Christmas for Omawumi was a time to sleep. Sleep and nothing more. A long time ago she had stopped expecting so much from the holiday. She didn’t even decorate anymore. Her friends called her the Grinch and she didn’t even mind. Everyone she wanted to spend Christmas with or buy gifts for were gone anyway (she was an only child and and orphan since last year) and this year’s love hadn’t lasted long enough for things to change. The man she had been so sure was the one in September was gone by November. His name was Leke and like the bird who shared his name, he had flown away for the winter.
Christmas was the end of the year for Sola. That and nothing more. End of the year meant more meetings, more spreadsheets, longer hours at work and maybe some fried rice from his next door neighbor who made every Christmas some kind of cooking competition.
For Sade, Christmas meant going home to a place that wasn’t really home. Her parents would be off on another trip. Her siblings would bicker and fight over who had the cuter and smarter kids or fatter bank accounts. And she had nothing to show off as usual.
So the three friends put their heads together 2 weeks before Christmas and decided to try Christmas differently this year.
Sola let his boss know he would take the week of Christmas and the week after off. At first, the man’s big eyes bulged threateningly but Sola stood his ground.
‘Fine’ The man finally conceded after a battle of stares Sola knew he would pay for in 2019.
Omawumi’s house was the bigger house so Sade moved in the week before to help with preparations. She waited till Christmas Eve to call her parents and siblings.
“I think I have the flu” She told them on a conference call.
“Flu? Since when is there flu in Nigeria?” Her evil sister-in-law asked.
Sade ignored her and went on a pretend coughing fit. That was all it had taken and she was home free. She hasn’t gotten the part of Viola in her secondary school rendition of Shakespeare The Twelfth Night in vain after all.
Sola and Sade had begun dating in August and by December he knew that she knew what they had always known. He had been Duke Orsino in the same play in secondary school while Omawumi had been the Countess Olivia, his initial love interest. It was her he turned to then for help in planning a surprise engagement. He also managed to convince his neighbor to cater a Christmas dinner for four.
The fourth person at the table would be Leke. Leke who had played Sebastian in the play. Leke who had never really left. Leke who had loved Omawumi since the first time he saw her through his coke bottle glasses in JSS1. Leke who was gentle and shy. Leke who when Omawumi said ‘No’ to him in January had persisted till September and then given up. How could he have known she was about to say yes?
Sade was responsible for convincing him December was a good time to try again. It had been relatively easy. Like it had been to convince Sebastian he needed the Countess in his life. He and Sola would bring the food and drinks. All she and Olivia had to do was decorate the house into some semblance of Christmas.
By the Twelfth Night, the hullabaloo would be over and everyone would have returned to real life. A place where the Malvolios lived waiting to steal your joy. But for these four, the real life would be greatly changed. And by the time Christmas came their way again, it would be so much easier to let go and give way to the magic, the joy, of love the season never failed to bring with it.
Song of the day: This Year’s Love