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“2am Nostalgia” — A Short Love Story by Nkechi Analikwu

“Where are we going babes?” I ask my boyfriend of three years; while fastening my shoes in my little apartment. I look up and I can see Terry rubbing his head, I laugh out loudly because I know he’s banged his head again, he’s so tall.
“It’s not funny,” he complains and I break out in heavy bouts of laughter again.
“I’m sorry yaa.” I get up and walk towards him, giving him a back-hug and nuzzling his back.

“Hurry up, we’ve got to be early.”

“Where we going?” I pester more insistently. He rolls his eyes at me and drags me out of my apartment. I juggle the tasks of locking the door and engaging him in a piggyback ride, which he complies to.
I get into his sports car and we zoom off into the night, I tune the radio, Thinking out Loud by Ed Sheeran is playing. The journey takes most of my strength; I snuggle deeper into my seat and doze off, into beautiful dreams with Terry and our imaginary twin daughters.
“Minky…Minky…we’re here.” I rub my palms across my face, disoriented and unconsciously smudging my makeup. I grumble loudly.

I feel Terry leave the car and a burst of fresh night air washes over my skin as the car door opens.

I realign myself with my surroundings and adjust my dress. He leads us into the restaurant, it looks expensive.
Soon, we’re seated in the heart of the gathering. I feel like everyone’s staring at me, so I stare at Terry but his expression is bland. He smiles softly at me and goes on with ordering our meal.
I’m lost in studying his profile. His flat iron nose, oddly pink lower lip in contrast to the dark upper counterpart, pointed canine teeth, dark curly hair… the list is endless. I’m caught in my silent oneirism, and I blush like a child who was given ela.

Before the food arrives, Terry takes my hands and the wildness in the pits of my stomach remind me that I’m female and human. I look around the restaurant to assure myself that Im not been watched. Terry smiles and tightens his hold.

“You’ll never stop being shy?”

“Leave me alone, you love it.” We joke around for some minutes, while sipping our Chapman until our food arrives.

Minutes turns into hours and I’m getting confused as to why I’m still here when we’ve been done with dinner for long.
“Let’s go,” he breaks into my thoughts and gets up from his seat, gesturing that I imitate his actions. I oblige but not without asking our next location. “Patience love.”
We go on an even longer drive. I’ve removed my strappy heels and tied my hair in a bun, ready to crawl home to bed. I doze off.
“Minky! Minky!”
“Yes?” I yawn and stretch.
“We’re here.”
“We’re where Tee?”
“Open your eyes.” I grumble. “Open love.”
I open them and close them tighter. My whole family is here. I see Manty, Denise, Chuck, even Renny. Why?
Then it hits me hard and I squeal, and scream and scream. I run towards my mum’s outstretched arms. My dad has the proudest look pinned on his face. My siblings are at the barbeque corner, pointing and making funny faces at me. I’ll deal with them later. Meanwhile, where’s Tee?
I search around, maneuvering my way through the little gene crowd. He’s nowhere to be found. I’m panicking and keep…
Mannnnn! He’s using a PAS (public address system). I’m gonna kill this man, if I don’t die of embarrassment.
He’s heading my way. Where the hell did he get a tuxedo from? While I’m without shoes, in a messy bun and looking like a penny-for-one stripper. I’m gonna kill this man.
My shoes drop off my hands on its own accord to the floor as my man comes to me, in all his virile glory, he smells so good.
He winks at me. My family and friends gather round us. I hear cheers and jeers from the world around us.
“Go girl, get that ring girl.”

“A real man, Mink, real man.”

“Mink, she scared as hell, she gonn’ die, oh my lawd.

I giggle at the last jeer simultaneously with looking before me. We had a short moment of mamihlatinatapai, our short breaths and the finger he traces on my skin: our eyes like hands, drinking up each other.

“Teee! Minky!”
We’re revived from our reverie, where the world revolves us.
Then, Terry goes on his knees and my head and heart follows his direction to the pit of my stomach. I feel sick.
His hands are vibrating like the strings of an unwind guitar. Its infective. He reaches into his breast pocket and retrives a tattered sheet of paper. He contemplates silently for a split second, nodding his head, and he discards the paper.
He takes my left hand and clutches it tight, like he’s afraid someone might steal me. He looks into my eyes and clears his throat. I want to cry, just cry and hug my man. His eyes say it all, but I want to listen to him, his heart, unadulterated and raw.
His hands are cold and shaky. I clutch them to give him warmth, to give him me. He nods again and opens his mouth.
“Minky, it’ll sound cliche if I started with ‘the first day I met you…,’ but I’m just going to say my heart.”
Everyone in the background laughs, even my hard-to-please granny Poppa.
“Minky, you’re my will to live. You’re my strength, my weakness, my breath. You’re my everything. It’s more than physical Mink, it’s you. I want to take care of every inch of you. I want to adore the floor you feet touches. I want to love you so hard, there’s nothing left for anyone else. I want you body and soul. I love your mind, how you’re always ahead of me, your body; how it responds to mine. I love your soul.”
I break into a loud sob, using my right unclutched arm to hold my tears back. I love this man so much, these things he’s saying, they’re too much. I cry and cry.
He continues, his voice a bit shaky. Oh no babe, don’t cry. I’ll do a mean job of crying for the both of us.
“I want to…wake…up…” The crowd continues cheering, my sisters are already crying too. My mum and granny as well. “Wake up to you and a little Terry army. Kiss you each night and wake up to your beautiful face, utterly spent and well loved. I want to stand by you and protect you, have all your laughter. You’re my light, my shade on a sunny day.”
I can’t take it any longer. I go down to my knees and take my man into my arms, home. I sob into his shoulder. I love this man so hard, it’ll kill me. I’m overwhelmed at the depth of my emotions.
He lifts us amidst the cheers of the crowd and we’re both standing.
Dropping the mic, he opens his arms in defeat and raises his voice.
“I just wanted to say this to you my best friend, my lover, my life. In front of all the people you love, promising to love you with every fibre of my being, to never let a single tear of pain run down your face, to be your lover, brother, father, hell, anything you want me be. I ask you Minky, will you marry me?”


A ring pops up from nowhere as oohs and aahs fill the air. My brain is as dishelleved as I look. My mouth is dry and I nod like a wet kitten, only with mascara ink running down my cheek.

He puts the ring on my middle finger and kisses me. I taste his tears mingled with mine. I’ll die for this man. I’ll go to the ends of the earth for this man. He’s mine.
My family soon intersects our bliss with their curiosity over the ring. My brothers mimicking my teary breakdown with funny voices, but catching me in big bear hugs and wiping my face. Granny Poppa nods and kisses my cheek. My sisters and I smile like Pocahontas, whilst arguing on who’s to be the maid of honor. My mum hugs me, reopening my tired tear glands.
I search for my fiancé and see him staring at me with a heavy look. I know that look. I anticipate it. He winks again. He’s so happy, I can feel it. He’s sidetracked by heavy pats and “ouuuuuuu” sounds by his boys.
An hour later, most of my family members are gone, only a few scattered here and there. Terry walks up to me, before he does anything. I kiss him, then smack his cheek while giving him my don’t-lie-to-mama-stare.
“How didn’t I know this?”
He uses his napkin to wipe some bits off my face, stops at my lips, pats, and mumbles incoherently.
“How Terry? How didn’t I figure this out?” I ask a bit shyly.
He gives me his good smile. “Because I love you.

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