Where in the world did that come from? I couldn’t marry any other tribe apart from Igbo? What rubbish. What utter nonsense. What an idiotic way of thought and life. No, this wasn’t happening. This must be a dream. Wake up, Leona! You must be dreaming.
I started up from the bed suddenly. I had just had a nightmare where I heard my father say I couldn’t marry Dapo. Thank God, it was only a dream.
As I settled back into my bed and the sleep fog finally lifted, I realized it was no dream. It had actually happened and here I was with a massive hole in my heart where inexplicable joy had occupied only last week. How could my whole world have come crashing down in just a blink of an eye? How could I go from immeasurable joy to the most profound sadness in the space of a week? My father, that was how.
Here I was in my room hiding out from the terrible, terrible world out there and from the enemies in friends’ clothing a.k.a family, who stab you in the back in the name of wanting the best for you. Forgive my melodrama, but that was how I felt at that moment.
I had been hiding out in my room for the past week like an eleha, only venturing out when I was absolutely sure the coast was clear, a job which I recruited my younger sister, Elena for. Yes, my parents were fans of English names and only reverted to tradition when I was about to get married. Such hypocrites. Elena was home on break from the university so I could use her as I saw fit as hers was the only friendly face I could see in this castle filled with enemies.
My parents had tried all they could to reach me in this past week but I hadn’t budged. They had pleaded, begged and finally threatened, giving me an ultimatum like the typical Nigerian parents. I ignored them all, determined to bemoan my loss as much as I could.
Even my girlfriends had been trying to reach me to no avail. They all called and I refused to pick their calls neither did I call them back. Even Winnie took it as far as to come to the house to see me but I instructed Elena to tell her I was out but to assure her that I was fine. She reluctantly left after a lot of assurances as to the state of my well being. I just was not ready to rehash everything that had transpired and I knew they would want the details.
I took a one week leave of absence from work amidst a lot of pleading citing the loss of a loved one as the reason. They might have interpreted it as the death of a close relative but I was not about to dissuade them. After all, I really lost a loved one. As I was not ready to see Dapo day after day after the debacle at my house, I had to take drastic measures, hence my ‘mourning’.
I had not communicated with Dapo for one week now via any means whether calls, text messages, emails or social media. He had been calling but I had not picked his calls, he had sent numerous messages but I hadn’t replied. A particular one touched my heart though and I cried for hours after reading it.
‘Leona, I know you are hurting and I have decided to give you some space. But, I want you to know I can’t and won’t let you go. I am ready to fight for our love and I will only give you a little while before I come crashing through your defenses and the wall you’ve built between us.
Yours always, D.
Tell me that didn’t break your heart? It broke mine into a million pieces.
After wallowing in self pity for a whole week, I decided to take the bull by its horns. I decided to take my own destiny into my own hands. I resolved to fight all and every dragon in the way of my love. After all, I was a lawyer…gladiators in suits. We do not believe in impossibilities.
As I lay there contemplating on how to go about it, I heard a knock on my door.
“Who is that?” I called out grouchily.
“It’s Elena.” I heard my sister’s voice.
I stood up to open the door for her. Ever since the ‘incident’, I had formed the habit of locking my door to keep out the ‘vermin’. Melodramatic? I know, but I was not about to take chances.
Elena came in and looked at me critically from head to toe. “Girrrl, you look like something the cat dragged in.”
I rolled my eyes. Yes, melodramatics runs in the family. “That is so exaggerated. I look fine.”
“Yeah, right. Have you taken a good look at yourself in the mirror lately? I’m sure Dapo will fall in love all over again if he sees you like this.” She smirked.
I had a mind to slap that smirk right off her face. How dare she criticize my look? “Ehn, thank you, I like it like that.”
Elena and I have a sort of complicated relationship and what I can only term as healthy rivalry. Although, we love each other, one is always trying to outdo the other in terms of achievements, education, looks and what have you. I had always thought she was better looking than I am and she has always said I am more beautiful. Oh well, the plight of sisterhood.
“How long are you going to remain in this room hiding from the world? Your problems are not gonna go away like that you know?” she snapped her fingers for emphasis.
“I know.” I sighed as I slumped on the bed. “I’ve decided to go back to work on Monday.”
“Good. So, what are you going to do about this mess?”
“I don’t know yet. I’ll have to speak with my fiancé first.”
She raised her eyebrows. “So, he’s still your fiancé?”
“You go girl. Just let me know however I can help. You know I’ve got you.”
“I know. Thanks”
She winked and gave me a little wave as she left the room. I sighed once again thinking of how to go about it. I decided to wait till I had spoken with Dapo; we would work on a strategy together.
I girded my loins and got ready for battle.