the D-day finally arrived, Nonso picked her up at exactly 7.00 pm, his dark good looks and impeccable attire- custom-tailored suit, crisp white shirt and elegant silk tie- drew the interested glances of every unattached woman as he passed and few glances from the attached ones, as well. He escorted her from the quarters to his car with one hand under her right arm, with such solemn concern that he seemed convinced that she would dissolve if touched by one drop of rain or shatter into pieces if she fell.
Considering the difference in their size-she at five-five, she felt she was going on a date with an older brother. She was not a petite woman, but in his arm and under his umbrella she felt positively tiny. The dinner lasted for about two hours, Bukunmi could see what Nonso meant by his mother being stubborn though with a woman in her late sixties, it was expected. She took a proper look at the woman and wondered how beautiful she would have been in her early years and saw where Nonso got his looks from. She’d been impressed by his intelligent questions concerning medicine and for a lawyer, he knew a lot. She noticed he didn’t say anything about his Father during dinner and she didn’t ask. All the way from the car to the door, he apologized for his lousy cooking, and she repeatedly assured him that she was not in the least disappointed even though she saw he was just being modest.
Bukunmi crashed into her bed once she got home, there was this unusual feeling tingling in her and as much as she tried, the feeling still lingered. ‘I’m definitely going to miss church tomorrow’ she could hear herself say as her eyes struggled to stay open, ‘or maybe I’d just spend the day with Chioma’. She giggled lightly to herself, imagining her friend’s reaction to her escapade. The hours rolled and soon, another week surfaced.
“Bukunmi! Hold the elevator.” Nonso ran in before it closed.
“Nonso,” Bukunmi raised her eyebrows in surprise. “Thank you again for the dinner and a pleasant evening. I really had a great time.” She grinned.
“Am glad you did, if I’d gotten your number it would have saved me so much effort.”
“Well, you didn’t ask.” She smiled and scribbled her number on a piece of paper then handed it to him.
“Thank you, now this would conserve energy.” There was an awkward silence and Nonso decided to break it. “So Bukunmi,” He smiled. “What if I asked you to come have lunch with me this Friday?” He bit his lips nervously.
“Well if you did, I probably would tell you I’ll be busy here.”
“What if I brought the lunch to you?” He raised an inquiring eye brow and added, “I’m sure you must be tired of eating in the cafeteria, what do you say?”
“That would be nice then.” She replied as the elevator shook lightly, coming to a halt. “Well this is my floor; I’ll see you around and say me hi to your mom.”
“I sure will.” Nonso muttered sheepishly with a broad smile plastered on his face as he caressed the piece of paper between his fingers, watching his crush walk away.
Nonso managed to be part of Bukunmi’s life and Bukunmi found herself letting her guard down gradually. Movies, dinners and a lot more seemed to make their busy life worth living. She remembered a time Nonso took her to this restaurant he said just opened they sat down at their tables and were giving their menus, but even before the waitress could ask if they would like a drink, Nonso said, “This is no good, this is all wrong, let’s find another place.” Surprised, she asked why. “No style, no atmosphere it is all wrong.” They returned to the car, drove for about thirty minutes and packed in front of an unpretentious-looking restaurant in a strip shopping center. Later that month he called if she could have lunch with him and she gave a condition “Once we sit down in the restaurant, promise me we’ll stay there.” She knew he was hardheaded about some things but she just had to try.
It came as a bit of surprise when Nonso had called that day asking that they had lunch together.
“Nonso what’s with the mystery, you sounded different on the phone.”
Bukunmi, I know we’ve been friends for six months now and I’m a kind of guy who doesn’t like wasting time, I go for what I want. I always believe life is too short to waste any time, after all, you only live once right?”
Bukunmi simply nodded still unsure of where this conversation was heading.
“Well, in other words Bukunmi, I want us to make this official, let’s take our relationship to the next level. Life is too short; I want to live it loving you. What do you say?”
“Nonso, I don’t know what to say.” Bukunmi replied honestly, quite undecided of what she wanted out of this thing they had going.
“Tell me you are willing to try this out, to make us work. We wouldn’t know unless we give it a trial.”
“Okay, I’ll give it a trial, if not with you then I don’t know” Bukunmi finally replied after a split second of consideration.
“Thank you so much. I love you Bukunmi right from the moment I met you I knew it, I just felt it. You know, you only live once and if you live it right, once is enough, let’s make a toast.” They raised their glasses.
“Together forever till death do us part.”
“Not if I go first.” Bukunmi said.
Being with Nonso, holding him within her, she felt so close to him it almost seemed as if they were one person- one body and one mind, one spirit, one dream. She loved him wholeheartedly, yes, but that feeling of oneness was more than love, or at least different from love. By their first Christmas together, she understood that what she felt was a sense of belonging not experienced in a long time.
Days grew into weeks, weeks to month and then years and now, here they were, seated in one of the most exquisite places in town, pretty much every lady’s dream right? A Mr. Perfect who treats her like Princess Fiona.
“Nonso this place is great; I’ve never actually been to a Chinese restaurant. Did Chioma put you up to this?” Bukunmi asked, excitement being very obvious in the way she spoke.
“Sweetheart this is our third year anniversary and you need the best, I could take you to China itself for what it’s worth.” Nonso replied, cupping her face in his hands.
Bukunmi giggled nervously.
“Gimme a moment, you could order some wine.”
“It’s a surprise hun, just going to the car.” He said, placing a kiss on her forehead and then hurried out of the tremendous hall.
“Madam, Can I take your order now?”
“No, not yet I’m fine with the wine.” She paused, stealing a glance at her Swatch wristwatch, “he’ll be back soon.” Bukunmi replied anxiously as she had done thirty minutes ago but Nonso still wasn’t back yet. ‘He said he was going to take something from the car how long does that take?’ she asked herself. She got up and went to the parking lot, still no sign of Nonso-or the car. Where could he have gone to? She hurried back into the restaurant more uneasy.
“Hello? Nonso where are you? I’ve been waiting for almost an hour; you just left me all by myself.”
“Sorry but the owner of this phone was just involved in an accident. He’s in a bad state and we are rushing him to St. Nicholas Hospital.” Bukunmi disconnected and immediately started screaming. She sat on the chair holding her ears as tears rolled down her cheeks uncontrollably. This drew the attention of people around her; she ignored their voices asking if she was ok, all she could ask was directions to St. Nicholas Hospital.
“I’m here for Mr. Nonso he was rushed in here some minutes ago.” Bukunmi said, in a shaky voice.
“Ma please wait for the doctor in charge, he’ll soon be here.” The nurse said without looking at Bukunmi’s face twice. Bukunmi paced back and forth wiping off the tears in her eyes; all she could do was pray.
“Ms. Bukunmi?” A doctor called out from the reception.
“Yes! Yes! I’m here, how’s he doing? When can I see him?” Bukunmi asked abruptly, the words left her lips so quick she couldn’t mince her words before they erupted.
“Take it easy ma, he had this package on him.”
Bukunmi opened it and found a ring and a card attached to it that read ‘we only live once and with you in my life it’s going to be eternity, together forever’.
“We tried our best but we…”
Bukunmi walked away from the doctor, she wore the ring and stared at it for a while, and back at the doctor then smiled and started laughing hysterically making the doctor confused.
“You think he’s dead but he isn’t, I’m a doctor I can do something. Excuse me!” Bukunmi shouted angrily.
“Madam, please control yourself.”
“Nurse! Nurse!! Can I get some nurses here?! Hold her down!”
Bukunmi was strapped down and injected. She held on tight to the card until she could struggle no more; the voices around her went faint, images became blurred as she stared into the light, a flash of grieve like fire from an explosion swept through her as she glimpsed at future without Nonso, a vision so starkly illuminated and of such dreadful power that she blacked out.