To understand this better, you might need to find out more about the holiday Rosh Hashanah. What can I say, I am a woman that knows a little about a lot. 😉
Our first date was a complete disaster. From the beginning to the end, ‘wrecking ball’ kind of disaster, throw it in the trash, ‘never go back’ kind of disaster. I dropped her off at her apartment that night knowing that I had messed up whatever chance I had at this chance.
If I had known how to cry I would have but there are a few things orphans find it hard to unlearn; one of them is being tough.
I had found her online. That alone was bad enough. It was my first online date. A colleague had convinced me it was the only way I would ever meet someone. Later my date would tell me it was her younger sister that created a profile and had been responding to my messages all the while. That explained why we felt like strangers on that first date even more than we should have.
It took twenty more days for fate to push her in my direction for the second time. It was a Thanksgiving Sunday. I usually avoided church on Thanksgiving Sundays. I had never learned to dance, to give myself away to the music like normal people did. I was also still learning what it meant to be loved by a father so it still felt awkward to come to what everyone said was my Father’s house.
I don’t know why I went to church that Thanksgiving Sunday but I was already regretting it by the praise and worship session, when the sweaty, copious woman next to me elbowed me in the ribs unknowingly in her rapturous dance. I was contemplating changing seats when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“You never did call.” She said when I turned around. I forgot my abused ribs and starred at her open mouthed for some seconds until a pesky usher eyed me curiously.
“You thought I would never want to see you again right? Well you were right, but hey, here you are.” She said smiling.
I took her for ice cream immediately after church.
“This is much better than the first time around,” She told me as the ice cream ran down her chin. I took out a handkerchief to wipe the beautiful mess she was making and she laughed. It was the first time I heard her laugh and right there and then I knew this was where my whole life had been leading.
“You have a handkerchief?” She asked incredulously, “Well, well, miracles do happen don’t they”
“Yes indeed, indeed they do,” I answered, even though she had no way of knowing I meant her.
We marry eight months later at the Erin Ijesha waterfalls. It was here they tell me my biological mother left me when I was only two. I still have the note she left with the bundle of cloth she had wrapped me in.
Cowards are not fit to be mothers and ever since your father died, I have become a coward. I have lost the courage to live, to be a mother. Forgive me my child. Oluwa a ba mi duro ti e. No matter what happens, know that we loved you, know that we wanted you. You are not unwanted. Even though the world will tell you this. It is a lie- You are wanted, you will always be wanted. Even after this river washes my body away, someone else will want you as much as we did. Someday. I promise.
I love you.
I haven’t cried since I was 4 and learned in an orphanage , that tears were a privilege of children with parents but I cry now, as I unveil my bride. On our second date, I had learned that her middle name was Morolake. On our third date, she had held my hand tightly all through as I divulged the story of my life. On our fourth date, she asked me if I had a birth date and when I told her about the date the orphanage had assigned me, she insisted on picking another one.
“But what does it matter? Neither is really my real birth date.”
“Is Jesus’s birthday really December 25th?” She asked with all the sarcasm she could muster and I started to laugh.
When I had stopped laughing, she reached across the dinner table and held my face.
“We have seven months till your birthday. On that day, we will return to where it all began.”
And so we do. October 2, 2016, on the anniversary of man’s creation, we go to Erin ijesha and get married. I kiss my bride for the first time beside the waters where my mother lost the courage to live.
When the ceremony is over, she hands me the bread and I hand her the Bible.
I wait till she starts to read:
“Who is like You, God, who removes iniquity and overlooks transgression of the remainder of His inheritance. He does not remain angry forever because He desires kindness. He will return and He will be merciful to us, and He will conquer our iniquities, and He will cast off our sins into the depths of the seas. Give truth to Jacob, kindness to Abraham, like that you swore to our ancestors from long ago.
When she is done, I throw the crumbs into the water. With each crumb, I say a goodbye to a past that has haunted my present since I have known it, with each crumb, I forgive the ones without courage, with each crumb I find the bravery to choose life.
When the crumbs are gone, I kiss her again, breathing all of her in. Then with one hand I reach for her hand and with the other, I raise the horn we have brought along. I blow hard and long until heaven can hear it, until earth agrees with us – I have been born again.
Song of the day: George Ezra – Blame it on me