Merry Christmas guys. Because Christmas is a time of love, I hope you enjoy this.
PS. I hate the title (it’s lazy and boring), but I just couldn’t come up with anything else in time.
I sat in front of the mirror in my room, really edgy. I had a date in two hours and I was a nervous wreck. Mum walked in, stood behind me and smiled.
“You look really lovely”
I didn’t think so. I thought the dress was boring. Nothing about it yelled sophisticated and that was the look I was going for. It was a knee-length black dress with gold patterns in the middle, from top to bottom
“I don’t know mum. The dress doesn’t make me look like a strong, sophisticated woman. I feel like just another girl.”
Mum smiled and wiped off a bead of sweat that clung to the side of my face.
“You’ll never be just another girl darling. Ola’m, you are precious, you are gold.”
“Then why did it take him this long to ask to meet me?”
My fears were legit. We had been chatting steadily for six months without seeing each other and each time I tried to ask for a meet up, he turned me down. And then two weeks ago, he sent me an email saying he would be in Lagos and would like to have brunch with me on Christmas day.
I nearly fell off my seat in excitement.
Mum and I spent two days in search of the perfect dress and shoes and jewelry before we finally agreed on what I had on. But I was really nervous. What if he met me and decided to not contact me again? What if he wasn’t impressed by me?
“Ola,” mum’s voice sounded like Jesus speaking calm to the storm
“Don’t stress. If you weren’t important to him, you would not be meeting at all. He’s been busy but he’s made out time to meet with you. That should tell you something”
I sighed. My all-knowing mother. She had to be right. Mothers know everything right?
I remembered when we first started talking. Mum seemed skeptical about him but as I warmed up to him, she seemed to relax as well. Now when my faith failed me, she was my source of strength.
I hugged her really tight and smudged her white blouse with my Black Opal powder. She looked at it and laughed.
“I hope for his sake, he’s not wearing a white shirt.”
I laughed too
“Calm down Ola. I’m sure this will go well. Just text me with updates as much as you can.”
“And you? What will you be doing today?”
We always spent Christmas together. It would be our first time of spending the day apart.
“Oh, I’ll finish the baking and watch a movie or two till you get back. Don’t you worry about me.”
45 minutes later, I was all dressed up and there was a car waiting downstairs but he wasn’t in it. I smiled. Class? Swag? Or just Pride?
I got to the Oriental hotel in no time and I was led to a table. He stood up as I approached him and my feet faltered.
There is something about knowing someone through pictures and finally meeting them for the first time. And you realize that pictures for the most part do not do enough justice to looks.
The man who stood in front of me, Segun Akinwande was definitely finer and taller than the pictures I’d seen. My breath caught and I swallowed hard. Maybe agreeing to this meeting wasn’t such a good idea. I reduced my pace as I walked towards him and kept saying to myself that I could turn around and just run.
As though he sensed my doubts, he walked out from behind the table and covered the distance between us.
I couldn’t respond. I had tears in my eyes.
It had taken me 22 years and finally, here we were. I swallowed hard and tried to speak
My voice was a whisper, but he heard it. He pulled me close and hugged me tight.
I had so many questions. So many things I needed to know. Like why he left my mum before I was born and why he never wanted to see me even though he sent money for my upkeep regularly. I needed to know why he didn’t reach out to me until a year ago when I found him on twitter, why it took him several months to follow me back or engage me… There was so much. I had several whys.
I pulled back from him and saw the slightest traces of tears in his eyes as he led me to my seat.
“You look just like your mother when I first met her.”
I smiled through the tears leaking from my eyes.
“Mum says I have your eyes.”
We sat across from each other and he smiled at me.
“Indeed you do.”
My hands were shaky.
“I have so much to say to you dad but it’s like my brain just froze.”
He laughed really loud and held my hands
“We could go sit in the sun for your brain to thaw. We have all day.”
I laughed and sniffed.
“But let me say something first. I know you have a lot of questions and hopefully, I can answer them when they come. The reason I stalled meeting you was because I didn’t know where to start fixing what I had damaged.
So I decided to wait for Christmas. Because it is the season of love and forgiveness and happiness and laughter. And I wanted my first meeting with you to be perfect and memorable.”
The tears came running down again
“Before you were born Ola, I loved you. But sometimes we make really bad choices and our actions do not reflect what we really feel. I do want to make things right. I really do.
Can we start over?”