He proposed to me in May, a morning when I’d woken up to face a new day, I saw his lengthy proposal on my Whatsapp. I wasn’t sure about him so I took some time to think about it. During those times, he came around often, he brought gifts, he brought fun, he brought care. He became everything in one person, one person who has everything I wanted in a man so, in early June, I said yes to him. Just a week later, he came to my place looking like he had been beaten by something larger than him.
“What’s the matter with you?”
“Your aunt? Yeah, what’s up with your aunt?”
“She was only sick for a few days. Today they called to tell me she’s dead.”
He then buried his head in his palm and started sobbing. I’m that bad when it comes to helping someone who’s grieving or someone in pain. I didn’t know what to do. “Should I give him a hug? Should I kiss him? A man sobbing like that?” I was confused just as I was concerned. I reached out for his hand and said, “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m so sorry. I wish there’s something I can do for you to feel better.” He kept sobbing and started talking about his aunt fondly.
She was the one who took care of him until he completed secondary school. When the going got hard for his mom, it was the same aunt who came to their rescue. “She had her own kids but the kind of love she had for me was extraordinary. At some point, she had to sell her belongings so I could pay my fees.” He said and broke into sobs again. I picked him up from the chair he was sitting on and hugged him. He didn’t want to let go. He stopped sobbing at some point as he tried to squeeze me. And then he started touching me at places that suggested he wanted something. I thought, “If that will make him feel better, then why not?”
We had our first shuperu that day. Sadness makes a man sober but not sober enough not to want shuperu. He was energetic, he kept going up and down like I was his last meal. After that, I kept saying sorry until he went into deep thought and later left.
They travelled to their hometown the following day. While there, it became very hard to reach him. Calls didn’t go through and the ones that went through, he didn’t pick up. Later in the evening, he called to explain. It was about the low reception in their village. “I have to leave the phone where reception is strong so I can see missed calls and call back. He spent four days in their hometown. When he came back, it became very hard to see him. After work, he would call to tell me something about his aunt’s funeral and how it was going. For two weeks I didn’t see him but we spoke on the phone and texted.
A week before the funeral, he came to my place again. He was looking haggard, the death of his aunt really did something to him. I said, “You look lean. He answered, “I know. I’ve been thinking about her a lot. Her death hits me harder than I thought I could.” He came to tell me about the funeral arrangements and also ask if I would be attending the funeral. I had work to go to so I couldn’t follow him. I said, “I’ll try and come on Saturday morning and leave Sunday after church. You know there’s work to attend.” He understood me. He kissed me and our second shuperu happened.
He left the following day to their village. Again, it was hard to reach him until he called me on Friday evening giving me directions to his hometown. It is a four-hour drive but I was determined to be there for him and also felt it was an opportunity for me to meet his family.
I was there early Saturday morning and he smiled immediately after he saw me. His face looked like he hadn’t smiled in ages. He took my hand and led me in to meet his mom and other family members. They were happy to see me and I was happy to help around. I was there when he brought me tea and bread. I told him, “I’m not a tea person. Plus I ate something on my way coming so I’m good. Maybe later.” He carried it back and disappeared into the crowd. I was with his family, helping them prepare the food and running the errands I could run. Later in the day, he brought jollof. I told him, “How can you bring me food when I’m at the place where the food is being prepared? Just go ahead and function. I’m fine.”
The body was carried to the cemetery and he went with them. I didn’t see him again until later in the evening when he passed by briefly to ask if I was OK. In the evening, he took me to a room I had to share with her sisters. They were all happy to have me there and we had a great night talking and gossiping. The following day, I left the village early so I can get home early and prepare for work. He was the one who took me to the station and bade me goodbye. He came back to town three days later.
He didn’t call or tried to see me. I was the one who called before he told me he was in town. “So you wouldn’t have called if I didn’t call? You know how hard it was to reach you while there so if you’re in town, you ought to call and tell me.” He didn’t say anything. He made me feel like I was talking too much. From there everything changed. He wouldn’t call or text until I did. When I called and he picked up, he’ll give me excuses and hang up. He kept doing that for days so I started asking questions, “Is there anything wrong? The funeral is over so I expect things to be better than it is.” He said, “I’m fine. Just a little thinking here and there but I’m OK.”
I was begging him to come and see me. He’ll agree to come but won’t turn up. He won’t even call to explain why. I’m not a child and it wasn’t my first relationship. I knew enough to know when a man is drifting away. I went to his place unannounced one day. I told him, “I’m here to ask only one question. Don’t tell me it’s nothing because I’m not going to take that answer. What have I done to you? Have I unknowingly said something bad to you? Why this sudden change?”
I probed all day and this guy won’t give me anything concrete. He kept saying all was well and I shouldn’t work myself the way I was doing. Later in the evening, he sent me a lengthy message telling me what was wrong. At the tail end, he said, “My mom felt very disappointed that you’ll come all the way and not eat anything. It’s like you find them disgusting to eat their food. She doesn’t like you and I can’t continue to be in a relationship with a woman my mother doesn’t like.”
I’d wanted to laugh but the message was so annoying to draw laughter from me. I called him. Minutes later he was so angry he was shouting at me on the phone. “I’m beginning to suspect you’re the reason I’m facing this bad luck. Immediately you came into my life, my aunt died. Who else is going to die? It’s true what they say, it’s not every woman we take home. And you’ll come to a funeral and behave like you’re the daughter of Dangote so you don’t mingle with the lowly. Who do you think you are?”
I was like, “Is this all because I didn’t eat funeral Jollof or there’s something else I don’t know?”
He cut the call and blocked me. It was like a funny dream. I decided not to pursue him or even do anything. I took it as a bad emotional investment, I cut my losses and moved on. Over three months later, he unlocked me. He commented on my status. I blocked him. He called trying to talk lengthy, I blocked him. To me, he died the very day he cut the call on me and blocked me. Dead people remain in the grave, he’s not Jesus to rise up again from the dead.