I remember it like it was yesterday, that day in the scorching heat of the Lagos sun as I walked down the street just by the stall of that Hausa man; the one who sold sweets and cigarettes, they called him papa Sule.
Do you remember him now? I saw you from a distance and you ran across the street to meet me, and in that ever happy and excited tone of your, asked where I was heading. I used to think you were annoying and bothersome, but I still liked you. I reluctantly replied that I had to run an errand for my mom.
You offered to go with me, but I said no, even though I secretly hoped that you would insist because I did not like going by the next street alone. Some local boys usually hung around there, and their wolf whistles would scare the hell out of me. Just as I hoped, you insisted and together we both walked along the edge of the road side gutters, stepping left or right in alternation in order to avoid a pothole or an open street gutter.
I remember it like it was yesterday; thinking as we walked along, “what does this boy want from me?”
Why does he smile all the time, and laugh at the silliest of things I do or say? He must be retarded, mad or both. I believed that one day soon, he would pick something else to obsess about and go away.
It seems just like yesterday, when he told me I was the love in his life and of his life. I laughed nervously and asked if all was okay with him. Surely he was delirious or confused, what would a boy his age know about love?
Love of his life indeed! it’s the same old story; teenage boy after a quick make out or sex perhaps? I had heard from friends about such declarations and how the particular offender was often laughed to scorn. This they usually did after teasing and leading him on and even sharing a kiss or two; but here I was, never been kissed or shared any form of passion, either physically or imaginary and yet I’m being pursued and told by a teenage boy that I was the love of his life.
This was some twenty odd years ago, and yet she remembers it like it was yesterday. As I look back, a smile creeps up on my lips and lights up my face. I look up and stare at this picture from many moons past, and just like all those years ago, he looks back at me; eyes still glittering and smiling as if the years had stood still. In that moment my eyes are filled with tears. I realize that my yesterdays love and face still stares boldly at me, and as he had told me all those years ago, I also realize that I’m looking into the eyes and face of the love in life, and of my life…my husband, the one who knew even before time wore out it’s space; that his love would stand the test and it would win.