amina when there were many Christian girls around me. I told her how special Amina was and of all the good qualities that she has. I told her religion is just a way we’ve been thought to seek God, and that love between us shouldn’t be forbidden just because we identify with a different religion. I remember telling her that Amina and I didn’t choose our religion, we were born into it, and what’s more important is that we believe in God. I assured her that our love was strong and we cannot disagree over religion”.
He sighed deeply and continued
“My mother looked at me for so long, with a sad smile on her face and misty eyes. Then she said “If you don’t disagree now, later, you will. What happens when life’s storm comes? How will you pray then? I’m talking about huge life storms, the kind where a husband and a wife must agree and pray as one. Will she pray in a corner on her mat, while you pray in the other corner? Will you run to the church, while she runs to the mosque? What will your children think? How will you answer their questions?” She said she has nothing against Amina but that marriage is hard enough and marrying someone who shares the same beliefs will make it easier. She said I should think of her words and find answers to her questions, then she left”
“And did you find answers?” Mr. Ọbáfẹmi asked.
“I did. About a month after that conversation, Amina came to my house crying. Her father had given her six months to bring home a Muslim man or he would find one for her. She was worried and so was I. Time was running out and we needed to do something. After she calmed down, she suggested that we pray about it and I agreed. She prayed I said Amen. I prayed, and she said Amen.
One week after that day, I got a call from Amina. She said she had been thinking about us. She said when we prayed, she understood how different from hers, the lives of our children would be if we got married. She said she was never confused about her religious identity because both her parents practiced one, but our children would be confused and be pressured to choose. She said she loved me but it was time to let go. Her last words to me that day were “We were wrong Àbáyọ̀mí. They were right or at least their reasoning was”. And then we were over”
I looked at Mr. Àbáyọ̀mí closely as I ponder on his words. “Are you saying loving despite odds and against reason is not worth it?” I asked.
“No” He responded.
“I’m saying that love is powerful, but it's not everything. So, love hard, love with all your heart, but listen to reason as well because sometimes, those reasons may be right and you, wrong.”