I dreaded summers.
It was that time of the year I got a two-week break from work, and was free to go on the vacation of my dreams.
When I was in my early twenties, it was something I looked forward to with my girlfriends. It meant time to flirt and sling a new catch to last through the season.
As I got into my late twenties, my girlfriends started getting married and I found myself longing for more lasting relationships, and when Ike came along, I felt my prayers were finally answered.
However, four years down the line, he was yet to pop the question.
Four years that saw me growing more desperate with each passing summer, fading with the dreams I harboured.
”How was Funmi and Tobi’s wedding?” Ike asked me one Saturday evening last summer at Chocolate Royal, Lekki.
“Splendid,” I answered. “I cried.”
“Weddings have that effect. Your best friend legally has a new best friend.” Ike’s remarked.
However, I wasn’t seeing it the same way.
“I don’t know which summer God would declare as my turn.”
A frown suddenly sprang up on Ike’s face.
“Sweetheart, I know you’re worried about all this but I’m not ready right now. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you and won’t one day slip that ring around your finger.”
“What’s so scary in us getting married? We’ve been seeing each other for three years now.”
“I know but marriage needs a lot more preparation. Did I mention that Slumdog Millionaire’s showing at Silverbirds tonight?”
I always had this dream of spending my summer breaks with my husband and with time, my kids in the Bahamas or in Miami, South Africa or even in Banana Island here in Nigeria, watching the waves rise and surge and bathe our feet with white sand, as we watched the sun rise from beneath the boundary at which the skies fused with the waters.
Each summer reminded me of how that dream was slowly drifting away.
So I dreaded summers.
This particular summer threateningly drew nearer and Ike was travelling abroad for an IT course that would last the whole of August and I was going to be alone, feeling wretched and older than the thirty-first year old dreary woman I was.
I watched the leaves glow with a fresh green colour and the hitherto tiny seeds bloom into inviting ripe fruits.
Even the skies wore a brighter blue look, and every evening as I walked home to Magodo Phase 1 from my place of work, my eyes were plagued with faces of smiling couples, walking hand in hand, love flowing from their eyes.
My neighbours who were mums would sit with me in some evenings and somehow, the gossip would somehow boil down to the summer vacation they were planning with their husbands and adorable little ones.
One day, an old girlfriend, Ally who was still happily single called me up from Ghana.
“Ghana? What in the heavens are you doing there, Ally?”
Ally chuckled at the other end.
“The question’s what the hell are you still doing in Lagos this summer?”
“I don’t feel up to going anywhere this summer.”
“Making whiny sounds? Let me guess, feeling old and desolate, huh?” Ally was all cheer and brightness, like I was six years ago.
“How about we go to Obudu Cattle Ranch? We’d go on that scary air ride, watch nature at its best and probably sling us a cowboy or two.”
Obudu did me loads of good.
Every morning, Ally and I would take a walk into the woods, seeing foxes and antelopes mate in summer but it didn’t hurt because I had Ally and because at night, we shared rich jokes with the business executives on summer vacation round a bonfire.
In the afternoons, we went on the air ride and watched the sun-streaked grassy mountains stretch out below, and at other times, we talked to the cowboys in pidgin who in turn taught us their language, Hausa.
This summer was the best I’d had in the past four years.
Six nights later, as we all sat round our bonfire with laughter and music flowing more than the local palm wine, my phone rang.
It was Ike.
“How about I defer my IT course and fly down to Obudu and we get married in the smallest church there?”
Cheers and more from my bonfire mates.
That is when all gets bright and beautiful.
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