The chilly morning wind blew in through the window as the window blinds beckoned to the force that reckoned with them. Nothing less expected from a morning of the new years eve. The birds chirping beautiful sounds in tune with a Lionel Richie classic, played softly through the sound system. The alarm blared its nerve-stinging sounds and out of annoyance, Mary knocked it off the table. She was awake though and nothing could take her back to sleep. She stood up, put on her feathery footwear, her silk robe and walked towards the kitchen. She walked through her well-furnished living room on her way to the kitchen. It was a fully tiled floor. A 60-inches television hanging on the wall was just a bit of a in-house design masterpiece cooled by a standing air conditioning system. Portraits of her mother and herself hanging beside the television. A five thousand dollars Blatt Billiards vintage glass centre piece was the standout piece of decoration. The kitchen was designed by one of the most prominent in-house design companies in the country. She took her cup of coffee and walked back to her room. She entered the bathroom, had her bath, got dressed, got into her custom made Ferrari, and drove off to “M&R Designs”.
M&R Designs was a fashion designing company owned by Mary and her childhood friend, Rachel Adegbola. A multimillion dollar company they started together eight years ago. The company rose through the ranks of the industry through innovative ideas from the founders and as soon as five years after being founded, was amongst the top ten in the country. As Mary got down from her car, it was obvious someone was in the building. Heads started to turn and the overwhelming effervescence of jealousy from females all around could be felt. Mary didn’t mind though, she could understand why they wished they were her. She was a 5″6, slim, busty lady. A face worthy of comparison to the beauty of the great painting of Monalisa. She had dark long hair and gorgeous brown eyes. As soon as she opened the door to her office, she met Henry, on one knee and with a ring in his hand, held towards her. “Will you marry me?”, Henry said.
Her excitement was obvious, she had been waiting for this for a long while. Since she met Henry two years ago, that’s the one destination she had dreamed of, marriage. He walked up to her during the break of a conference. “Hi, I’m Henry Lieberman,nice to meet you”. He had a well built body and his smile was a catalyst to red-face any girl. He was good looking and a gentleman to the core. They got to talking and he asked her out by the end of the conference. She stalled a bit but then they went on a few dates and had been together ever since. Months ago, she was getting a bit bothered that he won’t pop the question. But now he has just done that.
“But why don’t I feel totally willing to say yes? The man of my dreams is right in front of me, asking me to marry him, but i can’t say yes.” Within seconds, an expression filled with joy and excitement had transformed into one of confusion and moodiness. She couldn’t move or say anything. After two minutes of silence, in a sad and unwilling voice, she said “No”. Henry was startled, he couldn’t believe his ears.”NO?, you joking right?”. “Henry, I’m sorry but it just doesn’t feel right in the moment. Please leave, I can’t talk right now”. Henry was in dismay, his hands shaking, tears rolling out of his eyes slowly, he stood up, looked at her for a moment, then walked out, his face in his hands. Mary herself was crying, deep in thought, sitting on her chair. She wanted to rush towards him to pull him back, but she just couldn’t move.
A minute later, her office door was forced open. “Mary Johnson, the latest engaged female in town”. Mary interrupted her, “I said no”. Rachel suddenly stopped out of a mixture of the feeling of shock and surprise. She had just noticed that Mary was crying. She moved close to her and hugged her, consoling her. “I’m really sorry”. “Why can’t I just be happy , why can’t I find joy. I had the man of my dreams on his knees, in front of me, asking for my hand in marriage but I just can’t be happy, why?”. “Shh,shh, we will get through this together.” “I need to go see Janet”, Mary said. “Okay, no problem, I’ll take care of things for today”.
Dr. Janet Salako was Mary’s therapist. They met at Rachel’s 27th birthday party and she became her patient since then. Mary paid her enough to be recognised as her number one patient and Janet closed sessions early to attend to her. The same was for today. As soon as she received the call from her receptionist, she ended her session and asked Mary to come in. Mary sat in the relaxing chair as her routine was and turned to face Janet.
“Hi, Mary. So what do you wanna talk about today?”. “He finally asked me”. Mary took a long pause,tears rolling out, sobbing. “He asked me. The man of my dreams asked me and I said no”. Janet, surprised, came close to her and hugged her tight. She was shocked at this admission. Mary had been her client for a long time and she only talked about two people, her mother and Henry. She almost had nothing negative to say about him. According to Mary, Henry was the perfect man. He was understanding, loving, honest and above all, a wonderful listener. He showed support for all her work and was never shy to show her off to anyone. She couldn’t wish for anything more. “Why?”, Mary thought. “Why did she say no? She had told me countless times that she would marry him without conditions if he should propose.” She lifted Mary’s head off of her shoulder and moved back to her seat. “Mary, I think it’s obvious that I’m shocked but I think this means its high time we talked about the one thing we haven’t discussed yet, your childhood”. Mary sighed, “Janet, I’ve said this a million times, i don’t want to talk about it. What does that have to do with this anyway?”. “Because you need clarity but you are scared to find it. Mary, we talk about the past not to moan and mourn over the mistakes made or the experiences encountered but to find clarity and search for the way ahead. In everything we have discussed, I can’t find any reason to justify this. We have to talk about this”. Mary sighed. “Okay, what do you want to know?”. “Tell me about your parents”.
“My mum is Stella Johnson. She was 18 when she had me. She was in college. Her parents sent her away from the house and told her not to come back without the person responsible. She dropped out of school because she couldn’t cope with being a mom and a student at the same time. She took jobs when I was young to take care of me. We used to stay in motels’ cleaning rooms. There was a time we stayed in the storage room of one of the diners she worked in. She afforded just enough to send me to high school. I got a schorlaship to one of the best colleges in the country and well, here I am. I owe my all to her. She is a Christian, although I’m not really into all that religious stuff. I talk to her everyday and about everything. So yeah, that’s everything about my childhood.”
“Mary, you just talked about your childhood and you didn’t say a word about your father”, Janet said with a keen look on her face. Mary’s mood changed. Suddenly, a soul dampened with sadness had transformed to an angry wolf. Disgusted at the thought of talking about him, she said, “I don’t have anything to say about David”. “Mary, I already told you, we can’t leave any stone unturned.” Mary became calmer. Relaxing back in her chair, she began.
” I don’t know much about him. But according to mum, they met in a concert, freshman year in college. He was a “bad boy” and she was in love with him. They had dated for a while but she refused to have sex with him. But after he pressured her, she succumbed to his desires. She got pregnant and he disappeared because he wasn’t ready to be a father. I was 8 years old when my mom told me this story. Still I wanted to know my dad. When I was 16, I hired a private detective to find him. I had saved just enough from a year of savings. He was working in a huge law firm in the city. I was super excited to meet my dad. I didn’t tell my mom because I knew she wouldn’t approve. I met him in his office and he allowed me in. I had dreamed of this moment for 8 years. I had a dream of a magical reunion, of how my dad would hug me tight and demand to know everything about me and he would get back together with my mum and start a family. As soon as I told him who I was and he saw proof. He said he didn’t want to have anything to do with my “whore of a mother” and I. He said my mother was a one time incident and that he was just the unlucky one. I walked back to my mother’s place of work, crying.” Mary paused, tears starting to roll out again. “I didn’t see him again until a year ago. He came to beg my mother and she forgave him. She then brought him to my home, as he wanted to see me to ask for forgiveness. I sent him out of my house and told him I didn’t want to see me again. He still sees my mother every now and then but I don’t want anything to do with him.” Mary was now crying profusely. She shouted, “I just hate him, I hate him”.
Janet stood up, walked to Mary slowly, held her hand and sat beside her. “Mary, you hate your dad, I get it. You have every reason to. We all need a satisfying reason to make decisions. But for every reason we have to do anything, there is a reason not to do the same thing. And there is a reason we should consider for every decision we make. A reason that takes priority over any other reason you may have, and that reason is Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate reason you need to forgive your father. You need him in your life. Every soul seeks rest, and He is the only one capable of giving that to you. I love you, your mother loves you, even your father loves you, but none of us loves you as much as Jesus does. You need him, because he’s the only one that can give you the power to forgive your father. Your unwillingness to forgive your father is the one thing stopping you from being able to totally trust and commit to a man but all that can change if you can forgive him.”
Mary was crying loudly, she knew Janet was right. ” Please help me, I need Jesus. Only him can save me.” Janet smiled, wiping off the tears off her face, she closed her eyes. They prayed together. Janet offered to drive her back home given her present state. “It’s already 8 pm and I am not letting you drive when you are like this.” Mary managed a smile, then grudgingly nodded and they got into Janet’s car.”I actually want to see my mom first, do you mind us checking there first.” Mary nodded and they left.
They got to Stella’s place in 10 minutes. A spacey compound with a duplex worth well over 300,000 dollars. When Mary opened the door, she stopped. Janet asked, “what’s wrong?”. She moved to the door and paused. It was her father. David Effiom was standing right in front of her. Her mother came out of the kitchen to see who the visitor was, but when she saw the scene, she paused. Mary was still thinking of what to do when he went on his knees. “Mary, I’m really so…”. Mary rushed towards him and hugged him. Tears gushed out of her eyes like a dam released suddenly. David was crying as well. “I am so sorry for all the pain I caused you. I am so, so, so, sorry”. “No dad, it’s okay”. “Please, forgive me. I’m really sorry”. They were both trying to force out words. The tears didn’t stop, the hug wasn’t any loose. Stella rushed towards them and hugged them both. It was what Mary dreamed of as a kid. A dream reunion. Her family was complete for the first time in her life. So this is what family felt like. He kissed Mary on the forehead. Janet was crying near them. This is the happiest she had ever seen Mary. The hug was on for abouy thre minutes before Mary’s phone notified her of a message. She checked it and started mumbling, “it’s Henry”. She opened it and read “Come out of the house and look up”. She went outside and looked up. “Is this going to be the most elaborate break up ever?”, she thought to herself.
She heard fireworks take off and explode in the sky. It was something written, she cleaned her face to see clearly. It read, “Mary, will you marry me?”. She was red faced, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Another text was delivered and it read, “come outside”. Slowly she walked, her body trembling. As she neared the gate, she heard a violinist playing a tune. She listened closely, it was her favourite song, “Hello” by Lionel Richie. As she opened the gate, what she saw, left her shocked. There was a whole orchestra, they all joined in the performance. On the ground, red roses were used to make a shape of love on the ground and in between them was Henry, for the second time, on one knee and with a ring in his hand. “Since the day, I met you, Mary, I knew you were the one. I let you see the parts of me that weren’t all that pretty, and with every ounce of love, you fixed them. I love you and there is no one else in the world I want to spend the rest of my life with. So please, for the second time, will you marry me?”. Mary was lost for words. She thought she had lost him, but he was not ready to give up on her. She was in mixed emotions of happiness and excitement. She rushed towards him and hugged him tight. “Yes,yes,yes,yes,yes”. She was crying out of overwhelming joy. This was it. What she had always craved for. A family, a father, a mother, someone to love. All her dreams, fulfilled in one night. Nothing could replace the joy in her night. The bell in a nearby church rang loud and in that moment she knew, it was the perfect end to her year. She looked up, looked at her family who were standing behind her the whole time with Janet and then at Henry. Like a synched configuration in their systems. They shouted, “Happy New Year”.