….with tears in his eyes and the most genuine smile anyone could muster…standing on the pieces of the broken glass…he turned and said; “Grace, I love you, always have, always will….so find strength in this…please find strength”, and his voice kept fading into the dark until it could be heard no more….
Grace stood, mouth agape, hair disheveled thinking out loud “how do I find strength in this….why should I”???
Broken and weak she couldn’t stand on her two legs…she fell, and in that split second she takes us back to a small room, covered with purple curtains. The outside light was blocked, leaving the perfect atmosphere for one to think and ponder on one’s day.
As she lay on her single sized bed, Grace thought, “I should have told him where I live ooo…nahhh that would be too desperate….or maybe if I had turned back when we said goodbye the conversation might have been longer….he was fine though….”. Whilst she kept thinking, she decided to search for her phone to call back Abigail when a knock to the door pulled her out of her reverie “who is it?” Grace called out. “Mr Bayo, ma” , “Hian, who is Bayo again, all this people that like to ask questions, biko the weather is too hot” as she sluggishly walked towards the door to open it. Standing in front of her was a young good-looking man holding two packages; a paper bag, and a squared shaped parcel wrapped in gold dusted wrapping paper. Forgetting that a stranger was standing in front of her, she jokingly thought out loud “Finally oooo My February 14th gift has arrived in April”, hearing a chuckle, Grace realized she had just thought out loud….a little too late. Embarrassingly, Grace asked “where are you from again”…Bayo replied, “I am from Tunse, an on-demand service for household repairs and delivery”. “Ooooh… okay” Grace, signed, thanked him and collected her package……
Weeping and laying on the floor, she kept speaking to herself whilst she stared at him….”No no no no…you shouldn’t have…please hang on just a little…..I can’t understand….just give me a clue on how I should find strength when the one whom I love slowly fades before my eyes….when my heart aches because I just may never see the one I adore ever again…when my breath has become so hot at the thought of the one who gave all for me, who made me a better person is falling to pieces all because of me…..”….she kept crying till all she could do was gasp for air….”
Wondering who could have sent the gift and what could be inside, Grace locked her doors and as she was about to open the bag she noticed a small note was pinned on the side with the name “Emmanuel” written on it….. “Wawu, Baba found me!!!!…..sharp guy” giggled Grace. The note read:
“I know you think it’s too early, so I will not say I love you…not yet…that we met is not a coincidence and that was one of my best moments…So, please meet me tomorrow at 7 pm. Inside the box is a dress I love and selected, you could choose to wear it or wear what suits you. I would be honored to be in your company.
P.S: I know you are wondering how I found your place….let’s just say “where your heart is, lies your treasure” I have found you and I’m not letting go …except you push me away”.
With a smile on her face, Grace smelt the roses, tore open the wrapping paper to try on the dress “awwww this is so lovely….but I am not going for any date, I should play hard to get for a while”. She picked up her phone to call him and remembered she did not even collect the number.
At 9 pm, the sound of Travis Greene’s ‘Intentional’ is heard and Grace jumps up from the bed to pick up her phone on the table.
“Hi Grace, this is Emmanuel”
“Hey Emmanuel, thank you so much for the gift, it was so beautiful, I really do appreciate”
“You are welcome”
“So about the invite, I will not be able to make it, my hands are full with school work, personal reading and other things that I have not planned for but may come up so maybe some other time”
“Oh………that’s fine, can we reschedule?!
“Hmmmm, okay, Sunday 2 pm should work.”
“Oh super, I can’t wait to see you on Sunday.”
“Goodnight Grace, just know I truly care.”
“2 pm ko, 2 pm ni….Oga Emmanuel you still need to work hard” said Grace, as she walked back to her bed to finish the 3rd episode of Empire Season 2.
Cars screeching, generators on, Christian channels playing on the television and radio stations; it is a typical Sunday in Lagos, Nigeria where most homes are preparing for Service or are already out of the house for Sunday Service at Faith Tabernacle.
It is a holy day.
Grace tossed and turned on the bed, pouring out her frustration on the alarm clock on her bedside table for waking her up. She jumped off the bed, showered and was about to put on her dress when her phone began to beep indicating a message just entered.
“We forget a lot of things, we procrastinate most things, but one thing is sure, I cannot forget what today holds….a date with you!!!!
This is not a poem; it’s really just how I feel. I’m super excited for today and even my Father can testify. See you at 2pm and be blessed at service.”
“This guy……” that was all Grace could mutter. She dressed up and went to church.
“Grace!!! How was service? “
“Awesome, bless God, I called to inf-“
Emmanuel cut her off “Oh…sorry I am about to leave my place, I just needed to pick up my key…so you were saying?”
“Emmanuel, today won’t be able to work, I have to decline your invite again. I just got a call to be at an event and I need to be there, I am sorry.”
“Oh….can I come with you ?”
“No, no…I would rather go alone, let’s meet some other time”
“Alright Grace, honestly I’m sad but I promise I won’t keep record of any wrongs, so have fun dear and remember Emmanuel sincerely cares.”
“Goodbye dear, Thanks, Emmanuel”
Again an invite was given and again it was turned down but Emmanuel never left, he never wavered…gifts, show of affectation and promises of much more was the order of the day in Grace’s life.
Slowly and surely, Grace started to really like Emmanuel….
That fateful morning, having finally accepted the invite….Grace selected the best dress from her wardrobe. After wearing it, she looked into the mirror and screamed “Grace you are beautiful!!!!!” Laughing so hard, she bit her tongue.
Emmanuel on the other hand, couldn’t stop grinning and thinking “I made it!”
It was a breezy atmosphere; the background music, people chattering and having fun all constituted noise, luckily for them, they had chosen a table secluded to the far right corner so they did not have to scream to hear each other.
They talked and talked and talked….Grace wondered why she had taken so long to accept this date…lost in her thoughts, she thought to her herself “why did I delay my good news like this” and laughed out loud. Emmanuel confused, asked if he had said something wrong.
“Oh I just had the most embarrassing thought, nothing serious”
“Okay that’s fine; I thought for a moment, I said something terrible”
“Thank you Emmanuel for remaining persistent, you have given me a different perception of life, love, friendship and I have never felt happier. I wonder what I ever did to deserve such a person as you”
With that, Emmanuel smiled, looked into her eyes and said….let’s just say …..”I LOVE YOU”
Teary eyed…Grace blinked as she tried to absorb Emmanuel’s words…in that moment…there was an explosion….
Darkness covered the place…and all she felt were two strong hands holding her protectively…she looked and saw it was Emmanuel…..
People were running, tables turned, glasses, plates, flower vases scattered all over the floor, windows shattered….Emmanuel lifted her up onto his back and ran across the broken glasses to find an escape route to save her….and every time he used his body to protect Grace…never letting her go despite the stinging pain from the glasses cutting into his legs…
Grace couldn’t scream, she sobbed as she saw blood gush from sides of his body…she wondered why….he kept moving till he found the door….he put her down assured that she was safe there….
Grace stared at him because she could cry no more….though his voice was gone, he was still breathing and he said it again with all the strength he could muster” find strength in this…this is the greatest way to prove my love for you….to lay down my life in exchange for yours… I know it feels like your world has crumbled and life has no meaning….but you are wrong….if we both die then that would be a disaster….if you die…that would be a universal loss…..Grace, generations will be birthed through you….the world will be better because of you….you are a force to be reckoned with.
“You may not understand this now….but you will….show others this same measure of love…I will always be with you….in your heart…. and with those last words he gave up the ghost”
Bewildered, Grace stared at Emmanuel, and in that instance, she remembered the meaning of his name…’God with us’.
A love like no other…a love true….sacrificial…yet dependable.
Grace stood up and dusted herself. She sensed that life ahead was going to be tough but she had assurance that she would overcome.
PS: expect a sequel pretty soon…
Happy Good Friday Lovers❤️❤️❤️