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Mary arrived at Murtala Muhammed airport. She picked up her luggage and excitedly headed for the waiting area. Roland had told he...

Mary arrived at Murtala Muhammed airport. She picked up her luggage and excitedly headed for the waiting area. Roland had told her at the last minute that something had come up at work. His boss needed him to meet an important client the same evening that Mary was arriving in Lagos. “I am sending a friend honey. His name is Jimoh. He will be there with his wife to pick you up. I promise to be home early enough. Please bear with me,” Roland pleaded. “It is okay darling. I understand,” said Mary. She had recently begun to call him ‘honey’, ‘darling’ and ‘sweetheart’. “I want to jump up and shout each time you call me darling,” Roland answered. “As if you could dance,” Mary teased. “Who said I can’t dance. Have you seen any Michael Jackson video?” “Who has not seen one?” “I taught him most of his dance moves,” Roland joked. “I did not realize you were in your eighties or is it nineties,” answered Mary. “I was a child prodigy. I was dancing in my mother’s womb. Someday you will get to ask her. By the time I was three months old, Michael Jackson was taking dancing lessons with me.” “Hahaha!!! Honey, you crack me up. I adore your sense of humor.” “You bring out the best in me,” he answered. She placed her phone to her chest after hanging up. I fall in love with him more and more each day, she thought.

She did not know what Jimoh looked like but Roland had told her that Jimoh would be carrying a cardboard paper with her name (Mary) on it. She scanned the crowd as she entered the waiting area of the local wing of Murtala Muhammed airport. There was no one with a cardboard paper bearing the inscription, ‘MARY’. She looked again, but she could not see any. Then a young lady she had seen before walked up to her. “Hi, you must be Mary?” “Yes, I am. I know I have seen you somewhere, but I am struggling to place your face.” “I am Emelda, Roland’s friend.” “I remember now….from the Facebook pictures.” “Yes. This is my husband Jimoh.” “Pleased to meet you two.” “I am Toyin, and this is my husband, Segun,” a voice said behind her. She turned and there was another face she had seen on Facebook. I am pleased to meet you. Roland mentioned Jimoh, but he did not mention you and Toyin and your husband,” Mary said. “Yes, he wanted to let you know for sure that we are his friends…his true friends. And over there is Roland.” Emelda pointed. Roland walked towards Mary with a bouquet of red roses in his right hand. He smiled like a child unwrapping his gifts on Christmas day.

“You lied!” Mary said with a smile as she hugged him. “I wanted to surprise you again. I am very happy to see you. I did not sleep a wink last night. I was up thinking about you,” he replied. “And I was up thinking of you too.” They all drove to a restaurant where they had dinner together and then Roland drove Mary home. “Your friends are very nice and fun to be around,” Mary remarked. “Yes, they are. Now you know they are not my girlfriends.” “Well, I am not sure of that yet. I am still watching you all,” Mary teased. “Keep watching honey…” As soon as they had entered his flat, he took her in his arms and carried her to the balcony. His balcony offered a panoramic view of Ikoyi. “It is beautiful from here,” Mary said. “It is breathtaking!” She added. “Yes, it is. It is even more breathtaking to have you beside me with this view in front of us.” “You are sweet, Rolly.” “And you are even sweeter,” he said. They entered the living room after several minutes of looking at the sun disappearing behind the clouds from the balcony. He sat beside her, pulled her closer and their lips locked gently in a passionate, warm kiss. “I was thinking of this all night long,” he said. She placed a finger over his mouth indicating that he should stop talking. She pulled him closer and they kissed for what seemed to last a lifetime.

“So, why did you decide to send me a friend request on Facebook that evening?” Mary asked him one evening. They were both watching a romantic comedy in his apartment. “I don’t know. I saw your picture – your big bright eyes, your full lips, your angelic smile and your style and I found myself sending you a friend request. You have a unique dress sense that shines through in all your pictures. You wrote quite well when you posted anything on Facebook. Off all these, your smile swept me off my feet.” “I am glad you sent me the friend request, honey. I have never been this madly in love.” “I am glad you accepted my friend request even though you gave me a hard time afterwards.”

Through Roland’s help, Mary got a job with Cadbury Foods in Lagos. She got an apartment of her own, even though she was staying at Roland’s most of the time. One Saturday evening, Roland took her out. “Where are we going?” Mary asked. “Just follow me by faith, honey,” Roland replied. “The last time I followed you by faith, you made a pot of soup that we ended up throwing in the trash bin,” Mary reminded him. “This is nothing remotely close to my attempt at making egusi soup for you. Just relax while I drive you to a special spot,” Roland bragged. “I am relaxed. Fire on the engine, let’s go.” Roland weaved through Lagos traffic until they ended up on Adeniran Ogunsanya Street in Surulere. Mary smiled when Roland pulled into the parking lot at Shoprite. “Come on in with me honey,” Roland urged her. “I will certainly come with you to Shoprite Rolly,” Mary teased. Holding her hand, Roland led the way as they entered into a boutique. “You made it back,” one of the sales girls said with excitement on seeing Roland. “Yes, I did. This is the angel of my heart, Mary. Please, could you take her to the changing room and hand her all the items I had picked out earlier,” Roland instructed. “I will make certain of that,” the sales girl answered. Mary was beaming with smiles, not sure how to respond. “Go with her darling,” Roland urged her. She walked into a changing room with the sales girl who handed her two dresses, a bangle, a gold watch, a set of diamond earrings, a diamond necklace, and a Gucci purse.

“We will be waiting outside. He picked them out especially for you. If for any reason you don’t like them, you have an array of clothes to pick from,” the sales girl informed Mary. “If Roland picked them for me, I will certainly adore them,” she replied with a smile. “You must love him very much?” the girl asked. “I adore him…and he adores me too,” Mary answered. “That is very beautiful. The day he came here to pick out those items for you, he would not stop talking about how much he loves you.” “I am blessed,” said Mary. “You really are.”  Roland waited impatiently for Mary to walk through the doors. She looked stunning in the first outfit; a long purple gown with tiny shiny spots to it that sparkled like diamond against the light. There was only one sleeve – the right sleeve while the left side revealed Mary’s shoulders. Her diamond earrings and necklace complimented the glitzy spots on the gown, while her gold watch made a bold state under the glare of the bright lights. She clutched her Gucci purse in both hands in front of herself, with her face beaming with a resplendent smile.

“I love it!” Mary announced. “Really?” “Yes my love. It is perfect!!! You have banished your egusi soup catastrophe. This is a perfect choice honey. Come here,” Mary beckoned at him. Roland laughed at her mention of his terrible attempt at making egusi soup. She gave him a peck and held him to herself. “You are wonderful. I have never won anything like this before. I love it all. Perfect. Thank you sweetheart!” “You are welcome darling. You look stunning…immaculately beautiful,” Roland replied. “Thank you.” “Go and try the other one.” Mary walked majestically back to the changing room. Roland smiled broadly as he watched her walk back to the changing room like royalty. Soon, she reappeared, full of smiles. “You look even more beautiful in this one,” Roland announced. She was clad in a white velvety, sleeveless dress with assorted patterns to it. “This one is very beautiful,” Marry said excitedly. “It fits you perfectly,” said Roland. “Now I know why you were rummaging through the wardrobe looking through my clothes some weeks ago. You were figuring out my size, right?” Mary asked with a beautiful smile on her face. Roland nodded. “You did a good job. “Thank you sweetheart.” “You are welcome my love.” She packed both clothes and accessories up and they returned to Roland’s car for the ride home.

“I have officially forgotten your egusi soup…you have wiped your slate clean with this wonderful gesture. I am very blessed and lucky to have you in my life,” Mary said on the drive home. “I am the lucky one Mary. You certainly are my soulmate.” “You are my heartmate,” Mary teased. “And you are my stomach-mate,” Roland replied. “I have to agree with that one Rolly. I enjoy making good food for your stomach,” Mary teased. “You certainly do.” When they got home, Mary’s younger sister, Chinelo was waiting for them at home. Mary was overjoyed to see her. “How did you get here?” She asked. Chinelo pointed at Roland. “What? You knew about this?” Mary asked. Roland just smiled. “He got me the flight ticket and had one of his friends pick me up from the airport,” Chinelo explained. “Thank you sweetheart. Come here Chiichii. I have missed you a lot,” Mary said as the sisters hugged. “I knew you missed her a lot, so when I found out she had some weeks off school due to the strike, I figured she and I could surprise you,” Roland explained.

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