The Exchange (Part 3)
Tunji came the next day like he said he would and that was the beginning of our relationship. It was like a match made in heaven. My dad was the last person to warm up to him in my family but it didn’t take long at all. Tunji had this charisma that made people like him; he‘s soft spoken, calm and focused…all the qualities of a young man well brought up. Tunji was an orphan that had lost his parents at an early age…he had been passed around different family members’ homes while growing up. At a point, he lived with one of his teachers; who took him in because he didn’t want him to stop school. Tunji was a very brilliant student…he wanted to study Medicine but he didn’t have the financial capability, so he opted for engineering. That must have been another thing that endeared him to my father.
About a year after we started dating officially, Tunji completed his Higher National Diploma. Back then, only University graduates were allowed to go through the National Youth Service Program…so he moved back to Abeokuta, where I lived, and got a job as a teacher in one of the secondary schools. At the end of that same year, I completed my training as a beautician and hairdresser. I opened my own beauty salon and as expected, people started pestering us to get married. Tunji already rented an apartment and was running after-school classes to make some extra money. Government jobs were good back then and in no time, Tunji had furnished his apartment and gotten a car loan to purchase his car. It was a Volks Wagon beetle…I remember the first day he brought it to my shop. I sat in front with such poise, as he drove me home. My parents prayed for him and blessed the car.
Not long after this, my dad took ill and passed…it was devastating for the whole family; it was one of the darkest moments of my life. Tunji stood by me, he was equally hurting because my dad had grown quite fond of him; there were things he would tell him before telling me (her daughter). Tunji helped me to heal and move on. He would talk to all of us and use himself as an example of how God would never leave us even if our dad passed. He would tell stories of the things he had been through as an orphan and how God showed up for him. I’m sure some of the people that came to sympathize would have easily mistaken him for one of the deceased’s biological children. He would sit with my mum and console her…he would cajole her to eat and encourage her to be strong because she was all we had left.
Somehow we pulled through and gathered our lives together. After a while, I noticed that my mum was nudging me to get married so we could have a reason to celebrate and be joyful in the family. She would ask questions like
“What are you people waiting for?”
She would say things like…
“A woman is supposed to get married latest by 25, since she does not have a lifetime of fertility”
She even called Tunji and had a discussion with him…Tunji told her not to worry as he was trying to put some things in place and very soon he will make it happen.
I loved Tunji, he was everything a 👩 could ask for in a man but I wasn’t going to rush him. I just believed he must have his reasons for taking things slow. He already told me he would marry me but needed a little time to “put things together” (that was his phrase).
I could understand why my mum was on my case, as my elder brothers were not even thinking about marriage at that time. Our eldest had graduated and was working in the Public Sector. He had just gotten the job and was still settling in; he wasn’t even in any serious relationship. The one after him studied Pharmacy and was rounding up; the remaining two were studying the same course at the same university and were just a year apart.
Written by MR SPICER
Keep tab for part 4tomorrow!
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