You knew I was gonna post a Valentine Special right? Happy Vals Day y’all. Enjoy
Oreoluwa’s eyes kept going to the entrance of her office. How could Steve fall her Yoruba hand like this?
The day had started perfect. He had called her first thing in the morning to wish her Happy Valentine, and then sang her favorite song “Olo Mi”, by Tosin Martins. She felt like the luckiest girl in the world to have such a wonderful man.
They say most moneyed men aren’t caring men, except in the lavishing of their money. Steve was the antithesis of such a theory. He was moneyed with a capital M and C.A.R.I.N.G all the way. God, she gushed again, feeling supremely lucky that morning.
All that had changed as the day had worn on. She had got him that painting she had heard him talk obsessively about getting and the gallery had delivered it to his office that morning. It had cost her a small fortune (as a poor Nigerian banker, forget all those that think bankers have money) but the fulfillment she felt when he called her to say thank you effusively had removed any doubt she had about if it had been money well spent. Now, it was two hours to closing time, her table was still empty. Fatima, her colleague and Riskat, the office tatafo were at her desk now, acting like a couple of documentary directors, filming the state of her table for future reference. Kai, the rest of her body fell with her hand.
“So Steve never perform?” Riskat said in her annoying little girl voice. “But the guy is having now, abi una quarrel?”
“Mind your business, tatafo!” Oreoluwa shot in anger.
“Temper, temper…” Fatima said, flaunting her ring. Her boyfriend, Alex, had come to the office today to dramatically propose to her in front of everybody. Internal Ore slapped Fatima inside, but externally, she smiled and said “no o, this Riskat is just a nonsense girl ni jare. Steve is definitely a performer.” She said the performer with a naughty smile, insinuating performances of another kind. They all laughed.
“Yes o, I remember last year now,” Fatima said
“As in en, he was sending you gifts every hour all day, with each gift being bigger than the last! Chai, I was green with envy.” Riskat chipped in.
“Risi o! You no dey forget!” Ore said.
“Haaa, one does not forger ‘performances’ like that in a hurry,” Riskat said with meaning.
Their Divisional Head called Fatima, and Riskat dissolved to her desk in a hurry. It was appraisal season and no one wanted to look like a farfer to the DH. The man was notorious for declining promotions for flimsy reasons
As with days when you are waiting for something, the day went by painfully slowly, and with each tick of the clock, Oreoluwa’s anger built up. Steve was soooo gonna get it.
Five thirty, and she began to pack her things to go home, trying to avoid Fatima and Riskat, and sneak out quickly. Her phone rang and the ring tone immediately told her it was Steve.
“What?” she said
“An an, are we fighting? Anyway, I’m outside your office o,” Steve’s sultry baritone came over the phone.
“Really?” she chuckled gaily, her countenance immediately lighting up.
“Yeah baby. Oh, and it’s not the car you’re used to. It’s a new car, a Honda Crosstour.”
“I’ll be out in a minute,” she said and hung up.
Of course, Riskat had figured out who she had been talking to and was beside her already. Fatima had spotted Riskat and followed.
“So?” Riskat asked with raised eyebrows.
“So, he is here to take me out! And you are going to gerrout and let me go, and wait for the gist tomorrow!” Oreoluwa said, as she breezed past the duo and out of the office.
She easily found the sleek black car Steve and described, it stood out amongst the cars in their car park. She got into the car and flung her arms around a startled Steve, eternally grateful that he had come to rescue her from what would have been a year of endless taunting from Fatima and Riskat about her dry val if he hadn’t come.
He took the cue and kissed her firmly on the lips before she spared the car thing a thought. “What happened to your car?” she asked.
“Oh, nothing is wrong with it, just decided to give myself a treat this valentine.”
Then without another word, he turned up the volume of the radio and began listening to his favorite sports program. Ore wondered if he had failed to notice the look of “what about me” she put on. Knowing Steve, he hadn’t failed to notice, he had just chosen to ignore it. She decided to rest it and just enjoy whatever outing he had planned for them.
She worked in Marina and lived in Surulere. When he drove on Marina up to the end of the road, she assumed they were just trying to make a connect to Victoria Island, to some nice getaway spot. So when he turned the car and ascended Eko Bridge, the opposite direction of going into VI, to face Surulere, she realized they weren’t going into VI. She wanted to protest, but she controlled herself, telling herself that there was probably some place on the mainland he had something planned in.
Thankfully, traffic was uncharacteristically light and they were descending the bridge into Western Avenue and connecting stadium in no time. The closer they got to Surulere, the bigger the rage growing within her was growing.
When they turned into her street, the dam burst and the volcano erupted.
“Where are we going, Steve?” she asked quietly.
He turned down the volume of the radio and asked “What did you say?”
“I said,” she said, clenching her fists together in anger “where are we going?”
“Ah, you don’t recognize your own street again? I’m taking you home now, which kind of question is that?” Steve asked, miffed.
“Why the hell will you be just taking me home Steve? You could get yourself a car, but couldn’t spare a thought for me abi? Nothing planned? Nothing! And me I went out of my way to make you happy this vals day. You know how much these things mean to me and yet didn’t do anything.”
Steve turned to her, obviously angry “so it’s now a case of do me I do you abi? You bought a val gift, only because you expected me to buy you one?” he asked.
“Stop turning the words Steve, I know you are good at that, but you know that’s not what I mean! I just mean… arrrrgh!” she said, short of words to adequately express her frustration.
Steve was very angry by now. He pulled the car over and put the gear on park, and then got out of the car. Then he got down from the car and started walking away.
She struggled and unstrapped her seatbelt. By the time she came down, she saw him getting into another car and it zoomed off before she could say Jack Robinson. What was happening? Why had Steve left her like this? To say she was confused would be an understatement. Who had he left with?
She went back to the car to get her phones so she could call him. if this was how it was going to end, so be it. It was when she got to the car that she saw a note on the driver’s seat from which he had just gotten up.
Even from her seat, she could see it was addressed to her. She quickly picked it and unfurled the paper. Here’s what it said
“So I knew you would blow up before we got home, so I had my own car follow us. Hehehe. And if you’re still wondering what I got you for valentine, you’re reading this note inside it. Happy valentine dear. And try to dey coolu temper. Love you loads.
PS, open the glove compartment.”
She shrieked in delight, and yanked the glove compartment open. In it, was a ring. At that moment, his car pulled up beside her and he jumped down and went on one knee and asked – “would you be my wife?”