“Bolaji Adekanmbi, Will you marry me?” Tunde asked as he knelt on a knee opening the ring case.
Tunde proposed to me but I could not respond. I wasn’t sure if I was ready but there was this glittering hope in his eyes; like he was praying at that time. The glistening diamond kept on calling my name which made me wonder. What could I say?
“Bolaji, please say something.” He touched my hand stealing me from my thoughts.
“Tunde, I don’t know what to say. I love you but I don’t think I am ready for this yet.” I said trying to make those words flow out with ease.
“Bolaji, please. I can’t live without you. You are all that I ever think of. My world is you and I want to spend the rest of my life loving you. I know that you are ready. Even if you say you aren’t, with time you will be ready. I promise that you will be happy with me forever. Just marry me, please. Please Bolaji Adekanmbi” he said as he quickly wiped the tears that tried to leave his eyes.
I started choking which brought me back to reality. I picked up the glass of water and gulped it down, tapping my chest lightly. After a while, I was fine. I started eating again and another flashback came so fast.
“My baby, if you say that Tunde is the best for you, you have my support,” Mummy said placing her hands on my cheek.
“Mummy, don’t cry. I am not dying. Tunde is good to me and I believe I would be happy with him.” I said wiping the tears from her eyes.
I hugged her just so I could stop the worry in her heart.
Daddy walked me down the aisle and there was Tunde smiling back at me.
“Do you take, Oluwadayo Tunde, to be your wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death you do part, according to God’s holy will; and to pledge your faithfulness?” Pastor Christian asked.
“I, Adekanmbi Bolaji, take you, Oluwadayo Tunde, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death we do part, according to God’s holy will; and I pledge to you, my faithfulness,” I replied as Tunde held my hand.
The people cheered. It was so amazing and bright that day. There was food, laughter, dancing and everything.
I never knew that would be the only brightest day of my marriage. I took another spoon of rice and got lost in thought again.
“This girl. Are you new to this? You know, I told my son not to marry you but he did not obey. The elders and I pleaded with him but he refused. Now, he cannot have peace in his own home.” Mrs Oluwadayo said.
“My daughter,” Mr Oluwadayo said just after coughing.
“My daughter, we have heard your own part but you know men by now. You shouldn’t be reacting like this now. Take it easy.” He continued.
“Egbami oh,” I said placing my hands on my head amazed at what I had just heard.
“Ah! Papa, how can you say that? You too? Even if I expected it from any other person, papa certainly not you. Papa, you called me your own daughter but yet you would support your own son after everything. Do you know how many times he slept outside our home or how many women he has placed on our marital bed?” I replied crying.
“Papa, see my body. See the marks. What has your son not used on me? Am I an animal? For what reason? A child?!” I said raising some parts of my clothes.
At this time, everyone started focusing on something else. In pretense, some started looking into their phones as if something came up. Then, I realized I was talking to the wrong people. I became speechless. Tunde looked away.
“All I ever did was love you! But, what do I get in return? Is this what you promised me? Is this it?!” I screamed pointing my index finger at him as the tears just kept flowing.
“This girl. Don’t point my son or shout at him.” Mrs Oluwadayo replied.
I took my bag, and car key and left.
“My daughter, where are you going?” Mr Oluwadayo asked.
I looked at the wall clock and realized that I had been lost in thought for almost thirty minutes and my plate was still full. Darkness filled my heart again. I was sure I could not continue living this way.
“How did my life end up this way?” I muttered as tears rolled down my cheek. The food began to taste very bitter so I spat it out.
I walked into the room I had prepared for myself. There was the rope hanging on the fan and stool which I had placed under. Death was the only way out of this bond but I stood there so scared to die. Facing my fears, I hung the rope around my neck and jumped down.
“Bolaji!” a voice said.
The note in my hand fell. The note read “THE RITUAL OF LOVE”.