It caught her by surprise. It’s not every day that your boyfriend of three years proposes in the presence of all your friends and some of his. It was supposed to be just a small birthday party. Well, your age is no longer a small number, but still, nobody had seen this coming. You weren’t even keen on hosting this party and were it not for Adam’s insistence, not many people would have known you were turning twenty-eight. Now it made a lot of sense. How Adam was so excited about the party; how he had made arrangements for the barbecue, drinks and music. He even went ahead to handle the invitations, personally reaching out to all your friends and some of his. These friends now have all their eyes on you, eagerly awaiting your response, as Adam looks up to you, on one knee, grinning from ear to ear.
The diamond on the ring on Adam’s right hand is enormous. It would look perfect on your finger. It is sparkling against the camera lights as they shutter away from all angles. You look around. Your besties are giggling in excitement. A band starts to play some music. They have guitars, saxophones, flutes and trumpets. A belly dancer appears from nowhere and starts throwing fire up and about, in rhythm with the band’s music. After what seems to be eternity, the music stops and the belly dancer throws a handful of fireworks in the air. They burst out like popcorns and splatter on the air forming glaring letters which spell the words ”Will You Marry Me?” The crowd claps and cheers in awe. Adam starts to say something but you are so transfixed on the spectacle and cannot comprehend a word he says.
Your brow becomes a little wet. Your mind is racing and your heart is beating profoundly. What do you do? How do you tell Adam that you cannot get married? You are not ready to get married. You have your Media career ahead of you. You have dreams and aspirations. You want to travel the world before you are tied down to the responsibilities that come with being a married woman. You enjoy your freedom and do not want to compromise it with someone else’s eternal company. You cannot get kids, yet. They will ruin your body and you will no longer be able to anchor the news. Lastly, you still have your reservations about Adam. Yes, it has been three years but you still picture your ex every time you and Adam make love. You still stalk your ex. You still look forward to his rare calls and messages.
‘…and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?’ Adam completes his well – recited poem.
You look at Adam. His puppy eyes beseech you. They draw you in. ‘Say Yes, please,’ they beg. How can you say no to that innocent look? In the presence of everyone you know? It would crush him if you turned him down. I will play along and later explain why I cannot marry him.
‘Yes, I will marry you!’ you end up saying.
Adam gets up and hugs you tightly, lifting you up and swings you around. The crowd cheers him on and the cameras shutter away.
Before long, clips of the proposal have been shared on the internet. Bloggers have already plastered your image and that of Adam on their platforms. A WhatsApp group has been created and all your friends are getting added, offering their congratulatory messages and others offering their support as bridesmaids and groomsmen. The group is titled Adam Weds Aisha. It is very active, this group.
‘So, Adam, when is the bachelor party?’
‘Hey Adam, my offer to use the G – Wagon for the bridal entourage still stands,’
‘Aisha, I hope you are considering Bali as one of your honeymoon options. I was there for vacation and I can guarantee you that every penny you will spend will be worth it’
‘Aisha, how about the bridesmaids rock some jumpsuits instead of the flowing dresses like everybody else?’
Everything is moving so fast. What did you get yourself into? You have to put an end to this. You cannot wait to get home and have a private moment with Adam. You stick up the look of an excited bride to be the entire evening, but God knows what is running through your mind. The drive back home is a rather silent one. Adam repeatedly asks if you are okay and you tell him you are just tired. You cannot risk to tear him apart while he is driving. In as much as it is eating you up, you hold it. Besides, you will be home soon.
Adam’s place is not quite far from the venue of the party. You swing the door open and another surprise is waiting for you, comfortably seated on Adam’s couch. Mr. and Mrs. Katana, Adam’s parents.
‘There they are! Congratulations to the two of you!’ Adam’s father shouts, standing to hug the two of you.
‘Dad…mum, how did you…?’ Adam is surprised, yet thrilled to see his folks.
‘We saw it on WhatsApp. We were quite surprised so we decided to surprise you too’ says Mrs. Katana.
‘Oh, mum. You weren’t supposed to find out that way. We were to come down this weekend and…’ Adam says, hugging his mother.
‘It’s Okay!’ she interrupts him,’ We are here now. So, do you have a date yet?’
Here we go again! You think to yourself. Adam’s parents buzz the two of you with questions, ideas and advice on the wedding, the honeymoon and marriage life as they reminisce their own wedding forty years ago. All this time, you are aching with anxiety, wanting to scream your lungs out that there will not be a wedding but you try and control yourself. They are supposed to be your in-laws anyway. Adam’s parents leave and finally, you have the moment you have been craving for all evening.
‘Adam, I need to tell you something,’
‘Can it wait, honey? Today is all about celebrating the beginning of our marriage,’ chimes Adam, ‘ As a matter of fact, let me open the special bottle I have saved up for this day,’ He disappears into the kitchen and comes back with a bottle of 18-year-old Veuve Clicquot and two glasses. He pops it, dances around for a little bit and serves you.
‘So, what did you want to tell me?’ asks Adam.
You take one long sip and boy does it taste like heaven. You extend your glass and Adam refills it. You drown that too.
‘Adam, I can’t’ you say softly.
‘Can’t do what?’ Adam seems confused.
You stare at him. His confusion look is more like his beseeching look. The same puppy eyes that he had down at Galleria Mall during the proposal. The same look that he gave you every time you said you wanted a break from the relationship. The look convinced you to stay. The same look he gave you every time he messed up and asked for one more chance. The look made you give in. And now it was doing it again. You just could not break this man’s heart.
‘I can’t wait to ….spend the rest of my life with you,’ you sigh.
Adam is relieved. He hugs you tightly and you shed a tear from your left eye, which drops on his shoulder. Maybe it can work out, you think to yourself. That night, as Adam is inside you, the picture of your ex is smiling down at you from Adam’s face.
You append your final signature on the 28-page divorce document. It has been three years since you lied to Adam at the altar. Three years since you lied to yourself that it can work out. A pair of twins later, you realised that Adam was not the one. You knew it all along but you just did not have the guts to face it and take the necessary action. Maybe you feared to be alone. Maybe you were just obsessed with the idea of being in a relationship, whether you loved your partner or not. Maybe you just needed a trophy boyfriend, to brag about and identify with your fellow girlfriends, who were all hooked up with the who – is – who. In the process, you wasted three years which could probably have been spent pursuing life as a single woman, and who knows, maybe you would have met the – one.
Your silver lining is that you happened to meet two the – ones. Your twins.
You promised yourself you will raise them right. You will raise them to face their truths and not be afraid of the consequences of the actions they take from their truths.