Black Val – By Oyebisi Oyelami

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Magazine

Toni turned on her bed as the morning rays entered her room, she murmured some curses and opened her eyes before turning to her bedside clock. She smiled happily when she saw the time, in two hours at exactly ten in the morning, she would get to see her boyfriend.

It wasn’t the fact that the day was Valentine and they get to spend it together that aroused her, it was the fact that she was going to see him after three days. She couldn’t grasp the rationale behind his allude that they do without each other for three days and only get to see after on the forth day, when they were just few blocks away. But; she had agreed just to please him.

The three days had elapsed and it turned out they get to see on valentine. ‘Who knows, he might be planning a surprise for me and doesn’t want me to spoil it by coming to his place before val, he might actually want to propose,’ she thought excitedly to herself as she jumped out of bed.

“Good morning Dad, Good morning mom and happy Valentine,” she greeted her parents enthusiastically as she joined them in the dining area for breakfast. “Hey Tade, what’s up?” she turned to her younger brother who gave her a thumbs up.

“Morning honey,” her mother replied while her father nodded. “I checked on you when I woke up, but you were still deeply asleep, I guess it was due to your staying up late last night.” She smiled at her.

She nodded, taking her seat beside her mother impatiently. She toyed with her food, not really eating it out of excitement and anticipations. Her imaginations running wild, what her reaction would be when he proposed and the type of ring to expect, she sure do deserve a proposal after four years of dating.

 

“What’s wrong Olatoni?” Her mother asked, observing her lackadaisical attitude to her meal. She could tell something was up right from when she was walking towards them, her steps and the tone of her greetings definitely gave her away.

“Nothing mom, I’m fine,” she replied grinning from ear to ear.

“Why don’t I believe you?” her mother laughed. She knew whatever it was, there was no cause for alarm.

“Nothing really mom,” she smiled her eyes darting between her parents and brother. “It’s just that I think Josh might propose today.”

The table went silent, her parents shared glances and her brother gave her the ‘are you serious right now’ look, but she was too happy to notice.

“Olatoni darling,” her mother coughed. “How sure are you he would propose?”

Toni flaunted her left hand, beaming with happiness. “Well, he requested we shouldn’t get in touch till val, three days ago and with the look in his eyes that day, I could tell he was planning something special and he knows nothing would be so special to me right now other than a proposal.”

Her brother shook his head, obviously thinking his sister has lost it. “Dear sister, guys don’t think like you ladies do, dude might not even think of proposing in months.”

Toni scowled at her brother. “Shut up.”

“How old are you? Just twenty-four and you are so over the moon about marriage.”

Toni hissed. Sometimes she wondered if her brother understands the meaning of being five years older. “Will you kindly shut it, I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to mom and Dad.”

Her father laughed, he never gets tired of the two of them playing cat and dog. He knew it was a facade, the two can’t do without each other. “Olatade, it’s enough, let your sister be.” He turned to his daughter, “Josh is a very good guy, if he proposes, I totally agree and if not, give him more time.”

Toni frowned, she didn’t want to think of him not proposing, no he would propose, he has oo. She pushed back her food and stood. “Mom, Dad, I need to prepare for I and Josh’s outing, I love you guys.”

She eyed her brother and walked up the stairs without bothering to wait for her parents reply. When she’s back with the ring, she would listen to them.

Thirty minutes later, she admired the straight red, knee length backless gown she was putting on which hung tightly to her curvy figure as she stood in front of her dressing mirror. At twenty four, she would gladly say she has the right figure. Dark, yes that shinning dark skin, average height, dark long hair which she had tinted to give her a blonde look and her rare deep blue eyes, what more could she ask for. She gave her reflection one last look and slipped into her favorite silver heels before walking out of her room. She waved her parents goodbye as she walked past them in the living room.

She walked majestically into her car and put on the car stereo, shaking her body and singing along to Davido’s Nwa baby that was blasting from the stereo.

Few minutes later, she parked her Lexus RX 350 in Josh’s garage and half running, half walking made her way to his front door. She knocked the door which was answered by Josh’s sister.

“Hi Juan, how are you doing? Happy Valentine.” She greeted, oblivious to the girl’s sad look.

The girl didn’t reply her greetings but merely paved way for her to pass. Toni hissed mentally, it wasn’t her fault the girl didn’t have a date to go out with, was it? But she could care less, she was only there for Josh, she wouldn’t let his sister’s bad mood affect her.

She eyed the back view of the girl who had sat down on a couch staring into space and made her way upstairs to Josh’s room. A minute later, she was back downstairs with a worried look on her face.

“I’m sorry Juan, but do you have any idea where Josh is, he isn’t in his bedroom or bathroom.” She asked impatiently, how Josh could just go out knowing she would definitely be in his house soon.

The girl stood up and nodded. She dashed into one of the rooms and came back, holding a letter. “Yeah, he asked me to give you this when he was going out,” she said dully, giving her the paper.

Toni hastily tore the paper, busk to go and meet him wherever he was and give him a piece of her mind for playing her. She fell to the ground on reading the content of the paper, one drop, two drops, as her tears fell on the paper and turned to wailing.

Minutes later, she wiped her tears and read the content of the letter again. Believing she read wrong, she read it out loud expecting Juan to correct her.

Hey babe, I know you are mad at me for suggesting our three days break, but I was only trying to busk you for this day. Trust me babe, it was very selfish of me, I should have let you go a long time ago, but I couldn’t, I wanted to hold on to you, never to let you go.

Babe, I was diagnosed with a heart problem over a year ago, I know! I should have let go then, but I couldn’t. You are everything I needed and more, breaking up with you would take my life even before the disease do.

I’m sorry for being selfish, but I can’t blame me, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I couldn’t just let go. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I know you bae, you would start worrying over me and I didn’t want it, I don’t want you to stop living your best life just because of me, no babe, I want the best for you.

Mi amor like I always call you, if you ever get this letter, it means only one thing, I’m dead. I know you would cry but don’t cry too much, I want you to move on and find love again.

I didn’t propose even after giving me all the hints that you are ready because I didn’t want you to have a dead fiancé, a dead boyfriend is better than a dead fiancé. It’s better for people to say ‘her boyfriend died’ rather than ‘her fiancé died.’

I love you Olatoni Adriana Etobo, always and forever, even in death. Happy black Valentine.

                                              Signed

                                            Josh.

 

She looked up at Juan, expecting her to say she read the wrong letter or she read wrongly, but the girl’s own tears simply begin to flow as she nodded.

“He died yesterday after writing this letter. I wanted to tell you when his health deteriorated two days ago, but he begged me not to, he didn’t want you to worry.”

Toni increased the volume of her wailing as mucus started dripping from her nose. How could he? How could he leave her alone? Why didn’t he tell her? Why did he have to suffer alone? How could her engagement dayl turn to something else? What proposal? she doesn’t want him to propose anymore, she only wants him to come back to her, to tell her he was only playing a prank on her, she wouldn’t mind, she would forgive him.

She looked at the girl again, maybe her look would give her away, maybe she would tell her it was only a prank she planned to play on her with Josh, but one look at the girl said otherwise. She broke down in tears again as Juan wrapped her arms around her in comfort, her own tears mirroring hers.

 

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