I’ve been putting off posting this story for a while because I feel like it’s not perfect, but YOLO. The story is inspired by a dream I had after a long night of studying for a final exam.
It was an unusually boring Thursday at work. No clients called or visited the office. Our bothersome boss did not have any new projects for us to work on. It was almost like a day off at the office. Mike, my colleague in the adjoining cubicle looked over at me and said, “It’s almost the weekend, what do you have planned?” I responded saying, “I want to stay in and catch up on my shows while sipping a bottle of my favorite sweet wine. But over the past week my roommate, Tiffany has been hounding me to go out with her on Friday night. I just might go.” Mike suggested that I went with Tiff since I hadn’t been out in a while.
I texted Tiff during my lunch break to tell her I had agreed to go out with her. She was ecstatic. Deep down, I had mixed feelings about going, but I wanted to try something different. Over the years, I had become a couch potato.[written by Adamara Okeke] The last time I remember going out was in college, about 8 years ago.
Tiffany insisted that I wore a little red dress she had got me a few weeks earlier, and put on makeup. I didn’t have any objections because I had been told that I always looked good in red. While we got dressed, she played our favorite Nigerian songs. We danced, laughed, and took a lot of photos. I was reminded of my “wild” college nights.
We set out for the lounge at about 9 o’clock. It was one of the classy lounges downtown. The men looked sharp in nice dress pants and buttoned-down shirts, the ladies, in elegant dresses and different styles of louboutin and jimmy choo shoes. We sat at one of the VIP sections and ordered our first round of drinks. Three rounds of shots, two thousand photos and a pair of sore feet later, the alcohol was finally starting to hit me; but not hard enough. [written by Adamara Okeke] We sat down to order another round.
As we waited to be served, a shabby looking man approached Tiff and offered to buy her a drink. She recklessly eyeballed him and burst out laughing. One look at him and I started laughing too. He shamefully walked away. I watched him leave when my eyes met with my boyfriend’s as he walked into the lounge. I had no idea he was coming. I thought to myself “Well, here goes ladies’ night,” as I rolled my eyes. We were going through a rough patch and I’d barely spoken to him all week. Phil, my muscular dark chocolate man stood six foot three inches tall, with a smile that melted my heart. He wore a pair of blue denim jeans, a white button down shirt, a navy blue blazer, black loafers and a red bow tie that matched my dress. He looked exceptional!
I walked up to him to find out what he was doing at the lounge. He handed me a giant bouquet of roses, hugged me and planted a soft kiss on my lips. I turned away to put down the flowers.[written by Adamara Okeke] As I turned back, there he was, on one knee with the biggest smile I’d ever seen and a stunning ring asking me to spend the rest of my days with him. I was absolutely shocked. I never expected it, not that night at least. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I stuck out my left hand, held onto his shoulder and shouted, “YES!” He slid the beautiful diamond encrusted white gold ring on my finger, got up, and embraced me. Right in that moment, I realized that the next phase of my life was about to begin.
I turned to Tiff and asked her if she was a part of this plan. She gave me a mischievous smile and hugged me. Undoubtedly, that was one of the best nights of my life. I was engaged to my lover and best friend. That was the best feeling ever! I was even more excited to break the news to my family who had been on my neck about settling down.
Later that night, as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, “ Life couldn’t be any better right now. I am 27. I work as a strategic digital marketing specialist for the United Nations. I have a successful startup and I’m currently working on obtaining sponsorships for my non-profit educational institution. I lived comfortably in a two-bedroom apartment in the better parts of town.[written by Adamara Okeke] I owned the latest Range Rover. At this point, settling down didn’t seem so scary.”
I met Phil in my first year of grad school and it’s been 5 years of magic. In the initial stages of our relationship, we got into arguments every other day. Whenever one of us annoyed the other, we would cut off all communication until the bigger person decided it was time to resolve the dispute. It got to a crucial point where we both had to decide if we wanted to end it there or overlook our differences and move forward with the relationship. As days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, we grew to accept our differences and to know and understand each other better. The arguments became infrequent. Somehow, we managed to stay together through it all: college, business and law school, and work relocations. Now, I am ready to spend the rest of my life with him, to wake up to his face and morning breath every day, to carry all his babies, to become a part of his family, and him mine, to build a life with my best friend.
After the news of our engagement reached our family and friends, we decided to host an engagement party. It was a beautiful night. Many lessons learned, many blessings shared, much love spread.
The wedding was set for the seventeenth of July the following year. Planning a wedding was significantly harder than I imagined. Bringing my dream wedding to life was probably the hardest thing my wedding planner, Maddy and I had to do. There were so many choices to make: the right flowers for my bouquet, the color scheme for the wedding– every color came in 200 shades, the type of food that would be served, the songs that would be played. [written by Adamara Okeke] By the end of the first week of planning, I was exhausted. Maddy was probably one of the most patient people I’d ever met. Even in the havoc of planning the wedding she remained calm and helped me through all the choices. My favorite part of the entire process was tasting the food and cake. The cakes were amazing! Picking one was really difficult so I made each of the seven tiers a different flavour. Finally, we did it! We made my dream wedding a reality in 13 months.
The day before our wedding, Phil and I went to grab dinner at our favorite spot, the Ritz. “Either the chef made this dinner extra tasty today or I’m really excited for tomorrow,” I said. He laughed and said, “I hope the latter is the case.” Right before the main course was served, Phil grabbed my hands and said, “You make me thank God for every mistake I made because each one led me down the path that brought me to you.” I couldn’t help but smile sheepishly. I responded saying, “Every time I look at you, I say a quick prayer of thanks to God for taking His time to mould such a strong and loving man perfect for me.” The connection was stronger than ever.
After dinner, we walked across the street to grab some ice cream. While we waited in line, I realized I had forgotten my purse at the restaurant. Phil offered to go get it while I stood in line. I watched him cross the street and enter the restaurant. [written by Adamara Okeke] A few minutes later, I saw a red Toyota corolla with 4 men dressed in all black pull up in front of the building. Three of them got down and went into the restaurant. All I heard were gunshots.
I immediately called the emergency services and ran out to go make sure no one was hurt. As I walked into the restaurant, all I saw was a fleet of people lying in pools of their own blood. I walked to the table and found my fiancé on the ground with my chanel purse in his hands. He had been shot in the chest. I fell to the ground and tried to resuscitate him. The ambulances came and carried the victims to a near by hospital. I rushed over.
After a grueling 7 hours of waiting, the surgeons came out and delivered the worst news ever. My future husband had died… barely 16 hours to our wedding.
“Anna! Anna!! Wake up!!” Tiff said as she tapped me. “You fell asleep watching Scandal. Go to your room. I knew you wouldn’t come to the lounge like I asked. Couch potato!”
Thankfully, it was all a dream.