The Proposal That Never Was

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The day was a Val’s day. The date was 14 February, 1999. It was a Sunday, a very hot afternoon. I remember the day very clearly because what I heard took my breath away. Did I say it took my breath away? It didn’t only take my breath away. It made me…it made me believe there are people who still believe in the power of love. There are people who still see what love actually is and are able to allow themselves drown in the ever flowing brooks of love.

18 years ago, I visited my senior brother in one of the universities. As I was about entering his residence hall, I saw this lone woman sitting on one of the lover’s bench close to the entrance. Her hands were tucked in between her thighs as she looked sternly on the road as if she was looking up to the coming of someone.

Before I could enter the residence hall, she gave me a signal to come to her. When I got to her she asked; “are you going up there?” I answered in the affirmative. “Tell Kobby I’m still here waiting.” She said. She looked like a woman who’s troubled. Something about her didn’t look right. She kept talking to herself, throwing her fingers in the air as if talking to an unseen being. I walked away to see my brother.

“Is there anyone here called Kobby” I asked my brother. “There’s a woman down there waiting to see him.” “Kobby? No!” My brother answered. “A woman gave you a message for him?” I answered yes. He looked down through the window to see who the woman was. Then he said: “ow that woman! Don’t take her seriously. She doesn’t sound right in the head.”

He said that with the sound of cautiousness in his voice. That cautiousness drew me to ask my next question: “How did you know she’s not sound? Do you know her?” “Ow, who around this place doesn’t know this woman?” he asked rhetorically. “This is her season. She comes here every valentine’s day to wait for Kobby.”
This is her story as my brother told me:

My brother wasn’t there when it happened. He was told by someone who also wasn’t there when the story happened. It’s a popular story that seems to come up every Val’s day because the woman comes around. Kobby was her boyfriend. She trusted him a lot. There was no promise Kobby made to her that he didn’t keep. Every word, every sentence and every punctuation was kept till there was no promise left.

Their love was in the eye of the public. They let it show. They held hands when they moved around together. None did anything without the other. When one closed from a lecture, he/she goes to the other’s lecture hall and wait till his/her lecture was done so they could fly together. Morning, afternoon, evening, night, dawn, another morning always came to meet these two together. Such was the depth of their love.

One Valentine’s Day, like today is, the rumor around was that Kobby was finally going to propose with a promise ring. The woman had the hint too. She couldn’t wait for the occasion. Finally, Kobby was going to honor their love with something significant. She’d been waiting for that moment. The moment was ripe, finally.

That night when they finally met, Kobby sat her on the bench (that same bench she was sitting on) and asked her to wait for him. He was going to dress up and join her so they could go out. Kobby entered the hall and never came back.

“I will be with you soon” was turning to be forever. The woman got restless but there was no sign of Kobby. She kept giving messages to people entering the hall (just like she gave me) to deliver to Kobby just in case they found him. None of the messages brought back a happy tiding.

Then, some minutes before the clock ticked 12am, she heard the news: Kobby wasn’t ever going to come back…never ever! Kobby died!

Kobby wanted to impress her love that night. He wanted to make the proposal spectacular. He, therefore, went for a friend’s car to be used for the night. On his way coming to meet her woman with the surprise, he had a surprise call from death. The car he was driving collided with an oncoming vehicle. He was over-speeding. He might have thought he’d been keeping her lady waiting for a very long time. He couldn’t make it.

Since then, this lady had been coming here every valentine to look to the cometh of Kobby. Look to the coming of a lover who wasn’t going to come anyway. Her trust in Kobby had never waned. She’d always trusted him. Even in death, she still trusted.

There was more to this story than anybody could ever tell. What could make a woman trust this deep and this desperately? All the times she spoke to herself that people thought she for being delusional, who was she talking to? The flowers she received on her birthday every year after the incidence, who was sending it?

Many years after our encounter, I kept thinking about her. Just like today, I’m sitting in front of my computer and thinking about her.

One day, a lucid morning on a valentine’s day, I decided to pass by the campus and find her. Find her and take the message from her once more. Maybe I could ask and find the depth of her faith. Maybe, by touching her, I could have a little bit of her faith transmitted to me. Maybe…

I got there and ask: “has she been here today?” The answer was this: “For two years she didn’t come by. The following year, the news came that she’d passed on.”

Finally she succumbed to finitude. Just like every one of us will, someday. But she isn’t going to be lonely. She had a Kobby waiting for her on the other side. I can imagine Kobby happy as he welcome her in an opened arms. I can imagine her asking him; “why did you leave me lonely that night? Why couldn’t you keep your word?” Then I could hear him answer; “I never left you. I’ve been with you through it all.”

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