Love and Romance StoriesNaija Stories

What Love Is

My eyes were temporarily fixed on the portrait in front of me. My expression wasn’t sure of what my heart felt, but literally, it wasn’t the best of all emotions. This antithesis of feelings was born out of mutual distrust, and outright disgust—the way you feel when you lose what you have, making it extremely burdensome to see the way forward.

“Dotun, don’t tell me you’re staring at that picture again!” my wife, Esther, deafening silence was loud enough to express her obvious anger at my crappy behavior. We’ve been married for eight years, and we are practically living as if we’re miles apart in matters of the heart. Even when we pledged our marital vows, the image in my head, was that of Temi, the girl in that picture.

The holy solemnization between my wife and I, was unholy in the real sense of it. After several tortuous taunts from family and friends, especially my mum, I had to settle scores with Esther—her friend’s daughter. And since then, I can boldly say I’m her worst nightmare ’cause she wrecked mine first. All I had in mind was Temi, and after her death, I literally feel her presence in my slumber.

Together with Esther, Temi and I were students of Adekunle Ajashin University. Though we were apart as the word implied, Temi was that type of girl who cared less. Her bald hair and her cozy lips made her smile look radiant; her voice was unusually thin, and sometimes I had it in mind to bed her—I’d always longed for her ringtone. She was simply someone you won’t want to forget in a jiffy.

The problem I had with her was her love for anything thing in written form. Literally she was a book elephant, and was uncannily religious. Technically she had no time for guys, and how I got close to her is a riddle only fate could solve; maybe we were meant to be.

On the 14th of February 2005—the day I’ll never forget. I decided to take advantage of the mood that made the atmosphere. That evening, Temi and Esther were on their way to a church gathering. I confided in my ulterior motive and joined them as a casual friend. Prior to this day, Temi and I weren’t best of friends but we practically cared for each other. In a way, this boasted my ego and made me a little bit optimistic.

Her church was a few kilometers far from her domicile, which afforded me the luxury of setting the mood—the way Koreans did theirs. I made sure I sat in front of the church, and had to impress her further by contributing to the subject matter. At that moment, I was unexpectedly religious, and my first impression was well welcomed by her church members. In a way, I made their day and as well made mine.

Late in the night, I made my feelings known to her the longest way I could, and to my greatest surprise, her answer was positive which negated the ill thought I had in mind. As we journeyed together in this world of ours, Temi taught me a lot of things my mother couldn’t teach me when I was young. Her level of charity was top notch, her intelligence was top class and she was indeed the woman of my dreams.

On the 23rd of December 2006, I was partly happy when she called me (video call), only for me to see her hair shaved. I asked her for a reasonable reason, only for her to break in uncontrollable tears. My phone fell from the grasp of my hands, when she told me what actually happened.

She had cervical cancer … with six weeks left…

As devastated as I was, what made me more devastated was the fact that Esther knew what was going on, but decided not to inform me. According to her (Esther), she had been battling with cancer for the past three years. At first she didn’t want to associate herself with others to avoid unnecessary affection, but had to break this barrier to be with me in her dying moments. I was literally mad at Esther, and promised her she’ll pay for it. And of course, she’s paying.

As painful as it was, Temi’s death opened my eyes to blind facts. She made me realize that love is more than a feeling. It’s manifesting your feelings. She made me know love is giving back to the society that made you. Love is spiritual… love is eternal. Love is me and you are love. Love makes to break.

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