Out of sight may be out of mind for some people, however, this saying wasn’t applicable to Femi and Shade.
Femi and Shade’s love could neither be obstructed by distance nor time apart. Though it tarried physically, but the strong bond between them weathered every storm.
They grew each day, so fond of each other. And as their love bloomed, time appeared patient with them. Some nights they’d stay up chatting over the phone, and other days they’d exchange love letters. Shade couldn’t wait to be done with school; she just couldn’t imagine her life without Femi in it.
And just as she’d longed for the end of her tertiary education; the time finally came. She was overjoyed and couldn’t hold the news to herself. She invited both old and new friends to her graduation party. And of course! Femi was very much present.
Aftermath of the party took place in a private lodge outside campus, and it was mad fun for the lovebirds and their friends. A few ticks after midnight saw an end to the party and everyone was retired to their resting places. Shade and Femi had a luxurious room waiting upstairs for them; courtesy of Femi.
They made love like lovers on their honeymoon. It was a passionate night, the intensity was explosive; it was as though “they’ve been led out of Egypt” like the Israelites. Then again, this particular night was a Top-Up to their very first night. However, another beautiful memory was again created. Though the night tarried, but not slow enough to have prevented dawn from being birthed.
The morning sun peeped through the curtain blind, as its light rays brightened up the once dark room where Femi and Shade laid in. They awoke finally! Femi had just a few hours left to spare; so every single minute was to be spent beside his precious Jewel.
Their departure this time is going to be for one straight year, because they’re both travelling to different locations for important reasons. Femi is going abroad for training, while Shade will be dispatched to a different part of the country for her NYSC. Soon, it was the set hour, a driver was ready downstairs to take Femi to the airport.
Needless to say, it was an intense moment filled with mixed feelings for the lovebirds. But life has to happen, like it does; always! And so, Femi departed for the airport and Shade decided to journey home to be with family.
In a couple of weeks, Shade received her call-up letter for the NYSC orientation program. It was a new level of experience for her and she shared most of it with Femi. With lots of pictures to remember some key moments by, and some short clips saved up in her archives; she saved them all.
Orientation Camp was tough for Shade, it’s no news that every bad thing is made worse in Nigeria. According to default way of thinking in Nigeria, we deserve the tough love because it is the only way we can truly learn what others went through. In this case, I disagree!
Whatever happened, had to happen! And Shade was later dispatched to a small town; few kilometres away from Femi’s hometown. She wasn’t very thrilled about this new development, even though she’d earlier thought about serving in Lagos or its environs. But she had no choice, it was already decided upon on her behalf; after all!
A few months got her settled in, she got a big apartment away from the heart of the town. Her new apartment was spacious. Shade had rejected the room offered to her, because she didn’t want to live in the “Corpers’ Lodge” with a bunch of strangers. Bit by bit, day by day, time drifted as it should.
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Six months down the line saw Shade into the celebrity stage, she now feels connected. She’s made some friends in town, and the people adored her; especially for her incredible sense of humour. She was living and loving every minute of it---until one fateful evening. One of the girls from the neighbourhood came by to visit Shade, they’d had plans to watch a trending movie together. And just before then, Shade’s phone rang with a photo of Femi displaying on the screen.
The young girl recognised the face, it was the face of her brother-in-law! How is this possible? Didn’t they say Femi is in America? How is it possible for these two to know each other; she thought to herself. A few minutes later, shade got back into the room and asked the girl if it had been her phone ringing! Yes Shade! Your phone did ring! She passed the phone over, and Shade scrolled through to check who it was. Oh! It’s Femi, she exclaimed! I have to return his call, she said.
The girl (Abike) spoke up to halt Shade. Please, don’t call yet. That Femi is from Oshogbo, right!? Yes, shade replied with a surprised countenance. Do you know him, Shade asked Abike! Yes, I recognised him from the image on your phone……..he is somewhat my in-law. His older brother was once married to my cousin. They are exceptionally nice people, until you marry them. Abike told Shade everything she knew about Femi and his family---and as they spoke, Shade wept.
She’d been told that the love of her life is from a family of “wife beaters” and sexually promiscuous people. She couldn’t believe her ears after being told of the emotional trauma Abike’s cousin went through in the hands of Femi’s brother. She imagined if this same fate would befall her once she marries into Femi’s same family!
The imaginations of what would become of her once she becomes Femi’s wife drove her crazy. The scary thoughts made Shade very weary, and for the first time; the distance between her and Femi became visible. However, she wanted to tell Femi about it, but then she wondered what the outcome would be…..would he just convince me that he’s different from his brother? How could he be from such a family? She pondered over it continuously, and so, she kept them to herself and never spoke of it to anyone.
Femi was not just a lover boy! He was also intelligent, he figured something had gone wrong with Shade; and so he rounded off his programs beforehand. He flew down to Lagos and headed straight to Avbiosi, Shade’s hometown. It was almost 4 years into their relationship, and the set time for the Age-Group ceremony which brought them together in the first place. He decided to visit her hometown because he knew, there was no way Shade was going to miss the Age-Group ceremony.
Femi found a nice hotel to lodge-in at Uzebba, a neighbouring town to Avbiosi, in Edo State. After waiting a few days, the evening came upon which the maidens dance-off was to take place. Femi manned up and headed straight to the venue where the dance-off was taking place. Unfortunately, Shade was nowhere present. He was sad to know that Shade was indeed unhappy, because it is unlikely for her to miss this ceremony. He thought and thought as he waited patiently for Shade, and as the clock kept ticking, so did time drifted afar into the night.
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And as Femi proceeded out of the arena, he met with Shade. Apparently, she’d been sitting by the corner watching other girls dance. They hugged, it’s obvious that they’ve missed each other, and regardless of the new findings about Femi; they were still in love. Femi watched Shade closely as they spoke, she was avoiding eye contact. But he waited patiently for her to finish talking before he’d reassure her that he’s not going to betray their love.
I know what you want to ask me Femi, and the answer is no! I can’t marry you! I heard heart-breaking stories about your family, and guess what; you supported your brother when he was being accused by his wife. I can’t deal with a broken marriage, I’d rather deal with a broken engagement than deal with infidelity and emotional trauma at home. I love you Femi, but the “apple rarely falls far from the tree” Goodbye! Femi, my love!!
This story is based on a true life circumstance. And it was extracted and put together in order to educate people on “placing judgement” on people based on their family history.
Femi loved Shade, and their love could have been different from what his brother had. Every individual has a different future, and rejecting people based on stories you’ve had about them is probably not the best way to go---give love a chance.
If we marry the ones with flawless family records, who’d marry the rest? Undermining the fact that our own children could go astray at some point, and in the end; we may be very bitter if other parents rejects them for their previous errs.
Hence my quote “if we technically didn’t know so much, perhaps we wouldn’t have too many self-inflicted deprivations”.
All quotes and article written by Joyous Akhivbareme.
Story inspired by the Iuleha people of Edo State
Thank you for reading…..