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It made me re-evaluate my relationship with Will.
Yes, that same Will. I’ll give a summary of how it got to this point from that point.
Will finalised his first degree in Agronomy. At that time, I was at the tail end of my third year. He should have graduated long before then, but, the repeated strikes by his university lecturers extended the time. I decided to attend his graduation ceremony since I was close to his university then.
When he saw me, there was this instant look of surprise on his face, mixed with admiration. “Baby…, you are all grown up. It really has been long I saw you. How did I miss seeing you become this beautiful?”
“Will, congratulations, I am happy to see you complete your ‘sentence’.”
I decided not to comment on my growing up because I wasn’t about to start reading into his words. He took me to one of the major eateries and asked me to fill in the gaps of the years gone.
“So, you mean you almost entered a relationship?”
“Sort of. So, what next?”
“… uhm, well, first of all, ask you to be my girlfriend”.
Oh, my laughter!! I thought he was joking and I had a good laugh.
“Girlfriend? Will, I am not interested in such jokes”.
He shook his head, looked down, looked at me and said, “I wasn’t joking”.
It felt like the the room went graveyardy.
“Oh. Will, I am not interested anymore. I think my growing up also involved growing out of my obsession with you”.
“I think that my growing up has involved thinking about the girl I shunned years ago”.
“I appreciate your having me in mind, but, I don’t think that should translate into an automatic relationship with you”.
With that, I concluded my celebration with him that day. I knew he would not back down, what I did not want to acknowledge was the possibility of me relenting and agreeing to date him.
Soon, those feelings I thought were discarded started resurfacing. I thought I could never be overwhelmed by the name ‘Will’ again, I was surprised.
So, when a friend asked if there was someone, I smiled inwardly and thought, “this guy isn’t just someone, he is my very first epitome of love”.
Even though Will also had his faults, I was sure of his honesty and Will understood me, perfectly practising the role of a gentleman.
He had through his words and actions made himself very welcome in my family. It was no big deal if he came visiting very early in the morning. Even though marriage was still a long way off, my family already saw their son-in-law in Will.
“Will, why did you not just tell her to find a hotel or guest house to stay for the night?”
“I have explained this over and over, she is stranded, so, she can’t afford such expenses just yet. Also, we are still friends notwithstanding the past”.
“Really? I get that but I doubt she sees you as just a friend, she has not gotten over you”.
“After three years? That is ridiculous!”
“I do not care how many years ago it was, the fact remains that she once dated you”.
“Yes, dated, not slept with. Vic, she would sleep in the guest room and I would sleep in my room, upstairs”.
One would think I was already married to him. I wish I was but some things had to be sorted out. I think my trust issues just kept cropping up in my relationships.
“Okay Vic, can you come and pick her up so she can stay with you?”
That was the other alternative but just to make him know that I was annoyed at his attempt to allow her sleep at his place, I told him to drive her over to my place.
“Okay, I’ll be there but I would need to finish off some office stuff and that might take up to an hour or more.” That was around 12am.
I was supposed to tell him that the bridge that was on the normal route had been showing signs of weakness but I did not. Telling him would mean passing the other route, which was longer, and that would mean spending more time with his ex, Lara.
I remember been woken up around 3am. The call was from the general hospital. As I was listening to the nurse describing Will to me, I went mind-blank. Whatever I did in the next few minutes, I have no idea.
As much as I wanted to blame Lara, or even Will, I knew without any doubt that I was at fault.
I finally found my way to the hospital. On getting there, I was first told that Lara was dead. I had just met her once and ignoring her obvious lust for Will, she was human and nice. Did I just get her killed?
“Please, what about Will?”
“We have carried out some emergency procedures and stabilised him. He would need subsequent operations to fully restore him”.
The doctor turned to go but I knew from her eyes that there was more.
“Doctor, what else do I need to know?”
“There is no easy way to say this but I have no other choice. Paralysis from his waist downward is just inevitable”.
“What of his… uhm, will we be able to have children?”
“Honestly, I can’t answer that yet”.
“Can I see him?”
“Yes, but just for a little while”.
When I entered his room, I put on my best smile and most sorry look. How the combination seemed, I don’t know.
This was the guy that was ready to do anything to please me. We had been dating for over six months, if anything, I should have trusted him. What if he had accommodated Lara without telling me? I would have been ignorant of it all.
I was expecting everything negative from him but he only smiled at me as a tear rolled down the corner of his left eye.
My heart felt like it had sunk to my stomach.
I was surprised he could speak. I knew I had to say something but what I finally said was totally unexpected.
“Will, will you marry me?”
What prompted my question was not clear at that moment but over the months of surgery and sympathy cards from far and wide, I found out its source.