I used to have this toaster, let’s call him Donatus. I met him when I worked at a bank. He came in one busy Monday morning to cash a cheque and was tossed from one teller to another till he ended up at my desk. One minute into our conversation and I understood why no one wanted to attend to him. It was difficult communicating with him. The little English he knew was spoken in a thick Igbo accent and a mumbo-jumbo of tenses. I found out later that it was his first time in a bank.
I helped him fill out an account opening form and do all the necessary paper work so he could pay in the cheque, a painstaking process that took almost two hours. He asked for my phone number and I obliged. I didn’t think he was going to call anyway. I was wrong. He called later that evening to thank me for my help. He told me he was 34 years old, a bricklayer and was in his words, ‘finding wife wey dey like you’. That was the first of a myriad of phone calls, boring conversations and an awkward friendship of some sort.
Dona made it a point of duty to stop by my office everyday, bearing gifts of course. Typically it was biscuits and bottles of soda. Once he even brought okpa. My colleagues teased me all day. The attention was become embarrassing. Whenever I sighted Dona at the revolving door I did all I could to run away and hide till I was certain he was gone. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed. I had to plead with Dona to stop the visits and only come around when he needed to carry out a transaction. He obliged me, or so I thought. A few months passed by, Dona didn’t show up in the bank, and I forgot all about him.
It was Valentine’s Day 2014. There was the usual cheesiness in the air, everyone at work was wearing a touch of red and making turn-up plans. I never understood the hullabaloo that comes with February 14th, so I was simply going about my business and making my own plans to turn-up in my bed when Dona showed up at my desk with an elderly lady. It was his mother. There was an introduction, mostly in Igbo. From the little I could decipher, he had told her we had plans to see my parents soon. Apparently I was engaged and I wasn’t even aware. I have never felt more embarrassed in my life!
Fast forward years later, and I obviously didn’t end up with Donatus. Oh, did I mention that he asked me in the presence of his mom to come spend the evening of Valentine’s with him? Don’t ask me how he pronounced Valentine’s, and please don’t ask me if I said yes.
It’s Valentine’s Day 2017. As usual there is the cheesiness in the air, people around me wearing a touch of red and making turn-up plans. In the past few days, social media has been agog with all things Valentine’s. Date ideas, meal ideas, even special Val’s day make-up ideas. I hail all entrepreneurs out there who have somehow found a way to cash in some money on this day. I will be like you guys soon, after all who writing epp?
I still don’t understand the hullabaloo that comes with this day but it’s cute watching people around try to out-do each other with displays of romantic love; wether real, imagined, to spite an ex or simply to garner likes on Facebook and the gram.
Maybe my stance on Val’s will change some day and I will join in all the fuss but till then I’m deeply content going through each day knowing I’m loved, no questions asked. Loved by God, loved by the Bestie, loved by family, loved by friends, loved by you my dear readers.
Happy Valentine’s Day!