He produced a ring. It was beautiful, antique style. “It is my mother’s, we have her blessing.”
My mind was in turmoil. I loved him, but this relationship had been for me like a fairy tale, like a beautiful fantasy, and real life was where my mum lived. I didn’t think the two worlds could coexist. Kwame saw the turmoil on my face and said “You don’t want to marry me?” I couldn’t speak, but tears started to well in my eyes.
His eyes darkened and his body became rigid. I’ve always wondered if the muscles of the heart harden as well. He took his arm away from me. “I never thought it was real, this obsession with marrying a Nigerian man, but I guess it is. I wish for once though you would be honest and admit that it’s not your mother’s obsession, it’s yours!” He stood up angrily. “I really cared for you,” he said slowly. Then he turned and left.
I wanted to call out to him but I didn’t.
At first I almost felt relieved, I had been walking this line that I knew I didn’t have the strength to cross, but for months later I was still brought to tears whenever something reminded me of him. I would look out of the bus window and remember us walking down that street and realize that I would never feel his hand over mine, his rough skin holding mine tightly as we crossed the street. The summer months afterwards were the hardest. I had no friends, no life, because I felt so badly about what happened I avoided everyone we both knew. Every now and again we would bump into each other at odd places. It was the hardest thing. My heart would start beating fast when I recognized his walk and in the moments before he saw me, I would fantasize that we were like before and then he would look up and notice me and walk the other way or frown. It was a crushing feeling recognizing that you are still in love with someone who had come to hate you. I was torn between a sense of deep loss and a sense of duty, caught between sorrow and relief. I don’t know how I got over him. One night I cried until the sun came up. That summer went by in a blur and I threw myself into my studies the next semester. I couldn’t sleep or eat and it took all my energy to study. It was a hellish semester but at the end of it, one day the pain dulled and I realized it was over. It took a while to get over him, but I have. I heard he is married now and lives in New York.
Since then, I have never had a real relationship. Mere flings, but my one rule was always that they had to be Igbo. In reality, it has been very hard to find the sort of man that attracts me and is also Igbo in this vast country. So as you can imagine, I was quite excited to go the NA gala, a place were polished African men were sure to be found. And so the night before the party I decided to take Titi’s advice and find my inner diva.
It all started with the dress. I wouldn’t normally wear a dress quite like that, one that showcased all my curves. But Titi was insistent that it looked fabulous on me and since, in her words, my curves actually look nice, the idea was that I should show them off. I decided to go with the look, with good results I think. Even Mina said I looked decent and coming from Mina that was high praise. Some people can’t understand why I am so close to Mina, I guess you really have got to know her to love her. The girl is truly good-hearted but she is continually putting up a façade for the world.
Anyway, so I put on the dress and I discovered that I actually felt sexy. I had soaked in a bath with these bvlgari bath salts that Mina gave me for my birthday and then I put on my Syleena Johnson CD and sang with major attitude as I did my hair. I put on my makeup- well just mascara and lip gloss and a hint of eye shadow. I don’t wear much makeup and fortunately people say I don’t really need to. Then I got dressed then and put on these sexy Jimmy Choo sandals.
Shoes are my one weakness. I may be fairly simple when it comes to my clothes but I love seeing my feet encased in pretty shoes. After all of that preparation when I looked at the finished product in the mirror I was amazed to see that I looked and felt pretty hot. In fact as Titi put it, I was practically sex on legs!
I gave my hips a little wiggle and by the time I got into my car, I was sure that since I was feeling good and looking fabulous, I was going to have a great time at the Gala.
The party was happening as predicted, everyone who was everyone was there. I even saw that Nigerian model that is making waves these days and that sexy Yoruba actor from that HBO show.
Although the actor that really does it for me is that Chiwetel Ejiofor. The man is so sexy in a subtle kind of way. I saw him again in my favorite film love actually, and I practically kissed the screen. Plus he’s Igbo as well. If only…well a girl can dream can’t she?