“ I love you,” he whispered from across the table, it was their third date, he had only met her a month ago, but he knew that she was the one, that she held his lost rib. He says he just knew, that he got a deep feeling.
We are talking over the phone it is quarantine season and with everything shut down due to corona, he called me due to sheer boredom to tell me this story, he asks if I can put it down on paper for him and of course I agree, lifes experiences are meant to be shared.
“Don’t you think you shared the feelings too soon? you only knew this woman for a month!” I quickly jump into asking him.
“Yes, I know I did, but I am an empath, after years of meeting numerous women, I could spot a good one, just as easily as a lion spots the gazelle in the savannah, she was something. I had been praying for a while, I am a staunch believer in love but love has not always been kind to me. And then there she was, a beautiful woman. She landed on my lap like an answered prayer. The kind of woman you start pursue with prayer because the chances of winning are slim.
I remember the first time I saw her, like it was yesterday. She came to pick up some documents at the office, of course this was pre-corona. I happened to be in the lobby then, it was an early Monday morning, everyone hates Monday but I love my job so Monday is like the beginning of a brand new weekend to me.”(😒🙄 really??)
“Huh…. aren’t you lucky?” I whispered as a twinge of jealousy and joy filled my heart. “The world is evolving to a more fulfilled human society,” I added as I urged him to go on, as I walked on the grass barefoot, my earphones on set.
“She had a red high waiste skirt, that gripped her curves like she was on a mission to remind me of my loneliness, a black top and a blazer. What captured all my attention were her eyes, she had a light that cannot be bought. The eyes made me stop at the lobby asking if she had already been served, I was lucky, she had not been attended to yet, and so I took the time to help, it has never been on my job description, but this day it felt like a necessity.
I took my time engaging her in small talk and twenty minutes later, just as the rest of the office was streaming in for work, she was headed out, a satisfied client, I slipped my card to her asking her to call me if she needed any help, she didn’t call that day, or the day after, I got anxious, I dreamt about her, I wanted her so badly, but I needed her to come to me and so I prayed and let go of the outcome. I am a man rejection comes with life.
Two weeks later, on a Friday evening, just as I was getting home to drown my lonely self in some good whiskey, she called, asking if I had plans for weekend. I didn’t lie, I didn’t have time to play games with her, a woman like her needed a serious man and I was ready to step up, there was something about her, something I could not put my finger on.
I don’t know if you believe in ‘the soul mate thing’, but most women do, she made me believe in these things. A month later after being practically inseparable, even work did not give me this much. I was in love, fully immersed in her, a gift sent to me by God…..hmmm….he paused or so I thought.” He paused a long pause as if recounting his moves.
“Three months into dating I was already online shopping, for a ring, I ordered one from Dubai, it took a month to get here and in the fifth month of dating, she said yes, of course she said yes, I am quiet a catch considering the remarkable low dating standards set aside by the current generation 😅😪.It was a happy candle lit Champaign dinner, just the two of us, it was followed by a photoshoot a million pictures online to announce our love, I was happy, she was happy.
We went to see her parents a week later, carrying gifts and the joyful news of our love that we hoped would be cemented with their blessings. The news was received, there was no joy, just a solemn warning and remarks of how it would discussed. I wondered what was there to be discussed but I lay the matter to rest, I am always a hopeful person.
She had warned me that her parents were staunch believers and followers of traditions.
They got back to us, asking for a proper introduction, you know, the ruracios, I was excited to be a part of this new tradition, I believe our ancestors started this tradition, for the bonding of the two parents. Having been a companion to many of my friend’s ceremonies, I was glad that I had finally gotten a chance to involve my friends and elder relatives in my love.
She was elated, she called me that morning telling me of how she couldn’t wait to go back home fully mine.I never got to pick her up.” Silence there was a long silence, perhaps it was the grief in his heart that he was still adressing.
“What happened?” I asked dreading the answer from the other side of the phone.
“Well, we did get there, with our cars, crates of soda, unga, you know, all the little gifts people carry to these events, I had accumulated my savings, about three hundred thousand, I did not expect the money asked for to be more, as I said I have been to a few of my friend’s events. But once the crates were put on the floor and the ululations quieted down, the negotiations started, I knew at that moment that I could not afford the wife I wanted. 😔
They wanted 5 million shillings, apparently they thought I was some type of millionare because of what I did. I was shocked, at first, my jaw dropped as I wondered whether this was an investment opportunity for the parents or were they just playing with my fragile heart?
According to African customs dowry was supposed to be a continous process, that solidifies the relationships between the two families, but here I was being asked for money that would take me atleast a year to accumulate and even so, I would have to break my back for it.
My older uncle who was the family expert negotiator was the purse I had carried. We negotiated for hours, the parents excuse was that this girl was unsoiled, that she had an honourable masters and that she was on her way to financial greatness. They repeated all the good qualities of the girl I loved, I knew these qualities, they part of the reason why we were there, but I could never have thought that these qualities would have been the reason why I wouldn’t get to be with the soulmate I thought I had gained.
After what seemed like a lifetime negotiation, they agreed to a yearly payment plan, of three million shillings, the money would be paid in small portions within three years, at this point I was beginning to doubt myself, sometimes you look at the family you are going to marry into and you can stipulate a decade of ulcers and depression ahead.
“Had you talked to your fiance’ about these things?” I jumped in, in my shock.
“Yes, we had discussed this in detail, she had two elder sisters and they had all gotten out of the dowry negotiation scandle quite unscathed. They brought their husbands home with their babies at hand. They were called soiled, a goat that had broken legs! 🙄 The charges were minimum because they were already a couple of years into the marriage.”
“Didn’t you want to consider that option?” I asked bluntly picking at his thorn.
“I did, but my girl wanted to do this right, I did too, we had come this far to find each other and I needed all the blessings I could get for our union, I told you I was deep in love, this girl has engulfed me in her perfectness and her charm.
We left them the three hundred thousand and the gifts, I did not even have fuel money for the rest of the month. The truth of the matter is I had expected a favourable payment system to be agreed upon, it was always a friendly family negotiation in my past experiences, until my turn came and it turned into a business deal.
I did not get to go home with my woman that night, I didn’t mind, she needed to help in the clean up of our supposed ceremony. I didn’t mind, I didn’t know how I would have been able to feed her that month, because her parents took her food and our lifestyle and they were about to do that for the next three years like a ticking clock, I had to pay up.
N came back home, by this time we were cohabiting, the air was different though, she wouldn’t talk about the events of the dowry, every time I brought the issue up, she said that it was something to be discussed by men. She shut me out, maybe because she was afraid of the parents, there was always a perfection expectation from her.
I got resentful because this was something that was bugging me, I remember having a fight with her one Friday night when I was exhausted and she was in a mood. She called me out for not being man enough to pay for her.
It affected me, you hear this all the time but as cliché as it is, its true, never emasculate your man, especially on things that he is tirelessly working on to make better. She never supported me from that time onwards she would always call me names, I felt less of a man every time I went back home, and we were not even married yet! We still had two more negotiations and I was working the clock to gather enough money to sustain our livelihood and pay her parents, the office became my bae again, I found solace in my work, but this time it was not the joy I originally had. This was money motivated not my passion anymore.
My home was becoming, just a house with an extremely beautiful woman I had no idea how to love anymore.
The second negotiations came through, I carried my friends and my uncle, but this time when the negotiations started, I no longer wanted it, it was as if my heart left when they started stating all the beautiful qualities my supposed future wife carried, this time they no longer made me happy, they made me sad, I excused myself in the middle of it. I went to the bathroom to cry like a Kenyan man, alone in silence.
An hour later I was back this time with a different goal, I asked to return their perfect girl, for I was no longer in search for perfection but for peace, for myself, for true love.
Thank you so much for stopping by, have a lovely rest of the week ahead. Stay safe and guard your heart.
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