Life, it seems, has its best and worst of times. These times can be traced back to but a few moments. Therein, the actors as on a stage, awe the watching world with their unfolding drama. From time to time, most take a walk down memory lane and revisit such moments. Some moments they would rather quickly forget, impossible as it may seem and some they would cherish ceaselessly and give anything to relive them over and over again. Looking back over my shoulder, I cannot help but reminisce of the latter kind.
There she was looking lovely as ever. She was the finest specimen of the human race that mine eyes had ever laid upon. It was that time of the year when that university on the great hill was opening its iconic iron gates to its students. By an unseen hand of providence,we travelled in the same bus and sat side by side. A hearty conversation ensued. We virtually talked about everything under the sun; our past-its failures and successes, our hopes and dreams for the future, family and friends, power and politics… First in low tones and then in charming crescendos as we excitedly found we had a lot in common. I tried very hard to avoid our eyes meeting. The emotion was just too much. It is the sort that a child feels at the kindness of a stranger, only this time it was much more intense. The warnings melt away and that distinctive intuition tells the child, “this “stranger” is the long-time friend that I have never met.” And there, a bond is created that is forged into a marvellous relationship. I have always enjoyed a good book on a long journey. It was my way of travelling to worlds beyond through the lives of men and women written therein. However, on this day, I was enchanted by this living book that I just couldn’t put down. Every word she spoke rang with an angelic tone. I couldn’t get enough of them. In the few moments of silence-like when she gazed at the African sunset-I stole surreptitious glances at her. She had unparalleled grace and poise. Her shiny black hair was well bundled at the back of her head and her rosy cheeks revealed slight dimples when she smiled. Several times she caught me and several times I blushingly looked away. However, this one moment our eyes locked. Time stood still. I recalled all that I ever wished for in a woman. I recalled the few moments we chatted in high school and why I had grown to respect her and yes, even fear her. In that slice of time, that mesmerizing moment, I knew this was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. When and how that was to be realized, I was soon to find out.
I will never forget that terrific Tuesday as long as I live. Sitting in my room, chatting with a neighbour, my phone rang. On seeing the caller’s name, blood rushed through my veins. After calming my silly self down, I picked it up trying to sound casual as if I was expecting her call.
“Hi Evans, I’ve just arrived. Are you at your place?”
“Yep and am doing a lot of nothing except catching up with my neighbour.”
“Can I come over?”
I looked towards the heavens and moved my lips inaudibly, “Thank you!”
“Sure. I’ll be waiting.”
I put the phone down and did a Shaka Zulu dance around the room to the amazement and pleasure of my neighbour. After a while, a soft knock came through my door. Knowing who it might be, I took a deep breath and opened it. She smiled coyly. I almost forgot my manners by not asking her to come in. We hugged and got down to some catching up. It had been a while since we last met. At the back of my mind, I knew there was something delightfully different about this evening. I could not quite place my finger on what it was until she popped the question. No not that one! It was too early for the M-word. Besides, should it have been, the onus was not on her but on me.
“Evans, What are we?” She asked ever so tenderly.
Now there are certain times in a man’s life when he wishes the earth would open and swallow him alive; when caught in an adulterous affair, when declared bankrupt, when named in the Ocampo list, when sleeping and drooling in a public transport vehicle with his head resting on a stranger’s shoulder in the next seat, …or when on the verge of something beautiful that it is too good to be true.
“We are friends, though deep down we know we are more than just friends. I would not be too quick to call us lovers but I have to admit that the thought of you and I together has crossed my mind. Once, twice…well, maybe every other time. I was hoping that this evening might be the beginning of something beautiful-you and I”
How I wish those were the smooth words that came out of my mouth. Instead, I spewed out a deluge of incoherent gibberish that left her in stitches. She had not understood a thing I said. I could not blame her. Neither had I. God must have sympathized with the predicament His boy found himself in. That was why He made her understand my heart. That it was in the right place and we (her and I) were “good to go”. That marked the beginning of a most fulfilling commitment.
I travel ahead of time and see us sitting in the front porch of our humble abode. We are happily married. We have raised our children in the way of the Lord. They have grown, flew out of the nest and are testing their wings in a cold world with their Maker watching over them lest they stray. In retrospect, I muse over the series of moments that led to this grand finale. As I do, a tear rolls down my left cheek. I quickly wipe it away; tug the one that I love closer and thank God that He dared give me Lucy.