Most people fear self-disintegration; giving parts of themselves away. Nosa isn’t one of such people. She leaves pieces of herself everywhere she goes and with everyone she meets, literally and otherwise. She took off her earrings everywhere. You’d find them wedged between sofas and laying on tables. Most times it was just one. One lonely earring in the kitchen while it’s partner lay in the bathroom. She’s not afraid to love and love until she has no more room in her heart. She gave of herself until she had nothing that was hers anymore, but she didn’t mind. She hadn’t been incredibly lucky in love but in her late twenties, she was becoming comfortable with loving people who were not a male partner. Now she told people who asked in that Nigerian ‘your-personal-life is-ours-to-share’ way with a smile “Love will come when it will. In the meantime, there’s life to love”.
They met at a hotel where Nosa was attending a friend’s birthday dinner and from where Tobi was leaving after a conference with his boss which had run overtime, as usual. Nosa would tell her friends that it was his warm handshake and that voice that made her feel ensconced in a warmth that she’d never imagined existed. She was home, she said. He was home. When she got home that evening, she smiled remembering the first words he’d ever said to her “red becomes you”. She wasn’t unaccustomed to men staring and complimenting her but sometimes she wished they put a little more thought into their words. She wished they’d let the words cook in them, until they were ready, well done.
Tobi had not met a girl with looks as intriguing as Nosa’s in a very long time. Beautiful was not quite the word to describe her. She was fascinating to behold. The high forehead and eyes that looked like they’d never beheld nakedness. It was the languorous way her smile started until it lit her eyes up and he forgot his own name. The way she thanked him was kind, like “it’s okay, I wasn’t expecting much better from you anyway”. His heart had begun to race at the sudden realization that she was walking in already, leaving him still transfixed and having obviously said she was not impressed. He suppressed the impulse tearing at his throat to utter one of his famous pick up lines. Instead he said “I find you fascinating and I’d love the chance to find better words to describe you”. She had stopped, turned, smiled that slow smile and said “And?”. “I’d really really love to get your number”. He made a mental note to have better words planned out the next time they spoke.
Falling in love is not usually something everyone can articulate and people are often left speechless and full of words all at once. Until Nosa began to date Tobi, she’d never understood this. She had never met a single man with whom she always had a good time even if it was simply laying on the floor of his flat together when the Lagos heat got too much or watching him sing to himself while he washed his car. He made her heart fill her chest. He made her regret ever giving out any piece of herself, good or not before she’d gotten a chance to love him because she wanted him to be her history, wanted him to be all that had ever existed. But, we don’t always get what we wish for. They’d been together for six months when she asked him if he’d found a few good words to describe her yet.
Tobi was ready. He’d never been more ready.
“you are a work of art, so incredibly worthy to be beheld and adored. your love is a dream from which I never want to be awakened and your smile is sunshine over a thousand meadows. beautiful is not enough to describe you because you are not simply beautiful, you are many layers of interesting and smart and kind and giving and beautiful does not stand a chance describing you. Nosa, I’m going to need you to marry me because I never want you to not be in my life”
“This isn’t all of it, but I’ve been writing this for six months, I gotta have something for the vows; can’t give it all away”
She laughed a delirious kind of laughter and said “Thank you”.
And this time, he didn’t see dismissal.